For his first Trek film, Abrams carefully balanced the need to respect the Star Trek canon, while establishing the world of Kirk, Spock and Bones for a new generation of audiences.
But will Abrams have the vision to forge new ground with his Trek films?
I count myself among the legion of Trek fans, though I can’t say I know every episode or that I can speak Klingon. I’ve enjoyed the Classic and Next Gen series, as well as the accompanying films and various offshoots (save Enterprise, which never caught on with me).
Watching this first trailer had an odd effect on me. The trailer for Into Darkness certainly looks fabulous — the flurry of vibrant colors and flashy production design all indicate an exciting adventure with the Enterprise crew.
But when all was said and done, I started to wonder if JJ Abrams was less focused on the Star Trek mission. From what little one can discern from this trailer, the story seems more focused on repeating successful beats of the original film series than finding its own path.
Into Darkness is clearly a tale of personal vengeance (already repeating a core theme from Abrams’ first Trek installment). Worse, there is one iconic shot included in the trailer that seems to literally repeat one of the most devastating emotional moments from Star Trek II, Wrath of Khan. Worse still… is this film a retread of the successful Khan storyline?
What started to bother me after watching this first trailer for Into Darkness was… What happened to those fabulous, awe-inspiring words from Star Trek’s opening pronouncement, “Space, the final frontier…”?
Will Star Trek still be about exploration? Or have the expectations to deliver sci-fi action within a blockbuster formula hampered Abrams’ potential to take his film “where no one has gone before?” At VOH, we’ve held off on endorsing Abrams as a visionary, but he certainly has a solid track record.
Of course, a trailer does not make a film, and we all know better than to judge a film until we see it for ourselves.
Still, I worry.