Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Star Trek Beyond round-up: Aliens, new release format, posters and promo

As we draw ever closer to the July release of Star Trek Beyond things seem weirdly quiet, with no sighting of (wide release) posters, and no footage since the first teaser trailer last year. According to Collider, Paramount are waiting until May before they release the next trailer and kick off their major promotional efforts (maybe to avoid being buried in Captain America: Civil War promotional efforts until then?). While we wait for that big push, gradually nuggets of news and promotional activity are starting to dribble out. Continue below for a round-up of the latest news from the film.

The first splash from that incoming promotional storm is the first official still from the film, released by USA Today in their round-up of summer releases. This new image features Simon Pegg and Sofia Boutella, as Scotty and our new alien (presumably friend) Jaylah, who has lovely crispy sharp make-up design!

We get another good look at new aliens from the film in an image posted by Director Justin Lin on his website You Offend Me You Offend My Family, on First Contact Day. This is from the first day shooting of the film, and the aliens are played by Danny Pudi and Kim Kold, both of whom Lin has worked with before.

The assortment of aliens we've seen, and the themes of the film that have been revealed (and discussed further below), make me rather curious about this planet the Enterprise crew end up on. Could be it some kind of multi-cultural counter-point to the Federation?

That would certainly chime with what the writers and director have talked about with the film. In the latest interview, in Film Journal International, Lin repeated talked about deconstructing the ideas of Star Trek, to look at them in a new light. Including quite literally the Enterprise:
Making this, you realize why the characters are on the Enterprise bridge so much on the TV series! It’s their homebase. So, of course, the first thing I did with Beyond was kill the homebase!
No, I didn’t come in saying, “Let’s destroy.” It was more like, “Let’s deconstruct.” Talking with Simon and Doug, one of the things we felt was that with this being the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, let’s deconstruct it and hopefully rebuild it in a way that reaffirms why we’ve loved it for half a century. That conversation went a lot of different places, and one of the most interesting places was the Enterprise itself. I remember watching Star Trek as a kid and saying, “That’s a cool-looking spaceship, but it looks really lanky. Is it built for combat?” It took me a while to realize that they’re not out there to fight. It’s an explorer’s ship, so of course it looks like that. Just having that discourse about what it means to be on the Enterprise provides us with issues we can explore on a character level.
The idea of deconstruction, and questioning the Federation is also at the center of Idris Elba’s adversarial character, Krall:
The challenge with a big ensemble like this is that there’s not always a lot of real estate. So I needed someone with a lot of presence, and Idris was really my first choice. When I spoke with him over the phone, he had a two-year-old who was crying the whole time, but I felt we had a connection. I remember us riffing about the character and talking about his philosophy. His character has a very valid point of view, and it goes back to our original concept of deconstructing Star Trek and the Federation itself. And to do that, we have to question what the Federation is about, why it
exists, and is it truly a good thing?
This exploration of the very idea of Star Trek sounds very exciting to me, but what is also both exciting and welcome is that this looks like it will be the first Star Trek film ever that will actually focus on exploration in-universe! (Remember when we used to be explorers?)
I love J.J.’s Star Trek, and when I had the opportunity to think of how to make the film mine, I thought that it was the five-year mission. Let’s get them out into space! J.J. was able to explore a lot in two movies, but the Enterprise still hadn’t really gone on a mission. So that’s what was driving it more than anything else. As a kid, one of the coolest things about Star Trek was that they’d be discovering new planets and species. So that became the driving force of the movie. Let’s bring in things you haven’t seen in the Star Trek universe.
You can read the full interview in a pdf version of the magazine available on Film Journal International's website.

Meanwhile Cinema Blend talked to writer/actor Simon Pegg later, who gave this interesting nugget of appeasement to Star Trek fans new and old:
No [it’s not a Greatest Hits], but it’s a later iteration, obviously. I think for real fans of Star Trek, they’ll get a real kick out of the fact that it very much is Star Trek in its DNA. We’re at pains to maintain the canon that we’ve created and the canon that exists for Star Trek. But never make it feel like it’s a closed shop; that people aren’t welcome to come into it and buy a packet of chips or a bottle of milk.
Moving on to more technical details of the film, it has been announced, by The Hollywood Reporter, the film is also being remastered for release in Barco Escape, a super-widescreen format, which immerses the viewer in the image by projecting onto three stitched-together screens which extend the movie experience around the audience. Because Bad Robot signed up to do this well into production the film will be converted in post, using a combination footage that won't be used in the general release, as well as digital extensions, and expanded versions of visual effects shots. Bad Robot producer Ben Rosenblatt, who is head of visual effects and post, described what this might offer in the film:
When you're on the bridge of the Enterprise, you might see additional coverage of the bridge. Or you might see the Enterprise coming across the screen — and maybe you'll see more and the attacking forces. There are new ships and antagonists that are well suited to the expanded image.
You might have to go exploring some strange new worlds yourself if you want to see the film this way, as there will only be about fifty cinemas equipped to show it in time for the release.

And now, posters. Paramount have yet to make a big splash with the release of any sort of poster for cinemas, but there are a lot of teaser designs going around at trade conventions. For instance, TrekCore spotted this basic title poster at the MIP TV International Television Trade Show, which for the first time on Star Trek Beyond media uses the 50th anniversary logo as well:

TrekCore also found a display at the Middle East Film and Comic Con, with a captain's chair visitors could perch on:

But the biggest impact so far comes from the CinemaCon, where found no less than four (or six, depending how you count them) Star Trek Beyond posters, most based on the attack on the Enterprise:

In a slightly odder bit of promotion, Paramount in Brazil have been sending movie media this Star Trek Beyond mouse, which lights-up! TrekCore uncovered this one too.

To keep track of all the latest information on the film, visit my Star Trek Beyond guide page.


Astroluc (Find me on Tumblr and Instagram @Astroluc) said...

Does that "alien" on the left (Danny Pudi?) look a bit like a Jem'Hadar, or is it just me??!

Chris Hodge said...

No I see it now too. I didn't enlarge til you said something. Maybe the nuTimeline is trying to introduce them early. I know they made an appearance in The Q Gambit but that was an Q created universe.

Astroluc (Find me on Tumblr and Instagram @Astroluc) said...

I am glad I am not the only one... and DS9 did make a point to describe the Dominion as (to use a quote from this very article) "... some kind of multi-cultural counter-point to the Federation(?)"

I would be fascinated at such a treatment, provided it is done well... but isn't that always the caveat?