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Star Trek

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Grabthar’s Silver Hammer.

“Rockwell: I wanted to ennoble the coward archetype. I thought of the best cowards in cinematic history, like John Turturro in ‘Miller’s Crossing.’ When we did the shuttle scene I drank four cups of coffee and downed two Excedrin. I wanted to be so hyped that I would have a nervous breakdown on the shuttle.”

On the fifteenth anniversary of a certifiable comedy classic, MTV offers up an oral history of Galaxy Quest. “George Takei: [It's] a chillingly realistic documentary.”

Ten Forward Couture.

“And then the Enterprise also travels to the planet where everybody dresses like David Byrne in Stop Making Sense.” From successful sci-fi costuming to something of the more hit-and-miss variety, io9 takes a gander at the costumes of the first three Star Trek: The Next Generation seasons. Points for creativity, I suppose.

Chief O’Brien, Working Stiff.

“We know that Miles O’Brien had a lot more fun serving aboard Deep Space Nine than he did aboard the Enterprise, and these ennui-filled comics help explain why. Hanging out alone in the transporter room all day is bound to drive a fellow a bit mad.”

Need more ST:TNG-related humor? io9 also recently pointed the way to this amusing webcomic about Chief O’Brien’s daily grind (before getting reassigned to Deep Space Nine.) Can an actual honest-to-goodness Colm Meaney cameo be far behind?

Liiiiinnnnnndeeeeellllhooffffffff!!!

“You know cold fusion isn’t actually cold, right? It’s only ‘cold’ in the sense that opposed to regular fusion it’s not a bazillion degrees hot…And did you say Spock was in the volcano? Why the hell didn’t they just beam the bomb in there?…And why did Spock have to go with the bomb to set it off? Are you telling me in the 23rd century that people don’t have a way to detonate bombs remotely?”

Io9′s Rob Bricken offers a much-deserved evisceration of Star Trek: Into Darkness (and he doesn’t even bring up the “why Khan’s blood but not one of the other 71 guys” problem.) The first one had a number of egregious plot holes too, of course, but it at least had a charming cast and the benefit of novelty. The charming cast remains, but since Into Darkness is otherwise just a lousy and ultimately insulting remix of Wrath of Khan with a frisson of 9/11, the extreme dumbness here is even more aggravating.

I would say this does not bode well at all for the upcoming Star Wars films, but it seems pretty obvious the main problem here was the writing. Star Trek: Into Darkness is the most blatantly nonsensical film since Prometheus, which I called the most disappointing film of 2012. The most disappointing film of 2011? Cowboys & Aliens. All three were co-penned by Damon Lindelof, who’s clearly supplanted Akiva Goldsman as the hackiest hack in Hollywood. He’s like franchise kryptonite.

Do Green Lights Cause Lens Flare?


“My life, Old Sport, has got to be like this.” Two new TV spots hit for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, now only a little over a month away. As I’ve said before, this looks like it’s either going to be amazing or a total train wreck.

Also in the bin of late, Kirk steps up after a few anti-Federation terrorist attacks in the newest trailer for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek: Into Darkness. Man, Benny Cumberbatch talks a lot of smack, doesn’t he? Well, if that’s what it takes to get into Smaug shape, so be it.

Still Scruffy-Looking.

Latino Review scores big news from the emerging Star Wars empire at Disney (and many Bothans died to bring them this information): Harrison Ford is officially signed to return as everyone’s favorite Corellian smuggler in the next set of Star Wars movies. Presumably he’ll be joining Luke and Leia in the JJ Abrams sequel trilogy, not the rumored Han Solo spin-off movie. Either way, don’t blow this, Han.

FWIW, as a Star Wars kid, I’m mostly OK with this ginormous SW revival over at the Mouse. The prequel trilogy — especially Attack of the Clones — already broke the seal in terms of bringing bad Star Wars into the world. So, even if this all seems extremely commercialized even for a franchise that was always driven by toy sales, I’m still curious to see other diverse and talented filmmakers playing in the great sandbox Lucas made. But JJ Abrams? Eh. I already saw his Star Wars movie back when it was called Star Trek.

Update: Mark Hamill discusses the current situation.

Sail on, Sunjammer.

The Sunjammer mission – the name is borrowed from an Arthur C. Clarke short story about an interplanetary yacht race — will unfurl a solar sail that dwarfs those that have thus far been tested in space. Where NanoSail-D’s diminutive sail measured just 100 square feet and Japan’s IKAROS measures something like 2,000 square feet, Sunjammer’s sail possesses a total surface area of nearly 13,000 square feet. Yet collapsed it weighs just 70 pounds and takes up about as much space as a dishwasher, making it easy to stow in the secondary payload bay of a rocket headed to low Earth orbit.

Popular Science previews the flight of NASA’s Sunjammer, set for launch in 2014. “The destination for Sunjammer is the Earth-Sun Lagrange Point 1, a gravitationally stable spot way out there between us and our nearest star…Sunjammer will be carrying the cremated remains of various individuals, including Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and his wife Majel Barrett Roddenberry.”

It’s Spock!!! Do You Care?!?


Well? Do you?!?

From Hell’s Heart…


After relying heavily on Star Wars for their first outing, J.J. Abrams and co. now borrow from the Dark Knight and the Nolanverse — especially the Inception button — to lend heft to the teaser for Star Trek: Into Darkness, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the new, still unidentified Big Bad. (Khan? Gary Mitchell? Garth of Izar? Smaug? Severus Gruber?) Eh, I’m in…but we just did the vengeance-upon-the Federation schtick with Eric Bana in the last movie.

Secrets of the Supercut.


“Many supercuts provide hard evidence of the existence of tropes long suspected but never quite proved: imperiled characters fretting that they have no cellphone signal; high-tech investigators asking their imaging software to “enhance“; action movie toughs girding for battle by announcing, “We’ve got company.” But what motivates the supercutter to slog through hours of footage to compile these minute observations? And what distinguishes the masters of the form?

In Slate, old friend Seth Stevenson surveys the practice and methodology of supercuts. At the very least it’s both funny and instructive to see how many times, to take the example of ST:TNG, Worf gets denied and bad things happen to Geordi.

Letters from a Birmingham Trek Convention.

[W]hen I told Dr. King I was leaving the show, I never got to tell him why, because he said, ‘You can’t.’ He explained to me just what I’ve just said. ‘Here you are on the command crew in the 23rd century, fourth in command, while we’re marching in the streets for equality.’” Nichelle Nichols, a.k.a. Lt. Uhura, relates the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Trekkie.

Life, Jim, But Not As We Know It.

Now I may not yet, or ever, possess the longevity of Old Spock. But in my thirty-four years on the third planet near Sol, I’m old enough to have witnessed some memorable happenings in the world of sci-fi. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. And for many years, before universes proliferated and comic-book-guyish, cosplay-level fandom went mainstream and upmarket, a long, simmering, and sometimes even strangely bitter rivalry between the Star Wars and Star Trek people. (I would count myself among the former — I lived out there, so don’t go there. But that don’t mean a fanboy can’t rest with the Trek, be a nice guest to the Trek.) In the darkest days of this needless galactic schism, Trekkies often considered SW fans to be middlebrow, sophomoric science-fantasy types (if not budding Fascists), while those of the Jedi ilk often looked down upon their Trek brethren as Aspergers-suffering mouth-breathers, even more unsocialized and hopelessly nerdy than they.

But on the nineteenth hour of the seventh day of the fifth month of 2009, (or, if you’d prefer, Stardate 62851.9), the war at long last ended. For, with the release of the eleventh film in the latter franchise, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, these once-feuding universes converged. Blessed with a charismatic and appealing cast that smooths over much of the choppy writing turbulence therein, Abrams’ Trek reboot isn’t only a rousing, over-the-top, sometimes patently absurd space opera that borrows as much from Lucas’ original trilogy as it does from its erstwhile source material — It’s also probably the best of the Star Wars prequels. The more I’ve thought about it over the past few days, the less sense the movie makes, and the more and more shamelessly derivative Trek seems. But darned if I didn’t have a good time during the Big Show itself, which, of course, is what really matters in the end.

This iteration of Trek begins with an on-duty starship encountering the usual deeply weird phenomena on the fringes of Federation territory — in this case, a lightning storm in space. And, just like that giveaway red shirt on an unknown Away Team member (see also: Sam Rockwell in Galaxy Quest), the fact that said ship is not emblazoned Enterprise but, rather, the U.S.S. Kelvin signifies that there’s probably some serious trouble ahead. (Also, just as Lts. Chekov and Uhura on the original bridge signifed an optimistic faith in mankind’s ability to move past the Cold War, racial inequality, and other seemingly intractable dilemmas of the Sixties, the fact that the Kelvin is captained by Pakistani-American actor Faran Tahir, most recognizable as the Mandarin-sponsored Afghan terrorist of Iron Man, indicates that the Trekverse laudably remains an hopeful and inclusive one.)

Well, the allegorical obstacles in Trek may come and go, but then as now, aliens with ridges and/or tattoos on their head are usually up to no good. And, sure enough, a disgruntled Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana) soon emerges from said lightning cloud and obliterates the Kelvin…but not before some daring, ultimately suicidal heroics by acting Captain George Kirk. Cut to several years later, when Kirk’s only son, James Tiberius, is acting out his abandonment issues by transgressing authority whenever possible amid the cornfields of Iowa. (Hey, good news, Ad Rock — the Beastie Boys still get some run in the 23rd century.) Meanwhile, over on the planet Vulcan, Spock, a young boy of mixed lineage — Vulcan father, human mother — fends off the taunts of his schoolmates and struggles more than most to keep his emotions in check. (Playing Spock’s parents are Ben Cross, looking quite a bit like the Sarek of old, Mark Lenard, and Winona Ryder, inexplicably cast to wear bad age make-up, respectively.)

Another jump forward, and James T. Kirk (Chris Pine, a real find), still raisin’ less corn and more hell than most around him, is shamed into joining Starfleet after a bar brawl by Capt. Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood), who just-so happened to write his dissertation(?) on Kirk the elder’s heroism. (Pike will conveniently forget much of this later on.) Meanwhile, Spock (Matthew Quinto, making the post-Sylar leap) has had it up to his eyebrows with Vulcan nativism and has subsequently enlisted in Starfleet himself, where his duties include, among other things, developing the diabolical Kobayashi Maru. These two men are clearly on a collision course: Kirk’s bold, earthy blend of action and intution — “leap before you look,” basically — is the exact opposite of Spock’s cold embrace of logic and reason. And, when Nero returns to threaten Vulcan, and, subsequently, Earth, will these two potential heroes be able to get past their obvious differences and form a winning team? Unfortunately, Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban, doing a pitch-perfect DeForrest Kelley) has been shuffled to the background, and isn’t really around to square that circle like he once did.

There’s more to the story, of course, including a mid-act time-travel twist that, especially by Trek standards, is more elegant than most. (I particularly liked how it preserved all of the classic continuity while allowing for anything to happen in this new, pocket universe.) But the basic gist here is: Let’s get the Band Together! And, as per the “future-nostalgia” habit of so many prequels these days, Trek spends a good bit of its run just getting all of the Enterprise‘s ducks in a row — Scotty in the engine room, Bones in the medbay, Uhura (wo)manning the comm, etc. This could all get pretty tiresome in terms of inside-baseball, I guess — there are shout-outs to everything from Orion slave girls to Scott Bakula’s beagle — if the cast here wasn’t so uniformly game for anything that comes along. Kirk, Bones, Chekov, and Scotty in particular are all written a bit broadly, but the actors really succeed in selling even the goofiest subroutines here. And having the imprimatur of you-know-who of the classic era — playing Obi-Wan Kenobi basically — really lends Abrams’ Star Trek reboot a touch of class that I’m not even sure the Shat could’ve provided.

Now, speaking of Obi-Wan, I guess it’d be a bit churlish, after the depressing lowlights of Insurrection and Nemesis, to begrudge fans of this universe “A New Hope.” Still, even with glimmers of Trek’s previous highs — the surveying-the-Enterprise sequence of The Motion Picture, the humor and ship-to-ship combat of Wrath of Khan — every so often, there’s just an extraordinary amount of ganking from the Original Trilogy going on here. Now, as I said above, I’m one who thinks there’s a lot more in common between Wars and Trek than is often acknowledged. Whether it’s Luke using the Force at the last possible moment, or simply Scotty/Geordi reversing the dual positronic overlays on the tachyon inhibitors surrounding the dilithium field, we’re still in deus-ex-machina territory nine times out of ten. (And imho, Trek, despite its reputation, was never really close to being hard-sci-fi anyway.) That being said, the sweeping, larky space opera tone of Star Wars has been almost completely appropriated here by Abrams and his writing team, to the point where it almost seems actionable. (Although, now that I think about it, the SW prequels, with their flat, wooden scenes of actors discoursing interminably about the taxation of trade routes and/or New Agey questions of morality, was actually pretty close to bad Trek.)

And it’s not just the tone. Despite having some very Skywalker-ish Daddy issues, and sharing his very own “Twin Suns” moment of destiny with a constitution-class starship in Iowa drydock, James T. Kirk here is, for all intent and purposes, a swaggering, swashbuckling “scoundrel” in the mode of Han Solo. There’s a Mos Eisley-ish cantina sequence where, particularly by Trek standards, Star Wars-style aliens abound. The pre-sibling reveal, Luke-Han-Leia love triangle of ANH is grafted note-for-note onto Spock-Kirk-Uhura. There’s an ice moon strongly reminiscent of Hoth, with a Wampa-like creature and (in one of the weakest moments of the film) a Naboo-like “always a bigger fish” food chain. (On this one i’ll concede, it’s also a lot like Rura Penthe, the “aliens’ graveyard” of Star Trek VI.) They even go so far as to give Scotty an ugnaught (although, it does look a bit like Twiki, and given a later Augustus Gloop-like incident involving Montgomery Scott and a water-pipe, it could also be an Oompa-Loompa.) If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then it’s clear: new Trek and old-school Star Wars are very much on the same page.

Unfortunately, that page as presented here still needs one more rewrite. Thanks to the sterling cast and some spiffy camerawork (the ubiquitous lens flares do get to be a bit much, tho), I happily went along for the ride for most of Trek. But even during the funhouse itself, some glaring errors in logic become harder and harder to ignore. Now, I’m not talking about continuity lapses with what’s come before — I think the reboot here makes sense on its own terms, and that’s not my bag when it comes to Trek anyway. Nor am I really talking about science problems, even though they’re considerably worse here than usual for Trek. (Much violence is done to our understanding of black holes in this film — Schwarzchild does not exist in this dojo. Then again, it’s probably too much to ask that Trek get gravity wells right when, judging by the completely absurd freefalling-onto-the-space-drill sequence, regular ole gravity is hard enough. But, hey, once you accept warp speed, I guess all bets are off anyway.)

No, the real problems arise with basic storytelling lapses that, if you’re wired that way (and I suspect most sci-fi fans are), will nag at you even during this otherwise transporting film. [Some spoilers to follow.] Like, where was Nero over the past twenty-five years, and why didn’t he use any of that time to rethink his somewhat dubious motives for vengeance? (Wiping out the Federation wouldn’t prevent in any way his planet’s demise, which, as explained, was caused by Romulus’ star going supernova.) Even given the sudden emergency at hand, why are there absolutely no ranking officers of any consequence — Pike excepted — on board the Federation’s newly-built flagship, the USS Enterprise? If it’s a serious enough matter to send raw cadets from the Academy, wouldn’t some of Starfleet’s old hands in and around San Francisco also answer the call?

Also, if “Red Matter” — don’t ask — is as unbelievably, mind-blowingly powerful as it’s portrayed here, why did the Vulcan Science Academy even bother to create — and then send off! — a heaping Big Gulp-size quantity of it? Talk about your WMD. For that matter, particularly given what happens with this stuff late in the film, why was Nero even bothering with the big Space Drill part of his plan anyway? Seems a bit purposeless, doesn’t it? And, even allowing for the mystical, Force-like workings of Fate (as well as his dubious dispatch from the Enterprise itself), Cadet Kirk running into you-know-who in a random cave in the middle of nowhere at exactly the best possible moment was show-stoppingly ludicrous. It’s the type of thing you’d expect from poorly-thought-out fanfic, not a $100 million movie.

Now I don’t mean to get too lost in the nitpicks. I really enjoyed myself during Star Trek, and, despite its storywriting faults, it’s almost assuredly the best film in the franchise since Khan (or The Voyage Home, I guess, if you’re more into the funny-Trek. I also quite enjoyed First Contact at the time, and I always thought Undiscovered Country was underappreciated.) Check your brain at the door, and Trek is about as good a reboot as we all could’ve hoped for, and a fun, sexy, summery throwback to the space operas of yore. Hey, it’s almost definitely the best Tyler Perry film ever made, and, now that the 2.0 Trekverse is up and running, you can definitely count me in for another installment with this here crew. Particularly if — from Hell’s heart, he stabs at thee! — they actually land Javier Bardem as the Big Bad for ST XII: Khan Strikes Back. Just don’t give him a Star Destroyer, and please keep Kirk away from the carbonite.

Adventures on the Holodeck.



Let’s disconnect these cables, overturn these tables, this place don’t make sense to me no more… As you can see [or maybe you can't -- the "embed code" option doesn't seem to work, so I switched it out with a jpg], I’ve been having a little fun with this pretty spiffy Star Trek advertising toy, which is definitely worth playing around with for a few minutes. I’ve seen a lot of upload-your-pic widgets in the past, but I’m pretty amazed at how fast and how well this maps a pic onto a 3-D avatar. Could this Dylan-spouting Vulcan be the future of MMORPG gaming?

Some Jobs are Better than Others.

“All he wanted to do was go to the movies.” In the most recent trailer bin, John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) has a little too much fun as Public Enemy #1 in the second trailer for Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, also with Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, and Billy Crudup. Siblings Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo ill-advisedly go for one last — complicated –heist in the trailer for Rian Johnson’s The Brothers Bloom, also with Rachel Weisz, Rinko Kikuchi, and Robbie Coltane. There’s more trouble at work (this time of the factory variety) for Michael Bluth and Office Space/King of the Hill creator Mike Judge in this first look at Extract, starring Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Ben Affleck, Kristen Wiig, Beth Grant, and Clifton Collins, Jr. And writer-director Robert Rodriguez continues in the Spy Kids vein in the cloying new preview for Shorts, with a gaggle of kids, Jon Cryer, James Spader, and William H. Macy.

Last but not least, seemingly content they’ve got a winner on their hands, J.J. Abrams and Paramount begin an early publicity rollout for their big summer tentpole with this collection of new clips from Star Trek. Still unsure about both SylarSpock and the general tone of this thing, but Chris Pine’s Kirk and especially Karl Urban’s Bones look like they’ll be good fun here.

The Summer Contenders.

I’ve been waiting for this day my whole life, this day of reckoning.” Some choice offerings from the rest of the Watchmen trailer bin, which are now online: Harry digs deep into the memory hole to Anakin up He-Who Must-Not-Be-Named in the second preview for David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. (To be honest, I think I might’ve missed the first trailer from last November (at the same link) — that one’s not bad either.) Iowan ne’er-do-well James Tiberius Kirk straightens up and flies right in a preview for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek of epic scope. Hugh Jackman dons the claws once more in another look at Gavin Hood’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. (Meh, bub.) And an animated Ed Asner braves floating houses, boy scouts, and talking dogs in the newest trailer for Pixar’s UP. Pixar will go wrong someday — this doesn’t look to be it.

Farewell, Khaaaaaaaaan.

“‘Working with Ricardo was a joy,’ Spelling, who died in 2006, wrote in ‘Aaron Spelling: A Prime-Time Life,’ his 1996 memoir. ‘Ricardo made good scripts better and not-so-good scripts work. I don’t remember him ever doing any rewrites. He set a perfect example for the rest of the cast.’” Veteran stage and screen actor Ricardo Montalbán, 1920-2009.

“He will always be Captain Kirk’s finest foe…Montalbán’s magnetic, robust presence; that voice that sounded like a ride over rolling hills — he made Khan Noonien Singh the worst kind of despot: the kind you’re pretty sure you’d die for.” In memoriam, EW’s Marc Bernadin pens an appreciation of Montalbán’s Khan.

The “First Lady of Trek.”

My mother truly acknowledged and appreciated the fact that ‘Star Trek’ fans played a vital role in keeping the Roddenberry dream alive for the past 42 years. It was her love for the fans, and their love in return, that kept her going for so long after my father passed away.Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, 1932-2008.

Midnight Agents, Superhuman Crews.

Among the bountiful harvest that is the Quantum of Solace trailer crop…

  • Trailer rights to use Philip Glass and Muse? Several thousand dollars. Lawyers to haggle out an armistice among warring studios? Millions. Finally getting a Watchmen film up and made? Priceless. Costumed heroes (the Voice-of-Mastercard among them) investigate the death of a Comedian in the story-heavy second trailer for Zack Snyder’s Watchmen.

    I’m all over the place on this one. There are some real red flags here — all the Snydery slo-mo shots of Malin Ackerman’s hair, for example — and some of the dialogue feels as stiff and expository as the ponderous take-a-meeting scenes in 300. Then again, as with the first trailer, I’m still having trouble just wrapping my mind around the fact that they finally made a Watchmen movie. So I’m inclined to be charitable, and the little flourishes throughout (Rorschach’s mask moves!) appeal to my inner fanboy regardless. (Also, while Jackie Earle Hale’s Bale-Batman-growl may be a tad distracting, it’s hard to imagine Rorschach with any other kind of voice.) For now, I’ll call it a push.

  • Bad Boy Kirk! Angry Spock(?)! Alluring Uhura! Villain with Ridges on Face! J.J. Abrams introduces his new-and-improved Enterprise babies in the crowd-pleasing trailer for the Star Trek reboot. I can’t say I’m expecting all that much from this venture, and this clip, particularly in its 2 Fast 2 Furious opener, doesn’t shy away from bringing the summer movie dumb. Still, I’m forced to admit this looks more fun than I’d earlier envisioned, and I’m looking forward to more of Simon Pegg’s Scott and Karl Urban’s Bones. (And Bruce Greenwood (Pike) and Eric Bana (Big Bad) are generally a welcome touch of class in any event.)

    Also out of late:

  • A stiff, robotic alien promises to destroy life on Earth in order to save it…oh yeah, and he brought Gort along too. Keanu Reeves get threatening in the new action-centric trailer for next month’s The Day the Earth Stood Still, also with Jennifer Connelly and Jon Hamm.

  • Speaking of threatening, Harrison Ford looks to uncork the finger of doom for the cause of immigration reform in the trailer for Wayne Kramer’s Crash-like Crossing Over. (I hope his wife and family are ok, at least.) Joining Indy on this border-crossing adventure: Summer Bishil, Alice Braga, Cliff Curtis, Alice Eve, Ashley Judd, Ray Liotta, and Jim Sturgess.

  • Immigration, Schmimmigration. According to the teaser for Roland Emmerich’s next forgettable summer jaunt, 2012, we’ve only got four years left anyway…and it’s all Dubya’s fault. Strangely enough, John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Woody Harrelson are all along to surf this improbable Himalayan-swamping wave, but I wouldn’t expect much of a splash at the box office.

  • Finally, the revolution may not be televised, but it’ll soon be hitting at least a few screens here in America anyway: Witness the a international teaser for Steven Soderbergh’s Che (or, more to the point, Ches — I believe this project is still two films.) Word of mouth on this one has been highly variable, but I remain curious to see what Soderbergh and Benicio del Toro have come up with. Still, this strangely disjointed teaser — Ken Burns by way of Oliver Stone — doesn’t really get the job done.

  • Stardate -313652.055.

    “‘In a world where a movie as incredibly produced as The Dark Knight is raking in gazillions of dollars, Star Trek stands in stark contrast,’ Abrams says. ‘It was important to me that optimism be cool again.’” In anticipation of its May-2009 launch, several images from J.J. Abrams’ much-anticipated Star Trek reboot materialize on the tubes. (Above from left to right, we have Chekhov (Anton Yelchin), Kirk (Chris Pine), Scotty (Shaun/Simon Pegg), Bones (Eomer/Karl Urban), Sulu (Harold/John Cho), and Uhura (Zoe Saldana). Notably missing, of course, is Spock (Sylar/Zachary Quinto) — you can see him (looking strangely angry for a Vulcan) here.)

    Despite what the post title may imply — I used this — I’ve never been much more than a casual Trekkie, and even less of a fan of J.J. Abrams’ output. (I’m just going to presume Kirk gets tortured at some point in this movie.) Still, it’s hard to imagine my not catching this anyway.

    An All-New Away Team (Minus One Redshirt).

    Captain, the second wave of posters from the Star Trek reboot has hit off the starboard thrusters, and this time it’s Bones, Scotty, Sulu, and Chekov. Hmm…ok. Simon Pegg seems bizarrely unrecogizable at Montgomery Scott here (despite the hairline), and Anton Yelchin and Karl Urban look quite like their original counterparts. But, while I dig Harold as much as the next guy, the distinctively Korean-American John Cho seems a somewhat lazy and distracting choice for Hikaru Sulu. Couldn’t they find anyone of Japanese lineage, or did they just expect us not to notice?

    On the trail of Trek.

    In advance of ComicCon, the preview poster for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot hits the tubes. (That’s Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhura, (Zoe Saldana), and the Big Bad (Eric Bana) — click through for the individual one-sheets.) Still unseen: Bones (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho), and Chekov (Anton Yelchin).

    Hmmm. I’m only a casual Trekkie at best, and everything I’ve ever seen with Abrams’ name on it (MI:3, Cloverfield, the occasional episode of Alias and Lost) has been underwhelming. And I can’t say frontlining Uhura as the eye candy or introducing yet another putty-ridged-forehead baddy (He’s meant to be Romulan, apparently) gives me much enthusiasm for this. But I’ll probably see it nonetheless.

    Onscreen.

    Ten stunning ultra-geeky home cinemas. (Via the Daily Dish.) If I ever become inordinately, stupendously wealthy, this sort of thing would be on my short-list (after setting up a progressive think tank and working to end world hunger, of course.)

    A Constructive Enterprise?

    In case you were savvy enough to take a pass on Cloverfield, the teaser for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot is now online. I have my doubts.

    Wrestle and Trek.

    Mickey Rourke signs on to play The Wrestler for Darren Aronofsky, set to begin shooting this January. (He replaces Nicolas Cage in the role.) And, more casting on the Star Trek reboot front: Bruce Greenwood is Capt. Christopher Pike, Winona Ryder is Spock’s mother, Amanda Grayson, and House‘s Jennifer Morrison and P2‘s Rachel Nichols are in too, possibly as Yeoman Rand and/or Nurse Chapel. Well, ok then. Update: Another Trek addition: Clifton Collins Jr. of Capote will play Big Bad Eric Bana’s #2.

    Scot Fuzz?

    He’ll need more dilithium crystals, Captain…Following news that Chris Pine has been offered the role of James T. Kirk and that Eric Bana will play the villain (“Nero”) in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot, Simon Pegg joins the Enterprise crew as Montgomery Scott. Ooh, that’ll be fun. Perhaps we’ll get Nick Frost as a Redshirt? Update: And another. John Cho, best known as Harold of Harold & Kumar, will suit up as Sulu. Update 2: And now McCoy…Karl Urban.

    Vigilantes and Vulcans.


    Also, some casting news that emerged on the eve of Comic-Con: First, the Watchmen cast is now official — yes, it’s finally happening — and it is as rumored (along with Jeffrey Dean Morgan of Grey’s Anatomy — um, ok — as The Comedian.) And, for the trekkies out there, it seems Matthew Quinto, a.k.a. Heroes Big Bad Sylar, has been cast as Starfleet Academy-era Spock for J.J. Abrams’ Trek movie. (Also, strange to discover from this article that Abrams and Greg Grunberg, the mind-reading cop of Heroes, are childhood best friends.) Now, Quinto is a good physical match…a highly logical choice. But Sam Rockwell as James T. Kirk? That’s genius. (Spock pic not official — I found it here.) Update: Another casting note: Tim Blake Nelson joins Louis Leterrier’s Incredible Hulk revamp as Dr. Samuel Sterns (a.k.a. The Leader), further swelling an already ridiculously tricked-out cast for a remake of a movie made less than five years ago. But, hey, gift horses and all that.

    Fame | Set Phasers on NIN.

    Is it any wonder I reject you first? David Bowie rips up Ricky Gervais on Extras. And, while I’m snarfing arch Youtube links from Ed Rants, see also Kirk and Spock get “Closer,” in the Trent Reznor sense. (Some profanity…but you’ve probably heard the song by now.)

    Comic, Comic, Comic, Comic, Comic, Chameleon.

    As most of y’all likely already know, this past weekend was Comic-Con 2006 in San Diego, which means an exceedingly large amount of news in the fanboy department. To wit:

  • Regarding perhaps the most anticipated comic-to-film property nearing post-production, Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 3, the attending panel offered a number of new shots of the main characters, including an iconic poster of Thomas Haden Church as the Sandman and — at right — That 70s Show‘s Topher Grace, a.k.a. Venom, having a painful-looking first run-in with the black suit/symbiote.

  • Also in Marvel’s wheelhouse, Jon Favreau premiered the teaser poster for his take on Iron Man, and confirmed the villain of his film, the Mandarin.

  • In other Marvel news, Louis Leterrier’s Incredible Hulk has picked a villain, too, that being the Abomination.

  • On the DC side, Bryan Singer is looking to revisit Superman in 2009, even though the jury’s still out on Superman Returns.

  • The inimitable Peter Jackson, via remote (and still not making The Hobbit) showed off a scene from his extended DVD version of King Kong (my love of the extended LotR versions notwithstanding, count me among those who thought Kong needed tightening more than anything else.)

  • Not Comic-Con news, per se, but worth mentioning here: Former Jedi Samuel Jackson and Hayden Christensen may reunite for the film version of Steven Gould’s Jumper, a surprisingly solid little take on the hoary old teleportation meme, to be directed by Doug Liman of Swingers and The Bourne Identity.
  • J.J. Abrams of Lost, Alias, and M:I:III brought along a teaser poster for his Trek reboot, which, word has it, puts young Kirk (Matt Damon?) and Spock back at Starfleet Academy.

  • In other sci-fi television news, J. Michael Straczynski announced he’ll be revisiting the world of Babylon 5, albeit in straight-to-video spinoffs.

  • Also regarding sci-fi on the telly, Battlestar Galactica‘s Ron Moore showed up to kick some more k-nowledge about BSG Season 3, due in October (which complement the recent spoilers here.)

  • And lots of other news, including Kurt Russell in Quentin Tarantino’s half of Grindhouse, a look at Zack Snyder’s 300, talk of the Star Wars spinoffs, teaser posters for Michael Bay’s Transformers, and descriptions of clips from Neil Gaiman/Matthew Vaughn’s Stardust. Yep, Comic-Con seems like good fun…perhaps I’ll make it out someday.
  • Their continuing mission.

    Paramount enlists Alias, Lost, and M:I:III guru J.J. Abrams to revive the Star Trek film franchise. Well, ok, but are the Starfleet adventures of young Kirk & Spock really the right direction to boldly go? That lame plot device sounds like a Kobayashi Maru.

    Beam Him Up.

    R.I.P. James “Scotty” Doohan 1920-2005. From the beaches at Normandy to the Enterprise engine room, he was a good man in a pinch.

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