A little more than four years ago, the J.J. Abrams–directed, franchise-rebooting Star Trek arrived in theaters to the breathless anticipation of a millions-strong fan community simultaneously filled with the hope they'd found themselves an energized, engaged custodian willing to respect Gene Roddenberry's sacrosanct vision, and the palpable fear that a big-timing Hollywood interloper was about to ruin everything they'd ever cared about, then escape through a wormhole made of money before they could exact their revenge for the appalling desecration. But Abrams said all the right things (except, you know, for letting it slip that he was always a Star Wars guy) and delivered blockbuster entertainment enjoyable by both the hard-core Trekker and the casual summer blow-’em-up-real-good moviegoer. The new, revitalized Star Trek opened to $75 million at the American box office and eventually finished its domestic run with a phaser-engorging $257 million. A franchise was reborn.
And so we fast-forward to stardate 05.16.2013 (note: not a valid stardate), four summers hence, and Abrams has returned to deliver the inevitable sequel, in fulfillment of the contractual prophecy etched into the wall of a Spock-sheltering ice cave by an advanced race of business-affairs aliens. Can Abrams once again pull off the massively profitable trick of satisfying both the core and summer audiences before tearing off his loosely affixed latex Vulcan ears, slipping into a Jedi robe, and taking stewardship of his childhood obsession? And, most important of all, should you support this latest Trek adventure with your ticket purchase? We're here to answer some questions and help you make the best-informed decision possible.
The chatter so far on World War Z, Brad Pitt's big splashy adaptation of Max Brooks's airport-bookstore front-stand staple, was mostly centered around how screwed it was. Behind the scenes, there were additional shooting days and high-level creative differences and even a brand-new Damon Lindelof–hatched, Drew Goddard–executed ending; meanwhile, us peons were treated to a steady barrage of preview material from the flick, chopped up into Entertainment Tonight segments and sneak peeks and teasers and teasers for the sneak peeks. Now, with the hullabaloo behind us, here comes a brash new full-length trailer, asking one primary question of America: Are you or are you not psyched to see Brad Pitt, and his luscious grown-man Tim Riggins hair, save the world from flying, climbing hordes of zombies?
After a couple years of separation from that infamous Lost ending, Damon Lindelof is ready to saddle up and ride back into the realm of television. Deadline reports that Lindelof has struck a deal with HBO to adapt The Leftovers, Tom Perrotta’s 2011 novel about the people left behind after a Rapture-like event. Lindelof had to go back, people who hated the Lost finale. He had to go baaaack.
Fox has confirmed that Prometheus will carry an R rating from the MPAA, a huge relief to anyone afraid that the studio might compromise the film's artistic integrity in pursuit of the box office-friendlier PG-13. Anticipating the news, last night Prometheus co-screenwriter Damon Lindelof took to Twitter to immediately address the throbbingly insistent question hanging over the production like a fleshy, engorged Sword of Dongocles: How will this impact Michael Fassbender's enormous penis? But Lindelof's tweet is nothing more than a cagey dodge, shaming the curious for their innocent interest while prompting more questions: Freed from the limitations of the PG-13, will they in fact increase the presence of Fassbender's space-suit-straining robo-junk? And what does "deliver on more Fassbender dong" actually mean?
My weekend was peppered with some NCAA hoops (Go 'Cuse!), some Knicks (three in a row, baby), some 21 Jump Street (a hilarious, meta action-comedy), and of course some green beer and bagels. But my mind, my thoughts, my focus was elsewhere. For the last 72 hours, I’ve been unhealthily fixated on the slew of new Prometheus content slung onto the web.
There’s been such an overabundance of visuals, dialogue, and talking points to sift through. So in an effort to piece them all together in some king of satisfyingly comprehensive way, I figured it’d be best to break them all down into three categories.
What We Saw
Much of the hype around this film is centered on the question of “is Prometheus a prequel to Alien”? As I previously stated, I believe the answer is unequivocally yes, and much of the confusion is due to cleverly crafted talking points delivered from Ridley Scott (the film's director), Damon Lindelof (the writer), and 20th Century Fox (the studio). And why not? It’s hard to make a summer film stand out, much less one possibly (definitely) linked to a once-praised but now irrelevant and mocked movie series. So I have no problem with these folks stoking the fanboy fire with vague and sometimes conflicting messages.
One of the biggest and most-anticipated projects at Comic-Con this year is Prometheus, a secrecy-shrouded possible-prequel to Alien directed by the man responsible for creating the franchise back in 1979, Ridley Scott. Wisely, the 73-year-old Scott declined to make the trek himself, instead sending screenwriter Damon Lindelof to face the seething, geeky masses. (Scott made a cameo appearance via Skype, no doubt interrupting a cracking polo match or some well-deserved Scrooge McDucking.) Lindelof was a perfect choice: Not only did he spend much of the last decade perfecting the art of getting people excited (and, inevitably, furious) by saying very little of substance he also speaks fluent Klingon, er, Nerd. (Actually, he very well might also speak Klingon.)