Star Trek has seen many iterations from the original series to the current Star Trek: Picard as well as the many series and films in between. One movie, the 2009 J.J. Abrams reboot Star Trek, is now enjoying the #1 spot as the most popular film on the free IMDB TV streaming service.
For years, the idea of a prequel to Star Trek had been discussed, first by series creator Gene Roddenberry, then again in the late ‘80s, but nothing ever truly materialized. When Star Trek: Nemesis failed critically and at the box office, CBS was convinced to allow Paramount to produce a new film in the franchise, one that would introduce younger versions of the series’ most popular characters.
This Star Trek reboot definitely goes where Star Trek hasn’t gone before. Fans of the original series get to see exactly the how’s, where’s, and why’s the original cast of characters come together and it’s a fun watch.
The start to Star Trek is fast introducing, in a minor role, Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk, father to James, who has to take over the USS Kelvin when Captain Robau is killed on a Romulan ship by its leader Captain Nero (Eric Bana), who was requesting the whereabouts of Admiral Spock.
When the Kelvin is under attack, George Kirk gives the abandon ship order, sending his wife Winona off the vessel along with their unborn child, James. The Kelvin, along with George, do not survive. It’s a harrowing beginning, one filled with a ton of action and a lot of emotion.
Now we get to the how’s. As in, how a young Spock (Zachary Quinto) came to Starfleet and just how impulsive and wreckless a young James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) could be. Spock joins Starfleet knowing how the Vulcan Science Academy views his human mother. Kirk, on the other hand, takes to bar fighting where he meets up with Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood), who convinces Kirk that Starfleet Academy is his best bet at making his life a good one.
At the Academy, Kirk meets another young buck, this one is a doctor, Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban). As they near the end of their Academy training, a now Commander Spock catches Kirk cheating on a test, to which Kirk argues back. While Kirk’s disciplinary hearing is taking place, the Academy receives a distress signal from the planet Vulcan. Left with no choice as the primary fleet is out of range, the cadets join Captain Pike’s crew on the USS Enterprise.
There is a lot to unpack as Star Trek begins to introduce fans to familiar characters with different faces. Along with Kirk, Spock, and Bones, we get a new Uhura in Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg as Scotty, John Cho as Sulu, and the late Anton Yelchin as Chekov.
Star Trek skillfully tells a time travel story, Abrams way of bringing the past to the present, honoring everything that came before while giving fans much to look forward to in the future. While introducing new to the old familiar names, the past is truly brought to the forefront as Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek’s original Spock makes his return to the role one last time as the Spock that Nero is searching for. The history between the two unfolds but watching Nimoy portray Spock is worth the price of admission.
Time travel, alternate universes, new Spock, old Spock, great space battles, say what you will about J.J. Abrams, but he stood tall with his reboot. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, both huge fans of Star Trek, wrote the script that brought Trekkies back to the movie theaters. Paramount gave Abrams $150 million for his reboot and he rewarded them with nearly $386 million at the box office.
This movie was a big deal for Leonard Nimoy. Since his appearance in the 1991 Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, he had turned down many requests to play Spock again. He was even reluctant when Abrams approached him for the reboot. But Nimoy loved the script and how it spoke of the younger versions of the iconic characters and but Nimoy was finally convinced with what Abrams told him. “This is the first and only time I ever had a filmmaker say, ‘We cannot make this film without you and we won’t make it without you,’” said Nimoy at the time via the LA Times.
Leonard Nimoy wasn’t the only original cast member with whom Abrams approached. William Shatner had a scene written for him in the movie but ultimately turned it down. It was to be a “happy birthday to Spock” scene where Old Spock gives his younger version a message from Shatner’s Kirk, with Kirk knowing he’d be dead by that time. But Shatner didn’t want a simple cameo, he wanted a lot more screen time, even given the fact that his character had died in Star Trek Generations. He was looking for a way to resurrect his version of Kirk, which Abrams finally nixed. He didn’t want the movie turning into a Kirk resurrection film.
Critically speaking, the movie was a massive hit as well, as it has one of the highest favorable ratings among all the Star Trek films. The movie can be seen for free on IMDB TV. If you don’t have an IMDB account, they are simple to create. Once created, you will have access to the complete IMDB library though it should be noted, while the service is free, it does come with ads.
Regardless, head on over to IMDB TV and check out this great addition to the Star Trek franchise.