First Reaction to Star Trek from the World Premiere!
by Alex Billington
April 7, 2009
J.J. Abrams' Star Trek premiered earlier today at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and a few of our readers were in attendance. In fact, one of them, who goes by the name Rivee Dylan Tao, was so excited to let me know what he thought, that he gave me a call at 7AM this morning (which was about midnight his time). I asked if he could do a quick write up for me on his reaction to the premiere and the movie, and he said he would be happy to, primarily because it was such an awesome experience. So in addition to the early reviews coming in from Austin, we have our very own first reaction straight from Sydney, Australia!
For a nobody like myself, walking the red carpet at the Sydney Opera House for the world premiere of Star Trek ranks up there as one of the coolest things I've ever done. Around 1,000 people packed the main hall - hot chicks, hipsters, every Aussie celeb in Sydney and the odd Trekkie (the ones who could afford the $100 price tag) - to hear J.J. Abrams and the entire cast, except for Zoe Saldana, introduce the film. The crowd went wild and everything got underway half an hour after the scheduled start time. It was worth the wait.
J.J. nailed it. This 11th film is easily the best looking, most expensive, best produced iteration in the franchise. This film is going to be absolutely massive. It's epic in scale, and it's easy to see where the $150 million went. It's one thing to say you're going to make a Star Trek movie that is true to the ethos of the original but accessible to a new audience (the tenet of every reboot, re-imagining, remake and revival in recent years), but to actually deliver on that promise is all together another thing and J.J. has done exactly that. It should probably be said that I'm not the biggest Trekkie on the planet, but the few die-hards that I spoke to at the premiere were suitably impressed as well.
It's pretty difficult to fault this film. The casting is inspired (Zachary Quinto was born to play Spock) the production design is a nod to the original series and looks slick, the dialogue was appropriately camp and fun, and it all kicks off with a massive bang and doesn't let up for the remaining two hours. Chris Pine's Kirk is a departure from Shatner's original, but with all the bravado and "pants man" elements that made the original character so great. His relationship with Spock is also handled nicely.
And the supporting cast is all good, too. Simon Pegg's Scotty and Carl Urban's Bones provide some really nice comic interludes and Uhura, played by Zoe Saldana, was smoking hot in a not-quite-there mini uniform that was very distracting. Eric Bana's Nero was probably the weakest link in a very strong chain, but was pretty bad ass without being brilliant and his makeup, while understated, was awesome. While staying true to the original, there are more than a few "Abramisms." His effortlessly cool style is stamped all over this film without it ever becoming "Gossip Girl in Space."
ILM also absolutely nailed the effects. Apart from a couple of minor exceptions, the CG is seamless and the space battles and exploding planets are awesome to see on the big screen. Michael Giacchino's score was also amazing and sounded great through the custom Dolby sound system installed for the night and the film leapt off the oversized screen brilliantly. It seems like Paramount is sitting on a true winner. The audience gave the film a spontaneous five-minute standing ovation, while J.J., sitting about 10 rows in front of me, acknowledged the applause and appeared to even tear up a bit.
As the crowd filtered out, the buzz was palpable, and it will no doubt carry through until next month. After a night like this, it will truly be hard to see another movie taking the mantle from Star Trek this summer.