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EXCLUSIVE: Report From Paris Star Trek News Conference w/ Q&A April 15, 2009

by TrekMovie.com Staff , Filed under: Star Trek (2009 film) , trackback

On Tuesday April 14th,  J.J. Abrams, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoë Saldana and Eric Bana all came to the Hotel Parc Hyatt in one of upscale districts of Paris to talk to the press about Star Trek. Unification France has provided TrekMovie with an exclusive report from the event, with photos and a transcript of the Q&A. We also have a report from the French screening of the film for the press (no spoilers).

 

 

Report: French Press Conference
submitted by Eric Saussine of Unification France
 


Paris ‘Star Trek’ press conference

Question: Did you feel free when you worked on Star Trek ?

J.J. Abrams: It’s a challenge to work on a 50 year old series. I adopted a non-fan approach. I wanted to do a good entertainment which wouldn’t be insulting to the fans. I wanted to do my version of the original series, to have fun and to go back to Kirk and Spock. But the movie was essentially aiming at widening Star Trek’s audience.

Question: Was there a passing of the baton between you and William Shatner ?

Chris Pine: When I knew that I got the role, I wrote him a letter to introduce myself, to tell how much I respected his work et how much I would try my best to be respectful of the character. We were to meet but he was very busy shooting the end of the season of Boston Legal so it didn’t work out, we didn’t meet. I hope to have the opportunity to do it soon.

Question: Cloverfield is a tribute to the fifties monster movies, Mission : Impossible III and Star Trek are adaptations of TV series. Is it impossible for movies to be original today?

JJ: I would never have thought to do another sequel to something that was started fifty years ago by Leonard Nimoy. Then I was told there were ten movies before!… You know, doing Star Trek again is no cynical decision – The last two Star Trek movies and the last TV series didn’t work as well as expected. Star Trek is dead in many countries and not in very good shape in mine. But I love the characters and I thought that there was enormous emotional potential in bringing these characters back.

Question: What was your approach in bringing a series from the sixties to the screen today ?

J.J. Abrams: The question we asked ourselves was ’is the sixties vision of the future still relevant today?’ We asked that question for the sets, the uniforms, the communicators that look like today’s iPhones… So we didn’t want to change everything but we took a series of small decisions everyday on every aspect of the production. But technology is not the main point and, like Gene Roddenberry, we paid attention to the characters who are the most important part of Star Trek.


JJ Abrams and Chris Pine face the French media

Question: Eric, you love beautiful cars and produced a documentary about one of your own recently. What do you think about your ship in Star Trek ?

Eric Bana: Compared to the Enterprise, Narada is a tougher-looking ship. Her bowels are visible. You have cables everywhere. She has a very audacious design. She’s like a living animal. Let’s say they have the Mercedes, I have the Lamborghini!

Question: How was it to work with Leonard Nimoy?

Zachary Quinto: It was a privilege working with him. He had first look on who was cast for the part. I was surprised at how gracious he was. I always felt supported, I never felt judged or having to please his expectations. We’ve become friends. Recently we exchanged e-mails about how he felt after the Austin premiere.

JJ Abrams: Even for a non-fan, working with Leonard Nimoy was such an experience. I was terrified giving him notes. I mean… who was I to give notes to the guy who created such an icon? But I found out that he wanted to know. He grabbed me and said: "Tell me, tell me!" Then I just realized he was an actor before all. I have to imagine how emotional it was for him to play a role he didn’t think he would play again.


Eric Bana and Zachary Quinto face the French media

Question: How did you feel following in the footsteps of Nichelle Nichols?

Zoë Saldana: After I got the part, I felt like totally paranoid. I didn’t watch the series, I didn’t watch the films. I didn’t want to reproduce what Nichelle did because I would have been no good. When Nichelle came to the set I was too shy to go and and have lunch with her and J.J. I later met her on the set and I discovered such a graceful, simple, elegant woman. From that moment I wanted to be like her as a woman, not just to mimic her character.


Zoe Saldana at Paris press conference

More photos from the Paris press conference at UnificationFrance and also at Monstersandcritics.com and wcbs880.com.  


Zoe and Zach and Chris all striking poses in Paris
(Photo: EPA)

Report from French press screening + mini-review [no spoilers]
Last Friday morning, the French press gathered at the beautiful Gaumont Opera movie theatre, ten meter’s away from Paramount Distribution France headquarters, next to the famous Paris Opera House. The press was invited to screen J.J. Abrams’s latest epic. Our special envoys found that some of Paris’ most elitist reviewers came out happy from the screening, which may say a lot when reviews are in print. What was surprising was that at the end of the screening the audience of jaded French journalists and critics applauded, which extremely for this type of film, especially for Star Trek which is often mocked in France. 

Our group from Unification had five of its journalists on the spot to see if J.J. Abrams had achieved its goals. Not unlike Star Trek’s main ‘Supreme Court’ the group was made of distinct individuals: a hardcore fan worried about the timeline, a Trek enthusiast who also happened to be more concerned about just the quality of this picture, two sci-fi fans and a casual moviegoer. We can happily say the new Star Trek is a resounding success with the "French Supreme Court". The only dissent amongst the five, was the one worried about the timeline who liked the film ‘as a movie’ but had concerns about it as ‘a Star Trek movie.’

For a more review critique of Star Trek (in French), visit unificationfrance.com

Star Trek opens to the public in France on May 6th (and will also have an advance screening at the Jules Verne Film Festival on April 26th).

All Photos are from Unification France, except where noted.

Comments

1. TrekTwenty - April 15, 2009

The good news keeps rolling in =)

May 8th can’t come soon enough!!

2. Jeyl - April 15, 2009

^ May 7th!

3. GraniteTrek - April 15, 2009

Gee, a purist that worries? Never!

4. Loskene - April 15, 2009

More of the same really, isn’t it

5. SaphronGirl - April 15, 2009

I love how Pine and Quinto are always together.

6. TrekTwenty - April 15, 2009

ahh, you’re right!

But I have a final exam the night of May 7th… so may 8th for me =(

7. John from Cincinnati - April 15, 2009

Here’s a quote from JJ:

“We tried to avoid as much as possible making a movie that was as insular and myopic as the films I was familiar with and the series,” he says.

“Trying to reach a broader audience was not part of their agenda.

“This movie felt from the beginning like if it was going to work it needed to reach beyond just the tried and true fans.”

This just smacks me as an insult. As a tried and true fan myself, how does JJ Abrams thinks he knows me or knows what I like? It just happens as a fan of Star Trek for almost 40 years, that I have been waiting my whole life for Trek to be portrayed as sexy and hip and fun. Did it ever occur to JJ that this is what Trekkers have been wanting? Somewhere along the line with previous movies, Hollywood had a prejudice about Trek and was making movies that they thought “nerds” wanted to see. (FYI Hollywood, not all Trekkers are nerds)

8. Yippeekaiyaymofo - April 15, 2009

“On Tuesday May 14th…”
someone can’t wait, haha :)

9. John from Cincinnati - April 15, 2009

“The only dissent amongst the five, was the one worried about the timeline who liked the film ‘as a movie’ but had concerns about it as ‘a Star Trek movie.’ ”

Good thing that dissenter was part of the French media and not a poor soul who posts on here. They’d be labeled a canon nazi and other degrading names by Dennis Bailey and others who run this site.

10. Yippeekaiyaymofo - April 15, 2009

ok, cool.

11. Anthony Pascale - April 15, 2009

warning for trolling John from Cincinnati

comments to http://trekmovie.com/about/feedback

12. CaptainRickover - April 15, 2009

# 9

Trekkie-bashing was part of the marketing from the very beginning.

“This movie is not for the old fans, but for the new fans of Star Trek”

“This is not your daddy’s Star Trek”

“Stuipid reverve of the original material”

etc.

They think they have to hit us hard in the public to let the moviegoers think “If this movie is not for the idiotic fans, then it have to be good”. I fear that aggressive marekting will be sucessfull in May.

What have I done, to get so many punches in my belly, day for day? I did no harm to anyone !

My revenge will come – I will see this movie only one time! No re-watching, no DVDs, no BlueRays! Ha!

13. ety3 - April 15, 2009

Where can I get a nice, big wallpaper of that pic behind the team at the table? (Essentially, a widescreen version of the poster.)

14. desertrat - April 15, 2009

They look tired.

This is not a complaint..just an observation.

I guess when you are flying across the globe, jet lag will hit.

15. TrekTwenty - April 15, 2009

@ 7

I seriously doubt he means to offend at all. It’s more about precedents. Much of Trek in the last decade has been sort of blah. Very sterile, very gray. He saw the state of the franchise at it’s lowest; anyone NOT familiar with trek would probably draw the same conclusions and not necessarily recognize that this reboot is exactly what a lot of fans were looking for.

And as for the “not your father’s trek” deal…I suspect that’s more from the marketing department at Paramount and less from JJ. He seems like a pretty classy guy – if nothing else, a smart one. He’s not out to alienate us.

16. Andros - April 15, 2009

Stop looking for insults where there are none. If anything, all he said were actually VALID points. I get that Star Trek is our baby, but damn, this baby has taken some missteps and some have been really ugly.

I can see why JJ took the approach he did, he wants it to succeed for the fans and nonfans alike.

17. critch - April 15, 2009

9.9 Once again, the precious few complainers sound EXACTLY like the people that hated the new Battlestar Galactica because they dared to change things. And once again, no one will listen to them.

Dear God, people, the FRENCH liked a Star Trek film! What more evidence do you need that this thing is great?

18. John from Cincinnati - April 15, 2009

15.

I agree with you about the staleness. But wouldn’t that be more of a knock against those putting out the product? Somehow trekkers always get a bad rap.

19. Kirk, James T. - April 15, 2009

more fools the guy worried about the timeline – seems as though this movie has been a resounding success wherever it goes to!

20. John from Cincinnati - April 15, 2009

17.

Get with the program. Go back to school and learn how to read. The complaints here are not about the new movie or how it’s changed, they’re about how it’s being marketed at Trekkers expense or is that concept beyond you?

21. Closettrekker - April 15, 2009

John From Cincinnati:

Why so insecure?

22. earthclanbootstrap - April 15, 2009

@ 15

I don’t think he MEANS to be offensive, but on a certain level he is.

If he’s as smart and classy a guy as all that, he should realise how he’s coming off and that it is not necessarily a wise tactic to blow off the established fanbase as a bunch of losers (which is essentially what he’s done on a pretty consistent basis since day one of his press junkets). Now, myself personally, I could give a felgercarb because I recognize that while it’s pretty damn snide and elitist, he’s probably just being unthinking rather than malicious. He’s got a movie to sell to the masses, after all…

And as prickish as it came across to some people, I STILL think that “Warp Nacelles Monthly” is one of the most frakking funny things I have ever heard in my life, so of course I’ll give him credit for that! ;-)

23. SHCone - April 15, 2009

I don’t think JJ means to be disrespectful. I think us tried and true fans are so used to being mocked that we’re defensive.

I think he just means that the ‘tried-and-true’s’ or TaT’s as I’ll call us are, financially, not strong enough to float the franchise. We didn’t float Enterprise or Nemesis and to a studio that’s terrifying. Movies are a business, as well as entertainment, and both masters must be served.

I think JJ just means they had to retool it to get the attention of the general moviegoer. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as they kept the core truths of Star Trek alive inside the new package. I might be wrong, as I HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE YET (see how logical and easy that is, folks?), but I’m encouraged by all the positivity, and by Nimoy himself, that Trek is preserved wonderfully inside this big, flashy box.

24. Trekwebmaster - April 15, 2009

Zoe’s statement says so much more, especially about the ideology of the movie and the series:

“and I discovered such a graceful, simple, elegant woman. From that moment I wanted to be like her as a woman, not just to mimic her character.”

This is the philosophy of Trek, in all its incarnations and will basically stay the same no matter how many different actors play the roles or how many variations of the “Big E” there might be.

Star Trek’s model is not to imitate, but to “boldly go,” discover the unknowns, temporarily hidden, to broaden our horizons and perspectives.

Not merely imitating what society expects, but to forge ahead, to discover those unknowns with increased knowledge and temperance to understand our universe and ourselves.

Isn’t this what I.D.I.C. is all about? After all, RISK is OUR business.

This is what I have taken from the series, as a fundamental message, and what I expect from it, if it bears the name “Star Trek.”

25. greenappleman7 - April 15, 2009

#12 -
So you’d rather have a bad movie that is exactly the same as the Original Series than a good movie that is more creative and using new and different ideas.

#16-
Totally correct.

26. Closettrekker - April 15, 2009

#20—”they’re about how it’s being marketed at Trekkers expense or is that concept beyond you?”

Being marketed at the expense of Trek fans?

WTF?

Stating out loud that this movie has to appeal to more than just the established fans is not an insult. It is an acknowledgement of a mathematical certainty.

If you put $150 million into the production of a film—-it has to garner significantly more than that in returns.

How many times would an estimated 2 million fans worldwide have to go and see this movie to do that?

Breathe, John…Breathe….

27. Jim - April 15, 2009

#15 – Anyone who thinks this “not your daddy’s ST” shizzle came from a marketing department needs to check this thread that ran more than a year ago – http://trekmovie.com/2007/12/21/lindelof-its-not-your-daddys-star-trek/.

This line came from Lindelof, a member of the creative team who will also be working on the next screenplay (should such a thing come to fruition). All these left-handed compliments about being “respectful” continue to gripe my cookies. I find the whole approach rather arrogant and disrespectful of the fans who have kept “the franchise” alive all these years. JJ Abrams talks out of both sides of his mouth in first condemning a “50″ year old TV show (do your math, please), then talking about how enthralling he found the characters. Claiming to have simultaneously made the film with the fans in mind and to broaden the appeal of ST. It all strikes me as contradictory. There are those who have said “It’s marketspeak – he’s just selling”. I say that if he’s that contradictory, how can you believe ANYTHING he says.

In the eyes of thousands of fans around the world, ST did not need to be “rehabilitated” and saved from an army of “nerds” . I would much prefer to have left it for dead, flawed as it was, without MASS APPEAL, than to see ST dumbed down so it could gain wider acceptance.

28. Chris - April 15, 2009

Those people are looking TIRED!! I hope they get some rest soon

29. Stephan - April 15, 2009

@anthony:

I found a report about the event in Paris on people.com:

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20272621,00.html?xid=rss-fullcontent

They talk about a $210 million film.

Do you know anything about this number? Is the budget higher than expected?

Would be cool if you can find out anything about it.

Greetings from Germany,

Stephan

30. Trekwebmaster - April 15, 2009

@ 26 I agree….

JJ, from what I have seen so far, has accomplished this goal.

Living up to ideals of trek + a wide target audience = a very successful film

C’mon folks, JJ is actually saving the franchise.

P(success | narrow audience) = death of a franchise.

Where as:

P(success | wide audience) = 99.99%

LOGIC, LOGIC, and LOGIC…lol.

31. Closettrekker - April 15, 2009

#27—-What is it that you think Lindelof was doing, if not promoting the idea of the film in its early stages?

Everytime they do an interview—it’s marketing!

I own a business, and each and every time I talk about it with people—-I am marketing my product! And much of the time, I’m trying to get people who have never been in one of my stores to come in and check it out.

Lindelof’s comments were no different.

“I would much prefer to have left it for dead, flawed as it was, without MASS APPEAL, than to see ST dumbed down so it could gain wider acceptance.”

Is that what happened? Was it dumbed down? Or do you simply have a revisionist’s view of how intelliegent it was to begin with?

The last “cerebral” Star Trek movie was 30 years ago. The 9 since have been—guess what?

Popcorn movies.

TWOK—great popcorn movie
TSFS—fanboy popcorn movie
TVH—crossover popcorn movie
TFF—bad popcorn movie
TUC—popcorn mystery movie
GEN—bad fanboy popcorn movie
FC—popcorn action movie
INS—not so good popcorn action movie
NEM—bad popcorn movie

32. John from Cincinnati - April 15, 2009

26.

When I wake up to my pet Sehlat eating my tribble I get cantankerous.

33. Nero=Bitch - April 15, 2009

in the pix: whats with the evian in wine bottles? lol… damn the french are weird…lol

34. Will_H - April 15, 2009

Ive honestly found JJ’s remarks offensive on a lot of occasions, so this is no different. Lets be real, he wants to make money off of this film, and he knows us Trekkies are going to go see it, even if he indirectly badmouths us. I get the feeling that he knew just what he wanted to do with this movie, regardless of how it fit in with the existing cannon universe, and then went back and found little ways to make everything work. Im still stoked for the movie, dont get me wrong, but Ive never liked JJ’s approach to the whole thing. Oh, and this:

“JJ: I would never have thought to do another sequel to something that was started fifty years ago by Leonard Nimoy.”

Um no, JJ, it was started by a man named Gene Roddenberry, though it wouldnt surprise me if he didnt know enough about Star Trek to know the difference.

35. Closettrekker - April 15, 2009

#33—-At least you won’t have some 40,000 tribbles the next day….

And that’s what you get for being late with your Sehlat’s dinner!

36. ety3 - April 15, 2009

Why are people surprised and still taken aback by the whole “this ain’t the Star Trek you think it is” approach? This is nothing new.

I accepted quite a while back that JJ, Paramount, et al, would *have* to market this film as being wholly different in order for it to succeed. Because of that realization, I haven’t taken any of this “your father’s Star Trek” stuff personally. It is serving a purpose to draw new viewers in.

And that is only a good thing.

37. Trekwebmaster - April 15, 2009

@35

Did you ever wonder if this was translated from French to English?

Anyone who knows Trek knows Gene created it…geez give JJ a break…Even Spock makes mistakes and flubs his lines…

38. luke montgomery - April 15, 2009

Salut tout le monde !

Years ago when I was learning Francais as an American transplant who moved to Quebec I would pop in the Star Trek films and watch them in French. As I knew them word for word in English it was a great way to learn (It also helps to watch in English with the French subtitles) I can now wow my French speaking trekker friends with technobable in French which they even struggle with.

Did anyone else ever catch the French voice for Worf sounded like a little weasely old man? Bad casting. Also, Scotty speaking French with a thick Scotish accent was a hoot. It led to me and a friend killing a day in Paris talking to everyone we met in French but with REAL heavy Cockney accents (I can’t do Scotish) which sounds “tres drole.”

Just a random French-related observation…

A plus tard….

39. John from Cincinnati - April 15, 2009

36.

You’re right, but now I have a fat Sehlat.

40. Trekwebmaster - April 15, 2009

@39

Try learning French from a teacher in High School with very thick southern accent…now “that’s a mess”…as we say in the south…lol.

41. Closettrekker - April 15, 2009

#35—I think that, like with Harve Bennett and Nick Meyer in 1982, Star Trek needed a new perspective from people who weren’t fans of the original series prior to coming aboard.

A fresh take was sought after then, and a fresh take was sought after now.

“it was started by a man named Gene Roddenberry, though it wouldnt surprise me if he didnt know enough about Star Trek to know the difference.”

He does, and has credited Gene many times.

He even talked about him later in the same press conference:

“…like Gene Roddenberry, we paid attention to the characters who are the most important part of Star Trek.”

Abrams was no less familiar with Trek than Harve Bennett and Nick Meyer were when they came aboard. The biggest difference is that Lindelof, Orci, and Kurtzman *are* established fans of Star Trek.

I wonder if Damon, Bob, and Alex feel insulted when JJ talks about doing things differently, making things currently relevant, removing the cheese, etc.

I doubt it…

42. Closettrekker - April 15, 2009

Oops. Looks like #35 turned into #34.

I certainly wasn’t talking to myself…..I mean it!

43. Chris Doohan - April 15, 2009

Ces gars ont la chance d’aller à Paris. Je suis si jalouse, elle est l’une de mes villes préférées.

44. Anthony Pascale - April 15, 2009

RE: 210Million
THat is definitely not the budget, even with marketing…that may be the budget in Australian dollars or something. I think it is around 150 with much of the marketing cost.

45. ger - April 15, 2009

How come he didn’t know about the ten movies when he said in some earlier interviews that he saw The Motion Picture as a kid?

How can you possibly lose track of the movies (!), especially when films like TWOK, Voyage Home and First Contact were the best scifi to get with only re-runs of the Star Wars trilogy as its competition?

46. Colonel West - April 15, 2009

@9:

John your at it again, lol! yet in the other thread you said you already have your tickets booked for the first show!

I haven’t done that yet and I’m sure the majority of us that you class as that ridiculously over the top and uncalled for phrase haven’t booked their tickets yet!

Lay off the insults and have some reasoned debate or else you’ll find yourself gone quicker than a red shirt sent on a landing party.

47. Eric Saussine - April 15, 2009

34. ““JJ: I would never have thought to do another sequel to something that was started fifty years ago by Leonard Nimoy.”

That was said lightly. Of course JJ knows and he acknowledges Roddenberry elsewhere. He just said that because Leonard Nimoy is in his movie.

43. Les filles sont jalouses, Chris, les hommes sont jaloux. A moins qu’il ne te soit arrivé quelque chose !!! Si tu passes à Paris, fais le nous savoir, on t’emmenera dans un bon restaurant.

48. C.S. Lewis - April 15, 2009

I hope John from Cincinnati is not expelled from this site. His observation is spot-on!

The problem is that so-called Star Trek “nerds” are so desperate for material — any material that does not insult their intelligence — they will accept almost anything in return, even if it is fit only for the trash heap in every other respect. In this way, it reminds me of the victimized spouse who stays because “I love him!”

Abrams’ approach, which does not entirely appeal to me as you know, is to treat Star Trek like any other “franchise” — that is, TO SELL IT ON THE OPEN MARKET. That is the point of a business, after all. Some fans seem to think of Star Trek as some sort of government agency that never needs to justify itself financially on the basis that it is an absolute moral good that the unwashed simply do not, cannot appreciate.

Of course, this is balderdash and poppycock. Star Trek was intended to make money, and to do that it must reach the widest audience possible within its basic business plan. It is a source of regret to this old fan that many of the ideas and details that most appealed to me in the 1970s and earlier no longer apply to our present world. To my mind, this is a true and everlasting shame – and one that may be reversed before too long, given the collapse of the Liberal value system of the West.

None the less, this movie must speak to the common man to earn its anticipated return on investment. Now if only the common man were not so, well, common. And I still hold out hope that Abrams shares my values, at least to a certain extent, since they were in part forged by the hours and hours spent watching the valiant, courageous Captain Kirk and his crew.

Sincerely,
C.S. Lewis

49. Bart - April 15, 2009

Just returned from the Star Trek avant premiere in brussels, including the presence of Karl Urban and John Cho.

Great film, little too fast fir my liking. Didn’t like the sets though, much preferred the look, feel and uniforms from the Kelvin,

50. Paulaner - April 15, 2009

I am a hard-core Trekker, but I never felt offended but Abrams and co. On the contrary, I agree with them on many things.

51. Chris Doohan - April 15, 2009

47

Les filles? Mon Français n’est pas bon. Merci pour la belle offre

52. Stephan - April 15, 2009

@anthony:

Thanks for clarification.

53. ger - April 15, 2009

Well, Star Trek needed to return to its 1991, 1996 state. There it was popular and cool. The Battle against the Borg was the best space battle after the battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi.

But the art would have been to make the “uncool” stuff “cool” again. Rebooting is the confirmation of failure. I’m waiting for the producer and director who says: let’s do a 24th century movie, original Trek universe, and let’s make that movie great, fast, cool, exciting.

All it takes is a huge budget, ILM and A-list actors.

54. ger - April 15, 2009

Why is that corvette scene regarded as cool, but the Argo scene from Nemesis regarded as lame?

55. ger - April 15, 2009

Why is the bald Romulan bad guy in Nemesis lame, but the bald Romulan bad guy in Trek 09 cool?

56. ger - April 15, 2009

The answer to the latter is easy: Tom Hardy vs. Eric Bana?

57. Closettrekker - April 15, 2009

#48—”I hope John from Cincinnati is not expelled from this site. His observation is spot-on!”

Really?

“Good thing that dissenter was part of the French media and not a poor soul who posts on here. They’d be labeled a canon nazi and other degrading names by Dennis Bailey and others who run this site.”

I think you might have been confused as to what the “warning” was actually for.

58. dfinn - April 15, 2009

Hey, #32:

I appreciate your comments. However, I really think that you might have undersold (or oversold) some of the films in that list:

My apologies in advance drifting somewhat off topic…

As background, I think that the hallmark of a good Trek episode is that it touches on one of two things:

- It’s uses an interesting (or at least original) science fiction premise (examples: TNG’s “Yesterday’s Enterprise”, “Darmok”; TOS: “City on the Edge of Forever”, “A Taste of Armageddon”, DS9′s “The Visitor”, ST:TMP)

and / or

- It’s presents a commentary on society or political events (TOS’s “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”, “Balance of Terror”; TNG’s “The High Ground”, “Half A Life”; DS9′s “The Siege of AR-558″, “Hard Time”, ST:TUC)

I think that most every ST episode and movie does at least one of these, to some degree; but some of them have too much of the ‘cheese’ factor to them, and make the delivery of the underlying story or theme a bit less effective than it should be.

I won’t do the blow-by-blow of each one; we all know which films (and TV episodes) succeed, which ones don’t; which ones were well-written, which ones were not-so-well written…

…and which one feels like it was produced by two seventh-graders, some crayons, and a used Speak and Spell.

59. The Man from Del Monte - April 15, 2009

The thing with all of the people saying that “JJ doesn’t like Trek” and lambast him for not watching the films is that basically that’s what was wrong in the first place. The entire thing had ground to a halt and was essentially surviving off appealing solely to hardcore fans, which isn’t a good sign if you want to make more Star Trek films/series.

It’s exactly the same as 1982 when Harve Bennett and Nicholas Meyer came in and blew everyone away with Khan. I enjoy the film, but people I know who aren’t big fans of Star Trek also enjoy it because it doesn’t really require you to know a lot about the previous series. Everything’s explained and the need to know about “canon” is minimal, and so it works. It’s emotional, spectacular and epic.

Flash forward to some of the lamer TNG films, and you see it’s spattered with references to events in the other series and technobabble, and it turns a larger audience off, which is required for any media property to be successful. This reboot back to Kirk and Spock is what’s needed to keep the entire thing alive, and in order to attract a wider audience Abrams will not go on about how there’s a lot of obscure references for fans in there, he will try and sell it to the biggest audience possible. They don’t really care about how it’s tied into canon and so Abrams will play up to that audience to attract them.

The fact that they put out a prequel book that not only links it in to the previous series/movies but also does it by namedropping a lot of characters and events from the existing universe (Worf and the whole cloaked Narada thing from Trek VI!) says a lot – although they want everyone to come see the movie, it’s pretty obvious that boborci, JJ and the rest of the crew kept the hardcore in mind as well.

Besides, come May 9th some of those who said they’re not seeing it will have, and in years to come will be nitpicking things from this film and others set in Abramsverse Trek just like they did with the other films…

60. Shatner_Fan_Prime - April 15, 2009

#31 … “TFF—bad popcorn movie”

Wrong. I remember the popcorn I ate (at the old Spectrum theater near the Galleria) being quite tasty!

61. Paulaner - April 15, 2009

#59 “Flash forward to some of the lamer TNG films, and you see it’s spattered with references to events in the other series and technobabble, and it turns a larger audience off”

A sacred truth. Can you imagine how painful was having to spend half an hour to explain all canon tie-ins to some friends of mine before going to the cinema? This is *bad*, in my opinion.
Ron Moore has a very Abramesque opinion about Trek: he said that canon was strangling the creativity of writers. Writing Trek was like having a walk on a mine field.

62. Commander K - April 15, 2009

Asuit shirt and tie with JEANS?!

Comeon Chris, I’m taking fashion tips from you..you can do better! :-p

63. dfinn - April 15, 2009

Hey, a good oxford, classy tie and sportcoat goes GREAT with jeans…

… so long as the shoes are a good name, and match the belt…

:)

64. Anthony Thompson - April 15, 2009

Zoe claimed she likes geeks but I still haven’t heard from her! : D She’s lookin’ great in Paris!

65. Eric Saussine - April 15, 2009

I heartily agree!

66. starfleetmom - April 15, 2009

>>>JJ: I would never have thought to do another sequel to something that was started fifty years ago by Leonard Nimoy. Then I was told there were ten movies before!… You know, doing Star Trek again is no cynical decision – The last two Star Trek movies and the last TV series didn’t work as well as expected. Star Trek is dead in many countries and not in very good shape in mine. But I love the characters and I thought that there was enormous emotional potential in bringing these characters back.<<<
I can’t believe he said that!! And communicators look like iPhones??? JJ must be tired from all this touring…

67. sebimeyer - April 15, 2009

I really don’t get why some fans are upset JJ says this movie is not just for the fans. What exactly is the problem? How dare he make a good movie?!?

I haven’t seen it yet, but considering how much Nemesis was hyped by Berman and Co back in the day as being “just like TWOK”, I say it is time to make a good movie with a well thought out story, rather than the “trying to figure out what the fans want, then giving them a copy of a movie/series they liked before”-approach that made the franchise stall.

/rant over. See you at the movies (or FedCon)

68. Donald G - April 15, 2009

“JJ: I would never have thought to do another sequel to something that was started fifty years ago by Leonard Nimoy.”

Okay, I think I’ve got it.

Due to temporal interference and the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, which is of course the most scientifically advanced and correct theory devised by mankind, the JJ Abrams who was interviewed in Paris is from a quantum universe in which Leonard Nimoy created STAR TREK in 1959, and Scott Chambliss is from a quantum universe in which Matt Jefferies based his designs on the Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials of the ’30s.

Consequently, we’re living in a new timeline that spins off out of Nimoy’s creation of STAR TREK (with some as yet unexplored contribution from ex-cop and TV western writer Gene Roddenberry) which manifests itself into our universe with the filming and release of STAR TREK (2009).

This new timeline is good, because The Original Series (from the quantum universe in which STAR TREK was created by Gene Roddenberry in 1964 and debuted on September 8, 1966) was cheap and cheesy and fit only for uncool canon-obsessed geeks who desperately need to get lives, and because STAR TREK needs to adapt to new sensibilities and appeal to those who are predisposed to despise it, ridicule it or otherwise feel superior to it in order to “grow its fanbase” and survive so that Paramount can exploit the concept further and make money from it.

This is good, because change is automatically good, survival is automatically good, and moneymaking is automatically good; therefore, the existence of STAR TREK ’09 is automatically good.

Those who do not easily embrace this new reality are clearly “Not of the Body”, but on May 7th or 8th, the new reality will overwrite the old and all will be absorbed into the peace and tranquility which is. . . Landru.

Quick, somebody get Margaret Clark on the phone. I think I’ve got a submission to the next STRANGE NEW WORLDS anthology.

:-)

69. jas_montreal - April 15, 2009

I really have this feeling that Shatner didn’t want to meet with Chris Pine becuase he has this anger towards JJ Abrams and company. Is it just me, or does anyone else sense this ?

70. Bill Peters - April 15, 2009

why do most fans hate New Trek Started by JJ that Breaths new life into Trek? Why don’t they want new fans, I am all for a new series, many more Movies and new fans of Trek even if they only like JJ Trek. For Trek to live we as fans need to Adapt! at this point Resistance is Futile for Trek and for the Fandom that wants Trek to Live long and Prosper!

71. jas_montreal - April 15, 2009

@ 70. Because their old ppl living in their parents basements. as shatner said…. ”get a life” . lololol, im kidding… but… their just scared that what they hold soo dear is about change forever. I can’t say i blame them either. But i can’t wait for NEW trek ! I’m just glad i’ll be able to see this rebirth of Star Trek. Better then ever.

72. Jesse - April 15, 2009

I’ve been hearing a whole lot about J.J. Abrams “making Star Trek cool.” What nobody seems to realize is that Star Trek has ALWAYS been cool. First Contact, for example, was full of action and effects, and was undoubtedly very, very cool. First Contact didn’t have to change the way Star Trek looked or change history or any of that junk. They just continued where they left off.

73. Jesse - April 15, 2009

“Junk” meaning “changes” of course. Not history.

74. Swift Justice - April 15, 2009

#70 – I really don’t think most fans hate JJ’s Trek.

I think that the ones who DO hate it, REALLY hate it for some well thought out reasons (and some specious ones as well), and that vitriol seems to resonate more than praise when it comes to a certain segment of Trek fandom. Some may come around, but most won’t.

Even an overwhelming critical and commercial success will not sway their opinions. That’s fine, the old stuff is still there. Hell, I heard they made an Indiana Jones IV. After I saw it, I realized that there were actually only 3 Indiana Jones Movies. Much Like there was Only One Highlander movie worth mentioning.

I’ll even admit that there is a chance I won’t like this movie. A movie I’m thrilled about and have been waiting years for. I’m open to that possibility – but I don’t think that’s true for many fans on the other side of that coin.

That sucks though, because we’re ALL fans.

75. Jesse - April 15, 2009

I’m not so happy with the changes that have been made to Star Trek, but I am excited about the new movie. Cautiously excited, because I don’t quite know what to expect. I’m going to watch it of course. It is Star Trek after all.

76. critch - April 15, 2009

This is exactly what I was talking about. Hardcore Galactica 1979 fans think that because they’ve updated, every time someone talks about the new one, it’s an insult to them. Same thing is happening here.

No matter how good, how much money, and how relevant Trek is, people like the Captain and John from Cincinnati think that because they weren’t personally consulted, then it’s an insult. Even though when they DID pay attention to the hardcore, Trek DIED.

77. Eric Saussine - April 16, 2009

66.

“You know, doing Star Trek again is no cynical decision – The last two Star Trek movies and the last TV series didn’t work as well as expected. Star Trek is dead in many countries and not in very good shape in mine.”

Do you think that wasn’t true ?

78. Chris Fawkes - April 16, 2009

I’m still bummed that Zoe didn’t come to Australia.

79. Kevin - April 16, 2009

Ok ,Trekkers, Trekkies and general Movie Fans alike , I was at the Paris Press Conference myself ( with Eric Saussine , author of the original piece posted ) …
Saw the film two hours earlier .
Considered myself as some kind of Hardcore French Trekkie ( …And a Movie Critic by profession ! ) , which is an anomaly in itself …

If you liked ‘ Batman returns ‘ , ‘ The Dark Knight ‘ or even the new ‘ Casino Royale ‘ , you’ll embrace the 2009 StarTrek .

First , the casting is spotless ( everyone is great . Except maybe – sorry for that – the presence of Leonard Nimoy , who doesn’t really add anything unfortunately .Except ‘ passing the baton ‘ to Zachary Quinto )

The film is thrilling ( compared to the heavy ‘ Motion Picture ‘ of 79′ , it’s quite an improvment )

The story has flaws ( mostly due to the Time Slip theme ) , but manages for the first time ever to truly show HOW & WHY the characters became what they are…

There’s a HUGE ‘McGuffin ‘ ( similar to the death of Spock in Wrath of Khan ) which will probably send Trekkers in rage when seeing it …

But J.J Abrahms reassured me when I asked him what he could do next , after such a blow to the Trek franchise…

Furthermore , J.J seems casually moved by the fact so many french journalists attended the Conference , and stayed at least 15 minutes behind schedule to sign autographs ( while the rest of the cast was already gone ! )

Go and see the film : it’s refreshing , bold and at last going in directions no one would have dare to go before…

80. Tiberius1000 - April 16, 2009

Yes expectations getting higher and higher but even if the film is not so god as hoped. We can be so greateful that Star trek is Back. I think after Enterprise and Nemesis( which is by far worster then the new one could ever be) i am just lucky that there is still Star Trek around!

81. Shatner_Fan_Prime - April 16, 2009

#69 … I doubt that is true. I don’t think there’s any anger to speak of. Shatner recently invited JJ to his annual charity horse show. And Pine himself has said that Shatner replied to him and wished him the best of luck.

82. Kevin - April 16, 2009

” wishing someone the best of luck ” …By letter / email is a polite way to say F…..off these days , you know.

It’s all a matter of Diplomacy .

It was truly hilarious watching Chris Pine trying to include Shatner as a ‘ diven force ‘ behind the movie , while maintaining a straight face for the Press …

Almost as if it HAS to be done in the obligatory mentions ( Roddenberry , Nichelle Nichols , Nimoy . those were the ones profoundly thanked during the Press conference …)

83. Shatner_Fan_Prime - April 16, 2009

#82 “‘wishing someone the best of luck’ …By letter / email is a polite way to say F…..off these days , you know.”

Really? Then what does it mean when someone actually says “F off” … “Will you marry me?” I think your universal translator is malfunctioning.

84. captain_neill - April 16, 2009

Hey JJ

Star Trek is only 43 not 50

Get your facts right

85. Doktor Mandrake - April 16, 2009

You are so blind! You so do not understand! You weren’t there at the beginning. You don’t know how good it was! How important! This is it for you! This jumped-up firework display of a toy advert! People like you make me sick! What’s wrong with you? Now, I don’t care if you’ve saved up all your fifty ‘p’s, take your pocket money and get out!

86. Doktor Mandrake - April 16, 2009

…in irony of course.

Maybe this merits some consideration?

87. mark_enterpriser - April 16, 2009

can’t freakin’ wait… three weeks and counting!

the marketing hype around the movie is getting hilarious. just read that there’s actually a star trek PERFUME that’s being released now…lol:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/163201/smells_like_geek_spirit_introducing_the_star_trek_perfume.html

88. Daoud - April 16, 2009

#84 Depends on what you’re counting. The Cage was filmed in 1964. Thus like me, Trek is 45. That rounds up to 50.

Roddenberry first had the core ideas in place in a series description in 1960 though…. Close enough.

89. Wheeli - April 16, 2009

“72. Jesse – April 15, 2009
” I’ve been hearing a whole lot about J.J. Abrams “making Star Trek cool.” What nobody seems to realize is that Star Trek has ALWAYS been cool. First Contact, for example, was full of action and effects, and was undoubtedly very, very cool. First Contact didn’t have to change the way Star Trek looked or change history or any of that junk. They just continued where they left off.”

First Contact changed Star Trek History Big time, THe cannon purists were very up in arms about how Zephram Cocrain was not from earth, but Alpha Cintauri ect.

Not a good moveie to site as far as Cannon, however the best movie of the TGN Era.

90. Jarod - April 16, 2009

How could Zephram Cochrane be from Alpha Centauri, when he was the one to develop faster-than-light space travel?

91. TK - April 16, 2009

D**m it! I’ve just read post#79, I was staying clear of spoilers, until #79!!! aaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!

92. John Sullivan - April 16, 2009

The actors walked off the plane, and France immediately converted bedsheets into flags of surrender to the United Federation of Planets! I shouldn’t make so much fun of France – in contemporary times they’re handling the Pirates of Somolia better than most.

By the way I have updated my news page to include a great tribute to Paramount for their visit to Kuwait, crediting this page. See: http://www.realspiel.net/News1.html

93. Kevin - April 16, 2009

Nope…France did not ” converted bedsheets into flags of surrender to the United Federation of Planets! ” .
For your information, France actually never showed the complete OST serie , DS9 ,ST Voyager, ans even Enterprise on TV…
ST 5 The Final Frontier wasn’t even released in Cinema but became a direct-to-video !

And , quite honestly , most of the french-asked questions were pretty ” loose” regarding the new film during the Press Conference ( ‘ Do you think there should be Gay people aboard the Enterprise ? ‘ – I do not make this one up …)

I think Paramount Publicity War Machine choosed on purpose to have this event settled in Paris to try to convince us poor french that the ST franchise is not just a US-based phenomenon…

94. cagmar - April 17, 2009

wow, okay, so let me get this straight. JJ Abrams has gone from “I never really got into ST” to being an active “non-fan”? He’s not even trying to be polite to Trekkies anymore. A non-fan is like someone that actually disliked it, rather than just not rooting for it.

But don’t worry, fans … he will only take out his distaste for past Trek on the things he deems insignificant or unimportant, like any part of the interior of the ship, the stardates, the intellect, and you know, that crazy science fiction stuff. Just a few details. It’s gonna be totally okay, fans

95. Doktor Mandrake - April 17, 2009

…of course, I’m sure anyone could forgive the man if he has actually gone from ‘never got into’ to ‘non-fan’ given the effusive welcome the forward thinking hardcore dish out at every available opportunity.

quite apart from semantics and silly infighting what this keeps coming back to is very simple:

group(s) of fans think someone else’s intellectual property is theirs

company wants to exploit IP

fans demonstrate on numerous occasions that no matter how fanboi-ish they get about collecting each format, watching multiple times etc they don’t repay studio’s investment by themselves

fans decide that nobody understands them and if franchise doesn’t love them then noone should have it and set out to wreck any attempt to do anything with said franchise other than make self-referential work that noone but a lover of encyclopedias would go to.

don’t get me wrong, continuity’s a good thing but if it’s straight-jacketing the story then slavish adherence at least needs to be called into question.

most of the more important aspects of canon from a story-telling point of view (dates of missions, names of ship types, sizes of ships, acceptable ship design parameters, permissible speeds (TOS vs TNG warp scales) even names of important species (i’m thnking of ‘vulcanians’ here – oops there goes a lump of TOS season 1) were so full of holes and rationalisation already before they even started making movies or DS9, VOY and ENT that it’s really pretty silly acting like anything that isn’t in accordance with ‘canon’ is blasphemy. Canon is derived from what has gone before, sure. What has gone before doesn’t stand up to rigorous scrutiny.

I really liked DS9 in a lot of ways, but I can see how it could be fairly impenetrable to a casual viewer. The other side is that constant explanations also detract from storytelling. A balance needs to be struck. Canon as ‘scriptwriter’s guide’ is entirely fair enough. Canon becomes suspect the moment ‘fans’ start colouring it with their own view of the universe. FWIW I agree that I would have been more inclined to watch ENT if the music and titles had been a bit less Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. The premise was good, the storytelling fine, technology and ships a little suspect, but it’s not like finding a fossil dinosaur with a ‘ban nuclear testing’ banner in terms of cultural impact.

What has always lifted ‘trek out of unfavourable comparisons to other SF genre shows has been the human element, the character development and interaction. This is way more important than any silliness about what a piece of fictional hardware can and can’t do and what it’s serial number should be.

96. Night Hawke - April 17, 2009

So the franchise is one of the most successful of all time, has 10 movies and 5 tv series’. However the 9th & 10th movie that were weak movies by most standards, as well as a prequel series (which are rarely successful) which was also weak.

Suddenly the franchise is failing the tried and true fans can’t support it? then who supported it for the previous 8 movies and 4 tv series’?

Star Trek doesn’t need a “reboot” to be successful, it needs a decent tv series and/or movie. Both of which could be reached without changing a thing. We don’t need Kirk revisited we need a captain who can kick ass not a diplomat that will negotiate his way out of everything.

anyway i guess i’ll be in the theaters on may 7th to see how this movie does.

97. Kevin - April 18, 2009

Re booting these days is much easier than creating new characters.
You simply ‘ sweep the plate clean ‘ , and start again ( using the main ingredients of the original and trying to duplicate its success)

98. John Sullivan - April 18, 2009

#97 – I agree rebooting is easier, and perhaps it is the path of least resistance to gaining the most amount of money in the least amount of time, but it is not creative or intellectually honest. Not that Hollyweird has been either in a very long time. Would I wish that Paramount would just come up with some brand new expensive space epic the way George Lucas did in the 1970′s? You bet. But the kind of heroes like that who want to take a chance like that are as rare in Hollywood as they are in Washington D.C. at the Senate. It’s a mechanical process now, and nothing more. By the way, I don’t know anything about any of these actors, but Pegg seems to be the witty one, and they all seem to be a very nice group of young kids. Zoe seems to be the one with the most interesting past – tramp stamps and all.

99. trekboi - April 21, 2009

Zoe looks like she’s about to cry in that picture.

ANTHONY- i just heard the comittee members (past and present) of the local Star trek Fan Club in Australia- “AUSTREK” (2nd oldest in the world at 33 years) got a preview screening of the film last night- what do u know about these events- who decides who sees them?

This is Not a rumour a now Ex friend who didnt get me in with him saw it last night.

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