Video: “Star Trek Into Darkness” trailer

posted at 7:31 pm on March 21, 2013 by Allahpundit

To cleanse the palate. Here’s my problem: On some level, I just can’t accept “Trek” without the camp factor. That’s also why I’ve never much liked the occasional modern attempts to restart “The Twilight Zone.” They never get the tone right. It’s not that the new versions aren’t creepy enough or that the writing’s unimaginative, it’s that they can’t recapture the pedantic kitsch of Rod coming out with that cigarette at the start of each episode to frame This Week’s Lesson for you. One of the reasons “The Next Generation” succeeded, I think, was because it did manage to channel some of the original campiness. Never to a Shatnerian degree, true, but the sets looked like sets, the make-up looked like make-up, and no one seemed to take themselves terribly seriously. (I know, I know — that’s the product of a TV series having a lower budget. What can I say? Maybe “Trek” is better on the small screen.) In the trailer below, it’s seriousness and zillion-dollar F/X all the way. The brooding, 90210-ish, ostentatiously “intense” Kirk is especially jarring. Is that how he was in the first movie or is this trailer catching him at especially melodramatic moments?

If I’m not mistaken, that’s the Enterprise doing a belly flop into the harbor at the end. So there’s that.

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There is no such thing.

cozmo on March 21, 2013 at 7:46 PM

You’re right; the whole show was so amazing there’s no way for one to fairly choose a best scene. Though Picard calling Q out on being God and “There are four lights” are definitely up there.

Dunedainn on March 22, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Oh, SG, say it ain’t so. Please tell me you forgot the sarc tag. Nobody liked Voyager. It was waaaaay too politically correct. I can’t even name five episodes that I’d care to see again.

Odysseus on March 21, 2013 at 8:20 PM

Nobody? How could one not like the crew of a starship stranded thousands of light years from home fighting off an incursion by holographic Nazis from Hell?

Voyager was nothing less than amazing.

Dunedainn on March 22, 2013 at 9:24 AM

OK, here comes my ST rant.

I like Abrams’ reboot, because it actually brings Trek back more-or-less to where it began. That being Roddenberry’s idea of telling “Horatio Hornblower in Space”-type stories.

For those of you not familiar with the novels by C.S. Forester, they told the story of a young Royal Navy officer coming up through the ranks during the Napoleonic Wars. They were war stories, just as much as Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War, James Bassett’s (In) Harm’s Way, or for that matter Forester’s own non-fiction Sink the Bismarck.

I was never a fan of the “Next Generation” shows, although I’ve seen them all. Mainly because they took ST off the deep end of “caring and sharing” pseudo-progressive claptrap. A now-deceased friend of mine with a Ph.D in sociology pointed out that in the NG era, the Federation was a Swedish-style socialist state.

Remember Picard repeatedly going on about “we believe our purpose is to improve the quality of life?” How about “we no longer enslave animals as food?” Fine if you have the technology for it, but hardly realistic short of replicators that can synthesize entirely new bodily organs for medical transplant- which is a h**l of a lot harder than “tea, Earl Grey, hot”, trust me.

Like most socialist states, the NG Federation didn’t have much tolerance for dissent. Their motto toward their own people was “Be Enlightened Or Else”. In evidence of which, I give you the Maquis; people who were told this over time by the Federation;

1. We want you to colonize these worlds near the edge of our territory. Yes, we know the Cardassians will be your new neighbors, but don’t worry, they’re harmless.

2. (A few decades later) Oh, we’ve decided that those colony worlds we put you on really belong to the Cardassians after all. We now want you to move out to avoid offending them, because we must avoid offending (violent, aggressive, military dictatorships) at all costs. (Offending you, we have no problem with.)

3. You can’t move? You mean you won’t move. You are now officially outlaws, and we’re sending the Fleet after you. Chew on that, revanchists. (Meanwhile the UFP is ignoring the nasty vibes coming from the Cardassians…. Gaza and North Korea, anyone?)

It got to the point that, when the war with the Dominion/Cardassian alliance erupted, the Federation literally could not believe a war had started. (In Jeff Cooper’s terms, they were in Condition White and couldn’t believe that the ball was now in their court.) Simply put, they were so convinced of their own absolute “moral rectitude” that they could not conceive of anyone ever wanting to hurt them. (“Admiral Neville Chamberlain to Enterprise, one to beam up.”)

In the end, they “won”, due to an alliance with the Klingons and Romulans, who were a bit quicker to realize that their mutual (and well-founded) distrust was less important at that moment than dealing with the people who were busy shooting at them along with everybody else. (Google “Great Patriotic War”.) But the Federation would never be the same.

If indeed it survived at all, long-term. I suspect that one reason the NG series’ development ended abruptly at that point (and ST;Enterprise came along), was because Rick Berman & Co. realized that they had written themselves into a corner with only one believable outcome; the breakup of the Federation. Such a “coalition of the nice” could not long survive the damage it had suffered as a result of the Dominion War. (Model; the breakup of the British Empire, 1946-70.)

I suspect Berman and friends, “good progressives” all, just didn’t like the idea. Hence, they set the Wayback Machine for the time before the Federation- and created a Temporal Cold War to lampshade their discomfort at facing the illogic of their own expressed philosophy. (And no apologies, to Spock or anybody else.)

No wonder Paramount hired J.J. Abrams to recreate the ST universe. Their cash cow had committed seppuku; new blood was needed.

Abrams’ “new Trek” serves the same purpose as the “reimagined” Battlestar Galactica. (TIA; I hated the original BSG; the Gil Gerard Buck Rogers series was infinitely more interesting IMHO, basically The Wild, Wild West in outer space. Not surprising, as BR executive producer John Mantley had worked on WWW.)

The Abrams’ film(s) go back to where everything started, and take things more in the direction the creator (Roddenberry) originally wanted to go, not where it eventually ended up in other hands. Right down to the massive firepower of the Enterprise and other Starfleet ships; to see where Roddenberry originally intended to go with that, look up the old tabletop war game Star Fleet Battles, which he helped create back in the 1970s. (Yes, starships in that game do have massive numbers of phaser emitters that “pop out” of the hull to fire; it’s called “point defense” vs. incoming missiles.)

BTW, I worked at Trek conventions in my college years, and spent a good bit of time with Mr. Roddenberry personally. And as he explained it to me, not to mention other people, his original conception of ST- “Horatio Hornblower in Space”- was not what he pitched it to NBC as. He told them it was “Wagon Train to the Stars”.

Why? Two reasons;

1. Westerns were a familiar genre’ to the network buyers, so it was a “frame of reference” they already had. He didn’t even try to explain to them that the frontier was as much about the U.S. Cavalry as it was about pioneers, settlers, and etc. (For the classic “Boots and Saddles” situation, look up the original series episodes “Arena” and “Balance of Terror”, the latter of which is also basically a haircut of the WW2 movie The Enemy Below.)

2. The second reason was, however, more important is his mind. He was well aware that probably none of the execs he was talking to had ever heard of C.S. Forester, much less read any of his books. As he said,

If I’d told them it was ‘Horatio Hornblower in outer space’, they’d have figured it was a show about a jazz trumpeter who worked for NASA.

TV truly is a medium of the lowest common denominator. Largely due to the aggregate IQ of the people running networks.

Rant off.



eon on March 22, 2013 at 9:44 AM

eon on March 22, 2013 at 9:44 AM

You’re so right about NextGen. I found the last season to be so obviously PC it became unwatchable for me. From the beginning of the series, I could never get used to the idea of a Ship’s Counselor. The entire concept smacked of the old Soviet political officers aboard every one of their ships and submarines–who had almost equal authority with the captain.

Liam on March 22, 2013 at 10:02 AM

The later ST shows simply made too much of an effort to include women and female themes. The Abrams movies get back to having the men clearly running things and women as support staff who look good. If you understand that Hollywood today is ruled by the sensibilities of 16-24 year old males, you will know why they hired Abrams and why these movies have done so well. Teenage boys and young adult males want to see guys blowing stuff up and beautiful women looking beautiful. Younger girls and women also really, really like to look at Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto.

The first ST movie also had the wonderful hook of including Leonard Nimoy, which reeled in the older viewers like me. In my opinion it is one of the best movies of the last 10 years.

rockmom on March 22, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Roddenberry’s idea of telling “Horatio Hornblower in Space”-type stories.

eon on March 22, 2013 at 9:44 AM

AAh! Boy, I wish I’d had that comparison a few years back. Never could lure husband & kids into my Trek-dom, but boy did we all gather to watch the Horatio Hornblower series on PBS!

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on March 22, 2013 at 10:25 AM

eon on March 22, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Thanks for posting all of this. I enjoyed your perspective.

I hated TNG. I watched it for a time but I quit after a few seasons. It was nothing but lib gobally gook.

They replaced Kirk with a freaking committee on the bridge. And then you had that stupid Counselor Deania Troi. There were so many things I hated about it I just couldn’t go on. And it got worse when Deep Space 9 showed up. More lib crap. The Ferengi obviously represented capitalists. They were ugly and greedy. I couldn’t take it.

The original had a few flaws but I enjoyed it tremendously at the time. Today it is obviously very dated and low budget… but the characters were good and the action was great. A few of the episodes were plain dumb. But several of them were absolutely great and would make very good movies in themselves if they were expanded.

JellyToast on March 22, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on March 22, 2013 at 10:25 AM

The one with Ioan Gruffudd? ;)

mrsknightley on March 22, 2013 at 10:30 AM

The Ferengi obviously represented capitalists. They were ugly and greedy.

JellyToast on March 22, 2013 at 10:26 AM

And, they wouldn’t let their women wear clothes.

Liam on March 22, 2013 at 10:32 AM

And, they wouldn’t let their women wear clothes.

Liam on March 22, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Did you see their woman? I would have made them wear tents. I never understood the idea the the Ferengi men found earth woman attractive. I goes against evolution in my opinion. Aliens as distinctive as the Ferengi should have had standards of beauty that applied to their race. The only show to really push that concept was Farscape when John got stuck on a ship with a really odd guy. Looked completely human male but turned out to be a female of her race and quite a looker if she had to say so herself. In another episode he was being seduced by a female and he made the remark about not even knowing if the parts fit. To it’s credit Voyager also had an episode in which Kess explained how she had sex to Nelix. Very weird and creepy but at least it showed the differences between species.

Dr. Frank Enstine on March 22, 2013 at 10:45 AM

For anyone interested Roddenberry’s screen writing prior to STAR TREK, Check out the first couple of seasons of HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL of which he is credited.
I was very young when it was on but I do recall it was one of my father’s favorite shows, now I know why.
TV Westerns of the 50 and 60s get slammed (some of it deserved) but if you want to see examples of screen writing at it’s finest and what a pro can do with a 30 minute program, watch HGWT.
Mature story lines, depth of character, storys that don’t resolve the way you think they will. I think this was what he meant by Wagon Train of the stars. (Another oater with memorable scripts, especially in the early years.) He wasn’t Rod Serling but he came durn close.

sanjuro on March 22, 2013 at 10:49 AM

eon on March 22, 2013 at 9:44 AM

I don’t think Berman wrote himself into a corner at all. A post-Dominion War show would be rife with dramatic possibilities, but I think he created Enterprise in response to the perceived popularity of the Star Wars prequel…which is why I never really gave it a chance at the time.

Having watched it in rerun and on Netflix, however, I’m sorry I reacted that way. It’s actually a good series. And anyone who wants to gripe about its supposed “violations of canon” has no business liking the Abrams movie.

DRayRaven on March 22, 2013 at 10:55 AM

The one with Ioan Gruffudd? ;)

mrsknightley on March 22, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Yes-yes! Meow, what a face on that kid eh?


Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on March 22, 2013 at 11:02 AM

I may or may not have bought the series on the strength of that face. ;) He was very good in the role, but I was distracted by the poor production values.

I still don’t know why he doesn’t have a bigger career. He’s a terrific actor and the face has held up very well. He’s often mentioned wanting to get the rights to HH so he can make movies and play Hornblower as he ages. Not sure it’ll happen now, though.

mrsknightley on March 22, 2013 at 11:06 AM

I don’t know why he didn’t blow up on the big screen, either. His acting overcame the PBS-level budget, and Hollywood has done much worse in the male lead department (see: cheesy guys in the ‘Twilight’ series). Thanks for letting me know he still has “the face”, too!

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on March 22, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Allah, maybe you should give “Doctor Who” a look. It’s full of teh gheys, which you’ll love, but it’s also full of lefty twaddle as well, which you’ll enjoy rolling your eyes at.

And the whole regeneration thing is pretty irresistible, too!

Kensington on March 22, 2013 at 1:01 PM

I don’t know why he didn’t blow up on the big screen, either.

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on March 22, 2013 at 11:12 AM

I know why: his name. It’s off-putting. Too many repeating consonants and a first name that’s simply too confusing. How do you even pronounce it? “Ian”? “Eeowen”?


Kensington on March 22, 2013 at 1:07 PM

I never watched “Enterprise,” but James Lileks wrote so eloquently and appreciatively of it that I have to figure it’s worth seeing eventually.

Kensington on March 22, 2013 at 1:08 PM

His acting overcame the PBS-level budget, and Hollywood has done much worse in the male lead department (see: cheesy guys in the ‘Twilight’ series). Thanks for letting me know he still has “the face”, too!
Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on March 22, 2013 at 11:12 AM

For my money, PBS offered the best telling of the “Count Dracula” story in 1977. Excluding the singular classic 1931 version with Lugosi, of course (but that’s kinda an apples v. oranges comparison).

whatcat on March 22, 2013 at 1:37 PM

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