Star Trek – Live in Concert at The Royal Albert Hall

Star Trek at the Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall in London is one of the world’s iconic music venues and recently they have been screening films in front of an orchestra.

Last week they screened Gladiator (2000) with Lisa Gerrard providing live vocals, and in the following days they showed J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (2009) and its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), with the 21st Century Orchestra.

As the lights dimmed Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty in the current iteration of the long running sci-fi franchise, walked on stage and the crowd went suitably wild.

It wasn’t just sci-fi geeks wearing Star Trek tops getting excited, but a more mixed crowd that saw film fans of all ages. (Although the conductor came out for the second half of the concert wearing a yellow James T. Kirk top!)

This perhaps being a reflection of how Abrams’ latest films have refreshed the long running saga for a mainstream audience whilst honouring the traditions set down by Gene Rodenberry’s TV in the 1960s and the subsequent spin-offs.

Although these kind of musical events have been done before, they seem to be part of a new kind of theatrical experience which is seeks to get people back into cinemas in different ways.

I had never experienced a ‘live-to-score’ screening before and it was quite something to behold: wonderful sound, a huge screen and an iconic venue all made for an absorbing night.

It helped that the venue was sold out (and not just by Star Trek fans) and there was a good atmosphere, but it was also interesting to observe the musicians from the 21st Century Orchestra playing their instruments in-sync with the movie.

At times, it was difficult to decide what to watch: the film unfolding on screen or the musicians playing beneath them.

Ultimately, a mixture of the two was probably what I ended up doing, but it was a tribute to the musicianship of the orchestra that it was perfectly in sync, as there was no margin for error.

There was the added treat of introduction from Simon Pegg (Scotty), Michael Giacchino (composer) and J.J. Abrams (director), the latter getting a particularly large round of applause as he had just come from the set of his latest film (which also has the word ‘Star’ in the title).

Perhaps J.J. might be back sometime for a live to screening of that, but in the meantime I’d love to see Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), whose climax famously takes place at the Albert Hall.

How cool would that be?

> Royal Albert Hall and YouTube channel
> Star Trek (2009) at Wikipedia

Amusing Random

The Shatner Khan Meme

I have to confess that the whole internet meme based around William Shatner screaming the name of the villain in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan kind of passed me by until now.

But Shatner’s overacting and the ‘pleasured’ look on the face of Ricardo Montalban are hilarious.

> Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan at Wikipedia
> YTMND Khan page

Amusing Viral Video

Star Trek meets The A Team

PhamtomKnight has done a great job mashing up the latest Star Trek movie with The A-Team.

[Link via BuzzFeed]

DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD Releases: Monday 16th November 2009

DVD Picks 16-11-09



Fanny and Alexander (Palisades Tartan): A re-release for Ingmar Bergman’s classic 1982 film about a young boy named Alexander, his sister Fanny, and their well-to-do family in Uppsala, Sweden. Digitally restored from the original negative and soundtrack this is the three hour theatrical cut. [Read the full review here]

Star Trek (Paramount): The re-boot of the Star Trek franchise by director J.J. Abrams was a big critical and commercial success with a new cast (Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Zoe Saldana as Uhura) and a twist which cleverly incorporated old characters whilst paving the way for new stories. [Read the full review here]


Collision (4DVD)
Film Noir Classics (BFI)
For All Mankind (Eureka/Masters of Cinema) [See Blu-ray Picks here]
Four Christmases
Love the Beast (Metrodome)
Moon (Sony) [See Blu-ray Picks here]
Soul Power
(Eureka/Masters of Cinema)
The Terence Davies Collection (BFI)
Sunshine Cleaning (Anchor Bay)
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 2 (Warner)
The Complete Lone Wolf & Cub Boxset (Eureka)
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure (Disney)

> Check out all the DVD & Blu-ray releases for November 2009
> Browse more Blu-ray releases at Amazon UK and Play
> Check out the latest UK cinema releases including 2012, Taking Woodstock and The White Ribbon (W/C Friday 13th November 2009)


Shatner Mountain Mashup

Someone over at Fall On Your Sword has done this rather amusing mashup of William Shatner describing Captain Kirk‘s relationship to a mountain.

My guess is that they got hold of the EPK from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier which was directed by Shatner (it’s the one where he fights God at the end) and features an opening scene on a mountain.

[Link via @Veronica on Twitter]

> Fall On Your Sword
> More on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier at Wikipedia

Amusing Random

Star Trek Movie Recognition Chart

Star Trek movie recognition chart

Luke McKinney has posted a complex but handy flow chart to let you identify which Star Trek movie is which.

(Click on the image above or here for a larger version)


UK Cinema Releases: Friday 8th May 2009

Star Trek, Coraline, Cheri


Star Trek (Paramount): The rebooting of the Star Trek franchise takes place in the early years of Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto), during their training at Starfleet Academy and their first mission together. Directed by J. J. Abrams it is a smart and highly engaging sci-fi adventure which should please Trek fans and a wider audience. It looks set to dominate the global box office this week and Paramount can expect to crack markets that have traditionally been resistant to their most profitable franchise. An extensive publicity campaign, great reviews and good audience word of mouth should ensure a huge gross and the prospect of sequels. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / Cert 12A] (Previews 7 May)

Coraline (Universal): An animated stop-motion 3-D fantasy film based on Neil Gaiman‘s 2002 novella about a young girl (Dakota Fanning) who finds a portal to an alternate world, which is more sinister than it initially seems. Directed by Henry Selick, who made The Nightmare Before Christmas, it features the voices of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher and Keith David and is a compelling and imaginitavely realised tale. [Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert PG] (Previews 2 – 4 May)

* Listen to our interview with Henry Selick about Coraline *

Cheri (Warner Bros/Pathe): A romantic drama set in 1920s Paris, where the son of a courtesan (Rupert Friend) retreats into a fantasy world after being forced to end his relationship with the older woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) who educated him in the ways of love. Directed by Stephen Frears, it is adapted from an adaptation of the novel by French author Colette. [London & Key Cities / Cert 15]



Blue Eyelids (Axiom Films): The debut feature from director Ernesto Contreras is the story of an introverted woman (Cecilia Suárez) who wins a holiday trip for two and – longing for company – invites a stranger (Enrique Arreola). [NFT, Apollo Piccadilly Circus & Key Cities]

Delta (ICA Films): The tale of disturbing family relationships in a wild Hungarian delta, directed by Kornél Mundruczó. [ICA Cinema, Renoir & Key Cities / Cert 18]

Little Ashes (Kaleidoscope Ent): The young life and loves of artist Salvador Dalí, filmmaker Luis Buñuel and writer Federico García Lorca is explored is this film directed by Paul Morrison and starring Robert PattinsonJavier Beltrán and Matthew McNulty. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Momma’s Man (Diffusion Pictures): The story of a man who has avoided his wife and child at home and has a change of heart after an imposed stay in his own parents’ loft, directed by Azazel Jacobs. [London & Key Cities]

O’Horten (Artificial Eye): A drama focused on a life-changing moment in 67-year-old train engineer Odd Horten’s existence: the evening of his retirement. [Curzon Soho, Ritzy, Screen On The Green & selected Key Cities / Cert 12A]

Sounds Like Teen Spirit (Warner Music Ent.): Documentary about the junior version of the annual Eurovision song festival, directed by Jamie Jay Johnson. [Curzon Soho, Ritzy, Screen On The Green & Key Cities / Cert 12A]


> UK cinema releases for May 2009
> UK DVD releases for this week (W/C Monday 4th May)

Amusing Viral Video

The Onion: Star Trek fans bash new Star Trek movie

The Onion have a new video report on what Star Trek fans think of the new film.

Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As ‘Fun, Watchable’

> Star Trek at the IMDb
> Official site

Cinema Thoughts

Why the new Star Trek film works

The new cast of Star Trek

The new Star Trek film manages to to strip away the baggage of the long running franchise and become the kind of film the Star Wars prequels should have been.

I am not a huge Star Trek fan (and don’t really care if they are called Trekkies or Trekkers), but this rebooting of the series deserves a lot of credit by focusing on the characters, maintaining a brisk pace and being a lot of fun.

Directed by J. J. Abrams and written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, this is essentially a prequel that explores the early years of the main characters in the Star Trek series.

It explores the back stories of James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) and their first proper mission mission aboard the USS Enterprise which sees them deal with a time travelling villain (Eric Bana) from the future.

There is also an appearance from Leonard Nimoy (the original Spock) but I won’t reveal the details of it as a large chunk of the plot hinges on it.

What is striking though, is the way it has been paced as there is little in the way of flabby exposition, which can bog down origin stories like this.

Not only does Abrams move things along at a refreshing clip, but he has also chosen wisely with his young cast.

Pine and Quinto rise very well to the daunting task of playing such iconic characters and the supporting cast (which includes Zoe Saldana as UhuraKarl Urban as BonesSimon Pegg as Scotty and Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov) are equally as good. 

The set pieces are well executed and have the visual effects that you would expect for a summer blockbuster, but the real trick here is that time and attention has been spent on the main characters.

Although William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy have been ingrained on pop culture for decades, the leads here manage to breathe new life into these characters and shake off the cobwebs that had plagued the more recent movies.

This is a film that will appeal to long term fans but also a new audience who either weren’t keen on it before or even alive when the TV series and subsequent film franchise began.

Ironically, one of selling points of the film (the return of Nimoy) is perhaps the most unnecessary, as the new cast do a good enough job standing on their own two feet.

Having said that, the writers do find a clever way to work in the ‘old’ Spock and give themselves new possibilities in the future.

Perhaps the best compliment you could pay to JJ Abrams and his team though is that this is what the Star Wars prequels should have been – lean, imaginative and entertaining.

> Official site for the film
> Reviews at Metacritic
> Brush up on Star Trek at Wikipedia and The Guardian