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Star Trek game 'arguably hurt' the movie, says J.J. Abrams

Star Trek: Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams says he left the Star Trek game early, and ultimately felt that it may have hurt the film.

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The Star Trek game paired with the recent movie Into Darkness was pretty awful. Our preview only called it "competent" and unmemorable before its release. Film director J.J. Abrams says he swore off the game early when he noticed it going south, and was ultimately saddened by it.

"The last game, which was obviously a big disappointment to me, was something that we were actually involved in from the very beginning," Abrams told GamerHub (via CVG). "Then we sort of realized that it was not going in a place where we were going to get what we wanted, so we dropped out and they continued to do it despite... y'know."

He said the game could have "really benefited" the series if it had been exciting and fun. "Instead it was not and was something that I think, for me emotionally it hurt because we were working our asses off making the movie and then this game came out and it got, this isn't even my opinion, it got universally panned and I think that it was something without question that didn't help the movie and arguably hurt it."

Of course, Abrams seems to know the game industry's rocky history with movie adaptations. "Very, very rarely does a movie based on a game, or a game based on a movie, really work," he said. "It usually ends up being something that everyone that goes to play feels like this was a marketing decision made by a room full of people that wanted to capitalize on a title. That's no way to make a game and no way to make a movie.

Editor-In-Chief

From The Chatty

  • reply
    September 13, 2013 1:30 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Star Trek game 'arguably hurt' the movie, says J.J. Abrams.

    Star Trek: Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams says he left the Star Trek game early, and ultimately felt that it may have hurt the film.

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      September 13, 2013 1:45 PM

      No, the mystery box hurt the movie -> http://badassdigest.com/2013/06/12/film-crit-hulk-smash-the-age-of-the-convoluted-blockbuster/
      "
      Since the late 90's, this purposeful obfuscation has become an increasingly common phenomenon. And Abrams, ridiculously talents as he is, has perhaps wittingly stood as the poster boy for the Age of Convolution. There's a lot of reasons he's gone in this direction, but the main cause of this may be his near-worship of the now infamous 'Mystery Box' (TED: http://www.ted.com/talks/j_j_abrams_mystery_box.html ) Now, setting aside the fact that you can highly the complete emptiness of the concept with one good Simpson's reference (The box: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcG8z2OTAWs ) It's admittedly a great way to sell stuff. A story with a well-presented air of mystery just has this natural allure, doesn't it? It can always draw people's curiosity... but in reality? The mystery box has no real dramatic function within actual storytelling.
      (...)
      Though equally convoluted, the first Star Trek works more or less because it's a character-centric movie about a group of people coming together in meaningful character-centric ways. And Star: Trek Into Darkness fails because it is purely a plot-centric movie where characters come together in plot-centric mechanical ways"

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        September 14, 2013 5:47 AM

        Sorry, I accidentally UNF'd this post too.

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      September 13, 2013 1:48 PM

      J.J. -- give us Cloverfield "the video game experience" -- PLEASE!!!! I don't care if I survive. In fact, I hope the big ass alien eats me!

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      September 13, 2013 1:52 PM

      I didn't know he was 'working on a portal/halflife project' with valve until I saw that video. Wtf? When was this disclosed?

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      September 13, 2013 1:53 PM

      He better tell all those Star Wars game developers to hold off on their releases until after Episode 7 debuts then...............

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      September 13, 2013 1:58 PM

      The shitty rip-off script is what hurt the movie.

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        September 13, 2013 6:24 PM

        ^^ ding.

        It made me wish there were a new series with Chris Pike as captain.

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          September 13, 2013 6:57 PM

          I actually thought that with the first one. Pike was the best acted and most likeable of all the castother than maybe Urban. He was also the only one who ever seemed to actually beleive in Starfleet

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            September 13, 2013 7:12 PM

            A movie based all around him could have been so much better than what we got.

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            September 13, 2013 7:15 PM

            I think people actually prefer a veteran in the captain's chair. I'd take a Pike or a Picard or a TOS Kirk over the twentysomethings we have now.

            Plus... god I'm a trekkie and I love the IP but seriously, someone has to stop Abrams from wheeling out the deux-ex-machina four and five times per film and then whipping it away seconds later. Super teleporter that makes starships obsolete? Why not! Bring it back again in the second film even! Just have Starfleet "confiscate the equation", however one does that. And super blood that makes people immortal! ergghhh

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              September 13, 2013 8:05 PM

              First point, I agree in that I'm just tired of young people in movies because Hollywood thinks the only way to connect with that demographic is to cast actors or characters of the same age. The films I love now from my childhood in the 80's are by no means limited to those with a younger cast, mostly the oposite.

              Second point, You can't really blame JJ other than it's his groupies he lets write movies. They are terrible.

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      September 13, 2013 4:13 PM

      Haven't we all agreed upon that the best way to capitalize on a movie IP is to set the game in the same universe, but only make references to the top shelf characters? Isnt that why Tie Fighter > Xwing, and also how Dark Forces or Jedi Academy were such great off shoots of the original IP.

      Same goes for Riddick and Butcher Bay...

      If they make a movie of Half Life, Gordon Freeman cannot be an onscreen character, but Adrian Shepherd can. The great chase!!

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      September 13, 2013 4:15 PM

      The fact that it was a fucking terrible rip off for no god damned reason is what hurt the movie. >:(

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      September 13, 2013 5:47 PM

      not enough lens flares?

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      September 13, 2013 5:56 PM

      that movie hurt my brain

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      September 13, 2013 5:59 PM

      What hurt the movie was the movie script itself. The first Star Trek film worked because it made all the right nods to the original franchise and even integrated it into the plot but, at the same time, was its own new adventure. Into Darkness fell flat because, instead of going off into a new direction with the newly established universe, they instead re-treaded Wrath of Khan in a way that wasn't as fun as the original film, and completely ret-conned some things in a way that the time travel alternate history concept they based the reboot on just couldn't explain.

      I think they would have been better served by either coming up with a whole new adventure or if they had to retread anything, retread a plot line from the original tv series and expand upon it. It would have been more fun that way.

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      September 13, 2013 6:01 PM

      New pinball machine looks badass though. Although I'm pissed about no cannons or kickback feature in the pro (basic) version.

      http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/09/after-20-year-absence-star-trek-returns-to-the-world-of-pinball/

      • reply
        September 13, 2013 9:17 PM

        Funny how there's no Enterprise on the playfield unless you buy the $7000 version. And I thought Stern were switching to LCDs.

    • ArB
      reply
      September 13, 2013 6:12 PM

      No, the script hurt the movie, not the game. It needed way more Peter Weller and no Cumberbatch.

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        September 13, 2013 6:28 PM

        Cumberbatch was the only good thing in the film.

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          September 13, 2013 7:06 PM

          He wasn't that great either. There was no real character there especially since his motivations were vague at best.

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            September 13, 2013 7:13 PM

            also, why was he named Kahn? He wasn't Indian.

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              September 13, 2013 7:24 PM

              I'd go further, Why was he named Khan, he had nothing in common with Khan other than it being an excuse to have someone who is scary in the most superficial and simplay way, being really strong and us being told he is smart(he doesn't actually do anything that smart in the movie). And of course that people had heard the name before.

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                September 13, 2013 7:35 PM

                And, why go through the trouble of concealing all his people in torpedo tubes in the first place? Why not just wake them up instead right then and there?

                Why send the Enterprise on a suicide run at all in fact? The Vengeance was days from completion. It was an unmarked, unregistered Federation ship that out-performed anything in Starfleet. Just go fire the torps yourself, beat up a couple of Klingon ships, and zoom away. Instant war.

                Why did Spock not flip his shit at the idea of interfering with Nibiru's volcano? That alone is a violation of the prime directive but he was cool with it?

                whyyyyyyyy


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                  September 13, 2013 7:55 PM

                  -due to the time travel thing, the ones that found khan decided to use his genius, using his people as hostages. they knew how dangerous he was and would have to assume they'd be ready to kill them at a moments notice. as to how he got them in the torpedoes? i dunno.

                  -the klingon's needed to know that it was a starfleet ship that attacked them to start the war, the admiral explained it when he showed up. the story was going to be that the enterprise went rogue and attacked chronos.

                  -again, time travel. alot has changed and he's been in contact with his future self who has been telling him to chill out.


                  i like what abrams has done with this reboot. instead of pretending the original movies never happened, he's not only using time travel tp reboot the series, he's also acknowledging the original happened.

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                    September 13, 2013 8:25 PM

                    - Using a 200+ year old genius to design modern technology makes no sense. Would you put Isaac Newton in charge of Apple today? ok maybe but just for the branding

                    - Was Kahn privey to the idea that Kirk would be sent to the klingon homeworld? How did he know the torps with his people would be given to the enterprise? I kind of get and like the idea of him putting them in the torps just to sneak them off planet then figure something out but if he had enough access to get them in there couldn'the just have woken them up then and gone and charterred a ship or something?

                    -pure speculation. There's no reason to think the spocks were talking much less about this obscure planet. If that was the case the movie should have shown it.

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                      September 13, 2013 9:01 PM

                      -he's genetically enhanced genius that specializes in war.

                      -khan might have been hiding in chronos in hope that they'd use the torpedoes. it would be the only way to take him out without invading klingon space. he might've had a way to take remote control of the torpedoes once they're launched, but infiltrating the ship would've been a safer route. maybe he convinced the admiral to put them in the torpedoes to make it easier to kill them at will, those torpedoes aren't a viable weapon as the payload is a frozen body.

                      -i'm not saying they'd talk about an obscure planet, i'm saying they spoke regularly on personal issues. also, he lost his mother when his world was destroyed, that might make him adverse to let another planet get destroyed.

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                        September 13, 2013 9:12 PM

                        None of those explanations are in the movie. We shouldn't have to look for those in an action version of star trek. It should be simple.

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                          September 13, 2013 9:15 PM

                          the only explanation that needs reaching is the torpedoes. spock can be explained away to time travel, just like kirk.

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            September 13, 2013 7:22 PM

            Good point. Now that I think about it, he was a thin and poorly developed character, little more than a shallow plot device. A whole movie solely about a rogue Admiral trying to start a war with the Klingons could have been more fleshed out and much more interesting, and a little more original too.

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              September 13, 2013 7:34 PM

              I absolutely agree. The two vilians only diluted things and I would be more interested in what you describe than a Khan retread too.

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                September 13, 2013 7:58 PM

                i think abrams is trying to follow the original movies storylines with time travel twist. i thought it was pretty good except for the khan blood thing in the end, they could've been less cliche about it.

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                  September 13, 2013 8:09 PM

                  Abrams trying to follow the original movies is exactly what he SHOULD NOT be doing.

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                    September 13, 2013 8:28 PM

                    Karl Urban agrees
                    http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/08/03/star-treks-bones-karl-urban-on-why-he-would-never-do-a-star-wars-movie-and-hopes-for-an-original-story-for-star-trek-3

                    As to what he'd like to see for the third film, Urban said, "What I really believe we should do now is strive for originality. Because in Star Trek Into Darkness we took one of the most revered and loved adversaries of the Enterprise and put him in there, and did a story that had all of these wonderful nods to films from the past, and episodes from the past. I really think that what we should do from here, in my personal opinion, is strive to be original. Strive to be something different and new. You know, let's not forget that Star Trek as envisioned was about space exploration. And it would be really wonderful to harness the spirit of that and apply it to the next film, so that we do something different than a revenge-based picture."

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                      September 13, 2013 8:35 PM

                      I love that guy. Even before reading that he seemed like one of the only people involved that cared.

                      Side note, I think he is the only other actor I would like to see play Wolverine.


                      Also Dredd was fun

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                        September 13, 2013 9:08 PM

                        really? you think pine, quinto, pegg, and cho are just cashing checks?

                        and he's too tall to be wolverine.

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                          September 13, 2013 9:26 PM

                          Yes. Pegg cares but has no real pull. He's a brit brought in for geek cred.

                          Quinto plays esentially Sylar. I have never seen any love of science or understanding from his character. He has exclusively been an emotional character which is contrary to it's very nature. He gets angry with Kirk and bangs Uhura. That's it. Oh, wait, He yells sometimes for reasons we never are given reasons for. Why does he even like Kirk, much less care about his sacrifice?

                          Pine has had nothing but a similar physical look to Shatner and some forced lines.

                          I do kind of like Pine's interactions with Urban but TBH I think anyone else in the cast would do as well or better

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                      September 13, 2013 9:05 PM

                      and abrams might've been planning to do just that; at the end of 2 has kirk talk about starfleet going back to its original objective, space exploration, and the enterprise is tasked with a 5 year exploration mission.

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                        September 13, 2013 9:13 PM

                        its going to be that long before we get another one.

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                      September 14, 2013 7:10 AM

                      Karl Urban just keeps getting better and better. I'm now always excited about a movie when I hear he's in it.

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                      September 14, 2013 7:26 AM

                      There were a couple of moments when they showed his silhouette or a shot of him moving around where you couldn't see his face and I swear to god I thought they CGI'd in DeForest Kelley.

    • reply
      September 13, 2013 6:14 PM

      There was a game?

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      September 13, 2013 6:32 PM

      jj is overrating the power of video games. i didnt even know there was a game

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      September 13, 2013 7:09 PM

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ2X8PHAI6Y

      pewpewpewpew

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      September 13, 2013 7:22 PM

      Anything that cracks the whip on the phone-it-in attitude behind tie-in games is OK with me

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      September 14, 2013 5:41 AM

      Wait... Star Trek Into Darkness was supposed to be bad? Guess I didn't check with the Shack hivemind first.

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        September 14, 2013 6:04 AM

        I didn't know it was bad either. Glad the shack helped me realize the graveness of my mistake!

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        September 14, 2013 6:46 AM

        The game was bad. The movie was fine.

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        September 14, 2013 9:13 AM

        Yes, it was fucking terrible.

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      September 14, 2013 6:50 AM

      What Star Trek game?

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      September 14, 2013 6:55 AM

      Considering how he makes movies, I'm pretty sure if he was more involved it would have been worse. From what I've seen, the game's worst failings were being an uninspired hodgepodge of other games and being riddled with technical problems.

      I could only imagine a JJ game being a series of cheesy shit want-to-be-Speilberg emotionally-manipulative cutscenes featuring characters either acting outside previously established qualities of character, or just randomly doing shit to conveniently advance a thin plot, all loosely connected by jarringly nonsensical overlong action sequences.

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      September 15, 2013 8:02 PM

      you cant blame a movie for a crappy game lol... the game was pure garbage

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        September 16, 2013 9:34 AM

        What is pure garbage? Is all garbage not tainted? What are the qualities of pure garbage that differentiate it from regular garbage?