JJ Abrams’ Star Trek Soars at the Hollywood Bowl
By Taylor Van Arsdale
Photos courtesy of Paramount Pictures
There’s something wonderfully satisfying, watching a movie you already know and love—with fellow fans of the genre in the perfect setting—out under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl. The film in question: J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, a reboot of the Star Trek franchise created Gene Roddenbury. Already a die-hard fan of the original series and Abrams’ iterations and re-inventions, the outdoor setting was a welcome change of pace and a great way to prepare for Abrams’ upcoming installment–Star Trek Beyond–just in time for its July 22, 2016 Paramount Pictures release.
Hey, it’s no easy task, taking an established series and iconic franchise—such as Roddenberry’s Star Trek—and turning it into a viable and thoroughly enjoyable ride that more than satisfies both old and new fans—but Abrams has done just that.
This first film (released in 2009) introduces the members of the original crew—and explains how they came together to save Earth from Nero, a renegade Romulan bent on obliterating humanity. Oh those renegade villains—they always seem intent on taking their revenge schemes to the nth degree–and this one involves time travel and red matter (which creates black holes). It also provides the backstory to Captain James T. Kirk’s legendary success at beating the “unbeatable” Kobayashi Maru Starfleet training simulation.
Much to my surprise–having never experienced the al fresco, communal atmosphere–the audience took to ‘ooh-ing and ahh-ing’ and cheering whenever the major characters; Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban), Lt. Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Scotty (Simon Pegg) were presented—and ‘booing’ at the likes of Eric Bana’s “Nero.” And of course, a palpable sadness fell upon the crowd when Anton Yelchin’s character Pavel Chekov appeared. It was an endearing, immersive experience, and it gave you the sense that you were a part of a “bigger picture.”
But most spectacular—the music. Performing the Michael Giacchino score was The Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by David Newman and joining them, the CSU Fullerton University Singers, directed by Robert Istad.
As we enjoyed the film, we had to remind ourselves a live orchestra was playing—that’s how seamlessly they fit into the overall production. The accomplishment is to the director’s and conductor’s credit, and to the Fullerton University Singers; who rank among the nations premiere collegiate choral ensembles. They have performed throughout the world and with a variety of pro-players such as: Andrea Bocelli, Beck, Beach House, and Sean Lennon.
Star Trek: Film with Orchestra was produced by Film Concerts LIve! and is a joint venture of IMG Artists, LLC and The Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency, Inc., in association with the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra.