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Newsflash: Star Trek: Into Darkness preview

As you probably know by now, some of us who were lucky enough to see The Hobbit in IMAX got extra specially lucky and were treated to a nine-minute preview of the new Star Trek movie, Into Darkness, before the main feature. Spoiler-filled details of what we saw and the treasure trove of geeky references we spotted follow after the jump but for the spoiler-phobic among you - it looks awesome.

As far as we can tell, this preview consisted of the first nine minutes of the film, plus a few flashy trailer-style shots bunged on at the end. After a classic Star Trek 'bing!' noise, we open on a young couple in London looking for a cure for their sick daughter. Benedict Cumberbatch appears, is vaguely menacing. Then we switch to Kirk and Bones fleeing across the surface of an alien planet, Spock trying to stop a volcano erupting and the Enterprise hiding at the bottom of an ocean. As the preview ends, Kirk is on the horns of a dilemma in which he contemplates whether he should break the rules to save Spock from inevitable impending death, and McCoy coldly asserts that Spock would not save him. Ouch! Dramatic split-second shots of people screaming follow.

The whole thing was, of course, in IMAX 3D, and it looked amazing. 3D doesn't always do much for me, but the bits of lava flinging themselves out at the screen looked pretty cool, while the wide shots of Future-London were impressive on the (very) big screen.

What we saw also maintained a nice balance between action and more intimate drama. The opening is very quiet and seems to want to hide the fact that it's Star Trek - my brother and I recognised it instantly from the 'bing!' noise, but the London scenes are shot in an intense, dramatic style that could be any dystopian-future science fiction film - indeed, the first half a minute or so could be a contemporary drama. Kirk and Bones running around on the planet moves us more firmly into action/adventure territory, but just as everything starts to get really over-blown, we get that moment on the bridge when McCoy reveals just what he thinks of Spock and the Vulcan's attachment to the rules and the human(/Vulcan) drama is back.

Best of all, the whole thing is like a love letter to geekdom, filled with little references to nerd culture in general and Star Trek in particular. Here are the ones I spotted:

1. The young English father is played by Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith from Doctor Who)...
2. ...and he lives in London, spiritual if not literal home of Doctor Who.
3. Benedict Cumberbatch is, of course, in it.
4. The alien landscape the Enterprise crew are trying to save from destruction by volcano is covered in red foliage that looks just like the Red Weed from The War of the Worlds.
5. The volcano is unavoidably reminiscent of Mount Doom, especially when you're watching this right before seeing The Hobbit...
6. ...and Spock standing on a rock surrounded by lava looks like a weird cross between The Return of the King and Revenge of the Sith.
7. The Enterprise submerged under the ocean looked a lot like Thunderbird 4, but that might just be me. There is a more direct link there with another Star Trek film, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, in which the Klingon Bird of Prey our heroes are flying has to be ditched in San Francisco Bay so they can let the whales out.
8. Spock actually quotes Spock Prime's lines from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan...
9. ...and he's about to die. Which he did in The Wrath of Khan.
10. Kirk's dilemma centres around the Prime Directive, that old Star Trek plot device that can go either way depending on the needs of the writer...
11. ...but it's known as the Prime Suggestion for a reason, so Spock's probably going to be OK. For now.
12. Finally, we know from press releases that the screaming blonde woman seen briefly in the trailer bit at the end is Carol Marcus, mother of Kirk's son from The Wrath of Khan.

The only thing that worries me slightly about this film is the number of times I just typed the words 'The Wrath of Khan.' I love The Wrath of Khan; not only is it my favourite Star Trek film, it's one of my all-time favourite films. But Star Trek (2009) already leaned pretty heavily on The Wrath of Khan, incorporating the Kobayashi Maru test, thematic father/son material (albeit with Kirk on the other end of that equation) and a villain hellbent on a personal vendetta against one of our heroes. The Wrath of Khan is a fantastic film, but come on, we've seen it already! If you must lean on old Star Trek material (and it might be nice to introduce something new, just a thought), there are nine other old Star Trek films to harvest bits and pieces from, at least three of them very good ones. Clinging to The Wrath of Khan like a lifeboat will only get you so far.

Still, that minor concern aside, this preview has me very excited for the new film. It was so good, I almost wanted to see the new Star Trek film straight away instead of The Hobbit, and I've been waiting for The Hobbit since the age of eight!

11 comments:

celticmarc said...

Wow Juliette

Such a text after nine minutes ??!! Wow. Flabbergasted over here.

I've just watched the new HD teaser on apple's site : another wow.

I was very reluctant to a reboot of the franchise; but seriously, with JJ Abrams in the neighbourhood ? Nothing to worry. The Enterprise's sets are simply spectacularly gorgeous.

Juliette said...

The secret to being a professional academic - the ability to waffle on at length about the tiniest of things! ;)

celticmarc said...

Also, please consider the Power of Inspiration too !

CrazyCris said...

After reading that I'm extra jealous of you getting to see the preview! *sigh* I'll have to wait for the real McCoy come summer... :p

Sounds thrilling, can't wait!!!

PS: "professional academic - the ability to waffle on at length about the tiniest of things!" ROFL!!! Been there, done that! :p

celticmarc said...

Cris

SVP, passes l'aspirateur avant de te rouler par terre, bordel de merde !

CrazyCris said...

Nah! Deux pierres d'un coup! Comme ça j'avance dans le ménage... ;o)

celticmarc said...

Sacrée Cris va !

Si tu n'existais pas, oui, oui, il faudrait t'inventer !

Live long and prosper !

CrazyCris said...

Peace and long life!

ChrisB said...

Juliette -- I am about as far away from being a Star Trek fan as it is possible to be and still be allowed to write for this site. You, however, put this movie on my "maybe I'll give it a shot" list.

Great piece.

Juliette said...

Glad to hear it Chris! I'm biased because I completely adore Star Trek, but I think the new movies really are great films with a wide appeal, as well as great Star Trek films. The opening, where you can barely tell it's Star Trek for the first three minutes, definitely wants to appeal to a broader audience!

celticmarc said...

Juliette

WE are ALL biased about the passions that we share on these pages !