Star Trek (2009), my (mixed) thoughts on this alternate universe

On May 8th, 2009, the universe of Star Trek, as seen by J.J Abrams, came hurtling into theaters.

Oh where to begin with this movie, with this concept! I was initially thrilled that a new Star Trek movie was being made (Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) having been billed as the final adventure) and couldn’t wait to learn more. And then details began to come out, that this movie was going to be different, the “How they all met” story, as it were. But the previews didn’t look right to me, the story they were telling seemed off somehow. And then the movie came out and I learned why. This movie was set in a totally different universe. Effectively, the Star Trek universe that had been established since 1966…really didn’t exist anymore.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to bash the actors (they did a fine job) or the soundtrack (even though Goldsmith and Horner created much better sounds for their respective Star Trek films), it’s just, calling this an “alternate universe” is just a fancy way of saying they rebooted the series but they didn’t want it to look like one. A reboot is a reboot, and, maybe I’m in the minority but, Star Trek didn’t need one (in my opinion). I’m okay with a new cast of characters, but recasting the original crew does not sit right with me.


The story is that in the original Star Trek universe, the planet Romulus is about to be destroyed by a huge supernova. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) has come up with a last-ditch effort plan to save Romulus but the method is utilized too late to save the planet. In the aftermath of the explosion, a time vortex is created and both Spock and a Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana) are flung back into time (due to the “red matter” that Spock had tried to use. Nero holds Spock personally responsible for the death of his family and vows to make the Vulcan suffer. How? Oh, simply by destroying the planet Vulcan, that’s all. (You know, Vulcan, the site of some of the most important events in the original series, it gets blown up.) In effect, the presence of Spock and Nero in the past creates an alternate universe because the course of events is being altered from what it should have been.

Despite my feelings, I really did try to like this movie, I really did (after all, it’s the only option for seeing Star Trek in theaters at the moment) and I just couldn’t get into it. I think the problem (for me) is, I grew up watching the original Star Trek movies and tv shows and that is the Star Trek I know and love. This Star Trek…it says most of the right things, but, as I’ve said before, it doesn’t feel quite right. To this day, I still can’t put my finger on the issue, but I’m hoping Star Trek: Beyond is different.

*poster is the property of Paramount Pictures

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See also:

Film/TV Reviews

Michael Giacchino talks Star Trek (2009)

Michael Giacchino talks Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)

Star Trek: Into Darkness is a complete rip-off of Wrath of Khan

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9 thoughts on “Star Trek (2009), my (mixed) thoughts on this alternate universe

  1. christinawehner

    I rather agree with you about this one. Although I didn’t grow up with Star Trek quite as much, it felt like a cheat to just wipe out all the history that had come before. It seems like the easy way out, instead of wrestling with the incredible amount of history and making the new films part of that vast tapestry of history, they just swept it aside.

    In some ways, I felt like they did the same thing with Star Wars: A Force Awakens. Everything they (Leia, Han, Luke) fought for (a new republic, etc) in the original series got swept aside, instead of using a little imagination to build on it. It felt like a reboot, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Film Music Central Post author

      I hadn’t really thought about The Force Awakens like that, but now that I think about it, it is somewhat true (I think that movie is better than 2009 Star Trek though, a lot better). It’s a shame too because Chris Pine and company are clearly trying their best

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Benjamin Andrew

    Unfortunately rebirths and rehashes will exist for ever because at the end of the day cinema is a business. Kids would find it easier to latch on to a new idea that starts afresh (and introduces the characters) rather than play on characters that have had movie upon movie (or series upon series in Star Trek’s case), and getting more fans is better for business than making the current ones happy.

    Liked by 1 person


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