Set phasers to “hopeful”

Dear new Star Trek movie: please don’t suck. Your new trailer shows definite potential! Beneath the standard Hollywood affliction of breaking everything down into spastic one-liner bites for the sake of making your trailer as dumb as possible (god forbid we should overestimate the intelligence of the average moviegoer), I can see the shape and form of a pretty good movie.

Maybe it will even be a movie that will hit all the points that made me such a big ol’ Trek nerd 20 years ago! Granted, a big part of my long-ago love for the series had to do with the fact that I was just a dumb junior high kid at that point, but the Trek I liked so much was a very different creature than the beast it is now. It was about one man’s goofy utopian vision: a universe in which all the peoples of the planet Earth had learned to live in peace and harmony under a new version of the American flag, only to fly into to the stars and meet stunningly transparent analogs for America’s old partners. You had your warlike Russians Klingons with their guttural language, the enigmatic and powerful Chinese Romulans, who existed in an uneasy not-quite-peace with Earth and seemed to have some mysterious link to our good buddies the Japanese Vulcans, with their profound intelligence and aloof love of tradition and ceremony.

It was all very silly, but then, those inane space metaphors weren’t the point of the show. Trek in its heyday was about exploration, meeting the unknown, and inevitably outsmarting it when said unknown decided it didn’t like frail hu-mans. (Or when that failed, beating the unknown to a bloody/ichor-y pulp. Or occasionally bedding it.) Trek has always been about discovery, looking out into the great unknown and hoping for the best. Well, it used to be. Over the past decade, it’s been more about maintaining the status quo and carefully tiptoeing around precedent, even while painfully mangling the things fans cherish. (Good thing I got out when I did.)

Personally, I’m OK with the new movie not particularly adhering to “canon,” just as long as it’s interesting and doesn’t feel like a two-hour episode of the TV series. I just want it to feel like the producers are actually trying for once.

And I guess there’s one other thing. I’d like for them to treat the Enterprise like a member of the cast again. That was something I always loved about the original, something that Star Wars did really well with the Millennium Falcon, too (and Firefly with the Serenity). It always grated that the Trek series that was named after the ship lacked that sort of affection for its namesake. I think Enterprise reverence sort of vanished when they blew up the original. Or maybe it was when they let William Shatner direct one of the movies and he decided it would be rollickingly funny to turn the centerpiece of the series into an unreliable space jalopy. Ha, ha.

Oh, Bill. I’m so glad you refused to be in the new movie.

26 thoughts on “Set phasers to “hopeful”

  1. It makes me sad that the problems you brought up with the series – which are entirely accurate – really took form in TNG, which I still enjoyed. It never did quite have the magic of the original though, did it?

    But yeah, that trailer’s lookin’ pretty hot. I’m cautiously optimistic!

  2. I know a lot of people who grew up with the original show who are now grumbling about this new flick (especially since, yeah, it looks to give Star Trek’s entire continuity a giant kick in the teeth), but seeing how it’s inevitable that someone else – for better or for worse – is going to someday make a Trek show or movie that renders *this* reboot obsolete as well, I’m content to kick back and enjoy this ride on the Star Trek merry-go-round while it lasts.

  3. Huh, even if it sucks, it’ll prolly make a good popcorn movie! Saying a lot more than the last few pleasing to me as a fan, but wholly formulaic movies.

  4. You said it. This trailer, while not great (hopefully due to the Hollywood-mandated dumbing down), gives me hope that this movie could be good. I’m still keeping my expectations low.

  5. I think Bill didn’t want to be in the movie. I believe he was not asked. And he was a little annoyed about it too.

  6. My understanding is that Shatner was asked to be in the movie, but insisted on a much larger role than the cameo Nimoy is playing, which the producers refused because it wouldn’t have worked within the context of what the new Trek is about.

  7. is this the one where you find out Captain Kirk built Data and the Vulcans had Spock arranged to be part of the Enterprise crew to keep watch on Kirk because of elevated mitochondria levels in his blood? cuz that’s exactly what it looks like to me.

  8. Yeah, see, no matter how unfaithful this movie is the source material, it can’t possibly be the abomination that the Star Wars prequels were. Unlike Lucas, Roddenberry had the good grace to die before he became a soulless hack.

  9. I dunno, this looks WAY over the top, WAY out there. I really loved TNG more than the original, let me say, and there was rarely action of this magnitude in that series. I didn’t like that when TNG transitioned to the big screen it became about bigger action — there were bigger IDEAS in the tv show.

  10. Bringing this back to games, there haven’t been any tie-in games for the movie announced yet, right? Seems a given that there’ll be some lame iPhone apps released in conjunction with the movie (and maybe a cheap console cash-in announced at E3 or something for when the movie hits DVD next Christmas), but what with the Paramount hitting the “hip” button hard on Star Trek’s merchandising machine pretty hard I’m kind of surprised there hasn’t been a more robust Star Trek game announced yet.

  11. Nobody sounds Shakespearean or British or formal. No-one even makes long dramatic pauses. That’s what makes this trailer feel like such an update, moreso than than the spiffy modern sets and special effects. But the trailer did its job — the curiosity is peaked.

  12. This looks good to you? I saw a trailer for The Fast and The Furious in space. CG! Action! Abercrombie models! Explosiooonnns! The original series and TNG posed philosophical questions through dramatic situations, this looks like a sexy space romp with massive, meaningless set pieces for the ‘wow’ factor. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I’d wager this will be an overhyped disposable flick. Too bad.

  13. Some of you guys need to learn to adjust your mental filters to compensate for Trailer Stupidity.

  14. You might be right, Parish. I don’t know. -I- just don’t associate this kind of thing with Star Trek, particularly. It could certainly be an intelligently made action movie in the vein of Star Trek II, which is fine.

  15. I want this movie to excel so hard. Personally, I think the casting, with the age requirements, was excellent. Zarchary Quinto was born to play Spock.

    And man, did I get shivers on the first trailer, when I realized they were building the Enterprise.

  16. This will be the first Star Trek movie I ever see! JJ Abrams seems to have a strong vision for Trek, and I am looking forward to seeing what he does with it.

    I’ll hold my tongue on the Star Wars hate in the comments section, because this year is the 10th anniversary of Phantom Menace, and I plan on writing something to commemorate it. Don’t want to blow my entire apologist load in a comment on a Trek-related post. :D

  17. Vs Robot, you should check out this examination of the release of The Phantom Menace and the hullabaloo that followed:

    (“The Secret History of Star Wars” book that this dude wrote is actually pretty goddamned fantastic – an alternate title for the book could just as easily be “How Geaorge Lucas Screwed The Pooch”)

  18. I’m sick of remakes. I want Hollywood to start reruning classic movies in theaters. It’s free money because the studios wouldn’t have to spend any new money to make the movies, and they wouldn’t have to spend much to advertize reruns since the audience already knows what they are. Also, the audience would get their classic movie fix by getting to watch the originals instead of impostors. Until then, Hollywood is in Invasion of the Movie Snatchers mode.

  19. I’ve always found this “OMG HOLLYWOOD IS DOING NOTHING REMAKES NOW WTF” attitude to be a little disingenuous in that Hollywood has ALWAYS been in “remake mode” – it’s just that until the last few decades Hollywood was content to rely on remakes/adaptations of old books, stage musicals/plays and even older movies no one really remembered or cared about.

  20. As I found out (recalled, whatever), Star Trek V did us the service of introducing catgirls into the Star Trek universe. Yay.

  21. Wrong — there was a catgirl in the animated series from the early ’70s. So basically, catgirls are a staple of crappy Trek.

  22. “Unlike Lucas, Roddenberry had the good grace to die before he became a soulless hack.”

    huh. I could swear I heard that before. Must’ve been someone much younger and smarter than I am cuz I’m an idiot who can’t take this upcoming Trek movie seriously at all. All it does is remind me of A Pup Named Scooby Doo where the pitch must have been something like, ‘remember star trek? Now imagine the entire crew…. as kids!’

  23. Gotta comment on that Lucas/Roddenberry/hack comment:

    Ol Rod WAS a hack. There are reasons that he wasn’t in charge of Star Trek, and it’s VERY well documented. How about his brilliant Trek movie idea about the crew having to travel back to the 60’s to correct a timeline error, culminating in Spock having to assassinate JFK? He pitched that movie SEVERAL times. How about his constant nagging during the development of TNG that no characters should ever disagree with each other because in the future, everyone gets along and agrees with each other? Wesley Crusher was one of his favored pushes, too, and that didn’t work out so well.

    Yeah, so Gene isn’t the one who wrecked his own franchise, as Lucas did….but let’s not go crazy and start giving him any serious credit. He IS like Lucas in that he got lucky, and then other people greatly improved on his work.

  24. Yeah, I think one of the reasons TNG became good in the third season is because Roddenberry’s role in the show’s production was drastically downsized. He also had a boneheaded aversion to the idea that Starfleet could possibly show any flaws.

  25. Oh, I don’t think Roddenberry was a genius. I think he was a cranky old fart who had a really good idea based around mixing a hippie commune, a spaghetti western, and outer space. I still think his worst studio-rejected ideas were still a lot more faithful to his franchise’s essence than the asinine concepts Lucas actually filmed, though.

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