"I've never been a fan of Star Trek. It's true, I never quite got it." -- J.J. Abrams
Last night Cinematical had the chance to screen roughly 20 minutes of footage from the new Star Trek film alongside select journalists, Paramount executives and Trek director J.J. Abrams. Four scenes in total, each was a fairly critical component of the film -- and while hardcore Trekkers may have a few problems with the final product, there's no denying this rebooted version of Star Trek will kick off the summer of '09 in spectacular fashion.
Below, I'll give you a very brief summary of each scene, then spit out a few initial thoughts on it all before providing a few movie facts (based on what we learned last night). Some of this info will come as a welcomed surprise to those faithful out there, and some ... well ... let's begin, shall we:
Note: We'll be discussing plot points, so there will be spoilers ahead.
1. Kirk's Introduction -- This was our first introduction to the Chris Pine version of Kirk -- a somewhat disheveled, but great looking punk who hangs around the Starfleet bar looking to pick up chicks. His wooing of one such chick -- who goes by the name of Uhura (Zoe Saldana) -- winds up getting Kirk into trouble with some of the boys. A fight ensues, and a man by the name of Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) steps in to save the day before urging Kirk to follow in his father's footsteps and join the Starfleet. span style="font-weight: bold;">2. Kirk Sneaks On Board Enterprise -- In this scene, it's been three years since Kirk joined the Starfleet, but he's in no way trustworthy enough to be appointed Captain or 1st Officer -- he's just way too much of a rebel and a nuisance. However, the Enterprise is about to make its maiden voyage and Kirk really wants to see what she's all about. Since there's some sort of rule that says doctors are allowed to travel with their sick patients, Kirk has his friend 'Bones' McCoy (Karl Urban) inject him with a virus so that the good doctor could travel with his sick patient. Once onboard, however, Kirk discovers that the ship's mission has been compromised and they're flying straight into a Romulan trap. He tries to warn the crew, which includes Captain Pike, Spock (Zachary Quinto), Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin), but by the time they fly out of warp speed, it's too late ... and they fly right into the middle of a battle (see below still from the new trailer).
Above: The Enterprise crew comes out of warp speed to find themselves in the middle of a battle
3. Kirk Meets Old Spock -- Throughout the film, Spock and Kirk are constantly butting heads, and so at one point Spock kicks Kirk off the ship and sends him to an ice planet. It's there, however, that Kirk meets an older version of Spock (Leonard Nimoy) who it seems traveled from the future to help his younger self succeed in this mission (though the younger Spock cannot know the older Spock is here). As Kirk tries to piece this puzzle together, old Spock introduces him to a young fireball named Scotty (Simon Pegg), who's trying to figure out this damn warp speed equation; essentially, how to beam someone to a ship traveling in warp speed. Let's just say the older Spock might be able to help these boys out. There's also a great line of dialogue here that I'll let you discover on your own.
4. Kirk and Sulu Battle Romulans -- In this scene, the Enterprise learns that the Romulan ship is drilling a hole into the planet Vulcan, and they need to stop the drill. As Pike travels to the Romulan ship for a discussion with their leader Nero (Eric Bana), Kirk, Sulu and a "Red Shirt" get shot out of a ship and free-fall almost 3,000 feet before opening their parachutes and landing on the base of the drill. There, they're greeted by a couple of Romulan guards and a very cool fight/rescue operation ensues.
Above: Kirk has trouble with a Romulan guard and winds up hanging for his life while the Romulan drill spits a fire beam below his feet.
Initial Thoughts on Scenes Screened
- All the actors seem to be doing a fine job in their respective roles. Stand outs include Bruce Greenwood as Captain Pike, Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov and Simon Pegg as Scotty.
- My main problem with the footage screened had to do with the way Abrams directed the hand-to-hand fighting. Those scenes were cut way too fast; they were shaky and wild, and we never got a good look at the fight in progress.This was especially the case during that Starfleet bar fight. The fight on the base of the Romulan drill could've been better as well, especially seeing as Sulu breaks out a badass sword and goes to town with it.
- Abrams has packed his film with tons of little nods to the original series and films, and so while Trekkers may not dig the fact that the filmmakers are messing with Trek mythology, they'll no doubt crack a smile or three during the course of the movie.
- Special effects look solid, and the creature work was on par with what we've come to expect. Yes, the new Enterprise does look and feel like you're inside an iPod, but I'm willing to let that slide.
Star Trek Movie Facts
- Kirk is convinced to join the Starfleet by Captain Pike, who's the first Captain of the Enterprise for its maiden voyage.
- When Kirk first boards the Enterprise, Sulu, Spock, Chekov, Uhura and McCoy are already working with one another in some capacity, though their roles will change throughout the mission.
- Their main mission during the film is to save the planet Vulcan from a Romulan attack.
- J.J. Abrams described the film as "crazy, sexy, thrilling -- about family, friendships and all that."
- When he signed on, Abrams did not realize they had already made 10 Star Trek films. He said that if he had realized that, he may not have taken on the job.
- In describing the movie as a whole, Abrams said he "wanted to relate to it, wanted it to feel real." Unlike Star Wars, this isn't set in a galaxy far, far, away, it's instead "a version of our future."
Star Trek hits theaters on May 8, 2009.
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