And so it begins. Up until today all this talk about a new Star Trek movie was just that — talk. But today, in theaters around the world, moviegoers seeing the ever-so-hyped Cloverfield were treated to the teaser trailer for Star Trek. This is getting real.
The Future Begins
Firstly the previously reported description of the Star Trek teaser is pretty much accurate. The trailer starts with a welder who could be from any time and slowly reveals that he and swarm of other workers are building the USS Enterprise in a dockyard somewhere on Earth. Ominous musical cues punctuate flashes between black, images of workers and glimpses of the ship in a dramatic fashion. Although shot in a highly stylized manner, the trailer depicts a very real…very human…kind of world of hard hats, sparks, grease and just guys getting the job done. Interjected into this world we hear the sounds of JFK and NASA during the heyday of the space race followed by the slogan “THE FUTURE BEGINS”– which appears to be the message of the trailer.
Everything old is new again
This is followed by Nimoy’s “space the final frontier” voice over, the reveal of the USS Enterprise saucer, the unmistakable Alexander Courage TOS sting, and the TOS transporter sound effect beaming in a title card stating “UNDER CONSTRUCTION,” the new TOS-style logo, and credits. These are all nice touches and should bring a tear to the eye of any Trekkie. By the time the “USS ENTERPRISE” reveal hit the screen the audience in the theater I attended started to applaud…a welcome sign for a bunch of young Culver City hipsters there to see the first midnight showing of Cloverfield. That being said, I wonder if the lack of the title “Star Trek” and the “construction” thing may be a bit too clever. The film makers always say they want to bring in the general audiences and it is not clear Cloverfield-like mysteriousness will work when you are re-branding something.
The ship?…out of danger?
As for the look of the ship at first glance it seems much larger than what we are used to and perhaps that is the point. From what can be seen of the design it clearly retains the general shape of the TOS Enterprise, but we see far more TMP style detailing and the proportions seem different…especially the engine nacelles which are ginormous. The design seems to fall somewhere in the middle between ‘exact copy’ and ‘radical redesign,’ possibly closer to the original than most might have expected. I have never been a purist and so for what I can see so far it looks pretty good. But I sure want to see what the whole thing looks like.
As for the Enterprise being constructed on Earth, this seems to strangely be stirring up quite a bit of controversy. Of course the plaque on the bridge of the USS Enterprise has the words ‘USS ENTERPRISE’ and ‘San Francisco, Calif.’ on it…and last time I checked, San Francisco is firmly attached to the planet. If you want to go further it was established in TNG that the Enterprise D was also at least partly constructed on the ground (in that case the Utopia Planetia on Mars). Star Trek The Motion Picture set up the notion of the Enterprise being refit in space and so many might assume that it was also entirely built there, but that is really just ‘fanon.’ After speaking to a number of canon experts, all seem to agree that constructing the ship (at least partly) on land is well within Star Trek canon. Plus an argument can be made that it makes more sense to build a ship on land as it is a much less hostile environment. Oh…. and…it’s just a TV show.
This is big
Bottom line is that the teaser trailer delivers exactly what it had to do. It sends the message that we today are linked to Gene Roddenberry’s future with the USS Enterprise and her crew. It shows that Star Trek is not a fantasy, not from a galaxy far far away…it is real and it is us. The trailer also creates a new sense of majesty and epic style for the franchise that has not been seen since the time of Star Trek The Motion Picture. The message here to the general film audience is, like this ship depicted, Trek is big…really big…and JJ Abrams is constructing it right now.
Related: TrekMovie.com Review of Cloverfield
VIDEO UPDATE: And here it is
The trailer is available now on YouTube in an unofficial form, but it really really does not do the trailer justice. You cannot see many of the details and it really should be seen on the big screen for your first time. So go to Cloverfield and then come back and watch it to review. I also think that Paramount should put this thing up today. When the trailer for Star Wars Episode III came out it was up at starwars.com the same day.
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