I needed help. Paramount put out a trailer for Star Trek Beyond, a movie that I think I kind of need to be good and evocative of Star Trek, and I thought it was the worst thing ever.
In flew Ryan Britt, noted Star Wars and geek culture expert, to assure me that the trailer wasn’t the worst thing ever. That there were, in fact, some good takeaways!
Being of two-and-a-half minds about everything, we thought we’d list out the pros and cons of the latest trailer for this thing we love called Star Trek. Because there’s truly a full spectrum of reaction here. So let’s consider the trailer beyond our own perspective!
Here’s the trailer:
Pro – This trailer is lighthearted. If you’re going to do this action-style Star Trek, i.e. continue a series of movies in the same way they’ve already started, then this movie feels more like the first one: really fun! Star Trek Into Darkness took itself way to seriously for no good reason, this movie doesn’t look like that. – Ryan
Con – This trailer is nothing but lighthearted. I’m fine with action-style Star Trek and if you look at the Beyond trailer and the first trailer for 2009’s Star Trek they’re almost identical in tone. But that’s kind of the problem, for me. Star Trek ’09 had to reintroduce this universe but Beyond needs to take it, well, beyond that! And having nothing but lighthearted punchkickery doesn’t convey that. – Chris
Con – There’s no story here. You don’t make a million and a half Fast & Furious movies and not know how to stage an intense action scene, but that’s all we got in the first trailer. I still don’t know what the story of Star Trek Beyond is, and with every other trailer being wall-to-wall action and doom, Star Trek Beyond needs a story in order to stand out as something unique, something special. Right now the best I can do is theorize that one “The frontier pushes back.” line from that Jem’Hadar-looking guy (assuming he’s actually saying that at that point). – Chris
Pro – The action looks awesome. Yes, Star Trek isn’t Fast & the Furious, but the stunts in this look pretty cool. I totally hated the spacesuit scene in Star Trek Into Darkness, but I loved that fight with Sulu, Kirk, and the Romulans in the first one! This actually looks like it will kick the first movie’s ass big time in relation to big, big stunts. – Ryan
Pro – The scope actually seems refreshingly small. Is everyone just stuck on this one alien planet for most of the movie? Like way out in the middle of nowhere? This, for me, is a good thing: and reminiscent of a movie-length Star Trek episode. This film will probably be remembered as “the one where they all get stranded and have to fight in weird gladiatorial contests…” Rounding up the crew of the Enterprise and having them fight in a Thunderdome-style situation is totally classic Star Trek! Does this movie look like it might be a movie-length version of “The Gamesters of Triskelion?” Totally. And I’m into that big time. – Ryan
Con – The scope doesn’t actually look small. I want a small scope, too! But we get at least one shot of that weird swarm attacking a Starfleet outpost so I’m assuming that Kirk and company stumble upon a threat to the ENTIRE GALAXY. Especially since Idris Elba says “This is where the frontier pushes back.” They did the madman-with-a-vendetta plot in two movies already and this just seems like yet another one. – Chris
Pro – The focus is on the right people. The trailer seems to be about Kirk, Spock AND BONES. More Bones in a new Star Trek movie? Yes yes yes. – Ryan
Con – Except what if it’s not? The only quiet moment we get is with Spock and Bones, and that’s great, but what if that’s only one scene in the whole movie. I don’t think we can tell what characters get featured from just this trailer. – Chris
Con – This trailer seems oblivious to the expectations set up by the previous movies. Even before Into Darkness I was hoping for a Star Trek movie that dug into its rebooted universe and had adventures that brought up the themes of equality and exploration championed by the original Star Trek. I don’t think I was the only one hoping for this, either, which might explain why Into Darkness, which eschews these elements completely, was so poorly received. I didn’t get what I want with Into Darkness, but the 50th anniversary of the show was coming up and a new movies was coming out for that year so I thought maybe…maybe now we have a shot at a perfect synthesis of the best qualities of the new Trek and the old Trek.
The first trailer for Beyond doesn’t address this expectation at all, and if the filmmakers are ignoring that expectation in the first trailer, then it seems very possible that they’re ignoring that expectation in the film itself. That’s worrisome. An action-packed shoot-em-up Star Trek movie isn’t how the show’s 50th anniversary should be remarked upon. – Chris
Pro – A Star Trek movie coming out for the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek is essential. Sure, this is not the trailer hardcore fans (like us, like you) were hoping for. There doesn’t seem like there’s a sense of wonder that we get from exploring space in the old shows. But, what we do see is pretty different from the Earth-centric vibe of both Star Trek ’09 and Star Trek Into Darkness. The movie is billing itself right now as an action movie that everyone will like, but I think it’s doing that to disguise the fact that this movie might still be more Star Trek-y then they’re letting on. Right now, the message is simply this: this movie is going to be fun and will feature the Enterprise crew getting themselves out of a weird and zany outer-space pickle. The tone might not be what some of might want, but all the ingredients seems to be there.
In terms of talking about what Star Trek is about: it should be about weird alien planets. And this strange new world looks more like Star Trek to me than anything in Into Darkness. Maybe it’s called Star Trek Beyond because Star Trek is getting over itself and starting to have fun again. – Ryan
Con – I hate it when you’re right. (Okay, I don’t really.) – Chris
In the end, Ryan allowed Chris to vent and calm down and they are still terrible, terrible friends taking a wait-and-see approach to Star Trek Beyond. But first…Star Wars!