January 31, 2009

Hope For A New Trek

Today I happened upon the second half of an interview in the LA Times with J.J. Abrams about the newest Star Trek Movie.  Now I have been a critical skeptic of this project because of how easy it is to ruin a good franchise, and the appreciation of the Star Trek universe is almost like a family heirloom on my mother's side.  I hold Star Trek very dear to me.  I would be heartbroken if the universe was needlessly torn apart just in the hope of making huge money.  But this interview gave me hope.

Abrams talks about how he's trying to keep the balance of staying true to the universe while at the same time appealing to a general audience.  I think this is a good idea, but a tricky on at the same time.  But I think it will work, and it's because of how he's addressing the movie in relation to the original tv show:

"... it was one of the things that was incredibly important for me that was this film--in addition to being character-centric and having the classic "Trek" debates and rapport between the characters--that it also be a movie that actually realized the promise of the adventure that "Trek" often had but didn't always have the resources to pull off."

This was the clincher for me.  Abrams is trying to preserve everything that I  know I loved about Star Trek: great characters, intense ideas and fantastic adventures.  These are qualities that lead to good stories in any genre.  Science fiction is no different.  The only thing that Abrams is hoping to take out is the outdated technology that made the original series. (And in some people's opinion, the bad acting of a certain captain.)  I feel that those are great goals to achieve for this new movie.

How true will the movie stay to the original series in those regards is the only question I hold now.  There are some nit-picky things that I have turned a blind eye to because in the whole scheme of things, they don't ruin the Trek universe.  The constant debate of where Kirk can drive stick shift is one of those petty things I don't bother with.  However, when I found out that Romulans were fighting Starfleet that early on, I was afraid that Abrams was trying to fit in whatever potential action sequence he could for serious money.  Thinking about that made my heart break.  One of my favorite episodes is Balance of Terror, which is supposed to the be first time Humans ever sees the Romulans.  This is important to the entire history of the Star Trek universe and to The Original Series.  It was a great discussion on the fear factor that happened in the Cold War (and you could relate it now to the fear of terrorists in America).  I could also relate to Spock, who looked like the enemy.  Officers suddenly couldn't trust him just because he shared physical features with the Romulans, despite the fact he was a dependable commander.  I didn't want to lose all of that depth in the entire universe just so a movie could have a legit fight sequence in space.

I've taken a somewhat closer look at the way Abrams is manipulating the timeline and I am ready to give it another shot.  Come May I'm going to go out of my way to see this movie.  I'm still somewhat apprehensive, and if things get too ridiculous I have told people I will walk out of the theatre.  Sure, this makes me one of those whiny purist.  So shoot me with a phaser set to kill.  Star Trek is ingrained in my family history.  I feel I have every right to be protective about it.

1 comment:

  1. There is definitely the possibility of killing a classic if they aren't careful