Media Critics and Focus Groups Weigh In On Star Trek Super Bowl Commercial

The Super Bowl is the biggest TV event of the year. Even though ratings dropped a bit from last year’s record, the game averaged around 93 million viewers, with more during the early parts of the game (when the Star Trek ad aired). Befitting the event, today there are a lot of media stories covering the Super Bowl commercials with critics and focus groups weighing in. See what they say about Trek’s first even SB spot below.


Critics weigh in
So far the response amongst media critics in both the mainstream and entertainment press) is mostly positive for the new Star Trek spot.

(ranked Trek #1 movie spot that ‘kicked ass’)
It’s still amazing to me just how much of the general public doesn’t know a new Star Trek movie is about to be released. There were a few people at the Super Bowl party I was attending who didn’t know until they saw the trailer for the first time during yesterday’s game. The approval was pretty much universal – the ad kicks serious ass.
Los Angeles Examiner

(ranks Trek as one of two "Movie We Most Want to See")
With only a few seconds to judge by, here’s the four-words-or-less early review of the “Star Trek” prequel: Spock, wow! Kirk, maybe.
Detroit Free Press

(ranks Trek as "Most fascinating peek at a flick")
"Kirk and Spock look pretty hot."
Seattle Post

"Star Trek" looks reeeeeally good. The trailer’s a little frantic, but I understand trying to sell as many money shots as possible to show that this is not a TV movie. Even the biggest of the prior theatrical films was always hampered by a near-TV budget, and as a result, "Star Trek" was never a must-see for anyone who wasn’t already a hardcore fan. By selling this as a new jumping-in point for audiences, and by emphasizing the sheer scale of the adventure, I think they’re getting across the message that this is "Star Trek" for everyone, not just for the devoted, and that should serve them well this summer.

(ranking Trek 3rd best movie commercial)
The new Star Trek movie trailer is creating a little bit of an uproar among some Star Trek purists that don’t like the new look. J.J. Abrams version of Star Trek is definitely not your daddy’s Star Trek. In fact, the Star Trek movie trailer looks more like a Star Wars movie than a Star Trek movie. That being said, I know I’m going to be in line at the theater the first day this movie comes out. While it might not be the Star Trek I’m used to, it looks like it could be a very entertaining version of Young Star Trek. Favorite line from the Star Trek trailer was “You can settle for an ordinary life. I dare you to do better.”

Paramount’s "Star Trek" and DreamWorks’ "Transformers" sequel provided the most impressive adrenaline rush…

The movie trailers were pretty good overall. Star Trek may have been the best, and I say this NOT being a trekkie. I just think J.J. Abrams has the golden touch, and the new trailer showed Karl Urban as Bones McCoy. Karl Urban=BAMF.
Daily Kansan

There were also a lot of ads for upcoming movies, most of which looked bad, although the new "Star Trek" and the Pixar film "Up" look promising. A "Monsters vs. Aliens" commercial in 3D was fun, assuming you brought a pair of old-school 3-D glasses to your Super Bowl party.
San Francisco Chronicle

(Rates Trek (out of 10) Entertainment: 8 Selling: 8 Overall: 8)
It is just a teaser, but it gives you enough of the flavor of the old show meets new technology in J.J. Abrams movie imagination of the beginnings of the original Star Trek Crew. Makes me want to see it.
Associated Content

"Star Trek" maintained it’s place on my ‘most anticipated’ list. Even with my high expectations for the movie, I still really liked the preview. Zachary Quinto (Sylar on "Heroes") looked fantastic as Spock.
Film Fodder

…was shocked to see that there was plenty of new and updated footage. The TV spot for Star Trek (shown during the Super Bowl) gives some new dialogue from JT Kirk, shows the introduction of Bones and Kirk, displays Sulu’s (John Cho) fighting skills, blurs through a bit more of that bar fight Kirk gets into, and then shows off some updated special effects. Oh yeah, and this time it looks like San Francisco comes under attack.

UPDATE: more positive comments

Absolutely cannot wait for Star Trek to be pretty, exciting, and sexy again.

Although shorter in length than the previous two minute trailer, the new Super Bowl 30-second trailer was still enough to whet our collective appetites for the new J.J. Abrams vision of Star Trek coming later this year.

A couple of critics were disappointed that most of the new footage in the ad was from the Fall press preview. (Of course those of us who saw the Fall previews weren’t really the target market for the Super Bowl spot.), and one Canadian just isn’t excited about this new take on Trek

(ranked Trek ‘Loser’)
The commercial cost you a reported $3 million. You have the eyes of an entire world of potential ticket-buyers upon you. And you give them … stuff they’ve already seen? Virtually every shot in the "Star Trek" ad had already been glimpsed in trailers, or described in detail by journalists who attended J.J. Abrams’ footage previews a few months back. It leaves movie fans with two possibilities to consider: Either Abrams is too paranoid about spoilers to give us anything else, or all the good stuff is already out.

There’s nothing particularly exciting or new about the 30 second promo trailer for the new Star Trek film that was broadcast in the midst of the Superbowl. And by that, we mean there’s nothing that we hadn’t really been seen before.

Interestingly, Paramount is continuing to sell this more as an action movie rather than the latest big screen Star Trek outing, and there are one or two short snippets we hadn’t seen before. But it didn’t get our pulse racing to anywhere near the degree that the full trailer did.
Den of Geek

A brief glance at the synopsis suggests that there is some fodder to work with here, but the Super Bowl trailer is disconcerting. It is clear that Abrams is not straying far from his action roots and is trying to push the franchise into a new, and likely final, frontier, i.e. the thrill-seeking masses. While the crux of Star Trek was generally philosophical in nature, this Trek looks populated with frat boys.
National Post (Canada)

Trek ranks in the middle on USA Today Ad Meter
Every year the USA Today holds  focus groups during the game who rate all of the commercials in real time. Commercials get rating on a 1-10 scale. The top commercial this year was from Doritos (rating 8.46 and the worst was from Vizio, rating 3.77). All of the movie ads landed in USA Today’s ‘the rest’ category, with Star Trek landing in the middle with 6.14. Here are all the movies (full chart at USA Today).

Movie rating
Year One  6.79
Land of the Lost    6.78
Up  6.74
Race to Witch Mountain    6.38
Star Trek  6.14
Angels and Demons  6.14
Transformers Revenge of Fallen    5.93
Fast & Furious  5.66


Star Trek at Hulu + voting going on now
Online video site Hulu has all the Super Bowl commercials online right now, including Star Trek. You can also vote for the best with the results coming out on Tuesday. Go to and vote for your favorite. 

Star Trek commercial at Apple in HD & for iPod has updated their Star Trek trailers page to include the ‘Big Game TV Spot’ where you can watch in in various sizes, including HD and iPod/iPhone sized.

The trailer is also available at the official site for the Star Trek movie, and embedded below. 

Shatner and Quinto in Super Bowl ads
The Star Trek ad was not the only Star Trek moment for Super Bowl ads. NBC ran a promos for Heroes, a couple of which including Zachary Quinto (Star Trek news Spock), in his role as Sylar.


Priceline as ran its recently released ad featuring William Shatner as ‘The Negotiator’



Trailer analysis
For more details see our  shot-by-shot analysis of the Star Trek Super Bowl commercial.

Thanks to Devon and Stamper for sending in links


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I don’t care about critics. i just want to see it already!!! first?

“Even the biggest of the prior theatrical films was always hampered by a near-TV budget,..”

Guess this guy didn’t know how much TMP cost. And that was 1979 dollars

I hope the movie is loved by non star trek fans and fans alike so we get more films!

another TV show or another 9 movies will make me happy!

let me tell you. I was hella drunk, mindblown, and i had my 3D glasses on. that star trek commercial was like a macintosh computer directly supplanted the midsection, a real chris pine kind of stool softener happening there.



Star Trek’s flagship needs to be more accessible to the zombie masses so we can get some content able to “spin off” in more theosophical directions as DS9 did.

I don’t care what anyone says. This got my blood pumping and I’m actually considering calling in sick to work on opening day. [cough, cough]… I feel a little something coming on now!

Quite positive on the whole.

This can only be a good thing methinks.

It amazes me that some actually think they were supposed to give us a philosophy lesson in a Super Bowl ad. I can’t think of how many Trek commercials could fall into this same boat!

BTW Anthony, it’s Devon.

THE big thing to really get this Trek absolutely bang on and different from the rest of the popcorn high energy thoughtless flicks – is get the action and high impact visuals in there – but still bring in a good measure of traditional Trek-at-its-best philosophical morals and thought provoking science at the same time. That’s hard work for the film makers, but will keep more of us satisfied and mean, for me, repeat cinema viewings and a vastly different experience.

#8 – That was supposed to be a :-P at the end of that! Didn’t mean for that to sound so serious haha. It didn’t bother me, I promise. :P

Thanks for giving a balanced perspective of several viewpoints and opinions.

Any time a Land of the Lost trailer ranks higher than Star Trek shows the franchise needs some serious work in being revived in the culture. Hope JJ pulls it off and the sequel is greenlighted and put on rush the opening weekend.

At least two of the negative reviews cited above miss the point of a Super Bowl buy: yeah, most of the footage has been seen before *by people who have seen it.*

Some tens of millions of people saw the new “Star Trek” for the very first time last night.

who in the heck are the jerky idiots that USA today used for their movie ratings system? Year One: looked especially stupid.

Angels and Demons, Star Trek and Transformers were the best previews of the night.

I noticed GI Joe isnt listed. Here’s hoping it scored a zero. It looked terrible.

Whether I like it or not, the movie will be a success in my book if a neice, nephew, or grandkid looks up at me after watching it and says “Grandpa, is there MORE Star Trek?”

“GI Joe” looks as if they’re rebooting “Megaforce.” I hope Barry Bostwick has a cameo.

is it May yet?

I was watching the Super Bowl knowing the commercial for the new Star Trek would come on any minute. The MOMENT it came on, I was like “Star Trek! Star Trek!”. Every one who was there got silent and actually watched the commercial with me. Being the only Star Trek fan there, I was proud to be a Trekker when, after the commercial aired, people started saying it was good and it looks like it will be a good movie and all.

Ok. Trek is Realy catching on Fire and this is gonna be great. Just about everyone I know is looking forward to it. I was at A Sports Bar for the Game and I heard a lot of People Gasp in Amazement at the New Trek. A Lot did not even know about and I of Corse told them More about it and there are at least 30 people that said they havt to go and see it Si I think the Add was Right On Target and it was a fantastic Add. great Job to the Supreme ct and the Marketing dept for a great Supper Bowl Add.

I had to watch the trailer a couple times online just to catch it all. I’m so excited and can’t wait for the film!

#19 is there some sort of secret code hidden in the seemingly random capitalized letters in your post?

its freaking me out, man!


MTV Blows. I don’t mean in a good way. Bunch of fraktards who don’t realize their network was built from music videos (which, back then were good), and since then have only gone downhill. All they know is how to put cr@p on TV. And not even good cr@p.

No wait…that’s an insult to cr@p.

Don’t get me started on G.I. Joe… if they don’t base it on the 12″ action figures with a scar on the cheek and the big dog tags, they’re just making a movie about little dolls. How about a movie about Land Adventurer? Even with fuzzy flocked hair and Kung-Fu Grip, he could kick the ass of a legion of the ’80s ersatz Joes.

A lot of folks still don’t know about the new movie. I know, cause I got a bunch of emails last night and today so far from friends and family who saw the trailer and know I’m a trek fan. So, probably was money well spent just for the buzz.

“Kirk and Spock look pretty hot.”

Pretty amusing but maybe it will help get more women in the seats!

Year One is Judd Apatow, so it will be popular and big. Unless you missed The 40 Year Old Virgin, Pineapple Express, Superbad or any of his other comedies – all major moneymakers.

Land of the Lost seems like a trickier proposition, but presumably they’ll market that to kids like Journey to the Center of the Earth. The original show wasn’t exactly amazing. Plus, Will Ferrell is suffering from Jim Carrey syndrome – he’s overplaying his schtick and people are getting tired of it.

Race to Witch Mountain? Hmmm. The Rock isn’t exactly a guaranteed draw, is he? It looks like he might be playing to his strengths here, so maybe it will be better than I think.

Up looks fantastic. Can’t wait!

#21. Remember. Im from the Terran Empire. Thats my job to freak you out. Or would you rather me put you in the Agoniser Booth for oh lets say. 6 hours. Ok. My typing sucks.Lol

So far the Movies I am looking forward to besides Trek of corse is Transformers and Termanator and Land of the Lost and Harry Potter and of corse Wolverine.there are others that look good but these are my top movies. Ill see Trek at least 8 Times as thats my Record for seeing any movie at the theater. Trek 2 has it right now.

I can’t wait until it comes to the theaters.
Shat’s Priceline spot was pretty funny too.

Shat’s commercial was just awesome…lol

The critics who say that this is just the same thing as the previous two trailers clearly haven’t taken the time to actually WATCH the previous two trailers. Half of this TV spot is brand new footage.

This ad prompted a very serious conversation between my wife and I at 1 AM yesterday. Upshot is we’re going to see this film, and like parts of it, based on what we’ve seen, and other parts we’re going to wish were more like TOS.

OK, so practically the entire contents of the conversation were one of us saying “Leonard McCoy” in our best Karl Urban impression. It was 1 AM!

I hope Paramount keep the momentum going. I am now seeing Transformers 2 ads on ESPN AND Myspace.

My theatre has movie posters for stuff going through to July but NO Trek. Not good.

You sober yet, hitch? ;-)

Transformers was better.

I was very pleased with the new ad. It provided just a little bit more than we’ve seen, but it was just enough :)

You know the critics who don’t like it have missed the point of the ad completley…..

ITS THE SUPERBOWL, NOT A MURDER MYSTERY! anyone who tunes in wants to see action, music and chearleaders dancing about not character devlopment or suspense, that will come latter. Probably a month before the films released.


My theatre has a Kirk poster, a Spock poster AND a regular Star Trek poster.

I know this puts me in the catogory of ‘hater’ (which I’m not) and ‘un-open minded’ (which is an overused if not inaccurate label) but I tend to agree more on the side of the critical reviews.

#37. Are you A Herbert. Just Checking.


I’m not Herbert. I’ll let you know when it starts to chime. Soonest, like he said. I’m tryin’ to cooperate, like they ask. But so far I a’int reaching Great White Captain. Do you think he’d shake on a session? When that happens then I’ll spread the word.

#2 you really can not go by TMPs budget as to how much it really cost. It was a lot, yes, but no where NEAR the money thats quoted.

The problem is they wrapped all the failed Phase II costs into the cost of TMP, and little was used from Phase II to TMP. Pretty much the only thing was sickbay and the bridge, not even the model they had almost completed building for the Enterprise made its way to Phase II. The Refit Enterprise was a completely new model from the Phase II one.

I’m encouraged that so many mainstream critics seemed to like the trailer.

The downside to all this is that now there are also those who say that all the good parts of the movie are in the trailer (e.g., in the MTV blurb). Ironically for the MTV critic, it’s their eponymous network that has often been blamed for the shortening of American attention spans. Doth MTV protest too much? Methinks it does.

There will always be critics who are critical. I suppose that’s how they got their name.


i cant take it anymore! Just show me the frakking movie already!


#39. You reach me man you reach me. Yeah Brother. I can Understand being criticle and thats ok. I have been a little criticle as well. But I think this will be a fantastic movie based on everything im seeing. For all of those who don’t dig me then you are all Herberts. yeah brother.

It’s a given that Land of the Lost will not get the pseudo-serious treatment of the original kiddie show, and I’m both in terror and am intrigued by this. I can be played as one hell of a comedy if done right (stress those three magic words!!)

As for the Trek trailer: It caught me off guard- but still, I shall be watching for upcoming teasers with a positive attitude.

It’s Star Trek. Like pizza. I want it.


Don’t get me wrong. I want it to do well. I’m glad many took notice and are excited. I’m more a critical thinker and don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s like the Spider-Man movies. I was very pleased they did well. It wasn’t the version I wanted to see but I was pleased at it’s success. Again, I’m from Missouri on this one. Show me.

If all the good stuff is on the trailer they have only about one minute’s worth of great effects. I ain’t buying it.

I’m just glad they’re helping take Trek out of the geeks’ hands and getting it into the mainstream. I’m tired of all the separation of classes and distinctions of types of people, and JJ & Crew are thankfully blurring the lines for the betterment of the franchise.

#45. I agree with you. it won’t be what i want to see. But it will be something that I hope blows me away. As long as the movie is A box office smash and rakes in the Money so we can have more trek then ill be happy.

I don’t get the down play of GI Joe movie. I was thoroughly delighted to see the commercial. Of all the movies coming forth, I only see 3 movies worth my time: Star Trek, Transformers 2 and GI Joe.

As for comments on GI JOE:
#14; Sorry… but giving this movie a zero? Tells me you have bad taste and we’ll never agree.
#16; GI Joe as Megaforce? What have you been watching? Obviously your wires are being crossed or you’ve been watching the wrong movies.
#22; GI Joe based on 12″ action figures? What’s up with that? You may have a point but if you’re talking about a movie like Thunderbirds…. Yuk!

As for Transformers 2: Looked neat, but went way to fast.

Maybe I missed it but was Terminator Salvation in there?

For Star Trek: I don’t want to keep getting new views of Trek before it’s released. Though spoilers don’t bother me, I still would like to wait and see. Trek will come and when it does, I’ll be there.