HOLLYWOOD — In 1966, "Star Trek" was launched on television, then unceremoniously canceled due to low ratings. In 2002, fans mourned the death of the franchise after a movie and new TV series were both poorly received. In 2009, a time-traveling reboot has relaunched the Enterprise — and filled Grauman's Chinese Theatre with fans renewed in their belief that "Trek" will live long and prosper.
"I've only seen about half the movie," grinned Leonard Nimoy on the movie premiere's massive black carpet, admitting that the emotion of passing the Spock torch to Zachary Quinto left him unable to sit through the film's heart-tugging second half with dry eyes. "I'm very proud of him."
"I couldn't love him any more; I've just been so honored to get to know him," Quinto returned, adding that Thursday night's celebratory atmosphere would even prove infectious for the logical character the two men share. "Spock loves to party; he loves to let his bangs down every once in a while."
In addition to the movie's stars, such proud Trekkies as Amanda Bynes, Neil Patrick Harris, Leighton Meester, Rainn Wilson and Heidi Klum walked the event's massive stage shaped like the "Trek" logo. "This is like Cinco de Mayo and Yom Kippur all rolled into one for me," "Inglourious Basterds" actor Samm Levine marveled. Director Robert Rodriguez was equally excited, saying he was torn over his favorite "Trek" character: "I love Captain Kirk, but I love the Vulcan grip too, so I've gotta go with Spock."
New Kirk Chris Pine insisted that the film, which comes out May 8, stays true to Gene Roddenberry's vision of a harmonious future. "To present a positive image of the world, there's nothing better than that," he said.
"I can't believe this amazing series has lived for 40-something years," beamed Zoe Saldana, the new Uhura. "And now we're here."
"This is definitely the craziest premiere I've been to, and definitely the biggest," explained Rachel Nichols, one of the movie's sexy alien green girls. "It's the hottest ticket in town."
The death of "Trek," it seems, was greatly exaggerated when the series hit a speed bump in the early part of this decade. And down to a person, all the new crew members credited the well-reviewed 2009 film to the brave resurrection efforts of J.J. Abrams and his creative team.
"Three years ago, J.J. called me and was like 'Is "Star Trek" dead?' " recalled Damon Lindelof, a producer on Abrams' "Trek" and "Lost," as hundreds of pointy-eared fans shrieked at the stars. "Now, three years later, we're here."
" 'Star Trek' is cool again," said an amped-up Karl Urban, who plays the new "Bones" McCoy in the film. "It's hip; it's sexy. It's ballistic."
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