Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Scottish Nationalists rage at new Star Trek trailer

Scottish Nationalists don’t really rage at the new Star Trek trailer. In fact, everyone thinks it rocks.

Thu, Mar 21, 2013, 18:23


Well, they don’t really. But, as various lunatics have noticed, the opening shots of the latest trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness display a Union Flag that still contains the Saltire. (Come to think of it, the cross of Saint Patrick is still there as well. But let’s leave that for another post.) This seems to imply that, not only will the Scots fail to vote for independence next year, but they will fail to take that decision at any point in the succeeding 200 years. This Star Trek is set, you see, in 2259. So, Simon Pegg’s Scotty is still British. Right?

Other possibilities do suggest themselves. Maybe, the Scottish voted themselves out and then voted themselves back in again. Maybe, a few centuries after next year’s decoupling, the English reinvaded and recolonised their Northern neighbour. Maybe, I should get out more. Heck, this is sane compared to much of the online chatter about the Star Trek trailer.

Anyway, it’s another cracking promo from J J Abrams and his team. We still don’t know what the film will be like. But the trailer certainly delivers plenty of crashing, plenty of panicking and — go, J J — all the lens flare you could ever possibly desire. The key to Abrams’s success in the first film was his uncanny balance of tradition and innovation. All the Star Trek elements were in place (albeit in callow form), but it still felt like an entirely fresh concoction. Benedict Cumberbatch fits right into that formula. He’s an old-school actor: all Harrow vowels and straight back. But there’s an offbeat quality to him that chimes with current discontents and paranoias.

One interesting question remains. How will the film play outside the US? You might reasonably assume that the film is a guaranteed hit. That’s only half the story. At the press junket for the first movie, we noticed that Abrams and the cohort seemed faintly scared to admit that it was a Star Trek episode. We got the sense that if they could have changed the title they would have done so. It is thought, you see, that Star Trek doesn’t play overseas. The eventual figures seemed to support that theory. Abrams’s film made a fairly paltry¬†33 percent of its $385¬†million outside the United States. To put that in perspective, the useless¬†Alice in Wonderland, released less than a year later, made 67 percent of its $1 billion in “rest of world”. One conclusion is that Americans are great and we’re idiots. After all, the last Star Trek was one of the best space operas since the first Star Wars picture. Oh, I don’t know.

Anyway, I am counting the hours until the new film’s release on May 9th. Live long and prosper.