Tag Archives: Star Trek

San Diego Comic-Con 2016: Day 1

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So we’re back again at SDCC.  It’s like we never left, except for the part where we usually indulge ourselves in activities like “sleeping” and “eating.”

Having attended the Star Trek Fan Event a couple months ago, I had guaranteed tickets for it, which was an amazing stress relief.  It did mean that I missed Preview Night, but like I needed more merch, right?

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When we were let in, we were told that general admission could sit anywhere in the first 14 rows.  This apparently was not true, as some 2 1/2 hours later, we were told that other people had reserved tickets for our seats.  After some negotiation, they were relocated and we continued in peace.

Entering, we were given light-up bracelets and a ticket for a Subway meal box with a turkey sandwich, cookie, and chips.  Water and soda were out in iced tubs which was a relief as the heat combined with standing in line forever was dehydrating.

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To kill time while the sun set, they showed “The Corbomite Maneuver,” had a costume contest, and did red carpet interviews with the arriving cast.

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Then, Nichelle Nichols came out and answered a few questions and said some nice words about Roddenberry.  After that, she was shown to her seat which was about 1 row back from hours which was both awesome and frightening, as a hoard of fans descended on our area.

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The night’s host Conan O’Brien came out and introduced the major cast and crew of “Star Trek Beyond” each of which said a few words.  J.J. Abrams held a moment of silence for recently departed Anton Yelchin.

So then we figured the movie would start since the cast was seated and the orchestra was starting, but no!  Star Trek fireworks!

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Finally, the film started and we got to see it in IMAX, outdoors, with a live orchestra.  It was a great presentation and a fun movie–the plot is a little flash-and-dash, but the character bits more than make up for it.  Karl Urban in particular is terrific in it.

Afterwards, we were given a premiere swag bag, along with a commemorative seat cushion.

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In all, a great start to SDCC 2016!

 

 

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Star Trek Fan Event: Recap

So May 20th, Paramount held a one-night-only “Star Trek Fan Event” celebrating the upcoming film “Star Trek Beyond.”

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Invitations were largely won through a variety of sweepstakes (how I got in,) although there were the usual assortment of media and industry types.  They gave somewhat conflicting information about what you could and could not take into the event–I was told that I couldn’t take so much as a purse in, whereas other people walked in with large bags, cameras, etc.  After the usual check-in procedure, we were ushered through a mock-up of an Enterprise corridor into a circular bridge-like area for a series of presentations.

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The MC for the evening, Adam Savage from “Mythbusters,” started off with a quick discussion between “Star Trek Beyond” producer J.J. Abrams and director Justin Lin.

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Some of the topics discussed:

  • Abrams said that the lawsuit against the “Axanar” filmmakers will be dismissed, partly due to Lin’s insistence that it was a bad way to treat Star Trek fans.
  • Lin announced that “Star Trek Beyond” will premier at San Diego Comic-Con this year, July 20th, with outdoor IMAX and a live orchestra.  All the fans in attendance at the Fan Event will be given tickets.
  • Abrams hated the chair he was sitting in.

They then played some behind-the-scenes footage reminiscent of the behind-the-scenes footage Abrams brought from “Star Wars:  The Force Awakens” last year to SDCC.  This was followed by the introduction of Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Karl Urban.

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The three stars then fielded some questions from the Savage, the audience, and Twitter.

  • On whether they would be attending SDCC:  Pine–“I haven’t gotten an invitation.”  Urban (as McCoy)–“are you kidding? Comic-Con is full of disease and and danger and darkness!”
  • Bones and Spock end up spending a lot of time together in the movie and end up with a better understanding of each other.
  • Quinto’s favorite aspect of filming is getting together with the rest of the cast and crew which he considers family.
  • Urban liked that they filmed in Vancouver, which forced them all to hang out together and get closer.
  • Quinto says the theme of the movie is all of the characters trying to get back together and understanding the power of their unity.
  • Pine notes that past films have dealt with Kirk trying to live up to his father, while this film sees him searching to define himself on his own terms.

After they finished up, TV Producer Scott Mantz conducted a short trivia game in which audience members won props from the film for answering questions such as “what was the name of Edith Keeler’s mission in ‘City on the Edge of Forever?'”  (Answer:  21st Street Mission)

The entire room then adjourned to bleachers outside the soundstage for a short ceremony renaming the street after Leonard Nimoy.

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It was a particularly nice touch, given that it was right outside the soundstage where they shot ST: TOS back in the day.

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Then, a bevy of Orion Slave Girls sealed our phones into green pouches, and we went inside to watch the new trailer and a couple scenes from “Star Trek Beyond.”

Some thoughts:

  • The trailer looked much better to me than the initial one, but still seemed pretty similar to the action-filled trailers of the last two films.
  • The additional scenes they played really sold it to me, however.  Some quiet moments with Kirk and McCoy made it feel much more like a movie than a video game cutscene, and the obvious mirroring of a similar scene in ST: TWoK seemed much more respectful than the last time these movies referenced ST: TWoK.
  • The plot mechanics appear to be setting up one of those tried-and-true character development devices where unusual groups get marooned and isolated together and have to take their relationships to a different level to survive.
  • Karl Urban is terrific.

After getting our phones unlocked, one of the walls to the screening room opened up to reveal a party complete with DJ, open bars, appetizers, desserts, custom printed t-shirt stations, and costumes and props from the movie.

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Kirk’s suit
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Transporter photo op
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Krall’s throne
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I want Kirk’s coffee cup so bad.
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Spock’s uniform
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Krall’s…body suit? Armor? Skin?
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Kirk’s other uniform. He gets a pretty good wardrobe for a guy essentially in the military.
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Med kit and tricorder. I like how the tricorder went from the cassette player look back in the 60s, to the iPhone look in the 10s.
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Go on. You know you want to sit in it.

At the end of the evening, everyone (or at least everyone until they ran out) received a swag bag with limited edition poster, tribble, Spock ears, and premiere credential!

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In all, it was an amazing event–way more than I had imagined it would be when I showed up for it.  Probably one of the best parts was knowing that I’ll get to see the Star Trek premiere at SDCC without having to resort to homicide and espionage, as I almost certainly would have otherwise.  Thanks J.J.!

RIP Leonard Nimoy

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This was the last time I ever saw him in person–at the Capetown Film Festival at the Egyptian, where he had a brief interview with Geoff Boucher prior to a showing of “Star Trek (2009.)”  Thank goodness it hadn’t been “Star Trek:  Into Darkness,” or I might have been tempted to pass altogether.  He seemed in good spirits, going over the same issues he’d been talking about since I first started seeing him at conventions back in the 80’s, and even treating us to a quick rendition of his trademark song “Bilbo Baggins.”

He died today, 2/27/15, and despite knowing that his health had been deteriorating recently and that this day was rapidly approaching, the loss is devastating nonetheless.  By all accounts he was a smart, talented fellow who treated others around him with consideration and compassion–and it’s not like the world can easily spare someone like that, under any circumstances.

But it was his connection with Spock that made him universally famous, and his departure personally affecting.  To back up, when I was young (and the Earth was new,) there was no YouTube, no Netflix, no internet, no DVRs, no DVDs, no VCRs, for God’s Sake.   If you wanted to watch Star Trek, you had to just hope one of the seven TV channels (2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13) decided to rerun it, and that you remembered to check the TV guide that week for it, and then stay home.   I mention this only to point out that being a fan back then involved an enormous amount of effort that is almost unbelievable today even to me…and I was there!  I was lucky that just as I came along, the cassette player started to become available at price points a normal person could afford, so I would periodically get organized enough to make audio tapes of the shows, and then play them ad nauseum.

(I was also a sickly child, and consequently spent days on end in bed, listening to the same handful of episodes.  This is why, even today, I can quote some of them by memory even though I haven’t watched them in years.  “The readings are perfectly normal for me Doctor, thank you.  And as for my anatomy being different from yours…I am delighted.“)

There are many out there who think fiction is stupid, and imagination a waste of time, who doubtless roll their eyes at all this investment in something that doesn’t actually exist.  All I know, is that, fictional or not, I’ve probably spent more time with and derived more consolation from Spock than virtually anyone considered “real.”

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[Nimoy at the LA Film Fest screening of “Star Trek:  The Wrath of Khan” on its 30th Anniversary.]

Things I learned from Spock:

  • Power comes from self-control.
  • The more you know, the more fascinating the world around you becomes.
  • Be sensitive to the feelings of others, even if you don’t understand them.
  • The scientific method provides a structure for investigating new phenomena.
  • There are many different ways people express themselves–look for what they mean, vs just what they say.
  • Be proud of who and what you are–prouder, if it’s something uncommon.
  • People may ridicule you for being different, but the opinions of the hateful and the ignorant are of little account.
  • Acknowledge your strong points and your weaknesses, and then accept yourself for who you are.
  • It never hurts to play an instrument.

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[Spock’s figure at the old Movieland Wax Museum, shortly before it closed and liquidated all its stock.]

It’s probably not an overstatement to say that there isn’t one other figure who was a stronger influence on my early life.  As Glinda told Elphaba, “who can say if I’ve been changed for the better/(I do believe I have been changed for the better.)/And because I knew you…/Because I knew you/I have been changed…/For good.”

Godspeed Mr. Nimoy.

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“What mark will I leave behind?

How will anyone ever know I’ve been here?

What sign will tell the future traveler

that I existed?

Shall I carve it on a door?

“I am here!

                           Today…

                                                I exist”

I believe the deepest impression is made

In those moments when I can say

I Care.

I Love.”

–Leonard Nimoy, “You and I”