Prepare for Warp Speed with our very first Guest Post! It is time to boldly go to a beloved franchise that has had ups and downs, but ultimately is a thought-provoking commentary on life, friendship and exploration!
by: Mike Disher
Deep in the heart of Planet Nestor, we have a great view of the entire galaxy. Looking up, you can see many wonderful Marvels, as well as some exciting Star Wars. So it’s only natural for you to consider taking a Trek through those Stars occasionally. But will you regret it?
If you haven’t figured it out by now, apparently there’s a new Star Trek movie due to be released this month. The nerdy kid in me is all excited, and hopes for the best… but the thinking adult in me is cringing in terror. To be clear, I don’t mean to be a hater (or as you kids might say, h8ter). But I feel the stuffy suits currently helming the ship, just don’t get it.
Star Trek was rebooted “successfully” in 2009. And if we’ve learned anything from the Transformer movies, success does not necessarily equal “good”.
In my humble opinion, the reboot was okay. Some people thought it was fantastic. Others were extremely underwhelmed. Many people (myself included) were even less impressed with the 2013 sequel, Into Darkness. Other than being one of the most pointless movie titles ever, this could have been where the dissension started to grow. All the elements of Star Trek seem to be in these movies. The ships looked great. The entire crew was there and stayed (more or less) true to who they are. Even the original colorful uniforms were there, (when JJ Abrams wasn’t blinding us with lens flares)… so what went wrong?
First and foremost: Writing. Star Trek needs a good script. Roberto Orci wrote the last two movies, and has proven repeatedly, people need to stop hiring this guy. If I’m being kind, maybe he’s good enough for television, but even that’s giving him too much credit.
The original 1966 series was written by actual novelists that wrote popular science fiction books for a living. Sure, maybe DC Fontana and/or Gene Roddenberry (or William Shatner, if you believe the rumors), would ‘touch up’ the script, but the original ideas were all there. They made you think. They created unique situations, and had wonderful character development and sometimes filled you with nervous dread, or exciting tension.
In the episode Man Trap, you had a creature that could disguise itself as anyone, tricking you into a false sense of security so it could suck the salt out of your body for food. In The Naked Time, you had Spock fighting with his own emotions after being infected with a virus that makes you lose your inhibitions, while trying to solve an engine problem so the ship wouldn’t crash into the planet. In The Enemy Within, a transporter accident splits Kirk into two people; one version passive, and the other aggressive. In A Taste of Armageddon, two planets fight a war with computers, and losers would voluntarily go into disintegration booths to die. The list goes on and on. These were not ‘shoot ’em up’ action stories. It was thinking science fiction *gasp!*
And therein lies the simple diversity within our nerd culture! Star Wars can be as pew pew (or lightsaber bzzzzzhhh) and force-y mystical as it wants (because there really are no such thing as midi-chlorians). And you still have plenty of room for Star Trek to be the thinkers side of the universe.
But sadly, this is 2016, where people seem to be afraid to promote something with intelligence. So for Star Trek Beyond, we have Doug Jung writing the story. From his IMDB page, he has zero background or experience writing science fiction. Simon Pegg was also given a writing credit for this movie, so he genuinely might have enough nerd-cred to understand the core concept… maybe.
But we quickly tumble back into the wormhole of doubt again, when we see the director is Justin Lin… known for his fast paced action packed Fast and the Furious movies. Ugh…
I read that after the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek producers were eager to make a fun movie like that. I’ve also read things from people that said old Star Trek was… ‘boring’. Hey stupid people, Star Trek is NOT Guardians of the Galaxy! And it’s NOT Star Wars! It’s Star Trek! We can live in a universe where each of those exist, and satisfy completely different parts of our brains!
So can Star Trek Beyond be true to the source material and become engaging to a different crowd? Or is it destined to be another clone in an ongoing saga of similar movies? Or how about the new Star Trek television series being produced and scheduled to premiere in January 2017? Time will tell…
There’s always a chance that someone, somewhere will take over this franchise that truly understands it and can make it work. Maybe the fourth chapter of the new Star Trek series will return to it’s creative origins. Maybe eventually someone will give us… A New Hope.