Star Trek Premiere

Ground-zero being Graumann’s Chinese Theater, the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Orange Drive became a buzzing mélange of fan interplay and barely-controlled event coordination. The lines were long, the spirits high and the show of solidarity for the film, despite the replacement of nearly every original actor of the classic characters, was deeply moving. This was not your father’s STAR TREK, and that was just fine by everyone.

A standing line had been formed for the fans while the last of the preparations for a special treat were made. For this event, Paramount was providing an opportunity for a select number of fans to get a little up close and personal with attending celebrities. A bleacher section had been constructed. With luck, fans would get great photo-shots of arriving actors, directors, writers, et al, have a better chance of celebrities hearing the quirky things they shout out and — holy grail of grails — may actually entice a celebrity to come over so as to trade a few quick words or even snap a One For the Ages photo with them.

Surprisingly, the wait was not a long one. Crossing Hollywood Boulevard, the fans (this chronicler included) were ushered to their open-air bleacher seats, a privileged position off-set only by the slow-cooker heat of the afternoon sun.

Despite the discomfort, the atmosphere was carnival-like, a cotillion of the fantastic in the making.

There was no shortage of distractions for the fans while waiting for the grand attraction to commence. Promoters paced before the bleachers, tossing out Star Trek-oriented goodies: Stacks of foam hands cast in the form of the Vulcan salute as well as various toys and gee-gaws, courtesy of Burger King. The latter hardly required a stretch of Holmesian deduction, due to the presence of – now, get this – the royal Burger King family; king, queen and knave, all dressed to the mascot hilt, sporting not the frozen, oversized faces of commercial aristocracy, but the heads of Klingons! With my faith in all things good and imaginative having just put a gun to its spiritual head, I decided to join it in physical form and was just reaching for my Cyanide capsule when I heard someone in the crowd refer to them as Burger-Klings. I was stayed by the fact that there’s a funny side to be found in even the most nightmarish contrast.

Rounding out the entertainment, a scratch DJ was on hand to play throbbing beats surrounding dubs of original-series dialogue. My hand was straying once more to my pillbox when the first of the limos arrived.

The grand parade commenced: Sam Levine, of Freeks And Geeks fame. John Cho (who plays Sulu in the movie). Walter Koenig (the original Chekov). Quickly following Koenig was Neil Patrick Harris. The man certainly has a kind of age-defying quality. For all of time’s lack of outward effect, he might just have stepped off the set of Dr. Horrible minutes earlier. Shortly thereafter, the man, the legend, Leonard Nimoy, made the scene and his arrival seemed to herald a veritable stream of luminaries: Jonathan Frakes alongside Marina Sirtis. George Takei, hand-in-hand with his husband. Director Robert Rodriguez. John Noble. Hank Azaria. Many Heroes stars (with the Zachary Quinto link): Jack Coleman, Masi Oka, Hayden Panettierre. This being a J.J. Abrams film, there were also many LOST stars in attendence: Jorge Garcia, Matthew Fox, Harold Perrineau. Our own Seth Green was there, sporting a new purple mohawk and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen, Supernatural) – another Whedon alumnus, having appeared in the third-season episode of Angel, “Provider”. Of course, all the stars of the premiere movie were in attendance: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Eric Bana and the aforementioned John Cho.

The parade of names was long and varied and each one, in its own way, helped stoke the fires already burning high in the hearts of gathered Trekdom. I won’t go into details about the film itself, except for the words of one fan, whom I quote: “I enjoyed it. It made me laugh. It didn’t make me cry. It had enough references and reverences to the old series that an old fan can accept it as something new and move on.”

It made me laugh. It didn’t make me cry. Strong words indeed.

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