Friday, April 21, 2006

Captain, Your Actions Are Not Logical

Crap. Paramount is going to make another Star Trek movie. And it's going to be yet another prequel. I am so disappointed.

The director is to be J.J. Abrams, who is responsible for two really good television shows (Lost, Alias) and is directing his first movie right now, Mission: Impossible: III. The man can do a two hour pilot, so I'm not worried about his handling the ST movie.

It's the fact that Paramount is already going back to the well instead of letting ST lie fallow a bit longer. They did have a project under former (?) ST head Rick Berman, with a script from the writer of Band of Brothers that promised galaxy-wide action with a whole new cast, but that seems to have vanished with the latest change of studio heads. That project had been creeping along very slowly, looking like it might not ever make it to theaters. But now, a new ST movie seems a distinct likelihood.

And a prequel? Gah. They did that with Star Trek: Enterprise and the audience reacted with "eh." It was only when they brought in Manny Coto, a Trek-wise fan with an eye for good stories, that the series began to show any sense of real identity. But revisiting Kirk (!) and Spock(!) while the original actors are still alive? There will be much fan grumbling, I can tell you. Whatever actors they cast will be compared to the originals and scrutinised within an inch of their lives. Look at how Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) is being held up against Christopher Reeves.

And, of course, there will now be the inevitable calls for William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy to have cameos of some kind. That's also bad, because it will make us aware of what we're watching, rather than letting us immerse in the universe of Trek.

It's also the idea of going "forward into the past" that bothers me. The Enterprise series established one production design that tried to bridge contemporary "movie starship" design with the original series and the first movie(which was very smooth and open, bright and simplistic). Now they have to shoe-horn in this movie's production design in there somewhere while still allowing room for Abrams' and his production team's ideas. It promises to be a mess.

They will face innumerable temptations to have winks and nods to fans. Scotty inventing something. Spock's famous "fascinating" coming from someone else's lips first. A thousand little tie-ins to other parts of Trek history that serve no purpose but to tweak long-time fans' sense of nostalgia. I'd much prefer they "boldly go where no one has gone before." It's more interesting.

Unless, of course, they propose to shake it up, to blow up the old and "re-invent" the Trek world. It could be fun. Certainly, as J.J. Abrams has shown on his own series, he's not at all afraid of completely blowing away the established continuity to restart a show (Alias; nor to add layer upon layer of complication that up-ends what our pre-conceived expectations were (Lost). That could be good. It could be why we was chosen, for his bravery in facing fans who might get angry.

Or it could be that he's a "hot" director of action "properties" right now. Maybe they think he can rev up the Star Trek world with very young men going out and kicking ass, instead of middle-aged men poking and prodding at it.

Who knows? I like Abrams, so I'm curious. But I know Paramount and the Star Trek franchise. It's so hide-bound and profit-protective it's silly. I'd much rather hear that Abrams is coming up with his own idea from somewhere within the massive Trek universe, rather than revisiting the old yet again. Ho hum.

No comments: