Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Star Trek Screening Spoilers (Update)

Four hundred plus journalists in the United Kingdom got a first look at over 20 minutes of Star Trek footage that included the new trailer (debuting Friday with Quantum of Solace in the US) and 4 scenes. The footage was introduced by Director JJ Abrams with Simon Pegg (Scotty). I will summarize most of the information but the full spoiler filled articles is at Den of Geek and Empire Magazine blog.

Update: From a New York screening, AICN has a posting that essentially describes the same four scenes here.

Spoiler warning!

The Trailer
- Pretty much the description from AICN
- "...epilepsy-inducing quick-cuts, showing some pretty spectacular space battles, the Enterprise under construction in the fields of Iowa (being regarded by an awed Kirk, not yet enrolled in Starfleet), a roll-call of all the returning characters and…Uhura (Zoe Saldana) stripping down to her bra (for some reason - I'm not complaining, it's a very nice sight, but it's a bit of a cheap shot for a film with this much going for it). The trailer concludes with Romulan villain Nero (Eric Bana) declaring portentously 'The wait is over'…."

Scene One: Kirk's Bar Fight
- Kirk getting beat up by Starfleet cadets (including Sulu) for hitting on Uhura.
- Kirk is nearly able to fend off the four attackers, with a brief interlude to grab Uhura's breasts for balance before overwhelmed by the attackers.
- Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) breaks up the fight and hauls Kirk off.
- Pike expresses his disappointment with how Kirk is wasting his "genius-level" potential, "“Your father was captain of a starship for 12 minutes. He saved 800 lives including your mother’s and yours. I dare you to do better.”
- Pike tells Kirk that he could be an officer in four years and where the recruit shuttles are.
- cut to Kirk driving to a shipyard where the Enterprise is being built and then later arriving at the shuttles telling Pike he will become an officer in three years.

Scene Two: Enterprise in Danger
- From Abrams, this scene follows more hijinks from Kirk after he enrolls in Starfleet. His behavior results him in not being assigned a ship but his friend Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban) uses a Federation rule to get Kirk on board on Pike's Enterprise by making him sick.
- While Kirk is treated in sickbay, Chekov (Anton Yelchin) is unable to log on to his console do to inability to pronounce his V's.
- Once able to get in, Enterprise is dispatched to help Vulcan, under siege from a severe electrical storm that is really Nero's beam weapon boring into Vulcan.
- Kirk realizes the storm is identical to a Romulan attack that took place when Kirk was born and is probably a trap and attempts to warn Pike.
- With the help of Uhura (after his McCoy' induced sickness prevents him from speaking) he makes it to the bridge only to be nearly taking off it by security and Spock.
- He warns Pike that the attack is similar to an attack on the USS Kelvin when the same ship destroyed 47 Klingon warbirds (!).
- The Enterprise exits warp to a massive graveyard of wrecked ships from a space-battle.

Scene Three: Meeting Spock and Scotty
- At some point Kirk's impulsive behavior gets him exiled to an unknown location by now Captain Spock. Here Kirk meets a much older Spock (Leonard Nimoy) who has traveled back in time to save history.
- The scene involved Spock introducing Kirk to an also exiled (for transporter incident involving an Admiral's dog) Scotty (Simon Pegg).
- "Pegg is clearly the bulk of the comic relief in the film but pulls it off without being ridiculous or embarrassing, which is no mean feat given the character’s heritage."
- Spock (oddly to me) informs Scotty of some of his future accomplishments including how to transport at warp so that the Kirk and Scotty can get back on the Enterprise.
- Old Spock informs Kirk that he needs to get Spock relieved of command for being unfit by getting him emotionally off-balanced. This will (somehow) allow Kirk to assume command.
- Spock stays behind but warns Kirk to never inform Spock of their meeting.
- When young Kirk accuses Old Spock of using time travel to cheat, Spock replies "A trick I learned from an old friend.”

Scene Four: Stopping Romulans on Vulcan
- Related to scene two, involves the attempt to stop the beam weapon from destroying Vulcan.
- Since transporters are disabled, Pike leaves Spock in command, promotes Kirk to first officer, and decides to pilot the shuttle that will help Kirk, Sulu and engineer Olson (sadly wearing a red shirt) freefall to the drill platform that is four miles above the surface.
- During the attack, the Enterprise's CMO is killed so McCoy is promoted to CMO.
- Meanwhile Chekov gets the helm while Spock attempts to rescue the Vulcan senate and his parents and orders an evacuation of the planet.
- Kirk, Sulu and Olson get dropped off where they perform "the longest parachute jump ever committed to film, and it’s totally spectacular."
- Olson dies during the drop while Kirk and Sulu engage the Romulans. The fight is complicated by a vent that ejects destructive wave of energy every few minutes.
- Kirk, about to be knocked off the platform, is rescued by Sulu and his swordsmanship. He is able to disable the drill by unloading a Romulan disrupter rifle into it.
- To late, Nero announces the singularity (black hole) is in place and the drill is dropped. Somehow Chekov knows how to beam up moving objects (rather then Scotty?) and rescues the pair before the drill hits the surface.

I have mixed feelings about this. It’s pretty clear that continuity is getting thrown out the door. Fighting Romulans hand to hand? In Star Trek lore, they where a faceless enemy until the "Balance of Terror" episode. Oddly I can skip by the probable multitude of continuity gaffes considering Paramount has made it clear this is more or less a reboot of Star Trek (sadly).

I think what bugs me most is the cavalier way promotions are handed out to the cadets. Star Trek was pretty good (sometimes excessively) about handing out promotions on a judicious manner. There was a real attempt to mimic the military where the title alone could tell you much about the years of experience that individual may have. The titles here just handed to them like candy, making them meaningless. The title "Captain" mean best of the best, not "hey that mission went well, you’re a captain now!" Clearly the goal is to get everyone in their The Original Series roles without the years of backstory and hard fought experience it would take to get there (which I thought this movie was about).

It could just be the descriptions, but the scenes and moments seem less as coming from a fan of Star Trek but more as someone who read a synopsis and saw one of those hour long clip specials that Star Trek use to have every five or so years. Hopefully that read is way off the mark and my irritations are unfounded as the scenes above are only 20 minutes of around 120 minute long film.


  1. I agree, this does sound a bit lame. I don't care so much about continuity - Trek hasn't always been perfect with that by any means - but these details sound like Star Trek by way of the WB channel.

    However, I am still excited and will still reserve judgment - I remember how lame the spoilers sounded about the big twist at the end of Lost last season, but in the show, the way it was executed was amazing. This could be the case with these spoilers - sounds awful in these descriptions, yes, but perhaps it could play on screen well? Am I being too optimistic?

  2. I heard a spoiler that the film ends with a cliffhanger. Not a, "Will Kirk be shot? Find out when Star Trek II hits theaters in two years!" But more of a loose ends need to be tied up Batman catches the minor bad guy (Scarecrow) at the start of Dark Knight.
    With what I've read so far, this movie is hopefully a rebooted reimagining so that canon doesn't get effed up. It's easier for me to deal with a new separate canon than changing original canon.