"Star Trek" Karaoke
Movie Review

June 1, 2009 12:21 am

Tags: Autodesk, CG, Maya, Paramount Pictures, Renderosity, Star Trek

Copyright © Paramount Pictures All Rights Reserved

Let me start this review by stating that I am, and have been for as long as I can remember, a huge Star Trek junkie. Not a diehard Trekkie, in the dressing up and going to convention sort of way, but an avid fan just the same. When someone mentions “The Trouble with Tribbles,” like other Star Trek enthusiasts, I instantly flash back to a Starship overflowing with a mass of rapidly reproductive furry, little creatures.

Several years ago, I even had the great privilege to interview an aging James (Scotty) Doohan. He was a flamboyant icon, not unlike the character that he played in the early television season; sporting a grumpy exterior that covered a soft-hearted center.

After watching the movie’s trailers I was optimistically impressed, while at the same time apprehensive, at the prospect of viewing the prequel to the original and much beloved Star Trek series.

The Plot

In the newest Star Trek movie, Director J.J. Abrams, with the help of screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, explore the early careers of the Starfleet crew of the USS Enterprise. There is also a brief glimpse into the back stories of a youthful James Thiberius Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto).

Director J.J. Abrams (center) discusses a scene with actors John Cho (left, as Sulu), Anton Yelchin (center left, as Chekov), Zachary Quinto (center right, as Spock), and Chris Pine (far right, as James T. Kirk) Photo credit: Zade Rosenthal Copyright © Paramount Pictures All Rights Reserved

The Movie’s Motivation

Exploring the circumstances of how the original Starfleet crew came together as members of the USS Enterprise.

The Villain

Romulan, Captain Nero, of the strangely configured “spacecraft” Narada, travels back in time, 154 years. He is intent to seek revenge on the Starfleet Federation for the murder upon his family and the destruction of his home-world, with the hopes of turning back the hands of time.

Eric Bana as Nero Copyright © Paramount Pictures All Rights Reserved

The Objective

The good guys (fledgling Starfleet crew: alternately commanded by a young Mr. Spock and an inexperienced Captain Kirk), stop the bad guys (Romulans, commanded by Captain Nero) from causing global destruction.

The Cast

The casting was so spot-on, that it at times appeared to be a Star Trek karaoke performance. Morphing into their roles of the old characters, the new cast members not only took on the appearance and mannerisms of the original cast, but also their voice inflections and facial expressions…often spewing the expected familiar dialog.

© Paramount Pictures All Rights Reserved

Spock: Live long, and prosper.

Leonard 'Bones' McCoy: Damnit man! I'm a doctor, not a physicist!

Leonard 'Bones' McCoy: Are you out of your Vulcan mind?

Scotty: I'm giving her all she's got, Captain!

Unfortunately, the “novelty” of seeing the old cast come to life as younger versions of the original, morphed into irritation, as one scene after another gave way to “Star Trek” inner-circle moments.

Big Bang or Fizzle

Proving to be one of the more original aspects of the movie, the epic adventure begins with a bang, as James Thiberius Kirk (the soon to be infamous captain of the Starship Enterprise) makes his way into the world. The story explores the chaotic events surrounding the birth of James T. Kirk, and briefly explores his turbulent early years. It also touches on the confused and unhappy childhood of half-Vulcan/half-human Spock.

© Paramount Pictures All Rights Reserved

The pacing of the action was both fast and repetitious. For example, in nearly every action scene, Kirk is hanging precariously by his fingertips from a variety of ledges. I am sure this was a metaphor for something, but after the fourth scene portraying the same action with a different background … Kirk’s “just hang in there” antics began to wear thin.


As always ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) worked their CGI magic on the film. Yet, one of the unsung heroes of the new Star Trek movie was not even listed in the cast credits—Autodesk Maya!

© Paramount Pictures All Rights Reserved

The software was a major player in creating the futuristic world, and the recreation of the Starship Enterprise. The measurements for the movie’s CGI spaceship replica were based off of the full size model of the USS Enterprise (which is currently on display in the Smithsonian Museum).

© Paramount Pictures All Rights Reserved

Though the computerized special effects were impressive, the movie still seemed lacking in the special effects department. There was nothing new, and surely nothing more spectacular than featured within the current string of blockbuster action movies (or previous Star Trek movies for that matter). None of the action scenes held a “wow-factor” response from the audience, which I fear, like myself, have become rather jaded…after awhile all the spaceship explosions resembled one another.

Go or No Go

The other aspects of the film that were somewhat disappointing were the plot holes, which were more akin to black holes that sucked some of the life out of the story. The suspension of disbelief was stretched to the breaking point, crossing over to the land of irrational logic, or to quote Mr. Spock, “It was illogical.”

© Paramount Pictures All Rights Reserved

Even flawed, the newest addition to the Star Trek movie franchise was a fun adventure. The cast, although at times appearing to be caricatures of the original crew, gave creditable performances.

The movie was well worth the price of a movie ticket, and worthy of the voyage to escape with old friends (wearing new faces), for a two hour exploration of the imagination. I also suggest that you go, if only to see Leonard Nimoy reprise his role as Spock Prime.

© Paramount Pictures All Rights Reserved

I leave you with Spock Prime’s immortal ending monologue: Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life-forms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before.

Official Star Trek Site
PG-13 | 2 hr 6 mins
Paramount Pictures
Director: Director J.J. Abrams
Screenwriters: Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci

James Thiberius Kirk: Chris Pine
Spock: Zachary Quinto
Spock Prime: Leonard Nimoy
Bones: Karl Urban
Uhura: Zoe Saldana
Montgomery Scott: Simon Pegg
Sulu: John Cho
Nero: Eric Bana

All supporting images © Paramount Pictures All Rights Reserved Supporting images cannot be copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission from Paramount Pictures

Editor's Note: Be sure to check out all the valuable resources available right here on Renderosity, for all your artistic endeavors, starting with the following related links:

Get to know industry leaders and professionals
as they sit down and talk candidly with
Contributing Columnist, Dee-Marie,
Author of "Sons of Avalon: Merlin's Prophecy"

June 1, 2009

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Article Comments

nickcharles ( posted at 11:28PM Mon, 01 June 2009

Excellent write-up, Dee-Marie! Despite the plot holes, I still can't wait to see this film. Besides, I have to see "Sylar" play Spock :) Although I was not a fan of the original TV series, I did enjoy the Star Trek movies.

deemarie ( posted at 8:07AM Tue, 02 June 2009

Hey Nick, Although the newest "Star Trek" is far from being Oscar worthy, it is still well worth the price of a movie ticket. Especially if you watch the film with wild youthful abandonment, like Captain Kirk, rather than trying to make sense of the plot through Spock’s logical cognizant reasoning :]

Mechanismo ( posted at 1:20PM Wed, 03 June 2009

Hullo, Ive been to see it, and it was bloody good, the effects were awesome! and the casting was very good indeed, except I dont think they should have used Simon Pegg as Scotty as he will always be 'Sean of the dead'. it was nice to see they threw in the stereotypical green girl, and I defiantly love the Kobayashi Maru Scene! all in all a Very good film!! cheer

Sarte ( posted at 4:00PM Wed, 03 June 2009

It was fun, but not really a "Star Trek" movie. Felt like "Generic space action film #2914" to me.

Kimberly.3D ( posted at 7:03PM Thu, 04 June 2009

I loved it so much I saw it again and I think I might just go see it again before I buy it! It rocked!

deemarie ( posted at 11:40AM Fri, 05 June 2009

Hey Everyone, Thanks so much for taking the time to read the review, and an extra special thank you to those who posted comments :] Dee Marie

deadman_walking ( posted at 6:56PM Fri, 05 June 2009

Dee Thank you for your review. I will have to make time to see this one. You might suggest to the rest of the staff that there be a scifi animation contest to show off some of the excellent talent's of the Renderosity members. Thanks again from an old Trekie:)

nemirc ( posted at 2:19AM Sun, 07 June 2009

I'm more of a Star Wars guy, but I've watched and enjoyed some of the Star Trek movies. I haven't had the time to check this one out but I'm definitely in.

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