Film (2009). Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment present a Bad Robot/MavroCine Pictures production. Directed by J J Abrams. Written by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman, based on the television series created by Gene Roddenberry. Cast includes Eric Bana, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Chris Hemsworth, Leonard Nimoy, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban and Anton Yelchin. 127 minutes. Colour.
In the year 2387 the elderly Ambassador Spock fails in a suicide mission to save the Romulan homeworld from a supernova using "red matter" Black-Hole technology, instead creating a Wormhole through which he falls back in time to 2258 and a Romulan mining ship to 2233. There the vengeful Romulan commander Nero (Bana) destroys the starship briefly commanded by Kirk's father (Hemsworth), who sacrifices himself after naming his newborn son James Tiberius. Nero then puzzlingly waits 25 years (in a Vulcan Prison, but this was cut) for Spock, whom he blames for the destruction of Romulus, to pop out of the wormhole, and maroons him on an ice planet to watch helpless as Nero destroys Vulcan in revenge using Spock's own red matter. Meanwhile the young Kirk, on his first mission out of Starfleet on the newly commissioned Enterprise under Captain Pike (Greenwood), clashes with First Officer Spock (Quinto) and improbably winds up in the same ice cave; they encounter Montgomery Scott (Pegg), who enables the trio to beam back on board the Enterprise. Kirk takes command, and saves Earth from Nero with the help of the younger Spock and his canonical crew.
After the poorly received Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) and the cancellation of the last surviving television series Star Trek: Enterprise (2001-2005), Paramount set out to rejuvenate the franchise with a new, younger cast playing the characters from the original series at the start of their career. This first instalment draws on existing canonical background tradition about Kirk's father and the principals' training days with Starfleet, with particular inspiration from Diane Carey's novel Best Destiny (1992) and William Shatner and Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens' Collision Course (2007) – but deliberately smashes the clockwork by sending Nero and Spock back in time, where the former not only becomes the agent of Kirk Senior's premature martyrdom but destroys the planet Vulcan, making the moment of Kirk's birth a Jonbar Point from which the continuity of all previous series is wiped out and an unknown alternate future substituted. The script's unsettlingly casual recourse to double genocide mirrors its untroubled obliteration of forty years of media sf's most sustained and elaborate Future History – though the script was more careful than the theatrical cut to assert that both versions survive in a Multiverse of continuities – and the plotting is extraordinarily clumsy, even allowing for the script's attempt (also cut) to justify its wanton coincidences as the attempt of the divergent universe to realign itself with its parent. But the production values are impressive, the Star Trek headquarters in San Francisco (see California) are properly under constant threat here and in the sequels to come, and the space action sequences are the strongest yet seen in the series, as indeed they should be. The cast address the somewhat thankless brief of impersonating imaginary younger versions of the original Enterprise crew with predictably mixed success, though Urban (as James McCoy) and Quinto stand out. A climactic cameo was written, but in the event unfilmed, for Shatner as the older Kirk (in a recording). It proved the highest-grossing film of the franchise, even after adjustment for inflation; nevertheless, two years of negotiative dither followed before a sequel was finally confirmed. This was Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). [NL]
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