Star Trek: a new hope

If you’ve been paying attention, you probably realize that I’m a huge Star Wars nerd. So why should I care about the upcoming Star Trek film? After all, I’ve never even seen a Trek movie. Like most people my age, I did watch a lot of The Next Generation, mostly in syndication, as it aired every weekday around the time I was getting home from school. I enjoyed the show, but didn’t bother watching any of its successors, whether they be Deep Space Nine, Voyager, or Enterprise. I’m just not a Trek kind of guy.

[[image:vs090113_spock.jpg:Live Long and Prosper:center:0]]
That being said, I’m pretty excited about the upcoming, for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s a reboot of sort — so as a relative Trek noob I won’t be punished for not knowing very much about the franchise. Of course, if it were simply a reboot, I probably wouldn’t be so intrigued, but the creative team on the film is a massive attraction. Director JJ Abrams is mostly famous for his television work, although he did get his start writing and producing feature films, and helped create the television series Felicity, Alias, Lost, and Fringe. As a big fan of his TV work, I also felt his direction on Mission: Impossible III was solid and resulted in the most entertaining entry in that underwhelming franchise.

One reason I’m looking forward to Abrams’ take on Trek is because he’s made no secret of the fact that he’s a Star Wars fan. The writers on the project are also fans of Star Wars, with co-writer Roberto Orci telling Wired, “It’s controversial to even mention Star Wars and Star Trek in the same sentence, but [co-writer] Alex [Kurtzman] said, ‘We have to bring more Star Wars into Star Trek.’ Original Star Wars. I want to feel the space, I want to feel speed, and I want to feel all the things that can become a little bit lost when Star Trek becomes very stately — which I love about it , but…. ”

The special effects on Trek are being created by Industrial Light and Magic, the special effects company started by George Lucas to provide effects for the first Star Wars film and worked on all the subsequent films as well. [Little does Mr. “Not-A-Trek-Fan” Tinney realize that ILM did the visuals on Star Trek VI, including the ridiculous zero-G purple Klingon blood effects. — Parish] That’s not even the most exciting Trek/Wars connection in this new film: audio design genius Ben Burtt has been brought in to provide the sound effects for the new film as well.

You may have heard of Ben Burtt. He was responsible for the sound design on Pixar’s Wall-E, even “voicing” Wall-E himself, along with many of the other robot characters. He’s won Academy Awards for his sound work on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Oh, and he’s responsible for R2-D2’s voice, Darth Vader’s breathing, the hum of lightsabers, and pretty much all of other iconic, indispensable sounds of both Star Wars trilogies. As much as John Williams and almost as much George Lucas, he is one of the guys who makes Star Wars what it is, and having him involved in your space-adventure movie can only be a good thing.

So, while it might grate diehard Trekkers, turns out the biggest reason I want to see the new Star Trek movie is Star Wars. Who knew?

12 thoughts on “Star Trek: a new hope

  1. Well, heck, didn’t ILM practically do all the effects for TNG? I seem to recall seeing their name in the opening credits probably every time. ILM and Trek have a really long history. I, for one, have never understood the huge chasm separating Trek and Wars fans. They are both often brilliant and utterly different. Can’t wait to see this movie if it indeed injects a bit of the Star Wars classicism into the, as you said, “stately” feel of Trek. A wonderful match.

  2. I’m fine with a little “Wars” influence on the new Trek movie, provided it’s not coming from Lucas himself. Spock has always had a bit of the magic powers anyway, short of actual telekinesis. He did once remotely control a prison guard though.

  3. Man, this is a bit embarrassing, but:

    ILM did the effects and built the models for the first episode of The Next Generation, but the lion’s share of effects work during the rest of the series was handled by Paramount’s in-studio effects folk. (ILM gets an effect credit on almost every episode of the show because they created so many of the stock shots of the Enterprise in orbit/milling about space that were recycled every week.)

    Anyway, yeah, don’t get me started about the new Star Trek movie. All the Trek geeks I know are aghast at the mention of the flick, but can it be worse than half of the Star Trek movies already made? Not goddamned likely.

    In the very least, we’ll probably get a great score out of it courtesy of Michael Giachinno, and yeah, having Ben Burtt doing the sound design sounds like a fun time. (This was the guy who decided that the punches in the Indiana Jones movies should sound like gunshots, and that the gunshots should sound like cannonfire, which always cracked me up.)

  4. I am excite – I am huge Trek nerd. My beef with it is this: Enough prequel nonsense. Launch the series ahead another hundred years. Of course if teh movie is popular and it precipitates anotehr series, hopefull that will be teh jump forward I am hoping for. At any rate, couldnt be worse than Nemesis, or teh finale of enterprise. Or all of Voyager

  5. With the Clone Wars animated series on Cartoon Network indoctrinating a new generation of kids into Star Wars fandom, I wonder if this new Star Trek movie can similarly expand the fanbase of Star Trek. I wonder if Abrams is feeling the weight of having this franchise relaunch resting on his shoulders — if this goes well, it could lead to a whole new crop of movies, books, and television series. If it tanks, it might be a long time until a new Star Trek property launches.

  6. Unless the movie is a total trainwreck, it’ll probably earn enough dough to warrant a sequel – I think that’ll be the true test of Abrams’ commitment to what he’s trying to do with the franchise. With franchise-founding (or in this case, resetting) genre flicks like this, it isn’t usually until after a film’s creators get all the world-building out of the way with a first film that you find out what the creators are allowed to really flex their storytelling muscle with a sequel (look at Star Trek II, The Empire Strikes Back, or The Dark Knight as perfect examples of this – conversely, flicks like The Matrix Reloaded or the Star Wars prequel trilogy shows what happens when ‘great’ filmmakers are revealed to be nothing but schmucks who just got lucky with their first time at bat.)

  7. chud666: “Launch the series ahead another hundred years.”

    This would be fantastically interesting. Which means they won’t do it.

    The new movie is kinda meh – do they really need to go back to the Spock age? It’s curious hearing Trek fans are not favorable towards it, because I’d think it was aimed at nostalgy for the original series – perhaps that group is just much bigger than the existing Trekkies, who’ve kept with the series even through its descent and will buy/watch anything new that comes their way.

  8. I’m excited about the new Trek, I loved the TOS Movies up until 4 and really like TNG (the TV show anyway). After that it’s hit or miss, the series really could use a fresh take. And ILM did the effects work on most of the TOS movies not just VI; most importantly, they did Khan…

  9. Are you meaning to say that you’re not interested in the movie for, say, the story? You’ve named a number of reasons that all add to the story being told, but you’ve ignored what I think is the meat and potatoes of storytelling mediums – the story. You like the creative team. So? What about the story itself pulls you in? Well, at least you didn’t say that you were going to see the movie because so-and-so was starring in it, which is the reason many people I know go to see movies…

    @chud666: I liked Nemesis Definitely delivered in my book. I also know I’m a minority in appreciating it. Remind me, what was wrong with the movie?

  10. Lots of things. It had lots of good ideas, but the movie was boring as hell and nonsensical. At the end why did Shinzon try to destroy earth? It was revealed taht the only reason he wanted to meet Picard was to get his blood, and that he wasnt realy interested in earth but hated the romulans. I also hated the whole data//b4 thing and the weak sauce way they tried to recreate Spock’s sacrifice.

    Additionally I hate how in the movies Picard is an action hero and all gregarious, whereas in the series he is conservative and restrained. What happened? Finally if Worf became an ambassador to earth why is he again working security back on enterprise, they didnt even have a goofy throw away line for it.

  11. I don’t have any idea what to expect from the story.

    I’m not a Trek fan and I’m not intrinsically excited by the “lore”.

    Most movies can have their stories summed up in one or two sentences anyway, so looking back I guess I do get more excited about the writers/directors attached to a film than anything else. A great creative team can salvage a bad story, but poor acting/direction can wreck a great story.

  12. That trailer with the obnoxious kid speeding through the desert in the WAY COOL car before being approached by a robot and announcing that he’s “JAMETH TIBERIUTH KIRK!!!!” really turned me off this movie.

Comments are closed.