JJ Abrams ‘Star Trek’ Released 2 Years Ago Today + POLL: Rank Star Trek 2009

Two years ago today, On May 8, 2009, JJ Abrams’ Star Trek was released, spawning a new era for the franchise Gene Roddenberry created four decades earlier. Today TrekMovie takes a look back, and a look forward. We also have a new poll for you to rank the Star Trek movie vs the other ten Trek features.

 

2 years since the "the future began" with Star Trek 2009

Today Star Trek is spoken of in the same context as other tent pole film franchises like Batman, Mission Impossible, and others. This new normal is a big change from the state of things following the box office disappointment of Star Trek: Nemesis in 2002 and the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005. Exactly two years ago this weekend the Star Trek movie opened with over $75 million in domestic box office, 50% more than Nemesis made in its entire theatrical run. And compare Star Trek to this weekend’s big hit Thor,which opened with an estimated $66 million domestically, and the Abrams Trek film is even more impressive.

Once again (and possibly more than ever) Star Trek was appealing to a broad base. By all accounts Star Trek scored well with critics, Trek fans and even beyond the traditional young male demographic of sci-fi/action movies. 


Award-winning trailer for "Star Trek"

Of course not all fans agree (would it be Star Trek if they did?). Much is different about JJ Abrams Star Trek, and not just due to the new universe created by Nero and Spock’s time-travel trip through a black hole. Star Trek upped the action quotient and added big doses of humor and sex appeal. Then again, weren’t all of these elements of the original Star Trek series from the 1960s? JJ Abrams and his team of writers and producers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk did what many thought was impossible: to succeed with a property that even some Paramount executives said was suffering from "franchise fatigue."

That is not to say that Star Trek is a perfect film. With its goal of being a new origin story, the Romulan threat plot was a bit thin and we had to suspend a lot of disbelief with the series of chance encounters and promotions to get us to that final scene of the new crew ready for their mission on the USS Enterprise. The film also made some compromises in order to appeal to a wider audience, such as simplifying Star Trek’s traditional Stardate system. And even though it had the biggest franchise budget since Star Trek: The Motion Picture (in adjusted $), they still saved money by barely redressing a Budweiser plant to stand in for the engineering section of the (very) shiny new USS Enterprise.

However, most fans agree that all of this was outweighed by everything that worked with Star Trek. Almost all the cries of "you cannot recast Kirk, Spock, etc." were silenced once fans saw Star Trek’s excellent new cast take on these iconic roles, with Karl Urban’s McCoy being especially highly praised. The fast pace of the film, combined with Abrams directing style, created a "thrill-ride" aspect never seen before with Star Trek. That is not to say there weren’t still moments for character development and arcs, especially with Chris Pine’s Kirk. And while the film was geared for that general audience, the Trek fans on the creative team (especially Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof) ensured that there were plenty of fan highlights, from a brief tribble sighting to the inclusion of Leonard Nimoy’s Spock in a pivotal role. And there can be no doubt that Star Trek was a technical achievement, with the bigger budget brining amazing effects, makeup, costumes and more.


The final scene of "Star Trek" sets things up for the sequel

Now that all of that is out of the way, the real challenge for Star Trek’s new "Supreme Court" is what comes next. Co-writer/producer Alex Kurtzman has noted that second films are often the ones that go deeper (and are often better), citing Empire Strikes Back as a prime example. And JJ Abrams and other "court" members have talked about the Star Trek sequel having a bigger scope, including more character development and possibly delving into an allegorical plot (not unlike many original Star Trek series episodes). And of course they need to figure out what to call it, as Star Trek II is already taken.

For now Trek fans are waiting patiently to find out more about this next Star Trek film, which is currently scheduled for a June 29, 2012 release. The writing team of Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof began writing the script last October, however there is still not an approved official first draft and producer JJ Abrams has yet to announce if he will direct the film. Filming is supposedly starting in September, which would create a bit of a compressed schedule compared to the 2009 movie (and most other tentpole films). However, it would actually be a longer schedule than Abrams’ Super 8, due in theaters June 10th. JJ recently promised as soon as that film drops, he will be ready to swing his lens-flare focus onto Trek.

We here at TrekMovie (along with fans across the world) can’t wait to find out what is next for the new crew of the USS Enterprise.


"Star Trek" is just the beginning

POLL: Ranking "Star Trek"

With two years of reflection, how do you rank the Star Trek movie with the other 10 Trek feature films?

[poll=652]

 

 

Sort by:   newest | oldest
Trek Nerd Central
May 8, 2011 4:13 pm

Happy Mother’s Day to the mother of all reboots.

Devon
May 8, 2011 4:18 pm

^^Post of the day

Dac
May 8, 2011 4:18 pm

It was a great movie, easily one of the best. But although I feel it may technically be a superior flick, It’s never going to beat Wrath of Khan thanks to the nostalgia factor.

Very very close second though.

AP
May 8, 2011 4:26 pm

Wasn’t the next film green-lit before this one was even released (or shortly after)? And now two years later the first draft of the script isn’t even done.

Star Trek deserves better than writers and producers who get around to it when they have some time between other stuff.

TCUButter
May 8, 2011 4:28 pm

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can touch TWOK. This movie was good, but I still love the adventures of the original cast. The movie adventures, outside of V at least.

As far as TNG goes, many of the episodes touched me deeper than any of the movies (see INNER LIGHT or Best of Both Worlds).

Roy
May 8, 2011 4:31 pm

And in 13 months we will have another STAR TREK film in theaters(despite what all the naysayers / fear-mongers claim they know)!

Devon
May 8, 2011 4:34 pm

#4 – It was not greenlit. What was there to green light?

Chain of Command
May 8, 2011 4:36 pm

Wrath of Khan is still the best one. ST09 was good, but TWOK is still in a class by itself.

Jonboc
May 8, 2011 4:39 pm

It’s a better “movie” than most of the original Trek movies, but it’s not a better “Trek” movie just by the fact that the others star the original cast. But by golly, it’s closer in spirit to TOS trek than all the TNG movies and tv series combined, so you’ll get no complaints from me, keep em coming…just a little less time between films would be appreciated.

May 8, 2011 4:41 pm

My top five: 1) TWoK. 2) TMP 3) FC 4) XI 5) TDC

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire
May 8, 2011 4:43 pm

Trek 09 was 2nd. Trek 2 the wrath of Khn is first. Can’t wait to see what Trek 2012 does. Will be Grand!!!!!

AP
May 8, 2011 4:46 pm

#7–If “green light” isn’t the correct term, I’m sorry. But I just went back and checked, and I was essentially correct. Before the movie was even released, the studio contracted the producers and writers to start working on the sequel, with the goal of a Summer 2011 release.

And now, two years later, there isn’t even a first draft. As I said before, Star Trek deserves better.

Trek Nerd Central
May 8, 2011 4:50 pm

#2, Devon. Thanks!

#8, Chain of Command. I agree.

#4, AP. Relax, man. Everyone’s gotta make a living. Think of them all as building contractors juggling several jobs at once.

As much as I enjoy ST09 and eagerly await the sequel, “The Wrath of Khan” is still my all-time favorite. And I must say, I love “The Undiscovered Country,” too . .

AP
May 8, 2011 4:54 pm

#13, if building contractors want to juggle several jobs, that’s totally cool. But if my contractor is a year behind schedule getting my house built, that’s a big deal.

Star Trek shouldn’t be a ball to be juggled somewhere between Transformers 5: Stuff Blows Up and Transformers 6: More Stuff Blows Up.

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire
May 8, 2011 4:54 pm

Star Trek 09 was a great Movie. It had great action and good drama. But there were a few holes. Like Enterprise not being what it should have been and of course Engineering being a Joke!!. For the most part Trek 09 was a solid Movie. Also it was a solid Trek Movie. Just need to fine tune the Big E and get a REAL!!!! Engineering Room.

Kara
May 8, 2011 5:00 pm

Are we going to be doing this sentimental stuff every May 8th?

Trek Nerd Central
May 8, 2011 5:13 pm

#16. Yes, in fact, Hallmark is designing a line of cards.

Trekkie07
May 8, 2011 5:16 pm
I´m still complaining about the alternate-timeline thingy… I mean: Seriously, we didn´t see much new in Star Trek09. It was just the same old bad-guy-with-superweapon-has-to-be-stopped-thing like in all the TNG-Movies before… just with better special effects and more action. You could have easily told that story in the old universe… I think nobody (apart from VERY few hardcore-nerds) would have complained aubout the new look of the Enterprise, but it wouldn´t have ripped apart our old universe. A few weeks ago, I watched Star Trek II with my girlfriend. We had seen ST09 before. She liked both of them, but was TOTALLY confused, because in the Old one, Spock dies (but his Planet was still there), and in the new one, Vulcan gets destroyed, but old Spock lives again. I felt like a really big nerd when I tried to explain her the alternate-timeline-thingy (and seriously, it didn´t made much sense to me in the first place either). So now, with the new Film, the writers have to proof that they have the abillity to tell totally new storys which wouldn´t have fitted in the old continuity, but still are basic Trek. Otherwise the point of an alternate timeline would be totally useless. And sorry, Boborci is a good Action-writer, but I don´t think our new Trek-Administration is THAT skilled, otherwise Star Trek09 would have been much better. I bet my horse that the new Film will be exctly a good Action-Movie with many character-scenes, like ST09 before. But as… Read more »
Chelsea
May 8, 2011 5:24 pm

#17 Haha!

Happy 2 year anniversary to me and Star Trek! I hadn’t even seen the trailer for this movie, I just went because a bunch of friends invited me. I -hated- scifi, and didn’t know -anything- about Star Trek. But I ended up seeing it 6 times in the theatre, and I’ve watched TOS, TNG, VOY and most of DS9. XD SciFi is now my favorite genre. :P

May 8, 2011 5:30 pm

Star Trek XI is one of the best Star Trek films. But, Wrath of Khan is still the #1 best Trek film, followed by Star Trek XI.

Karen
May 8, 2011 5:31 pm

I put it at 3, but only because TWOK and TSFS had to come first.

Roaming_Mutt
May 8, 2011 5:38 pm

I put FC and WoK ahead of XI. But I do have to say that the reboot ranks number 1 in movie trailers. Still enjoy watching it.

May 8, 2011 5:57 pm
I’m giving this film the #9 spot for it’s obvious delusions and treating one of the most iconic ships in science fiction like a throw away piece. But even with that, I probably would have given this film the 5th or 6th place. However, what gives it the #9 spot is the film’s complete lack of effort in trying to make Uhura, the ONLY FEMALE CHARACTER OF THE CREW an integral character. Uhura is the perfect definition of tvtropes’ “Faux Action Girl”. tvtropes.org: “A supposedly modern heroine who doesn’t live up to her reputation. An Action Girl whose “action” aspect is more of an Informed Attribute than anything else. She’s established from the very beginning as a powerful, capable hero but never does anything heroic. She has a well-grounded reputation as a strong fighter in her field, but always fails in the line of battle. Her talents and skills are well known to fellow characters, but they’re never seen by the viewers, outside of perhaps a Day In The Lime Light episode.” Quite fitting since she needed Kirk to tell her that the Klingon transmission she discovered (Off screen) was actually important. “But Jeyl” you say, “what about her ability to speak and understand the Romulan language in three dialects? Pike saw that as impressive and even replaced the communications officer he already had with her.” Well I would ask, did you see how that all paid off? 1. There are no Romulan Transmissions to listen to. 2. The Romulans… Read more »
trekker 5
May 8, 2011 5:57 pm

#6,there you go! And now,i put my two cents in,i saw Trek09 on opening day,the second showing of the day,i remeber the long line,and that it was sold out for the second time that day,i remeber the guy who had to go to the bathroom in the smack middle of the flim,and everybody cheering when Nimoy turned around,it was an awesome day!

Disgruntled
May 8, 2011 5:58 pm

The Genesis Trilogy and Undiscovered Country come before the new one.

TWOK will always be #1 because my mom went to see it while she was very pregnant with me. (I was due on the 14th of June, so just think about having to fit in one of those old theater seats in that condition! She knew she wouldn’t be able to see it after I came along, so she made sure she saw it as soon as she could after it came out!)

Trek Lady
May 8, 2011 6:02 pm

I have my problems with this film, but over all I enjoyed it… quite a lot, which is more than I can say about most of the “remakes” of my old loves which Hollywood has desecrated. So all in all, I am grateful and pleased.

Damian
May 8, 2011 6:12 pm

First, for the record, I loved all 11 films (yes, even Star Trek V and Insurrection). There were some, obviously, that I liked more than others, but I certainly would not say I hated any. For me, Star Trek: The Motion Picture will always be my favorite. The special effects (for 1979) were some of the best, the score, the pure exploration theme combined with threat of annihilation, the clean, bright sets. A close second would be The Wrath of Khan. What’s not to like with TWOK. I would say The Search for Spock, The Voyage Home, The Undiscovered Country, and First Contact would be pretty equally tied for 3rd place. They were all great movies for all very different reasons. I would probably put Star Trek (2009) and Nemesis at 4th (sorry guys, I loved Nemesis and never really understood the hate). Then I would probably finish out with Insurrection, Generations and The Final Frontier.

Now, just because Star Trek (2009) came in at 4th by no means should be taken as any sort of dislike. I had a good time and it had a great story. It probably could have upped the ante for me had they improved the sets a bit (engineering and Star Fleet Headquarters) and notched down the lens flares a bit (when I come out of the movie with a massive headache, that’s going to cost a point or two–sorry). But I’ve watched it a couple times since and still loved the story.

May 8, 2011 6:15 pm

I ranked it #2. I only like Khan more. It has nothing to do with TOS over any other series being better/worse/whatever, it just held my attention, was action packed, had a great story, and the actors (except Yelchin) were perfect for their parts.

Dee - lvs moon' surface
May 8, 2011 6:21 pm

I loved Star Trek… since the first time I watched the movie … but the best thing for me was the return of the franchise! …. it worked … and the new cast, definitely … AWESOME!!!

:-) :-)

Harry Seldom
May 8, 2011 6:24 pm

TWOK and FC beat 2009 in my book, I gave it third place, after going back and forth on TVH.

May 8, 2011 6:27 pm

That trailer still give me goosebumps. I hope the sequel strives for some of that feeling.

Thorny
May 8, 2011 6:34 pm

Voted for it as 4th best, following Wrath of Khan, First Contact, and Voyage Home. Although it is very close to Voyage Home in my opinion and those two could go either way.

Dee - lvs moon' surface
May 8, 2011 6:52 pm

I voted third … my list:

#1 – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
#2 – Star Trek: The Motion Picture (I saw in DVD recently still very good)
#3 – Star Trek

I hope Star Trek 2012 will be better … It seems that Mr. Bob Orci still watching us, although he doesn’t talk about the script a while … OK!

:-) :-)

Pierre
May 8, 2011 6:54 pm

Anthony: This is an excellent synopsis. Great work.

cdp
May 8, 2011 6:57 pm

Its hard for me to rank the movies as they where all good in there own right but for me Star Trek 09 was probably the second best of star trek movies because the sheer scope and production value and for the fact it put Star Trek back on the map. What I want to know is who in the world would rank it the worst of the Star Trek movies? It may not be the best of the movies but in my opinion it is fare from the worst.

Gabriel Bell
May 8, 2011 7:06 pm

Hey, everybody! Jeyl didn’t like ST09! (Just in case you missed it in his previous 2,000 posts saying the exact same thing.)

Bearded Riker – Love your list. Excellent.

Amin Shelton
May 8, 2011 7:16 pm

Definately one of the top 5, but Voyafe Home and First Contact are top for me over all.

Amin Shelton
May 8, 2011 7:16 pm

*voyage

ncc50446
May 8, 2011 7:28 pm

Order of awesomeness (IMHO):
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (IV and II are pretty much tied)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Star Trek: First Contact
Star Trek: Insurrection
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Stat Trek I: The Motion Picture
Star Trek (2009)
Star Trek: Nemesis
Star Trek: Generations

There are just too many holes in 2009…If the story had been a little more thought out, it would have improved. There are a lot of good things about 2009, but so much that it’s hard to ignore…Just like Generations.
And no…I don’t hate Star Trek 2009. There are things I don’t like, but I don’t hate any of the Star Trek movies or series. I still have high hopes for the next movie, and am glad that 2009 has helped make Star Trek more mainstream again.
Keep it up writers! Excellent work, just a few issues that make it hard to watch when trying to take it seriously.
And bring in more women main characters! 1 isn’t enough…

May 8, 2011 7:30 pm

My list: 1. FC, 2. TUC, 3. TWOK, 4. TVH, 5. ST09….

The problem with ST09 is that the movie ends. I do not mean that the movie is so good that I never want it to end. No, I mean that while watching the movie, the good parts are so good, that the bad parts don’t matter (The lone exception being that mind-meld exposition scene. That was horrendous right then!). The movie ends eventually and you realize, perhaps slowly, that things didn’t add up.

Blake Powers
May 8, 2011 7:33 pm

#2 Agreed…

Peter
May 8, 2011 7:41 pm

Update the engine room so that it looks more like the 23rd century engine room of a starship, than a beat up warehouse in the Bronx

JP
May 8, 2011 8:05 pm

Favorite Star Trek films ranked in order:

1) The Wrath of Khan
2) Master & Commander – The Far Side of the World
3) First Contact
4) Search For Spock
5) Star Trek 2009
6) Generations
7) The Undiscovered Country
8) The Motion Picture
9) Galaxy Quest
10) The Voyage Home
11) Nemesis
12) Insurrection
13) The Final Frontier

May 8, 2011 8:11 pm

Awesome movie, JUST watched it again. I really can’t wait for the next one. The only problem is that I read too much about it before it came out, because of THIS site.

And I don’t have the self control to stay away.

My list is: There is no list, don’t compare the new movies to the old ones. Classics are just that, classics.

Original movies stand apart from the Next Generation, and this is something new altogether for me.

chuck Mosenko
May 8, 2011 8:11 pm

Star Trek 3 is my favorite.

I don’t think the writers of ST 09 did much research for the movie. If they did not want to spend a week watching the original series on DVD before writing a new movie. They could’ve found a ST nerd to help with th research info. If I were to write a story for a new movie I knew nothing about, I would research everything before I write anything. The next one will be more of the same write it for a generic audience. He wanted a clean slate free of all the rules that were set. Fine, now show us something new. Not the same thing we see in every other movie. Keep in mind the old star trek fans were a billion dollar industry. What about the new fans? Is the average person going to buy? Loyal fan bases make way more money for an industry then. The average person wants a movie to watch with Their friends, and that’s it, on to the next one. Make a movie we will talk about how awesome it was for the next 20 years. Not easy, but if you can pull it off you’ll be famous for 20 years.

Vultan
May 8, 2011 8:23 pm

#43

Love that you have “Master and Commander” on your list! It really is the best non-Trek Trek movie… if that makes sense. It would be interesting to see what Peter Weir’s take on an actual Trek would be.

Have to say Trek ’09 is low on my list. Not a bad movie per se, but the script was all over the place and some of the design choices were… uh, questionable. The performances were good though.

DeShonn Steinblatt
May 8, 2011 8:26 pm

45. Except that the fan base is not particularly loyal. Look at the ratings for Enterprise or the box office for Nemesis.

Devon
May 8, 2011 8:27 pm

12.) It wasn’t green lit.

“And now, two years later, there isn’t even a first draft. As I said before, Star Trek deserves better.”

And what it deserves is what its getting. It’s fine, honestly.

14.) “#13, if building contractors want to juggle several jobs, that’s totally cool. But if my contractor is a year behind schedule getting my house built, that’s a big deal.”

No one is a year behind on anything. The film doesn’t come out until over a year from now. If it gets moved then it will not be the first time a film ever has.

May 8, 2011 8:39 pm

So true. Star Trek didn’t become sexless until Next Generation and beyond.

Voyager and Enterprise regained it but only in certain characters.

How about an army of Jerry Ryan Borg in the next movie. They are sitting in their hive when they get a call from earth begging to be assimilated.

In order to win the day Kirk has to overcome his biggest enemy, and it aint his warp drive.

MJ
May 8, 2011 8:40 pm

@5 “As far as TNG goes, many of the episodes touched me deeper than any of the movies (see INNER LIGHT or Best of Both Worlds).”

I was kind of ready to accept your Wrath of Khan rules statement until I saw this credibility-stretching follow-up. You’ve got to be kidding!

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