Kevin Smith: Star Trek (Almost) As Good As Dark Knight

As we reported a few weeks ago, Kevin Smith got an early preview of a rough cut of JJ Abrams’ Star Trek and gave it a good review (twice). Now in a new interview, the Clerks director compares this year’s mega-hit The Dark Knight to Star Trek and Watchmen (which he has also seen months ahead of the rest of the world).


First Showing asked Kevin smith to pick between Dark Knight, Trek and Watchmen. Smith said that they were all "amazing" but he would have to give the edge to The Dark Knight (which is currently the top grossing film of the year). He went on to say it was a close call.

But man, those other two, Watchmen and Star Trek, come close. I mean, I’m not a huge Trekkie, so I’m not like, oh man, you must see this before you die. But for what it is, in terms of a reboot, [Abrams] did a fantastic job with it. Because it sounded like, when they announced it, ‘why do you want to go back and do little Kirk and little Spock?’ But man he did it and it made it viable and it doesn’t get rid of anything that it had before, it kind of makes way for the continuity, so it all fits in that world still. It doesn’t negate the series, the series of movies, anything, it’s all part and parcel with it.

Of course Smith is comparing rough cuts of Trek and Watchmen to the final product of The Dark Knight, but it is still good company to be in.

More from Smith at First Showing.

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September 19, 2008 12:34 pm

Wow…all that from a rough cut! This movie may be better than we thought. I cant wait to see it…

September 19, 2008 12:35 pm

Sounds about right! Continuity intact while keeping it fresh and new. Bring on May ’09!

September 19, 2008 12:35 pm

I am very envious of him

September 19, 2008 12:36 pm

It’s certainly good to hear, from an independent and usually quite stinging source.

Make it so!
September 19, 2008 12:37 pm

I wasn’t that impressed with The Dark Knight, I think Star Trek will be better. Just hoping it’s not going to be another Phantom Menace.

September 19, 2008 12:38 pm

This coming from the director of Mallrats – scary.

Capitaine Picard Jr
September 19, 2008 12:38 pm

I love the ‘it kind of makes way for the continuity’… can we start dreaming of more Trek after this movie?
Merde j’en rêve,
Make it so !

September 19, 2008 12:39 pm

Well, I thought The Dark Knight was incredibly overrated and overhyped so this comparison doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies at all…

Tony Whitehead
September 19, 2008 12:40 pm

If the public agrees with Kevin, this bodes well for the future of the franchise.

The sweet and sour sauce package from mcdonalds
September 19, 2008 12:44 pm

Sorry but I dont think Star Trek is going to do Dark Knight numbers at the box office, love Kevin Smith but dont agree with him. If this film does a total of 150 million it will be lucky. I just dont see the average fan NOT STAR TREK FAN, but average joe schmo going to see this past opening weekend.

September 19, 2008 12:45 pm

Trek will do 200 mil at best. Same with Watchmen.

September 19, 2008 12:48 pm

#9 – Where did he talk about box office numbers? You’re commenting on something he didn’t even talk about and making it seem like he did. And have a little faith will ya ;)

The Underpants Monster
September 19, 2008 12:50 pm

Is he wearing some kind of prayer shawl in that picture, or just something with an ill-fitting stripey collar?

September 19, 2008 12:51 pm

7 and 9 are right on the money

The sweet and sour sauce package from mcdonalds
September 19, 2008 12:51 pm

number 11, so Chris pine will have a great performance as heath ledger? I dont see it…More I see people asking themselves who is Chris Pine?

September 19, 2008 12:53 pm

#9, #10 – Why is it that so many Trek fans have so little faith in the very thing they love? Perhaps one of the reasons Trek is in the near coma state its in is because some fans talk it down. I just don’t get it..


September 19, 2008 12:58 pm

Seriously, who cannot freaking wait until May? This is exactly what Trek needed.

September 19, 2008 1:10 pm

I agree that a big budget action adventure with a fresh look is what Trek needs. Can’t wait to see it, and I can’t wait until Trailer #2 is released!

star trackie
September 19, 2008 1:12 pm

The more you build up something the harder it is to live up to those expecations. With 8 months to go, I think they would be well served to advise their friends, like Smith, to pullback some on the comments. While I was TOTALLY underwhelmed by The Dark Knight and the morbid curiosity factor of Ledger’s death, many do have the perception that it is the greatest movie ever made. They would be wrong, but never the less, the perception is there. To compare to that might be writing a check that the studio can’t cash.

September 19, 2008 1:14 pm

Kevin’s guys ego is getting to be larger than Shatner’s.
Dark knight really did kinda suck. I saw it twice, just to make sure.

Please, no more comments from this, self admitted, non-trek fan.

September 19, 2008 1:15 pm

Darn it,

That last post should have been mine TrekMadeMeWonder.

Sorry, my daughter is taking an interest in Trek and I missed changing the screen name in my last post.

September 19, 2008 1:28 pm

Wow, if you guys think The Dark Knight sucked, I hate to think what you think is a good movie.

September 19, 2008 1:37 pm

IMO cartoonish performances and retread, vainglorious overly melodramatic stories are what kept star trek small. A hefty dose of realism, and performances by actors who didn’t decide their line readings decades ago, could potentially bring a new audience.

September 19, 2008 1:39 pm


Horatio, it’s because Star Trek, as a corporate property, has only rarely received its due from TPTB.

What a run, from 1987 until 2005, but the run was f*cked up by lack of ability to understand where the market was going. Even Ronald Moore, one of the more gifted recent Trek writers, bemoaned recently the difficulty presented by Canon.

It’s still a product which makes money for CBS/PP, and our faith must be in those who run the franchise, not the franchise itself. JJ Abrams does not run it. No one does, except the corporation. It’d be nice to peg a Rick Berman or a Gene Roddenberry with whom we could all speak online. Right now, it’s impossible.

D. McCoy
September 19, 2008 1:40 pm

You know, its amazing how I find myself glossing over the REALLY bad episodes of TOS. And the bad movies. Its almost as if they didn’t exist. I still have the great episodes in my soul. Maybe it’s related to how old I was when I first saw them? Maybe the acting? (I have convenietly deleted Superman 4, Superman Returns, Octopussy and the Joel Schumaker Batmans too, lol).

I’m sure that no matter what happens, it will not be the end of Star Trek for us.

September 19, 2008 1:45 pm

The key here is that he’s not much of a Trek fan. I think that’s important because on some level it suggests that this will at least translate to a general audience. To be optimistic, that suggests more Trek and a popularity it hasn’t had in some time. He suggests a middle ground between the Trekkie and the general audience because he has geek cred for his fandom of, and experience with, other franchises, but as someone who’s not especially a Trek fan, he represents some of the more skeptical movie-going public.

But above all he’s seen it and we haven’t. More importantly, everyone who has seen it, including those for whom it would be in their best interests to speak honestly, have raved about it.

I can’t wait.

DJ Neelix
September 19, 2008 1:46 pm

@3 Jim
Really? Personally I wouldn’t want my first experience of the film to be a rough cut without the visual effects put in. I’d much rather wait to may for the full experience.

September 19, 2008 1:47 pm


Batman Begins was great. minus a couple flaws.
The suit sucked there too.

Dark Knight was OK, But still missed the mark for me.

To many wild weird plot-lines for me. a few of the ideas that ruined it for me were; the bat suit (again) sucked, the foreign abduction, no batcave, no katie, out of control batman surveillance, the Joker’s final scheme (which really trew the movie’s pacing for me,) too many characters to give a damn, that absurd camera- turning shot of the Joker at the end, no real two-face resolution. the Bat-cycle’s appearance was a joke to me, and looked like it’s top speed was about 15 mph (and the lousy special wall-turn-around effect – Yikes!) and the movie was way too dark and booding for my taste. Dark and brooding is not a bad idea for a Dark Knight movie, but c’mon.

I could go on, and on about Dark Knight, but sorry, it did not comepletely work for me. Sorry.

Yes, given the budget, I think I could do much better.

September 19, 2008 1:47 pm

I hated Dark Night…

September 19, 2008 1:47 pm

that should have been Dark Knight of course

September 19, 2008 1:50 pm


Excellent analysis. As a longtime Star Trek fan (Trekkie, Trekkier, whatever), general interest is the key to our survival. I’ve been longing for a more accessible Trek. For example, we really need a Broadway musical. Joking.

September 19, 2008 1:50 pm

I loved TDK. I saw it three times. Once in IMAX and twice at a regular theater. The story, action, and characters are excellent and treated very seriously. The movie is 2 and a half hours long but it feels shorter than most movies. I can’t wait to get the DVD. Heath Ledger was brilliant, but so was Aaron Eckhart and even Christian Bale. If you thought TDK was boring, or too long, well, that’s just too darn bad.

September 19, 2008 1:51 pm

…joking, but not about the general interest part. We need it.

Dr. Image
September 19, 2008 1:51 pm

It’s going to do better than Watchmen. Just watch.
Can’t wait.

Speaking of Superman Returns, I was thinking, IF they had put Routh in the SAME costume as Reeve wore, I think it really might have helped the movie. (But then again, he was nowhere near as pumped up as Reeve, so maybe they couldn’t.) Even with the crappy script and writing, the character would have had much greater connection and continuity with the first movie- which is what Singer was trying to achieve anyhow.
Oh well… time for a REBOOT!

September 19, 2008 1:54 pm

I thought Dark Knight was pretty good – not perfect by any stretch but I definitely enjoyed sitting through it in the theater, and I may get it when it comes out on DVD.

Now my real question – how does Kevin Smith rate getting to see Star Trek so far ahead of time? I personally enjoy his movies, but I’m really curious about this.

Denise de Arman
September 19, 2008 1:58 pm

I would be interested in knowing exactly what KS saw. Was it only dialogue sequences? Dialogue with some effects? Dialogue with some score? Dialogue with some of both? I appreciate his opinion; however, with this movie the special effects and score are going to contribute tremendously, and JJ has reported a few more weeks to go on the final cut.

September 19, 2008 2:21 pm

Almost as good as The Dark Knight, which wasn’t nearly as good as Batman Begins?


I agree that TDK has been over hyped and over rated. Just like Fringe.

I’m really happy to hear that Kevin enjoyed it though.

The Enterprise
September 19, 2008 2:26 pm

I think this new Trek movie has been over hyped and overrated and it’s still a year a way from release.

September 19, 2008 2:28 pm

6. Energize –
“This coming from the director of Mallrats – scary.”

I’ll admit I *hate* Kevin Smith’s movies (though I enjoyed Clerks when it first came out) and Mallrats especially…no, I think I hated Dogma more…whatever. But he does has impeccable tastes in other people’s projects so I’m not worried by his endorsement at all. He is, first and foremost, a lifelong genre fan. He just happens to also make shitty movies in his spare time.

September 19, 2008 2:30 pm

Gotta jump in. Dark Knight was brilliant! Not perfect but darn close.

It took a comic-book conceit and turned it into a “real” thriller in a “real” world….Chicago versus the surreal Tim Burton vision of Gotham City. The stakes have never been higher or a villain more difficult to defeat. (He’s simply crazy…smart…but crazy. I loved that his scar story kept changing. He doesn’t have some troubled past driving his actions. He’s just nuts!) Great acting all around. And the hero of the movie is a vigilante that happens to wear a batsuit. Other than that…they weren’t asking the audience to suspend much belief.

And $500mm in ticket sales (and counting) suggests to me that fantasy figures/themes can find a mainstream audience. It’s going to have to come across as “real” as possible for the genre…or we’ll get another $80-$90mm in Box Office and Trek is finished on the big screen. JJ and company seem to be saying and doing the right things so far.

Go get ’em fellas. We’re all counting on you.

(Star Trek should be so lucky to have the vision and care put into it as the cast and crew of Dark Knight…not to mention the crossover appeal box office.)

September 19, 2008 2:34 pm

36. Denise de Arman –
“I would be interested in knowing exactly what KS saw. Was it only dialogue sequences? Dialogue with some effects? Dialogue with some score? Dialogue with some of both? I appreciate his opinion; however, with this movie the special effects and score are going to contribute tremendously, and JJ has reported a few more weeks to go on the final cut.”

I wasn’t there so I can’t say for sure but I know enough about filmmaking to assume he probably saw all the live action stuff (with bits and pieces of blank green-screen) and some temp cards reading “FX to come”. Most likely no music as that is one of the very last things to be made (I bet Giaccino hasn’t got in the recording studio yet). *Maybe* some rough fx or more likely some animatics (basically thumbnail animation mapping out the fx shots).

The Enterprise
September 19, 2008 2:43 pm

I admire Kevin Smith as a blog writer and speaker, but his movies are just awful. Yeah, I’ve tried to watch them, but I just can’t finish them.

September 19, 2008 2:44 pm

Golly, I would hope that Star Trek is better than The Dark Knight.

I would hope that it’s a movie with a good balance of drama and action that is intended for the enjoyment of people who appreciate dramatic scenes that don’t have a cut every five seconds serving as bookends for obligatory, soporific action sequences that feel meaningless without the establishment of conflict and themes that would have invested the audience in the outcome of the action.

I would hope that Star Trek is a movie that will be enjoyed by thoughtful people with attention spans outlasting that of a goldfish.

September 19, 2008 2:49 pm

#40 – I just don’t get the batgasms people seemed to have over The Dark Knight. I thought it was OK, but couldn’t see what everyone was going so gaga over. 25% of the dialogue seemed to be drowned out by the soundtrack . Everything was so dark I probably missed 25% of the action as well.

Heath Ledger was good as the Joker, but when I read a review that proclaimed his performance a work of art on par with DeVinci, well, that was just plain stupid.

I actually liked Batman Begins MUCH better. And I thought Superman Returns was wonderful. So what does all this have to do with Star Trek????? Hmmmm…. nothing really. But as I always like to say.. IDIC.

The Enterprise
September 19, 2008 2:51 pm

SR was good, but the ending with Supes dying and coming back was E.T. rip off. Come on.

September 19, 2008 2:52 pm

wow people who think the DarkKnight was OK seriously need to review the last 10 years in cinema, compared to anything else we had be it a superhero or not, DarkKnight comes close to perfection for entertainment, comicbook to movie translation, drama, thriller & action better than anything I have seen for a LONG time. Seriously, what do would you consider a GOOD movie then??????

September 19, 2008 2:57 pm

Actually, you know what….

Would someone please ask JJ Abrams if he considers The Dark Knight to be the new standard in action/sci-fi movies?

If he does, and has aspired to make Star Trek as “good” as The Dark Knight, then I would like to know now so that I may diminish my expectations back down to an appropriate level and not walk out of the theater next May with my head hung in depression at what our cinematic culture has become, how much worse it will become as it continues on its present trajectory, and what this implies of our society as a whole.

So, please, I’m dead serious, Anthony or someone ask JJ if he considers The Dark Knight an exemplar of any kind other than profitability.

Spare me the heartache now.

September 19, 2008 2:58 pm

Let’s hope that it hits the young teens and child. We know that the trek fans will answer.

September 19, 2008 3:00 pm

43. Cygnus-X1 –
“Golly, I would hope that Star Trek is better than The Dark Knight.”

Also have to take in consideration a.) Kevin Smith is a lifelong comic book fan and has written several comics (Spider-Man, Green Arrow) and b.) he has never been (by his admission) a Star Trek fan.

So yes, he’s gonna like Dark Knight better than Star Trek. He’s been waiting for a movie like Dark Knight to come along his whole life. *WE* have been waiting for the equivilant in terms of Star Trek movies for many years. I think this is good news.

September 19, 2008 3:04 pm

Let us hope that JJ and the Court ask for opinions on the film as they show it to these Illuminati… and *make adjustments and edits* to improve it even more!

I mean, imagine if George Lucas had done the same for The Phantom Menace. 6 months really could have helped. OK, maybe not. But still, it would have been enough time to re-record Jar Jar Binks in a normal voice, and lose a lot of the stupid Goofy act. Can’t go to the well once more after Yoda and Chewie.

And to loop Jake Lloyd’s voice with that of an actor a bit more convincing. If only he’d already had Hayden hired… a bit of electronic adjustment…. voila.