– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Star-Trek-Into-Darkness-Screenshot-Spock-PhaserIt’s practically impossible for you not to have heard at least a little bit of composer Michael Giacchino’s work within the past decade. He’s created a number of memorable scores for television shows, video games and movies. Basically if you’ve watched either “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “Star Trek” or “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” then you’ve heard a smidgen of what he’s done. Yes, we agree, he’s a crazy talented individual.

Since Giacchino’s been a long-time coworker and friend of J.J. Abrams, it was obvious that the composer would be working on the “Star Trek” reboot. Now he’s hard at work creating the score for “Star Trek Into Darkness,” but thankfully he had a little time in his schedule to go and talk about what he’s done so far. Did we mention this guy is one of the coolest people working in the business? His explanations on how he forms his scores sounds effortless. Then again, if you’ve been working at it for as long as he has, it’s no wonder.

The amazing Giacchino talked us through the process of shaping the first nine minutes worth of music for “Into Darkness.” While you might think all Giacchino needs to do is just lay out a track and that’s it, you’re wrong. “The first thing I do is I figure out what the tempo of a particular scene should be. From that, you can figure out, at least for me, you can watch it and just get a sense of what that is. The next thing I do is try to isolate all the moments within that piece that I’m working on that I have to hit. You’re always kind of setting an emotional road map to where you need to go.”

“Basically there’s a lot of dialogue in these movies, a lot of action going on but music’s role in these movies and or the area that words can’t speak to. The emotional underpinnings that’s going on. They may be saying something, but if they’re thinking something emotionally different then that’s what the music has to do. Music doesn’t always say what’s coming out of their mouth, its what’s going on inside their heart.”

It took the publicists running the event to pry our group away from Giacchino and his creative mind. We all might have stood in his small recording room all day if we could. The next thing we knew we were sitting in a really warm room listening to Visual Effects guy Roger Guyett giving us the run-down on what he’s done so far visually in this sequel. He showed us examples, explaining the process of creating say the Enterprise or making the lava in the volcano scenes look as realistic as possible.

While talking to us, Guyett went on in detail about how respectful they are in maintaining the general look of iconic items such as the Enterprise. At the same time they’re well-aware how much more on their game they have to be since this will be displayed in IMAX and in 3D. “Certainly for us it was a challenge delivering that kind of resolution on that scale in that screen. Just looking at the way those sequences would play I think the great thing about 3D is that it’s much more immersed, it’s a tool that can be abused but I think you want to use it to make a difference experience for people. We probably got about thirty to forty minutes worth of footage in the final movie that’s going to be in the IMAX format. So a substantial piece of the movie is going to be that very large scale.” We hope the 3D looks great!

Lastly we were brought over to costume designer Ann Foley and props master Andy Siegel. They had on display all of the outfits and props that were shown within the first nine minutes of the movie, including the volcano suit that apparently weighs sixty pounds. Ouch. They talked about their influences on the project, the main one being everything that’s been done with costume and props in “Star Trek” up until this point. Basically they were forced to bone-up on their Star Trek knowledge with an official Star Trek encyclopedia. At least fans should be happy about that, since there’s still a fair portion of them still sour about the possibility of this being a remake to “Wrath of Khan.” “There’s a whole fan base out there and you want to stay true to their expectations as well,” said Foley. We’re thankful that the crew has done their homework, that’s for sure.

Did we mention that Ann Foley is really happy over putting together the Klingon costumes? Because she so obviously is. She worked alongside J.J. Abrams forming their gray costumes for the scenes not shot in his first “Star Trek” movie, so you could imagine her excitement in having to spruce up their warrior outfits in “Into Darkness.” “As Andy (Siegel) was saying, there’s the whole debate with the Klingons with the ridges on the helmets. We decided to stick with that and embraced it, but we also made sure we had that Klingon symbol on the suit so you guys immediately know who these guys are. That’s something for the fans.” Now you guys already caught a snippet of them in the first teaser trailer. We hope that Paramount/Bad Robot releases an official image of the spruced up Klingons fairly soon. Wait, let me rephrase that: We want Paramount/Bad Robot to release a picture of the Klingons really soon because they look badass. There, that’s better.

As the sun set on the Bad Robot production office in Santa Monica, a lot of us walked out of there beaming with excitement. Hearing people from different parts of the industry discuss their own process of completing a part of a movie, whether it’d be a costume designer or even a producer, is always fascinating to hear. Plus that and I’m just generally excited to see more of “Star Trek Into Darkness.”


“Star Trek Into Darkess” is released in theaters May 17, 2013.

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.