A few months ago Paramount treated me, and a few hundred people like me, to a short presentation of footage from Star Trek Into Darkness. You may have seen that footage yourself by now, it ran ahead of IMAX screenings of The Hobbit.
Now they’ve done it again – but I don’t think this footage will be piggybacked on to another movie. It was an unrelenting 30 minute thrill-ride that constitutes a rough cut of the first half hour of the movie. From here on in almost anything I might say could be considered the stuff of spoilers, but if you want an capsule opinion from me before I get into all that – from the portion I have seen, Star Trek Into Darkness looks very exciting indeed. Even if the remaining 90 minutes or so is all Bergmanesque interiors with Kirk and Spock muttering haiku to one another, Star Trek Into Darkness will still be a very exciting film.
More or less all of the stuff we saw in the 9 minute teaser is there in the opening half hour of the film. The chase through the red forest, the volcano bit. A lot of the material you’ll have seen in the trailer.
There’s also a better look at that money shot where the Enterprise rears up out of the ocean like some ancient Lovecraftian leviathan. It is a beautiful shot. The reaction shots show awestruck aliens staring open-mouthed at the sight, and a quick look around me in the cinema revealed the same expression on the IMAX-full of cynical movie bloggers too.
There are some lovely shots too of a future London, surrounded I think by huge arcologies which presumably house most of the population. We find out that Starfleet officers wear caps that make them look like upmarket chauffeurs. And we get to see a lovely interactive photo tool on Kirk’s iPad that calls to mind a similar technology in Blade Runner.
The big question – who is Benedict Cumberbatch playing? – is still out there. Unless, against the flow of all speculation, he really is just a rogue Starfleet officer called John Harrison.
A rogue Starfleet officer who uses terrorism as readily as he uses a starship. A dark reflection of Kirk. It’s a possible – but he does seem to be alone against the whole Enterprise crew. Hardly fair.
And the crew do seem to get their fair share of action. I don’t think this one’s going to be just ‘the Chris Pine’ show. Zachary Quinto’s Spock is probably in more shots of this teaser than his captain is.
The other great star of the Trek mythos, the NCC1701, takes a hell of a beating in this film. It seems more or less certain now that the ship seen crash-landing in the trailer is the Enterprise, and there was a scene in this teaser showing extensive battle-damage to the iconic starship.
But she’ll be back, better than ever, by the end of the movie I’m sure. We weren’t shown very much outer space action today. I assume that’s because the effects aren’t rendered yet.
But we saw an awful lot of Kirk, Spock, and the guy we’re still calling Harrison jumping. On to things. Off things. Through things. This is one jumpy film. No lens flare today, but plenty of jumping.
We also saw: Noel Clarke being manipulated into becoming a suicide bomber, an attack on Starfleet HQ that revealed their woefully poor security arrangements, and an awful lot of things blowing up and.or falling apart inside the Enterprise.
Bryan Burk expanded in a pre-screening talk about his desire to make this film for a mainstream audience, rather than the Trek faithful. I think that’s shorthand for making it more like a Mission Impossible movie. That would explain the jumping.
Still, this teaser was undeniably thrilling, and it left me wanting more – and soon.
I will definitely be there to see all that running and jumping and exploding in two months’ time. I urge you to see it too.