It's Star Trek – but not as we know it
Lost creator's film version of cult sci-fi series features punch-ups, stripping – and Captain Kirk in a sex scene
Thursday 20 November 2008
It's enough to push Spock's eyebrows further towards his pointy ears. The eagerly awaited new Star Trek film is sending shockwaves through the sci-fi community amid revelations that Captain Kirk and his crew are to be dramatically "sexed up".
The trailer for May's release of the film, which will be called simply Star Trek, was launched this week, revealing a controversial mixture of sex scenes, punch-ups and the sort of clean-cut young actors you'd expect to find on the set of Gossip Girl.
In one clip, the Starship Enterprise's communications officer, Uhura, played by Zoe Saldana, strips to her lingerie in a bedroom. In another, Chris Pine's Captain Kirk is seen writhing between the sheets with a scantily-clad brunette.
The rest of the two-minute trailer features a succession of car chases and arguments, and a promise that the 11th Star Trek film will explain how the Enterprise's then-adolescent crew set out on their original journey.
Fans of the 42-year-old franchise have reacted to the film's unveiling with excitement and concern. The trailer has already been watched by millions online and screened in cinemas showing the new James Bond film. The director, J J Abrams, who created the hit TV series Lost and directed Mission: Impossible III, did little to calm fears that the $200m (£133m) film will be a "reboot" that will reconfigure the fictional history of the tale that they have followed so ardently.
"I want fans of Star Trek to come watch it, but the truth is I made the movie for future fans," he said after revealing four completed scenes. "It was never my thing. I have never been a fan of Star Trek, but became a Trekker having fallen in love with the characters. Despite all the stuff that a non-fan would find silly, clichéd, crazy, my goal was to make it feel legitimate."
Abrams has science-fiction pedigree – he created the TV shows Alias and Fringe – but Star Trek's fastidious fans are concerned by his apparent blasé attitude towards the film's heritage.
"The natives are not only restless, but also kinda pissed," reported The New York Observer's influential film correspondent, Christopher Rosen. "Things like 'terrible trailer', 'it doesn't inspire much confidence,' and the ubiquitous 'raped my childhood' are being written [on web forums] with passionate fervour."
Others are concerned by the film's apparent raft of cameos. As well as Simon Pegg and Winona Ryder playing minor roles, the film will include short appearances by some of the stars of the original TV show, including Leonard Nimoy, who plays an older Spock in a time-travel sequence.
The film, the first Star Trek feature for six years, sees all of the original characters played by newcomers. Casting has long been a cause of concern, with cynics wondering if Paramount Pictures was sacrificing the show's integrity in order to make a fast buck.
"Zachary Quinto's Spock is described as appearing 'edgy and hostile'," complained Wired magazine, "two words one would rarely associate with a Vulcan, much less one that has spent the last several decades as a model of cool, calm intelligence."
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