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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies XI+

Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old April 22 2013, 01:13 AM   #151
Greg Cox
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Re: Is J.J. Abams "Star Trek" Sustainable?

horatio83 wrote: View Post

Trek is most definitely an utopia. That is its key defining feature. As I just described, utopia has nothing to do with a static paradise or a naive vision and more to do with the everyday struggle to improve and it doesn't exclude what you called 'going through hell'.
Gotta disagree with you there. The original series was much more about exploring strange new worlds and encountering exotic alien life-forms than painting a picture of utopia. Heck,we never even saw 23rd century Earth in TOS or really heard much about how it worked. Just the occasional bit of lip service about how mankind had progressed since the bad old days.

To my mind, there's a difference between optimistic and "utopian." Trek stands out because, unless most scifi series, it's not set in some dystopian, post-apocalyptic future where robot cyborg gorillas have taken over. It's set in a future that works, where humanity didn't blow up and get conquered by alien invaders, but when you go back and look at the original episodes, they're mostly about running into salt vampires and sexy female androids and Doomsday Machines and so on. Sure, there's the occasional speech about how much humanity has grown, but that wasn't the gist of the episode. And we were just as often told that humanity was still a half-savage child race with a long way to go.

TOS was actually very suspicious of seeming utopias. Pretty much every time Kirk ran into some "perfect" world, there usually turned out to be an evil computer or mind-warping virus involved! Utopias always seemed to involved sacrificing some degree of humanity . . .

But I digress. Bottom line: to my mind, STAR TREK is primarily about exploring the Final Frontier, not some portraying some vaguely-described utopia back home.

Just look at the opening spiel. It begins "These are the voyages of Starship Enterprise," NOT "Welcome to the Utopian World of the future . . ."
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Old April 22 2013, 01:16 AM   #152
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Re: Is J.J. Abams "Star Trek" Sustainable?

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
horatio83 wrote: View Post
...utopia has nothing to do with a static paradise or a naive vision...
In fact, that's exactly what Utopia is.

TOS was not utopian.
Cruising on a spaceship through the galaxy with the former enemy and the current enemy on board while there is peace on earth was definitely an utopian notion in the sixties and it is still utopia today.
Democracy has been an utopia several centuries ago, a totally lunatic and unrealistic idea and frm a contemporary perspective I think consider the idea of a United earth to be even more crazy and unbelievable than democracy was e.g. in the sixteenth century.

Utopia is in a very literal sense a nonexisting place that becomes real once enough people start to believe in it (and act on this belief).


Greg Cox wrote: View Post
TOS was actually very suspicious of seeming utopias. Pretty much every time Kirk ran into some "perfect" world, there usually turned out to be an evil computer or mind-warping virus involved! Utopias always seemed to involved sacrificing some degree of humanity . . .

But I digress. Bottom line: to my mind, STAR TREK is primarily about exploring the Final Frontier, not some theoretical utopia back home.
Of course TOS was critical of totalitarian end of history utopias. But gee, there was a black woman on the bridge. If this wasn'T utopian in a time when virtually all black women on TV were maids I don't know what is. Uhura even inspired a black woman to become an astronaut so there have even some admittedly fairly trivial real world implications. But it still made some people change their minds.

Now I am totally with you when you say drama above all. But there is no real conflict as the utopian element of Trek is, as you just pointed out, just the background for the stories. As I tried to point out earlier, Trek's bright vision can go hand in hand with the darkest stories. Kirk's darkest hour has certainly been his racism in TUC and the overcoming of this error is the optimistic Trekkish atmosphere.
But I am not with you when you falsely claim that Trek is just an arbitrary adventure sci-fi franchise. The line from Archer in my signature shows that adventure, exploration of the human soul and optimism all belong into the mix that makes Trek.
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Last edited by horatio83; April 22 2013 at 01:28 AM.
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Old April 22 2013, 01:26 AM   #153
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Re: Is J.J. Abams "Star Trek" Sustainable?

horatio83 wrote: View Post
But if you wanna know, yes, ST09 did have an untolerable and inexcusable cynical moment; when Spock basically said that he wanted revenge for mummy. Orci took so mnay ingredients from TWOK but missed the key idea about the futility or rather self-harming nature of revenge.
Spock was expressing his grief. We often say things that we have no intention of carrying out in moments of grief. Spock is half-human.
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Old April 22 2013, 01:26 AM   #154
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Re: Is J.J. Abams "Star Trek" Sustainable?

Franklin wrote: View Post
It's the nature of mass entertainment going back to Shakespeare.
Exactly. Did people care when "Forbidden Planet" remade "The Tempest" without even giving Shakespeare a screen credit? Does it make FP any less exciting for those who start realising how things might pan out as the film races to its climax?

When "Elaan of Troyius" paid homage to Helen of Troy and "The Taming of the Shrew"?

Or any number of films and TV shows that have based themselves upon "Romeo and Juliet"?

horatio83 wrote: View Post
But TWOK ended quite optimistically. I really like this aspect of Meyer's work, he seem so militaristic and dark on the first glance but there is always a bright ending and you realize that the guy is not really somebody who is antithetical to Roddenberry.
Didn't JJ Abrams' ST 2009 also end optimistically? Spock Prime was off to assist the quest for New Vulcan. Young Spock and Uhura still had each other, and Spock was on better terms with Sarek than Spock Prime had been at that age. Scotty and Keenser were finally off the ice planet and snug in Engineering. And Kirk had just inherited the Enterprise from Pike.
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Old April 22 2013, 01:50 AM   #155
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Re: Is J.J. Abams "Star Trek" Sustainable?

Third Nacelle wrote: View Post

Yes, but even the bad ones held onto what Trek is: a cerebral science fiction series for people who like to think. That sort of thing doesn't translate well from TV to the big screen, but when they got it right, they got it RIGHT. The last movie completely erased that and turned it into an action movie. A very entertaining and beautiful action movie, but it wasn't really Trek.
No, they didn't.

TMP) Somewhat cerebral. Mostly a 2001 knockoff. Illia in a ridiculously short skirt.
TWOK) Revenge. Explosions. Getting old. KHAAAAAAAN! A FUCK TON of Pew!Pew!
TSFS) GE-NE-SIS?! Kirk's son killed. Get out! Get out of there! Lots of Pew!Pew!
TVH) They are not the hell your whales. One damn minute, Admiral.
TFF) Three boobed cat stripper. Sha-ka-ree. Lots of Pew!Pew!
TUC) Racism. Cold War. Shakespeare. Lots of Pew!Pew!
GEN) Fantasy land. Duras Sisters. Enterprise go Boom. Lots of Pew!Pew!
FC) BOOM! Sweaty Borg. Sexual healing. Drunks. A METRIC FUCK TON of Pew!Pew!
INS) Face lift. Forced relocation. F. Murray Abraham on a couch. Lots of poorly paced Pew!Pew!
NEM) Dune buggy. Mentally deficient android. Slowly moving doom device. Lots of random Pew!Pew!

I have highlighted two of the most popular pre-JJ Trek movies in the fandom.
Trek was an action franchise from the second movie installment onward. To suggest otherwise is to completely ignore everything beyond The Motion Picture.
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Old April 22 2013, 01:58 AM   #156
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Re: Is J.J. Abams "Star Trek" Sustainable?

TWOK didn't end particularly optimistically. "Wistfully," is more like it.

Of course, the shot of the coffin on Genesis was tacked on after Meyer was done.
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Old April 22 2013, 02:10 AM   #157
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Re: Is J.J. Abams "Star Trek" Sustainable?

J. Allen wrote: View Post
Third Nacelle wrote: View Post

Yes, but even the bad ones held onto what Trek is: a cerebral science fiction series for people who like to think. That sort of thing doesn't translate well from TV to the big screen, but when they got it right, they got it RIGHT. The last movie completely erased that and turned it into an action movie. A very entertaining and beautiful action movie, but it wasn't really Trek.
No, they didn't.

TMP) Somewhat cerebral. Mostly a 2001 knockoff. Illia in a ridiculously short skirt.
TWOK) Revenge. Explosions. Getting old. KHAAAAAAAN! A FUCK TON of Pew!Pew!
TSFS) GE-NE-SIS?! Kirk's son killed. Get out! Get out of there! Lots of Pew!Pew!
TVH) They are not the hell your whales. One damn minute, Admiral.
TFF) Three boobed cat stripper. Sha-ka-ree. Lots of Pew!Pew!
TUC) Racism. Cold War. Shakespeare. Lots of Pew!Pew!
GEN) Fantasy land. Duras Sisters. Enterprise go Boom. Lots of Pew!Pew!
FC) BOOM! Sweaty Borg. Sexual healing. Drunks. A METRIC FUCK TON of Pew!Pew!
INS) Face lift. Forced relocation. F. Murray Abraham on a couch. Lots of poorly paced Pew!Pew!
NEM) Dune buggy. Mentally deficient android. Slowly moving doom device. Lots of random Pew!Pew!

I have highlighted two of the most popular pre-JJ Trek movies in the fandom.
Trek was an action franchise from the second movie installment onward. To suggest otherwise is to completely ignore everything beyond The Motion Picture.
Don't forget they pew pewwed the asteroid in the wormhole in TMP. And the transporter accident,
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Old April 22 2013, 03:06 AM   #158
Greg Cox
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Re: Is J.J. Abams "Star Trek" Sustainable?

horatio83 wrote: View Post
But I am not with you when you falsely claim that Trek is just an arbitrary adventure sci-fi franchise. The line from Archer in my signature shows that adventure, exploration of the human soul and optimism all belong into the mix that makes Trek.
I'm not sure when I said it was just another arbitrary adventure scifi franchise. Clearly, the optimistic elements of Trek are big part of its popularity. Star Trek isn't Logan's Run and it isn't Terminator or Planet of the Apes or V or Aliens or any other cautionary tale. There's definitely an idealistic streak to Trek that distinguishes it from most of the competition.

But, as a writer and editor, I don't think that fiction is just a delivery mechanism for delivering morals and messages. It's also about imagination and entertainment and style and art for art's sake (he says pretentiously). And Star Trek is more than just a manifesto; it's also an exciting and imaginative work of science fiction that can't be judged on just how "utopian" any individual installment is. And where the characters can be flawed, flesh-and-blood human beings, not plaster saints and role models.

In my experience, when you start putting the "message" ahead of the plot and characters, you end up with sermons, not stories!
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Old April 22 2013, 04:31 AM   #159
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Re: Is J.J. Abams "Star Trek" Sustainable?

horatio83 wrote: View Post
The way the Romulans have been messed up, once as victims from the dark side of the moon and once as Tattoomulans)
The 'Tattoomulans' were that way because they were mourning the dead. The tattoos were their way of expressing grief.

J. Allen wrote: View Post
No, they didn't.

TMP) Somewhat cerebral. Mostly a 2001 knockoff. Illia in a ridiculously short skirt.
TWOK) Revenge. Explosions. Getting old. KHAAAAAAAN! A FUCK TON of Pew!Pew!
TSFS) GE-NE-SIS?! Kirk's son killed. Get out! Get out of there! Lots of Pew!Pew!
TVH) They are not the hell your whales. One damn minute, Admiral.
TFF) Three boobed cat stripper. Sha-ka-ree. Lots of Pew!Pew!
TUC) Racism. Cold War. Shakespeare. Lots of Pew!Pew!
GEN) Fantasy land. Duras Sisters. Enterprise go Boom. Lots of Pew!Pew!
FC) BOOM! Sweaty Borg. Sexual healing. Drunks. A METRIC FUCK TON of Pew!Pew!
INS) Face lift. Forced relocation. F. Murray Abraham on a couch. Lots of poorly paced Pew!Pew!
NEM) Dune buggy. Mentally deficient android. Slowly moving doom device. Lots of random Pew!Pew!

I have highlighted two of the most popular pre-JJ Trek movies in the fandom.
Trek was an action franchise from the second movie installment onward. To suggest otherwise is to completely ignore everything beyond The Motion Picture.
THIS.

Actually, as somebody else said, Trek was an action franchise from the second pilot of the original series.

Last edited by Shaka Zulu; April 22 2013 at 04:43 AM.
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Old April 22 2013, 04:53 AM   #160
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Re: Is J.J. Abams "Star Trek" Sustainable?

The first pilot had it's action quotient as well. The battle with the Kaylar. Throttling the Talosian. Blasting the hidden entrance with the laser.
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Old April 22 2013, 04:57 AM   #161
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Re: Is J.J. Abams "Star Trek" Sustainable?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Kruezerman wrote: View Post
It's very doom and gloom where it should be hope and celebration.
I'm curious. When you say you want "hope and celebration," what kind of story are you advocating?

I mean, sure, Trek is no dystopia, but, as far back as the original series, there's always been plenty of jeopardy, drama, conflict, and heartbreak. Remote colonies and outposts get wiped out by exotic menaces. Hostile aliens threaten the crew. The Enterprise is on the verge of blowing up in five minutes. Kirk needs kill his best friend to save his ship. Joan Collins has to be thrown under a bus . . . .

Last time I checked, all those redshirts didn't die from an excess of "hope and celebration." The Final Frontier can be a very dangerous place . . . and that's always been reflected in the shows and movies.

Seriously, how do you translate abstract notions like "hope and celebration" into an engrossing adventure or drama? By throwing in lots of inspirational speeches? By avoiding conflict and disaster? I admit, I'm not sure what sort of plot you're advocating, as opposed to something that puts our heroes through the wringer.

"Hope and celebration" are something you save for the end of the story. But first you need to test your heroes by putting them through hell . . ..
You misunderstood, I was speaking about the people who were certain that Trek was ending or that general movie taste was in the shitter, etc.

I actually prefer the idea of Earth being optimistic instead of "perfect" as per Gene's vision. TNG always struck me as odd in that respect.
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Old April 22 2013, 04:58 AM   #162
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Re: Is J.J. Abams "Star Trek" Sustainable?

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
Don't forget they pew pewwed the asteroid in the wormhole in TMP. And the transporter accident,
True, but I left the minor Pew!Pew!s out because they were so minor. If they didn't reach a minimum of Die Hard levels of Pew!Pew!, I put them aside.

Shaka Zulu wrote: View Post
THIS.

Actually, as somebody else said, Trek was an action franchise from the second pilot of the original series.
Indeed. Star Trek was Horatio Hornblower in space. It was a shoot 'em up, dynamic action adventure. Yes, there were high minded ideas, but the meat of the show was "We come in peace, shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill, we come in peace, shoot to kill, shoot to kill, men!"

(borrowed from Star Trekkin' a bit. )
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Old April 22 2013, 12:17 PM   #163
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Greg Cox wrote: View Post
In my experience, when you start putting the "message" ahead of the plot and characters, you end up with sermons, not stories!
It is not ahead of the plot and characters, it is behind them, in the background.
Do you know "Children of Men"? The background, in this case a political one which is very vivid, does not interfere with the plot. But the movie wouldn't be the same without it.
Or take the fictional historical genetic experimentation stuff, it served as background for Kodos, Khan, the pilot of TNG, the end of ENT and Bashir. Fictional politics and history belong in the background but the stories wouldn't work without them.

About your dislike for sermons, I agree. Another word for background in this context is ideology in the Marxian sense of 'they don't know it, but they are doing it'. If all the utopian elements of Trek have become automatic such that the respective writers isn't even aware of them his work will most likely be better.


J. Allen wrote: View Post
Third Nacelle wrote: View Post

Yes, but even the bad ones held onto what Trek is: a cerebral science fiction series for people who like to think. That sort of thing doesn't translate well from TV to the big screen, but when they got it right, they got it RIGHT. The last movie completely erased that and turned it into an action movie. A very entertaining and beautiful action movie, but it wasn't really Trek.
TWOK) Revenge. Explosions. Getting old. KHAAAAAAAN! A FUCK TON of Pew!Pew!
FC) BOOM! Sweaty Borg. Sexual healing. Drunks. A METRIC FUCK TON of Pew!Pew!
While TWOK and FC do include some action they also contain some slower parts and interesting themes. The mixture is what makes them work so well.
A purely idea-based movie like TMP fails and a pure action movie like NEM fails as well.
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Old April 22 2013, 02:57 PM   #164
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Re: Is J.J. Abams "Star Trek" Sustainable?

horatio83 wrote: View Post

While TWOK and FC do include some action they also contain some slower parts and interesting themes. The mixture is what makes them work so well.
A purely idea-based movie like TMP fails and a pure action movie like NEM fails as well.
Agreed. A movie that is nonstop action (like Van Helsing) gets exhausting very fast. Even Raiders of the Lost Ark knew enough to break up the wild action sequences, with quieter, more character-oriented scenes. ("Indy, maybe the Ark is not meant to be found.")

Personally, I thought the last movie had lots of good character bits, between Spock and Sarek, for instance, or Spock and Uhura, or Kirk and Pine, etc. It wasn't just space battles and 'splosions.

Regarding ideology, I tend to think that if you put (hopefully) interesting characters in difficult situations, emotionally or otherwise, themes and messages and such will just arise organically from the plot, without trying to deliberately impose them on the story.

For myself, when I sit down at the keyboard in the morning, I'm not thinking what Important Statement can I make about racism or global warming today, I'm putting myself in my character's heads and trying to figure out how they're going to react to whatever trouble I throw at them.

And, oh yeah, deadlines.
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Old April 22 2013, 05:15 PM   #165
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Re: Is J.J. Abams "Star Trek" Sustainable?

TWOK is a snooze if its an action movie.

But its true some purists forget that TOS has a fistfight and Kirk's torn shirt in practically every episode. Kirk has patented moves for cryin out loud.
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