Friday, May 15, 2009

Re-trekkin'

J. J. Abrams and Paramount have effectively restarted the Star Trek franchise. I think.

I didn't much like the idea Paramount, and fans, tried before: forget Next Generation, DS9, and Voyager, and go back to before. Enterprise had the problem that we really couldn't encounter much that was new; if we did, it would conflict with the timeline. There was a fan group that had a few (horrible) episodes with Kirk & Co. played by new actors. Same issue. We know what happened up through DS9. Can't we go forward? I didn't think we'd written ourselves into a corner. Yet.

But they pulled it off. I think.

SPOILERS BEGIN.

The time tampering will make the Federation so different that we really don't know what will happen next. Everything else in the universe should be the same; we'll only encounter Romulans and Klingons as major powers for a while. Maybe the Federation's enemies will be better able to take it on, now that it's weakened. (I hope they can resist Enterprise's temptation to almost meet the Borg, or the Cardassians, or the Dominion -- yes, I noticed the throwaway line at the bar -- but not really meet them so they can be a surprise for Picard and his cohorts in Next Generation.)

But.

MAJOR SPOILERS BEGIN.

The movie was flawed by being a sci-fi action flick rather than a Schindler's List. Yes, I know it was supposed to be. But the bad guy blew up a planet with 6 billion people on it. I'm supposed to be happy about Kirk, Spock, and Bones being together, after 6 billion murders?*

Usually we get the prospect of some planet being destroyed (usually Earth), so we can be on the edge of our seats, but it doesn't actually happen, because we want to have fun, not grieve the dead. I lost track of how many times the original Kirk saved the Earth from inevitable destruction. But Earth never encounters any serious damage until the Golden Gate Bridge becomes twisted metal in DS9. That's it; we don't even lose San Francisco.

So although I think they've effectively restarted the franchise, I'm not sure. You just can't be jolly and look for adventure when half the basis of the Federation has been slaughtered. It should be dark, and it won't be (because Star Trek is about optimism). In every film, won't I be saying, How can you people forget so quickly?

And I could tell the writers didn't get what they were doing either. Nobody except young Spock even looked upset. There was no moment of horror, watching it all happen. The aged Spock (Nimoy) was cracking jokes while his home world was up in the sky being vaporized.




*Someone's already mentioned the example of this: Star Wars, and the planet Alderan. And, yes, Star Wars was jolly and exciting and when Luke & Han were getting their medals, nobody was shedding a tear for Alderan. But it was off-screen. We'd never been there. We didn't feel like we knew those people. And Star Wars was sort of cartoony. (You blow up a planet, and it looks like you put a stick of dynamite in the core? Really?) This felt different to me.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Marg said...

I see what you mean; no one really seemed to care.
All in all, I thought it was a really good movie. I don't really have a lot of Star Trek exposure though; we may need to remedy that.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Absolutely yes!

9:37 PM  

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