Today TrekMovie was invited down to Paramount Pictures to get the exclusive first (USA) look at the new trailer for the Star Trek movie. The ‘play by plays’ for this trailer have already been reported here (from the official UK press screening) and spy reports, and they are mostly accurate, so I will not go over that ground again. Instead, below you will find a personal and subjective view of this trailer and what I think it means to the franchise [Spoilers below].
When the invitation came to visit to the lot to see the trailer I expected I would be visiting the marketing or Bad Robot offices and watching it on a laptop or maybe even a TV (which would have been fine with me). Upon arrival I was instead ushered down to the giant Paramount theater, which actually was a bit embarrassing to have this whole place to myself and some folks from Paramount publicity along. Although I demurred that they didn’t have to go to the trouble, I am now glad they did. I sat down and cleared my mind of every spoiler I knew and tried to get that ‘open mind’ Trek’s new Supreme Court has been asking for — the lights dimmed, and then this thing hit me like a ton of bricks. From the now famous scene of Kid Kirk in his Vette to the final moment of Nero saying "The Wait is Over" the trailer is truly a ‘non-stop thrill ride’ and I am not afraid to say it was quite the emotional event for this life-long fan to see Trek like I have never seen it before. After watching the trailer for the first time I realized "this is big" — it is clear from the trailer that Paramount has never spent this kind of money on the final frontier before (even with TMP). This trailer is meant to be seen on the big screen, and even though it will be online in HD next Monday, it will not do it justice.
Big Kelvin battle tops off trailer
As I said, this trailer screams ‘big epic sci-fi action movie’ and in that sense it is like no Star Trek trailer before, and that sends the message this is like no Trek film before. From the opening moment showing you a young James T. Kirk tearing down that Iowa road, to seeing beautiful vistas of Planet Vulcan, to witnessing the Enterprise raised on scaffolds, to the required space battle scenes, to the bits of snappy dialog and interplay — you get a sense of reality you have never seen before in Trek. Director JJ Abrams has been talking about ‘making it real’ and avoiding falling into Galaxy Quest-like parody and it shows. This trailer reveals a world that is both recognizable as our own and as the world of Trek.
Bana’s Nero is real as a heart attack
In addition to this epic size and penchant for action and reality, as a Trek fan you cannot help but notice the differences. Why is Kirk driving a stick (when he shouldn’t know how). Why is Enterprise not exactly as it was? (inside and out). Why are Spock and Kirk at each other’s throats? Why is Uhura taking off her top? Why do these Romulans have tattoos? Who is Kirk jumping into bed with? (okay maybe that part isn’t different). These were certainly things that came to mind on my second or third run through, and for now I have no answers. It is quite possible there are no satisfying answers (however, I have been assured that there are canon answers for all). In looking at the reaction of many fans to recent reports and images, it is clear some view things through this prism of ‘what is different?’ and for some of them the Trailer will cause even more consternations. For me, that is the wrong way to look at it. While many things looked and felt strange, in those fleeting moments you see the characters, you immediately recognize them for who they are, especially Simon Pegg’s Scotty and Karl Urban’s Bones. This may look different in both detail and scale, but it still felt like Star Trek.
The crew feel right
Possible exceptions to this ‘feeling right’ are probably Kirk and Spock, but then again that might be the point. The message of this trailer is that this film is an origin story for Star Trek and the focus is on Kirk and Spock. If this trailer is like any before, it would be the trailer for Batman Begins. Like Bruce Wayne, both Kirk and Spock are shown at various life stages and, again like Bruce, each gets their own running voice-over narration from and elder providing guidance (Bruce Greenwood’s Pike for Kirk and Ben Cross’ Sarek for Spock). The viewer sees that the film is a journey for both of these characters who must struggle with their personal demons to become the men we know and love in the five year mission and beyond. And so we see both acting uncharacteristically in the trailer. The question remains how these arcs end, and do they become more recognizable as they finish their journeys. Apparently we will need to go see the film to answer that question.
These guys need a time out
So does this trailer settle all issues and ensure a fantastic Star Trek film? No, of course not. I can still foresee many possible roadblocks for either the mainstream audience or the installed base. But this trailer is still fun and thrilling and only makes me want to see and learn more (and I imagine the same will be true for those action movie Bond fans who see it this weekend). Bottom line is that this trailer will send the message loud and clear to fan and newbie alike — there is a new Star Trek in town, and it means business.
Some random notes for the detail oriented
- Kirk is seen briefly in gold shirt
- New transporter beam effect is very cool, with a more swirling organic feel
- At one point Spock is seen at what appears to be Vasquez Rocks (presumably Vulcan)
- No more leaning and falling out of chairs–at one point Kirk yells "buckle up"
- Music (which is big and bombastic) is not from the score which was only recently finished. (May be from the soundtrack to Children of Dune by Brian Tyler, but not confirmed)
The first theatrical trailer for JJ Abrams "Star Trek" premieres this Friday (Nov. 14) in front of “Quantum of Solace."
NOTE: If and when JJ Abrams brings his traveling road show back to LA to show off the four Star Trek scenes to us locals, TrekMovie will be there and write up impressions of that as well.