J.J. Abrams Shares Details on How Unexpected Star Trek Will Be Next Summer!
by Alex Billington
May 1, 2008
The trend in movie news this week seems to be discussion on next year's summer line-up. One of the many blockbusters in the works is J.J. Abrams' Star Trek - a modernized re-envisioning of the classic sci-fi series. Abrams is admittedly not the biggest fan of Star Trek, so why exactly did he take on this project? "It was an opportunity to take what I think has been a maligned world — to sound crass, a franchise — and treat it in a way that made it something that I wanted to see." The Associated Press recently talked with Abrams about the film and what we can expect next summer. If you're not convinced about Star Trek just yet, then how about this: "The whole point was to try to make this movie for fans of movies, not fans of Star Trek, necessarily."
Now before any Star Trek fans get too aggravated by that statement, Abrams has more to add. In fact, he makes a very convincing point regarding the franchise, which is why I think Paramount gave him the keys to this movie to begin with. Considering Star Trek: Nemesis flopped at the box office, despite it received rather positive feedback from fans, as Abrams says, continuing on down that path really wouldn't have led to anymore mainstream success.
"If you're a fan, we've got one of the writers who's a devout Trekker, so we were able to make sure we were serving the people who are completely enamored with 'Star Trek.' But we are not making the movie for that contingent alone."
"You can't really make a movie for them. As soon as you start to guess what you think they are going to want to see, you're in trouble. You have to make the movie in many ways for what you want to see yourself, make a movie you believe in. Then you're not second-guessing an audience you don't really have an understanding of."
While it may seem like Abrams is just digging himself an even bigger hole at every turn, let's get back to the very first quesiton - why would Abrams take this project on if it he isn't the biggest fan, or for that matter, doesn't fully understand the fanbase anyway?
"It was an opportunity to take what I think has been a maligned world — to sound crass, a franchise — and treat it in a way that made it something that I wanted to see. To take the characters, the thoughtfulness, the personalities, the sense of adventure, the idea of humanity working together, the sense of social commentary and innovation, all that stuff. To take it and apply it in a way that felt genuinely thrilling."
Now that is the quote we were looking for - this is why I'm so confident in Abrams when it comes to Star Trek. He may not be the biggest fan, but he knows how to make movies, damn good ones. He goes on to say that "the movie would remain faithful to the original while breaking new ground in action, drama and visual effects," but we already knew that was the case. I'm not sure everyone agrees, but I believe Abrams breathed new life into the Mission: Impossible franchise with the third film - and I might even be hard pressed to say that I enjoy it more as a cinematic experience than the first one.
Before we settle down into the summer movie season of 2008, we've got to give the buzz for Star Trek another boost - it's got to last an entire year! Currently scheduled for release on May 8th, 2009, Star Trek was moved from its release in December of this year to, as the studio execs say, give it a chance to perform as a summer blockbuster. As we all already know, this film will, as Abrams says, "[give us] a chance to see what Kirk and Spock would look like done now." And I'm not lying when I say I'm very excited to see what Abrams and his crew (pun intended) have come up with.
"I feel like this is so unlike what you expect, so unlike the 'Star Trek' you've seen. At the same time, it's being true to what's come before, honoring it," Abrams said. "I can say the effects for 'Star Trek' have never, ever been done like this. … I can only tell you the idea of the universe of 'Star Trek' has never been given this kind of treatment."
How's that for a final bit of excitement to launch us into the summer of 2008?! Now Abrams has already made me excited for the summer of 2009! While I know that everyone's focus is on Iron Man and The Dark Knight right now, I can't help but be just a little bit excited for Star Trek, too. I guess it's good to know that after we finish this summer, we'll already have a just-as-incredible line-up ready for next summer. And as we wait another year for J.J. Abrams and the ILM visual effects crew to finish work on Star Trek, maybe he'll have enough extra time to spring another Cloverfield on us next January.