Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||J. J. Abrams|
|Based on|| Star Trek |
by Gene Roddenberry
|Running time||126 minutes|
|Followed by||Star Trek Into Darkness|
A cataclysm in the 24th century throws two ships back in time to the 23rd century, altering the course of history. With a different life where he never knew his father, James T. Kirk becomes a brilliant yet cynical misfit who is finally convinced to join Starfleet by Captain Christopher Pike in 2255. Three years later, Kirk, Vulcan First Officer Spock, and the young crew of the new USS Enterprise, with guidance from Spock's future self, must figure out a way to work together to prevent the one responsible for the death of Kirk's father, the future Romulan known as Nero, from destroying the Federation in a mad quest for vengeance.
In the year 2233, the USS Kelvin investigates a "lightning storm" near Klingon space, which they soon realize to be a black hole. Suddenly, the massive Narada emerges and immediately opens fire on the Kelvin, inflicting heavy damage. The Narada ceases fire, and its first officer, Ayel, hails the outmatched Kelvin. Speaking for its captain, Nero, Ayel demands that the Kelvin's captain, Richard Robau, come aboard the Narada via shuttlecraft. Captain Robau agrees and hands command of the ship to his first officer, George Kirk. He orders Kirk to wait fifteen minutes for his signal or else evacuate the ship.
Robau is taken to Nero, while the crew of the Kelvin monitors his life signs. Ayel interrogates him first about a particular ship, which Robau does not recognize, and then about the whereabouts of Ambassador Spock, with whom Robau is also unfamiliar. Robau reveals the stardate; they've ended up nearly 150 Earth years into the past. Realizing that they will not get the answers they want out of Robau, he is killed by Nero himself. Kirk orders the Kelvin to open fire. As the situation worsens and he realizes that the damage to the Kelvin is compromising the lives and safety of everyone, he orders the crew to escape pods and shuttles, including his wife Winona, who is about to give birth.
Kirk tries to plot a collision course with the Narada, but the ship's autopilot navigation is offline. The commander makes the sad realization that he will need to control the Kelvin himself. He orders his wife to leave on the shuttle without him. She protests, but Kirk knows that he has no choice but to stay behind and continue the attack in order to protect the others. On the shuttlecraft, Winona Kirk gives birth to a baby boy. As the Kelvin destroys the missiles aimed at the shuttles, Kirk can hear his newborn's cries, realizing that he will never meet his son. Just before the Kelvin is about to collide with the Romulan vessel, Kirk asks Winona what they should name their son. She suggests naming him after George's father, but he laughs the suggestion off, saying that "Tiberius" isn't much of a first name. They decide to name him "Jim", after Winona's father. Communication is cut off as the Kelvin smashes into the Narada, crippling it temporarily and giving the shuttles time to escape.
Approximately ten years later, in the year 2243, a young boy is seen racing down the road in an antique Corvette across the open Iowa landscape, blasting 20th century music. Soon, a policeman on a flying motorbike chases him, ordering the boy to stop the car. Evading the officer, Kirk heads for a quarry and jumps out of the car, moments before it speeds over the edge and crashes on the canyon floor below. The policeman apprehends the boy who defiantly identifies himself as "James Tiberius Kirk".
Around the same time on Vulcan, a young Spock is being tormented by his peers about his mixed heritage. The boys call his father a traitor for marrying a Human "whore". The three have previously failed to invoke an emotional response in Spock, but this time they take it too far and Spock knocks one of the older boys into a learning pit and beats him in an emotional rage. He is later gently admonished by his father, Sarek, who is disappointed at his son's lack of emotional control. When Spock asks of his father why he married his mother, Sarek coldly replies that it was the logical choice.
Years later, Spock is conflicted about whether to participate in the kolinahr, the Vulcan ritual aimed at purging all vestigial emotions. He talks to his mother, Amanda Grayson, who tells him that she will always be proud of him, no matter what he decides. Later, Spock stands before a committee on Vulcan. The committee informs him of his acceptance into the Vulcan Science Academy and commends his accomplishments despite his "disadvantage" of being half-Human. In response to yet another underhanded insult on his heritage, Spock declines the offer of admission, stating that he has decided to enter Starfleet Academy instead. The committee expresses shock, as the offer of admission to the Vulcan Science Academy is one that no Vulcan has ever turned down – to which Spock replies that, as he isn't a real Vulcan, that statement is still accurate.
In 2255, in a bar in Iowa, a young Uhura meets up with some friends, and while ordering drinks, a brash and intoxicated James Kirk introduces himself to her and offers to buy her a drink. His attempts at flirting with her are unsuccessful, however, and the situation escalates when three Starfleet recruits intervene and end up in a fight during which Kirk is badly beaten. Fortunately for him, Captain Christopher Pike steps in and ends the fight. Pike, who is very familiar with Kirk's tragic past and the accomplishment of his father, having written his Academy dissertation about the Kelvin, sits down with him, trying to talk some sense into the rebellious young man by trying to persuade him to join Starfleet. Pike firmly believes that with his aptitude, Kirk can do more with himself than get into bar fights and be "the only genius-level repeat offender in the Midwest." Kirk doesn't want to hear it and laughs at the idea of joining Starfleet. Pike ends the conversation with a reminder that Kirk's father saved eight hundred lives in the course of just twelve minutes of command and challenges Kirk to do better.
Early the next day, Kirk heads to Riverside Shipyard, where the USS Enterprise is under construction. Pike is surprised to see Kirk turn up to join the new recruits. Before boarding, Kirk smugly tells Pike that he'll graduate in three years instead of four. On the recruit shuttle, he meets Leonard McCoy – a disgruntled recruit who dismisses Starfleet technology with smug pessimism. The two share a drink as the shuttlecraft leaves for the Academy in San Francisco.
Three years later, the Narada is waiting at an unknown part of space. Nero is called to the bridge by Ayel. Suddenly, a black hole temporal disturbance appears and a small starship flies out of the anomaly. Nero recognizes and welcomes the appearance of Ambassador Spock, and orders the ship to be captured.
Meanwhile, at Starfleet Academy, Kirk is telling McCoy that he is taking the Kobayashi Maru test again the next day, and is certain he will pass it. McCoy is shocked at Kirk's confidence, as no one has ever passed the test, much less repeated it. However, Kirk is convinced that he will nail it and leaves to "study", which for him means an assignation with an Orion cadet named Gaila in her dorm room. Suddenly, Gaila's roommate enters and Kirk hides under the bed. He is mortified to find that the roommate is Uhura. Undressing down to her underwear, she describes to Gaila decoding Klingon transmissions about battle cruisers destroyed near a prison planet. She hears him breathing however, and eventually discovers him and angrily kicks him out.
The next day, Kirk, McCoy, Uhura, and a few other Starfleet recruits are in the Kobayashi Maru simulation test on Kirk's third attempt. Kirk takes a comically casual approach to the test, including eating an apple. Everything goes as planned when, unexpectedly, the power systems momentarily fail, and then the attacking Klingon ships' shields go down and the ships are promptly destroyed. From above the simulator room, a technician asks how Kirk was able to beat this test. Spock, who is in the observation room, is equally puzzled.
During an official inquiry, the Starfleet Academy brass informs Kirk that they have received evidence that Kirk entered a subroutine into the computer making it possible for him to win in the simulation, and accuse him of cheating. While Kirk faces his accuser, Spock, and tries to defend himself, the hearing is suddenly interrupted when the committee is informed that the Federation has received a distress call from Vulcan. With the primary fleet occupied in the Laurentian system, Starfleet is forced to commission the Academy cadets and dispatch ships immediately to begin a rescue mission.
Cadets are assigned to ships based on their aptitude, with the most capable cadets assigned to the USS Enterprise, a ship completed so recently that it hasn't even been christened yet. Uhura is originally assigned to the USS Farragut, but complains directly to Spock, citing her numerous commendations and recommendations, insisting she had earned an assignment to the Enterprise. Kirk has been grounded pending a ruling on his inquiry, and is not allowed to board the shuttles and join the mission. However, McCoy takes him to the medical bay, where he injects him with a vaccine, temporarily making him ill so that, as a doctor refusing to abandon his patient, he has an official reason to take him along on the mission.
The Enterprise leaves the spacedock for Vulcan, after a slight delay caused by the backup helmsman, Hikaru Sulu, forgetting to disengage the "parking brake" before jumping to warp. Their orders are to investigate seismic disturbances and aid in evacuation of the planet if necessary. After hearing the announcement, Kirk suddenly realizes that the "lightning storm" is exactly the same occurrence the Kelvin encountered two decades earlier. Realizing that they are running straight into a trap, Kirk rushes through the ship to Uhura despite suffering a bad reaction to the vaccine McCoy gave him. Despite his initial difficulty to communicate coherently, he finally manages to ask her about the Klingon distress call she had deciphered earlier and she confirms that the attackers were Romulan.
Kirk rushes to the bridge to inform Captain Pike. Pike and Spock, though initially quite skeptical, are convinced after Uhura confirms Kirk's suspicion. As they disengage warp drive, the Enterprise finds itself in a debris field of the other seven Starfleet ships which arrived shortly before they did. At the direction of Pike, Sulu is able to navigate his way through the debris with minimal damage. As they clear the debris, they come upon the Narada, drilling above Vulcan's atmosphere. The Narada attacks the Enterprise, which takes heavy damage. But just as they are about to fire again, Nero realizes which ship he is firing at and orders a cease-fire.
He hails the Enterprise and casually identifies himself. Pike, seeing a Romulan, accuses him of an act of war and offers to reach a settlement, but Nero states he stands apart from the Romulan Star Empire. He openly greets a confused Spock, and orders Pike to come aboard via shuttlecraft. Pike asks if there are any advanced hand-to-hand combat-trained officers on the bridge, and gathers Sulu, Spock, and Kirk for the away mission.
Pike promotes Spock to captain and puts him in charge of the Enterprise. He also commissions Kirk as first officer, much to Spock's chagrin. Pike outlines his plan to do two things at once: on the shuttle en route to the Narada he will drop Kirk, Sulu, and Chief Engineer Olson into an orbital skydive. They will land on Narada's drill platform and disable it in order to contact Starfleet, since the drill has disabled communications and transporter capabilities.
Pike arrives on the Narada as the three begin their descent and, despite the immediate death of Olson, Kirk, and Sulu eventually manage to fire on the drill and disable it.
Ayel reports the drill's incapacitation, but tells Nero that the drill reached Vulcan's core before going offline. Nero orders the release of "red matter", and the return of the drill. Chekov discovers what the "red matter" is doing: creating a black hole in the middle of the planet. Vulcan will be destroyed in a matter of minutes.
Right after Kirk and Sulu are beamed back aboard, Spock tells Kirk that he is beaming down to save the Vulcan Council, which includes Spock's parents. Kirk tries to stop him but he ignores Kirk and orders the transporter chief to beam him down immediately. The council members were taking refuge in the katric ark, a chamber within Mount Seleya, which they could not simply beam through. Two of the elders in the council are killed by falling rocks and statues, but Spock is able to get five of them outside, including his parents. As the transporter is about to pick them up, the rock his mother is standing on collapses, causing the transporter to miss her. As they re-materialize on board the Enterprise, Spock stands on the transporter pad in shock, having lost his mother, with his hand still reached out to her. The Enterprise crew retreats and watches in horror as Vulcan implodes into oblivion.
- "Acting Captain's Log, Stardate 2258.42. We have had no word from Captain Pike. I therefore classified him as a hostage of the war criminal known as Nero. Nero, who has destroyed my home planet and most of its six billion inhabitants. While the essence of our culture has been saved in the elders who now reside upon this ship, I estimate that no more than ten thousand [Vulcans] have survived. I am now a member of an endangered species."
Kirk, Sulu, and the few Vulcans who were able to be brought aboard the Enterprise are brought to sickbay for treatment. Soon after, Spock leaves the bridge, and he is followed into the turbolift by Uhura who tries to comfort him. Spock maintains his distance.
Nero asks Pike for the security codes to defense systems around Earth, but Pike refuses to give them to him, disgusted by Nero's act of genocide on Vulcan. Nero speaks about how the Narada, in his time, was a mining ship, and he was laboring to support his wife, who was expecting his child, before they were killed when Romulus was destroyed. He placed blame on the Federation for doing nothing, and accused Spock of betraying them, promising himself retribution. Pike pleads that Romulus still exists, but Nero only knows that his world – the Romulus of the future – was destroyed, and he intends to destroy every world of the Federation, so that others will know his pain. Forcing a Centaurian slug down Pike's throat, which will help coerce Pike to give out the security codes, Nero orders the Narada to continue to Earth.
On the bridge of the Enterprise, Spock reasons that the Narada must have traveled back in time from the future. He states that they must regroup with the fleet, but Kirk says that in order to stop Nero they must go after him first. This culminates in an argument which ends in Spock ordering Kirk's removal from the bridge. When Kirk physically protests, Spock incapacitates Kirk and places him in an escape pod and jettisons him off the ship. Kirk awakens to find himself on the snow-covered world of Delta Vega, another planet in Vulcan's system. Picking up his gear, Kirk heads for the Starfleet station fourteen kilometers away.
- "Stardate 2258.42... four uh, four, whatever. Acting Captain Spock has marooned me on Delta Vega, in what I believe is a violation of Security Protocol 49.09 governing the treatment of prisoners on board a starship."
He is chased down by a "polarilla" which is in turn attacked by an even larger insectoid animal. It chases Kirk into a cave, and when it finally attaches a tendril to catch him, trying to consume him, it is spooked off by an elderly Vulcan wielding a lit torch. Before he can thank his savior, the old man, who had recognized Kirk on sight, reveals himself to be Spock, Kirk's old friend, but the latter is skeptical – until the former identifies Nero as Pike's captor. Spock melds with Kirk so that he can understand why he is here. He explains that 129 years in the future, in the year 2387, an impending supernova of a star threatened to destroy the home worlds of the Romulan Star Empire and, potentially, the rest of the galaxy as well. Spock developed a stockpile of "red matter", a substance that can be ignited to form a singularity. However, the star exploded while he was en route, and Romulus was destroyed. Spock launched the red matter from his ship, the Jellyfish, to prevent further damage. Immediately, Spock was confronted by a surviving Romulan mining vessel, the Narada, captained by Nero. Spock tried to escape, but the resultant black hole captured both the Jellyfish and the Narada, creating a disturbance in the space-time continuum sending both ships into the past. The Narada exited over one hundred and fifty years in the past, where it confronted the Kelvin. Spock's ship entered moments later, but what appeared seconds to him, were twenty-five years after the Narada had entered. He explains that Nero captured his ship, but kept him alive, marooning him on Delta Vega, so that he could witness the destruction of his own home planet, Vulcan, just as he had to witness the destruction of Romulus.
Kirk explains he was left on the planet by the Spock he knows, who is currently in command of the Enterprise. The elder Spock is surprised, knowing that Kirk should be in command of the ship. It is then that Spock realizes that when Nero exited the black hole and confronted the Kelvin, he altered history and created an alternate reality, which changed everything, especially Kirk's life. Kirk asks Spock whether his father lived in the original timeline. Spock confirms that George Kirk proudly saw his son take command of the Enterprise, and often spoke of him as his inspiration to join Starfleet. Spock leads Kirk to the Starfleet base.
Kirk and the elder Spock are met by a short alien officer, Keenser, who leads them inside, where they meet this timeline's Montgomery Scott. A transporter genius, Scotty was "exiled" to Delta Vega after beaming Admiral Archer's prized beagle to an unknown location during a failed experiment in "transwarp beaming". Spock informs Kirk that he must relieve the Vulcan's younger self of command by provoking him and showing everyone that Spock is too personally and emotionally compromised to lead the mission and captain the ship. Giving Scotty the formula for "transwarp beaming" – an operation originally devised by the Scotty he knew – Spock, who had responded to Kirk's suggestion that he was now "cheating" by recalling the "old friend" who had taught him how to cheat, sends Kirk and Scotty back to the Enterprise. Not too long after they are transported to the Enterprise (Scotty had materialized in a water tank and nearly drowned), the two are spotted and eventually captured by security personnel – led by the very cadet who had started the bar brawl which led to Kirk joining Starfleet.
They are taken to the bridge where an astounded Spock attempts to find out how the two were able to transport on board the ship while it was in warp. Kirk refuses to answer and recommends Scotty do the same, and then proceeds to ask why Spock doesn't feel any anger or have any emotion over the destruction of his planet and the murder of his mother. He keeps pushing and provoking Spock, claiming he never loved his mother. Upon hearing this accusation, Spock finally snaps and lunges after Kirk, ruthlessly beating and strangling him to the point of nearly killing him, before Sarek begs Spock to stop. Realizing how far he has gone, Spock relieves himself of duty and leaves the bridge. Kirk assumes command and orders an immediate pursuit of the Narada.
Following his outburst, Spock returns to the transporter room, where Sarek tries to get Spock to open up to him. Spock admits to feeling conflicted, and feels a rage he cannot control towards Nero over the death of his mother. Sarek offers that his mother would have said not to bother controlling it, and, recalling what he had said years before after another outburst of his son's Human side, sadly admits to his son that he married Amanda because he loved her. Meanwhile, on the bridge, Chekov figures out a plan to get the Enterprise close to the Narada without them noticing: they can follow the Narada and stop at Titan's orbit, remaining undetected by hiding in its magnetic field. Soon after, a cooled-off Spock returns to the bridge, confirms the logic of Chekov's plan, and offers to beam over to the Narada to get the "black hole device" and save Earth, the only home he has left. Kirk says he will go as well, to rescue Pike. Spock mentions regulations against the captain and first officer going on such a mission, but chooses not to cite something he knows Kirk will ignore. Kirk quips that they are finally getting to know each other and gives Spock a friendly slap to the back.
The Romulan ship arrives at Earth and deploys its drilling rig directly over San Francisco. Warping into Titan's atmosphere, the Enterprise remains undetected by the Narada. Before stepping onto the transporter pad, Kirk calls the bridge, telling Sulu that, if he believes the Enterprise can destroy the Narada, even if Kirk, Spock and Pike are still aboard, he should not hesitate to take the opportunity. Sulu reluctantly acknowledges Kirk's order. Before they beam over, Uhura kisses Spock and tells him that he better come back. In his reply, he calls her "Nyota." Kirk, who overheard, then asks Spock if that's the first name he had tried and failed to learn since the first time he met her; Spock coyly cuts him off, stating his refusal to comment on the matter. Right after they are beamed aboard, the Narada begins to drill its hole near the Golden Gate Bridge, cutting the ship off from the Enterprise.
Scotty thought he would be beaming Kirk and Spock to the Narada's cargo bay, but it turns out to be a heavily occupied portion of the ship. After a brief firefight, Spock uncovers the location of the black hole device and Captain Pike by melding with an unconscious Romulan. When they board the Jellyfish, it recognizes Spock as its captain (at which Kirk sarcastically expresses surprise), and the Vulcan finally figures out what is going on, as the ship's computer confirms its origin stardate as 2387, constructed by the Vulcan Science Academy. Spock confronts Kirk about withholding information from him, but Kirk dodges the question by asking Spock if he can fly the spacecraft, a question he is fairly confident Kirk already knows the answer to. For the first time, Spock calls Kirk, "Jim" and informs him that their chances of success are grim by citing his calculation of their odds, but Kirk assures him that their plan will work.
As Spock commandeers the Jellyfish and blasts out of the Narada, Kirk runs into more trouble as he finds the Romulans' "bridge", where Nero and Ayel are waiting. Kirk is confronted by Nero, who has recognized him from Earth's history, and after a brief scuffle, Nero pins Kirk and tells him that, while he was a decorated officer and went on to captain the starship Enterprise, that was another life, and that he plans to deprive him of the same life his father once had. Before he can finish Kirk off, however, Nero is informed that the Jellyfish has been stolen and the drill has been destroyed. Furious above all else, Nero storms off, leaving Kirk to Ayel while he plans to kill Spock. Ayel promptly grabs Kirk by the throat and lifts him in the air, surprised at how "weak" Humans appear to be. Seeing his prey attempting to talk, Ayel offers Kirk the chance to say something – and the Human replies that he is in possession of the Romulan's disruptor pistol. Kirk fires and kills Ayel as he plunges into the depths of the Romulan vessel. He then heads off to rescue Pike. Meanwhile, Nero hails Spock, declaring that he should have killed him when he had the chance. In reply, Spock taunts Nero by "ordering" him to surrender. The Jellyfish then goes into warp with Nero and the Narada in hot pursuit.
The ships drop out of warp, and the Jellyfish turns to intercept and collide with the Narada. Nero orders all weapons to be fired, even though the ship still has "red matter" on it; with his plan for revenge ruined, now he only wants to kill Spock. The Enterprise arrives on the scene and destroys the missiles with a fierce volley of its phasers, allowing Spock to carry through with his plan to ram the Narada. Inside the Narada, Kirk finds Pike, alive but injured due to his earlier torture. Pike is quite surprised, but Kirk reminds him of his previous order to "come and get me", and when two Romulan soldiers walk in and find Kirk, effectively defenseless while freeing Pike from the chamber, the captain returns the favor, grabbing the gun on Kirk's belt and killing the intruders before his rescuer even realizes what happened. Scotty successfully beams back Kirk, Pike, and Spock, right before the Jellyfish collides with the Narada.
The explosion of the Jellyfish ignites the entire stockpile of "red matter" on board, creating a black hole, which begins to swallow up the Narada. Kirk offers to rescue the surviving crew, believing that the tense relations between the Romulans and the Federation might be aided by this. Spock disagreed. Belligerent to the last, Nero refuses assistance anyway and Kirk opens fire, blowing the ship apart with phasers and photon torpedoes. The Narada is finally destroyed, but the gravitational pull of the black hole begins tugging on the Enterprise, keeping it from escaping, even with its engines running at warp speed. The pressure is heavily damaging the ship as Kirk orders Scott to get them out of there at all cost. Scotty ejects the warp core and detonates it near the black hole, pushing the Enterprise to safety.
Back on Earth, the elder Spock meets with his younger counterpart, who presumed the former to be his/their father. Young Spock is confused as to why his older self didn't come with Kirk and explain the situation. The older Spock states that he implied there may be universe-destroying paradoxes if Kirk told him the truth so that they would have to rely on each other, thus ensuring "a friendship that will define you both, in ways you can not yet realize." Young Spock asks if he was making a gambit; older Spock states that he made "an act of faith" to his old friend, which he hopes that he will show again in the future. However, younger Spock expresses his decision to resign from Starfleet to help rebuild the Vulcan race; older Spock points out that he can be in two places at once. He also advises his younger self in this case to put aside logic and do what feels right. The older Spock then raises his hand in the familiar Vulcan salute, and, feeling it would be inappropriate to say "live long and prosper" to himself, simply wishes his younger self "good luck."
Kirk is commended by Starfleet Command, promoted to captain, and given permanent command of the Enterprise. He relieves Pike, who has been promoted to admiral and is now recovering in a wheelchair. A proud Pike shakes his successor's hand and notes that his father, too, would be very proud of Kirk. As the older Spock leaves to help the remaining Vulcans establish a colony, Kirk, now dressed in the gold uniform of a captain, walks on to the Enterprise bridge. After he tells McCoy to "buckle up", and receives assurances from Uhura, Sulu, Chekov, and Scotty (who has barely finished talking to Kirk when he finds Keenser - now a member of his engineering staff - having climbed atop a console and orders him down) that their sections are ready to depart, the younger Spock returns to the Enterprise and asks Captain Kirk if he can be his first officer, offering to provide "character references". Kirk says it would be his honor.
As the Enterprise begins its journey, the voice of the elder Spock intones the famous motto that other starships named Enterprise have voyaged forward from:
- 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.
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