At the official Star Trek Into Darkness junket, TrekMovie.com had a chance to sit down with the two biggest Star Trek fans in the new cast – Karl Urban and Simon Pegg. We talked about Pegg upping his Scottishness, Karl showing McCoy’s warmth, the triumvirate, the future of Star Trek with a possible new director and more.
TrekMovie talks To Urban and Pegg about Into Darkness & next Trek
Here is the exclusive video interview
Karl Urban on if he feels McCoy is still part of the ‘big three’ with Kirk and Spock, in this universe
The great thing that JJ has done is every character their moment to shine and that is certainly true in the film. I would argue this is very early on in the formation of the crew as we know and come to love in the original series. And that triumvirate. I know what you are saying – I know what the concern is, and on a forward going basis we have to be vigilant to make sure it is respected.
Simon Pegg on offering [question submitted by Maggie from Washington]
JJ is always up for that – particularly as Karl and I are fans of the original series and have a lot of Star Trek knowledge. Sometimes things come up and you suggest. Often I put forward little Scottishisms just to make sure Scotty’s ethnicity was intact. JJ would grade that on a level of the audiences ability to understand
Karl Urban on McCoy’s irascibleness and his warmth
Yeah I did [up McCoy's irascibility] this time, but there are quite a few beats where you get to see the warmth within that. Certainly in that third act towards the end…when you get to see how frantically Bones works to do what he does and what it means to him, I think that is a real wonderful side to the character.
Simon Pegg on JJ Abrams directing the next Star Wars and its effect on next Star Trek
One of the first things I did when I found out JJ was taking on Star Wars was to email him and say "hey don’t forget us" as a knee-jerk reaction. I got a lovely email back saying "of course not." JJ is far too committed to this universe to ever let it go…Even if JJ doesn’t direct the next [Star Trek] film – even if he hands it off to what would only be a brilliant director – he would still be involved as a producer. As he was on Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, which is a Bad Robot production and smacks of JJ and had Brad Bird at the helm, who was an incredible director. I am incredibly excited as it means we might be able to make the film sooner than we thought. If JJ is off doing Star Wars, then we don’t have to wait for him to do Star Wars to do Star Trek. This is my hypothesizing. It might be less than four years. We might get it out for the 50th anniversary, which would be good.
More Junket videos
Stay tuned for more exclusive junket videos over the next few days
Star Trek Into Darkness is here
The wait is finally over. Star Trek Into Darkness has finally arrived in North America. In addition the movie is opening up worldwide in a number of countries over the next couple of days including Columbia, Panama, Peru, Egypt, Lebanon, UAE, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Phillippines, Thailand, Croatia, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Norway, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, and Ukraine. So by Friday most of the world will now be able to see Into Darkness.
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DISCUSS STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (WITH ANY SPOILERS)
Below chat about the movie, including discussing any spoilers.
WARNING: This open thread is for people who have seen the movie. If you haven’t seen the movie you really shouldn’t be reading this as you are sure to get spoiled.
Several new shirts will combine two geek franchises; Star Trek and The Big Bang Theory.
In addition, a sweepstakes will offer fans the chance to attend “the biggest pop culture convention in the world.”
“In a bold twist to bring The Big Bang Theory to a new frontier, Warner Bros. and CBS Consumer Products are launching an exclusive, limited edition co-branded collection of The Big Bang Theory/Star Trek merchandise for the first-time ever that includes Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj’s preferred version of “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard Spock” themed product, as well as t-shirts and Funko bobble-heads featuring characters in Starfleet uniforms. This new co-branded collection of merchandise will be available only at Hot Topic stores nationwide and HotTopic.com from now until July.”
A new sweepstakes will offer fans the chance to enter the “Ultimate Fan Giveaway” for “an opportunity to attend the biggest pop culture convention in the world – the legendary Comic-Con in San Diego. Fans will also have the chance to win many great prizes, including the special edition DC Comics t-shirt and $500 Hot Topic gift cards.”
“From Monday, May 20, through Friday, May 31, avid fans and pop culture junkies can enter the contest either by watching The Big Bang Theory every weeknight in syndication (in select markets) and identifying Sheldon’s special Hot Topic t-shirt online at www.BigBangContest.com or by visiting any Hot Topic store nationwide now through Sunday, June 2, signing up to be a HT+1 rewards member and purchasing any The Big Bang Theory t-shirt, including the exclusive ‘Big Bang DC Comics’ Comic-Con edition t-shirt only at Hot Topic. One lucky fan will receive an all-expenses paid, fun-filled getaway for two to Comic-Con in San Diego, CA – including two tickets to Comic-Con, round-trip airfare, three days/two nights hotel accommodations, ground transportation and special access to various events at the Warner Bros. booth.”
“We’re excited to pay-it-forward to The Big Bang Theory‘s legions of fans in this perfect alliance that brings together this pop-cult favorite with the iconic brands of Star Trek and DC Comics,” said Karen McTier, Executive Vice President, Domestic Licensing and Worldwide Marketing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “We had such a great fan reaction and experience with this promotion last year that we’re excited to team up with Hot Topic again to bring fans a bigger bang offering and more chances to win another out-of-this-world opportunity.”
“We approach each and every initiative we endeavor from the perspective of giving back to the fans,” said Lisa Gregorian, Chief Marketing Officer, Warner Bros. Television Group. “We know that fans of The Big Bang Theory and fans of Star Trek are going to go mad for this co-branded merchandise. We set out to deliver a truly unique co-branded opportunity and are thrilled to have gone where no man – or woman – has gone before.”
Various local markets will also offer the opportunity to win other prizes, including $500 gift cards from Hot Topic.
A new line of Star Trek-inspired jewelry has been created by the Australian jewelry manufacturer Guild Jewellery Design.
The pieces will be available beginning later this month in Australia and New Zealand.
The sterling silver pieces include: pendants, earrings, charms, cufflinks, brooches and more.
Click on thumbnails for larger pictures.
Like his predecessor in the Sulu role, John Cho hopes for better things for his character.
Although Star Trek into Darkness has just released, Cho is already looking to the future.
Cho would like to see Sulu eventually get his own ship. “It was fun to sit in the captain’s chair and Sulu, not in our movies but in the previous iterations, does get his own chair (and ship),” said Cho, “so I hope that that is the case in ours as well…if we get that far.”
Fans will remember that George Takei lobbied for a Sulu captaincy, and that happened in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
Rod Roddenberry and his wife Heidi are expecting their first child.
Roddenberry posted the announcement to Facebook several days ago.
“I’m proud and excited to announce that Heidi and I will be bringing the Next, Next Generation to planet Earth,” said Roddenberry. “We’ve learned that it’s a Boy and he’ll be arriving in August.
“Heidi is doing extremely well and all ultrasounds and tests have shown him to be in perfect health (Sorry, no pointed ears).”
Roddenberry also posted a sonogram picture of the baby.
Congratulations to the happy couple! And kiss your sleep goodbye.
Star Trek Composer Michael Giacchino will be scoring a sequel to the Planet of the Apes.
The sequel is titled Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
“This is how I will dress when recording the score for Matt Reeves‘ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes!” said Giacchino, via Twitter, showing a picture of a cartoon ape composer.
In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, “a group of scientists in San Francisco struggle to stay alive in the aftermath of a plague that is wiping out humanity, while Caesar tries to maintain dominance over his community of intelligent apes.”
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be released next May.
Star Trek into Darkness‘ Chris Pine will film a cameo in Joe Carnahan‘s comedic thriller Stretch.
Stretch is the story of a “down-on-his-luck chauffeur looking to relieve his debt by driving around a mysterious billionaire who drags him to hell and back.”
Pine’s role has not yet been revealed, but “don’t be surprised to see him pop up in [the chauffeur's] backseat.”
Pine has worked with Carnahan before, in 2006′s Smokin’ Aces.
In a short video, Simon Pegg and Alice Eve explain how they perfected their Scottish accents.
“The thing is with accents,” said Pegg, “is that there’s often a little phrase you need to sort of enter in; that’s like the key to it.”
Last night, one night ahead of the U.S. IMAX release of Star Trek into Darkness, the Hollywood premiere for the movie was held.
In attendance were: J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Bryan Burk, Michael Giacchino, Leonard Nimoy, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Peter Weller, Nanzeen Contractor, LeVar Burton, Rod Roddenberry, and Jennifer Morrison.
The event was held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, and those in attendance shared their enthusiasm about the movie. “It was just great to walk back onto the bridge of the Enterprise and say, ‘Buckle up, here we go again,’ said Lindelof.
“The action does not stop,” said Saldana. “The suspense challenges you as well. It’s not one of those films that the plot is so easy that you know how it’s going to go.”
Star Trek Into Darkness held its Hollywood premiere on Tuesday and TrekMovie was there. See below for dozens of photographs from the event with cast, crew, Star Trek luminaries and more from LA.
Star Into Darkness Hollywood Premiere
Tuesday night May 14th saw the Star Trek Into Darkness world tour finally make it to Hollywood for a premiere at the Dolby Theater on Hollywood Blvd. The white carpet was rolled out for most of the movie’s cast along with the producers, some of the crew and even a few luminaries from Trek’s past.
click images to enlarge
Star Trek Into Darkness actors
Star Trek Into Darkness Crew
More Star Trek luminaries
More from around the Hollywood premiere
More from Hollywood coming
Anthony Pascale was at the other end of the white carpet for the Star Trek Into Darkness premiere and he got a few quick video interviews with some of the cast, crew and Trek luminaries. Look for those videos soon.
All photos by Albert L. Ortega. Albert is a photojournalist and life-long Star Trek fan. You can visit Al on his Facebook page.
On Tuesday Paramount released a few new Star Trek Into Darkness TV spots, a handful of new images and they also announced a special Google+ Hangout with NASA, JJ Abrams and astronauts on the International Space Station. Get caught up on all of that below.
3 new TV spots
Here are the final pre-release Star Trek Into Darkness TV spots, with a few new bits here and there including more praise from the critics.
7 New Images
Paramount also released their final press materials for Star Trek Into Darkness which included some new images (or variations on previously seen images). Check em out.
Google+ Star Trek Hangout In Space – You Can Join In
Paramount and NASA have announced a Google+ Hangout with director J.J. Abrams, writer/producer Damon Lindelof and stars Chris Pine, John Cho and Alice Eve who will be chatting with astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
The event takes place on Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 9:00 – 9:45 a.m. (PST). You can submit questions for the event by using the hashtag #askNASA on Google+, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram, or leave a comment on our Star Trek Into Darkness Facebook page. Questions will be taken throughout the event, but the deadline for video questions is 12:00pm PST on Wednesday, May 15.
You will be able to join in on the Google+ Hangout at http://www.google.com/+NASA.
Later this month the new fan series Star Trek Continues will debut its premiere episode at Phoenix Comicon, and today TrekMovie has exclusively learned that Emmy-winning visual effects artist (and Star Trek vet) Doug Drexler is providing all the shots of the USS Enterprise for the show. More details below, plus the first look at Doug’s Enterprise for Star Trek Continues.
Doug Drexler’s Enterprise To Fly In Star Trek Continues
Star Trek Continues is a new fan series which aims to continue the mission of the original Star Trek series as if it had a fourth season (and beyond). As TrekMovie reported in April, the new show starring (and produced by) Vic Mignogna will launch its inaugural episode, “Pilgrim of Eternity” at Phoenix Comicon on May 24th, 2013 (6PM), followed by a release online.
And today TrekMovie multiple award-winning visual effects veteran Doug Drexler will be providing the effects shots featuring the USS Enterprise. As a makeup artist, scenic artist, graphic designer, illustrator, and visual effects artist, designing for such shows as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, and four Star Trek feature films, Drexler knows his Star Trek, including designing the last TV ship, the NX-01 for Star Trek: Enterprise. And he has a brand new digital model of the Enterprise which is debuting with Star Trek Continues. Drexler and Mignogna have shared with TrekMovie the first look at the ship (below) in a couple of shots made to replicate original series publicity images.
Drexler also happens to have a cameo appearance in the premiere episode of Star Trek Continues, and in fact that was originally going to be the extent of his involvement with the show. Since Enterprise Doug has remained very busy including work on Battlestar Galactica and the new Syfy series Defiance, so to date he hasn’t had much time for other projects, especially fan projects. However, according to Drexler, there was something different about Star Trek Continues. The artist and life-long Star Trek fan tells TrekMovie.
Truth be told, I haven’t seen anything since the original series that felt as much like TOS as this does. Vic makes an awesome Captain Kirk, and manages to evoke Shatner without feeling slavish. If you squint just a little, there are times you would swear it was Shatner.
But even that wasn’t enough alone to convince Drexler to join the series. What put him over the top was the inclusion of actor Michael Forest, reprising his role as Apollo. Drexler tells TrekMovie that after he viewed a scene on the bridge he was "hooked like a big-mouthed bass….I knew I had to do this show.
However, Drexler did have some conditions. Doug was determined to have the effects work match that which could be done in 1970. That mean "no motion control-style shots, no wild maneuvers, no enhancing the ship with surface detail (aztec’ing) that was never there, no raking light, lots of fill, grain, and etc." So Drexler has done his digital work as if it were being done on stage half a century ago, down to duplicating the lenses and lighting setups of the era. Drexler even made his CG model of the Enterprise 11.5 feet long. The artist explains "Everybody builds their ship at 947′. At that gigantor size it’s never going to behave like it did when we first fell in love with it. The difference in the lens distortion alone makes it a non-starter."
While Drexler is providing all the shots of the Enterprise, a number of other digital artists are also involved in Star Trek Continues, providing the remainder of visual effects, including Gabriel Koerner (from Trekkies and artist for Star Trek Enterprise) and Matt Boardman (who has worked with Drexler on Battlestar and Defiance).
Star Trek Continues Debuts at PHXCC
Many of Star Trek Continues cast and crew will be attending Phoenix Comicon 2013 on May 24th, including Michael Forest and Doug Drexler.
An autograph session will be held after the premiere screening and panel.
Following the screening the debut episode “Pilgrim of Eternity” will be made available online. For more details on the show visit startrekcontinues.com.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s Armin Shimerman is co-directing an “untraditional staging” of Arthur Miller‘s The Crucible along with Geoffrey Wade (Mad Men‘s ‘Hot Tooth’).
To promote the Antaeus Company production, the duo, with assistance from the play cast, have created a comedic mockumentary-style video.
The viral video shows the directors arguing with one another, showing the actors how to read their lines (and contradicting one another) and explains how close the directors are – to the point of even showering together! Although Shimerman appears to be unconvinced of their closeness!
“Old school advertising is out the window,” said Rob Nagle, one of three co-artistic directors of the company, “It’s now about paying attention, listening and interacting. This new frontier requires inventiveness, as well as profound originality. We must provide viewers with content that they want to watch and will share.”
The video may be all in good fun, but “we take the work very seriously,” explained Shimerman. “We don’t take ourselves very seriously.”
The four-and-a-half minute video was written and directed by filmmakers and actors Gabriel Diani and Etta Devine and it features members of The Crucible ensemble appearing as befuddled versions of themselves, including Bo Foxworth, Christopher Guilmet, Devon Sorvari, Ann Noble, John Prosky, John Allee, Joe Delafield, Rhonda Aldrich, Lily Knight, Fran Bennett, Dawn Didawick, Shannon Lee Clair, and Alexandra Goodman.
In The Crucible, “Arthur Miller‘s parable draws a chilling parallel between the Salem witch trials of 1692 and subsequent generations of American mass hysteria – up to the present. Through this savage tale of one small community’s too effortless descent into superstition and paranoia, Miller explores in frightening detail what can happen when fear clouds fact and blame replaces reason.”
Performances of The Crucible will take place May 16-July 7 on Thursdays and Fridays at 8 PM; Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM (no matinee performance on Saturday, May 18); and Sundays at 2 PM. There will be six previews, May 9-15: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday, all
at 8 pm, and Sunday 2 pm. Tickets to the Opening Night performances on May 16 and 17 are $34, after which all tickets are $30 on Thursdays and Fridays and $34 on Saturdays and Sundays; previews are $15.
The Antaeus Company is located at 5112 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood, CA. Parking is available for $7 in the lot at 5125 Lankershim Blvd. (west side of the street), just south of Magnolia. The theater is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. For reservations and information, call 818-506-1983 or go to Antaeus.org.
Benedict Cumberbatch will be heard in an unusual place soon, on a mix album from Röyksopp.
The mix album, featuring tracks by other artists, is for the Late Night Tales series.
Cumberbatch will be heard at the end of the mix, in a spoken word track where he will read the second half of Simon Cleary‘s Flat of Angles short story.
It’s not Cumberbatch’s first time reading that story; last November’s Friendly Fires Late Night Tales compilation featuring him reading the first half of the story.
Röyksopp‘s Late Night Tales mix album will be released on June 16.
Star Trek into Darkness‘ Benedict Cumberbatch appeared Friday on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon to promote the movie, and a clip of that interview is now available online.
“I’m really excited,” he told Fallon. “think [the movie]‘s going to be great.”
Cumberbatch also spoke about his work on Sherlock, and about his fans, who go by the name “Cumberbitches.” Cumberbatch was embarrassed by that designation, which, he made clear, they gave to themselves. Fallon then showed him art that his fans have made, featuring Cumberbatch.
The actor spoke briefly about Star Trek into Darkness at about the 3:15 mark, and a short clip of the movie was also presented.
Note: it takes about half a minute for the video to load. Don’t worry about the message shown.
TrekMovie has partnered up with movie-ticketing site Fandango to do a survey of early ticket buyers for Star Trek Into Darkness, giving some interesting insights into how people plan to see the movie and what they think of the secrecy. Fandango also has a special offer featuring a free download of the 2009 Star Trek movie from iTunes with advanced Into Darkness purchases.
55% Plan To See Into Darkness More than Once + More from Fanndango/TrekMovie survey
Leading movie-ticketing site Fandango.com worked with TrekMovie.com to develop a survey Star Trek Into Darkness ticket-buyers. This morning they provided us the data from surveying over 1,000 ticket-buyers. One interesting bit is that 92% of those surveyed have seen at least one episode of the original Star Trek (featuring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy).
The survey also looked into how ticket buyers were planning to see the movie. Here are some of the key highlights:
So it turns out that advanced ticket buyers at Fandango.com were not that different than TrekMovie.com readers (who are expected to be more of the hard core). Our latest TrekMovie.com reader poll shows 71% of fans are planning on seeing Into Darkness more than once.
Fandango’s Into Darkness advanced ticket-buyers were also asked about JJ Abrams famed secrecy. Here are those results…
Fandango also released their first indications of sales, saying that as of this morning 71% of all ticket buying on the site was for Star Trek Into Darkness, which is pretty good considering the strength of both The Great Gatsby and Iron Man 3. According to Fandango "hundreds of showtimes" from this week are already sold out across the country.
Fandango Offer: Free Digital Copy of Star Trek 2009 with Advanced Purchase
In addition, Fandango has a new special offer featuring a free download copy of JJ Abrams 2009 Star Trek (via iTunes) with purchase of tickets for Star Trek Into Darkness. More details on this offer at Fandango.com.
Skip the box office lines and buy movie tickets online at Fandango.
Pine and Quinto Take Fandango’s Trek quiz
Finally here is a video from Fandango with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto talking Into Darkness and it also features the pair answering some Star Trek trivia questions.
TrekMovie, in its desire to provide a broad response to the release of the latest Star Trek film, reached out to Free Enterprise writer/producer and founding publisher of Geek Magazine, Mark A. Altman, for his thoughts on the latest film. After much cajoling, a reluctant Altman, who the Los Angeles Times once called, “the world’s foremost Trekspert” agreed to share his thoughts with us (with no major spoilers).
REVIEW: REBEL WITH A CAUSE
by Mark Altman
NOTE: Review contains some spoilers – but nothing not seen in any trailer, clip or TV spot.
I have a secret to share with you if you promise not to tell anyone. The original Star Trek movies are just not very good. There, I said it – so let’s just keep it between us. There are many reasons why this is the case, starting with the fact that one of the few of the film series to actually get a motion picture worthy budget was Star Trek: The Motion Picture, a film which was brutally lambasted for aping the plot of earlier, better episodes and primarily consisted of the principal cast, mouths agape, marveling at the bridge viewscreen. Which isn’t to say I don’t love Star Trek: The Motion Picture, I do. But, of course, that doesn’t make it a great movie – or even a good one, but it is Star Trek and it is a movie, one of the few that has remarkable scope and captures a true sense of the mystery of the cosmos. It also has an overture and five minutes of Kirk ogling the Enterprise that is one of the most majestic and beautiful scenes in the history of the franchise and fills me with pure joy every time I watch it. Likewise, Star Trek II, widely praised as the best of the Star Trek movies, is wildly entertaining, despite its diminished budget, anchored by a literate script from the erudite Nicholas Meyer and a powerful performance from Ricardo Montalban, desperate to shed his Mr. Rourke trappings, back in 1982. Still, Khan is not nearly as great as some of the best episodes of the series. And Star Trek III, the less said, the better. I’ve had enough of you. IV is what it is, enjoyable fluff with a prescient eco-message and some insufferable slapstick and V is a victim of its own inadequate budget. Star Trek VI is a movie which also suffered as a result of budget, recycling sets – and ideas – from other better Trek’s, but still has some nifty setpieces (including the zero-g assassination sequence) and a humdinger of an ending even if its murder mystery isn’t very mysterious and plays like a warmed over version of Seven Days In May.
The interesting thing about the Star Trek movies is they were always reverse engineered with the studio knowing about how much they would/could make and backing into a budget as a result. Trek performed like clockwork, but was never the huge moneymaker of the bigger, more respectable franchises and it was also treated that way. While Star Wars got all the love, Star Trek was the old reliable chestnut that would come out every three years and fill the company coffers but never get taken seriously by the either the studio or the critical establishment.
And then in 2009, J.J. Abrams comes along and is the first director since the great Robert Wise to be handed a sizable wad of cash to go and make a Star Trek film. His prime directive: go big or go home. And whether you love or hate that film, there’s no denying it was a huge box-office success and successfully resurrected the hibernating katra of the franchise that was in a state of permanent hibernation (sorry for mixing my metaphors there, but you get the point). Some fans couldn’t or wouldn’t accept the heresy of recasting our beloved Kirk and Spock and reconceiving Trek for the next generation (and China, Russia and Latin America, all part of the new world order in international box-office receipts). Ironically, the whole argument had echoes of the petulant late 80s tirade by fans against Harve Bennett’s Starfleet Academy which would have recast younger actors in the iconic roles. What was Abrams supposed to do? Make a film with Shatner, Nimoy and the rest of the living cast which is exactly what I would have done – and about a hundred of my closest friends…and maybe you would’ve seen. That’s not a film that’s going to reboot the franchise, honor its origins and take Star Trek where its boldly never gone before.
There’s plenty about the 2009 reboot that I didn’t love; the slapstick Willy Wonka antics with Scotty as Violet Beauregarde, the more taste/less filling engine room, an anemic villain with a revenge plot straight out of a 1966 episode of Batman (“I’ll stand you on a planet and watch you watch your planet blow up, heh, heh”) and the fact that the bully who beats up Kirk in the bar wasn’t named Finnegan, but what it did have in spades and trumped all that was heart and plenty of it as well as the bromance-in the-making of Kirk and Spock. It also had a few delightful new tricks up its sleeves like the Spock/Uhura romance and it even had the audacity to blow up Vulcan – and not put the pieces back together again in some kind of temporal Humpty Dumpty time loop. And, of course, it also had the great Leonard Nimoy at his most rabbinical.
So four years later, its time for an encore. J.J., Bryan Burk and his team of ace filmmakers including screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof have managed to trump their previous exercise in shaking the cobwebs off the franchise and escape the trap of having our ensemble stare out into space from the bridge with a film that not only honors canon and occasionally toys with the hopes, dreams and fears of the nostalgic like me, but moves at a breakneck pace while telling a story that feels very contemporary and, at the same time, very Trekkian. Much like Skyfall did last year with James Bond, Into Darkness pays homage to the Trek canon and sets the table for the next film to be its own singular entity having solidified the bona fides of the new Trek universe and characters in a thoroughly captivating fashion. Into Darkness makes some ballsy choices, a few of which are likely to upset some die-hard fans. But the fact is, as the condescending Trek tagline in 2009 proclaimed, this isn’t your father’s Star Trek. You’re damn right it’s not, but who the hell’s going sit for two hours to watch the big screen version of “The Empath.” But here’s the rub: whatever happens in this universe in no way compromises or diminishes what has come before and can exist side-by-side with the original adventures of Shatner & Company. I mean, let’s face it, Shatner is the Sean Connery of Star Trek, as the tagline for Star Trek: The Motion Picture exclaimed, there is no comparison. So it’s hard to measure up, but damned if Chris Pine doesn’t come close. He manages to make this incarnation of Kirk his own: part James Dean and part Han Solo and yes, even part, Bill Shatner. And the new movie gives Pine’s Kirk a great arc as he is forced to confront his own version of the no-win scenario. The Kirk/Spock dynamic here is one of the most satisfying aspects of the new film and also the most faithful to the spirit of Classic Trek. If I have any quibbles, it’s that the great Karl Urban is slightly underserved as McCoy despite remaining an essential part of the Trek troika of id, ego and superego.
One of the things that really resonated for me about Into Darkness was the fact that, like the best Star Trek stories, the film has an important, and very relevant message at its heart, about not throwing away our ideals when confronted with dangerous threats to our civilization and a strong indictment of Cheney-esque and Rumsfeldian politics. In a free society, our democracy cannot just be words on a piece of paper, but have real meaning that we live by … even when inconvenient. Just ask the Komm’s and the Yang’s. And I think Kirk’s turnabout on the intruders in the first act is a powerful character moment, which while echoing Star Trek VI, is handled far more adeptly. Star Trek has always inherently been a television series and the challenge of any movie is opening the format up enough to accommodate an epic scope and theatrical setpieces without sacrificing the character moments that are at the very heart of the franchise. Into Darkness juggles that extremely well and the Kirk/Spock relationship remains a dynamic that gives the film a lot of its juice. Like most of the Trek films that preceded it, the challenge of servicing the entire ensemble often results in some superfluous scenes for the supporting characters (Chekov, most of all) and the production design remains mildly problematic to me (Bud Lite, anyone), but overall this is a immensely entertaining, humorous and, at times, touching film that delivers on all the expectations one might have for Star Trek. There are also some welcome supporting turns from the stunning, but credible Alice Eve as Carol Marcus and Peter Weller, giving his best performance in years. And Benedict Cumberbatch, brilliant in Sherlock, does not disappoint as the enigmatic John Harrison.
Obviously, the biggest challenge for the filmmakers of any big-budget action franchise are to deliver viscerally engaging and original action sequences which Star Trek has never done particularly well. Yes, Star Trek II has the suspenseful battle in the Mutara Nebula, Trek VI has the aforementioned zero-g assassination sequence and First Contact has the deflector dish combat with the Borg. Into Darkness has a number of action scenes, writ large, most of which work far better in 3-D than 2-D. And in the interest of full disclosure let me say, I hate 3-D. I hate it. As someone who remembers all too well the great 3-D renaissance, and I use the term loosely, of 1983 with Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, Parasite and Jaws 3-D, I have no affinity for 3-D whatsoever. And yet I feel this film works far better in 3-D, particularly the action sequences whose impact is clearly designed to be maximized in the format which gets a great stenographic transfer. I love the cold teaser on an alien planet, where in true “Paradise Syndrome” fashion Kirk’s trying to stop the annihilation of a primitive alien world which culminates in one of my favorite match dissolves ever in a movie. There’s also a kinetic pursuit when Kirk and Spock evade the Klingons and make the Kessell Run in less than 12 parsecs and some later action setpieces that are equally inventive.
If I have any quibble with Into Darkness, it’s the ship-to-ship space combat falls victim to the same problems most recent sci-fi movies have. While the space fantasies I grew up were all influenced by submarine movies like The Enemy Below and Run Silent, Run Deep those filmmakers grew up on and the combat was slow and methodical, today’s space battles all seemed patterned on video games and happen too fast without any sense of geography or consequence. I’ll never forget watching the lumbering Reliant attacking the Enterprise on “Siskel & Ebert” for the first time and being awestruck by the Enterprise being carved to ribbons by a phaser beam. The culminating space battle in the Mutara Nebula is a textbook example of how to do a cat and mouse space battle. In Into Darkness everything unfolds so quickly that’s its tough to build to a crescendo when everything takes place at such a heightened pitch. And its equally difficult to create the emotional resonance of the Enterprise flaming out in the sky above the Genesis Planet when you haven’t established Kirk’s love and obsession with his one true love, his ship. Right now, it’s like a Timex watch, it takes a licking, but keeps on ticking. But that’s what makes the Star Trek universe such a wonderful sandbox and helps keep me excited about the future which is why these are all minor quibbles with a film that is successful in so many ways. There’s a light touch to the movie, which never diminishes its gravitas and a respect for the source material, that’s so essential. And this film also marks J.J.’s emergence as a mature filmmaker with a sure-handed mastery of both smaller, more intimate character moments as well as the larger action setpieces. As much as I love Mission: Impossible 3 and the first half of Super 8, it’s hard to argue that this is his best directed film.
As Michael Giacchino’s wonderful score culminates with a reprise of the classic Trek theme and the Enterprise prepares to head out on its five year mission, I couldn’t help but be excited about the prospects for the future; not just for this crew but future television series, webisodes and who knows what else. As Carol Marcus eyes Kirk on the bridge, I couldn’t help but think how nice it would be to see Kirk get things right this time and not be an absentee father to David, watch as the five year mission unfolds and maybe even see a new television series with the rebooted Next Generation cast or maybe even Kirk and Carol Marcus’ son in command. Whether we’ll see any of that, who knows. But what I do know, is a phrase that I’ve heard many times before and am likely to hear many more times in the future: Star Trek Lives!
MARK A. ALTMAN is the writer/producer of the award winning, cult classic Free Enterprise starring William Shatner and Eric McCormack. He has been a writer/producer on such hit television series as Castle, Necessary Roughness and Femme Fatales and is the founding publisher of the bestselling magazine, Geek Magazine, available at newsstands everywhere. Altman has also produced numerous feature films including James Gunn’s The Specials and DOA: Dead or Alive, based on the hit video game series. You can follow him on Twitter at @markaaltman.
On Monday Star Trek Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams was in New York to promote the movie, appearing on NBC’s Today Show, The Daily Show with John Stewart on Comedy Central and Howard Stern’s Sirius radio show. See below for video and audio clips of all of his appearances.
Abrams Talks Trek On Today Show, Daily Show and Stern
Here is the clip from the Today Show.
And here is Abrams extended interview from the Daily Show (in two parts).
Before J.J. appeared, The Daily Show also did a segment on the new IRS scandal which included this image of president Barack Obama Trek-ified.
J.J. was also a guest on The Howard Stern Show. You can listen to his interview below.
Abrams has two more media appearances lined up: Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC) on this Wednesday and Conan (TBS) next Wednesday (May 22).
TrekMovie will bring those to you here along with other Trek celeb media appearances this week.
Reminder: Hollywood Premiere Tonight
TrekMovie will be at the Hollywood premiere of Star Trek Into Darkness tonight (Tuesday May 14). You can follow live tweets from @TrekMovie on Twitter starting at around 5:30 PM.
In January, after five seasons, FOX ran the series finale of Fringe the genre show from the Star Trek team of JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. And now FOX is getting back in the genre business with the team with two new shows – Almost Human from Bad Robot (starring Karl Urban) and Sleepy Hollow from K/O (featuring John Cho). Watch new previews for both below.
Almost Human – From Abrams/Burk
Star Trek producer/director J.J. Abrams and his Trek producing partner Bryan Burk and their Bad Robot production company are back in business with FOX, selling them the new sci-fi cop series Almost Human, starring Star Trek’s new Dr. McCoy Karl Urban.
Here is the synopsis:
This action-packed police drama set 35 years in the future centers around the unlikely partnership between a part-machine cop and a part-human robot.
ALMOST HUMAN – Executive-produced by Emmy Award winner J.J. Abrams ("Fringe," "Lost," the "Star Trek" and "Mission: Impossible" franchises) and creator J.H. Wyman ("Fringe," "The Mexican") and starring Karl Urban ("Star Trek"), Michael Ealy ("Sleeper Cell," "Common Law") and Emmy Award nominee Lili Taylor ("Six Feet Under,"), ALMOST HUMAN is a high-tech, high-stakes action drama set 35 years in the future, when police officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids. An unlikely partnership is forged when a part-machine cop (Urban) is forced to pair with a part-human robot (Ealy) as they fight crime and investigate a deeper cover-up in a futuristic new world.
And first preview
Sleepy Hollow – From Kurtzman/Orci
Star Trek co-writer/producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman’s K/O Paper Products also sold a new genre show to FOX – Sleepy Hollow, a modern retelling "Ichabod Crane." The pilot also features a guest spot from Star Trek’s new Sulu, John Cho.
Here is the synopsis:
Ichabod Crane wakes up from the throes of death 250 years in the future to find the world on the brink of destruction and learn he is humanity’s only hope.
From co-creators/executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (the "Star Trek" and "Transformers" franchises, "Fringe") comes the adventure thriller SLEEPY HOLLOW. In this modern-day retelling of Washington Irving’s classic, ICHABOD CRANE (Tom Mison, "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen") is resurrected and pulled two and a half centuries through time to find that the world is on the brink of destruction and that he is humanity’s last hope, forcing him to team up with a contemporary police officer (Nicole Beharie, "Shame," "American Violet") to unravel a mystery that dates back to the founding fathers.
And first preview