The new international trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness put more focus on the mysterious villain played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Which makes sense: Cumberbatch is a popular man in the U.K., partially because of Sherlock and partially because he has the most English name this side of Marley St. Buckingham. The trailer offers a few more intriguing teases about the character — if nothing else, he’s looking more Bane and less Joker by the second. Because we’re getting closer to the release date, the new ad also spotlights some more finished digital effects, including a vehicle-to-vehicle punch-out which indicates that someone in the Into Darkness writers’ room has been playing a lot of Super Smash Brothers. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
“You think your world is safe,” says Cumberbatch as John Harrison. “It is an illusion. Enjoy these final moments of peace.” We find the villain in London, looking extremely perturbed. One of the most intriguing aspects of Into Darkness is how much of it appears to be set on Earth. Humanity’s home planet has usually been little more than a jumping-off point in past Trek iterations — good mainly for a stopover at Starfleet Academy here, or for a budget-saving time-travel story arc.
As this shot of London proves, though, Earth in Into Darkness is under attack. The Trek universe has always played with topical issues in its space-utopia, but this shot practically seems designed to immediately recall the 7/7 bombings in London. Between Benedict Cumberbatch in this movie and Ben Kingsley’s Faux-sama Bane Laden in Iron Man 3, May is really shaping up to be a lighthearted month at the movies.
After the attack in London, the Starfleet grandies meet in a room that looks almost identical to the War Room in Dr. Strangelove. Present at the meeting are Captain Kirk, his mentor/father figure Captain Pike…
…and a top Admiral who is played by none other than Peter Weller, a.k.a. Robocop. Fans of Trek fashion will note that Weller is rocking an outfit that looks very similar to the ’70s-future jumpsuit worn by Kirk in The Motion Picture. (Is it weird that I always preferred the Motion Picture jumpsuits to the II–IV era red uniforms? Everyone just looked so comfortable.) Admiral Weller describes Cumberbatch as “one of our top agents,” indicating that this is a classic “Best Man Goes Rogue, Has To Be Stopped By The New Best Man” action movie. (See also: Skyfall, Goldeneye.) This sets Into Darkness apart from most classic Trek stories, which almost always portray Starfleet as an internally secure well-oiled organization being attacked by exterior forces. Though there are exceptions. See: Pointy-eared Samantha.
Unfortunately, the meeting in the War Room is interrupted. Pause to notice that this War Room has the most beautiful neon-red lighting scheme of any War Room in history.
It’s a chaingun space-copter! Harrison attacks the meeting of the Starfleet generals, in a scene that bears a striking resemblance to the Havana helicopter attack in Godfather Part III. The message is clear: This time, it’s personal.
Kirk wants to set off to take down John Harrison personally. He’s told by a superior officer that “Starfleet is not about vendettas.” “Maybe it should be, sir!” Kirk apparently takes a squad of his best and brightest on a private mission…which includes utilizing a ship that looks veeerrrry similar to a certain hamburger-shaped YT-1300 freighter owned by a scruffy-looking Corellian pilot. Director J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars fixation was well-documented even before he stepped up to direct the next film. What’s interesting about Into Darkness is that it seems to be explicitly following the structural model established by Empire Strikes Back: For the second movie, things need to get a whole lot bleaker.
These shots don’t tell us anything that we didn’t know before about John Harrison, except that he apparently loves Assassin’s Creed as much as the rest of us do.
It’s actually hard to think of very many Trek villains who have been actual physical threats; classically, the series has been more about a battle of wills between two opposing forces with a starship or seven at their disposal. (Ricardo Montalban’s Khan is widely considered one of the best villains in Trek history…and yet, in The Wrath of Khan, he’s never even in the same room as Kirk.) Cumberbatch, by comparison, seems to be playing a full-on supervillain.
Here’s a fun one. No less a source than the original Mr. Sulu pointed out that the ship in the background is named “Takay” — the phonetic pronunciation of George Takei’s last name. That’s a pretty smart bit of fan service. By comparison, if I were writing the movie, I would probably send the Enterprise crew on an away mission to a wilderness preserve called “DeKelley Forest.” (Get it? Shut up.)
In the first Trek trailer, we saw Spock jump from a very high place. Now, we see the context for that jump…and it’s a doozy. Spock is engaged in a hand-to-hand fight with Harrison on the back of a moving flying car.
At one point, Harrison jumps from one car to the next one. What you’re seeing here, children, is J.J. Abrams being all like, “Well, some movies have rooftop-jumping action scenes, and some movies have car-jumping action scenes. So how about I combine the two into a flying rooftop car-jumping action scene?” [Drops mic, picks it back up.] “And also, Michael Giacchino writes the score.” [Drops mic, stomps on it until it explodes into a million lens flares.]
We already knew that Alice Eve was joining the cast as a mysterious blonde character who was maybe-probably-definitely-actually Carol Marcus, the molecular biologist and Kirk Baby Mama who was played by Bibi Besch in The Wrath of Khan. Of course, since the last Trek movie rebooted the timeline, it was unclear how similar this Carol Marcus would be to the other Carol Marcus.
So here’s what we know: In the rebooted timeline, this is how molecular biologists dress. There are two fun facts about this shot — stop snickering kids I’m serious!!! — as I was saying, there are two fun facts about this shot. First: as uncovered by TrekMovie.com, there’s a url which is cleverly hidden in plain sight where you definitely aren’t looking. In fact, throughout the trailer, there are lots of hidden URLs, which all lead to different international versions of the posters, like this groovy one:
Fun Fact #2: It took half a century, but this May, both the Iron Man and Star Trek franchises will finally take the bold step of prominently featuring shots of women in black bras:
In conclusion, let me sum up the blogosphere this summer: Hollywood, popcorn movies, teen-boy demographic, female characters, sigh.
Say, you know who we haven’t heard too much from yet? Zoe Saldan’s Uhura, who practically replaced McCoy as the third member of the Trek Power Trio in J.J. Abrams’ last go-round with the franchise. She isn’t too prominent in this trailer, except for one stray comment — “We’re outgunned!” Come to think of it, besides Spock and Kirk, we haven’t seen very much of the rest of the Enterprise crew in this movie yet. Could it be that the movie is really focusing a lot of time on Cumberbatch’s character? Or are we being set up for a classic Abrams reversal? Given the dark tone of this movie, will Into Darkness be the latest big-franchise iteration with a major-character death? And if so, isn’t it likely that the person to go would be a character who’s the less-famous half of a romantic relationship? What I’m saying is: Watch your back, Nyota. Also: This shot provides confirmation that, despite the haters, there will be lens flares in this movie.
And now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: The Enterprise falls out of space.
And apparently rams straight into the Northern California Bay Area. But the question is: How will this affect my Facebook stock ?
Lots to mull over in this new trailer, fellow Trek people. Are you intrigued by the high-action, super-explosion-y look at the movie? Do you like the idea of a Trek movie with a rogue agent villain?
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