Star Trek is a 2009 science fiction film directed by J. J. Abrams, written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It is the eleventh film based on the Star Trek franchise and features the main characters of the original Star Trek television series, who are portrayed by a new cast. The film follows James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) before they unite aboard the USS Enterprise to combat Nero (Eric Bana), a Romulan from their future who threatens the United Federation of Planets. The story establishes an alternate reality through time-travel by both Nero and the original Spock (Leonard Nimoy), freeing the film and the franchise from established continuity constraints.
Development of the film began in 2005. The production’s aim was to be faithful to the Star Trek canon, modifying continuity with the time-travel storyline, and modernizing the production design of the original show. Filming took place from November 2007 to March 2008 under intense secrecy. Midway through the shoot, Paramount chose to delay the release date from December 25, 2008 to May 2009, believing the film could reach a wider audience.
Star Trek earned high critical praise, gaining a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is the eighth-highest-grossing film of 2009 — fifth-highest within the United States — and has become the highest-grossing film in the Star Trek series and is credited by the media as a reboot of the series
In the year 2233, the Federation starship USS Kelvin is investigating a lightning storm when a massive ship emerges from within the storm and attacks the Kelvin, causing severe damage. The attacking ship’s captain, Nero, orders the Kelvin to stand down and bring its captain aboard to negotiate a ceasefire. The captain appoints George Kirk as acting captain and departs. On board the attacking ship, the Narada, Nero kills the Kelvin’s captain after questioning if he knows an Ambassador Spock and getting no reply. Nero continues his attack on the Kelvin and George Kirk orders the ship to evacuate while he stays behind to provide cover for the fleeing shuttlecraft, one of which carries his pregnant wife. Seconds before the Kelvin collides with the Narada, George’s wife gives birth to a boy while George listens over the comm. They decide to name the baby James, after her father. The Kelvin collides with the Narada, killing George, while the shuttlecraft escape.
James Tiberius Kirk grows up to be an intelligent, though reckless and cynical, young man. A young Spock grows up on Vulcan and is discriminated against because of his half-human heritage, which leads him to join Starfleet. After a run-in at a local bar, Captain Christopher Pike challenges Kirk to emulate his father’s heroism and convinces him to join Starfleet. En route to Starfleet Academy, Kirk befriends fellow cadet Leonard McCoy.
Three years later, Starfleet receives a distress signal from Vulcan that indicates the appearance of a lightning storm in space, and with the primary fleet engaged in an operation, the cadets are mobilized to help crew the ships in orbit. McCoy smuggles a grounded Kirk aboard the USS Enterprise as a patient under his care. Kirk recognizes the similarities between the Vulcan incident and the encounter that destroyed the Kelvin, and warns Pike that the fleet is heading into a trap. The Enterprise arrives late to find the fleet destroyed and the Narada drilling into Vulcan’s core. The Narada attacks the Enterprise and Nero orders Pike to surrender himself. Pike obeys, promoting Spock to captain and Kirk to first officer. En route to the Narada, Kirk, Hikaru Sulu, and Chief Engineer Olson perform an orbital skydive onto the drilling platform to destroy it; Kirk and Sulu stop the drill and escape. Nero launches red matter into the planet’s core, imploding the planet into a black hole. Spock rescues some of the planet’s elders, including his father, but his mother dies along with the majority of the planet’s population. Nero sets course for Earth and tortures Pike for the command codes to its perimeter defenses.
After a heated argument with Spock about their next move, Kirk is marooned on Delta Vega for mutiny. Spock then orders the ship to rendezvous with the rest of the fleet. On Delta Vega, Kirk encounters Ambassador Spock, who tells Kirk he is from the future and to save time, Spock relays the future’s events through a mind meld. In the year 2387, the galaxy is threatened by a volatile supernova. Ambassador Spock pilots a ship carrying “red matter”, which will create an artificial black hole to consume the supernova. Before Spock completes his mission, the supernova destroys the planet Romulus and Captain Nero attempts to exact revenge on Spock, whom he blames for the destruction of his homeworld, his wife, and unborn child. Both ships, however, are pulled in to the black hole’s event horizon and travel into the past. The Narada arrives first and Spock arrives 25 years later (but seconds later for him), where he is captured by Nero and marooned on Delta Vega so that he can witness the destruction of Vulcan. Ambassador Spock insists that Kirk must become captain of the Enterprise and the two travel on foot through the freezing cold to a nearby Starfleet outpost. There, they meet Montgomery Scott. Ambassador Spock beams Kirk and Scott aboard the Enterprise while he stays on the planet. Once aboard, Kirk deliberately enrages Commander Spock to force him to acknowledge that he is emotionally compromised, thereby forfeiting command which then passes to Kirk.
Spock, Scott, and Pavel Chekov devise a plan to ambush the Narada by dropping out of warp behind Saturn’s moon Titan. Once there, Kirk and Spock beam aboard the Narada. While Kirk rescues Pike, Spock retakes Ambassador Spock’s ship, destroys the drill and lures the Narada away from Earth before piloting a collision course. The Enterprise arrives and beams Kirk, Pike, and Spock away before the collision, which ignites the remaining red matter and creates a black hole within the Narada’s superstructure. Kirk offers to rescue Nero and his crew, but he refuses and the Narada is destroyed. The Enterprise escapes the same fate by ejecting and then igniting the ship’s warp drive reactor cores, with the resulting explosion pushing them clear.
Kirk is promoted to captain of the Enterprise, relieving the newly-promoted Admiral Pike. While searching for his father, Spock encounters his older self in a hangar; Ambassador Spock is departing to help establish a new colony for the remaining Vulcans. The younger Spock informs his older self of his wishes to leave Starfleet to aid in the establishment of a new Vulcan colony. Ambassador Spock tells his younger self that he and Kirk need each other and that he should do what feels right. Taking the advice, Spock remains in Starfleet, becoming first officer under Kirk’s command.