I may have been wrong about 'Star Trek'

Cary Ashby
Mar 29, 2010


Director J.J. Abrams may indeed have brought the necessary punch to the extremely tired "Star Trek" franchise to make his May 8, 2009 film a box office blockbuster.


Simply judging from the trailer, I think Abrams could actually get "regular" moviegoers — not just Trekkies — interested in going to the "final frontier" and make the most cynical fan have second thoughts.


"X-Men Origins: Wolverine," which opens one week earlier, has absolutely no "wow" factor. Sure, Hugh Jackman looks incredibly buff, but that's nothing new. The cameos of various mutants in the X-Men universe is interesting, but not exceedingly so.


As we've seen with the "Star Wars" prequels, when you find out too much about a character's origins, that same character lacks the intrigue he or she once had.


But, "Star Trek," that's another story — the footage from the trailer gives me the feeling Abrams has given this franchise some serious cajones. I wouldn't be surprised if "Trek" becomes one of the top-three money makers next summer.


What's gotten me so pumped? (Keep in mind I shared my less than enthusiastic views on rebooting the "Star Trek" franchise — even under the visonary guidance of Abrams — way back in August 2007 in my twice-monthly comic book column.)


Well, check out the bullet points below as I review the trailer:


• Corvettes racing down dusty roads is nothing new, but take a look at that Robocop law enforcer who addresses young James Tiberius Kirk! Even as much of an adrenaline junkie as the adult Kirk is, I can't see him sending a Corvette over a cliff just for the thrill.


• Another countryside shot of a bike going down presumably the same road: I'm beginning to get bored. But then holy-freakin'-cow! The shot of the Enterprise being constructed is grand enough to hit pause and study every little bitty detail. That is going to be QUITE impressive in theaters.


• I'm stunned how much Zachary Qunito looks like Leonard Nimoy's Spock. They're practically separated at birth.


• The swirling special effects around Spock are a sweet upgrade to the after-effects of being transported, even from "Star Trek: TNG."


• The Enterprise looks beautiful. Lots of crazy space battle chaos going on — fire all torpedoes; this should be a good time. As Scotty says later in the trailer, "I like this ship. It's exciting!"


• Kirk is goading Spock. Fascinating, as the original always said.


• Are my eyes deceiving me? Spock just attacked Kirk! Woah. This ain't your parents' "Trek;" that's for sure.


• The classic warning bell is back! Outstanding.


• Is that Kirk spying on Uhura taking off her blouse? And what's up with the clips of Kirk in a black tunic and that lesion on his face? O-kaaaay...


• Now my boy Kirk is firing his phaser at some baddie whom I'm sure deserves it. That's what I'm talking about. …


• I'm breathless at the rapidly fired images by the time Eric Bana's very gruesome bad guy says, "It's over."


• In a nice touch, the trailer quietly ends with the title "Star Trek" done in a mildly updated version of the original logo — with a hint of the beginning notes of the first TV series playing quietly playing in the background.


OK, I'm on board as much as I can be.


The special effects look as good as any other sci-fi film out recently and certainly better than the previous "Trek" films.


The FX, logo, crew outfits and even the Enterprise herself all closely resemble the originals, but with subtle 2008 upgrades. That shows great wisdom on Abrams' part: the diehards won't feel scandalized, the "Trek" universe will look familiar to casual fans and those who've never seen an episode or film should have their interest piqued. (And cynics like me are willing to give this reboot idea another shot. …)


Honestly, I still am wary.


I'll try to go in with low expectations, but I gotta tell you: After a slow start to the trailer, Abrams have given fans a doozy of a first trailer, promising a great adventure. (But so did George Lucas with the "Star Wars: Episode I" trailer and we know how THAT turned out.)


There's lots of great material to discuss, giving us exactly what a teaser should. … But wait!


Remember how Abrams announced Qunito was playing the young Spock by having him appear with Leonard Nimoy at the 2007 Comic Con? Watch the entire trailer again (click here at this at Ain't it Cool exclusive) — which shouldn't be too diffcult, given how much there is to see on repeated viewings — and you'll see a well aged Spock (Nimoy) uttering the one line that is more associated with "Trek" than any other at the very end after the credits.


This makes me nervous that Abrams is going to do what drives me the craziest about previous "Star Trek" stories — time travel, but I'm still willing to be beamed up.


(Can't get enough of the new, rebooted "Trek?" There are online reports of Abrams showing 20 minutes of footage at Paramount; beware of storyline spoilers. Don't say you weren't warned. If this doesn't get you even more intrigued, you are most illogical.)