JJ Abrams has finally brought his world tour previewing the Star Trek movie to the US of A. On Tuesday he stopped in New York City and showed the same set of clips he showed in Europe to local press and film industry folks. TrekMovie has a first hand report along with links to additional media reports. [SPOILERS ahead]
JJ In The Big Apple
by Vincent Gregg
JJ Abrams came to New York Monday night to hold his Star Trek preview at the AMC LOEWS on 34th Street. Like with the European stops, there were six to eight plasma displays with posters in the lobby, but unfortunately there were no Trek-themed cupcakes. The audience was packed and very receptive to the clips. The largest applause was after the Older Spock Clip. JJ was brief and repeated much of what’s already been covered here at TrekMovie.com.
JJ opened saying he wasn’t a Trek fan when he was young and said that he was drawn to the fact that that Star Trek is "our future" as opposed to Star Wars is "long time ago in a galaxy far away." But he also noted that he originally thought he would just produce the film and didn’t think directing it would "fit into his body of work" However he was "sold" after reading Orci and Kurtzman’s script and being encouraged by his wife, so he decided to direct it. And now he calls himself a "huge" Trek fan, mostly due to the characters
Regarding the villain Nero played by Eric Bana, Abrams retold a story about showing the movie to a director friend and the director wanted to know who played Nero because he didn’t recognize him. JJ said it was Eric Bana. The other director said, "NO WAY, THAT’S BANA!" He said that Bana doesn’t play the typical sci fi bad guy and brings a special realism to Nero.
He also echoed how unbelievable it was to work with Leonard Nimoy and that one day he wanted to give some "notes" to Nimoy on a certain scene. Then he started to realize, how can he give notes on how to play Spock to Leonard Nimoy. But Nimoy wanted JJ to be open with him and give him notes and feedback. JJ kept emphasizing how great it was to work with him.
Closing remarks were brief. Loud applause. Event was over. Wasn’t longer that 40 minutes total.
Scene with Spock, Kirk and Scotty rife with Trek homages
As for the clips, it has all been reported before, but there is some interesting Trek-angles on the scene with Kirk and elder Spock meeting Scotty. Older Spock gives Scotty his formula on Trans Warp Beaming. After seeing the formula, Scotty says "of course, it never occurred to me that it was actually space that was moving". It was noted that he could be breaking some rule giving Scotty a formula from the future and the scene was reminiscent of when Scotty gave the formula for transparent aluminum to someone from the past in Star Trek IV. The ‘Trans Warp’ beaming is necessary to get Kirk back to the Enterprise after Spock sends him to the Ice Planet. Also Young Kirk asks older Spock why he cant come back with him. Spock says its not his destiny. Spock tells "Jim" that he can never tell his younger self about their meeting. Spock advises Kirk to relieve young Spock of his duties as Captain by emotionally compromising him (like in "This Side of Paradise") then using regulation 619 (like Decker in “Doomsday Machine”) to relieve him as being unfit for duty. Spock assures Kirk (knowing how he is feeling as younger man) that this will work. As Kirk is ready to beam back to the Enterprise, he reminds Spock that going back in time to change history is cheating. Old Spock says, yes, I learned it from an old friend. Tells Kirk to Live long and prosper." All in all, it is an amazing sequence.
Also the scene on the drill includes a moment when Spock calls for the chief medical officer. McCoy answers to tell Spock that the chief medical officer is dead on deck 6. Spock matter-of-factly tells McCoy that he is now the chief medical officer. An overwhelmed McCoy sarcastically tells Spock, "Yea, tell me something I don’t know". This was a beautiful classic McCoy / Spock banter moment.
Quick thoughts as Trek fan for over 30 years is:
- Karl Urban is McCoy. Dead on. Steals the show!! De Kelley would really be proud.
- Anton Yelchin plays a better Chekov (as an actor) than Walter Koenig. He is the same Chekov. The accent is perfect and so is his dialogue. Just well done!
- Chris Pine is Kirk. He holds the screen. He is not Shatner, but he is a leader and you see him grow as a man in these 4 clips alone.
- Bruce Greenwood is the new Pike. Plain and simple. What an actor. I know his performance would make Gene Roddenberry proud.
- Quinto is Spock. Didn’t see enough of him in these clips to really make a determination. I liked what I saw though.
- Zoe and John Cho are fine as their characters. Uhura is a tough woman but didn’t get much from their performance other than that
- I found Simon Pegg to be slightly disappointing in his take on Scotty, but again, not enough to make a real judgment call. He has Scotty’s spirit but delivers him in a different way. Might take some getting used to.
- Finally, the Enterprise is awesome. The exterior looks nothing like that still shot Paramount released. Fans need to relax.
JJ ruffles some feathers?
Friend-of-the-site, and fellow Trekkie, Jordan Hoffman of UGO was also at the event (see his full report). While impressed with the footage, he took some umbrage at Abrams ‘I’m not a fan’ routine. From Jordan’s report:
J.J. Abrams struts up like the smartest kid in Hebrew school. The first thing out of his mouth – the very motherloving first thing out of his mouth – is “I’ve never been a fan of Star Trek.”
WTF?!??! Not only is this insulting and lame, it is rehearsed. He’s said this in interviews fifteen times already. Maybe he thinks it is cute, but I just find it rude.
Jordan’s point about being ‘rehearsed’ is well made. JJ just came off his Euro tour and he has been repeating the "I was not a fan" line everywhere he went. In Europe, especially where Trek has not played well, this is actually a smart move in order to bond with the crowd and send the message this is not the Trek they thought of, but a new thing. To put this in Trek perspective, JJ is acting like Riker in "A Matter of Honor" when he is acting like a Klingon to get respect when aboard the Klingon ship. However, here in the States he is far more likely to have true-believers in his audiences and he should maybe pull back on the ‘not a fan’ thing.
More media reports
The event in NYC has been reported on by a multitude of other organizations. Here are links to the reports [NOTE: contain the same spoilers as the reports from Europe]:
More TrekMovie Abrams Tour coverage
TrekMovie has been following Abrams around the globe, and we have provided first hand reports from each of his stops (except Rome, and we are still working on that one). See below for each city report: