Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I've seen J.J. Abrams' Star Trek twice. First when it came out, and just again today.
It's a superb piece of entertainment. The pace of the film hides the plot holes and the rather forgettable villain, Nero, played by Eric Bana, does his part to add to the stakes by changing the Trek Universe forever. I won't go through the plot bit by bit here, but what I will say is that Abrams takes an entirely new cast and brings the old Trek characters to life.
He does this by updating Trek for the 21st Century: after all, we have a choice as viewers and fans. We can have this kind of Trek:
....or, we can have our old friends, the fucking Space Hippies.
Which would be that kind of Trek.
We don't want that kind of Trek no more.
Look, I like Sixties Camp as much as the next man. I saw and loved Peter Sellers and Woody Allen in the original Casino Royale, one of David Niven's greatest postwar films. But the notion that you can take great Science Fiction and do a Gene Roddenberry tribute film is simply wrong. They needed to update it, update the ship, and update the personnel.
Yes, the scriptwriters took great liberties in how they got the crew together and how they got James T. Kirk in the center chair right out of the Academy. That doesn't happen in the real world. However, they did create the device of an alternate timeline and actually did the audience the service of explaining it in the dialogue so they could catch the audience (and the Base Trek Fanboys) up to what they were doing.
All of this allows Bob Orci, Mike Kurtzman, David Lindelof, and JJ Abrams to paint a New Trek Universe on a relatively New Canvas, while dealing with some old stuff, such as the Doomsday Machine and the Whale Probe. That's the primary and most important thing they did-they cast off the old Trek universe and allowed themselves to tell new stories with the most compelling characters. It was a well done piece of writing and a nice dodge.
And it worked. The domestic take is up to $200,000,000.00. By the time this thing goes to Blu-Ray Director's Cut it will probably top off at 350 million total. Paramount's bet paid off. It worked most of all with younger audiences. No, it won't beat Harry Potter, but Trek will become one of the top three to four grossing films of the year and set this franchise up as the next Batman series, which is what Paramount wanted.
Sadly, one critic anticipated the presence of the Shat in the film. He was in for a bit of a letdown.
That's right. Hitler found out about the movie, and is he pissed.....