|Star Trek (2009)|
Star Trek is a 2009 science fiction film directed by J. J. Abrams, written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It is the eleventh film based on the Star Trek franchise and features the main characters of the original Star Trek television series, who are portrayed by a new cast. The film follows James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) before they unite aboard the USS Enterprise to combat Nero (Eric Bana), a Romulan from their future who threatens the United Federation of Planets. The story establishes an alternate reality through time-travel by both Nero and the original Spock (Leonard Nimoy), freeing the film and the franchise from established continuity constraints.
Development of the film began in 2005. Filming took place from November 2007 to March 2008 under intense secrecy. Midway through the shoot, Paramount chose to delay the release date from December 25, 2008 to May 2009, believing the film could reach a wider audience.
Star Trek has earned high critical praise, gaining a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is the thirteenth-highest-grossing film of 2009—seventh-highest within North America—and has become the highest-grossing film in the Star Trek series and is credited by the media as a reboot of the series. It was nominated for four Oscars at the 82nd Academy Awards and won the Academy Award for Best Makeup, making it the first Star Trek film to win an Oscar.
A cataclysm over 150 years into the future throws two ships into the 23rd century, altering the course of history. With a different life where he never knew his father, James T. Kirk becomes a brilliant yet cynical misfit who is finally convinced to join Starfleet by Captain Christopher Pike in 2255. Three years later, Kirk, Spock, and the young crew of the USSEnterprise, with guidance from Spock's future self, must figure out a way to work together to prevent the one responsible for the death of Kirk's father, the future Romulan known as Nero, from wreaking destruction throughout the Federation in a mad quest for vengeance, using a powerful new weapon. For some, their help comes too late.
In the year 2233, the Template:USS investigates a "lightning storm" near Klingon space, which they soon realize to be a black hole. Suddenly, the massive Narada emerges from the maw and immediately opens fire on the Kelvin with devastating torpedoes, inflicting heavy damage and causing many casualties. The attack also knocks out the starship's warp drive. The Narada ceases fire, and its first officer, Ayel, hails the outmatched Kelvin. Speaking for Nero, Ayel demands that the KelvinTemplate:'s captain, Richard Robau, come aboard the Narada via shuttlecraft to negotiate a cease-fire; his "unwise" refusal would mean the destruction of the Kelvin. Captain Robau agrees and turns over command of the ship to his first officer, Lieutenant Commander Template:Alt. Robau orders Kirk to wait fifteen minutes for his signal or else evacuate the ship.
Robau is taken to Nero, while the crew of the Kelvin monitors his life signs. Ayel interrogates him first about a particular ship, which Robau does not recognize, and then about the location of Ambassador Spock, with whom Robau is also unfamiliar. Upon citing the stardate, 2233.04, Nero rushes at Robau, impaling him with a teral'n, terminating Robau's vital signs on the KelvinTemplate:'s viewscreen. Kirk assumes command as the Narada fires another volley of torpedoes, inflicting more damage. The severely-damaged Kelvin tries to return fire, but as the situation grows dire and he realizes that the damage to the ship is compromising the lives of everyone, Kirk orders the crew to escape pods and shuttles, including his wife Winona, who is about to give birth. She is sent to a specific shuttle - Medical Shuttle 37. Kirk tells her to wait there while he plots a collision course on autopilot.
Unfortunately, the ship's autopilot navigation was destroyed in the attack. The lieutenant makes the grim realization that he will need to control the Kelvin himself. He orders his wife to leave on the shuttle without him. She protests, but Kirk tells her that he has no choice but to stay behind and continue the attack in order to protect the others who are leaving on escape pods. On the shuttlecraft, Winona Kirk gives birth to a baby boy. As the Kelvin destroys the missiles aimed at the shuttles, Kirk can hear his newborn's cries. Then, Kirk asks Winona what they should name their son. She suggests naming him after George's father, but he laughs the suggestion off and says that Tiberius isn't much of a first name. They decide to name him Jim, after Winona's father. Right before the collision, Kirk tells Winona that he loves her. Communication is cut off, and Winona looks out of the shuttle - all she can see is a bright ball of flame in the middle of the Narada.
Approximately ten years later, in the year 2243, a young Template:Alt is seen racing down the road in an antique Corvette across Iowa. Over the vehicle's comm system (a Nokia in-dash car phone), Kirk's stepfather yells at him, demanding that he return home, citing that the car is an antique and he doesn't want a scratch on it. Kirk ignores the demand, switching the comm off and blasting 20th century music. Soon, a policeman on a flying motorbike chases after him, ordering the boy to stop the car. Evading the officer, Kirk heads for a quarry and jumps out of the car, moments before it speeds over the edge and crashes on the canyon floor below. The policeman apprehends the boy and asks his name, to which he states "James Tiberius Kirk".
Around the same time on Template:Alt, a young Template:Alt, who has just successfully answered a barrage of advanced questions in a learning pod, is being tormented by his peers about his mixed heritage, calling his father a traitor for marrying a Human "whore". Spock knocks one of the older boys into a learning pod and beats him in an emotional rage - hardly the expected emotional response. He is later gently admonished by his father, Template:Alt, who is disappointed at his son's lack of emotional control. He explains to his son that despite the common misconception, Vulcans are very emotional, even more so than Humans, but it is necessary for their culture to control their emotions and not let them control them. Sarek advises Spock that he has a path to choose and that only he can make the decision. When Spock asks of his father why he married his mother, Sarek coldly replies that it was logical.Years later, Spock is conflicted about whether to participate in the kolinahr; the Vulcan ritual aimed at purging all vestigial emotions. He talks to his mother, Template:Alt, who tells him that she will always be proud of him, no matter what he decides. Later, Spock stands before a committee on Vulcan. The chairman comments on Spock's perfect record in his attempt to gain entry to the Vulcan Science Academy and that his only flaw is that he also applied to Starfleet Academy. Spock explains it was only logical for him to explore all options. The committee informs him of his acceptance into the Vulcan Science Academy and commends his accomplishments despite his "disadvantage" of being half-Human. In response to yet another underhanded attack on his mother, Spock declines the offer of admission, implying that he has decided to enter Starfleet Academy instead. The committee expresses shock, as Spock is the first Vulcan to decline an offer of admission to the Vulcan Science Academy. Spock sardonically tells the committee that their record still remains untarnished since he is, in fact, only half-Vulcan. Before departing he conveys his gratitude once again, sardonically wishing them to "live long and prosper."
Meanwhile, in 2255, in a bar in Iowa, a young Template:Alt meets up with some friends, and a brash and intoxicated James Kirk introduces himself to her. He unsuccessfully flirts with her, trying to find out her first name, but although amused by his wit and a little impressed by his knowledge, she is ultimately not interested. The situation escalates when another Starfleet recruit intervenes in an attempt to defend Uhura - despite her saying she does not need the defense. He and three other recruits get into a fight with Kirk and beat him badly before a senior officer, Captain Template:Alt, ends the fight. Pike, familiar with Kirk's tragic past from having written his dissertation on the Kelvin incident, sits down with him and tries to talk some sense into the rebellious young man by persuading him to join Starfleet. Pike firmly believes that with his aptitude, Kirk can do more with himself than get into bar fights and be "the only genius-level repeat offender in the Midwest." He tells Jim he could have his own ship in only eight years. However, Kirk doesn't want to hear it and laughs at the idea of joining Starfleet. Pike ends the conversation with a reminder that Kirk's father saved eight hundred lives, including his mother's and his own, in the course of only twelve minutes of command and challenges Kirk to do better. Kirk cannot help but take him up on the challenge.
Early the next day, Kirk heads to Riverside Shipyard, where the Template:USS is under construction. Pike is surprised to see Kirk turn up to join the new recruits. Giving his motorbike away to the first person who compliments it, Kirk passes Pike, saying he'll graduate in three years instead of four. He enters the recruit shuttle, surprising Uhura and the recruits who had beat him up the night before. Another man, Template:Alt, is escorted to his seat after being found in the bathroom by a female shuttle officer. Sitting next to Kirk, the somewhat nervous doctor starts ranting about what could physically happen to them if anything goes wrong with the shuttle's systems. Kirk is amused and tries to remind him that Starfleet works in space. McCoy explains that he has nowhere else to go, having lost everything in a divorce; the only thing he has left are his bones. The two talk and become friends.
Three years later, in 2258, the Narada is waiting at an unknown part of space. Nero is called to the bridge by Ayel. Suddenly, a black hole temporal disturbance appears and a small starship flies out of the anomaly. Nero recognizes and welcomes the appearance of Ambassador Spock, and orders the ship to be captured.
Meanwhile, at Starfleet Academy, Kirk is telling McCoy that he is taking the Kobayashi Maru test again the next day, and is certain he will pass it. McCoy is shocked at Kirk's attitude, as no one has ever passed the test, much less repeated it - much less three times. However, Kirk then leaves to "study", which for him means an assignation with an Orion cadet named Gaila in her dorm room. Suddenly, Gaila's roommate enters and Kirk gets shoved under the bed by an anxious Gaila only to find out that the roommate is Uhura. While changing out of her uniform, she tells her roommate about a message she has just decoded, alerting Starfleet to the destruction of 47 Klingon warships by a massive unidentified ship. Kirk watches Uhura undress while noting her words, but a casual comment from Gaila makes Uhura suspicious, and she guesses there's a "mouth-breather" under the bed, at which point Kirk, amazed that she could even hear him, comes out of hiding. Angry that her roommate brought yet another guy to their room and even angrier that it's Kirk, she kicks him out.
The next day, Kirk, McCoy, Uhura and a few other Starfleet recruits are in the Kobayashi Maru simulation test on Kirk's third attempt. Kirk takes a comically casual approach to the test, much to everyone's bewilderment. Everything goes as planned when, unexpectedly, the power systems momentarily fail, and then the attacking Klingon ships' shields go down and are promptly destroyed. From above the simulator room, a technician asks how Kirk was able to beat this test. Spock, who is in the observation room, simply states "I do not know."
During an official inquiry presided over by Admiral Richard Barnett, Starfleet Academy informs Kirk that they have received evidence that Kirk entered a subroutine into the computer making it possible for him to win in the simulation and accuse him of cheating. Kirk demands to face his accuser. Commander Spock is called up to the podium and introduced as one of the Academy's most distinguished graduates and programmer of the Kobayashi Maru test for the past four years. Kirk and Spock debate the purpose of the Kobayashi Maru, which Kirk claims is unfair due to its no-win programming, and which Spock explains is a test of the subject's ability to maintain composure and command ability in the face of fear and certain death.
The hearing is suddenly interrupted when word comes that the Federation has received a distress call from Vulcan. With the primary fleet occupied in the Laurentian system, Starfleet is forced to commission the Academy cadets and dispatch ships immediately to begin a rescue mission.
Cadets are assigned to ships based on their aptitude, with the most capable cadets assigned to the USS Enterprise, a ship completed so recently that it hasn't even been christened yet. Uhura is originally assigned to the Template:USS, but complains directly to Spock, citing her numerous commendations and recommendations (many from Spock himself) and insisting she had earned an assignment to the USS Enterprise. Spock suggests that he did not want to suggest impropriety, but when Uhura refuses to back down, he ultimately relents, and re-assigns her to the Enterprise. Kirk has been grounded pending a ruling on his inquiry, and is not allowed to board the shuttles and join the mission. However, McCoy takes him to the medical bay, where he injects him with a vaccine, temporarily making him ill. Consequently, he is allowed to take Kirk up to the Enterprise on medical grounds, seeing as he is the patient to the ship's medical officer.
The Enterprise leaves the spacedock for Vulcan, but not before helmsman Template:Alt – standing in for the ill McKenna – disengages the external inertial dampener, which had prevented them from going to warp. Template:Alt uses the comm system to inform the crew about their first mission, reporting a "lightning storm in space" followed by strange planet-wide seismic disturbances. Their orders are to investigate the seismic disturbance and aid in evacuation of the planet if necessary. After hearing the announcement Kirk suddenly realizes that the "lightning storm" is exactly the same occurrence the Kelvin encountered two decades earlier. Realizing that they are running straight into a Romulan trap, Kirk rushes through the ship to Uhura despite suffering a bad reaction to the vaccine McCoy gave him: swollen hands and a numb tongue. Despite his initial difficulty to communicate coherently, he finally manages to ask her about the Klingon distress call she had deciphered earlier and she confirms that the attackers were Romulan.
Kirk then rushes to the bridge to inform Captain Pike. Pike, is at first skeptical, and furious that Kirk had snuck aboard, but after hearing about the call Uhura picked up, Spock concludes that Kirk's logic is correct. Uhura is placed at the communications console at the bridge as, unlike assigned communications officer Hawkins, she can distinguish Romulan from Vulcan. As they disengage warp drive, the Enterprise finds itself in a debris field of the other seven Starfleet ships which arrived shortly before they did. At the direction of Pike, Sulu is able to navigate his way through the debris field with minimal damage. As they clear the debris, they come upon the Narada, drilling above Vulcan's atmosphere. The Narada attacks the Enterprise, which takes heavy damage on the first volley of torpedoes, almost destroying the sickbay and reducing the ship's shields to 32%. But just as they are about to fire again, Nero realizes which ship he is firing at and orders a cease-fire.
He hails the Enterprise and politely identifies himself. Pike, seeing a Romulan, accuses him of an act of war and offers to reach a settlement, but Nero states he stands apart from the Romulan Star Empire. He pointedly greets a confused Spock, and orders Pike to come aboard via shuttlecraft. Pike asks if there are any advanced hand-to-hand combat-trained officers on the bridge. Sulu volunteers. Pike gathers Sulu, Spock, and Kirk, whom he grimly jokes "wasn't supposed to be here anyway," and begins on his way to the shuttle bay.
Pike promotes Spock to captain and puts him in charge of the Enterprise. He also commissions Kirk as first officer, much to Spock's chagrin. Pike outlines his plan to do two things at once: on the shuttle en route to the Narada he will drop Kirk, Sulu, and chief engineer Olson into an orbital skydive. They will land on NaradaTemplate:'s drill platform and disable it in order to contact Starfleet about the incident, since the drill has disable communications and transporter capabilities. If all else fails, they are to fall back to the primary fleet at the Laurentian system. If Pike doesn't come back, they will also need to come get him.
Spock returns to the bridge and checks in on sickbay. He is surprised to hear Dr. McCoy instead of Dr. Puri, the chief medical officer, who was killed in the attack. Spock officially names McCoy the chief medical officer, a fact McCoy had already assumed as he works in the sickbay, heavily damaged and inundated with casualties.
Pike arrives on the Narada as the three begin their descent. Sulu opens his parachute first, followed by Kirk. An over-enthusiastic Olson, wearing a red space suit, waits too long to activate his parachute, and he falls underneath the drill, incinerated by the beam. Kirk lands safely on the platform, and proceeds to fight the first Romulan who attacks him. While grappling over the Romulan's disruptor rifle, the weapon fires, shooting holes into Sulu's parachute, sending him out of control. Kirk reaches for his phaser pistol, but the Romulan quickly knocks it out of his hand, forcing him to use his helmet as a weapon. As Sulu approaches the platform, a second Romulan with a disruptor rifle emerges, and Kirk wards both off, eventually taking away their rifles but not doing much to hurt either of them. Sulu lands dangling off the platform and swings close to the drilling beam. He uses the parachute's repacking mechanism to pull himself onto the platform, and uses his retractable sword to cut it off to avoid getting incinerated by a flame vent. Sulu then sword-fights with one Romulan, while the other goes hand-to-hand against Kirk, who is knocked over and hanging on the edge of the platform. Sulu knocks his adversary onto the vent, incinerating him. He then stabs the other one with his sword, and pulls Kirk back to safety. Olson had the charges they were going to use to destroy the platform, so they use the Romulans' disruptor rifles to fire on the drill and disable it.
Ayel reports the drill's incapacitation, but tells Nero that the drill reached Vulcan's core before going offline. Nero orders the release of "red matter", and the return of the drill. Chekov discovers what the "red matter" is doing: creating a black hole in the middle of the planet. Vulcan will be destroyed in a matter of minutes. Just as Kirk and Sulu are to be beamed off, the drill moves and Sulu falls. Kirk jumps after him and catches him. Sulu activates Kirk's parachute, but it is unable to take the weight of two people and snaps off. As they can't get a transporter lock, Chekov races to the transporter room and mathematically works out how to do so. The two officers are rescued just before they hit solid rock, hitting the transporter pads with a loud thud, banged up but alive.
Right after Kirk and Sulu are beamed aboard, Spock tells Kirk that he is down to save the Vulcan Council, which includes Spock's parents. Kirk tries to stop him but he ignores Kirk and orders the transporter chief to beam him down immediately. They were taking refuge in the katric ark, a chamber within Mount Seleya, which they could not simply beam through. Two of the elders in the council are killed by falling rocks and statues, but Spock is able to get five of them outside, including his parents. As the transporter is about to pick them up, the rock his mother is standing on collapses, causing the transporter to miss her. As they re-materialize on board the Enterprise, Spock stands on the transporter pad in shock, having lost his mother, with his hand still reached out to her. The Enterprise crew retreats and watches in horror as Vulcan implodes into oblivion.
- "Acting Captain's Log, Stardate 2258.42. We have had no word from Captain Pike. I therefore classified him as a hostage of the war criminal known as Nero. Nero, who has destroyed my home planet and most of its six billion inhabitants. While the essence of our culture has been saved in the elders who now reside upon this ship, I estimate that no more than ten thousand Vulcans have survived. I am now a member of an endangered species."
Kirk, Sulu, and the few Vulcans who were able to be brought aboard the Enterprise are brought to sickbay for treatment. Soon after, Spock leaves the bridge, and he is followed into the turbolift by Uhura. She stops the turbolift and after a few words, kisses and embraces him, hoping to console him. Though Spock is responsive to her, when she asks what Spock needs, he stiffens back up and states that he needs the crew to continue to work "admirably".
Nero asks Pike for the security codes to defense systems around Earth, but Pike refuses to give them to him, disgusted by Nero's act of genocide on Vulcan. Nero speaks about how the Narada, in his time, was a mining ship, and he was laboring to support his wife, who was expecting his child, before they were killed when Romulus was destroyed. He placed blame on the Federation for doing nothing, and accused Spock of betraying them, promising himself retribution. Pike pleads that Romulus still exists, but Nero only knows that his world – the Romulus of the future – was destroyed, and he intends to destroy every world of the Federation, so that others will know his pain. Forcing a Centaurian slug down Pike's throat which will help coerce Pike to give out the security codes, Nero orders the Narada to continue to Earth.
Spock leads the bridge crew in trying to brainstorm what happened. They have determined that the Narada is heading for Earth. Judging from their "black hole" technology, Spock reasons that the Narada must have traveled back in time from the future, much to McCoy's confusion as he exclaims he is a doctor, not a physicist. He states that they must regroup with the fleet, but Kirk says that in order to stop Nero they must go after him first. Kirk believes that any delayed action will result in Earth being destroyed. If Nero is from the future, then he'll know what's going to happen next, so they'll have to be unpredictable; Spock states that Nero's very presence logically caused a chain of events that altered reality as they know it and therefore his foreknowledge is irrelevant. This culminates in an argument which ends in Spock ordering Kirk's removal from the bridge, but Kirk fights off his security escort, despite McCoy trying to reason with him. Spock ends it by delivering the Vulcan nerve pinch to Kirk, before placing him in an escape pod and jettisoning it off the ship. Kirk awakens to find himself on the snow-covered world of Delta Vega, another planet in Vulcan's system. Picking up his gear, Kirk heads for the Starfleet station fourteen kilometers away.
- "Stardate 2258.42... four uh, four, whatever. Acting Captain Spock has marooned me on Delta Vega, in what I believe is a violation of Security Protocol 49.09 governing the treatment of prisoners on-board a starship."
He is chased down by a "polarilla" which is in turn attacked by an even larger insectoid animal. It chases Kirk into a cave, and when it finally attaches a tendril to catch him, trying to consume him, it is spooked off by an elderly man wielding a lit torch. The man reveals himself to be Spock, Kirk's old friend and is genuinely happy to see him. Kirk is skeptical, telling the old man, who had assumed Kirk was in command of the Enterprise, that "he" was, and they were hardly friends, and he had in fact marooned him for mutiny, and that Pike had been taken hostage. However, when Spock identifies Nero as Pike's captor, Kirk realizes that he might just be telling the truth.
Spock melds with Kirk so that he can understand why he is here. He explains that 129 years in the future, in the year 2387, an impending supernova of a star threatened to destroy the home worlds of the Romulan Star Empire and, potentially, the rest of the galaxy as well. Spock developed a stockpile of "red matter", a substance that can be ignited to form a singularity, a black hole that would mop up the matter of the supernova. However, the star exploded while he was en route, and Romulus was destroyed. Spock launched the red matter from his ship, the Jellyfish, to prevent further damage. Immediately, Spock was confronted by a surviving Romulan mining vessel, the Narada, captained by Nero. Spock tried to escape, but the resultant black hole captured both the Jellyfish and the Narada, creating a disturbance in the space-time continuum sending both ships into the past. The Narada exited over 150 years in the past, where it confronted the Kelvin. Spock's ship entered moments later, but what appeared seconds to him, were 25 years after the Narada had entered. Nero then captured Spock's ship, but kept Spock alive, marooning him on Delta Vega, so that he could witness the destruction of his own home planet, Vulcan, just as he had to witness the destruction of Romulus. Kirk explains he was left on the planet by the Spock he knows, who is currently in command of the Enterprise. The elder Spock is surprised, knowing that Kirk should be in command of the ship. It is then that Spock realizes that when Nero exited the black hole and confronted the Kelvin, he altered history and created an alternate reality, which changed everything, especially Kirk's life. Kirk asks Spock whether his father lived in the original timeline. Spock confirms that George Kirk proudly saw his son take command of the Enterprise, and often spoke of him as his inspiration to join Starfleet. Spock leads Kirk to the Starfleet base.
Back on the Enterprise, McCoy walks onto the bridge. Recalling that McCoy had taken his side during the "mutiny", Spock tells the doctor that he is well aware of his friendship with Kirk, acknowledging that it could not have been easy to oppose his friend in such a manner, never actually thanking him. McCoy then asks to speak freely, which Spock "welcomes" - and the doctor furiously asks him if he has lost his mind; banishing Kirk may have been logical, but certainly wasn't the right move. Spock is unfazed, responding to McCoy's use of a horse racing analogy by reminding him of the need to break a stallion to reach its potential, which astounds McCoy, who would think Spock might at least pretend it was a difficult choice. Spock sarcastically ends the argument by telling McCoy that, if tearfully walking the ship would improve crew morale, he would gladly defer to the doctor's orders. As Spock walks off to greet Sarek and dismisses McCoy, the doctor, still stewing, mutters that Spock is a "green-blooded hobgoblin" under his breath.
Kirk and the elder Spock are met by a short alien officer, Keenser, who leads them inside, where they meet this timeline's Template:Alt. A transporter genius, Scotty was "exiled" to Delta Vega after beaming Admiral Archer's prized beagle to an unknown location during a failed experiment in "transwarp beaming". Spock, however, assures Scott that it does work, and gives him the formula devised many years later by the Scotty he knew. Spock informs Kirk that he must relieve the Vulcan's younger self of command by provoking him and showing everyone that Spock is too personally and emotionally compromised to lead the mission and captain the ship, a violation of Starfleet Regulation 619. However, Spock refuses to come along and explain things to his younger self, implying too many paradoxes. Kirk is unsure that this will work, and Spock, with his voice cracking with sadness, reminds Kirk that he just saw his planet destroyed, and assures him that his younger counterpart is emotionally compromised. Before the transport, Kirk tells Spock that he was "cheating", Spock reminds him just who he learned cheating from, and, after wishing them long life and prosperity, sends Kirk and Scotty back to the Enterprise.
As they are transported to the Enterprise, Scotty accidentally finds himself inside the ship's water main and Kirk is able to rescue Scotty before he meets a gruesome death. The two are spotted by Chekov's detection of the water main's open emergency valve, and captured by security personnel, led by the one who got into a bar fight with Kirk three years previously and still remembers the remark made against him.
They are taken to the bridge where an astounded Spock attempts to find out how the two were able to transport on board the ship while it was in warp. Kirk refuses to answer and recommends Scotty do the same, and then proceeds to ask why Spock doesn't feel any anger or have any emotion over the destruction of his planet and the murder of his mother. He keeps pushing and provoking Spock, claiming he never loved his mother. Upon hearing this accusation, Spock finally snaps and lunges after Kirk, ruthlessly beating and strangling him to the point of nearly killing him, before Sarek begs Spock to stop. Realizing how far he has gone, Spock relieves himself of duty and leaves the bridge. McCoy chastises Kirk for getting rid of the ship's captain without a first officer to replace him. But Kirk, to the bridge crew's astonishment (except Sulu, who confirms Pike's promotion of Kirk to First Officer), assumes command and orders an immediate pursuit of the Narada. Uhura, still wary of Kirk, coldly whispers that she hopes he knows what he's doing. Kirk admits that he hopes so too.
Following his outburst, Spock returns to the transporter room, where Sarek tries to get Spock to open up to him. Spock admits to feeling conflicted, and feels a rage he cannot control towards Nero over the death of his mother. Sarek offers that his mother would have said not to bother controlling it, and, recalling what he had said years before after another outburst of his son's Human side, sadly admits to his son that he married Amanda because he loved her. Meanwhile, on the Bridge, Chekov figures out a plan to get the Enterprise close to the Narada without them noticing: they can follow the Narada and stop at Titan's orbit, remaining undetected by hiding in its magnetic field. Soon after, a cooled off Spock returns to the bridge, confirms the logic of Chekov's plan, and offers to beam over to the Narada to get the "black hole device" and save Earth, the only home he has left. Kirk says he will go as well, to rescue Pike. Spock mentions regulations against the captain and first officer going on such a mission, but chooses not to cite something he knows Kirk will ignore. Kirk quips that they are finally getting to know each other and gives Spock a friendly slap to the back.
The Romulan ship arrives at Earth and deploys its drilling rig directly over San Francisco. Warping into Titan's atmosphere, the Enterprise remains undetected by the Narada. Before stepping onto the transporter pad, Kirk calls the bridge, telling Sulu that, if he believes the Enterprise can destroy the Narada, even if Kirk, Spock and Pike are still aboard, he should not hesitate to take the opportunity. Sulu reluctantly acknowledge's Kirk's order. Before they beam over, Uhura kisses Spock and tells him that he better come back. In his reply, he calls her "Nyota." Kirk, who overheard, then asks Spock if that's the first name he had tried and failed to learn since the first time he met her; Spock coyly cuts him off, stating his refusal to comment on the matter. Right after they are beamed aboard, the Narada begins to drill its hole near the Golden Gate Bridge, cutting the ship off from the Enterprise.
Scotty thought he would be beaming Kirk and Spock to the NaradaTemplate:'s cargo bay, but it turns out to be a heavily occupied portion of the ship. After a brief firefight, Spock uncovers the location of the black hole device and Captain Pike by melding with an unconscious Romulan. When they board the Jellyfish, it recognizes Spock as its captain, and the Vulcan finally figures out what is going on, as the ship's computer confirms its origin stardate as 2387, constructed by the Vulcan Science Academy. Spock confronts Kirk about withholding information from him, but Kirk dodges the question by asking Spock if he can fly the spacecraft, a question he is fairly confident Kirk already knows the answer to. For the first time, Spock calls Kirk, "Jim" and informs him that their chances of success are grim by citing his calculation of their odds, but Kirk assures him that their plan will work.
As Spock commandeers the Jellyfish and blasts out of the Narada, Kirk runs into more trouble as he finds the Romulan's "bridge", where Nero and Ayel are waiting. Kirk is confronted by Nero, who has recognized him from Earth's history, and after a brief scuffle, Nero pins Kirk and tells him that, while he was a decorated officer and went on to captain the starship Enterprise, that was another life, and that he plans to deprive him of the same life his father once had. Before he can finish Kirk off, however, Nero is informed that the Jellyfish has been stolen and the drill has been destroyed. Furious above all else, Nero storms off, leaving Kirk to Ayel while he plans to kill Spock. Ayel promptly grabs Kirk by the throat and lifts him in the air, surprised at how "weak" Humans appear to be. Seeing his prey attempting to talk, Ayel offers Kirk the chance to say something - and the Human replies that he is in possession of the Romulan's disruptor pistol. Kirk fires and kills Ayel as he plunges into the depths of the Romulan vessel. He then heads off to rescue Pike. Meanwhile, Nero hails Spock, declaring that he should have killed him when he had the chance. In reply, Spock taunts Nero by "ordering" him to surrender. The Jellyfish then goes into warp with Nero and the Narada in hot pursuit.
The ships drop out of warp, and the Jellyfish turns to intercept and collide with the Narada. Nero orders all weapons to be fired, even though the ship still has "red matter" on it; with his plan for revenge ruined, now he only wants to kill Spock. The Enterprise arrives on the scene and destroys the missiles with a fierce volley of its phasers, allowing Spock to carry through with his plan to ram the Narada. Inside the Narada, Kirk finds Pike, alive but injured due to his earlier torture. Pike is quite surprised, but Kirk reminds him of his previous order to "come and get me", and when two Romulan soldiers walk in and find Kirk, effectively defenseless while freeing Pike from the chamber, the captain returns the favor, grabbing the gun on Kirk's belt and mowing down the intruders before his rescuer even realizes what happened. Scotty successfully beams back Kirk, Pike and Spock, right before the Jellyfish collides with the Narada.
The explosion of the Jellyfish ignites the entire stockpile of "red matter" on-board, creating a black hole, which begins to swallow up the Narada. Kirk offers to rescue the surviving crew, believing that the tense relations between the Romulans and the Federation might be aided by this. Spock disagreed. Belligerent to the last, Nero refuses assistance anyway and Kirk opens fire, blowing the ship apart with phasers and photon torpedoes. The Narada is finally destroyed, but the gravitational pull of the black hole begins tugging on the Enterprise, keeping it from escaping, even with its engines running at warp speed. The pressure is heavily damaging the ship as Kirk orders Scott to get them out of there at all cost. Scotty ejects the warp core and detonates it near the black hole, pushing the Enterprise to safety.
Back on Earth, the elder Spock meets with his younger counterpart, who presumed the former to be his/their father. Young Spock is confused as to why his older self didn't come with Kirk and explain the situation. The older Spock states that he implied there may be universe-destroying paradoxes if Kirk told him the truth so that they would have to rely on each other, thus ensuring "a friendship that will define you both, in ways you can not yet realize." Young Spock asks if he was making a gambit; older Spock states that he made "an act of faith" to his old friend, which he hopes that he will show again in the future. However, younger Spock expresses his decision to resign from Starfleet to help rebuild the Vulcan race; older Spock points out that he can be in two places at once. He also advises his younger self in this case to put aside logic and do what feels right. The older Spock then raises his hand in the familiar Vulcan salute, and simply wishes his younger self "good luck."
Kirk is commended by Starfleet Command, promoted to captain, and given permanent command of the Enterprise. He relieves Pike, who has been promoted to admiral and is now recovering in a wheelchair. A proud Pike shakes his successor's hand and notes that his father too would be very proud of Kirk. As the older Spock leaves to help the remaining Vulcans establish a colony, Kirk, now dressed in the gold uniform of a captain, walks on to the Enterprise bridge. After he tells McCoy to "buckle up", and receives assurances from Uhura, Sulu, Chekov and Scotty (who has barely finished talking to Kirk when he finds Keenser - now a member of his engineering staff - having climbed atop a console and orders him down) that their sections are ready to depart, the younger Spock returns to the Enterprise and asks Captain Kirk if he can be his first officer, offering to provide "character references". Kirk says it would be his honor.
- Space... the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds... to seek out new life forms and new civilizations... to boldly go where no one has gone before.
- Chris Pine as James T. Kirk. Pine described his first audition as awful, because he could not take himself seriously as a leader. Abrams did not see Pine's first audition, and it was only after Pine's agent met Abrams' wife that the director decided to give him another audition opposite Quinto. Quinto was supportive of Pine's casting because they knew each other as they worked out at the same gym. After getting the part, Pine sent William Shatner a letter and received a reply containing Shatner's approval. Pine watched classic episodes and read encyclopedias about the Star Trek universe, but stopped as he felt weighed down by the feeling he had to copy Shatner. Pine felt he had to show Kirk's "humor, arrogance and decisiveness," but not Shatner's speech pattern, which would have bordered on imitation. Pine said when watching the original series, he was also struck by how Shatner's performance was characterized by humor. Instead, Pine chose to incorporate elements of Tom Cruise from Top Gun and Harrison Ford's portrayals of Indiana Jones and Han Solo.
- Jimmy Bennett plays James Kirk as a boy.
- Zachary Quinto as Spock. Quinto expressed interest in the role because of the duality of Spock's half-human, half Vulcan heritage, and how "he is constantly exploring that notion of how to evolve in a responsible way and how to evolve in a respectful way. I think those are all things that we as a society, and certainly the world, could implement." He mentioned he heard about the new film and revealed his interest in the role in a December 2006 interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: the article was widely circulated and he attracted Abrams' interest. For the audition, Quinto wore a blue shirt and flattened his hair down to feel more like Spock. He bound his fingers to practice the Vulcan salute, shaved his eyebrows and grew and dyed his hair for the role. He conveyed many of Spock's attributes, such as his stillness and the way Nimoy would hold his hands behind his back. Quinto commented the physical transformation aided in portraying an alien, joking "I just felt like a nerd. I felt like I was 12 again. You look back at those pictures and you see the bowl cut. There's no question I was born to play the Spock role. I was sporting that look for a good four or five years." Adrien Brody had discussed playing the role with the director before Quinto was cast.
- Jacob Kogan plays Spock as a child.
- Leonard Nimoy reprises his role as the elder Spock (referred to in the movie as Ambassador Spock, and in the ending credits as Spock Prime), who has come from the future. Nimoy befriended Quinto after being cast in the role. Although Quinto watched some episodes of the show during breaks in filming, Nimoy was his main resource in playing Spock. Nimoy also chose the actor who portrayed his character "Spock" in the movie. Abrams and the writers met Nimoy at his house; writer Roberto Orci recalled the actor gave a Template:"'Who are you guys and what are you up to?' vibe" before being told how important he was to them. He was silent, and Nimoy's wife Susan Bay told the creative team he had remained in his chair after their conversation, emotionally overwhelmed by his decision after turning down many opportunities to revisit the role. Had Nimoy disliked the script, production would have been delayed for it to be rewritten. He was "genuinely excited" by the script's scope and its detailing of the characters' backstories, saying, "We have dealt with [Spock being half-human, half-Vulcan], but never with quite the overview that this script has of the entire history of the character, the growth of the character, the beginnings of the character and the arrival of the character into the Enterprise crew." Abrams said "it was surreal to direct him as Spock, because what the hell am I doing there? This guy has been doing it for forty years. It's like 'I think Spock would...Template:' "
- Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy. Like Pine, Urban said of taking on the role that "it is a case of not doing some sort of facsimile or carbon copy, but really taking the very essence of what DeForest Kelley has done and honoring that and bringing something new to the table". Urban has been a fan of the show since he was seven years old and actively pursued the role after rediscovering the series on DVD with his son. Urban was cast at his first audition, which was two months after his initial meeting with Abrams. He said he was happy to play a role with lots of comedy, something he had not done since The Price of Milk, because he was tired of action-oriented roles. When asked why McCoy is so cantankerous, Urban joked the character might be a "little bipolar actually!" Orci and Kurtzman had collaborated with Urban on Xena: Warrior Princess, in which he played Cupid and Caesar.
- Zoe Saldana as Nyota Uhura. Abrams had liked her work and requested that she play the role. Saldaña never saw the original series, though she had played a Trekkie in The Terminal (2004), but agreed to play the role after Abrams had complimented her. "For an actor, that's all you need, that's all you want. To get the acknowledgment and respect from your peers," she said. She met with Nichelle Nichols, who explained to her how she had created Uhura's background, and also named the character. Saldaña's mother was a Star Trek fan and sent her voice mails during filming, giving advice on the part. Sydney Tamiia Poitier also auditioned for the part. The film officially establishes the character's first name, which had never been previously uttered on TV or in film.
- Simon Pegg as Montgomery "Scotty" Scott. Abrams contacted Pegg by e-mail, offering him the part. To perform Scotty's accent, Pegg was assisted by his wife Maureen, who is from Glasgow, although Pegg said Scotty was from Linlithgow and wanted to bring a more East Coast sound to his accent, so his resulting performance is a mix of both accents that leans towards the West sound. He was also aided by Tommy Gormley, the film's Glaswegian first assistant director. Pegg described Scotty as a positive Scottish stereotype, noting "Scots are the first people to laugh at the fact that they drink and fight a bit", and that Scotty comes from a long line of Scots with technical expertise, such as John Logie Baird and Alexander Graham Bell. Years before, Pegg's character in Spaced joked that every odd-numbered Star Trek film being "shit" was a fact of life. Pegg noted "Fate put me in the movie to show me I was talking out of my ass."
- John Cho as Hikaru Sulu. Abrams was concerned about casting a Korean-American as a Japanese character, but George Takei explained to the director that Sulu was meant to represent all of Asia on the Enterprise, so Abrams went ahead with Cho. Cho acknowledged being an Asian-American, "there are certain acting roles that you are never going to get, and one of them is playing a cowboy. [Playing Sulu] is a realization of that dream — going into space." He cited the masculinity of the character as being important to him, and spent two weeks fight training. Cho suffered an injury to his wrist during filming, although a representative assured it was "no big deal". James Kyson Lee was interested in the part, but because Quinto was cast as Spock, the producers of the TV show Heroes did not want to lose another cast member for three months.
- Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov: As with the rest of the cast, Yelchin was allowed to choose what elements there were from their predecessor's performances. Yelchin decided to carry on Walter Koenig's speech patterns of replacing "v"s with "w"s, although he and Abrams felt this was a trait more common of Polish accents than Russian ones. He described Chekov as an odd character, being a Russian who was brought on to the show "in the middle of the Cold War." He recalled a "scene where they're talking to Apollo [who says], 'I am Apollo.' And Chekov is like, 'And I am the czar of all Russias.' [...] They gave him these lines. I mean he really is the weirdest, weirdest character."
- Eric Bana as Captain Nero, the film's time-traveling Romulan villain. Bana shot his scenes toward the end of filming. He was "a huge Trekkie when [he] was a kid", but had not seen the films. Even if he were "crazy about the original series", he would not have accepted the role unless he liked the script, which he deemed "awesome" once he read it. Bana knew Abrams because they coincidentally shared the same agent. Bana improvised the character's speech patterns.
- Bruce Greenwood as Christopher Pike, the captain of the Enterprise.
- Ben Cross as Sarek, Spock's father.
- Winona Ryder as Amanda Grayson, Spock's mother.
- Clifton Collins, Jr. as Ayel, Nero's first officer.
- Chris Hemsworth as George Samuel Kirk, Sr., Kirk's father, who died aboard the USS Kelvin while battling Nero.
- Jennifer Morrison as Winona Kirk, Kirk's mother.
- Rachel Nichols as Gaila, an Orion Starfleet cadet.
- Faran Tahir as Richard Robau, captain of the USS Kelvin.
- Deep Roy as Keenser, Scotty's alien assistant on Delta Vega.
- Greg Ellis as Chief Engineer Olson, the redshirt who is killed during the space jump.
- Chris Doohan, the son of the original Scotty, James Doohan, makes a cameo appearance in the transporter room. Pegg e-mailed Doohan about the role of Scotty, and the actor has promised him his performance "would be a complete tribute to his father". Chris Doohan previously cameoed in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
- Paul McGillion auditioned for Scotty, and he impressed producers enough that he was given another role as a 'Barracks Leader'.
- Greg Grunberg has a vocal cameo as Kirk's alcoholic stepfather. Brad William Henke filmed scenes in the role which were cut out. Star Trek: Enterprise star Dominic Keating also auditioned for the role. Grunberg was up for the role of Olson but dropped out due to a scheduling conflict. Grunberg was also interested in playing Harry Mudd, who was in an early draft of the script.
- Amanda Foreman appears as Hannity, a Starfleet officer on the Enterprise bridge.
- Spencer Daniels as Johnny, a childhood friend of Kirk. Daniels was set to play his older brother, George Samuel "Sam" Kirk, Jr., but the majority of his scenes were cut and the opening car chase scene where James Kirk can be heard calling out to him was overdubbed.
- Victor Garber as Klingon Interrogator, the officer who tortures Nero during his time on Rura Penthe. His scene was cut from the film and was featured on the DVD.
Tyler Perry appears as the head of Starfleet Academy, Admiral Richard Barnett. James Cawley, producer and star of the webseries Star Trek: New Voyages, appears as a Starfleet officer, while Pavel Lychnikoff and Lucia Rijker play Romulans, Lychnikoff a Commander and Rijker a CO. W. Morgan Sheppard, who played a Klingon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, appears in this film as the head of the Vulcan Science Council. Wil Wheaton, known for portraying Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, was brought in, through urging by Greg Grunberg, to voice several of the other Romulans in the film. Star Trek fan and Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch (who died on July 25, 2008) cameoed as a Kelvin crew member, and has a line of dialogue. Majel Barrett, the widow of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, reprised her role as the voice of the EnterpriseTemplate:'s computer, which she completed two weeks before her death on December 18, 2008.Template:Dead link The film was dedicated to her as well as Gene, to whom the film was always going to be commemorated as a sign of respect.
Orci and Kurtzman wrote a scene for William Shatner, where old Spock gives his younger self a recorded message by Kirk from the previous timeline. "It was basically a Happy Birthday wish knowing that Spock was going to go off to Romulus, and Kirk would probably be dead by the time," and it would have transitioned into Shatner reciting "Where no man has gone before". But Shatner wanted to share Nimoy's major role, and did not want a cameo, despite his character's death in Star Trek Generations. He suggested the film canonize his novels where Kirk is resurrected, but Abrams decided if his character was accompanying Nimoy's, it would have become a film about the resurrection of Kirk, and not about introducing the new versions of the characters. Nimoy disliked the character's death in Generations, but felt resurrecting Kirk would also be detrimental to this film.
Nichelle Nichols suggested playing Uhura's grandmother, but Abrams could not write this in due to the Writers Guild strike. Abrams was also interested in casting Keri Russell, but they deemed the role he had in mind for her too similar to her other roles.
At the 1968 World Science Fiction Convention, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry declared he would make a film prequel to the television series. The prequel concept resurfaced in the late 1980s with Ralph Winter and Harve Bennett during development of the fourth and sixth films. For the latter, David Loughery wrote a script entitled The Academy Years, but it was shelved in light of objections from the original cast and the fan base. In February 2005, following the financial failure of the tenth film, Star Trek Nemesis (2002), and the cancellation of the television series Star Trek: Enterprise, the franchise's executive producer Rick Berman and screenwriter Erik Jendresen were developing a new film entitled Star Trek: The Beginning. It was to revolve around a new set of characters, led by Kirk's ancestor Tiberius Chase. It would take place after Enterprise but before the original series, during the Earth-Romulan War.
In 2005, Viacom, which owned Paramount Pictures, split from CBS Corporation, which retained Paramount's television properties, including ownership of the Star Trek brand. Gail Berman, then president of Paramount, convinced CBS' chief executive, Leslie Moonves, to allow them eighteen months to develop a new Star Trek film before CBS would re-earn the rights to develop a new television series (in return, CBS would keep merchandising rights). Berman approached Mission: Impossible III writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman for ideas on the new film, and after the film had completed shooting she asked their director, J. J. Abrams, to produce it. Abrams, Orci and Kurtzman, plus producers Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk, felt the franchise had explored enough of what took place after the series, Orci and Lindelof consider themselves trekkies, and feel some of the Star Trek novels have canonical value, although Gene Roddenberry never considered the novels to be canon. Kurtzman is a casual fan, while Burk was not. Abrams' company, Bad Robot Productions produced the film with Paramount, marking the first time another company had financed a Star Trek film. Bill Todman, Jr.'s Level 1 Entertainment also co-produced the film, but during 2008 Spyglass Entertainment replaced them as financial partner.
Abrams had not seen Star Trek Nemesis because the franchise had "disconnected" for him, explaining that for him, Star Trek was about Kirk and Spock, and the other series were like "separate space adventure[s] with the name Star Trek". Abrams also preferred Star Wars as a child. He noted his general knowledge of Star Trek made him suitable to making a film to introduce the franchise to newcomers though, and being an optimistic person, he felt the optimistic nature of Star Trek would be a refreshing contrast to the likes of The Dark Knight. He continued that he loved the focus on exploration in Star Trek and the idea of the Prime Directive, which forbids Starfleet to interfere in the development of primitive worlds. However, Abrams disliked that the budgetary limitations of the original show meant they "never had the resources to actually show the adventure". He noted he only became involved with the project as producer initially because he wanted to help Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof.
On February 23, 2007, Abrams accepted Paramount's offer to direct the film, having been only attached as producer. After reading the script, he had decided "I would be so agonizingly envious of whoever stepped in and directed the movie." Orci and Kurtzman felt their aim had been to impress a casual fan like Abrams with their story. Even when filming, Abrams was nervous "with all these tattooed faces and pointy ears, bizarre weaponry and Romulan linguists, with dialogue about 'Neutral Zones' and 'Starfleet' [but] I knew this would work, because the script Alex and Bob wrote was so emotional and so relatable. I didn't love Kirk and Spock when I began this journey – but I love them now."
Orci said creating a clean reboot would have been disrespectful, and getting Leonard Nimoy in the film was very important. "Having him sitting around a camp fire sharing his memories was never gonna cut it" though, and time travel was going to be included in the film from the beginning. Kurtzman added the time travel creates jeopardy, unlike other prequels where viewers "know how they all died". The writers acknowledged time travel had been overused in the other series, but it served a good purpose in creating a new set of adventures for the original characters before they could completely do away with it in other films. Abrams selected the Romulans as the villains because they had been featured less than the Klingons in the show, and thought it was "fun" to have them meet Kirk before he does in the show. Orci and Kurtzman noted it would feel backward to demonize the Klingons again after they had become heroes in later Star Trek series, and the Romulan presence continues Spock's story from his last chronological appearance in "Unification", an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation set in 2368. The episode of the original continuity in which Kirk becomes the first human to ever see a Romulan, "Balance of Terror", served as one of the influences for the film. Orci said it was difficult giving a good explanation for the time travel without being gimmicky, like having Nero specifically seeking to assassinate Kirk.
Orci noted while the time travel story allowed them to alter some backstory elements such as Kirk's first encounter with the Romulans, they could not use it as a crutch to change everything and they tried to approach the film as a prequel as much as possible. Kirk's service on the Farragut, a major backstory point to the original episode "Obsession", was left out because it was deemed irrelevant to the story of Kirk meeting Spock, although Orci felt nothing in his script precluded it from the new film's backstory. There was a scene involving Kirk meeting Carol Marcus, who becomes the mother of his son in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, as a child, but it was dropped because the film needed more time to introduce the core characters. Figuring out ways to get the crew together required some contrivances, which Orci and Kurtzman wanted to explain from old Spock as a way of the timeline mending itself, highlighting the theme of destiny. The line was very difficult to write and was ultimately cut out.
The filmmakers sought inspiration from novels such as Prime Directive, Spock's World, and Best Destiny to fill in gaps unexplained by canon; Best Destiny particularly explores Kirk's childhood and names his parents. One idea that was justified through information from the novels was having the Enterprise built on Earth, which was inspired by a piece of fan art of the Enterprise being built in a ship yard. Orci had sent the fan art to Abrams to show how realistic the film could be. Orci explained parts of the ship would have to be constructed on Earth because of the artificial gravity employed on the ship and its requirement for sustaining warp speed, and therefore the calibration of the ship's machinery would be best done in the exact gravity well which is to be simulated. They felt free to have the ship built in Iowa because canon is ambiguous as to whether it was built in San Francisco, but this is a result of the time travel rather than something intended to overlap with the original timeline. Abrams noted the continuity of the original show itself was inconsistent at times.
Orci and Kurtzman said they wanted the general audience to like the film as much as the fans, by stripping away "Treknobabble", making it action-packed and giving it the simple title of Star Trek (to indicate to newcomers they would not need to watch any of the other films). Abrams saw humor and sex appeal as two integral and popular elements of the show that needed to be maintained. Orci stated being realistic and being serious were not the same thing. Abrams, Burk, Lindelof, Orci and Kurtzman were fans of The Wrath of Khan, and also cited The Next Generation episode "Yesterday's Enterprise" as an influence. Abrams's wife Katie was regularly consulted on the script, as were Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof's wives, to make the female characters as strong as possible. Katie Abrams's approval of the strong female characters was partly why Abrams signed on to direct.
Orci and Kurtzman read graduate school dissertations on the series for inspiration; they noted comparisons of Kirk, Spock and McCoy to Shakespearian archetypes, and Kirk and Spock's friendship echoing that of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. They also noted that, in the creation of this film, they were influenced by Star Wars, particularly in terms of pacing. "I want to feel the space, I want to feel speed and I want to feel all the things that can become a little bit lost when Star Trek becomes very stately" said Orci. Star Wars permeated in the way they wrote the action sequences, while Burk noted Kirk and Spock's initially cold relationship mirrors how "Han Solo wasn't friends with anyone when they started on their journey." Spock and Uhura were put in an actual relationship as a nod to early episodes highlighting her interest in him. Orci wanted to introduce strong Starfleet captains, concurring with an interviewer that most captains in other films were "patsies" included to make Kirk look greater by comparison.
The USS Kelvin, the ship Kirk's father serves on, is named after J. J. Abrams' grandfather, as well as the physicist and engineer Lord Kelvin (William Thomson). The KelvinTemplate:'s captain, Richard Robau (Faran Tahir), is named after Orci's Cuban uncle: Orci theorized the fictional character was born in Cuba and grew up in the Middle East. Another reference to Abrams' previous works is Slusho, which Uhura orders at the bar where she meets Kirk. Abrams created the fictitious drink for Alias and it reappeared in viral marketing for Cloverfield. Its owners, Tagruato, is also from Cloverfield and appears on a building in San Francisco. The red matter in the film is in the shape of a red ball, an Abrams motif dating back to the pilot of Alias.
The film was primarily designed by Ryan Church, Neville Page, the Cloverfield monster's creator, and Star Trek veteran John Eaves. Abrams stated the difficulty of depicting the future was that much of modern technology was inspired by the original show, and made it seem outdated. Thus the production design had to be consistent with the television series but also feel more advanced than the real world technology developed after it. "We all have the iPhone that does more than the communicator," said Abrams. "I feel like there's a certain thing that you can't really hold onto, which is kind of the kitschy quality. That must go if it's going to be something that you believe is real." Prop master Russell Bobbitt collaborated with Nokia on recreating the original communicator, creating a $50,000 prototype. Another prop recreated for the film was the tricorder. Bobbitt brought the original prop to the set, but the actors found it too large to carry when filming action scenes, so technical advisor Doug Brody redesigned it to be smaller. The phaser props were designed as spring-triggered barrels that revolve and glow as the setting switches from "stun" to "kill". An Aptera Typ-1 prototype car was used on location.
Production designer Scott Chambliss maintained the layout of the original bridge, but aesthetically altered it with brighter colors to reflect the optimism of Star Trek. The viewscreen was made into a window that could have images projected on it to make the space environment palpable. Abrams compared the redesign to the sleek modernist work of Pierre Cardin and the sets from 2001: A Space Odyssey, which were from the 1960s. He joked the redesigned bridge made the Apple Store look "uncool". At the director's behest, more railings were added to the bridge to make it look safer, and the set was built on gimbals so its rocking motions when the ship accelerates and is attacked was more realistic. To emphasize the size of the ship, Abrams chose to give the engine room a highly industrial appearance: he explained to Simon Pegg that he was inspired by Template:RMS, a sleek ship in which there was an "incredible gut".
Abrams selected Michael Kaplan to design the costumes because he had not seen any of the films, meaning he would approach the costumes with a new angle. For the Starfleet uniforms, Kaplan followed the show's original color coding, with dark gray (almost black) undershirts and pants and colored overshirts showing each crew member's position (command officers wear gold shirts, science and medical officers wear blue, and operations (technicians/engineers) and security personnel wear red). Kaplan wanted the shirts to be more sophisticated than the originals and selected to have the Starfleet symbol patterned on them. Kirk wears only the undershirt because he is a cadet. Kaplan modelled the uniforms on the Kelvin on science fiction films of the 1940s and 1950s, to contrast with the Enterprise-era uniforms based on the ones created in the 1960s. For Abrams, "The costumes were a microcosm of the entire project, which was how to take something that's kind of silly and make it feel real. But how do you make legitimate those near-primary color costumes?"
Lindelof compared the film's Romulan faction to pirates with their bald, tattooed heads and disorganized costuming. Their ship, the Narada, is purely practical with visible mechanics as it is a "working ship", unlike the Enterprise crew who give a respectable presentation on behalf of the Federation. Chambliss was heavily influenced by the architecture of Antoni Gaudí for the Narada, who created buildings that appeared to be inside out: by making the ship's exposed wires appear like bones or ligaments, it would create a foreboding atmosphere. The ship's interior was made of six pieces that could be rearranged to create a different room. The Romulan actors spent two to four hours applying make-up:Template:Citation needed the actors had three prosthetics applied to their ears and foreheads, while Bana had a fourth prosthetic for the bitemark on his ear that extends to the back of his character's head. The film's Romulans lacked the 'V'-shaped ridges on the foreheads, which had been present in all of their depictions outside the original series. Neville Page wanted to honor that by having Nero's crew ritually scar themselves too, forming keloids reminiscent of the 'V'-ridges. It was abandoned as they did not pursue the idea enough. Kaplan wanted aged, worn and rugged clothes for the Romulans because of their mining backgrounds, and found some greasy looking fabrics at a flea market. Kaplan tracked down the makers of those clothes, who turned out to be based in Bali, and commissioned them to create his designs.
Barney Burman supervised the makeup for the other aliens: his team had to rush the creation of many of the aliens, because originally the majority of them were to feature in one scene towards the end of filming. Abrams deemed the scene too similar to the cantina sequence in Star Wars, and decided to dot the designs around the film. A tribble was placed in the background of Scotty's introduction. Both digital and physical makeup was used for aliens.
Filming began on November 7, 2007, and finished on March 27, 2008, although second unit filming took place during early April in Bakersfield, California, which stood in for Kirk's childhood home in Iowa. Filming was also done at the City Hall of Long Beach, California; the San Rafael Swell in Utah; and the California State University, Northridge (which was used for establishing shots of students at Starfleet Academy). A parking lot outside Dodger Stadium was used for the ice planet of Delta Vega and the Romulan drilling rig on Vulcan. The filmmakers had been interested in filming in Iceland for scenes on Delta Vega, but decided against it: Chambliss enjoyed the challenge of filming scenes with snow in southern California. The drilling rig was built 16 feet into the air. Other Vulcan exteriors were shot at Vasquez Rocks, a location that was used in various episodes of the original show. A Budweiser plant in Van Nuys was used for the Enterprise's engine room, while a Long Beach power plant was used for the KelvinTemplate:'s engine room.
Following the commencement of the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike on November 5, 2007, Abrams, himself a WGA member, told Variety that while he would not render writing services for the film and intended to walk the picket line, he did not expect the strike to impact his directing of the production. In the final few weeks before the strike and start of production, Abrams and Lindelof polished the script a final time. Abrams was frustrated that he was unable to alter lines during the strike, whereas normally they would have been able to improvise new ideas during rehearsal, although Lindelof acknowledged they could dub some lines in post-production. Orci and Kurtzman were able to stay on set without strikebreaking because they were also executive producers on the film; they could "make funny eyes and faces at the actors whenever they had a problem with the line and sort of nod when they had something better". Abrams was able to alter a scene where Spock combats six Romulans from a fistfight to a gunfight, having decided there were too many physical brawls in the film.
The production team maintained heavily enforced security around the film. Karl Urban revealed, "[There is a] level of security and secrecy that we have all been forced to adopt. I mean, it's really kind of paranoid crazy, but sort of justified. We're not allowed to walk around in public in our costumes and we have to be herded around everywhere in these golf carts that are completely concealed and covered in black canvas. The security of it is immense. You feel your freedom is a big challenge." Actors like Jennifer Morrison were only given the scripts of their scenes. The film's shooting script was fiercely protected even with the main cast. Simon Pegg said, "I read [the script] with a security guard near me – it's that secretive." The film used the fake working title of Corporate Headquarters. Some of the few outside of the production allowed to visit the set included Rod Roddenberry, Ronald D. Moore, Jonathan Frakes, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Ben Stiller, Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg (who had partially convinced Abrams to direct because he liked the script, and he even advised the action scenes during his visit).
Abrams chose to shoot the film in the anamorphic format on 35 mm film after discussions about whether the film should be shot in high-definition digital video. Cinematographer Dan Mindel and Abrams agreed the choice gave the film a big-screen feel and the realistic, organic look they wanted for the film setting. Abrams and Mindel used lens flares throughout filming to create an optimistic atmosphere and a feeling activity was taking place off-camera, making the Star Trek universe feel more real. "There's something about those flares, especially in a movie that potentially could be incredibly sterile and CG and overly controlled. There’s just something incredibly unpredictable and gorgeous about them." Mindel would create more flares by shining a flashlight or pointing a mirror at the camera lens, or using two cameras simultaneously and therefore two lighting set-ups.
When the shoot ended, Abrams gave the cast small boxes containing little telescopes, which allowed them to read the name of each constellation it was pointed at. "I think he just wanted each of us to look at the stars a little differently," said John Cho. After the shoot, Abrams cut out some scenes of Kirk and Spock as children, including seeing the latter as a baby, as well as a subplot involving Nero being imprisoned by the Klingons and his escape: this explanation for his absence during Kirk's life confused many to whom Abrams screened the film. Other scenes cut out explained the teenage Kirk stole his stepfather's antique car because he had forced him to clean it before an auction; and that the Orion he seduced at the Academy worked in the operations division. Afterwards, she agrees to open the e-mail containing his patch that allows him to pass the Kobayashi Maru test.
Industrial Light & Magic and Digital Domain were among several companies that created over 1,000 special effect shots. The visual effects supervisors were Roger Guyett, who collaborated with Abrams on Mission: Impossible III and also served as second unit director, and Russell Earl. Abrams avoided shooting only against bluescreen and greenscreen, because it "makes me insane", using them instead to extend the scale of sets and locations. The Delta Vega sequence required the mixing of digital snow with real snow.
Star Trek was the first film ILM worked on using entirely digital ships. The Enterprise was intended by Abrams to be a merging of its design in the show and the refitted version from the original film. Abrams had fond memories of the reveal of the EnterpriseTemplate:'s refit in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, because it was the first time the ship felt tangible and real to him. The iridescent pattern on the ship from The Motion Picture was maintained to give the ship depth, while model maker Roger Goodson also applied the "Aztec" pattern from The Next Generation. Goodson recalled Abrams also wanted to bring a "hot rod" aesthetic to the ship. Effects supervisor Roger Guyett wanted the ship to have more moving parts, which stemmed from his childhood dissatisfaction with the ship's design: The new EnterpriseTemplate:'s dish can expand and move, while the fins on its engines split slightly when they begin warping. The Enterprise was originally redesigned by Ryan Church using features of the original, at Template:Convert long, but was later scaled up by a factor of two to Template:Convert long to make it seem "grander", while the Romulan Narada is five miles long and several miles wide. The filmmakers had to simulate lens flares on the ships in keeping with the film's cinematography.
Carolyn Porco of NASA was consulted on the planetary science and imagery. The animators realistically recreated what an explosion would look like in space: short blasts, which suck inward and leave debris from a ship floating. For shots of an imploding planet, the same explosion program was used to simulate it breaking up, while the animators could manually composite multiple layers of rocks and wind sucking into the planet. Unlike other Star Trek films and shows, the transporter beam effects swirl rather than speckle. Abrams conceived the redesign to emphasize the notion of transporters as beams that can pick up and move people, rather than a signal composed of scrambled atoms.
Lola Visual Effects worked on 48 shots, including some animation to Eric Bana and Leonard Nimoy. Bana required extensive damage to his teeth, which was significant enough to completely replace his mouth in some shots. Nimoy's mouth was reanimated in his first scene with Kirk following a rerecording session. The filmmakers had filmed Nimoy when he rerecorded his lines so they could rotoscope his mouth into the film, even recreating the lighting conditions, but they realized they had to digitally recreate his lips because of the bouncing light created by the camp fire.
- Main article: Star Trek: Music from the Motion Picture
Michael Giacchino, Abrams' most frequent collaborator, composed the music for Star Trek. He kept the original theme by Alexander Courage for the end credits, which Abrams said symbolized the momentum of the crew coming together. Giacchino admitted personal pressure in scoring the film, as "I grew up listening to all of that great [Trek] music, and that's part of what inspired me to do what I'm doing [...] You just go in scared. You just hope you do your best. It's one of those things where the film will tell me what to do." Scoring took place at the Sony Scoring Stage with a 107-piece orchestra and 40-person choir. An erhu, performed by Karen Han, was used for the Vulcan themes. A distorted recording was used for the Romulans. Varese Sarabande, the record label responsible for releasing albums of Giacchino's previous scores for Alias, Lost, Mission: Impossible III, and Speed Racer, released the soundtrack for the film on May 5.
The sound effects were designed by Star Wars veteran Ben Burtt. Whereas the phaser blast noises from the television series were derived from The War of the Worlds (1953), Burtt made his phaser sounds more like his blasters from Star Wars, because Abrams' depiction of phasers were closer to the blasters' bullet-like fire, rather than the steady beams of energy in previous Star Trek films. Burtt reproduced the classic photon torpedo and warp drive sounds: he tapped a long spring against a contact microphone, and combined that with cannon fire. Burtt used a 1960s oscillator to create a musical and emotional hum to the warping and transporting sounds.
In February 2008, Paramount announced they would move Star Trek from its December 25, 2008 release date to May 8, 2009, as the studio felt more people would see the film during summer than winter. The film was practically finished by the end of 2008. Paramount's decision came about after visiting the set and watching dailies, as they realized the film could appeal to a much broader audience. Even though the filmmakers liked the Christmas release date, Damon Lindelof acknowledged it would allow more time to perfect the visual effects. The months-long gap between the completion of the production and release meant Alan Dean Foster was allowed to watch the whole film before writing the novelization, although the novel would contain scenes absent from the final edit. Quinto narrated the audiobook.
A surprise public screening was held on April 6, 2009, at the Alamo Drafthouse theater in Austin, Texas, hosted by writers Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and producer Damon Lindelof. The showing was publicized as a screening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, followed by a ten-minute preview of the new Star Trek film. A few minutes into Khan, the film appeared to melt and Leonard Nimoy appeared on stage with Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof, asking the audience, "wouldn’t you rather see the new movie?" Following the surprise screening in Texas, the first of many premieres across the world was held at the Sydney Opera House on April 7, 2009. For almost two years, the town of Vulcan, Alberta had campaigned to have the film premiere there, but because it had no theater, Paramount arranged instead a lottery where 300 winning residents would be taken to a prerelease screening in Calgary. The film was requested by astronaut Michael R. Barratt, before boarding the International Space Station. Paramount provided NASA with a copy that was uploaded to the International Space Station on May 14, 2009.
Template:See also The first teaser trailer debuted in theaters with Cloverfield on January 18, 2008, which showed the Enterprise under construction. Abrams himself directed the first part of the trailer, where a welder removes his goggles. Professional welders were hired for the teaser. The voices of the 1960s played over the trailer were intended to link the film to the present day; John F. Kennedy in particular was chosen because of similarities with the character of James T. Kirk and because he is seen to have "kicked off" the space race. Orci explained that: "If we do indeed have a Federation, I think Kennedy’s words will be inscribed in there someplace." Star Trek's later trailers would win four awards, including Best in Show, in the tenth annual Golden Trailer Awards.
Paramount faced two obstacles in promoting the film: the unfamiliarity of the "MySpace generation" with the franchise and the relatively weak international performance of the films. Six months before the film's release, Abrams toured Rome; Cologne; Madrid; Paris; London; New York City and Los Angeles with 25 minutes of footage. Abrams noted the large-scale campaign started unusually early, but this was because the release delay allowed him to show more completed scenes than normal. The director preferred promoting his projects quietly, but concurred Paramount needed to remove Star TrekTemplate:'s stigma. Abrams would exaggerate his preference for other shows to Star Trek as a child to the press, with statements like "I'm not a Star Trek fan" and "this movie is not made for Star Trek fans necessarily". Orci compared Abrams' approach to The Next Generation episode "A Matter of Honor", where William Riker is stationed aboard a Klingon vessel. "On that ship when someone talks back to you, you would have to beat them down or you lose the respect of your crew, which is protocol, whereas on a Federation ship that would be a crime. So we have to give JJ a little bit of leeway, when he is traveling the 'galaxy' over there where they don’t know Trek, to say the things that need to be said in order to get people onto our side."
Promotional partners on the film include Nokia, Verizon Wireless, Esurance, Kellogg's, Burger King and Intel Corporation, as well as various companies specializing in home decorating, apparel, jewelry, gift items and "Tiberius," "Pon Farr" and "Red Shirt" fragrances. Playmates Toys, who owned the Star Trek toy license until 2000, earnedTemplate:Clarify the merchandise rights for the new film. The first wave was released in March and April 2009. Playmates hope to continue their toy line into 2010. The first wave consists of 3.75", 6" and 12" action figures, an Enterprise replica, prop toys and play sets. In order to recreate the whole bridge, one would have to buy more 3.75" figures, which come with chairs and consoles to add to the main set consisting of Kirk's chair, the floor, the main console and the viewscreen. Master Replicas, Mattel, Hasbro and Fundex Games will promote the film via playing cards, Monopoly, UNO, Scrabble, Magic 8-Ball, Hot Wheels, Tyco R/C, 20Q, Scene It? and Barbie lines. Some of these are based on previous Star Trek iterations rather than the film. CBS also created a merchandising line based around Star Trek caricatures named "Quogs".
The film's first normal US screenings were at 7 p.m. on May 7, 2009, grossing $4 million on its opening day. By the end of the weekend, Star Trek had opened with $79,204,300, as well as $35,500,000 from other countries. Adjusted and unadjusted for inflation, it beat Star Trek: First Contact for the largest US opening for a Star Trek film. The film made $8.5 million from its IMAX screenings, breaking The Dark KnightTemplate:'s $6.3 million IMAX opening record. The film is the highest-grossing in the United States and Canada from the entire Star Trek film franchise, eclipsing the previous leader, The Voyage Home (which made $109,713,100 unadjusted for inflation), and adjusted for inflation, Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Its opening weekend numbers alone outgross the entire runs of The Undiscovered Country, The Final Frontier, Insurrection and Nemesis. Star Trek ended its United States theatrical run on October 1, 2009, with a box office total of $257,730,019, which currently places it as the seventh highest-grossing film for 2009 behind The Hangover. The film's total international gross is $127,764,536, for a total worldwide gross of $385,494,555, ranking it currently thirteenth behind Sherlock Holmes. While foreign grosses represent only 31% of the total box office receipts, Paramount is happy with the international sales, as Star Trek historically as a movie franchise has never been a big draw overseas.
Template:As of, the film holds a 94% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes with 262 out of 278 critics giving it a positive review with an average rating of 8.1/10, surpassing all other feature films in the franchise. RT's consensus is that "Star Trek reignites a classic franchise with action, humor, a strong story, and brilliant visuals, and will please traditional Trekkies and new fans alike." Among Rotten Tomatoes' "Top Critics", which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 92% (7.8/10), based on a sample of 39 reviews. The film also holds a score of 83 based on 37 reviews Template:As of on the review aggregator website Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from film critics, tying for ninth of The Best-Reviewed Movies in 2009 to date.
Ty Burr of the Boston Globe gave it 4/4 stars, describing it as "ridiculously satisfying", and the "best prequel ever". Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly gave the film an A- commenting that: "But in Star Trek, the clever and infectious reboot of the amazingly enduring sci-fi classic, director J.J. Abrams crafts an origin story that avoids any hint of the origin doldrums." The film also received positive reviews from The New York Times, Slate Magazine and Rolling Stone.
Although only two reviews were categorized by Metacritic as "yellow", or mixed, a recurring critical complaint held that the franchise's tradition of providing morally challenging stories had been neglected or even violated. The AV Club gave the film a "green" B+, but asserted that it was "a reconsideration of what constitutes Star Trek, one that deemphasizes heady concepts and plainly stated humanist virtues in favor of breathless action punctuated by bursts of emotion. It might not even be immediately recognizable to veteran fans." Roger Ebert agreed, lamenting in his 2.5/4 star-review that "the Gene Roddenberry years, when stories might play with questions of science, ideals or philosophy, have been replaced by stories reduced to loud and colorful action." Non-review articles also echoed this concern: Marc Bain asked in Newsweek if the franchise had "lost its moral relevance", and Juliet Lapidos argued in Slate that the new film, with its "standard Hollywood torture scene," failed to live up to the intellectual standard set by the 1992 Next Generation episode "Chain of Command", whose treatment of the issue she found both more sophisticated and pertinent to the ongoing debate over the United States' use of enhanced interrogation techniques.
Awards and nominationsEdit
On December 2, 2009, Star Trek was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Score Soundtrack Album category, but did not win. On November 10, 2009, the People’s Choice Awards nominated the film for 4 awards: Breakout Actress, Breakout Actor, Favorite Franchise, Favorite Movie; it failed to win any award. In October, 2009, Star Trek won the Hollywood Award for Best Movie. That same month, it also won 6 Scream Awards for Ultimate Scream, Best Science Fiction Movie, Best Director, Best Science Fiction Actor, Best Cameo, and Best Fight Scene. On June 15, 2009, the film was nominated for 5 Teen Choice Awards, but did not win any of them. It won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture. The film also received several peer-reviewed guild awards for Asst. Location Manager of the year and Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Big Budget Feature. On December 14, 2009, the Broadcast Film Critics Association – Critics Choice Awards nominated it for Best Action Movie, Best Acting Ensemble, Best Makeup, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound, but did not win any of them. On December 9, 2009, the film was also named one of the top 10 films of the year by the National Board of Review. In addition it has appeared on several local film critics top 10 lists, including St. Louis, Las Vegas, Boston and Washington DC.
In 2010, Star Trek was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects, and winning the franchise's first Oscar for Best Makeup. At the same ceremony, Star Trek composer Michael Giacchino won the Academy Award for Best Original Score for Pixar's Up. The film was also nominated for three Empire Awards, and it won in the best sci-fi/fantasy category.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 17, 2009 in North America, November 16 in the UK and October 26 in Australia and New Zealand. In Sweden and Germany, it was released on November 4. First week sales stand at 5.7 million DVD's along with 1.1 million Blu-ray Discs giving Paramount Pictures their third chart topping release in five weeks following Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
The story of the film is completed by two comics books by IDW Publishing. The first one, titled Star Trek: Countdown, takes place in the Prime Star Trek universe, after the events of Nemesis and before the back story of Star Trek Online. The second one, Star Trek: Nero, covers the gap between the destruction of the USS Kelvin and the reappearance of the Narada in the new timeline.
The film's major cast members have signed on for two sequels. Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof began writing the script for a sequel in March 2009. J. J. Abrams and Bryan Burk will produce, although Abrams has not signed to direct. When speaking on the alternate reality set up in Star Trek, Abrams commented that it would be "ridiculous to not be open" to ideas like resurrecting William Shatner's James T. Kirk or recasting Khan Noonien Singh. "The idea, now that we are in an independent timeline, allows us to use any of the ingredients from the past — or come up with brand-new ones — to make potential stories," he said. Orci and Kurtzman explained the dilemma for the sequel was whether to pit the crew against another villain, or to have an "exploration sci-fi plot where the unknown and nature itself is somehow an adversary." On recasting Khan, Orci questioned "why take the chance?" Paramount is planning to release the sequel on June 29, 2012.
In an interview with the BBC, Abrams confirmed that no script for a sequel yet exists as of March 5, 2010. He also acknowledged that both cast and director have yet to be confirmed.
Release Dates for Untitled Star Trek SequelEdit
- June 29, 2012 (US)
- July 22, 2012 (UK)
- September 15, 2012 (Australia)
- September 22, 2012 (New Zealand)
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