Star Trek is a 2009 American science fiction film directed by J. J. Abrams, written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, 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, portrayed by a new cast. The film follows James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) aboard the USS Enterprise as they combat Nero (Eric Bana), a Romulan from their future who threatens the United Federation of Planets. The story takes place in an alternate reality due to time travel by both Nero and the original Spock (Leonard Nimoy). The alternate timeline was created in an effort to free the film and the franchise from established continuity constraints while simultaneously preserving original story elements.
In 2233, the Federation starship USS Kelvin is investigating a “lightning storm” in space. A Romulan ship, the Narada, emerges from the storm, and attacks the Kelvin. Narada‘s first officer, Ayel, demands that Captain Robau come aboard to discuss a cease fire. Once aboard, Narada‘s commander Nero kills Robau when he mentions the stardate, and resumes the assault on the Kelvin. The Kelvin‘s first officer, George Kirk, orders the ship’s personnel evacuated via shuttlecraft, including his pregnant wife, Winona. Kirk sacrifices himself by steering the Kelvin on a collision course, while Winona (Jennifer Morrison) gives birth to their son, James Tiberius Kirk, aboard a shuttlecraft.
On Vulcan, Spock, despite being discriminated against for being half-human, is invited to join the prestigious Vulcan Science Academy. However, upon learning that the Academy views his human mother Amanda Grayson as a “disadvantage,” he decides to join Starfleet. On Earth, Kirk has become a reckless but intelligent young man. After a bar fight involving friends of Uhura, a Starfleet cadet, Kirk meets Captain Christopher Pike, who encourages him to enlist in Starfleet Academy.
Three years later at the Academy, Commander Spock accuses Cadet Kirk of cheating during his Kobayashi Maru simulation. The disciplinary hearing is interrupted when Starfleet receives a distress signal from Vulcan. With the primary fleet out of range, cadets are mobilized to crew ships waiting in orbit. Leonard McCoy and Kirk board Pike’s ship, the Enterprise. Realizing that the “lightning storm” observed by Vulcan is similar to the one when he was born, Kirk convinces Pike to raise the shields and thus be ready for the waiting trap.
The Enterprise arrives at Vulcan to find the rest of the fleet destroyed and the Narada drilling into Vulcan’s core. After the Enterprise is attacked by the Narada, Pike surrenders, gives Spock command of the ship and promotes Kirk to first officer. Kirk, Hikaru Sulu, and Chief Engineer Olson perform a space jump onto the drilling platform, disabling it. However, Nero launches “red matter” into the core and creates an artificial black hole, destroying the planet and killing most of its inhabitants there. Spock manages to rescue the Vulcan high council and his father Sarek, though his mother falls to her death.
As Nero tortures Pike to gain access to Earth’s perimeter defenses, Kirk is stranded on Delta Vega after arguing against Spock’s orders. Kirk encounters Ambassador Spock, who explains that he and Nero are from 129 years into the future, when Romulus is threatened by a volatile supernova. Spock intended to use “red matter” to create a black hole to stop the supernova, but failed, and the blast destroyed the planet, killing Nero’s wife and family. The Narada attacked Spock’s vessel, and both were caught in the new black hole, sending them back in time. Nero captured Spock and stranded him on Delta Vega to watch Vulcan’s destruction.
Reaching a nearby Starfleet outpost, Kirk and Ambassador Spock meet Montgomery Scott. With Ambassador Spock’s help, Kirk and Scott beam onto the Enterprise while it is at warp speed. Following the elder Spock’s advice, Kirk mocks Spock’s lack of emotion to provoke an emotional response. Spock attacks Kirk, then realizes that the destruction of his planet and death of his mother have compromised him emotionally, and relinquishes command to Kirk. After talking with his father Sarek, Spock decides to help Kirk carry out a sneak attack on the Narada. While the Enterprise hides itself under the gas clouds of Titan, Kirk and Spock beam aboard the Narada; Kirk rescues Pike while Spock uses Ambassador Spock’s ship to destroy the drill. Spock leads the Narada away from Earth and then programs his ship to collide with the Narada. Just before impact, the Enterprise arrives and beams Kirk, Pike, and Spock away. Ambassador Spock’s ship and the Narada collide, igniting the “red matter” and creating a black hole. The Enterprise escapes, but the Narada and its crew are destroyed.
On Earth, Kirk is promoted to the rank of Captain and given command of the Enterprise, while Captain Pike is promoted to Rear Admiral. Spock encounters his older self in a Starfleet hangar; Ambassador Spock has selected a planet for the surviving Vulcans to colonize. He persuades his younger self to continue serving Starfleet, encouraging him to do what feels right, instead of what is logical. Spock remains in Starfleet and becomes first officer under Kirk’s command. The Enterprise goes to warp as the elder Spock narrates the “where no man has gone before” monologue.
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this film:
First Published: Dec 9, 2011 – Last Updated: Apr 24, 2013