Star Trek is the eleventh movie in the Star Trek film series, released in 2009.The Film of the Series from LOST creator J. J. Abrams featuring the characters from Star Trek: The Original Series played by a new cast and is set eight years before The Original Series, but in an Alternate Reality. Alternatively called J.J. Abrams' Star Trek, Star Trek 2009, and Star Trek XI/11 to keep confusion in check with the other Trek films.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 due to a brief delay in 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 cadetnote actually, concerning those with major roles, 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 crew (the young TOS characters) to somehow save the day.The first theatrical Trek film to feature any of the original characters in 15 years. Released 7 years after Star Trek: Nemesis (the biggest gap between Trek films to date) from which it takes a major Tone Shift and, believe it or not, is also a loose Stealth Sequel to.Is followed by the 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness.
The red matter black holes. From the front, they look like your standard-issue, vaguely funnel-shaped Swirly Energy Thingy; from the side, it's clear that it's missing a dimension.Real Life black holes are spherical.
Considering it's also a Continuity Nod, it makes sense. (This time, he uses a telescopic Katana, though.)
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.
Aluminum Christmas Trees: Safely parachuting from a planet's orbit wearing a space suit. It sounds like pure science fiction, but it's actually been done twice on our own planet. At the time of this film's release, the world record for highest parachute jump had been set in 1960 by American Air Force officer Joseph Kittinger, who parachuted from Earth's stratosphere in a manner almost exactly like that depicted in the movie. Then, three years after the movie came out, that record was broken by Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner, who parachuted from the stratosphere about 24 miles from the ground (again, almost exactly like Kirk and Sulu did it).
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.
AM/FM Characterization: Our first encounter with a young James T. Kirk is him hanging up on his step-father in favor of blasting the Beastie Boys ovet the radio, establishing his disregard for authority even before the character says a single word.
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.
Ascended Fanon: Uhura's fanon first name, "Nyota", is confirmed. Nichelle Nichols, who played the role during the original series run, was actually the first person to suggest the name "Nyota" for Uhura. This was known by fans before it ever appeared in novels. The lack of a first name for Uhura is a Mythology Gag for much of the movie, until Spock calls her "Nyota".
Kirk: So her first name's Nyota?
Spock: [beat] I have no comment on the matter.
Kirk calls her by her first name when breaking the stunned silence left behind by the Federation President's planetary distress signal near the beginning of Star Trek IV.
The Bad Guy WinsSince the destruction of Vulcan as Revenge against Spock is his major motivation, Nero gets a lot of what he wants. Destroying the rest of the federation because he can is just a bonus.
Bait and Switch: As we see Kirk making love to a woman, we're led to think it's Uhura, but when the lights turn on, we see it's Gaila, her Orion roommate.
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.
Then again, this was taking place in the Star Trek universe at the same time as The Original Series, where the Starfleet-issue uniforms for female cadets and medical staff did consist of sundresses and go-go boots. So it's a little more of a Continuity Nod.
Belligerent Sexual Tension: Subverted. Uhura has no interest at all in Kirk, despite Kirk's attempts at flirting with her and her abject refusal to even give him her name. Three years later, we see why: she's in a relationship with Spock.
It is perfectly okay to talk shit about Commander Spock's Momma... as long as you do it while he's under heavy sedatives and has all four limbs tied down. Otherwise, you are going to get curb-stomped.Epically.
Kirk was intentionally trying to find a Berserk Button on Spock to show that he was 'emotionally compromised'. He still probably didn't expect what he got when he found it.
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.
Bestiality Is Depraved: Played for laughs 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.
Spock-Prime gets one when he bails Kirk out on the ice planet Delta Vega.
"Captain, I've picked up another ship!" Cue Enterprise.
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.
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.
Bittersweet Ending: Nero and his crew are defeated, and Kirk gets promoted to captain of the Enterprise. The sad part however is that way before the ending, Nero succeeded in erasing Vulcan from existence and the Vulcans are now an endangered species.
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 also gets stranded on planets and has freaky and potentially embarrassing reactions to vaccines.
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.
Kirk getting repeatedly owned in hand-to-hand combat with Spock and the Romulans is somewhat justifiable, considering they're meant to be three times stronger than humans.
"Nero's very presence has altered the flow of history, beginning on the attack of the USS Kelvin thereby creating an entire new chain of incidents that cannot be anticipated by either party. Whatever our lives were, if the time continuum was disrupted, our destinies have changed."
The advanced technology as well as the many, many dramatic changes in the lives of the main characters all happened simply because Nero and Co. showed up.
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.
Spock:(on intercom) Dr. Puri, report? 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!
Casual Car Giveaway: When Kirk is leaving for Starfleet he hands his motorcycle over to one of the construction workers at the dock:
Construction Worker: Nice bike. Kirk:(tossing the keys) It's yours.
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 is shown casually munching on an apple while destroying the simulated Klingon attackers with trivial ease thanks to hacking the sim computers. The gesture was added by Chris Pine because he heard once that eating an apple makes you look more cocky.
Whether intentional or not, one of the many Continuity Nods, this time to Wrath of Khan, where Shatner!Kirk talks about the test while casually consuming an apple.
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.
An early scene establishes that Spock as a kid is rather touchy about people disparaging his human mother. Later on, as soon as Kirk tries that route in trying to expose that Spock is "emotionally compromised", he flips out and beats the crap out of Kirk just like he did to his school bullies years earlier.
The Chewtoy: While Kirk is still The Ace we all know and love, he's on the receiving end of most of the asskickings in the film, from the heroes and villains alike! Likewise, his tragic backstory, his reaction to the vaccine and being chased by not one, but two monsters within minutes of landing on Delta Vega, seem to suggest that the universe is actively conspiring to screw with him!
Chewing the Scenery: Nero treats the set like a giant multi-course meal, chewing it with great gusto over many scenes.
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.
Composite Character: This universe's version of Uhura owes a bit her being a Cunning Linguist to Hoshi Sato, as well as Nichelle Nichols creating the character as a linguist originally (even if she never really spoke any alien language in the show and actually used a dictionary to speak klingon in one of the tos movies)
The re-imagined Enterprise is an elemental fusion of the original ship from The Original Series and the heavily-refit version from the first 6 Star Trek films.
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.
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.
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.
Word of God, however, is that this was unintentional, and they put it in because it made Kirk look arrogant.
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."
McCoy calls for Nurse Chapel when Kirk has an allergic reaction to the vaccine he was given to sneak on the Enterprise.
She might be seen when Kirk and Spock beam back to the Enterprise with Pike at the end of the film, but isn't named in the scene, so it's left ambiguous.
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."
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's an early nod to the animated series' episode 'Yesteryear', in which young Spock experiences an outburst of emotion and proceeds to pummel another Vulcan child mercilessly for insulting Sarek and Amanda.
Spock speaks with his mother about undergoing the rite of Kolinahr, the purging of all emotions, which was what Spock was doing towards the beginning of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
The Enterprise escapes a subspace anomaly by ejecting the warp core and detonating it, just like in Star Trek: Insurrection.
Abrams has stated that one of the reasons for Starfleet's increased militarism is because of the Narada's attack on the Kelvin. It's not without precedent in Star Trek; the same thing happened after the Battle of Wolf 359 and the destruction of the USS Odyssey in the main continuity. And as an added bonus, Wolf 359 was a battle in which the Federation was nearly destroyed by a Borg ship. The Narada, which nearly succeeds in destroying the Federation, also had Borg technology integrated into it.
Word of God used the TNG episode "Parallels" to specifically explain how the new timeline works with the Prime timeline.
A human mind melding with a Vulcan exposes the former to the onslaught of the latter's powerful emotions. Kirk's tearful reaction after receiving Spock Prime's memories of Vulcan's destruction mirrors that of Picard's breakdown after melding with Sarek.
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.
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. It's possible that Kirk's pod was deliberately dropped nearby a Federation installation, but that doesn't explain what Spock is doing so close by.
The film tries to lampshade this coincidence by having Old Spock ask Kirk, "How did you find me?" But, Kirk is too freaked out to answer that question.
Convection Schmonvection: During the drill fight Sulu is almost sucked into the laser drill, but apparently is ok since he didn't actually touch it. In the same fight Sulu, Kirk, and two Romulans fight on top of the drill, which occasionally emits fire through some vents. The heat doesn't affect them unless they're standing on the vents when they're venting flame.
Cool Bike: Kirk's motorbike and the Iowa Cop's hoverbike
Cool Starship: In tradition with all things Star Trek and in no particular order:
The starship Enterprise is completely pimped-out like a 50s/60s hot-rod complete with interiors that could only be described as "an Apple Store on crack" and she never looked so good.
The Romulan mining vessel Narada gets a special mention for not looking out of place if it was being flown by Mi-go. The fact that it's The Juggernaut with infinite Spikes Of Doom pretty much cinches the fact. Heck, there's a reason that some fans call it, "Satan's Batmobile." Oh, and even better? The Narada also apparently had Borg tech integrated into it.
Spock's Jellyfish is a nifty little Vulcan vessel (literally) packing some "Earth-shattering" heat. Bonus points for being built and designed by Geordi LaForge in the prime timeline.
The Federation survey cruiser USS Kelvin.
The Shuttles from the Original Series are back.
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 carries out his plot due to believing that the Federation let Romulus be destroyed, killing pretty much everyone he loved in the process.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Spock uses a Vulcan nerve pinch on Kirk and downs him in two seconds flat. Second one: Spock gives him the pinch. Second two: Kirk is on the floor. The best part is that Spock just looks annoyed; Kirk wasn't even a threat to him.
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.
Pike points this out to Nero during his interrogation. But Nero responds that it's not the Romulus he knows, and his loved ones would still be dead.
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."
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.
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.
The IDW tie-in comics show that he's actually quite supportive of Spock and Uhura's relationship.
Disposable Woman: Straight example: Amanda, Spock's mother, died just to twist the knife of angst deeper for Spock.
Disproportionate Retribution: Nero decides to wait 25 years for Spock to come through the same black hole that pulled him into the past, makes Spock watch Vulcan get destroyed, and then moves on to systematically destroy the other planets of the Federation. All of this is because Spock turned up mere minutes too late to save Romulus from a super nova. (Countdown's backstory doesn't count as the film's writers have established it as non-canon material).
Distress Call: From Vulcan. Provides the impetus for the second act.
Kirk: Who was that pointy-eared bastard? McCoy: I don't know, but I like him!
Drink Order: A Klabnian fire tea, three Budweiser Classics, two "Cardassian sunrises" and the Slusho mix. Uhura and her friends party hard.
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."
For the record, that averages out to ten lives every nine seconds.
Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Nero's plan being to destroy every single planet in the Federation, just to get back at Spock for not being able to stop Romulus from being destroyed by a star going supernova in time. He actually gets as far as destroying Vulcan, and is in the process of trying to destroy Earth before he is stopped by Kirk and Spock. Technically, it's an implosion, rather than an explosion as the red matter is injected into the planet's core and ignites, setting off a black hole.
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 Abrams' overall work, the name of the USS Kelvin is this film's use of the "Kelvin" mark he puts in most of his films and TV series.
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....
This is not surprising considering the ship was built by the Vulcan Science Academy.
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.
Regarding some of the age discrepancies among the students, it's also safe to assume that McCoy is a mature student (since he was already a medical doctor when he started at the academy) and that Chekov has skipped a few years of school (justifying why such a young academy ensign is in such a responsible position would seem to be the point of Pike's "whiz-kid" comment in his first scene). These might both be a result of the alternate time line, of course.
Bones: Space is disease and danger, wrapped in darkness and silence!
Excessive Steam Syndrome: When Enterprise is getting sucked into a black hole near the end and they're running the warp engines at maximum power, Scotty is running around in Engineering trying to hold the ship together. A pipe cracks overhead and steam comes venting out.
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 their more popular TNG ridged foreheads, or go with TOS's dark skinned humanoid look. In the end they just decided to cover the front of their heads and not worry about it.
Fail Safe Failure: The Kelvin's autopilot function gets destroyed at the wrong time, leaving George Kirk to ram it himself.
The deliciously curvaceous Orion chick wearing just lingerie in the same scene
Fantastic Racism: Deconstructed. The original series Played for Laughs or treated as semi-justified the You Are a Credit to Your Race attitude Spock would encounter from other Vulcans for his human blood. Here, the Vulcan kids, as well as the High Council (in a snootier fashion) really pile it on Spock, and it's treated in the same light real-world racism generally is.
Fix Fic: Slash Fic fans of the film who support Kirk/Spock tend to have Uhura a) end her relationship with Spock on amicable terms b) get dumped by Spock c) run off with Bones, Scotty, Chekov...any one else with a penis... or d) get eaten by the Gorn. It's starting to get a bit ridiculous.
Five-Temperament Ensemble: Kirk (choleric), Sulu (melancholic/choleric), Spock (melancholic), Uhura (phlegmatic), "Bones" McCoy (sanguine), Chekhov (sanguine/choleric), and Scotty (leukine).
Forced to Watch: Nero giving his nemesis a front-row seat to Vulcan's destruction.
For Want of a Nail: Why everything is different in the new timeline. See also Butterfly Of Doom, above.
Freudian Excuse: Nero, once a simple Romulan miner, had his life ruined when Ambassador Spock (and the Federation) failed to save his home planet from a supernova. Angry, he wants to kill nearly everyone (specifically, destroy Earth).
"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."
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.
Justified as they are dropping through the atmosphere vertically, so their tangential speed (which would cause the friction) is basically zero.note See also recent examples of successful stratosphere jumps.
Generic Doomsday Villain: Nero. His backstory is that, in the late 24th century, his home planet (with his pregnant wife on it) was destroyed in a supernova, which, for some reason means that he wants to destroy every planet in The Federation. To make matters worse, no one ever points out the fact that he's gone back in time a hundred and fifty years before the supernova took place and therefore has ample opportunity to, oh, I don't know... WARN HIS PEOPLE THAT THEIR PLANET IS GOING TO BE DESTROYED.
This is a bad case of All In The Manual, as reading the prequel comic reveals that Nero witnessed the beginning of the supernova, but the Romulan senate refused to listen to him even with concrete evidence. So once he goes back in time, he figures that if that senate wouldn't listen to him, the one he would now face sure as hell wouldn't. In the comic he also works closely with Spock on the Federation science project to prevent the disaster, hearing promises that everything will end up all right... only for it to go horribly wrong. That in turn makes Nero's desire to destroy Vulcan and the Federation more understandable. Spending a decade inside a Klingon Prison after going back into the past didn't help his sanity either.
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. 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 BuildingSpace Opera; and less Technobabble or forced moral message.
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.
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.
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 escaping crew, including his pregnant wife and her child. Kirk becomes a legendary hero for this action, given that in his extremely short time as Captain, 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.
And Pike too, after a fashion. He pulls a Robau, going off to sacrifice himself to Nero (and let's face it, Robau's fate had to have been in his head as he did all of this) while the crew mounts a counterattack. Though, it's also inverted a bit when Kirk shows up later to pull Pike off the Narada before it blows.
The 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 novelisation we learn that during Spock's birth, a star was going supernova elsewhere in the galaxy. The novelisation 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.
Heel Face Door Slam: The Romulans were well on the way to becoming allies with the Federation as of Nemesis, only for their entire planet to get blown up by a supernova.
Historical Hero Upgrade: Heavily implied to be the case with George Kirk, judging by the Kelvin salt-shakers in the bar and Pike's gushing about how George Kirk was in his opinion, one of the finest Starfleet officers to have ever lived. While George's actions in saving the lives of everyone about the Kelvin and his sacrifice were undoubtedly heroic, one does have to wonder how Pike managed to turn those 12 minutes into a in-depth dissertation? It's implied that part of Kirk's cynicism derives from living in the shadow of what he initially believed to be a over-glorified kamekaze run.
Homage: The lines and mannerisms of The Original Series cast.
Hitler Cam: Used near the end of the film to compensate for the height difference between Spock and Spock.
Humans Are White: The movie did pretty well at averting this. Though human extras are still predominantly white, there's a lot of color. Among named characters, Uhura is black and Sulu is Asian (naturally), and the head of the Starfleet Academy Board, Admiral Barnett, is black.
Hypocrite / I Resemble That Remark: Many of the Vulcans who insult Spock for acting emotional, fail to realise that they are guilty of the same thing; showing clear irritation and even mild anger when he fails to respond to their vicious barbs about his mother! Likewise, when the bullies finally goad the young Spock into losing his temper, you can see they are utterly terrified when he proceeds to beat the crap out of one of them!
When Kirk is on the bridge, trying to elicit an emotional response from Spock at Spock Prime's orders, Spock tells him "I will not allow you to lecture me on the merits of emotion", then gets violent when Kirk implies that Spock never loved his mother. This despite the fact that he lectured Kirk about the merits of fear, and brought up Kirk's father in the same speech, barely hours before. Of course, the circumstances were slightly different, but still...
Ignorant of the Call: Due to the timeline incursion and the death of his father, Kirk grows up to be, according to Captain Pike, "the only genius-level repeat offender in the Midwest [U.S.]" Pike spurs Kirk to join Starfleet by succinctly summing up his father's Heroic Sacrifice, and daring Kirk to do better than that.
I Got You Covered: When they invade Narada, Kirk stuns one of the Romulans so Spock can do a mind meld and find out where Spock Prime's ship is. While Spock is doing so, Kirk shoots another Romulan who was approaching from behind.
Pike returns the favor when he shoots a Romulan while Kirk is freeing him from captivity.
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.
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. Made all the more ridiculous by the fact that Romulus still exists in the time period he is now in and he is doing nothing to warn them to evacuate or otherwise do something practical and obvious to avert the disaster.
Part of it is implied that he doesn't care about Romulus anymore, that he just wants revenge on a Federation that helped cause the destruction of all that he knew and loved... and another part is that he's just insane.
Considering how many setbacks the Roumlans went through directly at the Federation's hands, it's hard to argue with Nero's logic that Romulus would be better off without the Federation.
Instant Sedation: Another Star Trek staple, here played for laughs. "How long will that ta-"
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.
It's some what justified though. In the original timeline Kirk's father inspired him to join Starfleet, in the new time line Captain Pike fulfills that role. Also it's Spock Prime's pushing that causes things such as Kirk and Spock becoming friends.
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 Chekov 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, especially being that the quirks of it are actually Slovakian, and not Russian, as commented on in the DVD behind the scenes extras.)
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 stepdad'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 - once the adventure kicks off, Kirk repeatedly throws himself into danger to save people, despite inevitably ending up getting his ass kicked. 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 step-father's Corvette above the sun visor.
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: Used multiple times throughout the movie during big flashy scenes.
Basically every scene on the Enterprise.
Basically every scene. Goddammit JJ.
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 on the drill that immediately follows, Sulu defeats his opponent (while Kirk gets his ass kicked, no less).
Literal Cliffhanger: 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).
Starfleet at it's core is more-or-less a diplomatic and exploratory organization, but their structure is based on a militaristic/naval defense framework, such as assigning their officers naval ranks (i.e. Ensign, Lieutenant, Commodore, Admiral, etc). They are, for the most part, a "peacekeeping and humanitarian armada", but that doesn't mean they won't defend themselves from any opposing force when the time calls for it.
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)!
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.
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 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.
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, but remember that like the Vulcans, they have three times the strength and endurance of a human. Also, the Narada is 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.
There are also scenes where power cables are seen in puddles of water.
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 ("Gentlemen! I call my invention... a seatbelt."), although still far from perfect in that regard, like for example the lack of barriers to prevent entering the transporter pad when it's in operation.
The Enterprise view screen is a glass (or transparent aluminium) window that leads directly out into space, but doesn't have any form of blast shield or emergency bulkhead in case it breaks. While you could argue that the ship has shields for that, they frequently go offline and aren't that reliable as a safeguard.
Non Sequitur Thud: Played With. At the end of the bar fight, when Captain Pike breaks it up, Kirk says something to Pike that is lucid, but it's obvious he's dazed. It's probably one of the more accurate depictions of the effects of somebody getting repeatedly punched in the face.
Pike: You alright, son? Kirk: You can whistle really loud, you know that?
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.
The destruction of Vulcan. The devastated look on the older Spock's face cements that until then, the changes could have simply turned this into a Close Enough Timeline. Now nothing will ever be the same.
Word of God was that Vulcan was destroyed for exactly this reason- to show that things are not the same, and that this is deadly serious.
Not the Fall That Kills You: When Kirk and Sulu get plucked out of free-fall by the teleporter, they still have momentum and slam onto the teleporter floor... but then stand right up.
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."
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.
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 first officer 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 (which was precipitated by Kirk himself, so make of that what you will).
Parental Substitute: Pike is about the closest thing to a true father figure Kirk ever had. He looks out for him and encourages living up to his dad's name. It could be vaguely lampshaded when he asks "You alright, son?" after his Iowa bar fight.
Plot Allergy: McCoy uses Kirk's (expected) reaction to a vaccine get him aboard the Enterprise on medical grounds. Unfortunately, poor Kirk turns out to be outright allergic to the vaccines and experiences some... rather interesting reactions to them.
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.
The Power of Friendship: Spock Prime cites this trope as the reason why Kirk and Spock must learn to work together; it is the only way the Enterprise can defeat Nero.
Downplayed, but still present. The traditional Kirk-Spock-McCoy dynamic, typically seen as the codifying power trio, is seen in its infancy. Kirk, here a brash hothead, actually ends up playing The McCoy more than the Trope Namer, who is more Kirk-like in response.
However, it's suggested that Uhura has been "upgraded", so to speak, and they're now a Four-Temperament Ensemble, with McCoy as sanguine, Kirk as choleric, Uhura as melancholic, and Spock as phlegmatic. There's good discussion of this here.
Pragmatic Adaptation: The Alternate Reality was introduced avert Continuity Snarl and have total freedom with the characters and canon, but to also allow a feasible excuse for updating the technological and visual effects to a 2009 audience.
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.
Pressure Point: Spock knocks Kirk out with the Vulcan nerve pinch before ordering him to be left on Delta Vega.
Product Placement: For Nokia, Budweiser, and Jack Daniels. Budweiser they let them use a factory as a filming location.
Promotion Not Punishment: At the start, Kirk is actually about to be kicked out for cheating on the test, then tops that by stowing away on the Enterprise, then actually attempting a mutiny against Spock and disobeying the acting Captain's orders. Being that it was his disregard of orders that led to the defeat of the Big Bad and the saving of (almost) every planet in the Federation, one can begin to see how he actually skips all the way to the Captain's chair at the end.
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.
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.
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.
The Narada gets a round two from the Jellyfish, which this time has the Red Matter to do most of the damage.
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.note Then again, they did succeed in reaching the core, so they hadn't actually screwed up his plans.
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.
Recycled IN SPACE!: While it's based on the '60s TV series, where the show dealt with themes of exploration and asking universal questions, the film more-or-less becomes Top Gun... in space. Kirk is a maverick whose father died in an act of aerial heroism. He has an older, more tightly-wound buddy (McCoy), and a gruff superior officer (Pike) who appears to disapprove of him, but secretly thinks he has a certain untapped potential. There's also an "icy" rival (Spock), though he gets the hot/smart chick (Uhura) instead of our maverick. Spock kicks him off the Enterprise not because of his flying, but because of his attitude, but after he meets Spock's older self, he makes it back to the ship and proves he's the best of the best and by the end, he and Spock can be each others' wingman anytime - or rather, are and always shall be friends.
Recycled Title: Star Trek is already the original name of the first series and the franchise as a whole. As of today, the 2009 film is currently the only work in the Star Trek franchise to be officially known as Star Trek with no subtitle, as the series was renamed Star Trek: The Original Series, and the first film had the full title of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Fans are calling it "Star Trek 11" or Star Trek: The Future Begins to differentiate it. It has also been labeled Star Trek '09 while TOS is alternatively referred to as Star Trek '66 nodding to their respective releases.
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.".
In a quieter example, Spock toward the end, when Kirk offers to rescue Nero ( who had previously destroyed Vulcan) from the singularity he created;
Spock: Captain, what are you doing? Kirk: Showing them compassion may be the only way to earn peace with the Romulans. It's logic, Spock. I thought you'd like that. Spock: No, not really. Not this time.
Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Played with. One may think Spock Prime would have new memories of what his younger self just experienced. Then again, he's the Prime Reality version of Spock◊ (hence his nickname), separate from the New Alternate One◊ formed by a new spacetime continuum branching off the original universe. Despite being a younger incarnation, whatever happens to New Spock would most likely not, in any way, physically affect Spock Prime whose only affected by the original timestream◊ (anything in the Star Trek franchise before the 2009 reboot).
The same principle applies to anyone and anything that exists past the timeline diverging event in 2233.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Nero's entire motivation, after the destruction of the Romulan home system and death of his family. A whole lot of Starfleet, a whole lot of Klingons, Vulcan (both the planet and species) and the freaking TIMESTREAM are all casualties of it.
Role Reprisal: Thanks to a loophole that the writers implemented, they were able to recast Leonard Nimoy as "Spock Prime," The same Spock from the original Star Trek timeline.
Rule of Cool: Notably, the only entry in the entire series to forego it's allegoric and philosophical roots and solely run on this...and excel at it brilliantly.
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.
Sacrificial Planet: The movie showed the planet Vulcan being destroyed, and then headed for Earth to do the same.
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.
Scenery Gorn: When the Enterprise arrives at Vulcan, it finds the other ships that warped there destroyed, and had to dodge large pieces of debris. It didn't come out unscathed, either; a nacelle dragged against a destroyed saucer section.
First, the idea that a supernova could threaten to destroy the entire galaxy. The blast front would dissipate long before that from spreading out too far. The official novelization of the movie fixes this, saying the supernova had threatened everything in its vicinity.
Second, the idea that a supernova could destroy the Romulus System before it could be evacuated. Having the shockwave travel at the required speed violates basic Einsteinian physics (i.e. it would have to travel faster than the speed of light, which is impossible). The only way this would make sense is if it was the sun of Romulus and Remus themselves that blew up. Otherwise the star systems in the vicinity would have, at minimum, years to evacuate, a daunting but hardly impossible task for a major warp-capable polity such as the Romulan Star Empire. Star Trek Online gives a non-canon explanation for this: The supernova was not a natural phenomenon, but rather caused by Romulan experiments with treaty-banned subspace weapons. Because of this the shockwave traveled through subspace at FTL speeds.
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.
The Red Matter ball looks identical to a couple that feature in Alias.
During the beginning of the battle between the Kelvin and the Narada, one of the bridge staff says "All power to forward batteries." Star Wars, anyone?
The Enterprise going into warp comes this close to looking like going into hyperspace in Star Wars.
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.
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... and those engineering scenes were actually filmed at a Budweiser Brewery.
Space Cadet Academy: Any Star Trek series will probably reference Starfleet Academy at some point, and it featured prominently in this movie.
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.
Stealth Sequel: It was billed as a prequel, but turned out to be a prequel, sequeland a reboot all in one. In addition to seeing Kirk and co. as rookies, we get an aging Spock meeting his younger self, and we see how the Federation's conflict with the Romulans finally ends.
Consider a 1945 cargo ship, with a 3" deck gun and a twin 20mm AA mount (not to mention an all-metal hull and diesel engines), transported back 155 years to 1790. It would be, hands down, the most powerful warship on the planet.
Scotty's explanation of how he decided to test his Transwarp Beaming on "Admiral Archer's prize beagle:
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. William Shatner (Kirk's actor in The Original Series and the accompanying movies) directed that movie.
Tell Me About My Father: Originally subverted, as Kirk couldn't have cared less but Pike told him anyways. Later the trope was 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.
Jim Kirk seems to have leveled up in between Starfleet courses.
Chekov manages to level up, relative to his counterpart in the original continuity, by saving Kirk and Sulu through some very skilled transporter use.
Starfleet in response to the attack on the Kelvin. Part of the reason the Enterprise is more advanced than it's counterpart from the Prime Universe is due to Starfleet's rapid realisation that there were things out there that had them severely outgunned. Pike even states that instead of just exploration, Starfleet has become a "Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Armada".
The whole race of Romulans. Their whole sun goes supernova thus destroying Romulus in the process? Sorry, but you must be plain dumb in order to let that happen (according to Star Trek Online, they caused it by testing weapons that were banned due to this specific reason). Not only do they possess a whole star empire, which means they have more planets then just the one being threatened by the super nova, they should also have the technological possibilities to detect super novas in time. It's not like they happen as a total surprise. It shouldn't have been a problem at all to evacuate a planet in time. And to let Spock as the only person in the goddamned empire try to prevent it because they were too busy arguing. That's beyond dumb. Maybe more so, since the ship and technology Spock uses were built on Vulcan, which means somebody had sufficient advance notice and time to prepare a response.
Due to his wanting to show up the rookies, Olson waits until the absolute last moment before popping his parachute. Kirk and Sulu pull their chutes at a safe distance above the platform, but Olson turns out to have waited too long, and winds up dropping right into the path of the mining laser beam, completely vaporizing him and the explosives he was carrying for destroying the drill.
We also have the Vulcan bullies picking on Young Spock. It was clear from their reaction to Spock delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to one of them that none of them considered the possibility of their trying to "elicit an emotional response" in Spock might result in violence.
Token Romance: Spock and Uhura. Actually subverted in the sequel too: the romance allows the writers to remind the audience that Spock does in fact have feelings but just chooses to not show them. Roberto Orci said that they serve as a parallel to Spock's parents that were an interracial and interspecies couple as well and thus it's quite plausible for Spock to fall for a human the way his father did and it challenges his character in ways his counterpart never was. The romance also subverts the strong independent black woman who doesn't need no man racist trope for Uhura as well as the the hero always gets the girl trope (as Kirk doesn't get the girl that is in fact the already established girlfriend of The Nerdy Friend of Hero
The distance from Earth to Vulcan takes exactly as long as is required by the plot. The initial journey seems to take only a few minutes but the return trip takes the second half of the movie.40 Eridani (the triple-star system identified in canon as Vulcan's system) is only about 16.5 light years from Sol. This means that crossing the galaxy would take less than 9 days.
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.
Ultimate Universe: With it usage of Broad Strokes, the movie could be seen as a simplified version of the whole franchise packed into "one neat little starter-kit for new fans".
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, and 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).
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.
Also somewhat averted, as McCoy states that space is full of death and disease.
What Happened to the Mouse?: It's unknown whether Gaila was assigned to any of the Federation starships that were destroyed in the battle with Nero at Vulcan.
Deleted Scenes show she was also assigned to the Enterprise. There was, in fact an also-deleted subplot about how she and Kirk are now awkward around each other once she realizes he only slept with her to get her to reprogram the Kobayashi Maru.
Also, in the novelization, Admiral Archer's dog that Scotty lost in a Transwarp Beaming accident appears on the pad at the very end, after every other event in the movie has transpired. So somewhat averted?
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.
What Year Is This?: When Robau doesn't recognize images of "our" Spock or his craft, the Romulans ask him what the current Stardate is. He tells them - and Nero leaps out of his chair and impales him.
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.
Wrong Time-Travel Savvy: Spock Prime allows Kirk to infer that universe-ending paradoxes will ensue if he and his younger self interact. He just wants them to work together without using him as a crutch.
You Can't Fight Fate: Despite how much events change due to Nero's interference in the timeline, the crew of the Enterprise end up together anyway.
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.
Younger and Hipper: HAH! The entire freaking crew! Even if Pike can't be classified as "younger", he's certainly "hipper". The man actually has a sense of humor, not something ever seen with Pike Prime.
Keep in mind that a lot of scenes with Pike Prime were either him as a very tired, very experienced captain... or as a Davros-like man in a life support unit.
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 TNGmovie 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.