I have a love/hate relationship with the modern Star Trek. While I disliked the first, I am one of the few who enjoyed Into Darkness. Both movies are visually impressive and action-packed with strong characters and a blend of humor. But… it will forever be haunted by the ghost of the source material. No matter what the new crew attempts, a comparison will be made to the classic days of 1960’s Trek.
The original Star Trek was of its time, using science fiction tropes to explore real social issues while entertaining. The cast has become iconic, far moreso than any other sci-fi program. Several spinoffs and sequels have taken Trek to new dimensions, but it remained rooted in the realm of soul-searching storytelling… until the 2009 JJ Abrams-directed film transformed Captain Kirk into a battle-scarred punk hammering his way through every problem and Spock became an emotionally-charged rebel.
It was a hit. For the first time since 1987, people were talking about Star Trek again. The sequel Into Darkness did less well, some say due to the negative treatment towards fans by denying key plot details. It’s a shame because the second movie is the stronger of the two, but marred by some poor productions ideas.
The third film encounterted problems when Abrams left the studio to work on Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens.
In a Guardian article dated May 19, 2015, it was stated that:
On the original draft by Orci, Pegg commented that Paramount “had a script for Star Trek that wasn’t really working for them. I think the studio was worried that it might have been a little bit too Star Trek-y.” For his role as the primary screenwriter, Pegg had been asked to make this new film “more inclusive”, stating that the solution was to “make a western or a thriller or a heist movie, then populate that with Star Trek characters so it’s more inclusive to an audience that might be a little bit reticent.”
This may explain the inclusion of Fast and the Furious director Justin Li… The ‘too Star Trek-y’ statement has me worried but it also confirms my judgement that these movies have little to no relation to Roddenberry’s vision. Granted, I can’t recommend much in the way of Star Trek films beyond Wrath of Khan. There are some good moments in the Next Generation sequels, but the appeal is so focused on the secured fanbase that I can’t imagine coming to it fresh. Maybe that is why we now have an eXtreme version of the franchise.
From five writers (including Simon Pegg) comes the latest pop culture Trek film, complete with Beastie Boys soundtrack. The ‘not your father’s Star Trek,’ vibe is certainly raised to eleven here. Wacky situations, flippant dialog and POV swirling action promise what could be a good video game or amusement park ride but will it make for a good movie?
We won’t have long to wait. Star Trek Beyond opens on July, 2016.