Editor’s Note: George Bogler passed away in 2010. This review was written just a few months prior to his passing, but was never published as intended, so the review is written from that perspective (with a few minor tweaks). We present it below as a tribute to George (and with permission from his wife), who would be eagerly anticipating the upcoming Star Trek into Darkness in May. We miss you, George.
Star Trek (aka Star Trek XI or Star Trek 2009) was the hit movie of 2009, an exciting 127-minute romp focusing on a young James T. Kirk and how he comes to be the Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise. All the classic Star Trek characters are there, though Star Trek purists will not be pleased with how the story is presented. History—as we know it—has been changed, relationships differ, and even the ship itself is different, being many times larger than in the television show.
Personally, I can live with the changes, but I am enough of a purist that some things bother me. The science and technology stretch belief to—and perhaps beyond—the breaking point. For example, travel time from Earth to Vulcan is approximately 4 minutes, and they are able—although using untried methods and genius-level people—to beam ship-to-ship from different star systems while traveling at faster than light speeds. Despite these issues, I quite enjoyed the movie. My only disappointment was a lack of depth in story and background detail.
Trekkers are used to having detailed specifications for all fictional technology and know most characters better than their own fictional mothers. I understand why they are missing. This movie had a big burden to carry: living up to the previous ten Star Trek films while still being fresh and exciting, and paving the way for the future of Star Trek if there was to be one. Thus the changes Abrams and his writers made. As for the technical details, hopefully they will be forthcoming.
As for the releases, I have seen both the DVD and the Blu-ray. The DVD is surprisingly lacking in bonus content, while the Blu-ray has hours of extra material. A variety of packaging is also available, appealing to collectors. I hope this is not a trend. It will take another year or longer to get Blu-ray players significantly below the $100 mark, so people will still be buying DVDs and should not be short-changed on features.
If you are new to or only slightly familiar with the Star Trek universe, this is a good movie for you to change that as no prior Star Trek knowledge is required. If you are already a fan, you will enjoy Abrams’ reinvented version if you remain open to the spirit of IDIC. As for “the undiscovered country” (the future), two more movies have already been planned under the Abrams’ umbrella and with the same cast. I can’t wait—Warp Speed Ahead!
Extras: Watch for R2D2 floating in space as the Enterprise approaches Vulcan, in the lower left of the view screen in a shot from behind the Captain’s head (screenshot). I also recognized an R2-like figure in the background when Kirk beams into the Enterprise engine room. There is a tribble in a cage on Scotty’s desk on Delta Vega, briefly half-visible.
Release Date: May 8, 2009 (in theaters), November 17, 2009 (home video)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Alcohol/Drugs: 2 (some consumption of alcohol)
Language: 2 (some mostly-mild language, with one instance of the “F” word)
Nudity: 1 (characters in underwear)
Sexuality: 2 (characters making out, suggestive language)
Violence: 3 (some science fiction violence)