Star Trek is a 2009 American science fiction action film directed by J.J. Abrams and written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
It is the eleventh film in the Star Trek film franchise, and is also a reboot that features the main characters of the original Star Trek television series portrayed by a new cast, as the first in the rebooted film series.
The film follows James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) aboard the USS Enterprise as they combat Nero (Eric Bana), a Romulan from their future who threatens the United Federation of Planets.
The story takes place in an alternate reality because of time travel by both Nero and the original Spock (Leonard Nimoy).
The alternative timeline was created in an attempt to free the film and the franchise from established continuity constraints while simultaneously preserving original story elements.
In the 23rd century, the Federation starship USS Kelvin is investigating a “lightning storm” in space. A Romulan ship, Narada, emerges from the storm and attacks the Kelvin. Narada’s first officer, Ayel, demands that Kelvin’s Captain Robau come aboard to negotiate a truce. Robau is questioned about the current stardate and an “Ambassador Spock”, whom he does not recognise.
Narada’s commander, Nero, kills him, and resumes attacking the Kelvin. George Kirk, Kelvin’s first officer, orders the ship’s personnel, including his pregnant wife Winona, to abandon ship while he pilots the Kelvin on a collision course with Narada. Kirk sacrifices his life to ensure Winona’s survival as she gives birth to James T. Kirk.
Seventeen years later on the planet Vulcan, a young Spock is accepted to join the Vulcan Science Academy. Realising that the Academy views his human mother, Amanda, as a “disadvantage”, he joins Starfleet instead.
On Earth, Kirk becomes a reckless but intelligent young adult. Following a bar fight with Starfleet cadets accompanying Nyota Uhura, Kirk meets Captain Christopher Pike, who encourages him to enlist in Starfleet Academy, where Kirk meets and befriends doctor Leonard McCoy.
Three years later, Commander Spock accuses Kirk of cheating during the Kobayashi Maru simulation. Kirk argues that cheating was acceptable because the simulation was designed to be unbeatable. The disciplinary hearing is interrupted by a distress signal from Vulcan. With the primary fleet out of range, the cadets are mobilised. McCoy and Kirk board Pike’s ship, the Enterprise. Realising that the “lightning storm” observed near Vulcan is similar to the one that occurred when he was born, Kirk breaks protocol to convince Pike that the distress signal is a trap.
Enterprise arrives to find the fleet destroyed and Narada drilling into Vulcan’s core. Narada attacks Enterprise and Pike surrenders, delegating command of the ship to Spock and promoting Kirk to first officer. Kirk, Hikaru Sulu, and Chief Engineer Olson perform a space jump onto the drilling platform. Olson is killed mid-jump, but Kirk and Sulu successfully reach and disable the drill.
Despite Enterprise’s efforts, Nero launches “red matter” into Vulcan’s core, forming an artificial black hole that destroys Vulcan. Enterprise manages to rescue Spock’s father, Sarek, and the high council, but not Amanda, who falls to her death before the transporter can properly lock onto her.
As Narada moves toward Earth, Nero tortures Pike to gain access to Earth’s defence codes. Spock maroons Kirk on Delta Vega after Kirk attempts mutiny. Kirk encounters an older Spock, who explains that he and Nero are from 129 years in the future. In that future, Romulus was threatened by a supernova. Spock’s attempt to use “red matter” to create an artificial black hole and consume the supernova failed, and Nero’s family perished along with Romulus. Narada and Spock’s vessel were caught in the black hole, sending them back in time. Nero stranded Spock on Delta Vega to watch Vulcan’s destruction.
Reaching a Starfleet outpost on Delta Vega, Kirk and the elder Spock meet Montgomery Scott. With the elder Spock’s help, Scott devises a way for Kirk to beam onto Enterprise while it is travelling at warp speed.
Following the elder Spock’s advice, Kirk provokes younger Spock into attacking him, forcing Spock to recognise himself as emotionally compromised and relinquish command to Kirk. After talking with Sarek, Spock decides to help Kirk.
While Enterprise hides itself within the gas clouds of Titan, Kirk and Spock beam aboard Narada. Kirk fights with Nero and Ayel, killing the latter and rescuing Pike, while Spock uses the elder Spock’s ship to destroy the drill. Spock leads Narada away from Earth and sets his ship to collide with Nero’s ship.
Enterprise beams Kirk, Pike, and Spock aboard. The older Spock’s ship and Narada collide, igniting the “red matter”. Kirk offers Nero help to escape, but Nero refuses, prompting Kirk to give the order to fire, dooming Narada to be consumed in a black hole.
Kirk is promoted to Captain and given command of Enterprise, while Pike is promoted to Rear Admiral. Spock encounters his older self, who persuades his younger self to continue serving in Starfleet, encouraging him to do, for once, what feels right instead of what is logical. Spock remains in Starfleet, becoming first officer under Kirk’s command.
Enterprise goes to warp as the elder Spock speaks the “where no one has gone before” monologue.
Star Trek Films
You can find a full index of Star Trek films here.
Star Trek TV Series, Films, and Documentaries
You can find a full index of Star Trek TV series, films, documentaries here.
- The idea for a prequel film which would follow the Star Trek characters during their time in Starfleet Academy was discussed by series creator Gene Roddenberry in 1968.
- The concept resurfaced in the late 1980s, when it was postulated by Harve Bennett as a possible plotline for what would become Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, but it was rejected in favour of other projects by Roddenberry.
- Following the critical and commercial failure of Star Trek: Nemesis and the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise, the franchise’s executive producer Rick Berman and screenwriter Erik Jendresen wrote an unproduced film titled Star Trek: The Beginning, which would take place after Enterprise.
- After the separation of Viacom and CBS Corporation in 2005, former Paramount Pictures president Gail Berman convinced CBS to allow Paramount to produce a new film in the franchise.
- Orci and Kurtzman, both fans of Star Trek, were approached to write the film, and J. J. Abrams was approached to direct it.
- Kurtzman and Orci used inspiration from novels and graduate school dissertations, as well as the series itself.
- Principal photography commenced on 07 November 2007, and ended on 27 March 2008.
- The film was shot in various locations around California and Utah. Abrams wanted to avoid using bluescreen and greenscreen, opting to use sets and locations instead.
- Heavy secrecy surrounded the film’s production and was under the fake working title Corporate Headquarters.
- Industrial Light & Magic used digital ships for the film, as opposed to miniatures used in most of the previous films in the franchise (Star Trek: Insurrection used CGI for almost all ship shots).
- Production for the film concluded by the end of 2008.
- Star Trek was heavily promoted in the months preceding its release; pre-release screenings for the film premiered in select cities around the world, including Austin, Texas, Sydney, Australia, and Calgary, Alberta.
- It was released in the United States and Canada on 08 May 2009 to critical acclaim; critics praised its character development, as well as its storyline, effects, stunts, action sequences, direction, and Giacchino’s musical score.
- The film was a box office success, grossing over $385.7 million worldwide against its $150 million production budget.
- It was nominated for several awards, including four Academy Awards at the 82nd Academy Awards, ultimately winning Best Makeup, making it the first Star Trek film to win an Academy Award.
- It was followed by the sequels Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond in 2013 and 2016, respectively.
You can read interesting trivia and background details about the Star Trek franchise here.
Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): JJ Abrams.
- Producer(s): JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof.
- Writer(s): Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
- Music: Michael Giacchino.
- Cinematography: Dan Mindel.
- Editor(s): Mary Jo Markey and Maryann Brandon.
- Production: Spyglass Entertainment and Bad Robot Productions.
- Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures.
- Release Date: 07 April 2009 (Sydney Opera House) and 08 May 2009 (US).
- Running Time: 127 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.