2009 in Review: Biggest Regret


Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan movie posterI'm sick to death of studio fanboy marketing. It pisses me off when some studio jerks throw out clips -- or, even worse, a first reel --  of some upcoming movie. We're supposed to get all excited and spread good word of mouth to build marketing demand for their film. And then -- the coup de grâce of this sucker play -- we get to pay full admission to see the entire film once it's released.

No thanks.

One of my favorite studio marketing ploys happened a couple years ago, when the first season of Star Trek was remastered with new optical effects and released on high-def video. To promote the box set, the studio did limited theatrical showings of "The Menagerie," the two-part episode that recycled footage from the unaired (and Kirk-less) Star Trek pilot. Sure, it was a marketing event to support the boxed-set release, but it was well worth the price of admission to see old Trek on the big screen.

That's why, when Alamo Drafthouse announced a special screening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan early in 2009,  I was all excited. I own the DVD, but I'd love to see the movie again on the big screen -- especially the ground-breaking "Genesis Device" sequence. Also, the Star Trek reboot movie was scheduled for release that summer, which I was eagerly awaiting. This seemed like a great lead-in for the new Star Trek movie.

Then I heard that the Khan screening would be accompanied by clips from the new movie, and I lost all interest. Actually, I was angry. I didn't want to see dribs and drabs of the yet-unreleased movie. I wanted to wait until I could see the whole thing, not just some marketing scraps thrown out by the studio. I would have been excited to see Khan, but not if I had to sit through clips that would spoil the experience of watching the new movie.

Leonard Nimoy at Star Trek screening, Alamo Drafthouse, by David HillI'm sure you know the story about what really happened that day. A scratchy print of The Wrath of Khan rolled but soon "burned out" in the projector. Then Leonard Nimoy walked onto the stage and asked the crowd if they'd like to watch the film he brought with him instead. The very first screening of the new Star Trek movie happened here in Austin that night. It turned out to be an unforgettable event. If you listen to the commentary on the Star Trek DVD, they talk about the great Austin screening a couple of times.

I'm sooooo regretful I missed the big event.

And, being the big old Trekker that I am, I also was regretful that we didn't have a chance to see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on the big screen. Apparently I'm not the only one who felt that way. A couple weeks later, the Alamo scheduled a Khan screening, this time for real.

[Photo credit: "Star-Trek-4062009-Nimoy_44" by David Hill of David Hill Photo. Used under terms specified in photo's copyright EXIF field.]