Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Discovery Trailer Two

How there can still be haters after the second Discovery trailer is beyond me. At the very least you have to agree that the show is going to have the most spectacular look of any of the Star Trek incarnations.

Unveiled at San Diego Comic Con, fans were treated to the second series trailer for the show which opened up a whole lot of new stuff from the first seconds.

We open up in the Netflix version to a glorious shot of the USS Shenzhou NCC-1227 showing off its purple navigational deflector and the unusual point that it has the registry on both left and right sides of the saucer. Very unusual but the shape of the ship is very much in keeping with established Starfleet design especially the Akira and Miranda Classes.

All life is born from chaos...the world doesn't always adhere to logic - Burnham

We open into further shots of Georgiou and Burnham on their desert walk as well as a visual of the alien that we've also seen in concept art at San Diego's Discovery gallery. 

There's more of Burnham flying through an asteroid field in her Starfleet spacesuit (more later on this) including a nice HUD that shows the Shenzhou before we get our first new and closer look at the Klingons. There also appears to be a shot of some sort of ambush or brawl slotted in here but it's out of focus and in the distance so I can't be sure if it's Klingons or not.

Sometimes down is up...and sometimes when you are lost you're found. - Burnham

Now the next piece has Burnham getting up from the floor from behind what is left of a forcefield and looking around her it seems that the ship (or starbase?) has taken severe damage. I'd link this shot into some of the later scenes where we do see the character incarcerated and actually hauled away at one point by Starfleet officers. If I was a betting man I'd say that this is the turning point for the character in the pilot. At some point I think something is going to go wrong in regards to contact with the Klingons, Burnham will be at the centre of it resulting in her moving to the Discovery under Captain Lorca rather than gaining her own command as we were informed in the first trailer.

Again paralleling the gallery that's been appearing right across the internet this weekend, we have a first, clear look at some of the monolithic Klingon ships. There is a much more Gothic look to these ships than every before. There's a danger to them, a spiky, sharpened threat that is obvious just from the look and is echoed down into the very costume design of the Klingon race themselves.

The Klingon Empire has been in disarray for generations. - Sarek

In keeping with Star Trek tradition we see Chris Obi leading a Klingon death howl as the sarcophagus is raised to the ceiling and he ensures that its occupant is deceased. Now could this be his predecessor leading to T'Kumva taking over the house and leading the Klingons to war? Could this death be caused by the Shenzhou and therefore lead to the ensuing conflict that I think we all know is coming (and I'm SO convinced now we're gonna get Axanar and Garth at some point in the next couple of seasons).

We've encountered them. - Burnham

There's more of Burnham communicating with a holographic Sarek. Is she relating events directly to him? Is he somehow manipulating or helping to mould events? Now this is one piece of tech that is definitely out of place in the timeline since this type of comm device only turned up a couple of times in Deep Space Nine and was ditched because it restricted the story. Here at least the technology looks in its infancy with the grainy image of the Vulcan ambassador. Interestingly the internet was flooded with the suggestion that Burnham was actually Amanda's (Sarek's wife's) daughter initially but now it's clearer that she's adopted. In fact there's a shot later in the trailer where Sarek (not holographic) comes close to a bloodied child whom I would say is a young Burnham. Thus the pilot - or at least some time in the first season will overview their relationship.

We have been waiting for someone worthy of our attention - T'Kumva

Follow that up with some more shots of the Shenzhou coming face to face with the Klingon "mothership" but then faced with an armada of hostiles which might be the starting point of the kicking it appears to get earlier in snap shots. There's more of Burnham - reaction shots plus one intriguing one of her standing in front of some sort of plant-life. Then it all goes fiery as the Klingons launch an attack. Now the ship that appears to go boom doesn't look like either the Shenzhou or the Discovery so it might be the USS Europa which we saw being torn to bits right in the first few seconds of this trailer. To be fair the trailer characterises the Klingons as a brutal warlike group who just seem out for a good fight and are something like the Klingons of old with their rituals. While T'Kumva makes an appearance, Mary Chieffo's L'Rell is notably absent...grrrr.

We do get to see the Shenzhou taking damage during a firefight and what impresses me is that every single frame that we get to see a starship or something borne out in space it looks cinematic in scale. Also there was a suggestion that we might be seeing the death of Georgiou during this sequence but I just think it's the usual Star Trek bridge pyrotechnics. Now take a look to this shot (right) and you'll spot a ton of escapepods leaving the Shenzhou. Now, this really does indicate that this ship will not last the whole of the pilot episode or perhaps last only a couple of stories to lead into Burnham's tenure on the Discovery. Whatever happens I think we can firmly say that the Shenzhou is not going to survive.

From all the props we've been teased with recently we know that the detail on set is spectacular but now we can really see how much has gone into the CG. I mean it's a million miles from the Discovery tease of 2016.

Continuing on the battle rages with injured personnel being moved around the ship accompanied by our first onscreen shot of the medical "white" uniform plus lots of explosions seeming to be aboard the Shenzhou and maybe from a Klingon attack.

Change is the essential process of all existence, Commander Burnham. You must challenge your preconceptions for they most certainly will challenge you. - Sarek

Burnham then takes control ("Go!") as we are greeted with a group of officers in the black armour (including Burnham) and then a shuttle or shuttlepod leaving through a baydoor forcefield - nice touch and well in keeping with the later series!

Then we get more ship combat and desert walking before...

What the hell is going on on this ship? - Burnham

Burnham watches some floating molecules which might indicate a new weapon or virus, maybe even that gravity on the ship has gone off. There are quick splices to members of the crew including Lieutenant Commander Saru who we now know is from a prey species called the Kelpien. The reason they can sense death is because they are hunted by another species on their homeworld hence they need to be more than aware what is around them!

Run! - Burnham

The sense of danger increases with Burnham in danger in a darkened ship corridor possibly after her escape from the brigand attempting to get off the crippled Shenzhou. Blink at this point and you might miss the fleeting glimpse of the Europa again as it shoots by but don't worry because then we get our first trailer look at the (back end of) Discovery herself. She's a lot flatter than ever seen before and immediately the title craft jumps to warp.

We are creating a new way to fly - Lorca

- says Captain Gabriel Lorca as the starship jumps to warp. Intercut with a fiery planet or weapon or something before Burnham takes to jumping around in space through a web or forcefields which links back to the early moments of the trailer and possibly into the later parts of her imprisoned. He's very studious and there's a level of thespianism to his delivery. I see Lorca as a strong, single-minded captain more in the image of Picard than a Kirk. Certainly more of a man to tow the line rather than act as a maverick and play havoc with the Prime Directive. I can see how the more hot-headed and active Burnham will be a counter to the captain of the Discovery right away but from the trailer I believe he will be peeling away her layers and helping explore her personality and maybe bringing more of the humanity out of the shell that has been affected by being raised by Vulcans.

Better hurry..we're getting very close to (insert vocal explosion noise!) - Mudd

Perhaps the biggest surprise in the trailer is the appearance of Rainn Wilson as Harry Mudd. Now I've been critical of the inclusion of this character since the day it was announced but y'know what? I'm actually really impressed with this performance. It's cynical, sarcastic and dark. I think I'm going to like my Mudd this way rather than comic relief. Still no sign of Lieutenant Stamets here which is disappointing seeing as Anthony Rapp is all over everywhere helping promote the show.

You're mad - Burnham

I'm Mudd - Mudd

And that says it all. This could be the standout character and his sparring with Burnham looks like it could be a high point for the show. I never thought that Harry Mudd appearing in Star Trek again would actually make me happy - to the point where I'm actually excited to see how he's developed.

You chose to do the right thing...even at great cost to helped start a war; don't you want to help me end it. - Lorca

Do Burnham's actions lead to the destruction of both the Europa and the Shenzhou? Will some of the first season actually be flashback or is Michelle Yeoh destined to only be in the pilot episode? I think the answer to that is yes but her actions there might well have repercussions across the first season.

We close out the trailer with those scenes of Burnham being carted off to the brig which she will escape due to critical ship damage before Lorca confronts her to help him turn the situation around. More shot of a Klingon ship, Burnham crawling through a Jefferies tube(?), the Shenzhou bridge captained by Georgiou, the Europa (?) exploding again - is this ship sacrificing itself to save the Shenzhou perhaps? Then we get to see escape pods leaving the Shenzhou which solidifies my thinking this is a pilot-only starship. Is Burnham the responsible party for the loss of hundreds of lives at the hands of the Klingons?

Final shot - Burnham, unconscious spinning into an asteroid field in her broken spacesuit which could be around the same time she encounters the Klingon "torchbearer" as we have come to know him.

It's a trailer that offers just about everything up. Amazing CG, stunning detail, action, adventure - but there is one thing that does appear to be lacking and that's the optimistic look of the future. What we have seen has certainly impressed. It looks and sounds incredible especially when coupled with the pics coming out of San Diego but this looks to be an exceptionally bleak Star Trek with even the most colourful of characters (Mudd) being somewhat sinister. 

These two and half minutes of new footage do answer the question over Burnham's transfer (maybe) as well as indicating some form of contact situation that goes wrong between the Federation and the Klingons leading to war and probably a war that will encompass the first season.

Again this trailer shows how far Star Trek has had to move in the last decade and a bit. I think they have the visual feel nailed and the nods to the past in the starship design, the uniforms, the spacesuits, the weapons - are all excellent and true to the universe in which they are set. The challenge will be if there is enough substance under the gloss to make this a sustainable show. I don't see it being ditched after a year because of the mind-blowing investment that has been put into the show in front and behind the camera. So what if the Klingons look different, it's not like there was consistency back in the '60's and '70's either! In fact they had to retcon in the reason why during Enterprise

Still there are "fans" out there heaping disdain onto a show that hasn't even aired. I repeat once more - give it a chance to prove itself. This will be different and it has to be for the time we are in. It will have more in common with the Kelvin timeline purely because of how TV and film making has advanced since These Are the Voyages in 2005. A lot can happen in 12 years and just think about how scripting and making TV has been affected by shows such as Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad. It's a different landscape to the one which saw Sisko fight the Dominion or Picard live a life as Kamin of Kataan. 

No Star Trek has been the same as the previous one and we shouldn't expect this one to either. Grow up, give it a chance or move on. This is a new era for Star Trek, a new chance to meet a new audience who may never have experienced the original show and the franchise is in an era of media that is a million times more competitive than it was even in 2000. Star Trek has had to change and come up to date and while the trailer looks stunning in every shot it doesn't tell us much about the characters. It is what it is; a tease.

What impressed you most about the new Discovery trailer?

All images taken from Netflix trailer direct or via FilmSelect

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