Cumberbatch Into Darkness

Stardate December 10, 2012. A group of journalists are invited to Bad Robot in Santa Monica, CA to learn a little bit more about J.J. AbramsStar Trek Into Darkness. At this time everyone was still unclear who, exactly, Benedict Cumberbatch was playing in the film. Rumors about his character were relentless. To cut the question off at the pass, Abrams himself led everyone into a screening room to show some footage. He explained this was footage no one would see again for several months, we shouldn’t tell anyone we saw it, but it would clear some things up.

With Star Trek Into Darkness now in theaters, it’s time to talk about that footage because what we saw and what’s now playing are very, very different. This change exemplifies not only the lengths Abrams went to preserve the theatrical film experience, but it opens up the discussion for exactly why secrecy was so important. Read More »

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After much anticipation, Star Trek Into Darkness is finally out this weekend. Peter and Germain have weighed in with their mostly-positive takes, and you guys have also chimed in with your thoughts. I personally enjoyed watching the movie from beginning to end, and got a kick out of seeing these characters come to life once more, as played by the immensely talented cast. It’s a non-stop thrill-ride, a riveting experience that may leave you scratching your head at certain points, but never leaves you bored.

About those head-scratchers: yeah, this movie definitely made pretty bizarre decisions, several of which continued to nag at me days after I’d seen it, even though my overall memories of the film were ones of fondness. So, in the grand tradition, you’ll find some of my issues after the jump. As always, feel free to respond with your own and/or correct me in the comments.

MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS FOLLOW. 
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Star Trek Into Darkness - Spock and Kirk

It’s in theaters now, and all the secrets are out in the open. Star Trek Into Darkness, the second Trek film from J.J. Abrams, has been locked (mostly) in the producer/director’s “mystery box” for over a year. For hardcore fans, at least, the secrecy around the precise nature of the character played by Benedict Cumberbatch has been a big part of the marketing allure, but the energy Abrams and his cast brought to their first outing on the Enterprise has been enough to make a huge audience curious about their encore.

And in the end, the irony is that, while there was a type of secret to preserve with respect to the character, in the end he plays a weird role in the plot. (There’s a certain kinship to Iron Man 3 in that respect.)

Abrams has said that he wanted to make Star Trek for people who aren’t Star Trek fans, and in that respect he might have succeeded. Into Darkness has a few well-executed setpieces, and loads of the same winning cast presence that made the first Abrams Trek a success. But does it work? Does the film’s wide divergence from many well-established Trek characteristics fly, and does it even really matter who Cumberbatch is playing? Weigh in below, where full spoilers are in force. Read More »

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Sequels are a tricky thing. In the best cases, they transcend the original work by adding emotional depth and context, elevating the entire story arc. In the worst cases, they’re a carbon copy of the original with perhaps a bigger “wow” factor. Star Trek Into Darkness, like many sequels, falls into the middle ground. It expands and broadens the scope of the original while duplicating most of the elements that were already in place from the 2009 film.

To follow his first Trek revival, director J.J. Abrams has made a much more visually impressive and exciting action film, and one worthy of the Star Trek franchise. It simply lacks the inspiration that made his first film so special.

After the jump, read the rest of this review and see a video blog with some differing opinions. Read More »

JJ Abrams on a new Trek vessel.

J.J. Abrams has big plans for Star Wars. Very big plans, reaching beyond a new trilogy of films focusing on the multi-billion-dollar franchise. We’re talking TV shows, spin-offs, online components, theme park rides, you name it. It’s a plan Abrams had several years ago for another property, Star Trek. He wasn’t able to make it work with the Enterprise crew, because the rights to Star Trek are split between Paramount, which controls the movies, and CBS, which controls the TV shows and product licensing.

The Wrap has a fascinating article detailing these issues. The core idea is that CBS’ and Paramount’s differing viewpoints on the franchise might have frustrated Abrams to a point where, when Star Wars became available, he decided to shift his allegiance and master plan over to the dark side at Disney. Read More »

Abrams Kimmel

Here’s a video that really works best if it’s not spoiled. Basically, J.J. Abrams appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to promote Star Trek Into Darkness and, much as with the appearance from Harrison Ford, things turn to Star Wars.

Let’s just say this. If you like J.J. Abrams, Star Wars or Star Trek, or are looking forward to Star Wars Episode VII or Star Trek Into Darkness, you’ll find something surprising to laugh about here. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Star Trek Into Darkness Fan Poster Header

Say what you want about Star Trek Into Darkness, but it’s had a lot of posters. Teaser posters, IMAX posters, character posters, the print campaign for the J.J. Abrams sequel has been incredibly extensive and diverse. Star Trek is such a vivid property, however, that there’s always room to go further.

One website brought together several up and coming pop artists to reinterpret the film with their own unique style. The results range from minimalistic and eye catching, to exaggerated and exciting. Others are realistic and lyrical. It’s a cornucopia of Trekkie goodness. Check them out below. Read More »

JJ Abrams Keenser

Not only did J.J. Abrams stop by The Daily Show earlier this week, he popped by The Howard Stern Show on Sirius XM as well. Talking to Stern, Abrams talked about all the usual stuff: Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Wars Episode VII, etc., but he also admitted to not watching every episode of his own TV shows. As one would expect from Stern, it’s an entertaining interview. Listen to the whole thing below. Read More »

Abrams Daily Show

Star Trek or Star Wars?” is a question that’s been debated by sci-fi fans since Star Wars exploded onto the scene in 1977. At that time Star Trek had already been around for a decade, but some would argue the success of Star Wars helped reinvigorate the series. Others may say George Lucas would never have travelled to a galaxy far, far away had it not been for the ideas and vision of Gene Roddenberry. Either way, the thought of one person controlling both franchises likely never occurred to fans. Then, in 2013, the guy chosen to reboot Star Trek, J.J. Abrams, signed on to restart the Star Wars franchise, and fans of both were left with a multitude of different feelings.

Abrams is currently promoting his second Star Trek film, Star Trek Into Darkness, and has been asked about Star Wars: Episode VII at every single turn. Monday night he showed up on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and the topic came up again. This time, instead of delving into exactly how the director plans on dealing with Star Wars, they discussed the fundamental differences and merits of each franchise. It’s a fun watch. Check it out below. Read More »