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9 Minutes of “Star Trek Into Darkness”? We’ve Seen It!

If you’re going to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at midnight on Thursday (or at any point thereafter) on IMAX, then be sure to bring a tricorder along with your lembas bread, because you’ll be setting your phasers to “fuck yeah” when you’re treated to 9 whole minutes of advance Star Trek Into Darkness footage prior to the film. If you’re the type that just can’t wait to see it for yourself, then you’ll be pleased to know that I saw the footage on Sunday evening and it’s worth the price of admission.

J.J. Abrams showed up before the screening and specifically (and kindly) asked us to avoid doing a scene-by-scene breakdown. While I do cover quite a bit of ground here, there are details and scenes that have been omitted because part of the fun of going to the movies is, well, actually seeing the footage for yourself. Abrams also noted that for all of those people out there worried that this is the gritty, Dark Knight-ified Star Trek film that “it’s very doom and gloom, but it’s fun too.” After watching the initial footage – well, I’m inclined to agree. While I’ll do my best not to ruin any of the fun, you should be advised that there are probably minor spoilers ahead.

Benedict Cumberbatch is…just as mysterious as ever. Is he Gary Mitchell? Is he Khaaaaaaaaan? Is he the Ghost of Redshirts Past? At the beginning of the preview, we see a couple grieving over their sick child (Doctor Who‘s Noel Clarke and 24‘s Nazneen Contractor). Clarke takes a stroll outside to get some fresh air where he is approached by a stranger who says that he can save their ailing daughter. A stranger named Benedict Cumberbatch. Considering this takes place in London, Stardate 2259.55, and we saw Clarke as Mickey Smith in the Doctor Who episode “Age of Steel” choosing to stay behind in a futuristic version of Cardiff with advanced technology, it lends credence to the popular fan theory that Benedict Cumberbatch is the Twelfth Doctor and is here to prevent Kirk and company from accidentally activating the Cybermen once again. Or maybe the Enterprise is a Dalek. Sounds plausible, right?

Remember that red forest from the teaser trailer? It’s not a rejected set from The Lorax…

…it’s the Class-M planet Nibiru, and we see Kirk and McCoy clutching a scroll, running away at top speed from some very, very peeved indigenous peoples with chalk-white makeup and the pointiest spears this side of the Horsehead Nebula. They’re an alien species – humanoid, caked in white war paint, with big black eyes and clad in strips of yellow fabric for clothing. It smacks of Raiders of the Lost Ark in a good way, and the post-converted 3D is put to good use as our stalwart Starfleet saviors tear through the jungle and spears hurtle over their shoulders towards the screen. It’s clear that although Abrams didn’t shoot it in 3D, the cinematography kept the post-conversion in mind. Michael Giacchino’s score isn’t completed yet, but the music he put together for the preview footage, especially during this thrilling sequence, hits all the right notes and gives the on-screen action momentum. But all of this is a diversionary tactic to lead the population away from a volcano on the brink of eruption…

A volcano into which Spock descends! Dangerous? Sure. Logical? Probably not, but Spock knows best. This is all part of their overarching Prime Directive – the volcano must be rendered inert or else it will destroy Nibiru’s Legends of the Hidden Temple Temple Guards-in-training. Shit hits the proverbial fan, and our 9 minute introduction to Into Darkness ends with Spock doing his best impression of Willem Dafoe in Platoon and Kirk left with a difficult choice to make. His fate is left uncertain as the preview footage gives way to a mini-teaser trailer. I imagine this will play a larger part later in the film, but the reasoning behind the need to save Nibiru is still nebulous for now.

So, long story short, you don’t really learn much from the first 9 minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness except that it looks like a hell of a lot of fun. Oh, and the Enterprise can go underwater. Apparently, that’s a huge issue for some people. Does anyone have a GIF of a pair of “Deal With It” sunglasses slowly falling onto the Enterprise? [EDIT: The answer is "yes." Thanks to Bennett!] Most importantly, this early look at Into Darkness offers a good balance of action, humor and stunning visuals that is enough to have me working on a Starfleet Advent Calendar to count down the days between now and May 17th, 2013.

 

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14 comments

  • What is this final screenshot we’re seeing here? Is this the heartfelt farewell between Spock and Kirk from Wrath of Khan? While I really enjoyed the new movie and the direction of the reboot, I hope that they’re not going to try to recreate that iconic scene…

  • *dons her Whovian cap* Actually, we last see Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke) at the end of “The End of Time” when the Doctor is checking in on all of his companions one last time right before he regenerates. Mickey came back from the alternate universe Cardiff in “Journey’s End”; he had stayed behind there in “Age of Steel”.

    Relating to the actual article: I’m stupidly excited to see more Star Trek, but I’m super bummed that the nearest imax theater is hours away so I won’t get to see this!

  • @Taen, I should have specified that it was the last episode *I* saw him in. I am but an apprentice Whovian, not yet a journeyman. I’ll amend the post to reflect the “Age of Steel” bit.

    @Joel, that final screenshot is from the extra scene in the Japanese teaser trailer. Look for more on that tomorrow in a HUGE Star Trek post.

    @Eric, that is Spock, but he’s in a heat-resistant suit on a bit of non-lava-covered rock in the middle of the volcano.

  • Not sure why people have issues with the underwater Enterprise Its designed for the vacuum of space meaning its airtight. Plus I believe the NX Enterprise went underwater once.

  • The NX never went underwater… ” Like most spacecraft, the Enterprise is designed to keep between one and several atmospheres of pressure in, while the ship itself is exposed to the vacuum of space. This is a very different job than keeping out the pressure from tons of sea water over your head. (2) It just strains credibility to the breaking point to ask us to believe that those poor Starfleet engineers were told to take flying under water into account in their ship designs. How often can that even need to happen during your average mission? Spoiler alert: like, never. Or hardly ever. You just wouldn’t build that sort of thing into your space ship’s requirements. I suppose you could technobabble your way out of any criticism like this with structural integrity fields and blah, blah, blah, but come on – that’s the sort of thing that eventually killed the TNG-era run of Trek. If we’re already at that point two movies into the reboot, we’re in real trouble.”

  • @me its the future who’s to say it isn’t possible. The enterprise isn’t made of steel. In the 21st Century it may not be possible but who is to say how ships are built in the future.

  • The Enterprise underwater reeks of a stunning set piece in search of a story. That seems to be the way these movies are written. Story board out 5 things that will make great segments, then do some writing gymnastics to justify their inclusion in the movie.

    Abrams and Lindelof start from an end and work backwards. In this case, the end they have started from makes no reasonable sense. The technobabble they will have to use to justify this end would be excessive.

    Real science and exploration do not work this way. We start from the beginning, posit a theory and explore, discovering what is really there on the way. When Abrams and Lindelof write a script, they already know the final answer (hint: it is always that we humans can not possibly know/control/understand the universe), then retroactively justify it. This often means that the endings do not logically follow from the story. There are frequently no good clues to what is happening until the very end.

    In my opinion, their works are anti-intellectual and will do nothing to inspire the next generation of curious minds.