Well, I'm sold.
I was mad at Star Trek earlier this year for not having a real presence at Comic Con. Because that's how I roll. But I can't deny the truth that JJ just knocked my socks off.
There was a screening tonight on the west side of NYC of four scenes from the new Trek film with JJ Abrams on hand to talk a little about the film and present each scene.
Things got started with the President of Paramount Film Group, John Lesher. He introduced the trailer, which you can check out below.
Then he introduced JJ.
After joking around for a second with Lescher, JJ came right out and said it - "I've never been a fan of Star Trek"
Someone in the back booed (but a good natured boo) to which JJ responded that he knows, he just never quite got it and that's the truth. He had a friend in elementary school who tried to pull him in, but it didn't work. He always felt like he wasn't really Kirk, but he wasn't really Spock either - that he was just an observer who couldn't relate to these characters.
But when the studio asked him to produce a new Star Trek film, he found himself saying yes, albeit without really knowing why - he didn't even know there were numerous Trek films already made, but he said yes nonetheless.
He got together with his usual suspects including Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman, Robert Orci, a huge Trekker, and Bryan Burk, who had never seen a piece of Trek in his life. Together, they came up with a story they all loved.
When JJ read the script by Orci & Kurtzman, he saw in it the reason he got into making movies in the first place and was jealous of whoever got to direct it. Naturally one thing led to another and JJ says that now, thanks to this experience, he does consider himself a Trekker. He was excited to make a Trek that felt real, legitimate, & relatable, grounded in the reality of our world, and that the amazing cast really pulls it off. Then the scenes began.
In the first clip, we meet Kirk at a futuristic bar (with Slusho mix for sale and menus containing moving pictures!) hitting on Uhura with a terribly ugly alien sitting in between them at the bar, just chilling out. Their flirting is adorable and the chemistry great. And right off the bat, the vibe seems perfect. Futuristic, but still slightly mod. An awesome bar fight ensues with a cadet who is a little too protective over Uhura, then a bloodied up Kirk meets Bruce Greenwood's Pike in a sweet scene that ended up giving me goosebumps at the end. Needless to say, by the end of their conversation Kirk has a new direction in life and already JJ is spot on with combining our real world with the Trek universe.
The next scene involves Bones sneaking Kirk onto the Enterprise. Again, great scene. Here we begin to see Kirk transform from troubled, semi-bumbling youth into what he eventually becomes. Can't wait to see this progression fully played out. Here we got to meet Chekov & Spock. Even though I don't really know what they were like on the original show, they seemed great to me. The interior of the ship looks beyond cool, Eric Bana is unrecognizable and Megan from Felicity is part of the crew! Again, I got goosebumps, but this time from a very cool and sudden reveal of sorts. This is about the point when I remembered how awesome JJ is and I should never have doubted him in the first place.
The next scene featured Old Spock, Kirk & Scotty. Before we watched, JJ stressed how great Leonard Nimoy was to work with. On to the scene - Spock travels back in time for one reason or another and here we meet Scotty, who is funny and delightful and makes me smile cause it's Simon Pegg and he does no wrong in my book. There are some very cool moments here that I won't give away, but I will say they deal with the time travel well and I don't think fans will be disappointed.
Before showing us the final scene, JJ comments on how good Eric Bana is in the film, managing to be both relatable and scary. He also lets us know that this next scene features a red shirt and if we know what that means, we "know what we're about to see."
And sure enough we do! A badass action sequence follows, complete with superfluous Red Shirt meeting his maker in what seems like a pretty horrific way to go out, and Sulu busting out some expert fencing. The action is suspenseful, well edited and fun.
Overall, I think this movie is going to rock. The music is perfect, the aliens look great, the tone seems just right. It seems to me, it DOES still feel like Star Trek. This is coming from the perspective of someone who was never really a Trek fan, so make of my opinion what you will, but I will be there opening weekend. And now I leave you with a couple lines I quite enjoyed for reasons humorous and sentimental.
"The complexities of human pranks escape me" - Spock thinking Kirk being made First Officer is a joke
"Careful with the ship. She's brand new." - Pike to Spock, after he makes him temporary captain of the Enterprise.
I'm really looking forward to this one! You won me over, JJ, you trickster, you.
BTW for a more in depth shot by shot recap, check out Film School Rejects or Aint it Cool and to quote Cole Abaius from FSR,
Sorry for using the words “awesome” and “badass” so much, but they were just the most fitting sentiments from the night’s events.
To read this blogpost on aintitcool, click here