We’ve been fooled by this sort of thing before: a few weeks out from release a distributor will show a few minutes of footage to get audiences worked up. And it’s always good. Always. Let’s face it, no one would show the crap bits as a teaser.
The problem is, that it’s usually not particularly representative of the whole movie. As a guide to how misleading these can be, I saw previews for Battleship and Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters, and came out of both thinking the movies might be quite good…. but how wrong I was!
Out of context footage can always be used to sell a movie, as can five or ten minutes from the opening; showing a group of critics the entire first act, however, is far bolder.
This morning we had just that: the first 28 minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness, followed by two short clips from later (although I would guess not much later) in the film. And it was remarkable! In short, if the rest of the movie is this good, it stands a very good chance of being the most entertaining film of the year.
I’m not going to give a blow-by-blow account, because it will spoil some rather fun moments, but it’s worth clarifying that the footage that ran before The Hobbit is still there, although it feels tighter and more polished. What follows is a solid first act, where that fun little opening sequence plays directly into the plot of the movie. Admittedly the opening isn’t as strong as the emotionally charged setup to the first movie, but where Star Trek felt a bit flat after George Kirk’s kamikaze efforts, Star Trek Into Darkness seems to build and build.
More importantly, it feels very much like Star Trek, both Abrams, and Roddenbury’s.
News wise, the footage is fairly thin on the ground: we now know that Peter Weller is playing ‘Admiral Marcus’, who is presumably father to Carol. We’re still none the wiser as to whether Cumberbatch is Khan, but to be honest given what I’ve seen of the character, I’d prefer him not to be. John Harrison is shaping up to be an excellent villain, scheming, ruthless and slick. It would almost be a shame to waste the character by giving him someone else’s name just as a bit of fan service.
Of course, this is only an extract, and given the trend for movies to run in excess of two hours, one that may represent less than a quarter of the movie. it could all fall apart after this, and in two months time I could be cursing JJ’s name as I cry in front of a portrait of Shatner.
I bet I’m not though.
Star Trek Into Darkness will be with us May 9th.