'Star Trek' Sneak Preview!

We journalist types got a chance last week to check out some footage from Star Trek at a presentation hosted by director J.J. Abrams himself, and attended by most of the cast. I couldn't tell you a Ferengi from a Tholian, and god help me if you ask me what the trouble with Tribbles was, but I can tell you that this movie looks pretty hot (and journos who would likely know the answers to those questions seemed to enjoy it, too). A lot of insider stuff was probably lost on me, and it took a bit to get used to the completely different actors playing young versions of the characters, but once you settle into it it's great.

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Abrams, a man not short of words, started with an introduction to the cast in the audience and a little about making the film before showing four fairly lengthy clips.

First: We meet Kirk (Chris Pine) as a young man in Iowa who gets involved in a bar fight after trying to hit on a young Uhura (Zoe Saldana) (the bar is way cool, reminds you of an updated Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars with humans and aliens lounging about). No fake fighting here--this is a brutal, bloody knucklebreaker, after which Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood--LOVE Bruce Greenwood!) gets Kirk to enlist in the star fleet.

Second: We get a first look at the inside of the Enterprise when Cadet Kirk sneaks aboard with help from a doctor friend who injects him with something that causes his hands to swell up huge (yeah, I didn't really get it either but it served as comic relief). He rushes through the ship, which looks uhhh-maz-ing, all slick and shiny and color-reflecting, before bursting into the crew's area and trying to convince Pike and the others he has secret knowledge that the Romulans are planning an ambush if the Enterprise tries to warp. We also get our first look at Spock, played by "Heroes"' Zachary Quinto, who fits the bill perfectly except for his nose is a little big and therefore sort of distracting until you just go with it.

Third: Leonard Nimoy makes a cameo as a future Spock returning to help out a young Scotty (the hilarious Simon Pegg). Joked Abrams, "The first day I asked myself, how do I ask HIM to play Spock? But he was great, he just asked me what I wanted him to do."

Last: An edge-of-your-seat nerve-destroyer of a scene! Kirk, Sulu (John Cho) and another crew member high-speed space-dive from the ship to the planet Vulcan, where Romulans are planning to wipe out the planet with help from some huge drill thing burrowing deep into the ground. The nailbiting begins with the space-dive ("Will their parachutes open? Will fierce winds blow them off the miles-high drill platform?" "How the hell did Romulans build this thing, anyway?") and continues with a fight in which Kirk ends up hanging off the side (word to the height-phobic) and finishes with Sulu and Kirk flying through the air with only one chute trying to get beamed back to the ship as they hurtle toward the ground.

Trekkie or not, are you looking forward to it?

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