Thursday, May 21, 2009

Not Hooting Over the STAR TREK Reboot

So I should first say that I'm writing this entry using Adobe Contribute for the first time.  I actually have no idea how this will work.  My guess is either perfectly or so horribly that I'll end up losing the entire blog in a fiery crash.

Speaking of fiery crashes, I saw the new STAR TREK movie a couple of weeks back and have had the chance to digest it and all I can say is that if someone wants to give me $200 million, I can get you a better movie, or at least a better script.

Not that I thought the movie was terrible.  It just wasn't GREAT! in the way that all of the other reviewers seem to think.

What I'm curious about is whose idea was it to completely break with the past, rather than reinvent the past.  You see, in all other Star Trek movies that involve time travel, the goal is always to "restore the timeline," lest you create alternate timelines that alter history and create paradoxes that could, ultimately, tear apart the fabric of time and space.  In fact, in ST:TNG, ST:DS9, ST: VOYAGER, and even in ST:  ENTERPRISE, there appeared references to and appearances by Federation time cops, whose job it was to get the timeline restored.  Yet the movie ignores all this.  Maybe they are saving it for the sequel?

Hey!  Bill Shatner, I just figured out how you can be in the next movie!  Since a completely alternate timeline has just been created, maybe you didn't die in the arms of Patrick Stewart in this one.  Hence, you can come back in the next movie.

You see, unless you are pretty much a Star Trek geek, you probably don't get this, but this movie is not a "reboot" or "new origin" story.  By including Leonard Nimoy as old Spock, complete with Spock's memories and experiences of the old timeline, they didn't start fresh, they just, literally, changed history enough so that everything that happened before didn't (or might not) happen.  Now they can have Kirk and Spock meet Q (calling John de Lancie), rather than have Q's first encounter be with the Next Generation.  They can encounter the Borg.  They can pretty much do whatever they want because what came before doesn't matter.

And this pisses me off a bit.  It's a cheat.  Ironically, it's like Kirk's treatment of the Kobayashi Maru test.  He couldn't beat it, so he reprogrammed it.  JJ Abrams and his writing partners couldn't overcome all of the history of Star Trek but they also couldn't overcome their desire to get Nimoy into the picture, apparently, so they cheated.  They created an alternate timeline and then ignored what is literally known as the Temporal Prime Directive.

For those who are not deeply immersed in the shows and prior movies, this is no big deal, but for the fan base that kept Star Trek alive long enough to be worth making this movie, this is pretty much an insult.  There is so much about Star Trek and its universe that has never been explored and rarely touched upon, and so many options to explore, even using Nimoy as a framing device in some fashion, that I just don't see why they couldn't have been more original and creative than they were.

From a script perspective, my biggest issue was with the dialogue of the Romulans.  The Romulans have always been presented as a proud and intelligent people.  I wonder, sometimes, if they were based on the Japanese.  But Nero comes off as a thug and not even that intelligent a thug.  And would he really come on the view screen and say, "Hi, I'm Nero"?  I didn't imagine that, did I?

I'm not sorry I saw it and I'm sure I'll watch it on cable again sometime, but I really had higher expectations and wish the reviewers were being a bit harder on these guys so they'd know to try harder next time.

Z

2 comments:

I said...

I thought the first half was great. Everything up until "Our qualified personnel are all busy elsewhere, but conveniently they've left behind an entire armada of state of the art ships of the line for our cadets to crew." After that I found you just had to sit back and enjoy the ride (which I don't really consider a good thing) without analysing anything too closely.

The thing I found insulting to fandom was the destruction of Vulcan--not that it happened, but that it was treated as if it wasn't a particularly big deal. Vulcans, I'd say, are the alien race most closely bound up with the Star Trek mythos; they've been a part of Trek longer than Captain Kirk. And yet the destruction of their homeworld was ... no big deal. The writers didn't even seem to think it would upset Spock enough, since they felt the need to also have Amanda die before his eyes. At the end of the movie, Starfleet was celebrating because Earth was saved--can anyone imagine the same reaction if Vulcan had been saved, but Earth destroyed?

Ian
Washington, DC

HemlockMan said...

You're wrong. It was, indeed, terrible.

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