Friday, June 27, 2008

Early look at J.J.'s Star Trek

Read the whole thing here. Looks like they liked what they saw.


Not much. Maybe 7 minutes in all. He showed me a scene of Ben Cross (Sarek) & Winona Ryder (Amanda Grayson) cradling a baby Spock on the surface of Vulcan. A baby with Spock ears is kind of amazing to look at. But there was no dialogue here, and Vulcan wasn’t really there yet – what was there was a great rock formation that kinda reminded me of that wonky mountain/cliff thing from ARENA / BILL & TED. That said, it wasn’t the ARENA formation – and JJ said that zero effects had been done on this yet – so the lighting wasn’t right, the sky wasn’t right and there were no angry volcano type things or structures in the background, but he assured me… it’ll all look very Vulcan when it is done.

The next scene was a really nicely completed visual effects pass of a pre-Enterprise Federation ship from about 25 years before the Enterprise. I’ve no idea how this fits into the larger story, same with the Spock baby stuff. But this effects shot had a completely different space feel than anything I’ve seen before from STAR TREK or STAR WARS. The shot began on a small part of the ship, then craned back and over to reveal the ship coming into a larger shot of the ship seemingly orbiting a really angry sun. The shot was absolutely dynamic as the star was seemingly raging – and we cut to the interior of the ship – it was very shadowy and very much like that of an old diesel submarine – JJ told me that the look was an evolving look for Star Fleet – so that you could get a sense of the passage of decades here. Once again though – I didn’t see the end of the scene or really get a sense for what was going on.

I really like the dynamics and tone of this Space shot – very much not like something I’d seen before – although it was Star Trek, because the ship was a saucer, with a nacelle above and below the saucer. It just felt aggressive and frankly… badass.

After that – He reiterated that the effects were nowhere near done, blah blah blah – but it looked damn good.

After that shot, JJ wrestled with what else he had that he could show. Talking with his partners in the room – he didn’t know quite what to show. Yoko and I just looked at each other – we were kinda like deer in the headlights – just waiting to absorb whatever was shown. At this point I was a bit anxious because while I liked the first two clips – they didn’t really show anything recognizable to the timeline of Trek that I knew.

That’s when JJ had his “EUREKA” moment – he didn’t actually say “EUREKA” – but he knew what he wanted to show. He went over to the big Editing computer thingamabob and was trying to get something up, he pulled up a scene that looked like it was shot in an enormous hanger – There looked to be well over a hundred Starfleet graduates standing in the center of the room – with a couple of shuttlecrafts (old school) that looked like they were ready for boarding… the voice over was basically assigning cadets to the ship they would be serving on. The shot was huge, but oddly sparse… that’s when the editor said they had a newer version of the scene and then worked with JJ to pull it up.

Oh Wow.