Yesterday Star Trek Beyond, the third installment in JJ Abrams’ Trek movie franchise, released their first trailer. The movie looks like another action-fest in Abrams’ frivolous, watered-down, knock-off version of the beloved science fiction phenomenon.
Since I’m subscribed to the Star Trek official Facebook page the trailer instantly came to my attention. For a minute and a half, the trailer gives us quite the speedy montage. That’s the one good merit, probably the only one, this trailer has. Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk, which is the most un-complex character in the franchise, loses his ship in the first five seconds. The crew are scattered and stranded on a strange planet.
Here there’s an opportunity to write a classic Trek storyline: the away mission. Away missions with a crew in this scenario present several great plot points options like first contact, exploration, survival in unfamiliar surroundings, and attempting to contact Starfleet with limited tech. What do we get instead? A series of action sequences with Kirk on a motorcycle, a hyper-sexualized alien warrior woman doing backflips, and a ton of explosions. This hot alien ninja is the only other female character featured in the trailer besides Uhura. The cast is incredibly diverse, as Star Trek should be, but there are only two female characters? Bad form.
The trailer also gives an incredibly vague hint to an alien race threatening Starfleet officers for no apparent reason. Like the previous film, Into Darkness, there’s no official word on the plot. Abrams’ tactic with handling such a high profile movie with ruthless fans is to give no information.
The hilarious part of marketing a movie with the caption, “starring Idris Elba and Chris Pine,” is when Idris Elba is nowhere to be seen in the trailer. Clearly this is Abrams’ tactic of, “shut up, I have a super cool twist in the movie, but I can’t reveal what character my token British actor is playing.” Hint: it’s probably the villain.
This is not Star Trek, but an action movie with a Star Trek label. Director Justin Lin is further proof of this, because he’s known for directing the Fast and Furious franchise. These new Star Trek movies are an attempt to market science fiction to non science fiction audiences by filling it up with explosions, fight scenes, and lens flares.