Screen Rant Chimes In On The New Star Trek Footage

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 7:17 am,

star trek trailer 34 Screen Rant Chimes In On The New Star Trek Footage

[The following is a review/analysis of the 20 minutes of new 'Star Trek' movie footage previewed for the press on the Paramount lot in Los Angeles. It was attended by new Screen Rant contributor Brian Kettler - unfortunately I was not able to make it out to LA to render my own opinion on the footage. - Vic Holtreman]

Space… The Final Frontier. These are the words preceding many of my favorite works of fiction. From the weekly adventures of Captain Picard and his Next Generation crew, to the grand & epic storyline of Captain Benjamin Sisko and his allies on Deep Space Nine , I’ve considered myself a Star Trek fan for many years. While their successors, Voyager and Enterprise, left me cold and led me to stray to find solace in other fictional universes, there was one Trek that has always held pleasant memories for me: The Original Series. Also known as “Classic” Trek (or “TOS”) for good reason, the initial voyages starring Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Doctor McCoy, and the rest of the cast are arguably the most popular among Trek enthusiasts.

I was one of a lucky few invited to Paramount Studios in Hollywood to watch 20 minutes of footage from the upcoming new Star Trek movie. Unlike the New York presentation earlier this week, there were several of the actors in attendance for this viewing. Present were director J.J. Abrams and actors John Cho, Ben Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, and Zachary Quinto.

The footage was presented by J.J. Abrams, who spoke before each of the four different scenes that were presented. Abrams states:

“My dream in life is to make movies. My father was a producer on this lot, and so I saw the first screening of ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ on this lot. This film was a joy to do for so many reasons. I wasn’t yet a fan, but the script was so good. It was an adventure, it was funny, romantic, sexy, scary, epic. I’m grateful I didn’t pass it up!”

So I guess what J.J. was trying to say is that he does have some prior Trek cred, and he is now a fan.

In regards to casting, Kirk: “Couldn’t fall back on the pointy ears like the other guy”, but he was very happy with Chris Pine’s performance. The audience was thrilled with it, myself included.

On Spock: “casting Spock was going to be impossible”, but Zach was the first person they cast. After viewing the footage, it was most definitely the logical decision. I’m eager to see more. I believed he was Spock, and hope to see how he grows the character. This was the younger, slightly less reserved Vulcan than Nimoy presented. Of what was shown, I think his performance ties very well into what Nimoy had established.

star trek trailer 19 Screen Rant Chimes In On The New Star Trek Footage
Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in the new Star Trek movie

SPOILER ALERT: I’m going to focus on my feelings about the footage, so while I’ll attempt to keep the spoilers to a minimum, there are going to be a few. Okay, you’ve been warned. From here on out, There Be Spoilers Here!!!! (BTW, the most uber-detailed description of the footage online can be found here at Coming Soon.)

Overall the footage had a very J.J. Abrams signature style to it. The tight focus on the faces during emotional scenes gives the relationships a very real feeling to them. There’s tension, there’s real drama there. There is some fast-paced cutting during the hand-to-hand fights, which flowed very quickly. This is certainly more of a hip, sexy Star Trek than what we’re used to with these classic characters. I really enjoyed the musical score, it had me on the edge of my seat in a few places. The technobabble, ever-present in all of the modern Star Trek‘s, was kept to a minimum here. There is a real dichotomy between the sterile Starship sets and the large-scale industrial locations. The Earth-based shipyards had a very blue-collar feel to them. There were few exterior shots of the Enterprise in space, but the few brief angles shown worked very well for me. Many, many nods to the fans were noted, and all of them worked without requiring a 40-plus year familiarity with Trek lore. Everyone can understand the concept of the planet Vulcan, but hard-core Trekkies can enjoy seeing the CGI-enhanced Vasquez Rocks (The location where Arena was filmed, along with many other Trek episodes). The communicator “chirp” had a nice touch to it. And the new Transporter effect was…different. I liked what I saw, it just had this kind of splatter-effect to it at the end that I think I need another viewing to let it sink in.

new transporter effect Screen Rant Chimes In On The New Star Trek Footage
The new Transporter effect

The first scene takes place in a bar in Iowa. Kirk shows off his prowess as a ladies’ man (Wow, they really have that character down!). This scene had a lot of well played humor along with a brutal fight scene (by Trek standards). Bruce Greenwood brings real gravitas to the role of Captain Pike, a real father-figure for the aimless, drifter-like Kirk.

karl urban dr mccoy Screen Rant Chimes In On The New Star Trek Footage
Karl Urban as Dr. “Bones” McCoy

The second scene featured Karl Urban as Dr McCoy as he manages to get Cadet Kirk onboard the Enterprise. Urban really embodies the soul of Deforest Kelly, a very inspired casting choice! Like his predecessor, his nurses all wear short skirts. Unlike in classic Trek however, the nurses all wear white. Anton Yelchin is perfect as Chekov. He’s given a great bit of material to work with and performs admirably. More on him later. Urban does a great rendition of “Good God man!” The humor does seem a little forced with the “numb tongue” bit falling a little flat, but overall it’s still solid work. And for the detail oriented nitpickers, the black shirt Cadet Kirk is wearing seems to be the same type everyone else wears under their colored tunics. He’s not an actual member of the crew at this point, so no yellow tunic for him.

I was not too impressed with the designs of the Romulans however. They seemed like gothic, pointy-eared pirates here. They were all bald, to differentiate them from the Vulcans, which worked for me. But their dress and facial hair just kept screaming vampire-pirates to me. I guess I just miss the Nosferatu style brows featured in the modern TV shows. The few lines shown by Eric Bana worked for me, I just wish his minions had a different feel to them. As Abrams states about Bana, his character is “so relatably mostly evil”, so I can’t wait to see what he means.

star trek trailer 27 Screen Rant Chimes In On The New Star Trek Footage
Simon Pegg as the new “Scotty”

The third scene, as set up by Abrams, features an acting-Captain Spock “trying to get Kirk the f**k off his ship” (Abrams’ quote). It also features the return of Leonard Nimoy to the role he made famous. On directing Nimoy, Abrams said “what do I say to HIM on how to play Spock?” Indeed. The scene shown did not show how Spock first appears on screen, but rather after his reveal. It was rather jarring to miss that introduction, and that is the part I most anticipate next year. That being said, Simon Pegg as Scotty completely steals every scene he has with Nimoy! Pegg was the cast member I was the most worried about, simply due to my baggage of thinking of him as Shaun from Shaun of the Dead. But he was so incredible in his scenes, that to even take focus away from Nimoy was impressive. Pegg won me over as Scotty! Nimoy of course had some very wonderful, touching lines that are sure to please the fans. I won’t spoil them here, but he does consistently refer to Kirk as “Jim”. Very nice!

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29 Comments

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  1. Very nice Brian, and thank you Vic. That seems to solve the question about Kirk wearing the black tee-shirt.

    but he does consistently refer to Kirk as “Jim”

    Hmmm. I don’t mind this but in TOS, Scotty only referred to him as “Jim” only once, I think (Mirror, Mirror). No problem though, if the movie is as good as Brian says it is.

    The Romulans are all bald? I hope that is just Nero and his minions. I also hope Kirk and Spock don’t see Nero and crew because in TOS, they don’t know what Romulans look like.

    BTW, WHERE IS THAT GUY WITH THE TIME MACHINE, SO I CAN TIMEWARP TO NEXT YEAR????!!!! :-)

  2. thanks brian this is really cool

  3. @Kahless

    Brian was referring to Spock calling Kirk “Jim,” not Scotty.

    Vic

  4. The Romulans I feel are the weakest part of the reboot. They feel like Shinzon and the… “Remans”(?) from Star Trek: Nemesis, and that’s not a good thing.

    I still have my fingers crossed for that shot of a space elevator in the background, hauling up pieces of ships into space though. That’ll justify the movie for me.

  5. I don’t think it’s possible for me to get more excited about this movie. Thanks for the extra info!! WOOHOO!!

  6. Bear in mind that I am excited about this film, but i cant seem to wrap my mind around what the Bridge and wht the ship look like. I don’t know if this is the original Enterprise, but if it is, shouldnt resemble what was in the original. Or is it a different ship altogether. I am somewhat confused.
    Though I do see Quinto as Spock, he looks and I am assuming , sound like Spock, but part of me keeps thinking that at somepoint in the movie, Sylar is going to bust out and start cutting open skulls. Does anyone else feel that way?? Or is it just me?

  7. As someone who has never been a Star Trek fan, I’m actually excited for this movie. From the trailer, it looks like Abrams did a great job bringing this nerd fantasy to a mainstream audience

  8. Nice semi spoiler free report Brian,,,

    I saw the clips as well, and while I liked the pace and effects, I had some probs with Pegg, Cho, and Yetchen,,,
    (IMO) all three are mis-cast for the roles, Especially Pegg… I don’t remember Scotty being a hyper crazy engineer.

    Also the scene where Kirks hands swell up to Mickey Mouse proportions was incredibly lame and reminded me of the re-emagined “Lost in Space” movie…

    After watching the clips anyone can tell that the movie WILL pack the theaters, but I don’t think it will be the highest grossing film of next year…

    Also Star Trek canon is really abandoned in this new Trek. After watching the clips I can see why Romulans are the villains but its going to be a tough pill for hardcore fans to swallow. (Flamestrike)

    Nero’s timetravel actions practically rewrite TOS as you know it,,,
    I’m indifferent at this point, I won’t be standing in line opening weekend and that’s ok… 8-)

  9. The movie definitely looks cool. As long as they don’t pretend this Enterprise is the same as the one built in 2245 and later captained by Kirk, I do not foresee any serious objections.

    ~ RF

  10. The one thing that has me concerned is what sounds like a really stupid scene – the one 790 referred to with the hands and tongue of Kirk swelling up. That’s the first “Transformers-ish” thing (inject stupid comedy just for laffs) that I’ve heard about the film.

    Here’s hoping beyond hope this somehow turns out to be great.

    Oh, and Rachel, it IS supposed to be the same ship.

    Vic

  11. The only one that i really have an issue with in regards to Casting, is John Cho, O really don’t think he resemble Sulu in any way besides John Cho will always Be Harold and the MILF dude from American Pie, i am afraid i just cant take him seriously as an actor, but who knows maybe the role of Sulu may change that. I think that Simon Pegg Will be Great as Scotty, He has reportadly putin a lot of reaserach and time learning the role, and I hope he blows everyone away, and proves all his crtters wrong

  12. sorry that is suposed to say Critics not Critterss

  13. Brian did you see the scene with. (Nimoy’s) Spock?

    The scene when (Nimoy’s) Spock shows up is kinda cool, but it does seem kinda like a gimmick in a way…

  14. @790,

    Who cares if Nimoy showing up as Spock is a gimmick? It’ll STILL be awesome to see Nimoy on the big screen as Spock in another Trek movie. How many of us ever thought that was going to happen??

  15. Great point. Nimoy in the movie as Spock is probably worth the price of admission I suppose.

    I just hate that they’re making us swallow so many change pills. The Enterprise should have been much closer to the original (I am liking the Kelvin era ships though). But the bridge and corridors…oh my goodness. Seriously feel that those are the worst science fiction interiors I have ever seen.

    With all the changes we must go through (actors) it would have been a great moment the see something we are familiar with that has not change much: The Enterprise. Imagine the goosebumps we could have had.

  16. I had no idea seeing Nimoy was such a big deal. Ghessh
    :
    @Metallicat79, Pegg is a great actor but his performance as Scotty was awful.
    Even if you close your eyes its bad…

  17. Oh, sorry about that. I guess I had a senior moment (but I’m only 45). 8-)

    Thanks for correcting me, Vic.

  18. Thanks for the compliments guys.
    @790, yes I mentioned the Nimoy footage I saw. It was the scene where Nimoy introduces Scotty to Cadet Kirk. You have to remember this is a younger version of Scotty, and I’m sure the director’s intent is for his characters to grow into the ones we all know. And as for Kirk’s Elephantitis scene in Medbay, I briefly mentioned it to avoid too many spoilers. I really didn’t care for the delivery of the “numb tongue” gag as I mentioned, but the initial symptoms, of what was shown, was pretty brief. As a result I wasn’t too bothered overall. It’s not as if McCoy tried to smuggle Kirk onboard inside of a lead-lined refridgerator :)
    As for Simon Pegg And Anton Yelchin, sorry, but I liked what I saw. I think they try to make the characters their own while being respectful to their predecessors. I would have been saddened to see them simply try to mimic someone else, and I’m glad they brought something new to the table.

  19. Is it me or does this plot seem way too thin? Whatcha ya Want to bet it has a cliff hanger ending? From Brian’s report, very nicely done by the way, It’s no stretch to say that the movie has plenty of built in quality. An added cliff hanger would certainly give it a momentum almost impossible to resist sequalizing.

    Without it, it could be no more popular than “The Voyage Home” or “Undiscovered Country.” Two sequels that had compelling story aspects that drew in non-Trek attendances, but nothing compared to a “Dark Knight” type audience grabber. I realize that’s a very high goal, but if you set out to really make a success of something you don’t hold back or pull any punches.

    Would you believe, compelling incomplete plot threads, as opposed to a cliffhanger?
    ;-)

  20. Well…we’re still quite a ways from the release date. Perhaps the feed back from these3 screenings will help the “mickey hands / pillow” tongue bit wind up on the editing room floor…

    “Lib log un prosthper…” lol

  21. If it is the same ship, then this is just an Abram’s movie using Star Trek imagery, not a Star Trek movie.

    ~ RF

  22. Rachel,
    There is no indication that this is anything else but a “Star Trek” movie. This is a new vision, no less Star Trek. You certainly didn’t expect them to create a cheezy, boxy, ridiculous, 1960s set design, did you? This enterprise more resembles what it should have looked like in the many years preceeding the motion picture. You may judge it before it can play out, and deny in your mind that it is “Star Trek” (and many have misjudged Voyager and Enterprise), but is IS STAR TREK. CBS nor Paramount would never have given the go-ahead (nor would Nimoy have appeared) if it wasn’t.

    I’m 40, have viewed EVERY EPISODE of trek, including the disrespected series’ that I felt simply weren’t given their fair shake for their combined 11-year runs, and I am ready for a “reboot.” It’s about bloody time.

    Give it a chance, and i think you will be just as big a fan. I really do, RF. I look forward to you really loving it.

    GWCS
    Boone, North Carolina

  23. ok, guys, I have seen the trailer. The ‘hanger bay.? that is a earth based hanger for shuttles, or it is on the space station – it ISNT the hanger deck – it is TOO SMALL. The original enterprise could hold 6 shuttlecraft squeezed in, so the new Enterprise isnt that much bigger…

  24. Brian;
    Very nice review. I especially appreciate the spoiler warnings (“the first scene… etc.). My intention is too avoid all spoilers the best I can before the films release. Ignorance is bliss I’ve heard.

    It seems to me that this “reboot” or “re-imagining” of Star Trek can be compared to a new band doing a cover of some popular classic song with three possible outcomes:
    1) It can be done as close to the original as possible so it’s hard to tell the difference.
    2) It can get the new bands personal touches so that it’s obvious and has a fresh and enjoyable updated feel.
    3) It can be so different that it takes several times before you realize it’s the same song.

    Outcome #1 Would be a box office flop! If it was modeled after TOS it would be seen as a retro tribute good for one pass, and TNG would be the same old hammer nailing the coffin closed.

    Outcome #3 would have incurred the wrath of Trek fans en masse and the studio would close the doors forever (or for another 40 years :( ).

    I’m betting we’ll get outcome #2 (um… duh!). And even though I’ve been a Trekkie for 30+ years I’m looking forward to new actors bringing there individual touches to characters I grew up with. If they were talentless civic theater wannabes I’d be afraid to see it. But they are talented people and I for one am going to give them a chance.

    I’ve got my salt and ketchup ready though. In case I have to eat my words ;) .

  25. David….I think JJ’s giving us more of a 2.5 where I would have wanted a 1.5.

    I like most about it except the ship and the bridge. They fall under the “change for change’s sake” category. Could have designed them much closer to the original. It’s science fiction.

  26. IMHO, believe the the New Kirk would be a great fit for Steve Rogers/Captian America…

  27. Sorry, how to get that out of the way. On the suject at hand, the film looks very promising and fresh. Looking forward to seeing how honorable the film is to the orginial.

  28. Sounds very Promising.
    Thanks Brian.

  29. One day I’ll be able to take the time to dialog the level of “Treker” that I am but I’ll save that for another commentary track. The BIG question I ask is this:

    What are YOUR thoughts on the recast of – THE ENTERPRISE?

    Of the “complaints” I get – the interior of the ship is the one I see that is the most regular and one that everyone from lowly “stick-on Spock” fan, to the likes of a television and movie production designer call “not right.”

    Thoughts?

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