star trek and the obligatory 21st century rebooty call

Yeah, I saw Star Trek on its opening weekend. No, I didn’t wear Spock ears, ha ha. Though I did wear a miniskirt and go-go boots. Yowza!

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. . . Anyway. Saw Star Trek. It’s good. Go see it. And—surprise!—I have a few thoughts regarding this, the latest in a series of franchise reboots. I noticed the same thing about Trek as I remember with Batman Begins: the plot is almost secondary. And, as such, both feature decent if uninspired storylines. A bad guy to move things forward, but not one who gobbles up screen time. (That’s for the sequel!)

And really, the plot doesn’t matter. What you’re watching for is to see if the director hits all his marks, origin-wise. It’s a trickier task with Trek than Bats, since you have a whole crew to reintroduce. And I give the screenwriters and J.J. Abrams all credit: they do a nice job of it, even with the secondary Trek regulars who might get five minutes of screen time. Everyone says what they’re supposed to, everyone looks and sounds at least vaguely like their predecessors.

But the point is, it should be hard to screw up the reboot. After all, you’re dealing with beloved characters. As long as your casting is halfway decent (examples of this not happening: Katie Holmes in Begins, Winona Ryder in Trek) and we all get to laugh and/or cheer when each character spouts his/her beloved line, you’re solid.

People will come out for the nostalgia fest of a reboot. The trick is the sequel. (Well, in Christopher Nolan’s case, it was no trick at all with The Dark Knight.) I’ll be interested to see how Abrams deals with the next Trek flick, when he doesn’t have obligatory origin material to fill his script and win the audience’s automatic affection. Will we care about his vision of the rebooted original Trek cast moving forward?

All I know for sure is that space truly is the final frontier . . . and I’m waiting on the other side to pie you in the face, spaceman.

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2 thoughts on “star trek and the obligatory 21st century rebooty call”

  1. “The plot doesn’t matter”? What a curious comment and I can’t see a legitimate critic spouting such nonsense. Read Anthony Lane’s review of “Trek XI” in THE NEW YORKER and I think you’ll find yourself agreeing, albeit reluctantly, that Abrams isn’t much of a director and the film isn’t even good “Trek”, let alone a watchable movie:

    http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2009/05/18/090518crci_cinema_lane

    I eviscerated the movie with great pleasure in my review–I detest JJ Abrams and Michael Bay and their “bigger and dumber is better” approach to film-making. I grew out of “popcorn” movies after I turned eighteen. Now I like to see films that make me think, that aren’t formulaic and predictable and geared toward fourteen year olds with more hormones that active neurons.

    SF fans have notoriously low standards–for books, TV and movies–and it’s hard to believe a magnificent film like “2001: A Space Odyssey” belongs in the same genre as the tripe being produced today.

    The gamers and mallrats dictate our viewing choices–and for that reason, I fear for the future of cinema…

    1. if you grew out of popcorn movies at 18, why in the world did you go see this one? paramount was looking to reinvigorate a decaying franchise (decaying in the moneymaking sense) with a big budget, flashy summer tentpole movie directed by a hollywood golden boy who admitted to no great love of star trek. this movie was formulated to spawn summer sequels and sell toys and burger king kid’s meals (or whichever fast food franchise got the rights). none of this was at all obscured leading up to the movie–no one tried to pretend it was anything other than what it was: big dumb popcorn flick aimed at the majority of moviegoers who could care less about star trek.

      given all that, i was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out–could have been infinitely worse. if you hate popcorn movies, you should either (1) not go to them because you know they’re going to be summer junk or (2) go, enjoy it for what it is, if possible, and look for the big think elsewhere. there are plenty of good sources of quality, thoughtful science fiction. and plenty of junk. as it was, so shall it ever be.

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