I went into the theater after a week of avoiding major reviews and story summaries. I'm glad I did, because I would have waited for the DVD release if I had read any spoilers. My son told me the movieography of the actors other than Zachary Quinto. The actors who played McCoy and Scotty had the characters nailed! Uhura, Sulu and Checkov, not as much, but well played. See the IMDB for details.
OK, you've been warned! Original story notes are in red. Some notes are based on the Star Trek Omnepedia
The USS Kelvin is on a survey mission Commander George Kirk is first officer. A Federation Planet comes under attack by a Romulan ship from the future. His pregnant wife, Winona is on board and is moved to a shuttle to escape the destruction of the ship. James Tiberius Kirk is born moments before his father is killed while he rams the Romulan ship. We know nothing of Kirk's parents. Kirk was born in Iowa in 2233. He was on Tarsus IV and witnessed the massacre by Kodos the Executioner when he was 13. Presumably his parents were killed at that time. We know he had a brother George, who was killed with his wife, Aurelan in Operation Annihilate!
Spock is tormented as a half breed by Vulcan children. His mother Amanda Graystone tries to console him. Later Spock applies the the Vulcan Science Academy, but declines and goes to Starfleet. He is promoted to commander and is in charge of programming the Kobayoshi Maru test, which is designed to test a commander's reaction to a no win situation. There is no indication that Spock had anything to do with the test. He joined Starfleet some time around SD 2250, based on the time line established in The Menagerie.
Captain Chistopher Pike meets a young James T. Kirk when Pike breaks up a bar fight involving Kirk and Starfleet cadets. Pike tries to convince Kirk to join Starfleet to follow in his late father's steps. Kirk signs up at the last minute and meets Dr. McCoy on the way to the academy. The exact date of Kirk beginning the Academy is not clear, but it could have been some time around SD 2257. As part of training, Kirk takes on and is disappointed in the results of the Kobayoshi Maru test. He takes the test twice more, the third time after changing the program to allow a successful conclusion. Spock accuses him of cheating on the test but the trial is interrupted when the Romulan ship attacks Vulcan. Kirk actually received a commendation for his thinking out of the box.
When the Romulan ship attacks Vulcan, the Starfleet cadets are assigned to various ships, but Kirk is held back because he cheated on the Kobayoshi Maru test. Doctor McCoy gives Kirk a drug and sneaks him aboard the Enterprise. McCoy is not assigned to the Enterprise until SD 2266. Spock is the science officer of the Enterprise and after convincing Pike to not pursue the Romulan ship at Vulcan, Kirk is made first officer. Kirk had postings on various ships including the Republic and Farragut. He did not take command of the enterprise until 2264.
The movie makes a point of the Vulcan and Romulan races being closely related. But the resemblance is not seen until Balance of Terror, the stardate of that episode (#9) is out of synch given as 1709.2. However it is some time into the five year mission of Enterprise under Kirk.
The attack on Vulcan causes the death of Amanda and upsets Spock, but of course he hides the emotions. This is a major change for the original show, as Sarek and Amanda come aboard the Enterprise and meet Kirk for the first time in Journey to Babel, where Sarek is an ambassador to the conference. When Kirk is dropped on what may be a moon of Vulcan, but where else can future Spock view the destruction of his home world? Spock tells Kirk to push the young Spock to a breaking point. At that point Spock must give up command of the Enterprise.
Kirk and future Spock meet Scotty on the outpost and Spock shows him the warp transporter equation so Kirk and Scott beam aboard the Enterprise. Scotty served on eleven ships before joining the Enterprise crew. His career began in SD 2242. Enterprise was his first post as chief engineer.
Kirk pushes all of Spock's buttons to the breaking point, as future Spock had predicted. Kirk being first officer, takes command and destroys the Romulan ship. He is given full command of the Enterprise as Admiral Pike looks on from a wheelchair, recovering from his encounter with the Romulan.
Notwithstanding the Star Wars like action and conflicts with the original story, this is a very watchable movie. I fully enjoyed the movie and look forward to future stories. Much of the dialog was exactly on target of what would be expected from the characters. Some of it was actually telegraphed to me from the scene.
What makes this to be a great movie is that from the beginning, it is an alternate reality. This opens the door to all of the above conflicts with the original stories. The one problem with this is how do we reconcile James T. Kirk being born on the shuttle? If the Romulan ship caused the split in reality, how could Kirk have been born anywhere but Iowa? Or was the alternate reality underway before the Romulan arrived and changed that history, but not ours. If we accept that, then the re-boot will be successful.
Saturday May 16, 2009
Copyright © 2009 by Joseph D. Korman
- The JoeKorNer