Star Trek

I went to see the new Star Trek movie yesterday afternoon.

It was rollicking good fun with lots of foreshadowing insider jokes and a few surprises.

Since this is a reimagining of Star Trek for the 21st century they did a few things that I found… well… strange.

I am going to leave the combox open… but please note that there may be SPOLIERS.

So… I will make this clear. 

THERE MAY BE SPOILERS in the comments.

Again…, if you don’t want to have the movie’s surprises SPOILED for you, then DON’T READ THE COMMENTS.

Clear enough?

First piece of advice for the movie…. don’t sit too close.  I recommend that you watch this one farther back in the theatre.

Be a good Catholic… come early and get a seat in back.

Finally… yes, we all know that Star Trek started off with an atheistic foundation.  Ho hum… blah blah… spare us.  WE KNOW.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Gavin says:

    My thoughts:


    Best re-imagining: Chekov (Wictor wictor!)

    Worst re-imagining: Scotty

    Overall a great movie, but a so-so Star Trek.

    Star Trek IS built on an atheistic ideal. In many ways, it prefigures the lunatic ravings of today’s “new atheists”, especially TNG. MIND YOU, I’m not saying a good Christian shouldn’t watch it. But we should be aware of its subtext and the errors it’s built on. Just like with the bad physics that always pops up in the franchise…

  2. canon1753 says:

    As good a reboot, with the justification for it figured out right off, as you will see. I have mixed feelings about the movie. It was excellent, certainly a go to the movies and not wait until DVD release.

    The mixed feelings are about the differences in tone and style from the original Trek. I don’t think Abrams’ take will launch sequels and have the sociological impact of the original. It is definitively not IMHO a child of the 60’s with relevance to the general culture that the original had.

    That being said, I think it is a Star Trek for 2009. It is entertainment. It is fun and sad and funny and dark. It isn’t quite as starry eyed optimistic as the original. I think the relevance of Trek 09 will be that it is entertainment with new takes on favorite characters. Those who know not Star Trek will find it accessible and enjoyable. Those who know Trek will like it too, I suspect. Those who are invested in the original might not find it as enjoyable as the other two groups.

    I think a nonpolitical Star Trek is a good thing. I have decided it is worth seeing again, and I will enjoy it a second time too.

  3. Tomas says:

    “Be a good Catholic… come early and get a seat in back.”

    LOL Father – OK if I sit in the choir loft? [Not many cinemas with balconies any more! I used to love sitting in the balcony.]

  4. RJSciurus says:

    Are there ushers in back to prevent us from leaving after the climax or the closing song/credits?

  5. LCB says:

    One TNG episode provided an apologetic argument that I use with great effect.

    Q talked about God, and how he was with God when God created the Universe. And of course God has a sense of humor– just look at the duck billed platypus.

  6. Aaron says:

    I thought it was great. (I wrote a review on my blog already, so I won’t repeat it all here; click my name to see it.) Sure, it wasn’t filled with deep thoughts, but when Trek tries to send a message with its movies, we get things like “save the whales” or “God is really a cranky alien”, so that might be just as well.

    Destroying Vulcan was actually a good move, because as soon as that happened, I thought I had the rest of the movie figured out: they’d get pulled back through the black hole into the past with the enemy ship and destroy it there, pressing the Reset Button and bringing back Vulcan and Jim’s Dad and so on. It was a nice surprise that they didn’t. There were plot holes a-plenty, but there always are with Trek’s time-travel stories, so I guess I’m used to them.

    Strangest thing was the romance between Spock and Uhura. It served no purpose, so it felt shoehorned in so the movie could have a romance. Or to build buzz by getting people fighting over it in the forums, or to fill out Uhura’s part so they wouldn’t get blasted by making her a sexy receptionist again.

  7. TerryC says:

    Silly movie. I hearken back to Roddenberry, who when he was reviewing scripts would evaluate them by stripping out the scifi concepts and see if the situation made sense in the real world.

    So imagine that due to a war the U.S. Navy suddenly decided to early graduate all of the midshipmen in the Academy and assign them to ships. One of these middies is then selected by the ship’s captain as the executive officer, over other experienced officers and middies who are senior to him. At the end of the battle the Navy then gives permanent command of the their flagship to this middie, over other experienced officers, at least one who is a commander. Would that make sense? If so the plot is reasonable. If not go to another writer.

  8. I saw the movie in IMAX last night. As a dyed in the wool trekkie I’m still not sure what to think. I have mixed feelings about alternate history Star Trek. They blew up Vulcan, which changes everything, that used to be the science hub of the federation. I’m not sure I like the future Romulans, though.

    It was a good movie. They jumped out of a spaceship into the atmosphere, how cool is that? There were a lot of little things in the movie for the benefit of hardcore fans like me, but it was also a good movie for the general viewing public. I may even go watch it again.

    Again, as a hardcore fan, I think I still must reflect on the events of the movie. I did like the film, but I’m just not sure if I approve of the plotline yet.

  9. Jerry says:

    But I understand (and see from the commercials) that it really not for kids. Correct?

  10. JaneC says:

    My husband and I are definitely Trek fans, and saw the movie Thursday night. We had pretty much the same reaction as James above. Very entertaining film, good adventure story, but…no Vulcan? And there are two Spocks? There is an Orion girl at the Academy?

    Star Trek has never been a terribly consistent universe, but this definitely requires some reflection. If J.J. Abrams does a television series continuing from this film, I look forward to the elucidation it would provide.

    Jerry–no, I wouldn’t take kids to see it. It’s violent, and some women are shown in just their skivvies. It’s rated PG-13 for good reason.

  11. All in all worth the money and time, but I am growing tired of the unneeded bedroom scenes in movies such as this (Ironman had one too). The Uhura-Spock thing was odd. Now I want togo back and see how much was changed from the original trailers. And I liked the minor characters. McCoy looks so much like a younger McCoy.

  12. Ryan says:

    If this movie was called “Sci-Fi Adventure” and in the credits said it was VERY LOOSELY based on Star Trek, then I might have been ok with it. However, it was not called that. They called it Star Trek. Calling a movie that has ramifications and a lot of baggage. There are five series and 10 movies that all follow a very similar, if sometimes slightly skewed canon. This movie said to heck with that, and did whatever it wanted. Vulcan destroyed, Kirk a bad boy in his youth, Spock and Uhura?!?! The ship was ugly, the screen had that annoying glare every other second, the bridge looked like the Apple Store and engineering looked like a combination of a brewery and a water treatment plant.

    I’m sorry, but this is not Star Trek, and to call it that, and much more call it a PREQUEL is ridiculous. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with any of the series or movies and if this timeline was followed, none of the other movies or series would exist because, lol, THEY HAVE VULCAN IN THEM, just to point out a slight flaw.

    Horrible movie and TRUE Star Trek fans should be ashamed that JJ Abrams trampled on everything they hold, or by the looks of “reviews” HELD, dear about Star Trek.

  13. Rolltide says:

    Ok… this is a minor quibble, and if I missed something, let me know, but I found it amusing…

    So, bad-boy rebellious teen Kirk steals a convertible and while fleeing the cops, drives it off a cliff into a canyon. You know, that giant canyon, in IOWA?!?! HUH?!

  14. Fiona says:

    Saw the movie this afternoon and, as a hardcore original series fan, I’m still not too sure what to think. After all the hype leading up to it I found it a bit of a letdown, even from a general non-Trek point of view. All plotlines and plot holes aside, I did not find Chris Pine convincing as Kirk, but I was impressed with Zachary Quinto’s Spock. Have to agree that the Spock/Uhura thing was a bit weird and unconvincing.

    Never mind destroying Vulcan! Was it really necessary to kill off Spock’s mother?

    And yes, Father Z is right, DON’T sit too close to the screen. Numerous sections of the movie are fastpaced and you find yourself having to refocus every few seconds. Not to mention feeling a little woozy.

  15. I’m glad you brought up the subject of Star Trek.

    I was a closet Trekkie all my life and was excited to see a new movie come out until….go ahead and call me a prude…they advertised a sex scene.

    I lost all desire to see it right then and there.

    I’ll abstain from seeing the movie. Many generations of Catholics and other christians have sacrificed so much more for the faith.

    These casual sex scenes in ordinary movie and TV programming is what led, in part, to the decline of morality in society.

    Given the seriousness of the anti-life and anti-family agenda being advanced – in particular by Hollywood, I’m done with casual acceptance of these things. It’s all part of the grand plan to make immorality “ok” and acceptable.

    We have to be counter-cultural for the common good, and it will sometimes hurt very much.

    As much as I want to see the movie, I’ll pass.

    Catholics and christians will have little or no impact in the immediate future by abstaining. But, it is not for popularity or polls that it is done, but for christian principles. In time, and with prayer and grace, it will eventually yield good fruit.

  16. James says:


    Ok… this is a minor quibble, and if I missed something, let me know, but I found it amusing…

    So, bad-boy rebellious teen Kirk steals a convertible and while fleeing the cops, drives it off a cliff into a canyon. You know, that giant canyon, in IOWA? HUH?!
    Comment by Rolltide — 9 May 2009 @ 11:49 am


    I am pretty sure it wasn’t a canyon, but a quarry. Which is much more plausible in Iowa.


  17. Alice says:

    I haven’t seen the movie and probably won’t get to until it comes out on DVD since my husband is thinking about going with a good friend of his. As he told me, “I love you, but I like him better.” ;)

    Vulcan destroyed and Spock’s mother dead???? I wonder how they’re going to make THAT work with the known canon!

  18. Timothy says:

    Ha. You Treksters make me laugh. The “canon.” LOL. It’s a tv show/movie. It’s not sacred scripture. There’s no “canon” in regards to Star Trek.

  19. Supertradmom says:

    Two things. I was raised in Iowa and no quarry ever looked like the one in the trailer. Also, there are more trees and streams in Iowa, but in the suspension of disbelief (?), one can imagine a different Iowan terrain in years to come.

    Secondly, as a mom I need advice as to the sex scene. Does this scene preclude teens and young adults from seeing the movie? Just wondering.

  20. canon1753 says:

    The “canon” in Star Trek is more the consistency with what was presented in the series and movies. The idea with this movie is that [SPOILER ALERT] someone came from the future and created an alternate timeline than the series and movies as presented. There are major “canonical” issues with Trek 09, compared to the series as presented. It does allow Abrams to have “his own” Star Trek universe to play in. …Unless the next movie is about fixing the alternate time line… which if this was Roddenberry Trek it would be but I am not sure about Abrams wanting to do that, as time travel ended up being the Trek equivalent of Star Wars’ phrase “I have a bad feeling about this…” as a standard mcguffin to move the plot along.

  21. cheyan says:


    Actually, the use of “canon” to describe authorized parts of a fictional setting was first done by Sherlock Holmes fans, I think; the books actually by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are the “canonical” ones, in this example.

    It’s pretty commonly used on the internet, for all kinds of fictional works, where fan interpretations of things that are unclear or unstated need to be marked as interpretations, not as accounts of something actually seen on screen or in text, and where it’s important to separate something done by a fan or alternate author from something done by the original author. :)

  22. Alice says:


    I believe that the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Conan Doyle are also known as “conanical” :)

  23. Warren says:

    1. A bad Trek movie is like a bad day fishing – which is still a whole lot better than a day spent not fishing.
    2. It’s Star Trek – it’s someone’s take on the future, so… there may be no trees left in Iowa, we’ve probably survived a Third World War. Who knows, maybe hugh pits formed when aquifers dried up and the ground above sank. It’s merely an opportunity to suspend disbelief and enjoy the cool FX.
    3. Time is malleable. How many times have we now seen those nasty chronometric particles misused.
    4. We didn’t have to wait long for the loose morality envisioned in earlier Trek shows to appear in our own time. The sexual-social commentary of Trek has always been a little skewed. A few hat tips here and there, but otherwise the HIV/AIDS crisis has taught Trek (and much of contemporary society) very little.

  24. tzard says:

    My wife and I went out on a date nite to see it. We both found it quite fun. There were many references to the older series/movies and they were well done. Quirkiness adds to it’s charm more than strict bland historical progression. I found Bones and Scotty, while obviously younger – had some of the quirks of the old but also had some individual quirks which can be easily grown out of or away from. Same thing with the Uhura/Spock thing. Not out of the question – people change, different circumstances bring people together at different times.

    (I think in the end we got a better Spock).

    Still, I thought it was not terribly deep and well explained as it could have been. But It still seemed consistent to me. For instance, the making of Kirk first officer – at first I thought “Whah?”, but then I remembered the captain knew about Kirk’s past and his potential for greatness. And that was a time for greatness.

    I wonder how people unfamiliar with ST would think of it. It’s hard to tell because some in the theatre noticed the emotions of the trek fans and wondered what they were missing.

    Bottom line, I enjoyed it tremendously. Look forward to the sequel.

  25. Karl says:

    I loved it. The characters were an exercise in the importance of character. Kirk was Kirkish, eve though in an alternate universe. Scotty was Scotty, but more so.

    I love that they blew up Vulcan. The later Star Trek series were so conscious of the so-called canon that they were priggish and unwatchable. The Next Generation was a utopia where the only people with any sort of religious belief were the primitive Klingons. Ick. The mythology needed to be exploded.

    I need to watch again.

  26. Sandra in Severn says:

    “Q talked about God, and how he was with God when God created the Universe. And of course God has a sense of humor—just look at the duck billed platypus.” Comment by LCB

    My favorite character was “Q” (as played by John de Lancie), not sure exactly “who” he was, the norse god “Lokki” comes to mind the most. Other times, I thought he was the most likely candidate for the same angel that asked Sari (Sarah) “why do you laugh?”

  27. Timothy says:

    Apparently the magisterium (producers) has determined that the current movie is indeed “canonical.” Don’t be a Trek Heretic. ;-)

  28. Timbot says:

    Father and everyone,

    As someone who was once a Star Trek fan, and now cannot stand its implicit and explicit post-atheist dialectical materialism, shoddy writing, and bizzarre economics I really enjoyed the following essays written by a Sci-fi fan

    [Didn’t I say “spare us”? I meant it.]

  29. Kavi says:

    @ Timothy – unfortunately, not all earthly institutions follow ecclesiastical delineations in this matter, leading them to contradict themselves with every new quasi-canonical release.

    On the bright side, we get interesting fan arguments and workarounds as a result :D

  30. The Masked Chicken says:

    I hate to be so doleful, but this movie makes me sad. In music, especially in jazz, when a band leader dies, sometimes another group of people or even just the members of the same band will take on the name of the original group, Artie Shaw (1910 -2004) had bands on and off for many years. Although he is dead, there is still an Artie Shaw Orchestra. These sorts of bands are called, “ghost bands”. This is what I feel Abrams has done with this film. He has made a ghost Star Trek – it plays the same songs, but doesn’t quite have the same sound.

    The problem is that Star Trek did not need to be rebooted. It needed better writing. It needed someone to care. It needed real genius, such as Nicholas Myer had in Star Trek II and IV. It needed someone who could write with depth and originality within the confines of the original universe that was created. The best art is produced when it is constrained. Mozart had the sonata form to work with. He did not abandon it – he brought it to perfection. There is a line from the old black and white Outer Limits episode, The Sixth Finger, in which an artificially highly evolved man (Gwyllm, played by David McCallum) makes the comment:

    (playing classical music) Amazing, isn’t it, the things that endure the ravages of time and taste? This simple prelude, for instance. Bach will quite probably outlive us all… Man produces little that is lasting–truly lasting. It’s understandable. Fear, conformity, immorality; these are heavy burdens. Great drainers of creative energy. And when we are drained of creative energy we do not create. We procreate; we do not create.

    That is what Abrams had done. He has done something worse than making Sherlock Holmes into a Scotsman, which, I think is how people see this film – a near miss, an exciting new, “close enough” change. Abrams has re-made the original in his own imagining and relegated the original universe to non-existence. All the wink, wink moments in the world to placate the fans will not restore what has been lost (no pun intended). The movie will make lots of money, but it will have destroyed or weaken a cultural heritage in the process.

    Sadly, many people have lost reverence and loyalty to the past, especially the youth of today. Youth is always pushing boundaries, but rarely in history has there been so little care and concern about what actually worked in the past – to hold onto and learn from that tradition. Study after study is showing that the young, today, have great intelligence, but no wisdom, partially because they only consider the present moment. I can see how Abrams got away with doing this. It is not that Star Trek cannot be presented to a new generation, but Roddenberry already faced that and gave us captain Picard. He did not re-write Captain Kirk. I cannot help but think that Roddenbery would be upset with Abrams, Abrams understands how to preserve suspense. He does not understand how to preserve culture.

    I know the movie is getting good reviews and I suspect people, here, will tell me to lighten up, that’s is only a movie, but I disagree. It is a cultural reference, a touchstone. Just as the original Star Trek could only have been written during that period of history, this Star Trek could only be written during this. I am concerned that a culture that does not value its history, that so easily dismisses it, will soon begin to start dismissing the older people, as well.

    This movie is not a new exciting reboot. It is a symptom of a fatigue of imagination that cannot find ways to aid the past, but must rewrite it.

    While the movie, itself, may be entertaining, cavalierly casting away so much tv and cinema history, in this case, is not a sign of genius, it is a sign of selfishness and taking the easy way out. Let Abrams write his own original science fiction movie. When he is as good at universe creating as the original Star Trek, then it might be time for him to undertake to write a Star Trek film.

    Oh, well, someone has to speak for the other side in the midst of all of the enthusiasm generated by the movie.

  31. Lemme toss this out.

    Was this a super-exaltation of youth?

  32. Andy Lucy says:

    I see this as a substantive re-imagining of the Trek universe… much as Ronald Moore and David Eick reimagined the Battlestar Galactica universe. There was the same riotous indignation from the hard-core fans of the original… but the fact remains, they made a VERY good television show out of it. If one views the new Trek through this lens, it was a pretty decent movie.

  33. Scott W. says:

    The Masked Chicken is my hero of the day.

  34. Aaron says:

    Fr. Z.,

    I don’t necessarily think so. The movie didn’t take the common angle of, “The bumbling adults have failed completely; time for the kids to step in and fix everything.” The “kids” were only on the bridge because the whole regular fleet was too far away to help. (A time-honored, much-used plot point in Trek, by the way, so the serious fans should appreciate that.) I didn’t see youth being the deciding factor in anything, and in fact they wouldn’t have won without Old Spock giving Kirk some guidance.

    Looking forward to hearing what you found strange for a movie made in this day and age.

  35. The Masked Chicken says:

    No one every said the new Star Trek film isn’t an entertaining movie, but it is not the same as the Battlestar Galatica re-imaging. The original 1970’s BSG (the same year that Wonder Woman with Linda Carter was on the air – the so-called, “me” generation) was a two season, somewhat pretentious hookey shoot-em-up in space. I know, I watched part of it when I was young. It was entertaining, but hardly culturally significant. It was space opera, purely and simply. Moore’s new BSG shares, at most, some of the names of the characters, but few of the relationships. It could have existed in its own right, even if the original BSG had never been on tv. It owes little to the show, except the name and a few relationships. His is, to all intents and purposes, a new show, not a reboot. The universe is not some alternate universe. Clearly, he doesn’t have to worry about history or even care. He could have re-written Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, from the 1950’s and had the same cultural effect.

    Star Trek is different. It was a truly original series. You had to be there to understand this. The moon landing had not yet happened when the last episode was originally broadcast. [Yah… true….! ] Lasers were almost unknown and mysterious – now, we have them in CD players. Color tv just had become regularly used. Here was this amazing show that talked intelligently about science and philosophy. This was eye-opening to an entire generation. It single-handedly did what the educational institutions could not do – cause a generation of young men (and a few women) to become really interested in science and technology at a time the country really needed it. Today, half of all graduate students in U. S. colleges in the sciences are foreigner and the prediction is for a massive loss of scientists when my generation retires.

    Also, the series changed many things about our culture. Do you wonder why floppy discs were the size they were? The original inventor borrowed the computer disc design he saw on Star Trek. Flip phones, remote sensors (our primitive version of tricorders), the familiarity of the general public with terms like space warp, antimatter, transporters – many, many things in our culture have been influence by the original Star Trek series. It was not a quick and dirty series to play off of the Star Wars phenomenon, as the original BSG was. The original Star Trek was nominated for emmy awards for best dramatic series its first two years.

    Lorene Greene will never be associated with Battlestar Galactica, but, rather, Bonanza – another cultural milestone. In other words, the original BGS is a footnote in tv history that was used as a basis for an entirely new series. The new Star Trek film takes an established cultural legend and casts it aside in favor of a single directors hubristic notion of what he thinks it should be like, even before the original characters are dead.

    I maintain that this film will have very little cultural impact except to blunt the impact of the original series. It will make tons of money, [Well… it was…. fun… is that okay?] but it owes its very existence to people who were willing to try and fail back in 1966. The original Star Trek has always been a fighter. It has come back from more near-death situations than Wylie Coyote. It is sad to see the entire original history dismissed in a single instant. When Stargate SG1 did their time travel reboot, they brought things back, pretty much, intact. Imagine what the fans would have done had they not. It was a series that still had life in it and to discard its history would have been a crime against the creative process.

    Likewise, the original Star Trek universe was not dead. This new movie is being spun that way, [Really?] but that is revisionist history by people trying to justify what they have done. I repeat, this movie can get away with what it does because of people’s short attention span, these days.

    Old man Scotty (the original) in TNG episode entitled, Relics, when the computer asks him which Enterprise deck it wants him to re-create will have none of the Enterprise A, B or that nonsense. He wants the original from which to make his toast. He raises his glass and says to the memory of his old commrades, ” Here’s to you, lads…” Abrams has taken away not only the Enterprise A,B, C, and D, but all memory of the original. He has made Scotty’s toast void and useless.

    That is what I mean by casting off the old.

    No more of these posts, for me. This is getting too depressing. [Yah… but… it was fun… wasn’t it?]

  36. Aloysius says:

    There were so many awesome throw-backs to the original series… and in my opinion, that included the Spock/Uhura paring… I was immediately reminded of this scene: …I always thought there was a subtle thing going on there, it was like Uhura always flirted with Spock and he refused to respond to it to control emotions; the whole thing makes a lot more sense if there was a previous romance and Spock had ended it because of his whole emotional control deal… Uhura wasn’t bitter or anything, but always tried to test the bounds as it were. I think a lot of TOS can be re-interpreted in the understanding of a previous Spock/Uhura romance.

    now, the timeline thing: they deliberately has Uhura use the word “alternate reality”… when they discussed the altered timeline, so I believe they were going for a way to consider this simply an alternate reality that branched off in a parallel timeline. Trek has messed with alternate realities before, but this makes sense… what they’re saying is that the original timeline still “exists” somehow, if it didn’t then Spock from the future wouldn’t exist anymore, and then he wouldn’t have ever caused the time travel, which means he would’ve existed, which means he would’ve caused the time travel and… well, you’re in a bit of a temporal paradox right? it seems what they’re saying is that the black-hole time travel caused an alternate timeline which runs parallel to the previous timeline, so both universes exist as alternate realities. this would then be a different kind of time travel than time-warp which keeps you in the same reality.

  37. Fr. Angel says:

    Just a little trivia for Galactica fans.

    Ronald Moore’s mom and dad are my parishioners. When Ron Moore Sr. was a Marine in the Vietnam conflict, he served Mass for the Servant of God, Fr. Vince Capodanno. The Moores are a very nice family.

  38. Timbot says:

    Thank you for deleting my post Father, I failed to take notice of your initial caveat when first I read your entry.

    Again, apologies for my oversight and carelessness.

  39. Claire says:

    Whatever happened to the Temporal Prime Directive? Surely Spock Prime (as Nimoy’s Spock was called in the credits) would have known about it…

    I wouldn’t say it was a super-exaltation of youth; it seemed more like they were just showing us that from their youth, the crew of the Enterprise were the best and the brightest, already accustomed to doing the impossible from her maiden voyage.

  40. Jacob says:

    I’ve read three reviews so far aside from Father’s here.

    1. Wil Wheaton, Wesley from TNG, loved it.

    2. Roger Ebert mostly panned it, saying it was an action flick that went boldly where all the other Trek movies have gone already, descending from science fiction to space opera.

    3. Pajamas Media said about the same thing as Ebert, adding the Kirk actor was a non-entity and that the flick a product of TV made by TV writers and directors that happens to be on the big screen.

    I have yet to see it myself beyond the TV spots, but I have no expectations at this point beyond it being just an early summer action flick.

  41. Frank says:

    When “Baby Doll” came out in 1956, it was condemned from the pulpits and Catholics were forbidden from seeing it. I was going to see the new Star Trek until I saw the trailer, which had some women stripping off. See enough of that against my will without paying for the privilege – guess I land in the “prude” faction too! For those trying to make a decision, Kids In Mind mentions the following sequences:

    [Edited out by Fr Z. Don’t do that again.]

  42. TNCath says:

    My reaction to the movie reminded me of Thomas Moore’s poem “Oft’ in the stilly night / ‘Ere slumber’s chain has bound me, / Sad memory brings the light / Of other days around me.”

    Sorry, but I just don’t like remakes of any kind. I guess you can call me a Star Trek Ultra-Traditionalist, maybe even a classic television reactionary. I believe classics should remain classics. The secret to the original series was the chemistry among the original cast members and the way Roddenberry depicted the future from a 1960’s perspective. While I enjoyed the movies with the original cast, I just couldn’t stomach the “Next Generations” movies and series. It made me sad to watch them. Under protest, I went to to this latest movie, and, even though it contained the original characters, it wasn’t the same without the original cast. It was like hearing “White Christmas” being sung by someone other than Bing Crosby, which there ought to be a law against, by the way.

  43. Phillip says:

    Just a thought, only tangential to the post…

    I wonder if there is (and if so, how) a connection between the culture of contraception we live in and the “sterility” of the film industry that so rarely makes anything new but seems only able to remake or re-imagine the work of others.

    I haven’t seen the movie yet but plan to.

  44. Sarah says:

    It was a fun ride for sure, and if I didn’t know anything about Trek I wouldn’t think too much of it. I really liked some things, but I’m not sure how I feel about taking iconic characters and using them to tell a different story. It seems like cheating or something. I’ll have to see it again and think about it some more.

  45. It is re-imaginging… in our time and culture.

    But re-imagining also has an agenda.

    But it was also fun.

  46. Maureen says:

    Part of the reason we spend so much time reimagining things, in this culture, is because so much of our natural shared culture has been rejected. So many poor souls don’t have church on Sunday, that we shouldn’t grudge them X-Files (or original Star Trek) on Friday night in the bad timeslot. :)

    I was pretty negative about the car scene being set in California, as it was originally leaked. (Iowans freaked and Kirk’s hometown was changed back.) So if they have to put a canyon in Riverside, Iowa, that’s okay with me!

    I went in with low expectations, and was therefore pleasantly surprised by how much the movie did well. I had no expectations of the Abrams crew worrying about military protocol or probability, and therefore was also not disappointed. :)

    (Although the first officer thing was pretty wacky even for fanfic, and as cinematic fanfic it was wackier. I guess they didn’t want to kill everybody off or debilitate everybody who was inside the chain of command, considering that would have meant killing off the whole bridge crew and everybody else down to the lowliest midshipman except Kirk. Of course, they could have avoided all that by not painting themselves into that dramatic corner, but….)

  47. Maureen says:

    Anyway, it was fun. I spent most of the evening smiling, laughing, shaking my head in amusement, and so forth. I fully intend to ignore or retcon the stupid bits, although I’m sure that better heads than mine have already set about that task.

    The opening sequence was good strong stuff. Likewise, many of the visuals were unashamedly in the grand style. I would like to see Abrams do his own stuff in this vein.

  48. Had an absolute blast! I plan to go again…

  49. Johnny Domer says:

    As somebody who has maybe seen one full Star Trek episode, I thought it was a really fun summer action movie. I left the theater thoroughly satisfied. It’s not The Godfather or anything, but it was worth the 8 bucks.

    I kinda feel bad though, because all the hardcore trekkies just seem really conflicted by the whole thing. Lighten up, guys! It was fun! Admit it, you had a good time! So it didn’t follow canon…it’s FICTION!

    I also had a thought that made me chuckle: what if, instead of the future version of Spock/Nemoy, they brought back the future version of Captain Kirk, played by (you guessed it) William Shatner in all of his current sleazy/weird/madcap/Priceline Negotiator-esque glory? It probably would have lessened the quality of the movie, but gosh it would have been hilarious.

  50. Antonius says:

    I was disappointed and entertained at the same time.

    Maybe, I am with the old guard here, but something didn’t feel right about the movie. And I think I am going to have trouble watching the old Trek shows and movies because now the timeline is altered and I am like hey that doesn’t happen now. Like what is supposed to happen with all of the Vulcan scenes in Star Trek I, III, and IV, the chronology is so jacked right now, though I guess that is the purpose so nerds like me won’t complain or at least try not to. Maybe they will try to repair it, who knows. But one thing was missing though, and that was William Shatner, they could have included him in there, maybe just a profile picture on the Romulan computer that is all, just to connect it all together, after all they threw all the other old trek lines and stuff in there, they could have just do one more.

    Some things didn’t quite make sense (well I guess it shouldn’t, since it is Trek) to me like the whole Uhura-Spock thing. Also, I don’t know what the point of showing Kirk as a boy was. Also, if the Romulan star was actually going to supernova or at least predicted too, wouldn’t the Romulans been smart enough to relocate or did they put all their faith in the half-vulcan Spock to save them, sounds very un-Romulan personally. Also, not too mention, are you telling me that there aren’t colonies of Romulans and Vulcans spread across the cosmos? That there entire populations were concentrated on those two worlds. Anyhow, I am interested what they do next, make more films or try another series, we shall see

  51. Matt says:

    I went to see this with my boys. This movie was a drastic departure from ALL of the previous Trek.

    I see this as a substantive re-imagining of the Trek universe… much as Ronald Moore and David Eick reimagined the Battlestar Galactica universe.

    This is NOT as good of a remake as Moore did with BG. I actually got teary eyed at the end of BG. It was so imaginative, creative, original, well thought out. This Trek movie is entertaining, but that it is. The “sex” scenes are not really “sex” scenes. Kirk and some Orion girl in their underwear, Ohura too. Nothing any small child has not seen at home before. I can think of some MUCH more racy scenes on TV (T’Pol and 7 of 9 come to mind)

    The movie started out good. Sort of like the way Enterprise started. I could see Kirk racing off in a 250 year old car for the fun of the open road. The rest of the movie just did not feel right. The did tie captain Pike into the movie quite creatively. He was in a wheelchair at the end of the movie after all.

    The sub for Sarek was not as good. The original Sarek just eluded “Vulcanism” by his presence. The best actor in the Movie was the new Spock. He played the part very well.

    Would I want to see more of this type of Trek. No. I would like to see a Trek movie with the Voyager crew. TNG cast is getting to old to make another movie, they are good for cameos only now (sad). DS9 crew “may” be getting there as well. This leaves Voyager and Enterprise. Voyager crew I would like to see in a movie. The only two actors I liked from Enterprise were T’Pol and and Comander Tucker.

    If you have not see the movie, it is a fun night out. If you are a true Trekkie, you will leave with mixed emotions.

    They did not blow up Vulcan they imploded it using a singularity (micro black hole).

  52. Shelly Nelson says:

    This movie creates an alternate timeline. The original still exists. In TOS we get to see an alternate universe that is almost the same, but different in slight but very important ways. The same applies here, we see things how they would be if Nero comes through the black whole and kills Kirk’s father.

    Buy the time Spock tries to stop the supernova in the original timeline, the old Kirk, played by William Shatner is long dead (like maybe 100 years or so, it’s too late and I’m too tired to do the math. Anyways, Vulcans live a very, very, long time compared to humans, that is why Spock is still alive 150 years in the future). That is why we can’t have him show up in this alternate timeline.

    The reason they showed Kirk as a boy was to show that he was a juvenile delinquent, not the same as the Kirk in the other timeline who is raised by his father. Because of this, we get an edgier Kirk who is even more willing to break the rules and let his emotions rule his actions. There are many other subtle yet significant changes, you change one thing in time and everything changes (like the relationship between Uhura and Spock, for instance.) And yes, there are colonies of Romulans and Vulcans spread across the galaxy, apparently about 10,000 Vulcans were off-world at the time of their planet’s demise. We don’t know how many Romulans survived the supernova.

    If old-fogey Star Trek fans like myself cannot approach the new Star Trek universe that has been created in this new movie with an open mind, then the franchise is once again doomed to failure and we will be left with nothing. Again. I very much enjoyed having the last doomed show to watch (Enterprise). It was better than nothing. Way better, actually. Just as things started to get good, the characters started to get developed, the actors started to get their space legs, Star Trek fans managed to complain enough to get the show cancelled. We cannot have new Star Trek shows and movies to watch if we think the franchise can survive on the old stuff. The franchise has got to increase its fan base. There are not enough of us old Trekkies left to support it anymore. Movie making is very expensive these days. One good actor might cost 20 million. The original budget for Star Trek: The Motion Picture was something like 15 million. The new movie attempts to do just what we need it to do- hook the younger population the way I was hooked when I was a kid.

    So I ask the question that has already been answered. How do we get kids to watch Star Trek? It has to be action-packed. It has to be cool. The main characters have to break the rules, hop in the sack with other main characters, and be very hot. It can’t be too deep or dramatic all the time, it has to be funny and fast and edgy. The old-folgy stuff has to go. It has to be fresh. If were lucky, we can throw in a few morals, hero stuff, and social commentary now and then, but we have to be sneaky and clever about it or we’ll lose them. Have you all forgotten how fun and exciting and cutting edge we thought Star Trek was when we were kids? My parents shook their heads in disbelief. They just didn’t understand why I liked it soooo much! This is a new generation. They are different than us. They’ve been raised with cell phones and computers. The communicator is not going to be that cool to them!

    We can’t afford to be so picky anymore. (I’ve never understood how a person could be both a Trekkie and closed-minded at the same time, anyway.) If we do not support the new Star Trek then we will not have any Star Trek to support.

  53. Aaron says:

    “Part of the reason we spend so much time reimagining things, in this culture, is because so much of our natural shared culture has been rejected.” — Maureen

    But in this case, Roddenberry’s original vision, his secular humanism, agnosticism, and utopianism, hasn’t been rejected by our culture at all; it’s been completely absorbed. It’s practically our state religion. A movie doesn’t need to teach those lessons today; they’re part of the background.

  54. Ken says:

    I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie. There were just enough nods to Trekdom to keep die-hard fans happy, but not so much that it would confuse newer viewers. Jargon was comparatively minimal, which can cut both ways; a 10 minute discussion of the inner workings of a Heisenberg compensator can be pretty dull stuff, but the technobabble is also part of the appeal. I thought the characters played out on the same lines; there was enough of TOS characters in them to be recognizable (for the most part), but they were different enough that it didn’t feel like, for example, Chris Pine was doing a Shatner impression for two hours. The fellow who played Captain Pike was outstanding, and I love where they went with his character. His speech to Kirk at the beginning was in the best tradition of Star Trek. The only other character criticism I had was in regards to the Romulans. They really are one of the best “villain” races in Star Trek, but they kinda came out seeming a bit more like the Remans from Nemesis; grouchy, menacing, but not the terribly clever and devious Romulans of, for example, The Next Generation. Nero was underdone, I thought. Eric Bana is an excellent actor, and they could have used him to much better effect than they did.

    For the most part, the visual look was pleasing. It was nice to see a shot of 23rd century San Francisco that comprised more than the Golden Gate Bridge and a Starfleet Standard Issue Box Building. It looked rather a bit like Coruscant, come to think of it. Some CGI stuff was over the top; I found the space battles a bit too chaotic to keep track of, which can make one lose interest. The Enterprise herself… hmmm. The saucer section and drive sections looked fine, but the nacelles were rather ridiculous. They looked bloated and cartoonish.

    Alas, poor Vulcan! It was sad to see her go, but it was well done. You could hear us Trekkies gasping in disbelief all over the theater when the crust started collapsing. But the timeline from the rest of TOS, TNG, and onwards is still intact, and it isn’t like the producers have come out and retconned 24th century Vulcan out of existence. That said, I was happy that they didn’t go the route of making everything better at the end, which was always a failing of the time travel episodes. No matter who died or what got blown up, you knew that in the last 5 minutes, the Enterprise would emit chronometric particles, or rocket around the sun, and everything would be the way it should. It isn’t how real life works, and it can destroy the impact a character death or ship destruction &c. might have.

  55. Supertradmom says:

    One of the best books on Star Trek, which I used in a modern heresy and doctrine class many years ago, is Star Trek and Sacred Ground by Porter and McLaren. By the end of the class, my student could identify twenty heresies in the first half-hour of an episode, and a full-length film, plus they had a great time doing this. I do not know if I shall teach the course again, but one way of introducing all the heresies in Modernism is through this type of exercise. We did other things of course, but I highly recommend the book. It doesn’t spoil Star Trek, but makes us intelligent observers.

  56. Ken: But the timeline from the rest of TOS, TNG, and onwards is still intact, and it isn’t like the producers have come out and retconned 24th century Vulcan out of existence.

    Although, in the new movie, old-Spock says that the survivors would be making a new colony. Given the Vulcan penchant for not being entirely out-of-box thinkers, perhaps they just named the new colony Vulcan.

  57. Fr. A says:

    “You know, that giant canyon, in IOWA?”


    I figured it was just something that happened in the future. It’s possible.

    I really liked the movie. I really liked the way Simon Pegg played Scotty! :-)

  58. Joe says:

    definitely will go see it. Is it true that Spock is revealed as being R Daneel Olivaw?

  59. Nomad says:

    Now, if only J.J. Abrams would do a “reboot” of Wolverine, X-Men Origins…

  60. Latter-day Guy says:

    I had a rip-roaring good time. It was funny, nimbly paced, with enough homages to the original to be (I would have thought) acceptable to the die-hards. It appears I was wrong on that last point though. I also enjoyed counting the number of times Kirk almost falls to his death but catches himself with his fingertips at the last moment. :)

  61. Ken says:

    Fr. Zuhlsdorf: Although, in the new movie, old-Spock says that the survivors would be making a new colony. Given the Vulcan penchant for not being entirely out-of-box thinkers, perhaps they just named the new colony Vulcan.

    That is a distinct possibility. “Fascinating”.

  62. Tom says:

    The Enterprise was built in Iowa instead of a space dock? Well, okay. I’ve lived in Iowa, and I’ve lived in California. That was not Iowa, but I’ve seen dozens of tv shows and movies play off parts of southern california as just about every other place on the planet. Well, okay. Cadets being graduated early to fight one enemy. Well, okay. The flagship being staffed almost entirely by newbies? Well, okay. Spock was one of the first members of the old crew killed off, to be revived in the next movie. And now he is the last one standing. The Romulans were just copying the Borg from First Contact. No big deal. I see the destruction of Vulcan as an opening for the next movie. But I WOULD like to see the cast of Voyager in a movie. And it would have been nice to see the story behind Enterprise figure into things a bit to give some consistency.

  63. Angela says:

    I have only seen one episode of Star Trek in my life, and I knew the name of maybe one character, so I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy this movie. However, I was pleasantly surprised! It was *so* much better than all of the other comic book/superhero-type movies I’ve seen in the last couple of years, and it proved that you don’t need elaborate sex scenes (the one in the movie was not much of a sex scene, and lasts maybe half a minute-just look away from the screen for 30 seconds and you’ll be fine) or cursing in every other line to sell tickets. I thought the casting was great, and even though the plot seemed a little weak at times, the good acting and fast-paced action made it watchable.

    Before seeing the movie, I had very little interest in Star Trek, but now I just may break down and watch a few episodes.

    My only regret is that I didn’t read Fr. Z’s advice before seeing the movie…do NOT sit anywhere close to the screen; your head and stomach will regret it!

  64. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Saw the movie in IMAX and, per Father’s sage advice, sat in the last row. A good movie and a good time, albeit with many of the cliches that are common in the past few decades (decisive single combat between leaders of rival factions; villains who keep hostages around long enough to regret it; space ships that have gravity, bottomless pits and no safety railings; the “chosen one” who is given huge responsibility at a very early age; etc.)

    Likes: the casting and portrayals of McCoy, Scott, Spock (both), Uhura, Chekhov and Pike; the non-appearance of a reset button at the end; the Saturn manouvre; Spock’s stepping down; Spock Prime’s ship; the new warp sfx; those nifty hand phasers.

    Dislikes: the “farm animal” dialog; Kirk’s punk attitude on the Kobayashi Maru test; the plot between Kirk’s ejection from the Enterprise until meeting Scott (giant ice-scorpions? happening into the right cave?); the pointless Spock/Uhura romance; Mr. Scott’s mishaps on his arrival on board; the amount of ship-to-ship weaponry on Nero’s “mining” ship.

    The biggest thing that hit me then, and now, is the contrast between the tragic portrayal of the death of George Kirk and the comparatively cavalier treatment of the Vulcan genocide. It’s fitting for this society in which we get weepy at the death of an adult celebrity, yet sweep under the rug the daily genocide of thousands of the most vulnerable.

  65. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Fr. Z,

    I enjoy your blog, very much and I learn a great deal from it. I hardly feel worthy of your comments, above – I blush.

    Just to clarify, the spin thing…on at least one nerd site I frequent, and in some news reports, if I recall, correctly, words like, \”moribund,\” were being used by some people to describe why a re-boot was needed. Obviously, if one looks hard enough, one can find any (or almost) any opinion expressed on the internet. I hope I didn\’t make it sound as if there were a massive campaign to make the original Star Trek universe seem dead. There is some sentiment in some circles, this way, however.

    Two nit-picky points:

    1. This is not really a re-boot, in the computer sense. That would imply going back and re-starting Kirk\’s life and watching him grow up, again, into the man we know. I realize when one re-boots a computer, sometimes, one is given a choice of options, but these are usually much more constrained than the drastic changes in the movie. I think a better term from computer science would be the work, fork. Basically, Star Trek has been forked into an alternate universe in much the same was that the Linux operating system has been forked into somewhere around one-hundred, different, specialized OS.

    2. I know it violates your rule about making comments about the atheist original of Star Trek, but, if I may, let me point out that this was true, in large part, only of the post-original series. In fact, one of the best writers on the original series was a devout Christian, Gene L. Coon. It was he who was responsible for introducing some of the most important concepts of the Star Trek universe. In addition, he used numerous Biblical themes in the episodes he wrote, going so far as, in the episode, Errand of Mercy, to almost exactly duplicate the events of Acts 5: 19 or Acts 12: 7 – 11, where Peter and John, in the one case, and Peter in the other case were rescued from prison by an angel. The episode, Bread and Circuses, is the only episode in all of broadcast tv science fiction that I know in which the early Christians are portrayed and in a favorable light. Yes, there were some questionable episodes, but by and large, Coon had more influence on the morality than Roddenberry in the original series. In fact, at least one book (now, out of print), if not more, have been written on the Christian themes of the original Star Trek. Now, the later series are another story. These were quite messed up in their moral reasoning.

    Feel free to delete the above paragraph if it violates your request not to comment on Star Trek’s atheistic beginnings. I am just trying to set the record straight.

    I am not a old-school Star Trek apologist, although I might seem so by my comments, above. I am an apologist for history and its preservation and perhaps, since I am officially one generation older than my students, I am beginning to feel the discardness of the older age by the younger (I am NOT old, yet, but some day, I hope to be, Lord willing…). Nevertheless, being old enough to have experience, but not too old to be engaged in the culture, I see the new movie on a variety of levels: entertainment, cultural, historical, scientific, moral. Someone can have fun with something and yet feel sad at the same time. Sort of like playing with the grandkids :)

  66. Jenny Z says:

    I really enjoyed it. It was fun, there were alot of little touches for those that know the series (Captain Pike, red shirt dying, Sulu’s hand to hand combat training being “fencing”, Kirk making out with green chicks, etc), but still totally entertaining to folks who haven’t seen the series at all.

    I usually have a big problem with time-travel plots, but there really weren’t many plotholes here. My only problem was Spock being surprised by a Supernova. Supernovas aren’t phenomena that happen quickly… he should have had plenty of time to recognize it and get there.

  67. fh in Houston says:

    The movie was good & fun but not great. They used a Whovian approach to get out of a conundrum, “How not to get locked into ST canon and criticized for violating it movie after movie”. The solution (alternate universe) is only way to do this. They can now explore any story they want with no argument. The trailers were actually misleading, and happily the movie story evolved differently. Like my son said (when friends argued over the movie) It’s a Movie!

    This was a celebration of youth, but for the 20 somethings – the target audience.

    For some reason this movie kept making me think of the Guardian on the Edge to Forever. Is ST now in a paradox?

  68. q7swallows says:

    A fan of the original ST, I did enjoy the movie (minus a few scenes) and my imagination covered for the general plot inadequacies.

    About the predominance of youth in the movie, the cynic in me saw this: prep for long-term future sequels.

    But next time, Frank, do you think you can just point us in the right direction without furnishing all the graphic, smutty details? Then, I might be able to continue to allow my young adults to read Fr. Z’s blog (+ comments)!

    While other parents asked for guidance, even we laymen need to take a lesson from saints like Francis de Sales and Alphonsus Liguori who discussed stuff like this in a public forum from the pulpit and still got the point across in a non-graphic, non-imagination-stimulating way for those who had “ears to hear.” The website ref would have been sufficient in this case.

  69. The Masked Chicken says:

    Upon re-thinking my posts, above, I realize how easy it is to malign someone’s character in the heat of writing. I said that Abrams suffered from selfishness, taking the easy way out, and hubris (and other things), without really even knowing the man. As my rash comments were public, so must my apology be. I apologize for harming Abrams’s character without just cause or proper knowledge. Sometimes, we (I) must not only think before posting, but we (I) must think about others before posting.

Comments are closed.