Abrams: My Star Trek Not Kitschy + Disappointed Not Showing At Comic-Con

Today at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Star Trek’s director JJ Abrams took some time out from promoting his new Fox show Fringe to talk a little Trek with SciFi Wire. Abrams talked about the ‘kitsch’ of Trek and also said he was disappointed he would not be showing a preview at Comic-Con.


Excerpts from SciFi Wire

Abrams on Star Trek kitsch
JJ Abrams and his Trek team have talked a lot about how the new Star Trek feature film will feel ‘realer’ than any other Trek film or series to date. Apparently this realness comes at the expense of Trek’s famed kitschiness:

I feel like there’s a certain thing that you can’t really hold onto, which is, … there’s a kind of kitschy quality that must go if it’s going to be something that you believe is real…Our Star Trek is not parody, and so the idea of maintaining character relationships, the dynamic between the characters, [was key]. I never saw how Kirk and Spock became so connected. And that’s what this movie does. And it does it with the entire family of the Enterprise.

Abrams also talked to SciFiWire about how he would have been "psyched" to show a preview of Star Trek at Comic Con in San Diego later this month, but that due to the number of visual effects shots ("well over 1,000") there just isn’t anything ready to be shown. He also noted other Paramount films were also not going to have panels either.

For more visit Sci-Fi Wire.

NOTE: More Star Trek related reports from Abrams, Orci, Kurtzman and Burk may come out of today’s TCA event (all are Fringe producers). If they do, we will update this article so check back.


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No ‘Star Kitsch’?!?

Not disappointed.

It will be interesting to see what kinds of questions the crew answer over the day today and through ComicCon. Their desire to balance the secrecy of the film with their desire to keep the fanbase energized is, to say the least, tricky…

Here’s hoping that we’ll get some more info soon :)

Okay, no “kitsch,” which is fine….one question…what does he consider an example of “kitsch?”


If there’s no “kitsch”, no wonder it’s a Spock story!

So well have to wait for the Grand Slam next year for more, boy thats lame!

Kitsch. Just watch “Of Gods and Men”. Or, think Kirk in the Genesis Cave. Nuclear Wessels. Worf’s Foster-mother tugging his ear with a “Little Wittle Worfy” look in her eye. Much of Voyager. Cameos. Breaking the fourth wall.

Or at least, I figure that’s what he’s referring to.

Glad to see JJ lament not having something for Comic Con. This merely confirms that had they put this out Christmas 2008, there would have been *many* compromises in the imagery and final editing. This is going to give them time to already “remaster” it before it comes out.

However, there’s no reason they couldn’t have stills for ComicCon. Or people turning up (think The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) with all the men turning up in bowlers at the museum during the final setup) wearing the costumes of the new Star Trek… walking around ComicCon saying nothing, just going about wearing the new threads. Perhaps they could just hand out glossies of Pine, Quinto and Urban in costume. And pictures of the big E. That would be a great stunt. And kitschy. Movie can be kitsch-less… but the promotion of said movie should be full of it!

Abrams is likely to aware that there will be many who want to ask him for something from Star Trek.

This, to me, tells me that Paramount overruled him with the weirdest publicity decision they could make.

I’ll see if there is anything substantial in the publicity, like a rendered still of the Enterprise, or a picture of the crew on the Bridge in uniform (On-Set Publicity Still).

I feel for JJ and co at this point.

Star Trek has a campy style that was inherent in television shows in the 60s. Much of that actually went away with Star Trek: TMP onwards.

I like the fact that he’s treating it seriously, and not as a parody piece.

well, I guess that sums it up and hushes all the people that were saying they’d believe it when they saw it (regarding the no paramount at comic con).

O’well, I’m pumped about the movie, since they’re putting it in with canan and everything’s going to be fine and dandy.

No Kitsch? This is NOT a disaster!

what a piece of kitsch.

son of a kitsch

ok. I’m done

Yeah, Dave, I was thinking the same thing — please define “Kitsch”. Certainly, looking at the 60s version it’s seems that way to us NOW but they did their best for the time. I wouldn’t say the newer movies were kitschy at all.

I also ponder his statement: “I never saw how Kirk and Spock became so connected.”

We watched that friendship develop and mature for 3 years as they went through all their adventures. Heck, that relationship was what made me a Trek fan and what I watched for. The rest was gravy. I honestly never assumed there was a relationship between the two prior to Kirk taking command of the Enterprise either.

But at least he’s bummed that there isn’t a panel at Comic Con too.

“but that due to the number of visual effects shots (“well over 1,000″) there just isn’t anything ready to be shown.”

I’d be thrilled to see ANYTHING. Pull out a new phaser, tell me how the ‘new’ microtapes work, do your vocalization of the bridge door swoosh sound, give me the thread count on red velour underoos… SOMETHING!

So instead of self-consciously referencing 60s kitsch, he’s making something that will be unconsciously kitsch in ten years?

JJ is one sick filmmaker.

13. In this case, I think “kitsch” means making sure the sets, costumes, etc. are exactly as they were in TOS, probably even right down to the same materials. Let’s face it, some people won’t be satisfied unless everything was an exact replica of the TOS sets. I think the idea is that this movie is going to be like an ultra-refined TOS, taking that design sensability and bringing it into the 21st century.

Seriously? I wasn’t expecting anything to be SHOWN movie wise, except maybe a few PICTURES of the crew, or the Big-E. Maybe it’s all a ploy, and there’ll be some major suprise for us at Comic-Con (once again not attending. why must the job market suck in my area?!-=cry=-) Still, good to know it’s not going to be Camp, but a serious Trek film. Just not too serious, or it’ll be campy in spite of itself. Come on JJ, I’m giving you a lot of trust here, considering I haven’t seen jack s***t since the teaser. Do this thing right.

So why then are we still getting the miniskirts? I am a canonista when it comes to plot, but I’ve always understood visuals, ships, etc. must change with advances in technology. (They never needed to explain the Klingons — bigger makeup budget was pretty understandable to me!)

However, the miniskirt is definitely an element I would label KITCSCH now. Sure, it was a sign of empowerment for women at that time but it just really doesn’t work for a woman in the military now.

#15:”So instead of self-consciously referencing 60s kitsch, he’s making something that will be unconsciously kitsch in ten years?”

Yeah, you know – like “Star Wars.” ;-)

The ‘origins’ of how these characters became friends is perhaps left alone IMO. Look how the Star Wars prequels ruined the franchise by trying and failing to fill in the back story.

Just don’ t make Spock fly. (with or without rocket boots)

Harry#4- LOL!


Eymorgs in go-go boots.
Space hippies.
Giant spears knocking off chunks of Styrofoam.
Traveling in a space amoeba that looks a lot like Jefferson Airplane’s animated backdrop.
Half-black/half-white actors providing hamfisted racial commentary.
Fuzzy lenses and swelling music whenever we see Kirk’s old flames.

Maybe that last one isn’t “kitsch” so much as it is just plain dated.

Look, I’m going to lay it on the line right here and now…

If they don’t bring back the Space Hippies, I boycott!

We Reach!

The kitsch will not be missed.

#23, #4: ROFLMAO! I must be preoccupied to have missed that (because I’m at work coding)…

#6 and BOBORCI: I have been wondering whether or not the pushing back of the release date will actually give additional time to the production. My assumption is that ILM was booked/scheduled for Star Trek through the end of this year and that they have other jobs lined up soon after. So, even though the actual release date has been pushed back, the main effects house working on the film will not be available to work on it. Is that correct? Is this a case of hurry up and wait?

19 – Miniskirts are pretty common these days. I’m not sure they’ll be quite as high as the Original Series, but I think it’s actually not unrealistic, and serves as an homage to the Original Series. Still, it is all a bit vague as usual ;-)

BobOrci: As much as I wished you guys had something to show, just make sure the movie is good. That’s what is REALLY important.

I still suspect there may be something more revealed with the publicity stuff at the Paramount booth at Comic-Con.

Star Trek 11:
The Wrath of Kitcsch


#28: Miniskirts are in this movie for the same reason they were in TOS: To display great legs. Don’t forget that the prime demographic for Trek is a bunch of well-hormoned males.

I’d be stunned if the script does not include an early, witty and pointed remark by one of the female characters explaining why they’re all wearing the short skirts.

The simple truth of the matter here is that there is nothing wrong with the promotion of the new Star Trek film.

It still just under a year before it opens. You don’t promote the hell out of any film that almost has a full year to go before it opens regardless of anything the public wants.

As I’ve said here many times already, based on the release date….

You will see a teaser at the holidays (Thanksgiving / Christmas). You may see a longer trailer when the spring films start to open as a Trek trailer on any film with marginal hopes will bring the crowds in.

Prior to their start of the publicity machine over the holidays, you will in all liklihood not see any studio promotional pics from the film at all until the holidays.

Wishing for them and complaining will not make them appear any faster. The studio will promote these films the same way they have for 75 years. Being a Trek fan doesn’t mean they will change anything they do specifically for you no matter how much you or I desire it.

I have a 15 year experience with movie theaters (management and in-house promotions working with licensees) and I know how these campaigns work. It won’t happen any sooner then I’ve outlined above.

I am so glad he told the fans WHY they wouldn’t be showing stuff at CONNN!. His reasons and the fact it’s too early in the advertising/marketing cycle (even for fanboys and girls) makes sense. Hold onto the fun of secrecy just a while longer!

Well said Dave

According to Wikipedia:

Kitsch is a term of German or Yiddish origin that has been used to categorize art that is considered an inferior, tasteless copy of an existing style.

By many of the posts I’ve read, I don’t think many people know what he’s saying.

Basically he’s saying that it’s not an exact copy of what was done before. And that changes have been made to make the TOS time period feel real.

The question is- how far does that go? I like the idea of modernizing the technology and doing away with the obvious soundstage planets and cardboard sets. But how far is he talking? Are we talking going all grungy and dirty to look real like Star Wars or Alien?

Will Kirk no longer seem like Kirk? Will Star Trek no longer even feel like Star Trek?

Who’s to know. It’s a very vague statement.

#31 Amen to that.

JJ Abrams is of the mind that “real men don’t eat kitsch”

Aw, most of you guys are probably too young to get the pun!


So “A Piece of the Action” is not kitsch??? I thought I had this kitsch thing all figured out! Now I am really confused. Must..have more..Romulan Ale…

Hmmm… well it’s also used to mean popular, but a cheap and crude form of art… now if that’s really how he feels about Trek, boy I’m I glad Trek’s now in his hands (sarcasm).


OK. I’ll leave now.


That would be just like Abrams to speak in code!

#3 echoed my sentiment exactly. Since I have no idea what Abrams considers kitsch about Trek, I don’t know what he’s actually saying about what he made effort to avoid.

If he just means no gold-skinned midgets wearing fezzes, then I’m okay with that. Only a small portion of my love for Trek depends on hoping to one day see another gold-skinned midget in a fez.

If he means something else, then … I dunno what he means :)


Check DRUDGE Report. Paramount financing deal with Deutch Bank falls through. Star Trek funding in Jeopardy?

No new footage. Oh well, perhaps this is a time to release some stills or something. Hopefully not another teaser poster. As cool as they’ve all been, I think we get the idea…Star Trek is coming soon.

I’ll have to admit that I am so done with reports on why there won’t be any news. As I said in the other CC article, I wouldn’t care if they didn’t show any clips or previews or brought out props or had a panel. No reason to fire up the engines on the marketing machine. But some news about something would be nice. I think too much secrecy in light of something so inherently unsecret could backfire. But nobody on this site can offer anything more than a theory one way or the other. Cloverfield’s veil of secrecy started to become annoying to many of it’s dedicated following after awhile. And after a big opening, it quickly lost it’s legs, in one part due to perhaps the tastes of filmgoers, and in part perhaps to the over-hyped secrecy. It’s almost as if the secret became bigger than the film, and thusly the film couldn’t live up to the secret. My fear is that Star Trek has to be better than great to live up to the measures of secrecy it has been shrouded in.

So can we see a picture of the Enterprise or the crew or something, please?

So I guess he wanted to show something at Comic-Con. ..
I was under the impression JJ was Mr Secrecy…
Perhaps to ease his disappointment, he could just provide Anthony with a couple of still shots so Anthony could in turn share them with us. That should make JJ “psyched”!
That would also make all of us very happy (and spike the web traffic here too!)
No need for a Comic-Con panel at all! The buzz would be huge and would be sustainable. We could live for weeks and weeks on just a pic or two…

#42 – And then there’s this:

“While Deutsche’s decision to close its film unit is a blow for Paramount, the films affected by the deal are still likely to be released as scheduled.”

#46 Lets hope you are right and we are not looking at another Star Trek V scenario!

#44 sez: “My fear is that Star Trek has to be better than great to live up to the measures of secrecy it has been shrouded in.”

Amen to that.

I understand there are those here on the boards who probably have a better idea of promotion and marketing sense than me. Maybe even professionals in the field. However, it just feels wrong to not have even a little representation at the world’s largest convention of it’s kind.

But Kitsch IS canon!