“That was another lifetime!” — Josh is blown away by the new Star Trek trailer!
So, showing in front of Watchmen in many theatres across America right now is a new trailer for J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Trek movie.
You can also check it out in glorious Quicktime here.
You can never be certain, from a trailer, just how good the actual movie will be. (Remember that stunningly awesome first trailer for Star Wars: Episode I?) But HOLY COW that trailer was awesome!!
I have actually been quite impressed with every trailer for J.J.’s new Trek film that I have seen so far, even that short teaser with Leonard Nimoy’s voice-over that was attached to the release of Cloverfield way back in January, 2008. Even so, while I have been very, very excited by the prospect of a new Trek movie on the horizon — particularly one masterminded by as high-quality a talent as J.J. Abrams, and with the backing of such a substantial budget from Paramount — I have remained quite dubious about the project.
First of all, I find prequels to be, for the most part, pretty dumb. I’d rather see the Trek story moving FORWARD. (Maybe it’s time to jump the story ahead by another 100 years or so past the time-span of Next Generation/Deep Space Nine/Voyager. I’ve always sort of thought of Star Trek as being like Asimov’s Foundation novels, which spanned thousands of years. I wouldn’t mind if every decade of so the folks behind Star Trek put aside everything that had come before and moved the story even further into the future, thus creating new characters, conflicts, and situations for new movies or TV shows. But anyways…)
So, OK, I don’t really like prequels. But, if you’re going to do a prequel, it seems to me that you are obligated to be faithful to the already-established continuity. And, to put it mildly, from what I have seen the makers of this new Trek film are doing no such thing. The glimpses we’ve gotten of the bridge of the Enterprise look nothing like the classic bridge design — as many on-line commentators have remarked, it looks more like an apple store! I have already whined in-depth about the re-design of the Enterprise exterior. And where is Kirk’s best-friend Gary Mitchell? The Enterprise was constructed on Earth? Did the entire Enterprise command crew all go to the academy together? Ridiculous. I could go on.
How friggin’ cool was that trailer??? Spectacular. There is some phenomenally gorgeous imagery in the trailer (the shots of Vulcan, of Starfleet Academy, and of course all of the fast-paced starship combat). The new actors continue to impress me with the way they look, feel and sound remarkably like the classic cast yet are avoiding falling into mimicry. (The shot of Kirk sitting in the command chair for the first time is intended to be one of the “money” shots of the trailer, but my favorite Kirk moment is when he wags his finger at Uhura as he walks through what looks like some sort of shuttle towards the end of the trailer. That little moment has all the classic Kirk confidence and swagger, without being arrogant or annoying.) Most importantly, there is emotional weight. I loved the moment when Captain Pike describes to young James Kirk the death of his father, George, and issues his challenge: “Your father was captain of a starship for twelve minutes. He saved 800 lives. Including yours. I dare you to do better.”
But my favorite moment, the one that sent a shiver up my spine and made me think, holy shit, this movie just might actually be good, is towards the very end of the trailer. We hear an off-camera voice — which I am pretty certain is Leonard Nimoy — say, “James T. Kirk was a great man,” to which Eric Bana’s villainous Nero responds “That was another life!” It’s a chilling moment, and one that I think sheds a lot of light on the film-makers’ intentions with this film — why they’re claiming that the film is totally in-continuity when much of what we’ve seen seems to indicate that this is not anything like the familiar past of the Trek universe. It’s curious that they are still choosing not to show Leonard Nimoy as old Spock in any of the trailers, since Nimoy’s participation in the film was one of the first bits of official casting that was announced by Paramount, two years ago! I have tried my best to avoid major spoilers for this movie, and I will not post any here. But when you consider that Nimoy as old Spock is definitely in the film, it is not a great leap to imagine a time-travel storyline that results in a changed time-line, which would allow the film-makers to go off in their own direction with this film (and, hopefully, lots of sequels) without having to worry about hewing to 30 years of established continuity. It’s a bold plan, and if done right will please both the purists (who don’t want to see all of the established Trek continuity just ignored) as well as those who couldn’t care less about references in 30 year-old Trek episodes but who just want to see some great new stories. Of course, if done poorly, then it will piss off EVERYONE, so we’ll see!
I, for one, don’t think it’s too much to ask that the film-makers behind this new Trek film give us BOTH! I want to see a great new adventure that also fits into established continuity. I guess we’ll find out in May just what J.J. and the gang have created for us. For now, this bold, exciting new trailer gives me great hope that, for the first time in far too long (over a decade!!) we’ll soon be seeing a really awesome new Star Trek movie on the big screen. I hope so! I can’t wait!