JJ Abrams gives me a nice plug in the new May edition of Wired magazine. So in return (though he barely needs it!) let me plug his new movie, Star Trek, which I just came home from seeing at its Leicester Square UK premiere.
He’s done a fantastic job with this, staying very true to the original TV series but providing a touching, engaging backstory which does far more to justify the behaviour of Kirk, Spock and co than Gene Roddenberry probably ever imagined. Kirk is a wreckless, brilliant, green chick-humping tearaway, and Spock is hopelessly caught between his bipolar natures, the logical Vulcan with human flaws. But they’re both completely believable as adolescents who take an instant dislike to each other which of course it evolves into a mutual respect and then friendship. The sets, props and effects are beautiful, and the script is fresh and edgy. It’s gratifying in the way that Dark Knight or Casino Royale were to their respective franchises.
The premiere was a huge Leicester Sq paparazzi bash, with cordons and lots of police and banks of photographers, who kind of looked at me askance as if to say, is this someone we need to snap a picture of? Thankfully I slipped by anonymously. I was holding three too many tickets as I had decided against taking my kids, who go back to school tomorrow morning. So in the middle of the stampede of people trying to catch a glimpse of the celebs on the red carpet, I tried to give away three tickets to the movie along with after show party passes. I looked around for someone deserving. The first guy I spotted was a cool-looking Japanese dude. When I approached him he backed off as if I was a pickpocket, or some hawker trying to sell him something! And he disappeared into the crowd of tourists and anoraks with their cameraphones. Then next couple I approached asked me how much I wanted for the tickets. No no I said, they’re free! They looked at me very suspiciously but finally accepted the tickets. Then I gave the last one to a small single girl, maybe 17. The couple showed up inside and sat in their numbered seats next to us, but the single girl never showed. That ticket is probably in a Leicester Sq trash bin.
JJ was somewhere in the vast Empire auditorium, as was I, and we were texting each other from our smartphones. But he was whisked off to press interviews and the aftershow party, while I had to rush to British Rail Liverpool St to catch the last train home; so I never got to see him face to face this trip.