Treknobabble is a continuing series of columns written by uber-Trekkie Reed Farrington in anticipation of the upcoming J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie.
As the new Star Trek movie is a week away from being unveiled to the general public, I thought I would drop my Vulcan-like demeanor and talk about my feelings. I’ve mentioned before how as a school kid, a teacher labeled me as the â€œepitome of self-discipline.â€ I think this is part of my personality. To say that I am really excited would not be accurate even though I don’t have much of anything happening in my life. Maybe not shielding myself from spoilers has ruined the excitement, but I see two benefits: I avoid the stress of avoiding spoilers, and I relieve the physical turmoil of anticipation.
I’ve watched six clips, each about a minute long. Don’t worry. I won’t spoil anything. (I’ll keep those images from being flashed during this mind-meld.) I wanted to say that the clips support my initial thoughts from the trailers that the frame compositions and the cinematography aren’t beautiful. I’m not necessarily saying that this is a bad thing, but it does affect my opinion of a film. No review I’ve read has mentioned these things so far. Perhaps I’m nitpicking. I’ll reserve my final judgment until after I see the film.
To date, I have still not read any really negative reviews of the Star Trek movie. This astounds me. Some publications and web sites have done something that I have not seen for previous Star Trek movies. To review the film, they are sending staff members who have not seen any Star Trek. The instigation for this is probably the ad campaign which is attempting to disassociate the new movie from the previous films. This is meant to attract people who have seen Star Trek and think it is silly, and also those people who have preconceived notions of Star Trek’s silliness and who have never bothered to watch Star Trek. From all accounts, the new movie delivers on the ad campaign’s declaration.
One of these people who had never seen Star Trek and liked the new movie went on to say that she would not look into any previous Star Trek productions. She didn’t elaborate on her statement, but I gather that she had enough interests already that occupied her time and that the new Star Trek didn’t offer anything more worthwhile. I’m guessing she won’t bother go seeing the sequel, and she probably wouldn’t have seen the new Star Trek movie if it hadn’t been a work assignment.
I guess this confirms my feeling that the new Star Trek movie might not expand the Star Trek audience by much. Forgive my harshness, but if you’re a geek, then you’ve already discovered Star Trek by now. And since the new movie is so different from previously filmed Star Trek, won’t those people thrilled by the movie be disappointed when they sample past Trek installments which will probably seem dull in comparison?
There are two interesting Star Trek articles in the May 4th edition of Newsweek, with a cover showing a hand holding an Original Series U.S.S. Enterprise model backlit by the sun in the sky. One article proclaims that Star Trek is cool and â€œWe’re All Trekkies Now.â€ It’s a nice sentiment, but with the state of the world currently as it is, having the geeks inherit the Earth doesn’t seem much like a good, or cool, thing. The other article written by someone with a doctorate and who wrote for The Next Generation surmises that the popularity and longevity of Star Trek is due to its â€œculture of imagination.â€ It’s a forum in which ideas can be explored. And isn’t this really what attracts geeks? (I added the last question, so don’t go firing off angry comments on his article! If you’re curious, I’ve added fawning comments to their articles under the user name Pacifistopheles.)
One thing that Leonard Mlodinow, Ph.D. wrote in his Newsweek article that I had never read before was that The Next Generation employed 155 writers during its seven year run. I’m guessing many of those writers never got a screen credit. And most of those writers probably went through the revolving door before Michael Piller came in and settled down the writing staff in the third year.
A few people seem to think that Star Trek will be the third highest grossing film this year after Harry Potter and Transformers. I don’t understand how both of those latter franchises can have a bigger built-in audience than Star Trek. Is it really because fans have become saturated with Star Trek, or that Star Trek has grown tired? Star Trek has its own word in the dictionary for its fans: Trekkies! Are there Harry Potties or Transformies? Or maybe they would prefer to be called Harry Potters and Transformers? Ha ha. [Ed note: I believe they are called muggles, Reed.]
People have often commented that the large movie-going senior population is neglected by Hollywood. I’ve always thought that Star Trek should target the senior audience with Star Trek movies starring the Original Series’ surviving cast members. Boston Legal had a reputation for showcasing older actors such as William Shatner and it was relatively successful. I know that critics were quick to comment on the geriatric crew of the later Original Series movies. But the plots should have focused less on action and adventure, and more on the thinking man’s problems. Or do the majority of seniors not like science fiction? I realize that the bloated salaries of the actors would make it difficult to make low-budget Star Trek films, but the reason why their salaries bloated was because the Star Trek films were making money.
I don’t know why I’m so devoted to Star Trek. I even defend the â€œbadâ€ films. (Well, I won’t defend Nemesis, the last Star Trek film, although I do wonder why people stayed away from it.) I think my personality type has caused my attachment to Star Trek. I have a strong sense of loyalty. Come to think of it, as a child, I had a fear of abandonment by my older brother. I was an annoying little brother. So maybe I compensate by not wanting anyone or anything to feel like they’ve been abandoned by me. I’ve stayed at jobs far longer than I should have. Or maybe Star Trek simply fills a void that so far nothing else has been able to fill. Hopefully, two hours and six minutes of that void will be filled with bliss next week.