The state of Star Trek in 2016
Around three years ago, I embarked on a one month mission with the colorful crew of the Starship Enterprise. I was completely enamored with Star Trek: The Original Series. It had great content in terms of the social issues it tackled, and breaking barriers with a multi-national cast. While the budget wasn’t the largest in the galaxy; the vision of Gene Roddenberry was actualized and spawned into one of the most loved franchises. A great thing as well about the show was that everyone apart of the show knew the budget’s limitations, and completely ran with the some of the more campier aspects of the show, which is great. I still believe a lot of people don’t understand what Star Trek represents; I wrote a piece a long time ago about the Misconceptions of Star Trek.
In 2009, the crew we all knew and loved from the original series, was rebooted into a movie, and was well received by Trekkies & movie-goers alike. While the second film Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) wasn’t as loved, I found it to be a great film. The way they initially handled the villain was silly besides his alias “John Harrision”, and the plot twist near the end of the film still irks me to this day, but asides from that I found it riveting.
Which brings me to Star Trek Beyond (2016). The film has not been released yet, but with J.J. Abrams heading to a galaxy far far away, Star Trek was in search of a new director, and finally landed with Justin Lin. A director who will probably end up making 35 Fast and the Furious movies at this rate. Now before I get into this, I don’t think he’s a poor director by any means, but I don’t believe he is the right man for this project. I think Rian Johnson would have been great, based off his brilliant sci-fi Looper, but ironically he’s also working with Star Wars for episode VIII. I’m not sure how much input Justin Lin had on the first trailer, but it seems like he made it himself, and man oh man, did it have me wanting to just act like this movie was nonexistent. I felt like we would have to give this the Star Wars Prequel treatment, which is unfair, but I think that’s a good way to say how everyone was feeling about this trailer. It felt Fast and the Furious in space, it even had a motorcycle stunt…and the song choice was awful.
Well, there is a new trailer, and clearly somebody was listening to the fans and Simon Pegg who helped pen the script. The score for the trailer definitely amps up scale of the film, even though it’s the overplayed “duuuunnnn” noise. We are given a little more context about what’s going on with their planned 5 year mission into space, and who they are up against. It’s not much but at least it feels like the two former Star Trek movies, but i’m worried that it’s continuing the slow downward spiral on how it’s not implementing any social issues, or anything that carries weight. Star Trek (2009) hit the right cords, and Into Darkness, dealt alright with “John Harrison” and his connection with his fellow crew. Though neither of those compare with TOS or TNG but i’m okay with that, because the action and visuals in these new movies are so good. However with Star Trek Beyond, at least in the trailer, everything looks so bloody bright! All the architecture looks in pristine condition, as if there buildings were built & have some special coating that makes them incapable of being spoiled. I mean I understand what they are going for, but it looks amateurish/distracting. The CGI looks good, but in comparison to other movies coming out, it doesn’t cut it for me.
It’s extremely frustrating that in 2016, Star Trek can’t pick up enough love like Star Wars. The technology is there, the fans are there, and the premise is second to none, but they just fail to hit the mark, and heartstrings of everyone. I’m glad it’s not Star Wars, because Trek has it’s own identity, but I know the potential it has, just based on some of the episodes in the original series. Everything in this movie looks CGI heavy too, and I know almost every movie has CGI, but you can tell the difference of the amount of love that went into this film in comparison to Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I don’t think Star Trek is in a bad state or anything, but it’s just not reaching the levels it can achieve. It’s unfortunate, because this cast is absolutely a blast to watch, everybody is a lot of fun to watch, asides from Zoe Saldana as Uhura, but that’s just a little nitpick. Idris Elba is joining the cast as the villain in Star Trek Beyond. I hope this isn’t the case, but I feel like his character will be like the villains of the Marvel movies, forgettable. All I can think of when I see him is the villain in Guardians of the Galaxy, just some cookie cutter villain who is inherently evil, and hellbent on destroying the galaxy.. There is one thing for certain, the cast will be great here, but if the movie can also succeed in giving us a memorable villain, then I believe this will be one of the summer’s biggest hits. Which is a stretch because that is almost laughable thinking about when you go and watch the first trailer.
In 2017, CBS is bringing Star Trek back to television, with the promise of “new crews, new villains, new heroes, new worlds”. It appears that they will possibly partake in a new crew each season, or possibly just a central crew that comes across other crews in the Starfleet. Who knows, but hopefully this show will be great.
Overall, Star Trek is doing fine, at least they were able to green-light a third film, and people can reasonable give an explanation why there’s another one being made, because we definitely are living in an age where there are franchises that have 3-7 sequels, it’s become ridiculous, but we keep throwing our money at them.
All we can hope for is that Star Trek Beyond will bring something interesting to the table in July. They are working with an entire galaxy, they have the opportunity to inspire a whole generation like they have successfully done in the past. The question is will they be able to live up to the shows famous phrase “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.”