Star Trek 2009: Movie Review – Themes Galore

Star Trek Movie 2009
Star Trek Movie 2009

Star Trek (2009)

Primary Audience: Teens, Adults
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Length: 2 Hour 6 Minutes
Rated: PG-13

Starring: Chris Pine (James T. Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Leonard Nimoy (Spock Prime), Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Ben Cross, Winona Ryder, Chris Hemsworth, Jennifer Morrison
Director: J.J. Abrams (Felicity, Alias, Lost, Mission Impossible III, Cloverfield)
Producer: Bad Robot, Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment

Is Star Trek Action Packed as the Trailer?

Have you seen the Star Trek trailer? The Star Trek trailer makes the movie seem like an edge-of-your-seat action packed movie. There are a lot of movies where the movie itself doesn’t do the trailer justice, however this is not one of them. Star Trek was a visual treat and an extremely well made movie. With the latest in CGI technology, space travel has never been so fun and visually pleasing. The trailer showed a lot of action and the movie made good on it’s promise.

Do I need to be a Trekkie to Enjoy the Movie?

Absolutely not, though I imagine this movie is going to create a lot of new fans and a huge boost in sales of older Star Trek DVDs. Though this movie is a prequel to the original star trek series, the movie has enough content and story in itself to be very enjoyable. I myself am not a trekkie. I’ve only seen clips of a few episodes and saw one star trek movie. Of course Star Trek fans of old would enjoy this movie all the more knowing the future histories of many of the characters such as Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy, Scottie, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov.

General Star Trek Premise & Storyline

I promise this summary won’t reveal too much of the story, but skip this section if you don’t want to know anything.

This story centers around Kirk, the future captain all trekkies know and love. It shows his dramatic rise from a new starfleet recruit to becoming a captain. He starts off as a very troubled kid getting into bar fights without a care in the world, until he meets Captain Pike who takes an interest in him after discovering that he is the son of the great Captain Kirk the elder who in a span of a few minutes saved hundreds of lives. Captain Pike calls him out and says he is meant to do something special, not to waste his talents but to put it to use for a higher cause.

The story also spends a good deal of time showing the struggles of Spock as he deals with his unique identity as a half-Vulcan and half-human.

The villian in this movie is Nero played by Eric Bana. A cruel Romulan leader who holds a fierce grudge against the federation. He is out for revenge particularly against a young commander named Spock.

In this movie we are introduced to all of the original characters and how they ended up on the newly commissioned Enterprise NCC 1701.

Appropriate? Morals? For the Family?

Star Trek is a PG-13 Rated Film. It is pretty accurate to the rating.

Star Trek: Violence
Without question there is a lot of violence. From bar fight scenes to gun fights, hand to hand combat, people getting killed in all sorts of ways. Of course considering this is movie depicting war that comes as no surprise. There is very limited gore or blood throughout.

Star Trek: Language
Good amount of bad language. As well as comment in the bar about farm boys having sex with animals. There were also another sexual innuendos during the bar scene.

Star Trek: Sexual Content
There is one questionable scene where Kirk is shown in bed with a green skinned Orion girl. If you don’t know Kirk is quite the womanizer. Both are in their underwear though nothing blatantly sexual is shown on screen. They are interrupted before anything happens by the coming of the girl’s roommate Uhura. Uhura is shown taking her shirt off before she figures out someone is in the room to which Kirk comes out from under the bed and leaves. As always I personally don’t see why this scene had to be in the movie, it was absolutely unnecessary and had no bearing on the story at all.

There are several reasons though why they might have put this scene in the movie. It makes great trailer material. They spliced this short 20-30 second scene twice in the trailer as to make the movie look like there is a lot of sexual content. Sex sells, unfortunately. Also by putting in this scenes it guarantees the movie to get at least a PG-13 rating. Distributors do not want their movies to have a G or PG rating because the perception of such a rating results in lower sales. Every movie wants to end up in the PG-13 mark because it caters to the widest audience. Either way, at the benefit of marketing and gross sales, the decision makers are bringing tremendous cost to the culture.

Themes of Star Trek

Pros: Despite the one very questionable scene, the movie itself had many good themes. The themes of honor, sacrifice, friendship are all on full display. To see Kirk go from just wasting his life to giving himself to a greater cause is another great theme. The friendship between Kirk and Spock despite their completely different personalities is another beautiful thing to watch. They go from hating each other guts to appreciating each other’s qualities.

Cons: The overall approval of Kirk’s rebellious attitude. Kirk is brash and confident throughout the entire movie with a complete lack of respect for authority. He ends up doing what he likes completely reliant on his emotions and guts with a completely disregard of the wisdom and experience of others. I understand this is how he was when he was young but unfortunately his brash, cocky behavior is never quite put into check or shown can lead to disastrous results. His decisions end up being “good” decisions because it ends up working despite him breaking all the rules. That is a dangerous message. He ends up rising in the ranks and in the end is shown his decisions led to triumph. This instinct is praised in this movie both by Captain Pike and by the way the events turn out. I think it is great to have such instincts and to be able to think on your feet, but think about the message it sends to it’s viewers especially those who are young. It really plays into the rebellious, independent image that we tend to gravitate towards in our generation. (Think Wolverine vs Cyclops, “Cool” vs “Goody-Good boy”)

I wish there was some component showing Kirk’s rebellious self confidence leading to a wrong decision and a trail of hurt people which would be more in line with reality. However having said that this is not a stand alone movie and perhaps such character development comes much more in the future. Let’s hope so.

Live Long and Prosper

  • What are your thoughts about the themes in Star Trek?
  • What themes did you like?
  • What themes did you think was not so good?
  • What are your thoughts about the movie overall?

Please let us all know!

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  1. I saw this movie not too long ago and enjoyed it immensely. I am a certified non-Trekkie (never seen the movie and never watched the show), but you do not need to watch the previous Star Trek movies to know the characters/storyline since the movie is a reboot (kind of like Batman Begins). As Clean Cut Media stated above, the only qualm I had was the pointlessness of the bedroom scene with Kirk, Uhura, and Uhura’s roommate. I guess it’s a mark of how much sex sells in today’s society, because the numerous TV spots I saw for Star Trek all featured at least a few seconds of that scene when, in reality, the movie was more about the burgeoning friendship between Kirk and Spock, and their interactions with the rest of the crew (Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov). The bedroom scene probably took about 2 minutes max of the movie, and was basically pointless to the plotline and characterizations.

    Aside from that scene, I thought the movie’s themes about sacrifice (what Kirk Sr. did in the beginning of the film was rather a poignant moment) and friendship were wonderfully translated to screen. Another aspect of the movie I liked was how each of the main/supporting characters played some kind of pivotal role within the plotline. While the movie is really about Kirk and Spock, it is made very clear that their actions would not be accomplished without the skills and talents of the rest of the crew.

  2. the reason for the bedroom scene was because it is known in the original star trek series, and always made a joke, that kirk always has something for the green girls. It is simply a comedy opportunity for the trekkies to catch in the movie.

  3. I think the scene with the alien girl and Kirk messing around was included to corroborate Kirk’s reputation as a ladies man. Also, in this particular case, no one would have known about Uhura picking up the Romulan transmission without this particular scene, and her ability to back Kirk up when he needed it was important.

    I loved the movie. However, there were some inconsistensies from the original. Kirk killed the Romulan at the end (hope this isn’t a spoiler, it’s been over a year since its release). The original Kirk would not have killed an enemy that presented no immediate danger. However, one could attribute this to history being changed. Also, what’s up with Spock & Uhura? Surely that won’t last???

    I loved the cast for the most part, but I didn’t care for Zoe Saldana as Lt. Uhura. The original Uhura was a curvy woman; Saldana is a stick. I wish they would find someone different. Kirk and Spock were good choices, but the one that really stood out for me was the young man who played Checkov: Anton Yelsvin (?). I hope to see more of him in the future films.

  4. I am proud to call my self a Trekkie, I attend conventions, dress up and I even have “Live Long and Prosper” tattooed on my back. My family however, despite my best efforts, will watch the occasional episode but have never embraced the Star Trek world as I have. My husband took me along to the premier of Star Trek in London last night and thank you JJ you converted him in one film, I have been trying for 25 years! What JJ Abrams has done is create a film that can be enjoyed by all, its irrelevant whether or not you have seen Star Trek before, this film stands alone as brilliant entertainment. There are plenty of references to the original series to keep the fans happy. Of course there are going to be the “hard core” fans who will criticize certain aspects. I enjoyed seeing the lead actors imitate the characteristics of the original crew, Karl Urban as Dr Mcoy was particularly good. Good story line, plenty of humour, non-stop fast action, fantastic special effects, great acting from all the main “crew”, Zacchary Quinto and Chris Pine especially. Can’t wait for the next one to see more in-depth character development (of all the characters, not just Kirk and Spock and a moral dilemma which is at the heart of the best Star Trek. Film fans are going to love this film and that means Star Trek Lives Long and Prospers!

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