Last night was a pretty epic one for everyone here in the world of Fantastic Fest. Tim and Harry had invited Fantastic Fest badgeholders and the general public to come out to a special screening of STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN that was set to feature ten minutes of exclusive never-before-seen footage of the new J.J. Abrams Star Trek. What none of us expected - not me, not Karrie League, and not even Harry Knowles himself - was that Paramount itself had enlisted Tim in a secret mission to surprise Harry, his AICN crew, and the entire audience. And boy did that surprise work.
Not only did we watch WAY more than ten minutes of footage - Leonard Nimoy himself stopped by with the entire film and we got a chance to see it three hours before the Australian "world premiere." To say the air in the room was energized with excitement would be a huge understatement. But here's how it went down:
This first video doesn't have a lot of exciting moments, but I'm including it for the purists that want to see every second of this awesome. Basically, Tim got up in front of everyone and introduced us the show we *thought* we were going to see. He reminded us not to grab any illicit footage of the ten minutes, and gave the microphone to Harry to set up WRATH OF KHAN:
The opening credits of KHAN played out on the screen, and the audience was already psyched. As you can see in the video, most of us hadn't had the opportunity to see that film on the big screen EVER, and watching it in that room, with the screen writers of the new movie, already felt amazing.
In the very opening scene, though, something started to look off. The print we had was really bad, with long green lines and scratches through the whole thing. Before we'd made it more than ten lines into the dialogue, the scratches consumed the film, the picture got warped, and the film itself caught fire like the engine room of the Entrerprise.
"Stall for time!" Tim yelled out, as he handed the screen writers microphones. "I'm gonna run up to the booth and try to fix this mess..." He ran out of the theater and down the hall (a sight those of us at the Alamo have seen many, many times), and the writers were left to fend for themselves and tried to do an impromptu Q & A - but only for a short while:
LEONARD NIMOY! SPOCK HIMSELF! IN OUR THEATER!!!! There were high fives being passed from people that were sitting three rows apart.
We didn't have a chance for a full on Q & A after the movie, but our special guests did come back up on the stage one more time to say Live Long and Prosper.
As for the movie itself - all I can say is that it's AWESOME. For more in depth analysis from people that write film reviews much better than I do, head over to Ain't It Cool News and see how Harry and co. liked their surprise!
From all of us with the Alamo and Fantastic Fest - we loved it. Huge thanks to Paramount for making it happen, to David Hill for being able to photograph for us on such short notice, and major props to Tim League for being able to keep his mouth shut in the face of so much imminent excitment.