Thursday, December 06, 2012

Darkness Falls

J.J. Abrams's Star Trek reboot is one of my favorite movies of the last five years or so, mostly because it's just so damn entertaining. It managed to get pretty much everything right, which means that I've been waiting for our first real glimpse of the sequel like a kid waiting for Christmas.

Well, Christmas is here early -- and I'm having a very nice little nerdgasm.


Maruspialus said...

Really? Abrams took a little space western -- I think that's what Roddenberry always called it -- and turned into Wagner. The mission of the Entreprise, the interpersonal drama aboard extended time on a (star)ship overlayed with whatever they encounter in their travels really is enough. But to have to go to interplantery destruction every time in these reboots is maddening. I probably see it as I have seen all the other movies and pretty much every episode of every one of the series (not that big a fan of Deep Space Nine or Enterprise) but my heart is not much in it.

Marc McKenzie said...

Looks pretty damned awesome. Looking forward to this one.

FabMax said...

"It managed to get pretty much everything right", except for the story.

It didn't matter much, because everything else was great. But gods, was it awful.

In the whole history of Star Trek, the writers fell back on time travel stories when they couldn't come up with anything else (except when they riffed on them, as is the case with "Trials and Tribbleations"). Adding insult to injury, Abrams used the same writers that did the Transformers movies.

Chez said...

I disagree. While the story had holes and leaps of logic, the time-travel thing worked because it cleverly set up an entirely new series of events that in essence was able to wipe the slate of what we expect from Star Trek clean. It's one of the rare instances when it works.

Claude Weaver said...

Adding insult to injury, Abrams used the same writers that did the Transformers movies.

Considering the worst film in that series was rewritten by Bay during the writer's strike, I don't put all that much blame on them for that. The first film actually did a surprisingly good job introducing the concept to an audience not all that familiar with the Transformers. Probably won't change your mind, but just saying, they weren't the (only, if ever) reason those films were bad.

There is a problem with trying to keep the "wagon train to the stars" concept in the films: It is a concept best made for serial storytelling. Roddenberry developed Star Trek as a TV show, and encountered some serious growing pains when he tried to take it to the big screen. Movies are simply too condensed in form and language to work that way. When they tried it the old way, they got Star Trek: The Motion Picture (fine effort, impressive visuals, great ideas, BORING AS HELL). When they actually took advantage of their new medium, they got Wrath of Khan (telling an condensed, yet epic story with character development, and yet not losing the audience).

Look, I enjoyed the 2009 film. I think it is was a rollicking good time. The biggest problem with it was the villain: Nero simply wasn't worth all the drama that ensued. Villain makes the plot, people. But they really couldn't make him too big, because he would have overshadowed the introduction of the characters. Now that that is out of the way, I think they are really going to cut loose on this one, and I for one can't wait.

Marc McKenzie said...


"Adding insult to injury, Abrams used the same writers that did the Transformers movies."

And? Big deal. Yes, Orci and Kurtzman worked on the TF script, but let's not forget that Michael Bay, as director, had some say in the script as well, especially the second film. And they never worked on the third.

"In the whole history of Star Trek, the writers fell back on time travel stories when they couldn't come up with anything else."

Then explain "City on the Edge of Forever". Please.

I'm not trying to be hostile, but honestly, what Chez said about the story of the 2009 film is spot on. And it was way better than the stories for INSURRECTION and NEMESIS (and GENERATIONS, for that matter...).

STAR TREK needed a shot in the arm, and that's what the 2009 film did. You didn't like it, fine, but a lot of other people did, including non-TREK viewers. While I also had issues with the story of the film, the good far outweighed the bad, in my view.

FabMax said...

@ Marc: "Then explain "City on the Edge of Forever". Please."

Exceptions confirm the rule. I am only dimly aware of that episode, though, so even if it was good, it doesn't set off all of TOS's Nazi episodes, which were pretty stupid. To quote Sisko, Dulmar and Lucsly:

"James T. Kirk."
"The one and only!"
"Seventeen separate temporal violations – the biggest file on record."
"The man was a menace."

Anyway, I never said I didn't like the New Trek movie. Quite the opposite, in fact. As Chez wrote, its story served well to set up a new timeline, and keep the old one intact - as broken as it is. But that is all there is to the story: it's merely servicable.

Have there been worse? Of course. Several of the movies and basically the whole run of Voyager were worse. But Star Trek 2009's story cannot be considered good in any way.

Dan said...

Having watched the 2009 reboot 3 times now -- the last being just a few weeks ago -- I still can't see why it's held in such high regard. It wasn't bad by any stretch, but neither was it great. For a second time, we got a story that was a poor man's version of WOK...Nemesis should have wiped away any desire to tread that path once again. I thought Urban and Quinto absolutely nailed it as Bones and Spock, but Pine was lame and the rest were just...OK. However, I wasn't really a fan of rebooting those characters to begin with, so...

I'm going to give the new film a chance, mostly because I *want* to like it, but I'm keeping my hopes in check. I just wish that, if they weren't going to let Trek rest, they'd have really started fresh instead of using this timeline cheat. If you're going to use existing characters, why not give the Next Gen crew a worthy send off, maybe even pull in some of the DS9 (in my humble opinion, the best series) characters as nice to see Sisko return and such.