It’s Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary, yet Star Trek Beyond (due 7/22) has mostly flown under the radar this year. At long last, though, here’s the second trailer. Let’s watch and discuss.
So the plot is….
Sad Kirk has been beaten down by the vastness of space, and Spock has somehow lost himself to it (I guess). Bones gives Kirk a “get back up on that horse, partner” pep talk. The Enterprise is then immediately attacked, boarded and destroyed by the latest notable actor to be hidden under prosthetics and make-up in a sci-fi movie (this time it’s Idris Elba). This baddie has a beef with the Federation, and holds most of the Enterprise survivors hostage (sorry, Sulu and Uhura). Luckily, Kirk and pals partner with pale-Furiosa (Kingsman‘s Sofia Boutella), and stage a rescue attempt. Eventually, they end up back on Earth (I think) and perform some nifty aerial dives. Along the way, Kirk questions his own motivations and loyalty to the Federation, and Bones and Spock bicker over the logic of fearing death. Those two – such cut-ups.
This is not the trailer you should really look to for plot. Just like Beyond‘s first trailer it’s sticking to the belief that this film’s best marketing hook is “Holy crap! We blew up the Enterprise!”
The actual plot, as per Simon Pegg’s EW interview, will see the crew two years into their-five-year mission and starting to feel a bit beaten down. As they lick their wounds during a diplomatic stop at a Federation outpost, they’re ambushed by Idris Elba’s Krall, leaving everyone scrambling to figure out who exactly this mysterious alien is and whether or not he’s actually wrong for hating the Federation. As Pegg said, “We’re gathering a great community within the galaxy, but to what end? What does it all mean?”
After the illegal, black ops actions of the Federation’s own high-ranking RoboCop (Peter Weller) last movie, there’s certainly reason to question this glorified outerspace UN. Maybe Star Trek Beyond will be the moment the Enterprise crew realizes what the United States has been forced to wake up to over the past decade: Not everyone actually wants your help. To the rest of the world, you are not automatically the hero of the story.
How many trailers can you recall using footage from an earlier film in the franchise?
I’m not talking teasers or any of those early “Remember this thing you liked? Well, we made another one!” promotional materials. I’m talking full-blown “This is what our new movie is about” trailers. Off the top of my head, I can’t recall a single such trailer which actually does what this Star Trek Beyond trailer does, which is to actually devote valuable real estate to footage from an earlier movie we’ve already seen before.
Just in case you forgot, this moment from the Star Trek Beyond trailer…
….is actually from the 2009 Star Trek (seen at the 1 minute market of that movie’s trailer).
This brief callback isn’t really that big of a deal or something necessarily worth complaining about, but it might be a boon to the more conspiracy-minded among us. Everything about Paramount’s handling of Star Trek Beyond thus far has felt off, or at the very least very against the grain. Whereas the rest of the summer blockbusters are coming at us with their best pick-up lines every couple of weeks Star Trek Beyond is playing it coy from the other side of the bar. Is that a strategic choice, or birthed by necessity considering Star Trek Beyond’s rushed production (as I discussed last year)? Similarly, is them taking a moment to remind us of Kirk’s daddy issues from the 2009 movie a creative choice, or a “Shit, we don’t have enough finished footage from the new movie yet” compromise?
It certainly could be both. It does tie into this film’s apparent “And everything finally comes full circle” approach.
Pew pew pew. Boom boom boom.
Ultimately, this new trailer looks like it’s selling us a fairly generic action movie. New-to-the-franchise director Justin Lin is more than just the guy who made Fast & Furious movies, and Simon Pegg has previously expressed little patience for those who assume Lin was simply hired to churn out propulsive, delicious over-the-top action scenes. Pegg would know better than us. He did co-wrote Beyond‘ script, and he’s probably seen way more of the finished footage than us. However, as far as Paramount’s marketing department (or, more accurately, whichever company they hired to make these first two Beyond trailers) is concerned this is the biggest action movie in Star Trek history.
Does that have to be a bad thing? Not necessarily. You can do the standard Star Trek ethical debates while our characters are all running around instead of simply standing still on the Enterprise, and if this movie is to more or less begin with a huge action sequence it wouldn’t be the first time for the franchise (e.g., First Contact drops us right into the final battle in the war against Borg, with the Enterprise anchoring Earth’s last line of defense).
What will Star Trek Beyond have to offer us beyond all the loud things going boom? I dunno. Maybe a lot. Maybe nothing. Spock and Uhura will kiss at some point. So, that’s nice.
Star Trek Beyond opens July 22nd. Are you still struggling to seek up any real emotion for this movie? Or are you tired of all this film snobbery which fails to appreciate how cool the action scenes look in this trailer? Let me know in the comments.