Holy cow... it's looking like J.J. Abrams may actually accomplish what many thought was impossible: The revival of the Star Trek franchise.
Why do I say this? Because people are freaking out about the new Star Trek movie trailer. In a good way.
The trailer was released yesterday, attached to most copies of Quantum of Solace. People who've seen it at the theater have described it using phrases like "it gave me chills" and "it sent shivers down my spine."
Now of course not everyone is sold on the movie based on the trailer - I've seen a very few comments saying that they either don't like it outright or that they're still uncertain or it was just "pretty good." But by FAR the reaction has been combination of:
"Holy crap, that was AWESOME."
and an incredulous:
"That's Star Trek?"
A Little History
Sure, there was the requisite buzz when it was announced that Abrams would not only produce but would in fact be directing a new Star Trek movie. It was known for a short while as Star Trek 11, but Paramount never referred to the new film with that title since this was to be a clean "reboot" (or as they prefer, "re-imagining") of the series. Abrams is "hot" right now and it was a smart choice for Paramount to not use the same folks to helm the film as the movies continued to deliver diminishing returns and increasing disdain from long time fans.
Then came the casting choices: Relative unknown Chris Pine for Kirk (good call on not going with a big name star for that role), also currently "hot" Zachary Quinto, who plays Sylar on NBC's Heroes. While Quinto is now very well known, he looks like he was born to play the part of Mr. Spock. Then came the others - Karl Urban who looks like he's channeling DeForest Kelly, Simon Pegg as Scotty (not my first choice, but I think he'll work) and semi-exotic-looking Zoe Saldana as Uhura. To round things out John Cho (of Harold and Kumar) and Anton Yelchin were thrown in to attract the younger crowd who might stay away in droves from a Star Trek movie. Throw in a few bigger names like Wynona Ryder, Eric Bana and Bruce Greenwood and you're talking a pretty damned well rounded cast.
Star Trek teaser poster
First came a few partial-face posters which were more of a tease than anything else, but then came the first images of Pine and Quinto as Kirk and Spock. Some of the words that came to mind to describe those pictures were "plastic" and "metrosexual." Unfortunately for the much publicized magazine cover shots they chose a photographer known for doing uber-Photoshop work on her photos and portraying people as almost mannequin-like.
Kirk and Spock as Star Trek mannequins
Ah, but recently came a couple of posters to counteract that vision: Black and white versions of Kirk and Spock that looked much more "old school" and rugged.
"Old School" Kirk and Spock Star Trek posters
Of course in addition we had a series of images from the film which looked pretty darned good (unless you were a long-time "Trekkie" in which case you may have had some issues with what's come to be called the "iBridge" and the somewhat odd, organic look of the new USS Enterprise).
A look at the new Star Trek 'iBridge'
The cast of the new Star Trek movie
The recently released image of the redesigned NCC-1701 caused a furor online - old fans vs new fans vs non-fans, all arguing either in defense of or agahst at the new design. Over at TrekMovie.com the post that premiered the ship accumulated over two THOUSAND comments in a couple of days! Abrams has said that "this is not a movie for 'Star Trek' fans - it's a movie for movie fans."
The new USS Enterprise - NCC-1701
So, there was kind of a mild interest in the film outside of the Star Trek fan community - but that's all about to change with this first full trailer for the film. All of a sudden people who weren't even giving the movie a second thought are saying "hey, this looks pretty good - I might have to check it out." I think that with this film Abrams is going to throw off the stigma (and yes, there is one) associated with "a Star Trek movie."
This film looks like it is going to be epic, fast paced and action packed. Some classic Trek fans may be outraged, but I think it's time for a change and this is the right way to do it. I'm actually quite excited by the prospect of this film because TOS (The Original Series) has always been my favorite. More "wild west" in style and less stuffy and politically correct than TNG (The Next Generation). Going back and exploring the very foundations of the original series, if done well, leaves me feeling as giddy as a kid in a candy store.
Fine, it's not the original actors - but if Abrams and writers Robert Orci and Alex Kurtman remain faithful to the spirit of the series, I'm open to change. I don't like the bright white interiors of the ship, and I'm not sold on the new exterior Enterprise design, but when I see the attention they've paid to the original uniforms that tells me that they are not "slapping fans in the face" as many have suggested.
So as a long time "Trekkie," Star Trek is one of my most anticipated movies of next year - right up there with Watchmen, and something tells me it's going to be one of the biggest films of 2009.
So have you seen the trailer? What do you think - are you more or less excited about the movie?
Star Trek opens on May 8, 2009