Shatner: JJ Abrams Gave Audience What Early Star Trek Movies Couldn’t + UPDATE: Also Jokes Abrams is ‘Pig’ For Taking Star Wars Too

On Friday William Shatner’s voice will be heard in the animated feature Escape From Planet Earth. While doing publicity for the movie, Bill again weighed in on the new Star Trek, this time heaping praise on director JJ Abrams and the new Kirk, Chris Pine. More details (and video) below.   [UPDATE: Another video interview added with Shatner joking Abrams is a ‘pig’]



Shatner Talks JJ Trek Tech & Pine’s Blue Eyes

During the Escape from Planet Earth press junket Bill spoke to to Clevver Movies about JJ Abrams taking on Star Wars (Bill noted "how much money he making!?”). Bill also answered a question on what he thought of JJ Abrams take on Star Trek, saying:

He’s a wonderful director. He’s discovered the way of giving the audience a ride in Star Trek which is what the early Star Trek movies didn’t have–we didn’t have the technology and the people–even the primitive technology of doing that. But now that the computers have taken over in epic films, he knows how to do that. So he is on the right level.

Shatner also opined on Chris Pine’s portrayal of Kirk, saying:

He’s wonderful. He is a wonderful young man and wonderful actor. Great blue eyes…he’s got the star thing. It’s the blue eyes.


Shatner plays General Shanker, head of Area 51 and the bad guy in Escape from Planet Earth. Here is a trailer for the movie.

UPDATE: Shatner jokes Abrams is ‘pig’ for taking on Star Wars and Star Trek

From the same exact junket, Shatner took a tongue-in-cheek dig at Abrams.  Here is what Shatner had to say to MovieFanatic about JJ Abrams taking on Star Wars in addition to Star Trek…

He’s being a a pig. He is collecting the two franchises and holding them close to his vest. He is probably the most talented director of that ilk we have. But he’s gone too far this time. I think of him as a buddy of mine. I have taken him out for sushi. I think it is time for JJ and I to have another sushi and let me put him straight about two of the largest franchises and not employing me in either one of them is just foolhardy.

Watch the video below:

Soon after this video hit the web, Shatner followed up with a tweet making light of it and again offering sushi to Abrams:


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Very Classy Bill!
Thanks for all your years of entertaining

cool,nice words for shatner,still if the patern hold he will now bitch and the new film or ask why he is not in it

He sure keeps himself busy.

Finally, it seems like he’s ready to move on and make peace with not being “the man” in Star Trek anymore. I am close to to respecting him again. If this good behavior from him continues, I will once again come to love the guy…all will be forgiven.

he does indeed. We hosted the premiere for Escape from Planet Earth 3D at the Chinese6 last saturday. Its a pretty good animated film.
I enjoyed his role as well. He is definately one of the hardest working people in the biz.

Wish I could attend his charity horse show again this year, but have an event at work preventing it.

Love the Shat! And he’s right,love Chris’ blue eyes! :)

Oh yes the awesome blue eyes, even with glasses… CP is gorgeous with those glasses, definitely!!!

Mr. Shatner always rocks! MBB ;-) :-)

Two Kirks – a win-win scenario!

Good for Shatner! Now if only he and George Takei could make peace w/ each other. :(

Shat seems a little bi-polar about Trek. Embracing it one minute, bewildered about it the next. Hopefully he’s at peace that the ship has sailed…..

His praise of JJ is somewhat of a backhanded compliment, that the new movie gave fans “a ride” – as opposed to the thoughtful, meaningful, symbolic, groundbreaking Trek he did. I guess that’s the best we’ll get out of him on that. I’m glad he’s found something he can say that’s diplomatic in a situation where he clearly felt slighted.

On the other hand, I love that he’s so nice about Chris Pine. You can also see this in The Captains. He truly respects Pine and vice versa. Pine deserves it to, IMO he’s the best thing about the reboot, him and Urban.

11. “His praise of JJ is somewhat of a backhanded compliment, that the new movie gave fans “a ride” – as opposed to the thoughtful, meaningful, symbolic, groundbreaking Trek he did”


I remember when TREK 5 came out and all you heard was the theaters
Why Are They Putting Seatbelts In Theaters This Summer???? I believe he was implying it was going to be a ride…I rather think it would keep people from walking out half way through the movie!… I was watching SHAT on Twilight Zone episode Nick of Time…he was so awesome and looked so good playing the paranoid supersticious DonCarter shoving pennies on the fortune telling machine “mystic seer”…classic!… Also watched his comedy roast on youtube and wow he has done some crazy stuff as well as classics!….Rocketman???!!!

#11 :
“His praise of JJ is somewhat of a backhanded compliment, that the new movie gave fans “a ride” – as opposed to the thoughtful, meaningful, symbolic, groundbreaking Trek he did. I guess that’s the best we’ll get out of him on that.”
That is correct. Shatner has Abrams’ Star Trek spot on, and always has. It’s the best we’ll get out of him because it is the best statement that can possibly be made. Shatner has it spot on. Abrams’ Trek is Star Wars (not Trek) at its best- an exciting ride, but not particularly thoughtful or meaningful.

Maybe JJ will give Shatner role in the new Star Wars film.


I gotta disagree with you. “Star Trek” 09 I thought was meaningful, and very thoughtful. Kirk’s birth, and the meeting between him and Spock Prime best exemplify this.

Shatner may have offered a somewhat positive review, but I still get the sense he’s a little bitter towards J.J Abrams.

Shatner has not bitched about not appearing in the new Trek movie but that doesn’t stop dim wits thinking that he has.

If he gets asked questions by the media re Trek he has to respond or appear rude. And given who he is he will be constantly asked for his opinion on Trek.

The fool brigade interprete that to mean he can’t stop talking about Trek himself.

” Abrams’ Trek is Star Wars (not Trek) at its best- an exciting ride, but not particularly thoughtful or meaningful.”

No matter what you say, no matter how hard you say it, no matter with what insults you put it in it, it is a Star Trek film. You are absolutely powerless to declare otherwise. Sorry kid.

Can’t remember much that was markedly more thoughtful or cerebral about “First Contact.”

JJ’s Trek is epic, that’s something the first 10 really couldn’t be. It’s the tradeoff, though. We lose what made them feel really like “Trek” but the franchise lives on and gets a wider audience.

I think the new Trek movies do feel “Trekky”, just in a more modern fashion. There is a more epic feel to them, and much more visual and visceral.

For the most part, the first ten movies were talky, slower paced, somewhat cheesy at times, and were operating on a small budget with little in the way of ground-breaking effects (aside from the Genesis Project video). And most of those movies are dated.

@21. Agreed, but the funny thing is that TMP itself holds up the best over time. It seems the least dated, yet is the oldest movie.

And I do enjoy watching the previous movies, especially TWOK, TSFS, and FC.

Its just that kind of filmmaking wouldn’t cut it today. As much as like Nick Meyer, he would be out of place directing a Trek movie after what J.J Abrams has managed to pull off. I believe even he admitted that today’s CGI would be beyond his grasp.

Meyer is a terrific writer, and I wouldn’t have a problem at all with him coming back as such, but not as a director.

He’s old school, and Abrams is new school. Nothing wrong with that, its just the way it is. “Star Trek” needs new school directing, and Abrams provides that in spades, just like how Christopher Nolan provided that with his “Dark Knight” trilogy.


Except for those “pyjama-style” uniforms. The visual effects do hold up reasonably well, too. Some terrific model work, and shots of the newly re-fit Enterprise. The story is still a bit too slow for my tastes, but the movie remains enjoyable to watch.

I’m bored to death with Shatner’s back and forth pronouncements.

Yea, the story is still a bit boring, but the look is what I was referring to. It looks and feels more futuristic than the latter Trek movies, which seems odd when you think about it.

Shatner, in his old age, and with millions in the bank, has finally decided to be generous with his praise.

The man can still act.

You almost believe that he cares about another human being.

Well, what do you know, if you wait long enough, you WILL actually see pigs fly!

I’m skeptical that Shatner has even seen the 2009 Star Trek film. He’s playing nice in my opinion.

#11- “with little in the way of ground-breaking effects (aside from the Genesis Project video). And most of those movies are dated.”
I always find it kind of amusing when people refer to current movies as “modern” and older movies as “dated,” and they point out how current movies have better special effects. Of course older movies are dated.
As time advances, EVERY movie that is now “current” will become “dated” and the effects will become much poorer. It has always been that way and always will be that way. In twenty years, Abram’s Star Trek will be “dated” and the effects will seem primitive. This is a function of all technology. The Iphone 5 will be laughable, for example.
But this really doesn’t prove anything. Star Trek (until Abrams) was always about ideas, about commenting on the human condition, about philosophy (and I don’t think that Kirk’s birth and the two Spocks were particularly rich in thought. They were moving personal stories, yes, but they were no larger comment on the human condition or society). The deeper part of Star Trek, the philosophy of the human condition, istimeless and will outlive special effects technological advancements. These are the things that last. But they can’t last in a movie like Abrams’, which is about being current with special effects and little else. Shatner was right. He said Abrams made Trek fun, but Shatner also hoped that in the future Abrams will discover that there is a great story in Star Trek to be told.

when u guys mentioned the captains doc n chris pine with shat…remember the macho attempt at arm wrestling? that was soo funny…..also shat seemed a little uneasy meeting capt dave in the wheelchair backstage but dave was happy..sad to hear of his passing after shat met him again in the get a life doc that makes a good pairing with rod roddenberries great titled trek nation…

Shat’s wonderful. He is a wonderful old man and wonderful jester. Great jowls…he’s got the clown thing going. It’s those huge jowls.

I think JJ Abrams does deliver what a mainstream audience expects in a movie. he made a good film but it was more an adrenaline event movie, than a Trek movie.

I agree with some opinions of producers like Burnett, I think 40 years of knowledge was thrown out the window to give the audience a cool visual image. I mean before the film hit we all knew the Enterprise was built in space at the San Franscisco Fleet yards but in the last movie they made it be buiilt on Earth soley for that one shot of Kirk riding his motorcycle up to it to symbolise his future.

Now if Abrams gave back a bit of the thought provoking SF side of Star Trek rather than al action, bang, bang then we would have an even stronger Trek film that evoked the Trek spirit.

What Abrams has done is to give Trek a new audience and to keep it alive, as a result we are getting TNG on blu ray looking better than ever.


Oh with JJ Abrams crap decison for an engine room, the new movie will date even faster.

@32 You and I don’t change much, Captain Neill. We disagree on a lot of things, but we are consistent and true to our beliefs over time and don’t let the pressures of others move up from our positions one iota.

Yes, I am complementing you.

“move us”


Keep telling yourself that.

It’s not like the young hero wants to grow up and be just like the father he never met, it’s not like any planets get blown up by a superweapon – I also can’t remember any scenes where he meets the wise old shaman from the old days in the wilderness, only to part company with the wise guy when he says “sorry, can’t come with you – it’s not my destiny” –

Did you watch the same movie as everyone else?

As Shatner was making this statement the JJ robot Sentinels just off-camera nodded their approval. All hail JJ, all hail JJ ruler of all that is SciFi. Hey a man’s gotta eat to maintain that sexy waisteline.

Yea, I hate to be penalised just because I don’t like Abrams film as the best ever Star Trek film.

He has done it in a way that people who don’t care about Trek are talking now with great excitement and that is great. Rumour mill is going to overload and this is the kind of publicity I have always wanted Star Trek to have.

In the end I am happy for the attention and fun Abrams has given Trek, just want it to continue being Trek and not just Trek in name only.

Either I will be there on opening day and also I wish the message boards on this group were more civil. I find myself preferring trekcore these days.

I may have not been th ebest TREK, but everybody is talking about it and at least that keeps its alive for the future. It ain’t your grandfather’s STAR TREK!….We will all complain and moan, and I very was saying some of these things in 08-09, but in the end just hearing the names Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, on the big screen, brought a tear to me eye….Wherever TREK is going, I’m on for the “ride”. Let’s just see where it takes us………..

It’d be kind of neat if Abrams cast Shatner… in Star Wars.


If I come out of Into Darkness and say great film, that is a Star Trek film. I will be extremely happy and proud to say it.

I am not as big a fan of Abrams version but as a movie it is fun. I have high hopes for the next one as I have heard he has addressed the issues I had problems with.

Yawn! Here come the whingers! It’s a remake, folks! Deal with it! Maybe it’s years of talky Berman Treks confusing some people, but while the original Star Trek had plenty of ideas, many of them were designed, ultimately, to get Kirk into a fistfight with a baddie and get him a snog with the soft-focus female guest star of the week!

The Trek snobs, as usual, think Star Trek is more important than any other franchise, when in fact it isn’t: it’s the same, but a portion of Trek fans suffer from ‘fan entitlement/nerd rage’ disorder. Star Trek’s important to the Trek snobs, but most of them have swallowed the Cult of Roddenberry nonsense that it’s anything deeper than a fun action adventure series with a dash of romance and philosophy thrown in.

The reason the older Trek movies had more jaw and less war? Budgets. If Star Trek: Generations had had an ST09 budget, you can guarantee there would have been a lot less of a grown adult captain blubbing in his quarters and a lot more action!

Abrams’ Trek is essentially the original Star Trek series on steroids. If you imagine it as a chart, the original series with its six movies and the cartoon series sit in the middle. In one direction spinning off from it you have the Berman/older Roddenberry Treks: TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT and in the other we have JJ Trek. As a new version of the original Star Trek JJ’s version is terrific. The Berman Treks are their own entity and, stripped of their usage of the Trek name and Trek terminology reveal little of Star Trek in them; they’re merely a new, completely different scifi series Roddenberry sold by using the Star Trek name.

So JJ hasn’t thrown out ’40 years of Star Trek:’ he’s made a new film series based on the 79 episodes of the original show and their companion pieces, the six films and 22 cartoons. Forget the other live action shows and you’ll see ST09 shows itself to be utterly faithful to the feel of the original show.

We’ll said Dom. These JJ haters must have never laid eyes on TOS. lol Star Trek 2009 doesn’t resemble the talky-pretentious TNG or it’s spinoffs in the least. Thank God. But as far as delivering the rip-roaring, fun, action-adventure sci-fi feeling of Star Trek…in this case, “Star Trek” being THE “Star Trek”…you know, the one that started it all…it delivered in spades.

The haters just aren’t accustomed to all that excitement…I suggest they trade in their Hatorade for a hot cup of Earl Grey and settle in with a comfortable TNG episode centering on Worf and Alexander, or perhaps the trials of O’brien, his wife and little Molly.

To be honest I am warming to Abrams vision more than I did 4 years ago.

Yes JJ Abrams captures the spirit of TOS but at the same time TNG and DS9 delivered great SF. And I hate these shows being sullied because they are considered dull and pretentious just because Abrams comes with a shiny toy

Alright I will never like Abrams take as much but I am still looking forward to into darkness but I am also a fan of all the shows and I hate the TNG hate on this group.

At least the boards on trekcore are more civil.

And for the record I am not a hater, I just am not a fan of some of Abrams creative decisions. ANd I wont let my gripes with changes affect my opinion on the new film. But I do love what came before and that will never change.

And for the record I love TOS.

#42. Dom
Haha! ” ‘fan entitlement/nerd rage’ disorder” now added to my lexicon. TY!

36 – It’s not that JJ’s Trek is star wars or not. All of the story points you mentioned are basic tropes of story telling…

The son following/not following in the footsteps of his lost/estranged father… (I’m not the man I should be…)

– Michael Corleone in The Godfather…not wanting to follow his Father.
– Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams…estranged from his father.

The threatened home… (But my home/way of life is under attack…)

– The Godfather…the family is under attack and crumbling. Michael must step up and fulfill a destiny he didn’t want.
– Field of Dreams…the farm is under attack. Kevin Costner must act to save his way of life.

The wise man, who opens the protagonist’s eyes, but leaves in order for the protagonist to stand on his own… (And here is someone who can show me how to be the man I want to be, but eventually I will have to be a man on my own terms without his support…)

– The Godfather…Michael follows the Don’s wisdom but the Don dies (sorry, SPOILER) leaving Michael to defend the family on his own.
– Field of Dreams…Costner has three wise men – Ray Liotta, James Earl Jones and Burt Lancaster who help show him the way, but all of whom leave him at the end to stand on his own…

I must reconcile my feelings about my father and be at peace with myself…

– The Godfather…Michael steps into the role of Don, and becomes a powerful man.
– Field of Dreams…Kevin Costner and his father (sorry SPOILER) are reunited through their love of the game and Kevin saving his family farm and the baseball field.

Don’t fault JJ for using those ideas (nor George Lucas). If you do, you condem story telling, and probably hundreds of movies and books – the examples I gave are only two of many.

And by the way, I realize that you could quibble with my examples – yes, Michael Corleone is an anti-hero. Yes, Kevin Costner is pushed around by forces unknown to him. But in a general sense, all of those tropes are well known, well used in story telling.

I think that for their time, the original Trek movies were big, action packed spectacles. They certainly weren’t cheap movies to make and in real terms, TMP is still the film that made the most money (not profit – but in terms of ticket sales). I loved the new movie by JJ Abrams, although I concede that the asthetic was different to the previous films.

I am reviewing all the old Trek movies in the buildup to the release of Star Trek Into Darkness and have just finished my review for Star Trek IV:

Oh – and apologies to Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones and Burt Lancaster for not remembering their character’s names in Field of Dreams. Of course, I’m reasonably sure that they are not reading this site. Burt Lancaster for sure.

I vote for “Darth Shatner” in the upcoming SW films. Do not underestimate the Shat side of the force.