There isn't diplomacy and exploration. What there is - is blowing stuff up. I think the ability to write and direct a story that melds the diplomacy/exploration with the action is beyond the capabilities of most triple AAA film writers and directors.
Whether it is beyond the abilities or not isn't even the issue -- it is beyond the INCLINATION of anybody who chooses to get involved. If it weren't, then somebody would realize you could do a smaller budget film that didn't need to do 600 mil for breakeven and it could still be immensely profitable without being stifled with the need to be a studio tentpole.
But everybody thinks that an effective TREK movie has to have everything very big (yeah, that worked for Emmerich's GODZILLA didn't it?) And for right now I'm NOT talking about box office, because that is not the measure of success we should be addressing, although some seem to think that is the be-all/end-all, and maybe they should be discussing this on the wallstreetbbs.com boards ...
Several years back we discussed here how TNG's THE CHASE could have been a terrific feature film, and before that how you could do a variation of BALANCE OF TERROR for a restart TOS feature (and no, I don't consider the Abrams pic to be that by a long shot.)
You could do a riff on an ep like RETURN TO TOMORROW and have a movie that could be quite successful. You play up the horror element of the possessed officers and the responses of the crew to deliver the requisite 'chill' but you also have an interesting situation that puts it squarely in the 'do we choose to boldly go' corner -- you honor the notion of the show AND deliver the gut-twister ... and you up the action quotient with some of these meta-gods in android bodies doing whatever meta-gods in android bodies do, but keep the emotional hook on the fates of those Ecrew stuck in the meta-gods' balls (sounds awful but if you've seen the show ... )
Point of all this being that nobody is looking to deliver a SERENITY-level effort (a really good 2 hr movie that isn't looking to tick off boxes to guarantee an absurdly high return), and yet that is presumably what you and I would be wanting to see. You don't need to spend TRANSFORMERS dollars to get a good movie, but as long as audiences pony up for that crap, I guess more and more folks are going to try to play that game. But it is like having a lineup of 9 hitters who are ALL swinging for the fences ... you're getting a shitload of strikeouts along the way.
And everybody -- except the mob that accepts all bright noises and loud lights as entertainment -- is losing at least something as a result. The shows needing 2000 VFX shots are bankrupting the VFX houses left right and center, because they're having to deliver more and more, and since they're having to do this in much less time, the final product is also suffering a lot of the time for it. The backlash effect on this is already happening, because skilled artists who don't want to uproot their families every four months to go to Singapore or Bangladesh to whatever is the newest cheap VFX company are located are now getting out ... they're going with domestic computer game companies that are relatively stable by comparison, where if they have 80 hour weeks they may actually get paid for all of that time. Ultimately we will have less brilliant artists in the field and loads and loads of craftsmen working at various levels of competence -- and in terms of effects, that doesn't promise anything SPECIAL. So again, the audience will lose, and the studio will compensate with an even greater volume of eye candy and noise, because the mindset of bigger-is-better seems to be default thinking now, not just a conservative-amurrican
Kinda makes me think the next CHILDREN OF MEN we get is going to be made by people working on their own with their own money and distributing themselves via one of the emerging models for small features ... cuz the studios can't seem to consider genre films as anything other than tentpole franchises.
It's weird, but Paramount's cheapness in the 80s with the TREK movies actually makes a LITTLE more sense now, because they were guaranteeing themselves a profit and at the same time not having to UTTERLY subvert the notion of TREK in doing so. I think it was shortsighted for them to go as extremeo-cheap as they did, but when you look at what you get when you throw a ton of money at TREK -- TMP, for all its virtues and good intentions, still a mess fascinating at times but a mess, and Abrams09, which I've come to think of as a a vat, probably because of the moronic brewery and because I want to drown myself to avoid seeing any more of those unmotivated fuckin' lens flares -- extreme funding doesn't seem to create a better product, just the need for more extreme marketing (sort of like superior ability breeding superior ambition, rather than the former breeding a superior endproduct.)