Sunday, September 15, 2013

Abrams, Stars Promote Star Trek Into Darkness

For the last week or so JJ Abrams and some of the stars of Star Trek Into Darkness have been promoting its home video release. Most of the time they covered the same "you should see this movie" ground they covered when promoting the movie theater release but a few nuggets of interest were said. Eve talks about the underwear thing, Abrams answers questions on Khan & the video game, Peter Weller defends his character, and Kurtzman and Orci focus on story choices. Below are the links to the stories and segments I found interesting. My comments will be in italics.

Spinoff Online - JJ Abrams
I think the thing was that Khan really is the most iconic villain of the series, and it felt like an opportunity to see another side of Khan and to something that, like the first film did, use elements that people were familiar with but in a new. It’s a valid argument that it’s about time for them to go off and discover and see things that have nothing to do with what we’ve seen before, and I think we’ll always have some overlap. But I’m excited about the next chapter.

I think at the end of the day, the withholding of story elements for me is something I would far rather have as an audience member than someone ruining a good first or second-act twist. But look, for people who want to have that information in advance, there’s no shortage of access to that information if you want to see it. And I’m sure anybody who wanted to knew before they went to the theater that it was Khan.
I don't really mind Abrams' "Mystery Box" approach (aka keep it secret for as long as possible), I just think often the things he wants to keep secret are silly such as the names of most of the characters not named Khan.

Spinoff Online - Alice Eve
When asked what quality in Marcus she thought it was essential to communicate to audiences, Eve explained, “I think the fact that she’s a human being and a female in all senses – the underwear scene included. She has a lot of attributes. “I think that maybe was a source of concern or frustration, that she both wore her underwear and had a PhD,” she said. “But unfortunately, she has to wear underwear.”
There was a reason I ignored the whole Marcus in underwear thing. I thought it was silly. It seemed those that complained loudest were those that knew nothing nor had any interest in Star Trek. The franchise, throughout its history, has always played up sexuality in women while simultaneously portraying them as capable and intelligent. For reasons I don't really understand, as Eve implies, its seems many feel that movies and TV can have women be sexual or intelligent. Doing both somehow becomes demeaning.

Spinoff Online - Alex Kurtzman
"Part of what we were thinking when we set Trek on its course in the first movie was that we would always be able to play in harmony with canon, meaning characters could come into the story and you would be able to recognize familiar elements and familiar people, but sometimes the situations would feel slightly different. And we thought it would be kind of cool to do that here, and I think the common denominator in both Khans is that they are both men who ultimately were doing what they were doing to protect their family. And that is also what Kirk is doing in this movie. So that’s what led us back to Khan."
This is just a segment. Of the group of interviews, Kurtzman is the most interesting not really because of the content of his answers but because most of the answers are very politician like in seeming to answer a question directly while really not.

Heat Vision - Peter Weller
People go, 'Bad guy! Bad guy!' But why is he a bad guy? Everything he says is true: The Klingons are coming, they do need Khan, and that’s that. It's just that he's going to sacrifice the entire Enterprise to get the job done, because the Enterprise started to believe Khan. But if the Enterprise had not believed Khan and had done what Marcus said, then there'd be no movie, and everything would be cool."
His character was right, the problem was his methods and ruthlessness in going about it. His great response highlights the classic villain theory that he is the hero of his own story.

Dark Horizons - JJ Abrams (video)
To me the video game could have been something that actually really benefited the series and was an exciting, fun game with great gameplay and instead it was not and it was something that I think, for me emotionally it hurt, ‘cos we were working our asses off making the movie and then this game came out that got, this isn't even my opinion, it got universally panned and I think that it was something without question that didn't help the movie and arguably hurt it.
The game was universally panned but most movie tie games suck. There is no evidence that a poor video game experience prevents people from checking out a movie. If anything those that spend the money to buy the game, regardless of quality, are pretty much guaranteed movie ticket buyers as they tend to be the biggest fans. So blaming one on the other is silly but Abrams recognizes that goal should always be a great video game to go with a great movie.

1701 News - Bob Orci
We started with Khan, went away from Khan, and then went back to him. There is a cancer within Starfleet, and it's a story you can pitch without saying anyone's name prior. Once we had that story, then it became, 'Now can it be Khan?' You can't do Batman without The Joker. We knew it would be tricky, and we knew it would lead to a vocal outcry by some fans. But, you know, you have to make tough decisions, when you do something like this.
Yeah Khan vs Kirk is not Batman vs Joker. Not even close. However, if your goal is marketing and selling the concept to executives whose familiarity to Star Trek is probably mostly just Kirk vs Khan, then that comparison holds and that Khan is considered common knowledge probably drove much of the decision making.

Video Interviews: Alice Eve | Michael Giacchino | Simon Pegg | Nazneen Contractor | Peter Weller | Joseph Gatt

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