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Archive for January 25th, 2008

J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek Trailer

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Paramount placed the teaser to J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek on the premier of Cloverfield last weekend. Not much more than a quick montage of workers building Enterprise, evoking the past tense POV of the new film. 

Some observations:

— The filmmakers appear to be drawing most of their influence from the original series…a smart move.  Spy photos that have caught extras on set glimpse the faded blues and yellows of the old show’s costumes.  A brief glimpse of Enterprise’s nacelles in the trailer suggest the ship will look more reminiscent of the old tubular vessel that carried Kirk and crew to the stars rather the hyper-detailed model used in the first films. 

— Scan through the credits at the end of the trailer, you’ll see the name of the fellow scoring the film: Michael Giacchino.  Giacchino started out scoring video games, but was picked up by Abrams to provide the eerie tones of Lost and M:I:3.  But his best work explodes with the booming, epic 1940s-inspired score for The Incredibles, and the sweeping, classical influence that punctuated Ratatouille.  The Star Trek franchise once had a reputation for coaxing great work from some of Hollywood’s most talented composers.  James Horner earned an Oscar nomination for Star Trek II.  I think Leonard Rosenman earned the franchise’s first Oscar for music on Star Trek IV.  Cliff Eidelman brought a grand operatic feel to Star Trek VI.  Other films had relied too heavily on Jerry Goldsmith’s recycled themes, but when an original composer has been brought in to score a Star Trek film, the results are usually magic.
— The cast.  We have some relative unknowns, but some of these guys have been working the smaller roles in film and TV for a while, and the collection of talent here is impressive.  Eric Bana.  Winona Ryder.  Zachary Quinto.  And my favorite choice: Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard McCoy. 

We have the building blocks of something special.  However, the endless writer’s strike has already caused some minor challenges.  The film went before cameras with a full script ready to go days before the strike.  Abrams, as a member of the guild, cannot change a word of what goes before the camera as long as the strike continues.  He’s commented in places about revisions he would love to include, but ethics constrain him. 

Star Trek—back in the day, at least—was a pop cultural behemoth.  Lately it’s become more of a joke.  A Christmas release date indicates Paramount Pictures is crossing their fingers for a $100 million hit…something Star Trek hasn’t seen since 1986. 


Written by taj

January 25, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Movies, Writing