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Flashback: Super Bowl 2009 Brings Star Trek to the masses February 7, 2010

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Marketing/Promotion,Star Trek (2009 film) , trackback

Today is Super Bowl XLIV, which marks the one year anniversary of a seminal Trek event, the first ever Super Bowl commercial for a Trek film. Last year’s Star Trek Super Bowl commercial was a sort of ‘coming out’ for the Star Trek film to the mainstream. The commercial was a big success and led the way to the film being one of the top blockbusters of the year. See it again below with links to our over 2009 coverage, plus a look forward to 2012.   

 

Star Trek Super Bowl Commercial 


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More Star Trek Super Bowl Details:

The commercial that began the big mainstream campaign
In November 2008 Paramount had released their first Star Trek theatrical trailer with the film Quantum of Solace. However, the trailer ended up being seen with only 2/3s of QoS screenings, and the film only did $168M domestically (a bigger hit overseas). On the other hand, the Star Trek Super Bowl commercial was to be seen by 100 million viewers and was going to be the first exposure to a new Star Trek film for the mainstream.

At a cost of $3 Million, it was an expensive gamble, but by all measurements it was a big success. Media critics immediately gave the spot high marks, with the ‘this is a new kind of Star Trek’ buzz carrying all the way into the summer. Plus, all the polls had the commercial ranked as the 2nd most memorable movie spot (out of the 10 movie spots) behind Transformers 2. Star Trek ended up out-performing the domestic box office of all eight of the other films on the list.

Super Bowl XLVI here we come?
The Star Trek sequel comes out June 29, 2012, and so would be poised to benefit from a Super Bowl spot in 2012. However there is no guarantee there will be a spot. This year fewer studios are buying are buying fewer Super Bowl spots. Although Paramount is one of three studios joining in, they are buying two spots instead of the four they did last year. One of Paramount’s spots is for The Last Airbender which is slated for the 4th of July weekend. Last year they also ran a commercial for that weekend (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) and so that could indicate a trend for Paramount to buy spots for its big 4th of July summer movie (which would include the Star Trek sequel in 2012). However, Paramount did not buy a spot for Iron Man 2, which comes out May 7th. That could indicate that Paramount now feels they don’t need to buy such an expensive ad for a sequel to a successful film, as it has buzz already built in. If that is the case, then the Star Trek sequel may not be on the list for the 2012 Super Bowl.

Of course economic times will likely be different in 2012 so we will may still see that Star Trek: Something Something Super Bowl spot, but there will never again be a moment like last year. Last year’s Super Bowl can be seen as the turning point for Star Trek, when the buzz on the film went from the geek-o-sphere to the mainstream.

 

 

 

Comments

1. T2 - February 7, 2010

I remember it well. I was more excited for that than the game!

2. The Chief - February 7, 2010

Not to be an ass but XVI is 16. Either way, I hope that Super Bowl XLVI also features the Pittsburgh Steelers (in a victorous match!)

3. Chadwick - February 7, 2010

Never a sports fan, watched the trailer so many times didn’t even watch the super bowl for the commercial. But I do remember the hype for the commercial, and I do remember my football loving friends talking about how great Star Trek looked, now that I loved.

4. Sunfell - February 7, 2010

That trailer, and the ones that followed it, were amazing. I wonder if they can repeat the excitement in two years?

I hope so.

5. Christine - February 7, 2010

That was suuuuuuuch a slow game. But at least the team I was rooting for came out on top. :D

The trailer was better than the halftime show, hahaha. But I’m way excited for this year’s Colts vs. Saints.. GO COLTS!!!

(Yes, I love my football. Whoot!)

6. Captain Hackett - February 7, 2010

GO SAINTS GO!

7. Pat D. - February 7, 2010

Ummm, plus there is a big difference between May 8 and and June 29 when buying a superbowl ad.

8. CmdrR - February 7, 2010

If the Saints divert all power to phasers and deflectors, they should easily anihilate the Colts.
Q’plah!

9. Michael Hall - February 7, 2010

I was quite intrigued by this trailer myself, having downloaded and watched it a number of times. Unfortunately, for my money it promised a more thoughtful, serious epic film than the one we got. :-(

10. Brett Campbell - February 7, 2010

And most important of all … the Who are playing tonight!!

Oh, and there’s supposed to be some kind of football game or other.

11. Anthony Pascale - February 7, 2010

Pat

Studios buy SB commercials for movies in June and July. Paramount is buying a spot for Last Airbender which is coming out 4th of july weekend 2012, same as Trek in 2012. Last year they bought for Transformers 2, which also came out 4th of July weekend.

12. Kirk, James T. - February 7, 2010

However popular Star Trek was with the mainstream – Paramount will have to spend AS MUCH on advertising the sequel – Star Trek is still not as easy a sell as an Iron Man or Batman film is going to be. That stigma is still there and Star Trek still has it’s work cut out for it – do not be lead to believe that everything is 100% go for the sequel to attract such mainstream support. Abrams and Co. are going to have to pull dozens of rabbits from their hats if Star Trek is to BUILD NOT MAINTAIN but BUILD on it’s success last year.

It worries me that Paramount will assume that the sequel will already have a built in mainstream audience. The sequel already has to prove itself overseas where Star Trek failed to produce the BO numbers associated with a summer tent-pole release. I’m from the UK and my god Paramount have a mission on their hands to secure Star Trek’s mainstream popularity – to many who weren’t fans, however good the Trek film was in 2009 they still regard Star Trek as Nerdvana and way less cool than Star Wars and wont be inclined to go see it unless it’s more appealing.

The way i see it is this; JJ Abrams and Co and Paramount Pictures HAVE far more work to do making the sequel a success. Globally Star Trek needs a bigger profile, more advertising and merchandise, video-games and something that makes Star Trek II more appealing for the mainstream to spend their money seeing than perhaps Batman 3 or Iron Man 3 etc…

Its early days, and so far so good within the US but internationally – Star Trek: II needs a lot more done to it to appeal to international audiences than was done for Star Trek in 2009. As well as all that – Star Trek has a bigger job making Kids want to see it – Star Trek needs to work on making Kids love it as much as they have enjoyed and loved Star Wars and Doctor Who. For example – had Star Trek been an enduring success then Playmates wouldn’t have pulled the toy line – maybe that had something to do with the quality of the toy line but still more needs to be done to secure the interests of Kids around the world – My money would be with Hasbro to take Star Trek 2 and produce figures and ships etc.. beyond.

All in all im happy with the way things turned out for Star Trek, these are the first steps into new territory but i think much more needs to be done to turn those steps – those baby steps – into leaps and bounds. Star Trek 2 needs to be The Dark Knight of Star Trek otherwise it will fail with the mainstream and fall back into geek obscurity.

13. Hat Rick - February 7, 2010

Wise words, 12.

There are two countervailing considerations at work here, and they may each be described as follows:

1. Star Trek is back.
2. Star Trek is back.

The first connotes anticipation. The latter connotes familiarity.

It isn’t just marketing that must be considered here. At this stage, such elements as plot, character, theme, and forward momentum are issues that can be addressed and finessed to yield the best result for the franchise.

The Superbowl advertisement for the movie was fantastic: It showed that far from a moribund blabfest that too many in the general audience believed Trek to have become, the new Star Trek movie would be action-oriented and therefore enjoyable. (Recall the Onion’s satirical reference claiming that Trekkies condemned the new movie for being fun and watchable.) But the advertisement for the next one should be both different and compelling, lest ennui set in.

Action, action, action may be one of the points of departure here around which the plot might be shaped.

As previously noted in my postings, there should be many elements of warfare and conflict, and massed starships and joined battles, to garner interest in the public at large. At the same time, there should be a plausible element of romance and sentimentality to bring in the distaff side. Bringing such things together is a tall order.

In a few years, we will see another Superbowl commercial, I hope, for the new Trek sequel. I, for one, want to be amazed all over again.

14. MDSHiPMN - February 7, 2010

#9. Actually I think the trailer pretty much is all action, not really promising much more than action, yelling, figting exploding and more action.

15. Alec - February 7, 2010

I completely agree that Trek 2009 was simply a great beginning and that subsequent Trek films, most notably the sequel of course, will need to build on Trek 2009’s success. The next film will not succeed if its budget (marketing or otherwise) is cut by any noticeable margin. One does not rest on ones laurels after resuscitating a sleeping giant.

To capture the international audience, we need an international star. It’s quite simple. And not a star masked by make-up; so no Borg, Klingons, Romulans, etc. But one who is easily identifiable, as an actor; and as a character. In short, we need Khan; and we need a Hollywood A-lister to play him. With a great (and novel) script, direction and special effects, the 2012 ‘Star Trek 12’ Khan epic will be loved by all: mainstream and hardcore fans alike.

Bring on 2012.

PS. Regarding future projects for these guys, I’d love for them to do a Bond film. And they have a history of dabbling with old cartoons and children’s shows; so why not bring back a classic such as, ‘The legend of Prince Valiant’? Seriously. That show had great writing, music, and character development. It won awards and dealt with noteworthy concepts and subjects, especially for children, such as destiny, honour, friendship, duty, justice, racism. sexism, and domestic violence.

16. captain_neill - February 7, 2010

Once again insults to the past Treks and loads of praise for the new movie

Can’t we like both equally?

17. Hugh Hoyland - February 7, 2010

#12 & 15 spot on. And I believe that the movie is in good hands with the SC and they are well aware of these points to. And #15 I to think Khan is really needed, not a remake of TROK of course, not even a remade Space seed, more like a vastly expanded Space Seed, as only part of the movie. Other elements could be added as well, particularly an aditional villian, ie The Gorn keeps coming to my mind. But maybe another new villian as well. I thought a new villian such as an Invader Force who used implanting (mind contol on a large scale) could be menacing.

And I agree to keep the romace going strong, GA likes it, as I think most of us do to a certain extent. Keep a balance with epic battle scenes, Action, romance, an A list actor playing Khan, and they will come up with something a broad audiance will enjoy. And of course Marketing must be strong, big time.

As a side, I read one of the first attempts at a Star Trek motion picture story POTT, circa 76-77. IMO that had promise, to bad it was rejected though. Maybe someday something can be done with that.

18. captain_neill - February 7, 2010

15

Khan better NOT be in the next Trek film

Yes it will get the mainstream interested but how many more Trekkies will walk away from Trek if they just rehash and reuse villains from before.

How about an original idea for the next movie.

19. Hugh Hoyland - February 7, 2010

One way that they could do a new twist on Khan would be either have some villian with knowlege of Khan (Gorn or whomever) discover the Guardian before the Enterprise does. Using the Guarian they go back to the time of the Eugenics war and give khan vital technical and administrative data before he escapes. With this data he builds a much more advanced ship capable of nuclear and phaser weaponry. This data also gives him access to Earth/Federation defences ect.

Pardon my fanboyism here, but like a lot of fans that post, its kind of fun just trying to dream up ideas for the next movie from ones own point of view. :}

20. Alec - February 7, 2010

18. captain_neill – February 7, 2010

Do we want Star Trek to continue for years to come and go from strength to strength? Do we want Star Trek to be as ‘big’ and as favorably viewed as the original Star Wars films? If we answer yes to either or both of these questions, we understand that we need the mainstream audience. I would argue that the best way of enticing the mainstream audience is to bring back Khan. He’s the best and the best known of all the Trek villains. He would generate a lot of buzz for the new film. He is perfect for a mainstream Hollywood A-List actor to play. All in all, he’s the best way of enticing both the mainstream and the international audiences which Trek so badly needs.

So long as the Trek team creates a good film with Khan, very few if any Trekkies will walk away. Those Trekkies that now have reservations about using Khan are but a small subsection of the group of Trekkies who used to have reservations about the whole recasting project (myself included). If they can recast Shatner and Nimoy, they can recast anyone.

Further, why do Trekkies have reservations about Khan in the first place? The argument that it won’t be original is unconvincing. For this would be an entirely new story, just with many of the same characters. In short, it will be creatively as ‘original’ as any Star Trek film, all of which reuse the same main characters, ships, settings, etc. Another reason is that TWOK and Space Seed are so good and highly regarded that it’s felt by some that they shouldn’t be touched. Is this the kind of attitude that we Trekkies have? Remember Picard when he said that the purpose of a human is to better himself; to make himself more than he is. Are we just to give up and not try to continually better ourselves and our achievements. Khan is a mountain of a film, yes. Then why should we try to climb it? Because it’s there. This points to another sentimentality. It’s as if some Trekkies don’t want TWOK, etc., to be bested: they want the ‘original’ Trek to be better than anything that comes after it – no matter what that is or is like. Again, I think that this is the wrong attitude. Finally, we come to perhaps the weakest argument which goes something like this ‘Khan’s been done before: TWICE in fact. Let’s have something new. Like…the Klingons!?’ Of all the villains in Trek, Khan is one of the least used. The Klingons appear in hundreds of episodes and almost all the films…enough already! Same with the Romulans.

In my humble opinion, Trek 12 should be either a Khan epic or a Borg Invasion of Earth (read Best of Both Worlds). Since the latter is too close to Trek 11, it should be saved for later. A new villain has a strong attraction; but we must remember that they would have no resonance with either the fans or the mainstream. With Khan and the Borg (separately of course: together would be overkill) you have big names that have clout which generate interest.

21. ryanhuyton - February 7, 2010

#20 Well said sir!

As far as I am concerned, NOTHING should be off limits in regards to the sequel, including Khan. After the success of “Star Trek”, I have complete faith in the Supreme Court’s abilities to craft a “classic” sequel that could rank up there with such hits as “The Empire Strikes Back”, “The Dark Knight”, “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”.

22. Rocket Scientist - February 7, 2010

5. Christine

“The trailer was better than the halftime show, hahaha. But I’m way excited for this year’s Colts vs. Saints.. GO COLTS!!!”

I beg to differ, young lady! The Who were the main reason I watched the game, and they did not disappoint. They may have *looked* like a couple of old farts, but they are rock legends. Icons who are as much a cultural treasure as Kirk, Spock, etc.

I guess you had to be there…

23. Maggie - February 7, 2010

JJ Abrams and the writers of the next Trek movie have a HUGE job ahead of them. The franchise is 40 years old and there is a very good reason it has survived 40 years. ST is not about action and science – it’s about gadgets and plots that challenge us cerebrally with a bit of action and science thrown in.

If the next Trek follows the path of the 2009 Trek (which I enjoyed) ie action without the familiar challenges to ethics and philosophy underlying the plot, then it will do ST and Roddenberry’s concept of ST no favors at all. It will pull Trek into the class of “just another Hollywood action in space movie” which is really the antithesis of true Trek. There are no franchises that have survived very long (let alone 40 years) on action alone – it becomes boring.

The 2012 Trek needs a decent, challenging plot steeped in ethics, philosophy, metaphysics etc. A skilled writer can mix this with the required amount of action. Without this, Trek will die.

24. Christine - February 7, 2010

#22 :: The Who were at last year’s Super Bowl? I thought it was someone else… hm… Maybe I’m just losing my mind. But my sources say it was Bruce Springsteen.
They were awesome tonight, though. Loved it! (I missed their concert in Omaha… Boohoo. But I was off on a MIssion trip, so whatever.) And FYI, I am a sucker for old bands… I went to an REO Speedwagon concert and it was the coolest thing EVER. “Ride in the Storm” = Amazing.

25. bgiles73 - February 7, 2010

Geaux Saints!!! The Who Dat Nation won a proud victory an earned their place in Sto’ Vo’Kor!!!!

26. Rocket Scientist - February 7, 2010

Oh, my bad. You were referring to *last* year’s halftime vs. the trailer. My apologies!

27. Christine - February 7, 2010

#26 :: Yeah… It’s cool, though. We misread comments here all the time. Heck, I do that. xD No hard feelings!

28. Pro-Khan-sel - February 7, 2010

To all the pro-khan forces!!

Keep up the good work!

29. Syn4Ever - February 7, 2010

I say the get Peyton Manning for the sequel. A lot could be done on that awesome forehead of his

30. captain_neill - February 7, 2010

Perhaps Khan is what is needed for the mainstream crowd but why does every one think that Khan is the only good villian in Trek?

There are many great villains like Gul Dukat, Genaral Chang, Kai Winn, the Borg Queen and Borg,etc.

It seems that movie is going looking for either the Borg or Khan and there is a lot more to Trek than Khan and the Borg.

Khan’s story will have to play out very similar to before as his back story would be the same, meaning the Eugenics Wars in the 90s, they ret con that then it confirms that the whole Trek XI was in a different universe anyway.

Also the Borg don’t belong in Kirk’s time their ‘official’ first contact did not occur until 24th Century.

I personally think Star Trek needs to go back to TV to get the great stories.

Redoing Khan in my opinion is a lazy idea from writers who can’t think of anything better in an era of Hollywood where the only thing to do is either remake a clasic or reboot a classic.

Khan and First Contact are my fav films so I love both Khan and the Borg but I am more in favour of something new for the next film.

So forgive me if this trekkie is against a redo of Khan.

31. S. John Ross - February 8, 2010

#20 opines “Do we want Star Trek to continue for years to come and go from strength to strength? Do we want Star Trek to be as ‘big’ and as favorably viewed as the original Star Wars films? If we answer yes to either or both of these questions, we understand that we need the mainstream audience.”

(A) Only the second one requires a mainstream audience. (B) Making something branded “Star Trek” popular is _not the same thing_ as making Star Trek popular. (C) Read (B) over and over again until it sinks in.

32. captain_neill - February 8, 2010

23

Exactly but from these reports I don’t think that is what we will be getting.

Skeptical in these darke days of Hollywood.

33. S. John Ross - February 8, 2010

#23: “A skilled writer can mix this with the required amount of action.”

Yes.

Alas.

34. captain_neill - February 8, 2010

Hollywood is in trouble these days

Its too derivitive of its past.

It seems the movies are probably going to go in a direction that I will not be happy with.

It sucks but got to live with it

The mainstream always wins over the fans and at the moment n cinema I hate the mainstream so obviously to appeal it seems Trek is going to move further from what the fans want and that will probably mean more fans will walks after the nest movie.

35. Maggie - February 8, 2010

34.

I fear this too. I feel it’s a symptom of how viewers currently guage “entertainment” – over the past 10-15 years, look at the increasing numbers of reality tv shows (touted as “social experiments” – oh puuulease!). Most of them are nothing more than mindless drivel that do nothing to stimulate the imagination. AFter all, why pay decent actors and writers when you can get away with a third rate celebrity hosting a bunch of idiots in a reality show. Viewers seem to have become nothing but passive voyeurs. Films based firmly in action also do little to stimulate the imagination or engage the mind and are quickly forgotten. So for Hollywood, why bother hiring decent writers when you can make a quick buck out of a minimalist plot and mindless action? This is NOT what Star Trek is about and the controllers of the Trek franchise would do well to remember that – if not, Trek will be gone forever (after another 1-2 films).

36. Alec - February 8, 2010

31. S. John Ross – February 8, 2010

‘#20 opines “Do we want Star Trek to continue for years to come and go from strength to strength? Do we want Star Trek to be as ‘big’ and as favorably viewed as the original Star Wars films? If we answer yes to either or both of these questions, we understand that we need the mainstream audience.”

(A) Only the second one requires a mainstream audience. (B) Making something branded “Star Trek” popular is _not the same thing_ as making Star Trek popular. (C) Read (B) over and over again until it sinks in’.

You are mistaken. If statement (A) doesn’t involve the mainstream audience, then the statement is tantamount to one which says that Star Trek will continue for years to come and go from strength to strength without the mainstream audience. I.e., Trek will continue for years to come and go from strength to strength with only the Trekkies. The flaw is obvious; it can be captured in one word: Nemesis. Many people tend to forget, perhaps they’re blinded by the glow and warmth of Trek 11, that prior to the reboot, the franchise was essentially dead. Nothing new was being produced, or had for some time been produced, for either TV or film. Trek lived on only in the dwindling memory of the faifthful. It would soon had died out completely, like so many prior sci-fi shows, without the new creative efforts of the Supreme Court.

Quite simply, we need the mainstream audience.

That is not to say that we need to dilute Trek or change its essential nature. Trek 11 showed that we can keep the ‘Star Trek’ in Star Trek and attract the mainstream at the same time. And when I said that we might want Star Trek to be as ‘big’ and as favorably viewed as the original Star Wars films, I meant only that we might want Star Trek to be as profitable, as popular, and hold the same place in film history as Star Wars does. I did not mean that we should try to transmogrify Star Trek into Star Wars or a Star Wars clone. JJ and Co. haven’t done this. They’ve simply taken elements and certain styles found in Star Wars (and many other sources) and added them to the familiar Star Trek characters, settings, and situations. Good job.

37. Alec - February 8, 2010

A ‘conversation’ with 30. captain_neill – February 7, 2010

‘Perhaps Khan is what is needed for the mainstream crowd but why does every one think that Khan is the only good villian in Trek?’

Khan isn’t the only good villain in Trek, of course. But he’s one of the best – if not the very best.

‘There are many great villains like Gul Dukat, Genaral Chang, Kai Winn, the Borg Queen and Borg,etc’.

None of these villains, with the possible exception of the Borg, are as beloved by the Trekkies and the mainstream as Khan. Moreover, with the possible exception of Chang, it’s too soon for our heroes to encounter Winn and Dukat and other villains from the TNG-DS9-VGR era. Chronologically, it wouldn’t work: these characters don’t yet exist; and might never exist in this universe. Whereas, Khan is out there…somewhere. Furthermore, Winn and Dukat had their stories fleshed-out very well over many, many episodes with a definite conclusion.

‘It seems that movie is going looking for either the Borg or Khan and there is a lot more to Trek than Khan and the Borg’.

See above.

‘Khan’s story will have to play out very similar to before as his back story would be the same, meaning the Eugenics Wars in the 90s, they ret con that then it confirms that the whole Trek XI was in a different universe anyway’.

Trek 11 belongs to one of an infinite number of possible universes where each and every possibility is played-out. Consequently, if the writers want something to happen or to have happened, they can just stipulate that the universe they have ‘created’ is the one in which that event takes place. So, the writers can write Khan’s back-story however they like. To appease the fans and to show some continuity with old Trek, it might start-out or have familiar elements to those of Space Seed. E.g., The Botany Bay, etc. Whether or not the writers are held to the Eugenics Wars of the late 1990s having actually occurred or not, they don’t have to mention them by date; nor does their occurrence dictate the substance of the story: it might have to star-out a bit like Space Seed; but it can transform into something entirely different.

‘Also the Borg don’t belong in Kirk’s time their ‘official’ first contact did not occur until 24th Century’.

What we know of the Borg is restricted to the Prime Universe. Again, if the writers want the Borg in their universe, they can have them. PS. The writers have said that ENT is canon (see above for whether this needs to be true). Nevertheless, if it is true, then ENT’s Regeneration is canon and the events of this episode, which occred in 2153 (before Kirk) are canon. Personally, I wouldn’t get too mixed-up with canon and just write a good story.

‘I personally think Star Trek needs to go back to TV to get the great stories’.

I agree. They need to have a look at Space Seed and Best of Both Worlds!

‘Redoing Khan in my opinion is a lazy idea from writers who can’t think of anything better in an era of Hollywood where the only thing to do is either remake a clasic or reboot a classic’.

How is it lazy to return to one’s best source material? That seems to be sound business not laziness.

‘Khan and First Contact are my fav films so I love both Khan and the Borg but I am more in favour of something new for the next film’.

I’m not opposed to a new villain. But do you really think there’s a better villain out there? It’s possible; but not that likely, I would say. Moreover, no new villain would resonate with the fans and the mainstream as much as Khan. Khan is perfect in so many ways for Trek 12. On top of all the proper reasons that I and others have mentioned, having Khan in Trek 12 even creates a nice symmetry with TWOK being the second film; and Trek 12 being that for the Abrams trilogy.

‘So forgive me if this trekkie is against a redo of Khan’.

Apology accepted, Captain Needa.

38. S. John Ross - February 8, 2010

#36:”[...] prior to the reboot, the franchise was essentially dead.”

Prior to the reboot, there was only licensed tie-in merchandise. After and during the reboot, there is only licensed tie-in merchandise.

“Trek 11 showed that we can keep the ‘Star Trek’ in Star Trek and attract the mainstream at the same time.”

Wow.

39. captain_neill - February 8, 2010

I guess I have to get use to the fact that they will be doing Khan whether we like it or not.

Damn you Abrams

40. captain_neill - February 8, 2010

sorry I am dreading one of my favourite villains being rehashed when it should be going in a new direction.

Looks like I will probably be against future decisions made by this ‘supreme court’ I hope I will love the next movie but I do fear they will do something that a lot of fans won’t be happy with.

41. Buzz Cagney - February 8, 2010

Wow that made me all excited again for the film- and I must have seen it 15 times! lol

42. Jeyl - February 8, 2010

The real question I have when it comes to the whole appealing to the mass market vs. the fans always goes back to how Star Trek originated.

Why was the original Star Trek made in the first place? What type of audience did Gene Roddenberry want to showcase the series to? The Scifi audience in general, or anyone who wanted to see something different? The big factor here is that there were no Star Trek related fans when this series started, so the makers of Star Trek didn’t have any expectations to meet. Even with “The Cage”, Gene didn’t want to have it be a big action epic the way the studio wanted it to be, but thank god they gave him another chance in at least trying to give it a little ‘oomph’ that gave the series the green light.

Well, the end result created a fanbase, several spin off series and loads of publicity. Now with Trek 09, the current mind set of Star Trek as set by JJ Abrams is “We’re not making Star Trek for fans. We’re making it for fans of movies.”

I just want to emphasize that when he says he was not making this movie for the fans, what do you think that really means? Does it mean that he doesn’t want to be bogged down with details that he must limit himself to when he’s telling a story? I guess that makes some sense. Even Star Trek at it’s core would forget a lot of details but still maintain that they did happen. But what I think he really meant was that he doesn’t want to make a Star Trek film for audiences who would expect a more character driven, plot oriented story about what’s out there in the universe and why it’s so different. I believe this is what he was talking about because if there is one thing that is painfully evident in this new Star Trek movie compared to EVERY OTHER STAR TREK FILM is making everything look familiar. Let’s take a look.

- Stardates are now Earth Years.
- Vulcan, a planet that sets itself a part from Earth with it’s harsh atmosphere and very red/orangish colored skies now has a completely Earth like atmosphere (even thousands of feet in the air) and a rich blue earth like sky.
- Aliens are put into a corner. On the Kelvin, every crew member who resembles a human (even with fake CGI eyes) has some dialogue where as the crew who don’t look anything human have no dialogue what so ever. The closest thing to a non-human looking alien that speaks only gets one line and it’s comprised of only two letters.
- Interior starship sets. Never in the history of Star Trek have I ever seen a show where the inner workings of a ship have ever been filmed on a practical location. This includes everything from the low budget original series all the way to the last episode of Enterprise. Just take a look at the making of First Contact and how they built the engineering set in two different ways. No one said “Let’s just go film in a brewery to save money and say it will look more realistic”. Thanks for being cheap in this 150 million dollar movie.
- Earth is all that matters. Nothing says “To boldly go where no one has gone before” more than having Earth be the center of attention and making everything else look like it. What makes it even better is when you take other alien worlds that we’ve hardly ever been to that still have great potential in future Star Trek stories and destroy them just so to motivate a character to defeat a one shot villain. I cannot emphasize this enough. The original Star Trek’s modern day Earth was hardly mentioned and didn’t matter to the series. That was not a weakness because we were always out there instead of back there.

So I guess JJ’s Star Trek doesn’t want to be anything like Star Trek, because the new movie and the original series only similar in style, not execution. So what do I expect from JJ’s Trek universe? No roles for any characters that don’t look human, no alien planets that don’t look like Earth, and no emphasis on where the human race is going. But the latter can be a good thing since if this is what the future has in store for mankind and any message about hope is going to come from this ensemble cast of arrogant, selfish and insensitive a**holes, I’m glad I won’t be seeing it.

43. Jeyl - February 8, 2010

40. sorry I am dreading one of my favourite villains being rehashed when it should be going in a new direction.

Ya, cause uh….. nothing says going in a new direction by…. rehashing Kirk, the Enterprise, Spock, Earth in danger, bad guys upset over dead wives and are hell bent on revenge…… uh.. Are you sure you’re talking about the same Star Trek? That last movie was nothing but a rehash.

I have a question. Did any Batman fan say they didn’t want the Joker in “The Dark Knight” and cry out that they wanted the Batman series to go in a new direction? Was there any ‘No Joker!’ talk at all? The Joker has had over a dozen different incarnations over many many decades. And now the mere thought of Khan returning is considered blasphemes? That’s just goofy.

44. Xeos - February 8, 2010

@42. Jeyl

- Why is the stardate format important from a film making standpoint?

- Or the color of Vulcan’s sky?

- First Contact used a number of practical locations for sets, including one pivotal to the film — the phoenix launch silo. I’ve happened to taken a tour of the Titan Launch silo in Arizona, and I promise you very little was done to the location to ‘dress it up’, where as in Star Trek, pretty major set pieces and design elements were brought in for the brewery.

The “Saving Earth” plot line featured in:

- The Motion Picture
- The Voyage Home
- First Contact
- Nemesis

and now Star Trek.

45. Xeos - February 8, 2010

Furthermore, Star Trek has always been a Human story, about the Human condition and our place in the stars. Your line of think would eventually lead to ‘why does every star trek movie and show have to be about the federation! gosh!!’.

46. S. John Ross - February 8, 2010

#43: “The Joker has had over a dozen different incarnations over many many decades. And now the mere thought of Khan returning is considered blasphemes? That’s just goofy.”

A fundamental difference is that Batman has always been a white-hat type fighting and defeating villains, and the Joker is his arch-rival.

It’s like comparing apples and orangutans, let alone oranges.

47. Jeyl - February 8, 2010

44- Why is the stardate format important from a film making standpoint?

A. That isn’t a good argument because when it comes to film making, there are no standpoints. Anyone can make anything they want to. Ever heard of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet being presented in nothing but a white screen with no sound for an hour? That’s been done.
B. In my opinion, it bothers me because it further emphasis that Earth is the center of the Trek universe. Compared to the original series’ use of Stardates, it’s just boring and lazy. And I liked the idea of using a non-Earth related time frame because it sounds more universal.

44- Or the color of Vulcan’s sky?

Because it wasn’t blue before? Geez, why not just say “why does Uhura being a woman or black have any importance from a film making stand point?” Again, it doesn’t.

44- First Contact used a number of practical locations for sets, including one pivotal to the film — the phoenix launch silo.

Read my comment again. See the “Interior starship sets” line? The phoenix launch silo was NOT an interior starship set. The only time they ever used a practical location on a starship was when they were using the holodeck, and on a lot of occasions they made sets for those as well.

44- The “Saving Earth” plot line featured in:

Ya, I know. And I’m really sick of it because it all ends the same way, which only leaves future Trek writers to fall back on it again. Earth shouldn’t be as big a factor as it has been. As you say in your 45 post,

“Star Trek has always been a Human story, about the Human condition and our place in the stars.”

Well, what good are stories like that when all we do is go away from the stars and back to Earth? Even if Earth was destroyed by Nero, so what? We have colonies, alien friends who will assist us and many other Earth like planets to

45- Your line of think would eventually lead to ‘why does every star trek movie and show have to be about the federation! gosh!!’.

So far, this feels like a United Federation of Earth, not planets. Anything not of Earth is put into a corner, like every non-human being you see in Trek09. Gaila was fortunate enough to get a name, but she’s still dead in the end.

48. Jeyl - February 8, 2010

46. “A fundamental difference is that Batman has always been a white-hat type fighting and defeating villains, and the Joker is his arch-rival.”

Sounds a lot like what Star Trek is becoming. Fighting and defeating villains.

49. S. John Ross - February 8, 2010

#48: “Sounds a lot like what Star Trek is becoming. Fighting and defeating villains.”

It’s been a strong trend in the tie-in films, yeah. :(

Like I’ve said many times before (and will say many times again for as long as the Khan speculation continues): the curse of the success of STII is that filmmakers took the wrong lessons from it. In that, it’s more comparable to the Lord of the Rings movies than to Batman :)

50. Jeyl - February 8, 2010

49. “the curse of the success of STII is that filmmakers took the wrong lessons from it.”

No joke. And Star Trek writers and directors take the wrong lessons from that movie in more ways than just using a villain. Remember how Kirk’s cheating the ‘no-win’ scenario was played out as a character flaw for Kirk? In Trek09, it’s played out as a strength. That kind of baffles me a bit because in the movie, Kirk obviously fails to save Vulcan from the Romulans, but not once in the whole movie does the ‘I don’t like to lose’ or ‘I don’t believe in the no-win scenario’ trait come up because of it. It’s like Kirk didn’t even care that Vulcan was lost and he failed to rescue it.

So really, when you build a character like Kirk who cheats in order to win, and on his first assignment he fails and six billion lives are lost, then story wise, what was the point of him cheating if he thinks nothing of losing? Was it because you wanted something to connect to Spock’s line “A trick I learned from a friend.”? No, because that line doesn’t make any sense. Spock has only been in this timeline for at least a couple of days compared to Nero’s 25 years, and everything that changed because of his arrival was out of his control. Everything involving Kirk’s line about Spock traveling back in time and changing things is probably the worst exchange in the movie because it’s so obviously incorrect.. Spock didn’t know he created a time traveling anomaly, he didn’t know what Nero had done, and everything that has been changed had occurred long before Spock had even arrived.

51. Michael Hall - February 8, 2010

Several years back I attended a panel at the L.A. Book Fair where Nick Meyer explicitly stated the lesson he took away from making The Wrath of Khan and the other Trek films he worked on: “When you’re piloting someone else’s ship, you take your flag and nail it to that f**cking mast as high as you can.” For all of its over-the-top foolishness, Khan works because it very much reflects its maker’s concerns: his love of literature and high adventure, the threat and promise of new technologies, the themes of aging, death, and rebirth. Yet, at the end of the day, what even a thoughtful actor like Walter Koenig took away from the experience was the belief that what every Trek film needed more than anything was a larger-than-life, scenery-chewing villain worthy of the Enterprise crew’s attention. It was a depressingly shallow conclusion then–one shared by many fans and studio execs alike–and those still hoping for a great film based on Gene Roddenverry’s creation have been paying for it ever since.

52. Mr Phil - February 8, 2010

#47 “So far, this feels like a United Federation of Earth, not planets.”
Call me alienist, but I don’t empathise as well with aliens as I do with humans. I was never a big fan of the Klingon episodes of TNG, or most of DS9 which just went way too alien for me in its central storylines.

That said, I think most people got engaged with the Spock character. Maybe it’s just the lumpy foreheads of all the other aliens that put me off ;-)

53. Jeyl - February 8, 2010

@52: “Call me alienist, but I don’t empathise as well with aliens as I do with humans.”

Ever try District 9?

54. S. John Ross - February 8, 2010

#52:

In fairness, while Star Trek occasionally has aliens who are really meant to be alien, most of the “alien” races (Klingons, Vulcans, Bajorans, Andorians, Romulans, Tellarites, whatever) are, at least in dramatic terms, _foreigners_, alternate takes on human cultures (or even flat-out analogues of them) and stories about them are still stories about the human condition.

55. captain_neill - February 9, 2010

About the Khan debate

I can dig two universes and I can use to new actors playing the crew even though I will always prefer the originals. But I cannot dig this universe being used only to retell the great stuff rather than do something different.

56. The Disinvited - February 9, 2010

Speaking of marketing, did anyone notice this?:

http://www.hd-report.com/2010/01/25/paramount-selling-blu-ray-discs-and-movie-memorabilia-online/

Note that this isn’t CBS’ Trek online store:

http://store.startrek.com/

but Paramount’s own gig.

57. Chris M - February 10, 2010

It’s fun to look back on the moment a mainstream audience was exposed the STAR TREK! :)

58. Simon - February 10, 2010

#55 – If you can tell a new story and put a new spin on a familiar character then why not? THE DARK KNIGHT is proof.

59. S. John Ross - February 10, 2010

#58: “If you can tell a new story and put a new spin on a familiar character then why not?”

It has not been established that this creative team can tell a new story.

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