Polygon found the following red-carpet interview with J.J. Abrams where the Star Trek Into Darkness director talks about, among other things, the “emotional hurt” caused by the recent Star Trek videogame loosely based on his version of the franchise. Even worse than the brutal assault on his feelings, he says, was the fact that the game had a negative impact on his movie. Here’s the video; the pertinent section start at the 1:07 mark:
Select Abrams comments:
“To me the videogame could have been something that actually really benefited the series and was an exciting, fun game with great gameplay and 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.”
Abrams’ attack is almost unprompted; the interviewer asks a softball question about what Star Trek videogames have contributed to Star Trek mythology, and Abrams immediately starts slagging the game. True, it was widely derided as not only an un-Star Trek-like Star Trek game, but also an unsatisfying experience. (Then again, one could also call Star Trek Into Darkness an un-Star Trek-like Star Trek movie and an unsatisfying experience, but whatever.) Still, the severity of Abrams’ words is kind of interesting.
Even more interesting is the general vibe of animosity that’s been wafting from the creators of Star Trek Into Darkness in recent weeks. After Trek fans at a convention in Vegas named Into Darkness the worst Star Trek movie of all time, the film’s Scotty, Simon Pegg, told fans “fuck you” in an interview with the Huffington Post. (Pegg later claimed he was “doorstepped” “very early in the morning” when he said those words, a fact the interviewer disputed.) Last week, Into Darkness co-screenwriter Roberto Orci attacked the commenters at TrekMovie.com, calling them “shitty fans” and telling them to “FUCK OFF!” (Orci later apologized and then deleted his Twitter account.) And now J.J. Abrams is blasting a videogame and accusing it of hurting the movie.
It’s possible that the general cruddiness on the game reflected poorly on Into Darkness because the two were tied so closely together (Kirk and Spock were modeled after Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, who also provided the voices for their digital avatars), and because the game was sold with the pitch that its story (about the Gorn, the race of lizard men of the famous Original Series episode “Arena”) was officially part of the new Trek canon. But if anything hurt Star Trek Into Darkness wasn’t it, y’know, the wonky plot-hole-filled script? Or the queasy emphasis on gleeful destruction? Or maybe antagonistic creators who blame everyone but themselves when fans didn’t particularly care for their movie?
I guess cranky Internet commenters and a glitchy Star Trek game (which by all accounts was absolutely terrible) make convenient scapegoats. By the way, Abrams is officially not directing the next Star Trek movie. Certainly he’s got his plate full with other stuff. But even if Abrams hadn’t gotten the Episode VII directing gig, it might have been time for him to boldly go do other stuff anyway.