1.) Exploring New Worlds
For 79 weeks in 1966 to 1969, fans of the TV series Star Trek ventured into "Space, the final frontier" as the Enterprise crew carried out its mission "to explore new worlds, to seek out new life and civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before." David Gerrold, a writer for the series, once commented: "The Enterprise is a cosmic 'Mary Worth' meddling her way across the galaxy, solving problems as she goes." Using the medium of science fiction, the original TV series, the five other TV series, and the 10 films in the franchise have explored a wide gamut of themes that capture and convey the human adventure and the constant exposure to new enemies and mysteries.
"Trekkies" refers to fans of all or parts of the Star Trek fictional universe. The Star Trek television show was cancelled in 1969 and in 1972 devoted followers of the series flocked to their first convention, which was held in New York City. In a 1999 documentary called Trekkies, director Roger Nygard examines the impact of this pop phenomenon on some of its most obsessive fans. He visits a woman chosen for jury duty in the Whitewater trial who wore her Star Fleet commanding officer's uniform to the courthouse. He also interviews a 14-year-old fan who has attended 28 conventions to date. Other interesting folk who have been captivated by the television series and the movies include: Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr., who was a fan of the original series because it showed white people and black people working together as equals; Al Gore, according to his Harvard roommate Tommy Lee Jones, who watched the show more than he studied; and Tom Hanks a fan since childhood, who is rumored to know every episode of the series The Next Generation..
3.) Kirk and Spock Advance in the Starfleet Academy
In Star Trek, director J. J. Abrams takes the franchise and the characters created by Gene Roddenberry in the 1960s and gives us the back story to James Tiberius Kirk and Spock before they came together on the U.S.S. Enterprise.
We meet James as a thrill-seeking Iowa farm boy who lives for adrenaline-pumping excitement and Spock as an outcast who grows up on the planet Vulcan and is treated like a pariah. Kirk (Chris Pine) is urged to enroll in the Starfleet Academy by Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) who recalls the heroism of this young man's father who sacrificed himself to save his crew years earlier. Spock (Zachary Quinto) is chosen by the Vulcan council to work with them but declines in order to sign-up for the Starfleet Academy.
4.) Kirk and Spock Vie For Leadership
What kind of leader do you prefer? A take-charge person who has a flare for the dramatic and a bold and creative approach to problems or a calm and rational individual who has a brilliant mind and impressive logic in the face of difficulties and mysteries? A compelling section of this science fiction story is taken up in the portrayal of this competition between Kirk take-risks style and Spock's reasoned approach.
The Enterprise, a new starship, is launched and immediately given an important mission to halt the deadly destructiveness of Nero (Eric Bana), a Romulan who has plans of obliterating the federated planets of Vulcan and Earth with a drill that can create a black hole. When this vengeful warrior takes Captain Pike as a hostage, Spock is made commander of the U.S.S. Enterprise. But Kirk has his own ideas on how they should proceed.
The screenplay for Star Trek is by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Here is what the latter has to say about their understanding of these two pivotal characters:
"It was really fascinating to think about young Spock, who is literally torn between the Vulcan and human world and, like any child, is trying to figure out where he fits in. That makes him extremely relatable. It was equally fascinating to think about young Kirk, who grows up a rebel, a kind of James Dean, while searching for his identity. When they meet at the Starfleet Academy, they couldn't be more different in how they approach life, but they also each react to the similarities they see in one another. A big part of this journey is how they learn to use the best in each other to make command decisions that will help the Enterprise and the universe itself survive."
5.) A Young Crew's Maiden Voyage on the Enterprise
While Kirk and Spock try to work out their differences, the rest of the crew on their maiden voyage struggle to achieve a graceful teamwork that makes the best use out of everyone's talent. The crew includes Medical Officer Leonard "Bones" McCoy (Karl Urban), whoproves himself to be an early ally of Kirk; Montgomery "Scotty" Scott (Simon Pegg), who will become the ship's Chief Engineer; Communications Officer Uhura (Zoe Saldana), who is having a secret affair with another member of the crew; Helmsman Sulu (John Cho), who also knows how to wield a mean sword; and Chekov (Anton Yelchin), a 17-year-old wiz kid.
This crew is repeatedly tested by the clever machinations of Nero who is a worthy and wily adversary. While they try to work together, Kirk finds himself exiled to Delta Vega, an ice planet inhabited by some fierce creatures. He also meets a stranger important to the unfolding of the rest of his life.
6.) A Raft, a Map, and a Reinvented Story
Star Trek registers on our senses as a spunky adventure story of a maiden crew's voyage aboard the Enterprise. William Kittredge has wisely observed: "We ride stories like rafts, or lay them out on the table like maps. They always, eventually, fail and have to be reinvented." This provides us with a handy way of assessing Star Trek. On one level you can take it as a swift raft ride down the river with all kinds of amazing sights and special effects. On another level, you can take it as a map that gives us things to think about regarding leadership, emotions, and the passage of time. However you take it, it's clear that Abrams and company have reinvented this franchise for a new generation.
Special features on the DVD include nine deleted scenes: featuring young Kirk and Spock, Klingons, and more of the green girls; behind-the-scenes featurettes: "A New Vision"; "To Boldly Go"; casting; aliens; the score; a gag reel; a commentary by the filmmaker commentary; and a Star Trek D-A-C free game trial.