I had recently seen the trailer for the new Star Trek movie, Star Trek: Beyond – You can see it here if you so choose:
I was unsure about how to react to it – you should know that after a modestly positive reaction to the first movie in the reboot, I was quite disappointed by the second movie.
There was hope that after the panning for many things that the last movie received and the change of bringing on the generally quite excellent Simon Pegg (who is also of course, playing Scotty), that there was a chance this movie would become the sequel we were all hoping for, the one that would embrace the more exploratory Star Trek premise and be less “Generic Hollywood Space-Action Extravaganza” that the last one was devolving into.
Well, the truth is that I can’t know how deep or intelligent this new installment is going to be, but the trailer with all it’s fixation on exciting the “coolness” loving teenager in me does not help change my opinion or raise my already low expectations. I still hold out some small measure of hope, but it’s really tiny, I mean dimple-on-a-pimple-on-an-ants-left-bum kind of small.
I’ve gotten a lot of angst from people who liked the rebooted movies about how the older movies were not all that great – and I am a little tired of explaining that that’s not the point.
Honestly? My concern was never that I was comparing it to great Star Trek films in general – Trek was always a hard-sell on the big-screen because it generally has minimal action and hoopla and things blowing up and is delibreratly slow-paced and character and idea centric in all its forms (sometimes it has weak ones but thats bound to happen amidst so many stories). Trek shone the most in its serial form, when it had a chance to flesh out things over time and in lower-key because in the cinema the truth is, we all expect bigger things.
BUT this too has changed, cinema has thought-provoking stories and increasingly so – people are willing to watch less bombastic nonsense and appreciate it, if you give them a chance.
People are not stupid, people are not mindless and people are not mere cattle… an image that I think the people who fund movies would do well to pay attention to and learn from, because TV and serialised shows (like on Netflix/Amazon) are learning that damned fast and doing so much better at it!
Star Treks are all about peaceful resolutions, reaching the brink of moments when fights and battles and wars are about to break – but they seldom actually break out.
They are about interactions of different cultures and how they deal with each other.
They are about maintaining a certain respectability and decorum, even in a brash person like James Kirk who pushed but remained a Starfleet officer as much as he could.
The NEW Trek movies however are entertaining but have all but abandoned the above to become, as I’ve elected to call it:
“GENERIC SPACE ACTION BOLLOCKSTRAVAGANZA!”
Which could have been literally done with a bunch of new characters, new settings and the identical story and ALL.
In fact slapping Star Trek on the surface (and it’s only surface, lets be honest) is just feeding on nostalgia and catering to and pandering to us with moments that cause “Squueeee” to break out briefly amidst the thundering almost-Michael-Bayish-ness of it all.
And that really is the direction we’ve got going with these movies now, even the recent outing of Star Wars which kept building up and then sputtering out…
Weak premises, shaky at best plots, wafer-thin characters, LOTS of close-ups at odd angles, generic and utterly forgettable villains, little to no world building and cultural exploration, over-the-top action and of course, VERY heavy reliance on CGI-loaded and mindless “cool” set-pieces – shit, we even get hot underwear models thrown in as well as cheap jokes trying too hard to be clever.
I never realised it before today – but these are all almost Michael Bay movies!
All that you are missing is helicopters by sunset, power ballads and the American flag fluttering in the breeze somewhere…
Agree? Disagree? Would be curious to hear what you folks might have to say about the above.
Whatever your opinion, you’re free to have it – if you enjoy the movies, I’m happy for you.
The truth is that I wish I did too, even more in fact because I love the casting in these movies and with they had a better story to tell through these great actors!