First off, let me get this out of the way: this is NOT one of those "Star Wars versus Star Trek" things. While Star Trek is my first love, Star Wars also holds a place in my heart that's near and dear. I see no problem in appreciating them both.
Now, on to the task at hand. Earlier today, Paramount unexpectedly released the trailer for Star Trek Beyond after someone in Germany apparently leaked a version on-line. It was supposed to come out with The Force Awakens, but is now available all over the web. In case you've missed it, here you go:
What we're given is a head-banging look at the new tale complete with the Beastie Boy's Sabotage (also used in the 2009 Star Trek) pounding away. It feels more like a teaser than a trailer because while there's a lot of sound and fury, there's little that tells us what the story is about. It reads a lot like a Fast and Furious trailer which just goes to show that that's what you get when you hire a director that's known for Fast and Furious movies.
As a tangent to that F&F heritage, the strange new worlds in Beyond apparently have motorcycles for some reason. Very Earthly-looking motorcycles. Will a later extended trailer feature a certain 1970 Dodge Charger? We can only hope.
The trailer shows a lot of explosions, a lot of fighting and a lot fast-paced action. And if the Enterprise didn't make an appearance, we'd be hard-pressed to know what the hell we were looking at. This is totally unlike any Star Trek trailer ever seen before, that's for sure. And while I don't want Star Trek films to be lost in the past and not set a new tone going forward, I think to totally sever it from the past – as this trailer surely does – is a huge mistake.
I hate this fucking trailer.
So what does this have to do with the various Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailers? Simple. When I saw the first TFA trailer, I knew exactly what I was looking at and had an instant connection to Star Wars. The music, the visuals, the characters – they all said "Star Wars" to me. I quickly felt enveloped in a familiar place that I wanted to know more about. And this happened despite my absolute distrust of the director. The film might be a piece of crap, but the trailers are promising, at least, with a nice mixture of characters and action.
The Beyond trailer did the exact opposite for me. It has no connection to the past and has a rather obnoxious presentation of the future. It strikes me as STINO: Star Trek In Name Only. In other words, it's just like the last two Trek films, the first of which I didn't like very much and the second of which I despised.
Regarding Star Trek, Paramount seems to be preoccupied with the latest fads in movie-making. Beyond looks like a cross between Guardians of the Galaxy and the aforementioned F&F movies. Both of those things are very good with what they do. I'm a huge fan of Guardians, for instance. But they're not Star Trek. And the round peg of Star Trek shouldn't be shoved into the square pegs of other franchises.
Why? Because Star Trek is its own, unique thing. But that thing is apparently something that Paramount doesn't want. Star Trek is about ideas, first and foremost. Action is fine as long as it supports an interesting, compelling story. Unfortunately, in the past films – especially Into Darkness – the plot seemed to be nothing but a contrivance to connect action scenes together. Is Beyond cut from the same cloth? It's impossible to tell with this new trailer, but from my point of view it doesn't look promising, it doesn't look compelling, and it really doesn't look like Star Trek.
Not to this guy, at least. We'll see.