GE has decided to hitch their wagon to Star Trek with a new commercial that features John Cho taking another turn as Mr. Sulu and Joseph Gatt, back as the creepy looking Science Officer 0718. The effects in this TV spot are solid, and I don’t know if this was filmed on the actual Enterprise bridge set, but it certainly looks like it was. Sure it’s cool to see some new Trek footage, even if it wants you to buy stuff, but none of this is the truly interesting part. What really makes this commercial something to examine is that it could give us a hint at the director of Star Trek 3. Be warned, what follows is highly speculative and is in no way official at all.
The rebooted Star Trek franchise has been without a leader since J.J. Abrams vaulted from one beloved sci-fi property to another, taking the job helming Star Wars: Episode VII for Disney. According to Gatt’s Facebook page, this commercial was directed by David Gordon Green, which has led some to wonder if he could be Abram’s ultimate replacement. Paramount has made rumblings about wanting to have a new Star Trek movie ready for 2016 in order to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Gene Roddenberry’s classic. If they intend to stick to that timeline, it makes sense that they would start process before too long.
Green is a weird choice, but one that, the more I think about, the more I like. Though lately he has become most widely known for his broad stoner comedies like Pineapple Express and Your Highness, his career started with, and has been punctuated by, powerful dramas like George Washington and Undertow, and quirky, but still moving dramatic comedies like Prince Avalanche. Most importantly, his movies always have heart, which is something many folks have said Abrams’ films lack. Going with Green could breathe some much needed life into the franchise, especially since so many people were let down by Into Darkness.
Green has never worked with anything close to a budget or scale like he would have at his disposal with. Most of his films live in indie land, and even the size of his bigger movies pale in comparison to the kind of cash the studio throws at Star Trek. The ability to reign in a project of this size would probably be the biggest concern, if Green does indeed get the job, but from the look of this commercial, he certainly has the lens flair thing down.
Using big movies to hawk your products is nothing new, though the choice of Star Trek specifically the current incarnation, and especially right now, is a strange choice. Throw Shatner, Nimoy, or Takei into any commercial you want, at any time, and you’re golden, but the timing here seems off. You’d think this ad would have appeared five months ago when Star Trek Into Darkness hit theaters, or even last month to coincide with the Blu-ray release.
To be honest, I’m not 100% sure what this commercial is trying to sell me. Part of their “Brilliant Machines” series, this spot feels like the company going, “Hey, look at us, we’re GE, we’re awesome!”
And because you can never have enough Star Trek characters trying to sell you stuff, here is Next Generation’s Commander William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) shilling for some sort of futuristic “automation” service.