Star Trek (film)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
The galaxy's greatest bromance begins again.

Spock: I would cite regulation, but I know you will simply ignore it.
Kirk: See? We are getting to know each other.

The Film of the Series from Lost creator J.J. Abrams using the Star Trek: The Original Series characters, but different actors. It is set about eight years before The Original Series would have been set, but is also an alternate reality.

In 2233, about 30 years before the Original Series was supposed to take place, The Federation Starship Kelvin comes across a "black hole"-like spatial phenomenon near a distant sun. Emerging from it is a massive ship called the Narada captained by a Romulan named Nero. Deploying weaponry vastly superior to that of the Kelvin, the Narada forces the Federation crew to abandon ship, with many members lost. While the survivors flee the devastating battle, a young boy is born amongst them: James Tiberius Kirk, son of the first officer (and extremely short-term captain) of the Kelvin. Kirk grows up an angry teenager and a rebellious young adult until he is recruited to join Starfleet.

As Kirk makes waves at Starfleet Academy, the Narada emerges again after years in hiding. The Federation scrambles its fleet to confront this menace, deploying the flagship Enterprise for the first time. All the rest of the fleet is destroyed, with the Enterprise only surviving do to initial problems getting to the battlefield and when they manage to do so their captain, Christopher Pike, is taken hostage. Learning that the Narada is from the distant future and that they all had a major part in creating that future, it thus falls on Kirk and Spock to overcome their initial mistrust of each other and the ship's cadet[1] crew (the young TOS characters) to somehow save the day.

A sequel was released in 2013.

Tropes used in Star Trek (film) include:


  • Abusive Parents: Kirk's stepfather, Frank.
  • Academy Award: The first Trek film to win one (for Makeup), although past films were nominated.
  • Accidental Pervert: Kirk gets knocked onto Uhura during a fight, and accidentally puts his hands on her breasts to steady himself. He smirks; she pushes him off.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Quite a few, mostly involving Spock.
  • Alien Geometries:
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: Well of course Sulu has "advanced hand-to-hand combat training[2]". Oh, and a sword too! Though this had been established in the original series. Though nowhere nearly as awesomely.
  • All There in the Manual: A major sticking point for fans is how you need to read the comic book tie-in to be able to make any sense of Nero's motivation for anything. It's also only in a deleted scene barely alluded to in the film that you learn the Romulans were actually in a Klingon prison during the 25 year Time Skip rather than just sitting on their asses waiting for Spock to show up.
  • Alternate Reality Game: A bunch of Romulans attempting to warn the Vulcans are being pursued all across Europe by Nero's thugs while both sides are using the new Star Trek movie the humans are premiering as cover and oh God my brain hurts. It's chronicled here, see if you can figure it out...
  • Alternate Timeline: The explanation behind the franchise's Continuity Reboot. Thanks to time-travel, the alternate universe in the Film is now fundamentally changed.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Or bigger giant Delta Vega monster, in this case. Subverted, since instead of saving Kirk it just means that he's now being chased by something even worse.
  • Apocalypse How: In the future, a solar system is annihilated; Spock Prime mentions a supernova that destroyed Romulus and Remus. In the present, planetary annihilation happens to Vulcan and almost happens to Earth, courtesy of Nero and his Red Matter. It was stated that, if not dealt with, the end result of the future disaster could have resulted in galactic annihilation.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Red Matter, among other things.
  • Ax Crazy: Nero. Nero.
  • Badass: Kirk and Spock. As well as Sulu. And Pike. And definitely Robau. And Kirk's father. Almost everybody in the movie is a Starfleet officer or a Romulan miner: wimps and losers need not apply.
  • Bald of Awesome: Captain Robau.
  • Bald of Evil: Nero and his crew all have hairless heads. Except the solitary woman. She got to keep her hair, apparently.
  • Bash Brothers: When Kirk and Spock beam onto the Narada and start shooting up everything in sight.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: McCoy makes Kirk sick, then cites the prerogative of Starfleet physicians to transport their patients with them in order to get Kirk aboard the Enterprise...
  • Beam Spam:
    • When necessary, ships are capable of firing a lot more at once than in most Star Trek works.
    • This universe's Federation also seems to comprehend the concept of point defense.
    • Agreeing with the above, the total firepower of the new ship seems to be no more than the original can dish out, see the Original Series episode: "The Balance Of Terror".
    • This Starfleet has traded extremely powerful but slow shooting giant laser beams for rapid firing but weaker pulse weapons.
      • The pulse weapons appear in the Prime Universe as well, but only after the Dominion War.
  • The Beautiful Elite: No one in the galaxy is ugly save for a couple of Rubber Forehead Aliens here and there, and apparently Starfleet-issue uniforms for female cadets and medical staff consist of sundresses and go-go boots.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Kirk and Uhura appear to have this in the beginning of the movie; however, it is interrupted when he provokes a Bar Brawl. Uhura wasn't being a Tsundere for Kirk; while she may or may not have been interested, the Trope is later seen to be subverted, as three years later she is in a relationship with Spock.
  • Benevolent Boss: Captain Robau. And Captain Pike.
  • Berserk Button: You do not want to speak ill of Spock's mother.
    • Nero is this when The Federation gets involved with his plans. Somewhat justified because he found out that Romulus blew up during a super nova that Spock didn't get to in time to deploy the Red Matter. And The Federation relied on Spock to deliver the Red Matter to stop said supernova in a specially-commissioned ship built for speed. It wasn't fast enough. Before the moments where he does gets angry and speak himself, he is silent and lets The Dragon speak for him.
      • Which explains why in the prologue, after he finds out the stardate, he (at the time) randomly decides to kill Kelvin's captain.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Spock-Prime gets one when he bails Kirk out on the ice planet Delta Vega.
  • Big Damn Starship: Spock pilots the Jellyfish (Spock Prime's ship) on a collision course towards the Narada. The Narada retaliates with all the missiles she had. Things were looking bad for Spock at first... until the Enterprise warps in with phasers blazing.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Compared to Shatner's Kirk, many people point this out about Chris Pine's Kirk.
  • Big Word Shout
  • Bilingual Bonus: When Chekov (played by Russian-born Anton Yelchin) successfully transports falling Kirk and Sulu to safety, he exclaims a little something in Russian, "Ё-моё!" or "Yo-moyo!", the closest English equivalent being "holey-moley!" (both in meaning and outdatedness).
    • On the commentary track, J.J. Abrams claims to have been at a screening in Russia where the audience went nuts at this part.
    • In the Ukrainian translation, Chekov spoke in a heavy "surzhik", a mix of Russian and Ukrainian characteristic of Ukrainian Russians who never quite got the hang of Ukrainian itself (being a closely related language, it is arguably harder to learn without slipping into your own again).
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: See Tear Jerker.
  • Body Horror: The Squicky four-faced alien in a Deleted Scene.
  • Bonnie Scotland: Montgomery Scott, obviously.
  • Brick Joke: The novelization ends with Admiral Archer's beagle materializing in the transporter room.
  • Broad Strokes: Time travel does not quite explain all the stylistic differences in this movie, as it is technically in an Alternate Continuity and is not a complete Continuity Reboot (warp drive leaving a ship blind for example).
  • Building Is Welding: The teaser trailer depicted the Enterprise under construction.
  • But You Screw One Goat!: During Kirk and Uhura's first meeting, when he proves he at least knows what "xeno-linguistics" means.

Uhura: I'm impressed...and here I thought you were just a dumb hick who only has sex with farm animals.
Kirk: Well, not only.

  • Butt Monkey:
    • Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise. Many of the film's action sequences, and much of its humor, involve him getting owned in one way or another.
    • He gets choked by Spock at one point and by a Romulan at another. Both times with some pretty good acting by Pine. It hurts as you try to catch your breath afterwards. Pine actually mentioned in an interview that he admires Harrison Ford for his ability to take a beating like it really hurts, and that he considered that an underrated skill.
  • Call Back: Frequently, such as "Cupcake".
    • And "I might throw up on you."
    • There's also "That depends on your definition of winning."
    • Also the Big Damn Gunship moment. The Enterprise destroys the Narada 's missiles just in time to save Spock's ship, just as Captain George Kirk's Kelvin had done for the escaping shuttles 25 years earlier.
    • A small one with the soundtrack: When Spock rams the Jellyfish into the Narada, the background music is a modified version of the track that plays when George Kirk did the same with the Kelvin.
  • Call to Adventure:

Pike: Your father was captain of a starship for twelve minutes. He saved 800 lives... including your mother's, and yours. I dare you to do better.

Spock: (on intercom) Dr. Puri?
Leonard "Bones" McCoy: It's McCoy. Dr. Puri was on Deck 6. He's dead.
Spock: Then you have just inherited his responsibilities as Chief Medical Officer.
(McCoy looks at a burning medical room full of casualties from the attack)
Leonard "Bones" McCoy: Yeah, tell me something I don't know!

  • Catch Phrase: Almost every word that proceeds from Old Spock's mouth. The amount of original dialogue written for Leonard Nimoy was vanishingly low.
  • Cavalier Consumption: Kirk during the Kobayashi Maru test.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A deleted scene shows Nero about to be interrogated by a Klingon on Rura Penthe using Centaurian slugs, who gloats about what the slugs will do to Nero. Nero escapes before this can happen. He later uses the same slugs to torture Pike.
    • Also, the Klingon transmission that Uhura tells Gaila about, while Kirk is hiding under Gaila's bed, plays a small but vital part to Kirk's attempts to make Pike take him seriously.
  • Chewing the Scenery:
    • Nero upon realizing that Spock's gonna crash his ship into the Narada.
    • And earlier, when Spock steals the ship in the first place.

"I want Spock dead, NOW!"

  • Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: In order to escape his landing pod on Delta Vega, Kirk has to scale an ice cliff with minimal equipment. He later topples down a much larger cliff in order to escape a gigantic carnivore native to the planet.
  • Commanding Coolness: Commander Spock. He manages to keep his cool until Kirk destroys his Berserk Button.
  • Composite Character: This universe's version of Uhura owes her personality as much to the original Nurse Chapel as she does to her namesake.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Hoo boy.
    • Every single character gets their famous catch phrase or mannerism in the flick. "Wessels", "Giving her all she's got", "I'm a doctor, not a--", etc.
    • And...

Kirk: This is Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise.

    • There's also a reference to an "Admiral Archer"; though the captain of the first Starship Enterprise would be pushing 150 by the time of the film, Word of God says it's meant to be him (and McCoy Prime did live to at least 137). The reference, incidentally, is his dog being eaten by the transporter.
    • Spock quotes Sherlock Holmes's line about improbable truth, which he also did in Star Trek VI the Undiscovered Country.
    • Not to mention Nero's hilarious nod to Wrath of Khan: SPOOOOCK!! SPOOOOOOCK!!!
    • One scene has the bridge crew formulating a plan. As in the old days, Kirk is in the Captain's chair, in one of the classic poses, McCoy is standing behind him, Spock is pacing.
    • Kirk intentionally angers Spock, including mocking his parentage, but he's not doing it to be a Jerkass; he's doing it because he had to. The same thing happens in the TOS episode "This Side of Paradise" when Kirk has to piss off Spock to release him from the effect of the spores. Spock Prime undoubtedly had this incident in mind when he counseled Kirk on how to provoke Spock into an extreme emotional response.
    • Sarek's reply to a young Spock about why he married Spock's human mother: "At the time, it seemed the logical thing to do." is the same answer Sarek gives an adult Spock to the same question in TOS.
    • Kirk eating the apple during the Kobayashi Maru sequence mimics Kirk's same food during his explanation of the test in The Wrath of Khan.
      • Nero's mind-control slug bears a resemblance to Khan's Ceti eels, though it's not exactly the same thing.
    • Sulu also knows fencing, which it turned out he was enthusiastic about in the episode "The Naked Time". Here he finds a more practical outlet.
    • Captain Pike, the captain of the Enterprise in the pilot episode, who also appeared in a later episode involving Spock. Near the end of the film, he is seen in a wheelchair, another continuity nod (or perhaps Mythology Gag?) to that later episode "The Menagerie"/"The Cage" (he's obviously in better condition).
    • Spock Prime's surprise at hearing his younger self marooned Kirk for mutiny is another nod, since in the episode "The Menagerie" he himself mutinied and literally kidnapped the wheelchair-bound Captain Pike. It was so effective a mutiny that nobody even realized he'd done it until they were well on their way to Talos IV, Spock's intended destination.
    • "I have been, and always shall be, your friend."
    • After giving Kirk a sedative, if one listens closely, you can hear McCoy calling for Nurse Chapel.
    • The overly-cocky British guy who gets himself needlessly killed early on in the Vulcan mission is dressed in red.
    • When the Enterprise drops out of warp, the ship veers left, but everyone on the bridge leans to the right--a nice little nod to the old series' "special effects".
    • Spock accusing Spock Prime of lying to Kirk when letting him "infer universe-ending paradoxes would ensue" if they met, and Spock Prime's answer, "Lied? No, I...implied" is a callback to Wrath Of Khan. Saavik accuses Spock of lying, to which he replies, "No, I...exaggerated."
    • Spock Prime giving Scotty his own formula for transwarp beaming recalls Scotty in Star Trek IV giving a 20th century scientist the formula for transparent aluminum with the justification "for all we know, he invented the stuff."
    • At one point, McCoy asks Spock "Are you out of your Vulcan mind?", just as he did in Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan, before the latter's Heroic Sacrifice.
    • The planet Kirk is stranded on "Delta Vega", appeared in the first (chronologically speaking) episode of TOS, as the planet where Kirk and Spock planned to maroon their god-like friend Gary Mitchell.
  • There is a nod that nearly mirrors the same sequence early on in the film to the animated series' episode "Yesteryear". In the episode, young Spock experiences an outburst of emotion and proceeds to pummel another Vulcan child mercilessly after said child insults Sarek and Amanda.
  • Continuity Reboot (alt-universe):
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Every single officer of higher rank than the main characters is killed or, in Captain Pike's case, incapacitated, resulting in the crew that we know from the original series. Justified in that it's the crew's origin story, but it can stretch Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
    • Except Uhura's superior -- she's just a much better linguist than he is.
    • Scotty came on board after the previous Chief Engineer had already succumbed to stupidity, and he had just invented transwarp beaming. Sort of. Not that Old Spock had nothing to do with giving Scotty his own completed theory.
    • A deleted line from Spock suggests there was the hand of fate in there.
    • It would seem that Spock and Chekov are the only members of the main cast who are in their TOS crew positions right from the Enterprise's launch. The latter is surprising, really.
      • Sulu is as well, although it's implied that he is replacing the ship's normal helmsman.
      • The normal helmsman is sick, he was the backup.
    • Maybe the biggest one. Spock gets annoyed with Kirk and drops him on the nearest planet after Vulcan is destroyed, which is also where Old Spock is hanging out, because Nero wanted him to bear witness. So far so good. Then Kirk just happens to land within running distance of Spock's cave, when he could have landed anywhere on the planet. That's... incredibly unlikely. And then Scotty just happens to be stationed in an outpost only a couple of miles away. And that's just ridiculous.
      • Proximity to the outpost isn't all that ridiculous. Spock just said to get Kirk off the ship. It's pretty likely that they aimed Kirk's pod relatively close to a Federation outpost so he could get home when needed. Spock may not have known anything about placing him close to an outpost, but whoever launched him probably did.
      • Or Starfleet programs their escape pods to automatically land near friendly outposts or towns if the occupant is unconscious or otherwise unable to pilot the pod themselves.
  • Cool Old Guy: Spock Prime.
    • Captain Pike definitely qualifies.
  • Cool Starship:
    • The Starship Enterprise, followed, in no particular order, by the Narada, Spock's Jellyfish, and the Kelvin.
    • Special mention goes to the Narada, for not looking out of place if it was being flown by Mi-go. The fact that it's The Juggernaut pretty much cinches the fact.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: From start to finish, almost every plan sounds patently ridiculous. Until it's put into action. Diving out of a shuttle? Hiding behind Saturn's rings? Transwarp beaming onto an enemy ship, hoping that you can rescue the captain, blow up the super advanced weapon, and make it back in time for dinner?
  • Crusading Widower: Nero.
  • Cute Shotaro Boy: Chekov.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Although the Narada crew was held prisoner by the Klingon Emprire for 25 years, in deleted scenes, Nero still could have taken his ship to Romulus after escaping, even Spock Prime's ship after capturing him, and used all that future tech to help his race conquer their enemies. No wonder Spock decided Nero was crazy.
    • In the novelization, the scene of Kirk meeting Spock Prime was expanded on. Kirk asks Spock Prime why Nero couldn't have just taken Spock Prime to the star in Spock Prime's *past*/present timeline and destroy the star with Red Matter way before it would explode in the future and destroy Romulus. Spock Prime relayed that Nero, who had lost his family as a result of the tragedy, wanted to see Spock Prime suffer the way he did.
      • Destroying the star in the film's active timeline would have created a major paradox and prevented the film's events from taking place.
      • By that logic the film already can't occur as Vulcan, the source of the red matter is gone and presumably much of the technology uses to build the Jellyfish was of Vulcan origin as well. That's why its an alternate reality instead of the Prime universe's time line being messed up by Nero. Also, why Spock Prime doesn't have any issues with messing with the timeline more.
  • Dare to Be Badass: "Your father was captain of a starship for 12 minutes. He saved 800 lives, including yours. I dare you to do better."
    • He does.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Heavily alluded to with Kirk, who lost his father just minutes after his birth, was frequently abused by his stepfather while his mother was off-planet, his brother Johnny ran away when Jim was still young because he hated their stepfather so much, nearly killed himself by driving a car off a cliff when he was twelve, possibly survived Tarsus IV (if future movies keep with the original series), and was already a repeat offender long before enlisting in Starfleet.
  • Darker and Edgier: Unquestionably so. Even during the Voyager years, the Federation and Starfleet were still mostly set up around peaceful missions. In the reboot, Pike described the federation as a "humanitarian and peacekeeping armada," and the rest of the film is spent fighting. Word of God states that this was due to the Kelvin's encounter with the Narada, which caused Starfleet to take on a much more militaristic turn.
    • Even still, the Mildly Military trope is still very much in force; Star Fleet really doesn't appear much more militaristic than it did in the period between Star Trek II and Star Trek VI.
  • Deadpan Snarker: There are several deadpan moments in this movie, but Spock certainly qualifies.

Spock (to McCoy): However, if crew morale is better served by my roaming the halls weeping, I will gladly defer to your medical expertise.

  • Defeat Means Friendship: Kirk and Spock.
  • Determinator: James Kirk, who doesn't believe in no-win scenarios and is certainly one stubborn fellow once he sets his mind to accomplishing something, be it graduating from Starfleet Academy early, finding a way to beat the supposedly unbeatable Kobayashi Maru, or stopping Nero. He takes more beat-downs than any other character and is consistently degraded or doubted by those around him, but keeps coming back for more in order to protect his homeworld. He is certainly not too worried about getting himself killed in the process, either.
    • Kirk pretty much sums up his no-win scenario beliefs by saying, in regards to the Kobayashi Maru and many of his persistent actions, "It depends on how you define 'winning', doesn't it?"
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Kirk hits on Uhura at the beginning of the movie, but she turns him down. It is later revealed that she and Spock have an established relationship. Which is slightly disturbing, as Spock's not at the Academy as a student.
    • The IDW comics that are going through the original episodes actually depict him approving the relationship.
  • Disposable Woman: Straight example: Amanda, Spock's mother, died just to twist the knife of angst deeper for Spock.
  • Distress Call: From Vulcan. Provides the impetus for the second act.
  • Doomed by Canon: Consciously averted. One of the stated reasons why the writers set the Film in an Alternate Universe was so that events weren't necessarily a Foregone Conclusion. Things no longer need to turn out quite the way they did before, and Anyone Can Die.
    • Backed up by the substantial changes to Kirk's background. It was explicitly stated that Kirk was born and raised in Iowa but also lived on Tarsus IV in his youth. The Enterprise was built between 2243 and 2245, not 2258 as appears in this film. It's implied that this is the ship's maiden voyage, whereas in the Trek 'Prime' universe the ship had already been in service for 19 years before Kirk even got near it.
  • Doomed Hometown: Vulcan.
  • Double Consciousness: Spock, very much so.
  • The Dragon: Nero's second-in-command, Ayel.
  • Dramatic Irony: Kirk and McCoy on meeting Spock for the first time:

Kirk: Who was that pointy-eared bastard?
McCoy: I don't know, but I like him!

  • Drink Order: A Klabnian fire tea, three Budweisers, a shot of Jack, and two "Cardassian sunrises". Uhura and her friends party hard.
  • Dude in Distress: Pike
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: "Your father was captain of a starship for twelve minutes. He saved over 800 lives, including your mother's, and yours."
  • Earthshattering Kaboom: Nero plans this for the entire Federation. He "only" manages Vulcan.
  • Easter Egg:
    • In the scene where the Enterprise first appears at Vulcan, after they come out of their slow barrel roll to avoid the debris, you can see R2-D2 in the bottom left corner of the screen.
    • A menu in the bar Kirk and Uhura meet in has the "Slusho" drink from Cloverfield in it. The logo of the makers of the drink appears on a building in an establishing shot of San Francisco. The big red ball Abrams tries to get in most of his projects is the Red Matter.
    • Speaking of Cloverfield, the giant red monster that attacked Kirk when he landed on the snow planet is reminiscent of the Cloverfield monster due to the shared bent-arm walking style and six limbed form. It appears Cloverfield has now unofficially become the earliest point in the Star Trek film timeline. Interesting....
      • By Word of God, J.J. Abrams has said that all his work takes place in the same universe (well, as far as he's concerned anyway).
    • When Kirk and Spock first enter the bridge of the Jellyfish, the control chair and viewport form the triangle-and-circle-within-a-circle symbol of IDIC, the Vulcan philosophy of "infinite diversity in infinite combinations".
  • Embarrassing Nickname: McCoy is particularly fond of bestowing these upon people when frustrated or angry, especially in regards to Spock, whom he personally nicknames the 'pointy-eared bastard' or 'green-bloodied hobgoblin', to name a few.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Kirk choosing to sabotage the Kobayashi Maru test rather than accept defeat. This has been his ECM ever since it was first discussed in The Wrath of Khan, but this was the first time we got to see it happen canonically.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Starfleet Academy in San Francisco. Justified though, as A) everyone in Starfleet has to go there, B) technically, only three of the characters were seen on-screen attending said school, and C) Spock was actually an instructor.
    • Might be averted, at least according to the novelization, in the case of Chekhov, who is speculated (though not confirmed) to have come to the Enterprise straight from Russia's Star City.
    • Although Scotty would have attended Starfleet Academy as well, he was already commissioned and serving at a Starfleet outpost, so other than possibly Spock (who didn't immediately recognize him) he wouldn't necessarily have had any prior connection to the rest of the main crew.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Spock's ship, the Jellyfish.
  • Evilly Affable: "Hi, Christopher, I'm Nero." Eric Bana has a lot of fun swinging between this and a more general (if Genre Savvy) evilness.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Red matter. It's definitely red, and it's undeniably matter.
  • Explosion Propulsion
  • Explosive Instrumentation: Justified in The Teaser, when an entire ship is exploding. Averted entirely otherwise, even when the Enterprise is visibly cracking under the stress of a black hole.
  • Exposition Beam


  • Face Death with Dignity: Nero solemnly closes his eyes before the Narada is destroyed.
  • Faceless Goons: A deleted scene has the Klingon guards at Rura Penthe wearing face-concealing helmets.
    • Word of God says this was because they weren't sure whether or not to give the Klingons ridged foreheads (it's complicated), and so in the end just decided to cover the front of their heads and not worry about it.
  • Fan Service: The scene with Uhura undressing while Kirk hides under the bed, and Kirk's general clotheslessness in same. Strangely though Kirk manages to avoid ripping his shirt.
    • To say nothing of the deliciously curvaceous Orion chick wearing just lingerie in the same scene
  • Fantastic Racism: The Vulcan kids, as well as the High Council (in a snootier fashion) really pile it on Spock for being half-Human.
  • A Father to His Men: Pike is something of a father-figure to Kirk.
  • Field Promotion: Taken to ridiculous levels with Kirk, having gone from a Cadet, and skipped five ranks, up to First Officer! And then he goes on to be Captain.
    • Although technically he's referred to as the Relief Captain during his promotion, meaning that Pike is likely still the official Captain of the vessel and Kirk's been assigned as the permanent acting-Captain in his steed. Its possible that, as with all acting-Captains, Kirk's actual rank does not necessarily correspond to that of Captain.
  • Finger Gun: Kirk "fires" his gun in sync to the firing of photon torpedoes during the Kobayashi Maru.
  • First-Name Basis: How Nero treats his opponents.

Captain Pike: This is Captain Christopher Pike of the Federation Starship Enterprise.
Nero: Hi, Christopher, I'm Nero.

"When I lost her, I promised myself retribution; and for 25 years I planned my revenge against the Federation and forgot what it was like to live a normal life."

  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Phasers, naturally.
  • Frictionless Reentry: Kirk, Sulu & Security Officer Redshirt do a skydive from low orbit around Vulcan, with no sign of atmospheric burn. Granted, one can assume their spacesuits are specially constructed to allow safe re-entry.
    • The idea is called "space diving" and has been considered as a theoretical way for astronauts to escape orbital space stations in case of disaster. The reasons why we don't use it already is because we don't have spacesuits that are armored enough to withstand the forces/temperatures of re-entry as well as contain life support systems. Presumably, by the time the movie takes place, technology is sufficiently advanced to minimize the protection/life support to the relatively lightweight suits shown in the film.
    • It should also be noted that Vulcan has been known to have a thinner atmosphere than earth.
    • They also were not in a natural orbit of the planet. The Narada was keeping position over a point on Vulcan's surface. Given its proximity to the planet, it would be moving an order of magnitude too slow to orbit. So the Enterprise must have been "hovering" just above the atmosphere, which would make a space dive little different than an extremely high altitude sky-dive.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Nero and his crew, to an extent, due to having access to the Enterprise's battle record in his timeline. For example, when Nero is interrupted in his strangling of Kirk, he stops and leaves his Dragon standing guard. Said Dragon promptly tries to drop Kirk to his doom.
      • And right as the Dragon steps forward, the first couple notes James Bond theme play to underscore this.
    • He also has a tendency to avoid Evil Gloating. Every time he hails another ship, the communication basically amounts to "Hi. I'm Nero, and this is how far you're going to bend over."
    • Spock. Kirk says something along the lines of "we should be unpredictable, if Nero knows what will happen" while Spock counters "Nero's existence has changed time, creating a new reality." Of course Spock Prime is pretty Genre Savvy too, but only because he already knows what's happened.
  • Genre Shift: The film has a very different tone from every show and movie that came before it in the franchise -- more of the fun, funny, ray gun action; the same World Building Space Opera; and less Technobabble or forced moral message.
  • Good-Looking Privates: Good Lord, the Enterprise command crew is pretty.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Gaila, Uhura's Orion roommate, another Continuity Nod.
  • Guile Hero: Kirk.
  • Gunship Rescue: The Enterprise drops out of warp and fires its weapons to destroy the missiles from the Narada that are headed towards Spock's craft.
    • The Kelvin gets a Gunship Rescue moment when Captain George Kirk destroys a whole volley of missiles from the Narada, including one that comes within meters of destroying the shuttle carrying his wife and the infant Jim.
  • Hair of Gold: Jim Kirk.
    • This seems to be a common trait of the whole Kirk family.
  • Handsome Lech: Kirk eyeballs every woman in the vicinity (even while being dragged through Sickbay by McCoy, sick as a dog from space flu) but the only woman he (visibly) scores with is Uhura's roommate.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • One of the finest and most moving in the entire Star Trek canon. The movie begins with George Kirk staying behind on the U.S.S. Kelvin to save the 800 passengers escaping, including his pregnant wife and her child. George Kirk becomes a legendary hero of sorts given that in his extremely short time as Captain, only twelve minutes, he saved 800 lives. This is made all the more poignant considering that, when you look closely, you can actually see missiles from the Narada being intercepted just before they are about to impact on his wife's shuttle. There was, quite simply, no chance of survival without him.
    • Captain Robau as well. "If I'm not back in 15 minutes, launch the shuttles." basically means Robau sacrificed himself to buy time for the evacuation of the Kelvin. He knew he was going to his death.
  • Hero's Journey: Near-perfect example, in double for both Spock and Kirk, including the Miraculous Birth: James Tiberius Kirk, born on the day of the destruction of the Kelvin, son of the hero George Kirk of the same battle; Spock, born the Half Human son of the Vulcan Ambassador Sarek. In fact, in the novelization we learn that during Spock's birth, a star was going supernova elsewhere in the galaxy. The novelization actually states that the birth of Spock and the death of an entire inhabited solar system are equal in magnitude according to the universe itself!
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Kirk and Spock. Spock Prime goes to incredibly risky lengths in order to preserve the natural development of the galaxy's greatest bromance.
  • Homage: The lines and mannerisms of The Original Series cast.
  • Hot Dad: Jim's father, George Kirk, applies.
    • Of course they failed, surprising no one considering this is the internet.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Michael Giacchino certainly had fun naming the songs in the soundtrack. A few self-explanatory examples:
    • "Nailin' the Kelvin".
    • "Enterprising Young Men".
    • "Nero Death Experience" arguably takes the cake as "Worst Pun".
    • Unless it's "Nice to Meld You".
    • "Nero Sighted". "Nero Fiddle, Narada Burns". Those Nero puns just don't get old, do they?
    • "Labour of Love" as Kirk is being born. "Does It Still McFly" as something to do with time travel happens. Ouch.
    • This is practically Michael Giacchino's calling card.
    • Hella Bar Talk = Bela Bartok (Hungarian composer).
  • Hyperspeed Ambush: The Starfleet relief force on its way to Vulcan gets beaten into scrap metal immediately upon exiting warp. The Enterprise only narrowly escapes the same fate because they were Late to the Party.
  • I Am Not My Father: Jim Kirk does not enjoy constantly being compared to his deceased father.
  • If I Do Not Return:
    • George Kirk gets one from Captain Robau.
    • James T. Kirk and Spock get one from Captain Pike.
    • Spock says this to Kirk, and Kirk refuses to listen, subverting the Tell Her Yourself response by saying, simply, "It'll work."
  • I Like Those Odds:

Cadet: There's four of us and one of you.
Kirk: Well, get some extra guys and then it'll be a fair fight.

"Dammit, man! I'm a doctor, not a physicist!"

    • Which he follows up with a concise summary of the physics points being described. Is he sure he's not a physicist?
    • Also played with in the beginning.

"I don't need a doctor, dammit, I am a doctor!"

  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Played with. Despite Kirk and Spock materializing in the middle of their bridge, Nero's crew is still good enough to miss them by inches and send them scrambling for cover. Our heroes get precious few hits themselves until they can get behind cover and aim properly.
    • Nero's crew are all miners, with little arms training and have been in a Klingon prison for 25 years. Meanwhile, Kirk and Spock, as members of Star Fleet/members-in-training, have pretty fresh classes on firearms and practice at firing ranges or whatever Star Fleet has to keep the firearm training recent.
  • Incompletely Trained: The crew of cadets forced into Saving the World.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Nero actually seems to believe that destroying Vulcan, Earth and the Federation will save Romulus, when it was destroyed due to a sun going supernova, and blames them for letting it happen when they tried to save Romulus and were simply too late.
  • In Spite of a Nail
    • James T. Kirk's father dies thanks to Nero's meddling with the timestream, and Kirk grows up an angry, disaffected youth. Yet, against all odds, vastly different circumstances work out in the end with the core crew brought together, as if willed by Destiny itself. In fact, it seems to have happened several years sooner.
    • The IDW comics are running through various Star Trek: The Original Series storylines. There are differences, because the characters are different, but Gary Mitchell still becomes a god when they cross the Galactic Barrier, and the "Galileo Seven" still end up trapped on Taurus II while studying a quasar.
  • Intelligible Unintelligible: The other characters have no trouble understanding a word Chekhov says, despite him having a "Russian" accent thicker than borscht. This is inverted, however, when the computer has no idea what a "nuclear wessel" is. And when the computer can't understand his passcode, because of his mangling of "Vwictor Vwictor". (Incidentally, Anton Yelchin really is Russian-born. The accent is still very, very fake.)
  • Interspecies Romance: Spock/Uhura (half human/Vulcan + human), Sarek/Amanda (Vulcan + human) and Gaila/Kirk (Orion + human).
  • Ironic Echo: "I might throw up on you." and "You're captain now, Mr. Kirk."
  • It Got Worse: Kirk's interactions with the wildlife on the ice planet. Also an example of Always a Bigger Fish.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kirk, Captain James T. At first, it's almost as if he wakes up in the morning and thinks of new ways to piss off any and every body he encounters. Wrecks his step-dad's car and stands up to the cop who tried to pull him over. Participates in a bar fight that some cadets start (they punched him first) because he kept hitting on Uhura (who's completely uninterested in him). Reprograms an unwinnable test, which is cheating, to prove that he can win it (by thinking outside the box). Shows no remorse when caught because he doesn't feel he's in the wrong. Indeed, Kirk demonstrates the same wheeling, dealing, and conniving traits of a Magnificent Bastard. The differences are -- first, Kirk was never out to hurt anyone just for his own ends. Second, it is made clear he's only acting up because he lacks a challenge worthy of his smarts. Most importantly, he uses his cunning to save the universe. This movie states overtly what the series were more subtle about: Kirk's Jerk tendencies are also the qualities that make him The Captain we all know and love.


  • Katanas Are Just Better: Sulu fights Romulans with a folding sword that looks a lot like a katana, though it could also be a saber. He describes his combat training as "fencing".
  • Key Under the Doormat: According to a deleted scene, the young Kirk found the keys to his father's Corvette above the sun visor.
  • Kill All Humans: Nero, in addition to other species.
  • Kill Sat: The drill.
  • Kirk's Rock: The landscape of Vulcan is a clear homage, with the distinctive shape of the rock formation appearing many times along the horizon.
  • Large Ham: Nero.

"Fire everything!"

  • Last-Minute Baby-Naming: At the beginning of the movie, when Kirk's parents are naming him. He's named for his maternal grandfather, and his middle name is his paternal grandfather's.
  • Lens Flare Hooo boy. Let's just say Abrams is fond of them. Word of God is that it was quite deliberate.
    • There's a section in one of the making of extras where they cut several times Abrams and others say 'nice flare' and the like together.
      • Most of them were however real and gotten in camera, which is nice.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Sulu admits his "advanced combat training" is actually fencing, which earns a seemingly-justified Oh Crap face from Kirk and a laugh from the audience. In the fight that immediately follows, Sulu proceeds to mop the floor with his opponents (while Kirk gets his ass kicked, no less).
  • Literal Cliff Hanger: Kirk suffered this trope once when only a kid, giving him plenty of practice for the amount of times it happens to him as an adult (twice in this movie alone).
  • Low-Angle Shot: Used near the end of the film to compensate for the height difference between Spock and Spock.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: It's practically the Narada's Signature Style.
  • Meaningful Echo: To Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III the Search For Spock, more than twenty years earlier:

Spock: I have been, and always shall be, your friend.

    • Let's not forget that from about a quarter to a third of this movie's plot was borrowed from Star Trek II. Planet-wrecking mess? Check. Revenge-fueled, time-shifted madman? Check. Kobayashi Maru? Check. Boatload of cadets? Check. Space Is Not An Ocean moment? Check. Applied Phlebotinum? Wouldn't be Star Trek without it. Ceti Eels? Pretty much. Then, instead of losing a Spock, we get two.
      • Not to mention, when both captains of the Enterprise are contacted for surrender, they both agree, but it's really a ploy to stage a counterstrike.
      • We also get the Enterprise rising out of Saturn's Rings to attack Nero. Which is a echo of the Enterprise rising out of the nebula in Star Trek II to attack Khan.
  • Mildly Military: Starfleet is semi-militarized in response to the fate of the Kelvin, but has its female personnel in sundresses.
  • Military Maverick: Kirk and Spock (the latter because after learning that the Vulcan elders of the Vulcan Science Academy thought his parentage a disability, he joined Starfleet, and the former because... hey, he's Kirk (and he always was a bit of a cowboy))!
  • Minored in Asskicking: Spock, very scarily. (Another bit of Fridge Brilliance. Spock's problems with bullies as a kid may explain why he's good at hand-to-hand curb stomping as an adult. Plus, Vulcans are a lot stronger physically than humans -- though if Kirk was aware of this before he decided to pick a fight, it didn't stop him.)
  • Monumental Damage: Narrowly averted. The Narada's giant drill sure looks like it's going to crash into the Golden Gate Bridge, but just barely misses it.
  • Mood Whiplash: After a particularly intense scene in the bridge wherein Kirk manages to enrage Spock by mentioning that he never loved his mother and gets his ass whooped, Scotty breaks the tension by saying "I like this ship. It's exciting!"
    • And previously, after discovering most of the fleet has been destroyed by the Narada, suddenly Nero greets them with a casual, almost bored;
  • More Dakka:
  • My Future Self and Me: Spock and Spock Prime meet at the end of the film and they have a nice chat.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Captain Nero.
  • Necessary Fail: Interesting case. As pointed out in In Spite of a Nail, it seems that not only did history continue in spite of Nero's actions, it seems certain things happened only because of it. The destruction of Vulcan actually serves to bring Spock and Kirk together in common cause.
  • Neck Lift: Romulans, being related to Vulcans, certainly aren't on the weak end of the alien spectrum, because Ayel necklifts Kirk. Bonus points for doing it over a huge pit inside the Romulan ship.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: Red Matter's after effects.
  • Never Tell Me the Odds: Kirk, who just plain doesn't care about statistical calculations and pretty much lives to defy them, as he informs Spock on multiple occasions.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers seem to have been specifically edited to imply or outright lie about events. For example, Nero's line "Your father... was a great man. But that was another life." is from two lines. One about Kirk's father, and the second half about Kirk himself, from Nero's original timeline.
    • They also imply a romance between Kirk and Uhura. In the actual movie, Kirk does show interest in Uhura, but she doesn't give him the time of day. Or her first name.
    • The trailer also seems to imply that when Kirk assumes the captain's chair (when McCoy says "We have no captain and no first officer to replace him"), it is done in a dramatic fashion. It's actually more Played for Laughs, as McCoy and the crew are astonished that the trouble-making Kirk is now in charge, since they were unaware that Pike promoted him when they left the ship for their task.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Kirk is usually on the receiving end of these, one of which is delivered by Spock. Young Spock also gives one to a bully. See Berserk Button.
    • It's worth noting that Kirk actually PLANNED to get this beating from Spock, and had to find his Berserk Button to get it. That's also how the (astonishingly INCOMPETENT) bully ends up getting his. (Seriously, it's obvious that they had just read about human children bullying other children that they don't like, but they've never actually seen it done. They SUCK at it, which is probably the first time any Vulcans have been shown sucking at ANYTHING.)
  • No One Could Survive That: Averted. The Narada is caught in the midst of a black hole that has opened up from inside the ship. After their offer of rescue to the Romulan crew is refused, the Enterprise proceeds to open fire in order to make sure they don't survive that.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • The Narada has platforms suspended over huge drops, with no railings. Hundreds of them. Of course, this allows the Romulans to get around more quickly, so it may be a deliberate design feature. Yes, they jump off.
    • Also possibly justified in that it's a refitted deep-space mining vessel, so we're seeing the massive cargo bays that would have normally carried mined materials. The platforms and walkways were mostly made from scrap when it was refitted into a warship and aren't part of the normal design.
    • This causes Fridge Brilliance to kick in -- Scotty may actually have transported Kirk and Spock into the Narada's cargo hold. Or at least what used to be the cargo hold before it got refitted as a bridge.
    • Perhaps some credit should be given to the engineering sections in this movie... this Enterprise may just be the nearest thing we'll get to an OSHA-compliant ship in the Trek Verse.
      • Except for the teleporter, which is completely open and defended by a sign telling people not to enter it while teleportation is in progress. As opposed to, for example, giving the thing a door and building it into the system that the door had to be closed before the teleporter would operate.
        • What happens if there is a power glitch and the door won't open and it's a medical emergency? The Open platform works because you can do triage instantly.
          • There's also the fact that numerous sources (mostly non-canon, but including one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation) state that a force field is automatically erected around each transporter pad before it starts operating, as well as at the remote end of the operation.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Narada is a mining vessel in year 2387 that is able to destroy a Federation Starship in year 2233
  • No Such Thing as HR: Starfleet, where a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown is practically a recruiting tool.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore:
    • For the characters the events of this Film are just another event but for the fans with the benefit of oversight, it heavily alters Star Trek mythology.
    • Justified in that the movie takes place within an alternate universe. That is then changed by time-travel.
  • Not So Stoic: Spock, as per.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Jim Kirk practically turns this into an art form, frequently acting like a womanizing idiot or playing the fool throughout parts of the film.
    • However, it quickly becomes clear that he's not nearly as stupid as he leads people to believe, effectively beating the supposedly unbeatable Kobayashi Maru through rather ingenious means and then stopping Nero's rampage of revenge against the Federation.
    • Prior to joining Starfleet, it's even stated by Pike that Jim's the only “genius-level repeat offender in the Midwest."
  • The Obi-Wan: Pike and Spock Prime.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: As per the comic Prequel, these on both Romulus and Vulcan are a major reason for the delays that led up Spock Prime not being able to do his mission on time.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: Among the props used on the Enterprise bridge are supermarket price scanners.
    • The filmmakers are honoring a fine old Trek tradition: In TOS, Dr. McCoy's surgical lasers were actually "Swedish modern" salt-and-pepper shakers that the show's prop guy found on sale at May Company in LA.
  • Oh Crap:
    • This exchange causes Kirk to have this expression:

Kirk: So what type of combat training do you have?
Sulu: Fencing.

    • Scotty tries to beam Kirk and Spock aboard what he assumes is the Romulan ship's cargo bay. Instead, they beam onto the bridge, surrounded by Romulans.
    • Also: "I've got your gun."
    • In case you missed it: FIRE EVERYTHING!
    • The entire bridge crew gets one when they emerge from warp and find that the fleet has been destroyed.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting / One-Woman Wail / Ethereal Chorus: During the final battle and destruction of Nero's ship, of course.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Nero. Good grief, Nero.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Apparently Captain Robau, who, in spite of appearing for a few minutes before dying, is a total Badass. And Lieutenant George Kirk himself.
  • Orifice Invasion: Nero uses a creature with similar properties to the worms from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on Pike to get him to talk. But it's through the mouth this time, and fortunately far less graphic.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Spock has a steamy makeout session with Uhura. In the Transporter Room. In front of several other members of the crew!
  • Overranked Soldier: Although most fans agree that if you are James Tiberius Kirk, you belong into the captain's chair, Kirk's promotion from cadet directly to captain strained the Suspension of Disbelief for many.
    • In order for it to happen, everyone above him in the chain of command had to die or be captured. Everyone in Starfleet. The Enterprise is staffed entirely with cadets. And Spock, who disqualifies himself after beating the crap out of Kirk.


  • Freudian Trio:
    • Subverted. The traditional Kirk-Spock-McCoy dynamic, which in modern pop culture is often thought of as the original or classic power trio, is heavily downplayed here in favor of a comparison of Kirk and Spock. Notably, Spock Prime never mentions McCoy when ascertaining the nature of the new reality.
    • However, it's suggested that Uhura has been "upgraded", so to speak, and they're now a Four-Temperament Ensemble, with Kirk as sanguine, McCoy as choleric, Uhura as melancholic, and Spock as phlegmatic. There's good discussion of this here.
  • Parental Abandonment:
  • Parenthetical Swearing:
    • Spock puts a certain quirk of the brow, twist of the mouth and inflection on the Vulcan salutation "Live Long and Prosper," turning it into the most polite yet obvious "fuck you" ever.
    • See also McCoy's line when angry with Spock. "Are you out of your Vulcan mind!"
    • The deleted scenes also give us McCoy's "same ship, different day" line.
  • Playing Gertrude: Winona Ryder plays Spock's mother. She is six years older than Zachary Quinto. Conversely, Ben Cross, who plays his father, is 30 years older, just to uphold the Double Standard.
    • Though Ryder did film several scenes with Spock as a baby that were cut from the final edit, which would render her presence a lot less baffling if they'd been left in. It's actually a reverse from Spock's parents in the original series -- Mark Lenard, who played Sarek, was only six years older than Leonard Nimoy, whereas Jane Wyatt was 21 years older.
  • Playing the Heart Strings: "Labor Of Love". That is all.
  • Plot Allergy: McCoy uses one of Kirk's many allergies to get him aboard the Enterprise on medical grounds.
    • Unfortunately, poor Kirk turns out to be allergic to the corrective vaccines as well and experiences some... rather interesting reactions to them.
  • Plot Armor:
    • The Enterprise is the beneficiary here when it arrives at Vulcan and gets spared from destruction only by Nero's orders. This is, however, justified by Nero's desire to keep Spock alive to be on the receiving end of Nero's revenge.
    • Later deconstructed and indirectly discussed when the crew realizes that Nero's incursion has created an alternate reality. Basically, whatever their lives and destinies might have been beforehand, they are undoubtedly different now. However, it seems that fate wants them all on the Enterprise regardless ...
  • Point Defenseless: Averted by Starfleet ships, if not by the Narada. Both times we see the Narada engage in combat with a Starfleet vessel, the Starfleet ship does an admirable job of shooting down the incoming fire. There are just too many missiles.
    • Which is just as well, as their shields prove to be entirely worthless against the Narada's advanced weaponry. You can hear one bridge crewmember demanding to know if their shields are even up in the first battle sequence.
  • The Power of Friendship: Spock Prime pulled a Xanatos Gambit to invoke this so the good guys would win.
  • Precision F-Strike: Kirk's reaction after meeting Spock Prime. Well, precision BS-strike actually, but close.
    • A much subtler version is Spock's "Live Long and Prosper" to the Vulcan Science Academy.
    • When Sabotage is being played while little James Kirk is joyriding in his uncle's car, they happen to leave the F bomb in the song, when in normal cases its burred out for PG-13 films. Perhaps this may have been the series' first F bomb used in a film.
  • Preemptive Declaration: "I got your gun."
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "I got your gun." Cue Oh Crap look.
  • Product Placement: For Nokia, Budweiser, and Jack Daniels. Budweiser they let them use a factory as a filming location.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Spock and Uhura. There were a few scenes between them in early TOS episodes that could be seen as flirting, but it never really went anywhere. The film, on the other hand, has them in an established relationship.
  • Race Against the Clock: A brief one, that gives the heroes a minor Idiot Ball.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Spock hits this twice.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The main crew verges on this, especially as compared to their TOS counterparts. Kirk's a cadet under disciplinary review, Scotty gets pulled out of his reassignment to Antarctia, Uhura intimidates Spock into reassigning her to the Enterprise, and Sulu is a last-minute replacement for the real helmsman, who got sick.
  • Ramming Always Works: Sort of. In some deleted scenes, the Narada got severely crippled after the Kelvin rammed into it, the ship and its crew were captured by the Klingons. They were stuffed on Rura Penthe (the ice planet from Star Trek VI the Undiscovered Country) and it took them twenty five years to escape. Needless to say once they got their ship back the Narada's crew proceeded to pay back the Klingons in full. The resulting battle is where the transmission Uhura picked up came from.
    • When the Enterprise first arrives at Vulcan and winds up in a debris field, one of the pieces scrapes the paint off one of the nacelles. This despite the fact that Pike ordered the shields to be raised before they left warp.
    • Sort of (again) when the Narada gets a round two from the Jellyfish, although the Red Matter does most of the work.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Pike; Robau.
    • Looking at the movie again, it would appear Nero is one of these as well. Even when his plans get foiled, or his mooks get punked, he never hauls off and declares You Have Failed Me.... When Kirk and Sulu damage the drill the first time, all he did was just retract it and order the red matter deployed.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Scotty gets sent to a Federation outpost on a remote ice world after one of his transporter experiments caused Admiral Archer's dog to be involved in a freak transporter accident.

Kirk: What ever happened to that dog?
Scotty: I'll let you know when it reappears.

    • In the book the dog appears and is perfectly fine. Although this is the same dog from "A Night In Sickbay". But you can't fault the dog's acting.
  • Recycled Title
  • Red Shirt: Knowingly used and subverted by J.J. Abrams, but it wouldn't be Star Trek without it. A poor fashion choice gets someone killed. Poor fashion choice and reckless stupidity from the Chief Engineer. This is the only "red shirt" who dies in the film, Unless you count all the Academy cadets who were wearing red uniforms.
    • In an amusing subversion, the actual Red Shirts -- the "Cupcake" guy et al. -- make it through the movie relatively unharmed.
  • Redshirt Army: All the ships heading out to Vulcan that weren't the Enterprise.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Invoked when young James T. Kirk leads a police officer in a high-speed chase with his stepfather's classic car, which ultimately Kirk has to dive from when it starts falling into a ravine. Kirk pulls himself up from the quarry, dusts himself off, and as the officer confronts him, Kirk says:

James T. Kirk: Is there a problem, officer?

  • Reimagining the Artifact: On Star Trek: The Original Series, Dr. McCoy's nickname "Bones" comes from the term "Sawbones", which was an old nickname for doctors. Since the term has fallen from the parlance, this film has Kirk call McCoy "Bones" because, in his introduction, he explains he's joining Starfleet because "The ex-wife took the whole damn planet in the divorce. All I've got left is my bones."
  • Relative Button: Don't insult Spock's mother.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Nero.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Nero's entire motivation. A whole lot of Starfleet, a whole lot of Klingons, Vulcan and the freaking TIMESTREAM are all casualties of it.
  • The Runaway: George Samuel Kirk, the older brother of James T. Kirk, ran away from home when the brothers were young to escape their stepfather's constant abuse.
  • Running Gag:
    • Chekov's accent. Seriously. And McCoy's injections. And Kirk trying to learn Uhura's first name, which itself is a Mythology Gag since Uhura never had a canon first name before now. ("Nyota" was Fanon. Though the fan in question was Nichelle Nichols...)
  • Sacrificial Lamb: First, Captain Robau, and then the USS Kelvin itself in the film's opening. Later on, Spock's mother, Amanda Grayson dies just before Vulcan itself.
  • Save the Villain: Played with. When the Narada is crippled by the artificial black hole, Kirk offers assistance and fair accomodations for the crew as refugees. Even Spock gave a kind of inverted What the Hell, Hero? to Kirk. Nero venomously refuses any help and Kirk wastes no time in opening fire to make sure the ship doesn't survive.
  • Schrödinger's Cat:
    • Gaila, Kirk's Orion squeeze and Uhura's roomate. Screenwriter Roberto Orci theorised that there is an underground railroad that allowed Orion women to flee to Federation space, which is why Gaila is a cadet rather than a slave. It's unknown whether she was assigned to any of the Federation starships that were destroyed in the battle with Nero at Vulcan. How (or even if) any of this is supposed to fit in with the claim from Enterprise that Orion is a matriarchal society, and their "slave girls" are actually the ones in charge, using their supposed plight to insinuate themselves into other societies and control their males, is anyone's guess. If anything, Gaila might actually be some sort of scout for the Orion race.
    • Given that she is the only red-haired Orion we have ever seen and that she displays no evidence of having the pheromones that the "slave girls" have (which seduce men and knock out women -- not a great roommate for Uhura!) perhaps she is half-human? In any case the claim that the "slave girls" are in charge comes from a fairly untrustworthy source (and was either forgotten or actually revealed as a lie by this point, as all chronologically later stories view the women as genuine slaves).
      • It bears mentioning that a deleted scene has another red-haired Orion woman in it.
    • She might be taking something to suppress the pheromones; Starfleet would probably mandate that.
      • In The Motion Picture, Deltans are required to take an oath of celibacy for the protection of their crewmates. An Orion might be expected to do the same.
    • The novelization off-handedly implies that Gaila's pheromones are in full working condition during a scene in the control room above the Kobayashi Maru simulator.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale:
    • A supernova threatening to destroy the entire galaxy.
      • The official novelization of the movie fixes this, saying the supernova had threatened everything in its vicinity.
    • When old Spock sees Vulcan's destruction from that icy planet, his view of Vulcan is larger than Earth's view of its moon.
      • Although Word of God is that this was taking place in Spock's mind's eye.
    • Also, any planet which appears that large in the sky would have serious issues with tidal forces, let alone Roche limits. One theory is that Spock Prime was visualizing the psychic impression of six billion Vulcans crying out in terror and being silenced. The writers admitted that they used Rule of Drama for this instance. Besides, that sequence had other scenes Spock!Prime wouldn't have been able to witness, no one mentions those.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The Federation's war with the Romulan Empire has been going on since the original series, and it dominated much of the plot of the latter series and the last movie. Here, we see how it finally ends: the planet Romulus' sun blows up and they all die. The end.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Uhura and McCoy are all still Starfleet Academy cadets called to active duty when a catastrophe looms. Kirk should be in the equivalent of detention, facing suspension, and gets bumped up to first officer.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Red Matter ball looks identical to a couple that feature in Alias.
    • The Enterprise going into warp comes this close to looking like going into hyperspace in Star Wars.
    • A favorite sci-fi movie is the one that starts with a small ship being attacked by a larger ship which directly leads to a rebellious young farmboy who lives with his step-parent and meets a wise, older man who knew his father and asks him to join some crazy space mission and they sit in a a bar full of aliens together. Then has to go on a starship in order to save that partner who originally hated him but who ends up becoming good friends with him by the end. And then they end up destroying the evil large ship that can destroy planets. Then medals are given out in the end in some great ceremony. You know,
      • And part of the story includes the Farm Boy meeting The Obi-Wan after he scares off an angry local.
      • Understandably most of this is all part of the Hero's Journey and has been part of mythology for thousands of years. See Wikipedia Monomyth.
      • J.J. Abrams and the producers and writers in the commentary openly admit that Star Wars was their generation's mythology and that they deliberately invoke it several times, even referring to Kirk viewing the ship under construction as their "Tatooine twin-suns moment".
    • See this picture.
    • Kirk and McCoy fly to spacedock aboard the Shuttlecraft Gilliam.
    • When young Kirk is joyriding to the tune of Beastie Boys' "Sabotage", it might have seemed like an odd song choice until one remembers when William Shatner voiced displeasure over being told how to pronounce said word during an audiobook recording.
    • It's subtle, but when Spock stands up during the hearing after the Kobayashi Maru, he performs the Picard Maneuver.
    • When the cadets muster in the hangar for their ship postings, Cadet Vader is assigned to the USS Hood.
    • When Nero fires his drill at San Francisco Bay, he ends up drilling in the same spot the HMS Bounty crashed
  • Single Biome Planet: Vulcan and Delta Vega.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Slides a bit on down toward Cynicism from the bright and optimistic place Star Trek: The Original Series occupied near Idealism. But the scenery is a lot prettier.
  • Smoke and Fire Factory: The bridge, medical bay, hallways and transporter room of the new Enterprise look all nice and spiffy. Of course, the engineering section had to look like it was powered by Miller Light.
    • It actually makes sense. Areas that nobody outside Starfleet should see, like engineering, are extremely Spartan and not that advanced looking. Areas that trusted visitors would see, like the medical bay, hallways, and transporter room, all look nice enough. Only the bridge, which anyone contacting the Enterprise would see -- including hostiles -- takes the iPod-in-the-future aesthetic up to 11. Starfleet is fronting. They're not actually that advanced, but they damn sure want to look like they are.
    • Furthermore, those engineering scenes were actually filmed at a Budweiser Brewery.
  • Sophisticated As Hell: Inverted:

Scotty: She is one well-endowed lady. I'd like to get my hands on her ample nacelles, if you'll pardon the engineering parlance.

Kevin Murphy: And now the haunting, lyrical, kind of Samuel Barber-ish husband-killing theme. --Rifftrax

  • Sour Supporter: McCoy.
  • Space Is Noisy: Subject to the Rule of Drama. When we're subject to a character POV, we either hear nothing or just the sound of their own breathing if they are in a space suit. If there are no character POVs to be subjected to, we can hear the explosions and jumps to warp just fine.
    • Subverted when the Kelvin is being attacked. There's plenty of crashing and screaming before the hull ruptures and the woman is sucked into space, and then it goes completely silent.
      • It goes completely silent while she is still flailing and trying to scream.
  • Spanner in the Works: Sulu is a mild case early on. He fails to disable the space brakes delaying the Enterprises jump to warp which gives Kirk enough time to convince Pike to raise shields before arriving.
  • Special Effect Branding: Phasers have red and blue emitters for Kill and Stun settings, respectively.
  • Special Guest: Leonard Nimoy as Ambassador Spock, credited as "Spock Prime".
  • Spikes of Villainy: Just look at the Romulan ship and the chain the drill is hanging from.
  • Stanley Steamer Spaceship: When Scotty is running around Engineering near the end, trying to hold the engines together when they're at maximum power, a pipe ruptures and steam comes venting out.
  • Stealth Insult: Upon rejecting admission to the Vulcan Science Council after being told that his "disadvantage" hasn't slowed him down, Spock tells the elders to "Live long and prosper" in the most vitriolic way a Vulcan possibly could.

Chester A. Bum: Live long and SUCK IT!!

Kirk: Wait, I know that dog. What happened to it?
Scotty: I'll tell you when it reappears. Ahem. I don't know, I do feel guilty about that.

    • Also the sequence when Kirk's shuttlecraft arrives at the Enterprise; instead of Star Trek: The Motion Picture's interminable fly around the ship in drydock, this film has a quick and efficient scene where the shuttlecraft flies over the length of the ship before immediately landing in the shuttlebay which shows its scale and majesty without boring the audience to death.
    • When Kirk first boards the shuttle, he hits his head on a pipe in the same way Scotty did in Star Trek V.
  • Taking a Third Option: Kirk, in regards to the Kobayashi Maru, no-win scenarios, and life in general.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: McCoy offering Jim a drink from his flask.
  • Tell Me About My Father: Subverted as Kirk couldn't have cared less but Pike told him anyways.
    • And played straight when Kirk met up with Spock Prime and asked him about his father.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: Kirk "accidentally" grabs Uhura's breasts during the bar fight scene. Cue a big smirk from Kirk and a sock on the jaw from Uhura.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Another Signature Style of the Narada.
  • This Is a Drill: The bad guys are futuristic miners, so Nero's is a drill that will crack a planet's crust.
  • This Is My Chair: Kirk is doing his signature slouch in the Captain's Chair. Spock (still his superior) walks past and snaps Out of the chair.
  • Token Romance: Spock and Uhura.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Olson. Olson, Olson, Olson.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Jim Kirk seems to have levelled up in between Starfleet courses.
  • Traveling At the Speed of Plot: The distance from Earth to Vulcan takes exactly as long as is required by the plot. The inital journey seems to take only a few minutes but the return trip takes the second half of the movie. As stated above, 40 Eridani (the triple-star system identified in canon as Vulcan's homestar) is only about 16.5 light years from Sol. This means that crossing the galaxy would take less than 9 days.
    • Though in this time, everyone but Kirk has had time to change from their school clothing into fleet uniform, which could not be done by the entire crew at once. So they have probably been flying for a while at that time. It's however more that even though they only entered Warp at most a minute after the rest, the Narada is already drilling and everything after destroying an entire fleet.
    • There's an instance of "turbolift rides only last as long as the conversation contained within." Duing the buildup to the Enterprise's departure, Spock takes a turbolift from the shuttlebay to the bridge, 80% of the total length of the ship, within seconds. Later Spock is joined by Uhura in the turbolift. Even after stopping and restarting the lift, the lift travels for at least 20 seconds.


  • Understatement: Spock Prime is king of these.
  • Unnamed Parent: Spock's mother's name is never said or shown in the film until the credits. (It's Amanda Grayson.)
  • Unobtainium: Red Matter.
  • Black Holes Suck: Besides the obvious use-as-tunnels-through-spacetime-thing, here's another logical thought: if one small drop of Red Matter creates a black hole the size of the Narada with at least Earth-mass, wouldn't setting off a huge lump three feet across create a supermassive black hole?
    • Although any large mass can be used to slingshot though time in Star Trek.
    • Red matter apparently has to be injected into a planet's core to destroy a planet. An exploding ship probably has a lot less heat which could explain why a larger amount ended up producing a smaller black hole.
      • Which is a complete and utter failure to understand the physics of black holes, along with the fact that a planet was instantly destroyed (and, if I remember correctly, actually exploded), and without creating enough radiation to kill everything in the system at the very least, if not further away.
      • No, the planet visibly collapses into nothing, and planets when compared to entire star systems are very very tiny specks.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Kirk's final plan for defeating Nero.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: This time it has Kirk doing it, naturally. Thing is, he's taking it for the third time, and reprograms the computer so the Klingons have no shields. (Haxx!) And he does it with the finesse expected of the James T. Kirk original. Weapons... target-the-Klingon-Warbirds (sorry, battlecruisers. No such thing as Klingon Warbirds).
  • Villainous Breakdown: Nero's call to "FIRE EVERYTHING!" when he realises Spock is doing a suicide run. He also has one when we first see him, upon realizing he's arrived in the past.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Bones is constantly bitching and Kirk is constantly giving him reasons to, but they definitely have each other's backs.
  • Vulcan Has No Moon: Apparently Delta Vega is close enough for Spock Prime to witness the destruction of Vulcan without a telescope. This ends up Handwaved as a psychic vision.
  • Walk and Talk: Happens twice.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Vulcan.
    • In the comics, when Nero saw Romulus be destroyed.
  • We Will Have Perfect Health in the Future: Implied by Dr. McCoy, who boasts that he has a cure for everything that ails Kirk. Then again, McCoy infected Kirk in the first place. It stands to reason allergic reactions would be easily treatable.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Gaila.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Inverted when Kirk offers surrender terms to Nero.

Spock: Captain, what are you doing?
Kirk: Showing them compassion. It may be the only way to earn peace with Romulus. It's logic, Spock, I thought you'd like that.
Spock: No, not really. Not this time.

  • The Worf Effect: Nero's awesome (mining) ship wiped out a fleet of 47 Klingon Warbirds, conveniently off-screen, of course. Apparently getting your ass whooped to demonstrate someone else's badassery is genetic.
    • Countdown, the prequel comic, has the trope namer doing what he does best, getting his ass kicked.
  • You All Meet in An Inn: And have a roaring barfight.
  • You Have to Believe Me: Kirk runs into the bridge, claiming they're heading towards a trap and Romulans who had attacked his dad twenty-something years ago are back. Thankfully Uhura was there to confirm it and Spock believed her.
  • You Killed My Father: Nero is responsible for the death of Jim Kirk's father, George Kirk, only minutes after Jim's birth. Ironically, revenge for his father's death is never a main motive in Kirk's defeat of Nero.
  • Younger and Hipper
  • Your Mom: With Spock, just don't go there.
  • Your Size May Vary: The Constitution-class of this continuity is bigger than it originally was (partially explained by an In-Universe redesign). Shatner's was around 280 meters long. Pine's was designed to be closer to 360 meters (which was largely a result of a sleeker design and longer nacelles), although it was upscaled in the movie proper, because Abrams wanted an oversized shuttle bay, to be over 700 meters long. For reference... that's around the same length as the Sovereign class of the TNG movie era! Here is a quick comparison chart, outlining the size descrepencies, and here is the main article.
    • In addition, Daddy Kirk "saved 800 lives" on the Kelvin (pre-time change) when the original Enterprise (newer and larger than the Kelvin) had a crew of about 450. Assuming a great deal of casualties in that battle, that puts the Kelvin crew compliment closer to the Enterprise-D of 1,000.
  • You Should Know This Already: By this point we really might as well not bother spoiler-tagging Spock Prime; even anyone who's seen the trailer and not the movie knows he's in it.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Believe me, when you get Spock "emotionally compromised", it's not pretty.
  1. actually, it's three cadets (one of whom is a lieutenant, and another of whom is already a qualified doctor), an ensign, a lieutenant, a lieutenant commander who was Reassigned to Antarctica, and a commander who was told You Are in Command Now
  2. that is, fencing