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‘Star Trek’ Trailer and Footage Analysis
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A few days ago, we posted about the new full-length trailer for Star Trek, the upcoming prequel from JJ Abrams. This trailer has become my new obsession and right after its release, I watched it 20 times, took 50 screenshots from the high-res version, and wrote nearly about 1,000 words worth of observations and queries.

While a lot of speculation has been given to the footage in this 2-plus minute trailer, we have to remember that there’s a lot more movie left to see and chances are what we’ve seen is far from the big picture. Don’t forget, we know that in the Academy, Cadet James T. Kirk took the Kobayashi Maru test three times, which means that anything we’re being shown now could be a part of that simulation test.

I watched the trailer many more times since its release, so I think I’m ready to finally talk about it at length. Also, several sites had the opportunity to watch four scenes from the film, so I was able to glean some facts about the trailer based on the footage they wrote about. Images throughout are screenshots I took from the high-res version of the trailer.

The young James Tiberius Kirk

The opening sequence of the trailer shows someone speeding down a desert highway in a classic Corvette, as a police car in in pursuit. The car has Iowa plates, which is James Kirk’s home state. I noticed also that the back plate has a license-type photo of a man on it (see it here). A young boy propels himself out of the car, narrowly escaping the plunge over the edge. The blond-haired boy (Jimmy Bennett) pulls himself up and climbs to his feet. The cop (whose faceplate says “Police 924,” which noticed was the model number of RoboCop), with a hover-vehicle in the background, asks the boy his name. He defiantly replies, “James Tiberius Kirk!” letting us all know that this is the future captain of the Enterprise we all know and love. This sets Kirk up as a rebellious child, and reports are that this is his uncle’s car that he’s stolen and possibly he purposely wanted to get caught.

James T. Kirk, the aimless young man

Now a young man, Kirk (Chris Pine) rides his motorcycle at dusk across what looks like Iowa plains/farmland. A voiceover (Bruce Greenwood as Captain Christopher Pike) says, “You always had a hard time finding your place in this world, never knowing your true worth, you can settle for a less than ordinary life, but you feel like you were meant for something better, something special” as Kirk (whose face is bruised and cut) rides up to where the Enterprise is currently under construction. A sign says “Authorized Personal Only 120374 IA” and a blue banner for the United Federation of Planets can be seen on a building in the background. As many fans know as nearly everyone has pointed out, this breaks with canon, which has the Enterprise built in the San Francisco shipyard. FSR reports that this scene comes after Kirk meets and tries to pick up Uhura (Zoe Saldana) at a bar, and ends up in a fight against four Starfleet cadets, which is broken up by Pike, who tries to get him to enlist in the Federation (hence, the lecturing voiceover). Abrams told Empire that Kirk going to the bar to pick up women is typical behavior and that he’s “capable and smart, but directionless.” In the screened footage, Kirk then leaves his motorcycle and finds Pike, letting him know that he’s going to not only enlist, but also be promoted quickly.

Spock, a child of two worlds, a soldier in Starfleet

We see a Vulcan city and a young boy with pointed ears and short-banged haircut who we recognize instantly as the half human/half Vulcan Spock. A voiceover (Spock’s father Sarek played by Ben Cross) says, “You will always be a child of two worlds.” We get our first look at Winona Ryder as Amanda Grayson, Spock’s human mother. Amanda, a young woman, is holding a baby in a blanket with a concerned Sarek leaning over her. Flash to Zachery Quinto as an older Spock in front of a Vulcan council that Sarek sits on as the voiceover continues “…. and fully capable of deciding your own destiny.” This probably has to do with Spock wanting to join Starfleet instead of the Vulcan Science Academy. We next see Spock in his blue Starfleet uniform transporting onto a planet, most likely his home planet. We see here the first “beaming” from a transporter, which now has a swirly motion, different than the original series’ dematerializing effect.

USS Enterprise

A crowd of red uniformed officers in what looks like a docking bay, stand ready to board a ship (a shuttle reads “NCC 1701A” which means it belongs to the Enterprise). The beginning of the trailer seeks to show us the eventual best friends, Kirk and Spock, both had troubled childhoods and had decisions to make regarding their futures, so the voiceover then begs the question, “… which path will you choose?” showing us Spock and Kirk (the latter wearing cadet black — not commissioned officer garb) standing together on the bridge of the Enterprise. Note, Chekov, Sulu, and Uhuru are at their stations in the background, but the Captain’s chair behind them is empty. Cue a shot of the Enterprise blasting away from a space station and warping out into space (in a new kind of warping effect).

USS Kelvin

It was reported that the USS Kelvin would be a “significant” ship in this film. In the trailer, we see the Federation ship NCC-0514 in a Star Wars-like cluttered space battle being fired upon. In several shots, we see the ship being irreparably damaged and possibly destroyed in an attack by what’s being reported as Nero’s (Eric Bana) tentacle-like Romulan ship. It looks like Federation shuttles are flying in the battle as well. We then see the battle from the screen on the bridge of the Enterprise, with Pike in the captain’s chair. According to TrekMovie, this ship is a generation older than the Enterprise and is a never-seen-before new class of Federation ship. It’s also the ship which has George Samuel Kirk Sr. (Chris Hemsworth) — James Kirk’s father — as its first officer (later on in the trailer we see what looks like Kirk’s mother giving birth, possibly while on board the Kelvin).

Nero Attacks Vulcan

There’s a few action scenes in the trailer that take place on Vulcan. According to the aforementioned FSR report, there is a segment where before Pike squares off with Nero, he orders Kirk, Sulu, and Engineer Olsen (wearing Red mind you, you know what that means) to stop Nero’s attempt to drill into Vulcan, destroying it. This is the part in the trailer where we see a gigantic black spiked drill and the Starfleet officers (in gold, blue, and red, respectively) parachute down to it. Then, Kirk fights a Romulan, while Sulu does so too, but with an extendable pocket katana sword (sword info according to Empire). We then see Kirk dangling from the drilling rig as Nero looks down on him. On the surface, Spock tries to lead his now older-looking mother (Ryder) and other Vulcans to safety as the planet suffers earthquake-like conditions. According to Empire, this is Spock evacuating his people “after Nero drops a “red matter” bomb into the planet’s core, which builds a “singularity” (a black hole) inside the planet.” A few times throughout the trailer, we see Nero looking villainous, sitting with his spiked staff on his tentacle-y (and Nemesis-decored) ship; the final shot has the tattoo-faced Nero proclaim, “The wait is over.”

Spock’s Time Ship

JJ Abrams revealed a long time ago that time-travel would be a major plot device in his Trek prequel, which is how Leonard Nimoy — who played Spock in the original series and movies — is able to appear in the film as a much older Spock. Several scenes in the trailer show a small, non-saucer shaped ship whizzing through space. In TrekMovie’s rundown of the trailer, they refer to this as “Spock’s Time Ship” and they apparently have confirmation of that, and other aspects of the elder Spock’s appearance in the film. There’s a few parts that show Kirk on the Enterprise wearing his black shirt instigating a fight with Quinto’s Spock, provoking the typically non-emotional Vulcan into an angry, physical alternation with him. (Note, the next shot is of Uhura looking on in concern, the glass in front of her reads “Engineering 01” and “Defense Shield.”) This provocation reportedly was at the behest of the elder Spock, who meets Kirk and tells him to do this so that he can relieve Spock of command of the Enterprise. Later on, we see Kirk in his gold command uniform on the bridge, saying “Buckle up!” as he pats Bones (Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy) on the shoulder.

James T. Kirk, ladies man

When I first watched the bootlegged version of the trailer earlier this week, I noticed two sexy bits: Uhura taking off her top to reveal a white bra (guess there aren’t any undergarment innovations in the next few centuries) and Kirk in bed with someone. The way the trailer is cut, it leads the viewer to believe that Kirk and Uhura are an item, possibly even sneaking around, hiding their affair. Now that I’ve seen it in high-res a million times now, I see that Uhura is simply undressing — there’s nothing to implicate that she and Kirk are an item (and you know she’s in her quarters, because there’s several photos, one of which is of her!). But Kirk is getting it on with someone. If you watch the trailer in slow-motion, you can see what the woman looks like and reports are that she is an Orion slave girl — you know, the race of green-skinned seductive women seen throughout episodes of Star Trek (and made even more popular in the 1980s by Eddie Murphy’s stand-up comedy act involving Kirk’s non-discrimination of green genitalia). People are saying that you an see that she has green skin, but I really can’t tell. (I can tell, though, that Kirk is in some skimpy underwear!) A quick IMDB search of JJ Abrams’ Trek movie turns up two Orion women in the cast; the one in bed with Kirk looks more like Diora Baird, who is listed as an Orion Slave Girl. While Captain Kirk was always portrayed on the original series as a ladies man, the 1960s show never went so far as to show him in bed with a women. In this trailer, we see him in the bed and under it. It turns out it’s Uhura’s bed and in what will be a humorous scene, and he’s watching her undress. (At first I thought it might the slave girl’s bed, but then I noticed that the red sheets from Uhura’s bed were handing down near Kirk and also why would they bother to show Uhura undressing?) Abrams told Empire that Kirk is actually under Uhura’s bed watching her undress, but she soon realizes he’s there. There’s been some controversy amongst fans as to whether sex belongs in the Star Trek franchise, and as a life-long fan, I’ll totally fine with sex in my Trek.

Other tidbits:

Nero fights off two guards: Abrams says that these are Klingon guards and that this is part of Nero’s backstory being shown of his time in captivity in a Klingon prison. Abrams has said that there was a Klingon subplot that was cut to avoid confusion, but might end up on the eventual DVD.

Bones: Karl Urban‘s big scene comes at what looks like just before Kirk and Sulu parachute down to the drill rig on Vulcan. Here he talks about how space isn’t fun: “Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence,” he says, as we’re treated to several disturbing images of explosions and attacks.

Scotty: Simon Pegg‘s one major scene in the trailer is of Scotty in an overcoat, soaking wet on board the Enterprise. With an hysterical laugh, he exclaims, “I like this ship, it’s exciting.” He’s apparently wet because he was on the ice planet where Kirk fights off a huge, tentacled Cthulhu-like creature, as seen in the trailer. (Neville Page, who designed the Cloverfield monster, designed this one — no surprise, they look very similar.) In one of the TrekMovie reports of the preview footage, Scotty meets up with the elder Spock, who gives him his own formula on Trans Warp Beaming, which they’ll need to beam Kirk back to the Enterprise from the ice planet.

For more information about the preview footage, check out the FSR report, as well as the coverage by ComingSoon.



  1. The movie will only work if the same partnership between the inner santum of Kirk/Spock/McCoy and then the ourter-one Scotty/Sulu/Checkoff/O’ura. The charatecters are interwined to each other; a puzzle that works well and fit properly in the right places.

    I hope Abrams took time to developed the characters and not depending on too much Special Effects

    Comment by Francesco — November 22, 2008 @ 6:41 pm

  2. I am very concerned after seeing both trailers…the first ‘teaser’ showing what appear to be welders working on the StarShip, and this second trailer showing, again, the StarShip on the surface!?! What in the heck are they thinking? Ships are built in orbit, NOT in a gravitational field, on a planet’s surface!!!

    ALSO, please note a couple of frames showing Zachary Quinto (as ‘Spock’) where the image is reversed….the StarFleet emblem is on the wrong side. If this kind of sloppiness is any indication of the finished product, well……

    Comment by Tim — December 28, 2008 @ 3:24 pm

  3. The scene with Uhura undressing when she gets home is a cliche. It’s THE #1 cliche of movies and TV, today… Every heroine/ starlet/ young actress seems to have a contractual obligation to perform the same ‘sexploitation’ scene. Any girl who arrives home must get undressed as soon as she’s closed the front door.
    She may not even wait until entering the bedroom or bathroom. Soon as she’s indoors, it’s straight into the required strip show, often scattering items of clothing around the hallway, living room or lounge. There are limited options: 1. chats to flatmate or cat while undressing, or she’s alone in empty house.
    2. stripped for a quick shower, or just undressing to ‘slip into something more comfortable’.
    Blatantly voyeuristic cliche? Yesm but who’s complaining (a few uptight feminists)? Not me. However, it’s become so utterly predictable and just routine nowadays, even in PG certificate family entertainments, that a majority of directors must have this noted in bold type on their checklist of essential shots: Leading lady, kit off, ASAP.

    Comment by Chris Geary — May 18, 2009 @ 2:00 am

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