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AutoMatters & More: “Star Trek Beyond” World Premiere & “Jason Bourne”

Costumed fans at the premiere
Costumed fans at the premiere

“STAR TREK Beyond”

San Diego Comic-Con keeps getting better and better. This year it started off with an event that was way over the top: the World Premiere of “Star Trek Beyond,” the latest film in the Star Trek universe.

The premiere was held on Wednesday evening at the same time as Comic-Con’s preview night was kicking off. As always, there are multiple events happening simultaneously during Comic-Con, so you have to choose between them. You cannot do everything.

The venue was behind the San Diego Convention Center in Embarcadero Marina Park South, right next to San Diego Bay, expensive yachts in the marina and in full view of the beautiful nighttime San Diego skyline.

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Thousands of diehard Star Trek fans streamed in to the park. Inside, we were presented with the first of what would be many commemorative mementos that evening. The first was a bracelet containing colored lights that change with broadcast cues – like the electronic ears at Disneyland.

Since it was dinnertime, we were each given a Subway boxed dinner and beverages, followed by premium ice cream treats for dessert.

We took them to our seats – hundreds of white, wooden folding chairs that were neatly arranged, theater style, on the grass facing a huge screen, like what you would find in a drive-in movie theater.

Between the screen and us were a stage and the San Diego symphony orchestra. On the stage, the Master of Ceremonies was Conan O’Brien, who was also in San Diego to record his T.V. show during Comic-Con in front of live audiences (the public at large could enter to win tickets for those, too). On hand to speak to us were J.J. Abrams and several of the stars of the new Star Trek movie. A moment of silence was held to honor the recent and unexpected passing of Anton Yelchin, who portrayed Pavel Chekov.

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Shortly before the movie began, commemorative souvenir seat cushions were handed out to everyone, to make sure that we were all comfortable.

The next surprise – still before the movie began – was what may well have been the largest, best laser light and fireworks show that I have ever had the pleasure of attending. It went on for over ten minutes and was truly a jaw-dropping experience. J.J. kidded that this fireworks show used up the promotional budget for the movie – it was that magnificent.

Then, throughout the film, the San Diego Symphony performed.

Souvenir seat cushion
Souvenir seat cushion

This is Star Trek’s 50th anniversary. Throughout those 50 years I have seen every Star Trek T.V. episode and every film when they first were first shown. This film is among the best.

Directed by Justin Lin, in “Star Trek Beyond” the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise encounters a new, especially formidable, high tech enemy. The film brings back main characters from the 1960s T.V. series, but they are portrayed by new cast members. Thankfully it avoids the recent dark, brooding trend in some science fiction films, instead entertaining us with an action packed, well acted, special effects spectacular.

Dazzling fireworks & laser light show
Dazzling fireworks & laser light show

After the film, as we were leaving, fans in Star Trek uniforms posed for photos. Tables were set up to distribute one last set of mementos: a gift bag containing four STAR TREK Blu-ray DVDs, a commemorative T-shirt and a commemorative hat with the name of the movie on the rear and the Vulcan salute on the front.

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I don’t know how Comic-Con can possibly top this, but that is also what I said after last year’s J.J. Abrams event for the then upcoming “Star Wars” movie. Next year if you hear about a J.J. Abrams event scheduled for Comic-Con, try to get tickets.

Jan at the photo op
Jan at the photo op

“Jason Bourne”

Matt Damon reprises the familiar Jason Bourne character created by Robert Ludlum in a complex, tense international thriller about CIA operatives. Can the CIA Director, portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones, be trusted? Can anyone be trusted? There are so many delicious twists and turns that you really need to be paying close attention.

CAPTION_5_-_NO_CAPTION_NEEDED_-_Star_Trek_Beyond_movie_poster

The brutal, lethal fighting scenes and general mayhem hardly take a break in the entire two hours, ending with a spectacular vehicle chase scene that sets a new standard for what can be achieved by what looks like actual physical effects. In this awesome scene an armored SWAT truck plows through a bunch of cars on the Las Vegas Strip and keeps on going.

Join in the conversation. Send your comments and suggestions to AutoMatters@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2016 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #447

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