‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Prologue Reactions: A Sigh of Relief and Continued Mystery

By  · Published on December 10th, 2012

J.J. Abrams and friends are going to introduce Star Trek Into Darkness to the world in a big way when they show a 9-minute prologue to audiences salivating to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This is par for the course for giant films, and so is showing off the work to movie website runners before everyone else. While we caught early footage of the first Abrams Trek and were lucky enough to sit next to Leonard Nimoy for the surprise Drafthouse premiere, we didn’t go early into the Darkness. Fortunately, we have eyeballs and internet browsers, so we collected a lot of the first responses.

Granted, these come with a shovel-full of salt (just like insane trailer/poster speculation), but the overall message from pundits and fans? All is well. Calm down. Into Darkness is set up for greatness. Gird your loins for a few minor, opening scene details but not for who Benedict Cumberbatch is playing.

From Jen Yamato at MovieLine:

“What’s revealed in the first nine minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness isn’t so much telling as it is intriguing, moreso for the Trek fans out there who’ll get every little familiar line of dialogue and nod to the O.G. Trek series, of which there are many. But fair warning, Trekkies: Judging from this tease and the footage Paramount has already released, Abrams knows that you’re reading into every little clue ‐ and he’s playing you like a violin.

Here’s why: Star Trek Into Darkness opens in a prologue, in a beautifully shot, blue-tinged London, Stardate 2259.55. A couple (Noel Clarke and Nazneen Contractor) wake up and drive their hover car to visit their child in the hospital. We don’t know their names, or hear them speak, but we wonder; could their last name possibly, just possibly, be Singh?”

Yamato is clear that the Cumberbatchian villain, even though he’s introduced, is not identified. The mystery remains, and that’s a good thing. I still contend that it would be an amazing coup for the production to keep his identity a secret all the way through the opening of the movie. It would be an incredible thrill for audiences to learn his name when it’s uttered for the first time on screen. Something rare these days.

From Frosty at Collider:

“Trust me, if you loved Abrams’ first Star Trek, you’re going to be extremely happy watching this footage…”

From Melissa Molina at Latino-Review:

“While the first nine minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness doesn’t really explain much of Cumberbatch’s character, of whom we see for a second, we still want more. Between Giacchino’s score and what’s going on with the Enterprise crew, it gets your adrenaline pumping but still holds enough mystery to keep you intrigued on how the movie’s main events will unfold. Before the footage was shown Abrams said that there’s ‘…a lot of intensity, a little bit of gloom but a lot of fun.’ You definitely get that right off the bat and we can’t wait to check out more. “

From Anthony Pascale at TrekMovie:

“…what I can say is that I was impressed with what I saw in two ways. Firstly this looked like nothing seen before in Trek. Most of the first nine minutes were shot with IMAX cameras and seeing that in IMAX 3D truly is extraordinary. The quality of the visual imagery was on par with The Dark Knight Rises. Also some of the shots shown used 3D to great effect. It wasn’t in your face, but it really brought you in to the strange new world presented in this opening segment. The second way this preview is like nothing scene [sic] in Trek before was the scale of the thing. Even more than the 2009 Star Trek, it is just a treat to see the universe that we love so much realized in such a grand (and expensive) way.

And the sounds are equally as impressive as the visuals. Once again the same gang of best in class sound designers (including Academy Award winner Ben Burtt) are on the case. Also the preview features all new music by Michael Giacchino (another Oscar-winner). The music at times was original for Into Darkness, but then there were also flourishes which called back to some of the musical cues and themes from 2009?s Star Trek, including when we see an exciting (and surprising) reveal of the USS Enterprise.”

From Drew McWeeny at HitFix:

“Earlier this evening, I took the biggest Star Trek fan I know to see the nine-minute prologue that will be screened in IMAX venues in front of the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and based on his reaction, I’d say JJAbrams and crew have absolutely nothing to worry about when the film hits theaters in May of 2013…

…The stuff with Kirk and McCoy is very funny, and a nice reminder of just how strong the chemistry is with this cast. Same with the stuff between Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Spock. The moment they bring in the main theme by Michael Giacchino is perfect, lovely and thrilling at the same time. I really love the look of these films, and the alien world is beautifully realized, as is the London of the future. I like that we pick up with the crew in the middle of an adventure and we see how they’ve come together now with the time that has passed since the end of the first film. Abrams and his screenwriting team, Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof, all seem to get the dynamic that makes Kirk, Spock, and McCoy such great archetypes…”

So we don’t know who Cumberbatch is playing, but we can reveal that McWeeny’s Trek-obsessed guest for the screening was his 7-year-old son Toshi.

From Eric Eisenberg at Cinema Blend:

“The footage also did an impressive job showing off the power of IMAX and 3D. While I never got the sense of vertigo that I felt while watching Mission: Impossible ‐ Ghost Protocol last year, the amount that the giant format adds to the scope is unquestionable. Furthermore, Abrams certainly seems to be taking advantage of the extra dimension as well. More than just bits of sparks and ash coming out at the camera, the director isn’t above playing with the ‘it’s coming right at you!’ experience of 3D…”

From Devin Faraci at Badass Digest:

“The one clever moment in the footage came next; one of Pitt’s daughters has a talking doll that counts. It begins counting as we watch the victim of the ‘zombie’ begin the process of ‘re-animating.’ It takes 12 seconds to go from bitten to utter spastic with yellow pupils.

Everything else was dead generic, though. It could have been any ‘panic in the streets’ movie, and the bloodlessness (which, again, could be related to the unfinished FX, although I suspect it’s because they’re shooting for a ridiculous PG-13) made it all the more uninteresting. The footage felt like the opening cinematic of some kind of a cheap zombie game full of crummy Quicktime Events. Nothing I saw told me why I wanted to bother seeing 90 to 100 more minutes of the same thing.”

It turns out he went to see the first 8 minutes of World War Z instead.

From Mr. Beaks at Aint It Cool:

“Obsessive speculation aside, these opening nine minutes are a tremendously effective tease for what will hopefully be one of 2013’s most entertaining movies.”

Simple enough. The message here seems to be that the first act of Into Darkness is a winner. Hopefully the second and third act will follow suit.

We’ll see when all of it comes out in May 2013.

Does this make you even more excited for the film? More hopeful? Or the same?

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