Thursday, December 6, 2012

So they're making Big Explosions in, Star Trek 2

Ramblings Post #209
There is an idea, a notion if you will, that Hollywood is out of ideas. It's why you see more and more other media being transformed for the big screen. It becomes maddening, seeing perfectly good characters mangled by Hollywood screenwriters trying to stuff a story into two hours, and make them match the demographic specs. And apparently it's even worse if the owner (not author) scraps the entire original concept, counting on the impetus of goodwill for the old version to help sell the new shiny version.

This is the official synopsis of the upcoming Star Trek movie for next year....

In Summer 2013, pioneering director J.J. Abrams will deliver an explosive action thriller that takes "Star Trek Into Darkness."

When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis.

With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

Three things.

First, why is the term "explosive action thriller" being used to describe a Star Trek film? The underlying theme of Star Trek, what made it great, was that it was actually about something. Sure there was some action, but the vast majority of the stories were about larger themes like man's place in the universe, sacrifice, honor, etc. Reducing it to a series of big budget explosions makes me wonder if Abrams even understands what he's been handed. Jean Luc Picard ring a bell? Data's question of humanity? The ecology questions, relationships, the prime directive? Where are the wonderful stories? This reboot of Star Trek has the Federation looking more and more like a failure than the triumphant advancement of society Rodenberry originally came up with. I realize you can't stuff all the nuances of the various series into a two hour film, but at some point this stops being Star Trek and becomes The Expendables in Space.

Second there's the "detonated the fleet" line. What does that even mean? Didn't you just blow up the damn fleet last time Mr. Abrams? I realize this is the future, and Starfleet officers have never really seemed to worry about money, but still methinks them puppies ain't cheap. How much gold pressed latitinum does Starfleet have budgeted for ship construction? Because somewhere in that chain, somebody is going to need to get paid. How about we shrink the story and instead of threatening all of existence everytime some one charges up a warp coil, you bring it down to a micro level. Oh, wait, that might require storytelling skills. My bad. 

Third...and probably the worst...this line right here "from within their own organization." Really? I mean really? You have got be kidding. Wasn't this the premise behind the first three Mission Impossible movies? Or all three Jason Bourne movies? Or really every spy or espionage movie made in the past two decades? Even the James Bond films have fallen into this trap. I going to go ahead and suggest that the rogue agent trope be tossed on the scrap heap of screenwriting until 2025. Maybe Abrams thinks it will all be fresh and new if you do it in space this time. Wait, wasn't this the plot of Star Trek: the Undiscovered Country? This isn't even new in space! But you know what they could try? How about a having an enemy who doesn't know who the hero is, and doesn't have a personal vendetta, or isn't a rogue agent who knows all the tricks of the trade. Sounds crazy right? Seriously, this whole thing sounds like a mess. The synopsis reads like a bad 80's action b-movie starring (fill in sweaty action star here). Maybe I'm wrong..., no, I saw the first one.

I bet the lens flare budget is the biggest expense on the books.

Even the heroic sacrifice alluded to in this still from the Japanese trailer loses weight at this point, as the we'd be mourning the old characters, from the old series, not these slick new versions. We don't know them yet. There is so little here that is still Star Trek.

Barkeep, I thought Abrams was supposed to be good or something. Something light, I need my wits about me. No Romulan Ale. 

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