Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 in review - Best trailer of the year: the preview that ruined the movie (and not in the usual way).

I've seen Star Trek twice now. I will concede that the film was far more entertaining the second time around, and that I missed certain nuances of Kirk's arc (like the idea that Kirk acts with logic while Spock acts with emotion for much of the second half of the film). Frankly, I was so put off by the obnoxious kobayashi maru sequence that it colored my perception of him for the rest of the picture. I still find Eric Bana's Nero to be lacking in anything resembling gravitas. I still hate that the film basically ends with a shootout and a chase scene. I still contend that the third act is a mess, with future Spock basically dictating how the rest of the story should unfold and how to achieve it. And the idea that the crew of the Starship Enterprise should still take shape like we remember it, even in this alternate timeline, reeks of manifest destiny (why must James T. Kirk end up captain in this continuity?). Ironically, that last issue was actually dealt with in the best Star Trek movie of all, Galaxy Quest.

Still, I concede that part of my initial disappointment with Star Trek came from breaking my own cardinal rule - being displeased that the movie wasn't the film I wanted it to be, rather than critiquing the film that played out in front of me. I wanted THE Star Trek film, but I got merely a Star Trek film. I wanted something that was every bit as epic, mythic, Campellian, and breathtakingly powerful as the second trailer. What I got was merely an entertaining introductory space adventure, a B-movie with amusing characters, occasionally clever dialogue, and A-level production values. But if I admit that my expectations were colored by the film's marketing campaign, I must also admit that the second trailer (released in early March of 2009) was a wonderful piece of filmmaking, a soaring, emotionally-charged epic in 135 seconds. Star Trek may not have been the best film of the year, but its trailer easily stands as 2009's best coming attraction. As for the producers of the film itself, they've reignited a 45-year old franchise, reaped record grosses, and won over new fans in the geek and non-geek community alike. For the sequel, I still dare them to do better.

Scott Mendelson

1 comment:

Scott said...

I've got to agree that it was the best trailer of the year. I can't remember how many times I've watched it, even after watching the movie.


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