Iron Pheonix said:
My issues with TREK '09 are legion. However, admittedly, the vast majority of them stem from a script that is unfit to even be used as toilet paper. The writers, thoroughly incapable of coming up with an exciting, fun, fresh story which would have fit in with 40 YEARS' WORTH OF ESTABLISHED CANON, and instead decided to outright lie to fans (How many interviews did I read where they insisted vehemently, "Oh, we're TOTALLY respecting what's happened before, we promise we won't trash the universe that so many people love!") and then proceeded to put together a story which shat on and kicked out pretty much EVERYTHING which had been established before that with cheap plot gimmicks (Time travel? AGAIN? Really? And a villain from the past bent on revenge? AGAIN?). The characterization of Kirk and Spock were horrendous - they were NOT the characters I had known and loved since I was 11 years old. The production design veered from brilliant to bizarre (Engine room that looks like a brewery instead of a nuclear power plant, plastic meat locker curtains in the shuttles...?) and more plot holes and outright strange developments placed in solely because they wanted to give the visual FX team stuff to cream their shorts over trying to do. It was a bland, brainless, soulless, generic action film for a generation of people ("This is not your father's STAR TREK!" crowed the ads. Yeah, you got that right. I liked my dad's STAR TREK just fine, thank you.) who don't care about things like, oh, I don't know... Stupid stuff like coherent plot, consistency with established franchise history and established characterization, and trying to stay true to the spirit of the original.
In other words, it was a perfect script for someone like Abrams to film.
With REAL writers at the helm of EPISODE VII, I have hope against rational hope that at least the story will be good, and not dumbed-down like TREK '09 was. Besides, considering that TREK '09 was a wannabe SW film dressed in TREK's clothing, perhaps we can consider it Abrams' trial run before tackling the franchise he REALLY wants to do (...but just lied explicitly about it to the press to throw them off. Sneaky, sneaky little man!).
Look, I'm under no illusions here. STAR WARS ain't CITIZEN KANE. It's not some great literary work. It's melodramatic space opera. It's popcorn-munching fun. But it was based upon great mythic underpinnings - the Hero's Journey. EMPIRE STRIKES BACK especially honed the performances and story and a solid film was crafted around that. I just hope that Abrams is capable of swallowing his ego and thinking about the story first.
But I won't hold my breath 'til it happens.
As a huge, huge fan of the original STAR TREK (the real TREK, as far as I'm concerned), Abrams' film is a colossal failure for me. While it works as an entertaining, well-made, brainless popcorn movie, it bears only the scarcest, most superficial resemblance to the characters and concepts of the original series.
It was not a good sign that Abrams came out right at the start and said he wasn't a fan of TREK. His coming off like a pretentious, arrogant jerk in interviews didn't help, either.
I get the impression that Abrams and company feel that they've finally made TREK "cool" for the masses...by taking it away from its loyal fanbase, and severely dumbening it.
Trying to have it both ways--a reboot that still spins out of existing continuity-- just makes it worse. Abrams treats time-travel as a "Get Out of Jail Free" card, which allows him to justify anything he wants.
Better, I think, to have started from scratch and do "Ultimate STAR TREK", as it were; a new film in a new canon that does its own thing, and just riffs on the original series.
But, then, we wouldn't have gotten Leonard Nimoy's presence in the film to help legitimize the whole thing, now would we?
NuTREK plays like Abrams and his screenwriting pals' "research" consisted of two things:
1. Briefly studying the broadest, most inaccurate pop culture cliches and misconceptions about TREK (Kirk is a womanizing rulebreaker! Sulu fences! Chekov has a goofy accent! Cheesy aliens! Kirk and Spock fight!).
2. Watching the fan-favorite WRATH OF KHAN about a hundred times, and then inserting tons of "clever" winks and references to that film to make the fans think they actually "get it".
It saddens me that much of the fandom would so readily embrace NuTREK as being such a "faithful" adaptation/reboot of the old series. For me, it feels much closer to a parody that secretly wants to be a STAR WARS movie. There's just no understanding of--or respect for--TOS in Abrams' film. The characters are wrong, the tone is wrong, the science (fiction) is laughable, etc., etc., etc.
The greatest crime of NuTREK is that Abrams essentially turned TREK into WARS. And, now that he's actually doing WARS, the two will perhaps become indistinguishable. Which is sad. Both franchises are two sides of the same coin, and scratch different itches for me. TREK is sci-fi/drama/action, WARS is space-fantasy/action.
The original STAR TREK is my single favorite TV series of all time, and I cannot forgive Abrams for sucking its brains out and misrepresenting it to the public as cheesy pap, while simultaneously supplanting it with a "cool", new version. And it pains me to see even self-proclaimed fans of TOS now call the old show "cheesy" and "corny".
As with most reboots/remakes/sequels in today's Hollywood, it comes down to the easy money of name-brand recognition. Instead of coming up with a new ship and a new crew and a new TREK for a new generation, Abrams and Paramount went back to TOS, and banked on the public's recognition of Kirk, Spock, and company.
I think a big reason that the Nolan Batman films (which, in my opinion, are largely terrible BATMAN films--pretentious, dark, violent, and embarrassed by the source material) have been so successful is because of the public's name-brand recognition of Batman, and because self-loathing fans were all too eager to forget the campy Schumacher films, and wanted to see Batman be "dark" and "cool" so that they would look "cool" for liking it. "See? See? We're cool! We don't like those stupid, campy comics! We like this dark and violent Batman! See how cool we are?"
Same with TREK. "See? See how cool we are? We don't like that goofy, cheesy old TV show! TREK is finally cool now, because it's dark and fast and sexy and funny and big-budget!"
And the masses don't know any better, nor do they care. Big, loud, and shiny= box office gold.
Now, not to say that Abrams might not make a good STAR WARS movie--indeed, I think he's much better suited to it than to TREK. But, based on what he did to TREK, I can't quite bring myself to support or be enthusiastic about this. Abrams seems to me like one of those "cult of personality" filmmakers; all style, no substance.
He may be able to ape the style of the previous SW films, but I get the feeling that he'll miss the undercurrent of ideas and themes from the earlier films, which all stem from Lucas' particular sense of history, religion, and morality.
For good or ill, Lucas completed the story he'd set out to tell (...well, the story he'd started to tell after he'd already started telling another story in the original film, at least...). Anything else will feel like a cash-grab addendum, I think. But, at least we might get some entertaining popcorn movies out of it.
It'll probably go down one of two ways:
1. An all-new, all-different STAR WARS, which completely reinvents the wheel, and maybe not in a good way.
2. The "safe" route, which leads to endless winks, nod, and retreads of previous material.