Therin of Andor wrote:
what were the episodes that were not just good stories, but were cerebral and thought provoking? What's the list?
That kinda infers there's no message to debate in the JJ films. To me, the 2009 film challenges us to ponder nurture vs nature (with Kirk), and this theme is certainly revisited in STiD. A Kirk who grows up without the influence of a strong father figure, and then how he starts to change under the mentorship of Pike. (Starts
Similarly, we have a Spock who has not spent 18 years not talking to his father
, and taps into a different aspect of his half human, half Vulcan makeup, presumably rejecting the Vulcan girl he was bonded with in favour of an Earth woman.
McCoy of both timelines suffered a painful divorce. It'll be interesting to see if he faces new challenges in the next film.
There is plenty to discuss; it's not all 'splosions at all. I guess studying the differences in the two timelines is similar to the message of "Mirror, Mirror", and perhaps "The Enemy Within". Do changed circumstances change our personalities, our opportunities, our fates? How do we balance the facets of our personality, those little devils and angels sitting on our shoulders, influencing how we react in situations?
First, I'm thrilled to hear you had a good ride during the movie, Therin
, it actually makes me confident a lot of us are going to like it.
Second, I agree that good Trek episodes did address interesting themes from time to time, to be sure. It was an action-adventure show that assumed it had an intelligent, thinking audience. That was part of its staying power. The thing is, all good stories have a theme (that's the only thing I remember from a short stories course I took in college).
I found the following column very descriptive of Trek as a franchise. The movie reviewer for The Washington Post
, Ann Hornaday, recently wrote about why "middlebrow" doesn't have to be bad. She was writing in the context of what makes a movie likeable. She contrasted middlebrow to highbrow and lowbrow.
The parts that I think best apply to Trek as a franchise are the following quotes:
Where highbrow films seek to unsettle audiences and lowbrow films seek to anesthetize them, middlebrow films seek to comfort and stimulate viewers simultaneously. They may not always be feel-good, but they never go to gratuitous lengths to make us feel bad. Frank Capra was the consummate middlebrow director; we have Steven Spielberg, who has pursued the middlebrow via media with remarkably consistent results: For every starchy "Amistad" or saccharine "War Horse", we’ve gotten a superbly crafted "Jaws" or "E.T" or "Saving Private Ryan".
A good middlebrow movie is simple but never simplistic. It’s accessible but never patronizing. It’s high-gloss but never just eye candy. It’s relatable but never banal. It’s straightforward but never on-the-nose. It’s audience-friendly, but it never begs to be liked. By these criteria, "The Blind Side", with its matter-of-fact lack of melodrama, was a good middlebrow movie, while "The Help", with its glib, caricatured view of racism and its discontents, was not. "Lincoln", rich in production values but un-pretentious in its storytelling, was all that a middlebrow movie should be. The maudlin, meretricious "Forrest Gump" embodies everything that gives middlebrow a bad name.
Trek is exactly this. Accessible and intelligent without pretense. Themes are interesting without being too overwhelming or provocative. Trek is middlebrow. And that's just fine.
Here's the link to Hornaday's entire column: