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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 May 26 2013, 09:25 PM   #16
SonicRanger
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Re: Why did they bother...

I watch two different TV shows about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Different actors, different settings, different portrayals, even different sexes for some characters. I don't want to watch, say, Jonny Lee Miller doing a Benedict Cumberbatch impression. Liking both doesn't make me any less a fan of Sherlock Holmes stories.
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Old May 26 2013, 09:27 PM   #17
YARN
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Re: Why did they bother...

Mr. B wrote: View Post
Captain Nebula wrote: View Post
Why did they bother with the original Trek crew in these new movies?
Kirk, Spock and "Beam me up, Scotty" is about all the unwashed masses know about Star Trek, and that's who these movies are for. If you don't play into that, there's no need to even call these new movies "Star Trek."
Right, it is an exploitable franchise, a way to make money.

The center of mass for maximum possible ticket sales is comprised of an audience holding a vague pop-cultural memory of Star Trek. The pop-cultural memory, vague as it is, still makes a Trek film more recognizable than a generic "space movie."

For the intended audience, nuTrek has everything their pop-cultural memory tells it a Trek film should have (green women, tribbles, certain prominent villains like the great "John Harrison," McCoy saying "Dammit," Kirk womanizing, and Spock talking about "Logic").

Our pop cultural memory of, say, "piracy" doesn't give us an accurate historical picture of the past, but rather how we played as kids. The caricature is embarrassing when we mistake it for actual history. Consider, this example. Our pop cultural memory is a sort of iconic reduction which is often satiric and exaggerated. Our image of John Travolta converting popping and locking into pointing like a retriever in a white disco suit is our iconic image of 70's night clubbing. The 1960's, that's hippies, right?

Star Trek is lucky to have made any sort of imprint on pop cultural memory, but the Trek that remains is only sustained by that memory. It's a faded image.

Wiping away Vulcan in the first film was an implicit announcement that all the trifling details under the surface of that image no longer matter. This is a new Star Trek that will simply inhabit the iconography of the original Star Trek.

What we're waiting to find out is if they will eventually show the courage to tell a story of their own, by boldly going out into the imaginative frontier of literature and creating their own iconic moments and characters.

Don't bet on it though. Star Trek was assimilated to make money, not to tell original stories, and this is why the most likely villain in the next film will be the Borg.
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Old May 26 2013, 09:31 PM   #18
marksound
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Re: Why did they bother...

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
Carcazoid wrote: View Post
It is my considered opinion that casting actors according to their ethnicity is the worst part of Affirmative Action. Not casting the best actor for a role because he is not the right race is the definition of racism.

Disagree if you like, but it won't change my opinion.
Um okay, but if the character you're casting is supposed to be black or Asian or whatever, then wouldn't someone who is black or Asian or whatever be the best actor for a role?

Look, in some cases, yes, race is trivial to a character and anyone of any ethnicity can be cast. Others, race is essential. If you were doing a Martin Luther King biopic, you wouldn't cast a white guy as Martin Luther King, would you?
Yeah, it's the 23rd or 24th century, take your pick. People of different ethic backgrounds intermarry (or interbreed if you prefer) and the differences in race become less apparent over time. I know "black" people who are light skinned with light colored eyes. I know Native Americans with blond hair and blue eyes.

Don't believe me? Look around.

To restrict casting to ethnic stereotypes for a color blind future is not only narrowminded, it's ridiculous.
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Old May 26 2013, 10:04 PM   #19
BillJ
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Re: Why did they bother...

YARN wrote: View Post
Don't bet on it though. Star Trek was assimilated to make money...
Because Roddenberry, Desilu and NBC were making Trek out of the goodness of their heart. It seems folks are whipping out their rosé-tinted nostalgia glasses again and forget how much Roddenberry borrowed from other TV and films at the time.
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Old May 26 2013, 11:36 PM   #20
YARN
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Re: Why did they bother...

BillJ wrote: View Post
YARN wrote: View Post
Don't bet on it though. Star Trek was assimilated to make money...
Because Roddenberry, Desilu and NBC were making Trek out of the goodness of their heart. It seems folks are whipping out their rosé-tinted nostalgia glasses again and forget how much Roddenberry borrowed from other TV and films at the time.
Even if we assume that this is my "motivation," it does nothing to repudiate the claims I make in that post. The Tu Quoque argument does not deny an accusation, it just asserts that the accuser is also guilty of said accusation.
Old Trek might be exactly like NuTrek, but this would not repudiate my claim.

The only way in which my reasoning would not gain traction would be if the Eco-Darwinistic warrant were true of any and all artworks. That is, if it were a universal truism that artworks are simply made to make money, that that is their purpose, then there would be no room for alternatives. It would make no sense to accuse nuTrek of something of which all artistic producers are guilty (by necessity).

When we globalize this to an argument making a universal statement about artistic production, however, it falls under the weight of it's lazy Machiavellian assumptions:

Premise: Artistic products that don't make money do not survive.

Premise: Star Trek is an artistic product (a commodity).

Conclusion: Money is the only relevant motive in the production of Star Trek.


The conclusion simply does not follow from the premises. The conclusion fails to note that artistic products can be made with additional motives and that, therefore, there is a difference between an artwork with a message that is designed to make money and a (nominal) artwork which only exists to make money.

Even if this were a valid syllogism, the premises are questionable, at best. It assumes that "survival" (e.g., the endless regurgitation of franchises and toys and books and games) is the only relevant, or the paramount, motive for an artwork. If professional life was "all about the money" and only about money, only a fool would teach. Considering the average pay of any creative artist (musicians, actors, writers, etc.), only a fool would go into the creative expression business if it were because, first and foremost, they wanted to make money.

Writers, generally, want to tell good stories. They want to do something meaningful. They want to be paid for it, but they're aren't just randomly associating pounding keys on their keyboard with paychecks.

Art tends to suffers when profit is the only motive in sight. You tend to play it safe. You rely on hacks and play doctors to regurgitate what has already been done. Hollywood's case of sequelitus and rebootitus is evidence of this.

Everyone in the business is looking to get paid. But art isn't just a business. It's culture, it's philosophy, it's personal expression, it's human experience. Reducing art to business under the Darwinistic warrant (i.e., that which survives earns profits) does violence to the substance of art.

TOS Star Trek, on occasion, took risks. It featured an interracial kiss (this episode was not shown in some markets). It featured a Russian crew member. It snuck culturally relevant moral lessons past the censors. It was goofy, but it was also meaningful. And even when they failed (and they failed on several occasions), they were at least trying to do more than simply collect a check. Sure, there were meaningless hack episodes and creative choices made purely in the pursuit of profit. But what cheesey old Star Trek proves (TNG is a better example of old Star Trek since it was not cancelled after three seasons due to low ratings) is that Star Trek can have a message and still survive (i.e., make money).

I don't think that nuTrek has any such ambitions. It is entertaining and fun and it has cool action sequences. It plays dress-up with mom and dad's old clothes, but it's only playing with the form, not the substance. They're content to pick the low hanging fruit of pop cultural memory and package it as retro-action adventure. They're doing a pretty good job of it too! Some us simply lament that nuTrek has a lot more "empty calories" than the old.
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Old May 26 2013, 11:59 PM   #21
sj4iy
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Re: Why did they bother...

YARN wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post
YARN wrote: View Post
Don't bet on it though. Star Trek was assimilated to make money...
Because Roddenberry, Desilu and NBC were making Trek out of the goodness of their heart. It seems folks are whipping out their rosé-tinted nostalgia glasses again and forget how much Roddenberry borrowed from other TV and films at the time.
Even if we assume that this is my "motivation," it does nothing to repudiate the claims I make in that post. The Tu Quoque argument does not deny an accusation, it just asserts that the accuser is also guilty of said accusation.
Old Trek might be exactly like NuTrek, but this would not repudiate my claim.

The only way in which my reasoning would not gain traction would be if the Eco-Darwinistic warrant were true of any and all artworks. That is, if it were a universal truism that artworks are simply made to make money, that that is their purpose, then there would be no room for alternatives. It would make no sense to accuse nuTrek of something of which all artistic producers are guilty (by necessity).

When we globalize this to an argument making a universal statement about artistic production, however, it falls under the weight of it's lazy Machiavellian assumptions:

Premise: Artistic products that don't make money do not survive.

Premise: Star Trek is an artistic product (a commodity).

Conclusion: Money is the only relevant motive in the production of Star Trek.


The conclusion simply does not follow from the premises. The conclusion fails to note that artistic products can be made with additional motives and that, therefore, there is a difference between an artwork with a message that is designed to make money and a (nominal) artwork which only exists to make money.

Even if this were a valid syllogism, the premises are questionable, at best. It assumes that "survival" (e.g., the endless regurgitation of franchises and toys and books and games) is the only relevant, or the paramount, motive for an artwork. If professional life was "all about the money" and only about money, only a fool would teach. Considering the average pay of any creative artist (musicians, actors, writers, etc.), only a fool would go into the creative expression business if it were because, first and foremost, they wanted to make money.

Writers, generally, want to tell good stories. They want to do something meaningful. They want to be paid for it, but they're aren't just randomly associating pounding keys on their keyboard with paychecks.

Art tends to suffers when profit is the only motive in sight. You tend to play it safe. You rely on hacks and play doctors to regurgitate what has already been done. Hollywood's case of sequelitus and rebootitus is evidence of this.

Everyone in the business is looking to get paid. But art isn't just a business. It's culture, it's philosophy, it's personal expression, it's human experience. Reducing art to business under the Darwinistic warrant (i.e., that which survives earns profits) does violence to the substance of art.

TOS Star Trek, on occasion, took risks. It featured an interracial kiss (this episode was not shown in some markets). It featured a Russian crew member. It snuck culturally relevant moral lessons past the censors. It was goofy, but it was also meaningful. And even when they failed (and they failed on several occasions), they were at least trying to do more than simply collect a check. Sure, there were meaningless hack episodes and creative choices made purely in the pursuit of profit. But what cheesey old Star Trek proves (TNG is a better example of old Star Trek since it was not cancelled after three seasons due to low ratings) is that Star Trek can have a message and still survive (i.e., make money).

I don't think that nuTrek has any such ambitions. It is entertaining and fun and it has cool action sequences. It plays dress-up with mom and dad's old clothes, but it's only playing with the form, not the substance. They're content to pick the low hanging fruit of pop cultural memory and package it as retro-action adventure. They're doing a pretty good job of it too! Some us simply lament that nuTrek has a lot more "empty calories" than the old.
Oh please, even TOS was far from artistic. It was a western set in space. And every subsequent movie and series only wanted to milk it more.

Making this show was never altruistic. Roddenberry may have genuinely liked his work...but he didn't do it for free. Artists want to make a living from their work. Just because these movies fit our time period (just like all of the other movies and series fit theirs) doesn't make them inferior or only out to "sucker the newbies into liking it because they don't know any better". New fans are just as important as old fans, and making a movie that will have mass appeal doesn't diminish it or the people who enjoy it.
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Old May 27 2013, 12:32 AM   #22
RAMA
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Re: Why did they bother...

Captain Nebula wrote: View Post
Why did they bother with the original Trek crew in these new movies? They could have easily created a new crew. There are only a couple of characters that act like their original counterpart from the original TV series. Spock stayed away from Christine Chapel in the original because he thought it was inappropriate. But this new Spock is all over Uhura. Kirk is promoted from "Cadet who is about to get expelled" to First Officer - completely bypassing Kirk ever serving on the Farragut. Karl Urban's got the McCoy-isms down pretty good. But Scotty is just a guy with an accent - even though Simon Pegg is pretty funny. So is Chekov - just an accent. And it's almost racist that they got a Chinese actor to play the part that a Japanese actor played on the TV show. Did I miss anybody?

They could have at least had Pine do a Shatner imitation.

I guess if it brings in the big bucks at the theater...

/rant

Any thoughts?
Haven't we been over this a thousand times? This Star trek is not for you. I rarely have seen anybody get it this wrong...

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Old May 27 2013, 12:35 AM   #23
eskyliz
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Re: Why did they bother...

Well, keep in mind it is an alternate reality. I don't know. I guess people thought having the same old crew would make it more appealing even though they did change it a bit. Besides, Gene Roddenberry actually wanted there to someday be a movie or a show about them before they were... them. I honestly don't think they did a horrible job. The only thing wrong for me is that it's lost most of it's "Star Trek". It's kind of just a big action movie with the idea of Star Trek tossed in the background. But I'm not complaining too much because I'm just happy Star Trek is back at all. I mean who knows when it'll all be over. Obviously the legacy will always live on but it's great to have Star Trek happening now. Especially for me who never got to watch any of the series as they came out.
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Old May 27 2013, 12:35 AM   #24
Set Harth
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Re: Why did they bother...

I have to say I was underwhelmed by Pine's version of "these are the voyages". There's a reason you have to go to the gag reel to hear it on the '09 film...
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Old May 27 2013, 12:44 AM   #25
RAMA
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Re: Why did they bother...

Set Harth wrote: View Post
I have to say I was underwhelmed by Pine's version of "these are the voyages". There's a reason you have to go to the gag reel to hear it on the '09 film...
I looked around during the speech, the larger audience I saw it with was in rapt attention...I think it was very successful, especially in te context it was given.
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Old May 27 2013, 12:46 AM   #26
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Re: Why did they bother...

Set Harth wrote: View Post
I have to say I was underwhelmed by Pine's version of "these are the voyages". There's a reason you have to go to the gag reel to hear it on the '09 film...
It definitely isn't as good as Shatner or Stewart's versions.
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Old May 27 2013, 12:47 AM   #27
YARN
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Re: Why did they bother...

sj4iy wrote: View Post
Oh please, even TOS was far from artistic. It was a western set in space.
Since when is the "western" genre not a category of art?

Were there a lot of Russians and Asians and Blacks as featured ensemble characters in Bonanza?

Did Gunsmoke feature an interracial kiss?

Did the Rifleman offer consistent subversive allegories about U.S. race relations and foreign policy?

Is the only way to defend the new to smear the old?

Did you even read the bit about the Tu Quoque? I could grant (although I don't) that Old Trek was pure hackery and my claims would still stand.

sj4iy wrote: View Post
And every subsequent movie and series only wanted to milk it more.
Who only wanted to milk it more? The studio certainly wanted to make money and that was their primary aim, but TMP was rather cerebral in it's ambitions.

I think it's sad that the ONLY motive you can attribute to story tellers is the desire "milk it."

sj4iy wrote: View Post
Making this show was never altruistic. Roddenberry may have genuinely liked his work...but he didn't do it for free. Artists want to make a living from their work.
Did you even read my post? I've already noted that artists want to get paid. That writers want to put food on the table is not exclusive to a motive to express, critique, philosophize, jest, subvert, reframe, etc. Is it such a scandal for you to think that artists also have artistic motivations? Are you that jaded?

sj4iy wrote: View Post
Just because these movies fit our time period
What does this even mean? Sunshine, Gattaca, Children of Men, District 9, Moon, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - these are all films "of our time period." That Transformers is also of our time does not mean that the horizon of expectation for science fiction films reduces to the ambition of noisy actioners.

sj4iy wrote: View Post
doesn't make them inferior or only out to "sucker the newbies into liking it because they don't know any better".
They're not suckering the newbies; they are pandering to them. They are giving them Star Trek (im)precisely as they (vaguely) remember it.

sj4iy wrote: View Post
New fans are just as important as old fans,
Are they? In what sense? Not a lot of Glenn Miller fans these days, but would we be doing Glenn Miller's music any favors by converting into dubstep?

How far can you alter the original before it is no longer substantively what it was (Ship of Theseus)? How far can you push things before you lose the soul of the original?

If the only goal is to keep the brand name alive, then who cares? Suppose, for example, America became a country where there was no free speech, no voting for officials, no prosperity, and which oppressed the rest of the world a la Germany in the early 20th century. Would "America" still be something worth fighting for? Would it matter that we kept the name alive if we lost all the substance? Or is there something that matters more than profit, market share, and brand recognition?

sj4iy wrote: View Post
and making a movie that will have mass appeal doesn't diminish it or the people who enjoy it.
But this does not mean that mass-appeal is all we can aspire to.

Some of us feel like Pike in Trek '09. We would simply like to encourage nuTrek to aspire to be a little more.

Your predecessors commanded the franchise for four decades. They inspired people and promoted dialogue on sensitive issues. They dare you to do better.
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Old May 27 2013, 12:55 AM   #28
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Re: Why did they bother...

Your predecessors commanded the franchise for four decades. They inspired people and promoted dialogue on sensitive issues. They dare you to do better.


The funniest thing about Modern Trek was that they were suppose to have had a free hand and ended up being more tepid on social issues than TOS.

Star Trek Into Darkness had the balls to take unpopular positions on U.S. actions and all people can do is scream it isn't enough.

I'm fairly convinced at this point that to a certain group of fans there is simply nothing Abrams can do right, short of leaving the franchise.
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Old May 27 2013, 01:16 AM   #29
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Re: Why did they bother...

BillJ wrote: View Post
I'm fairly convinced at this point that to a certain group of fans there is simply nothing Abrams can do right, short of leaving the franchise.
And even then you can be sure the same people will be making posts whining about his cruel betrayal because he was never a true fan.
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Old May 27 2013, 01:17 AM   #30
YARN
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Re: Why did they bother...

BillJ wrote: View Post
Star Trek Into Darkness had the balls to take unpopular positions on U.S. actions and all people can do is scream it isn't enough.
Unpopular position?

Everyone supports the troops; fewer and fewer people support the wars. Now that the U.S. has been at war for 12 years and we know that there were no WMDs, it's pretty easy to look back with hindsight and say that preemptive war is not such a good idea. The message would have been courageous in 2002 when everyone in America was spoiling for the fight, not in 2013 when we've already had a belly full.

It doesn't take "balls" to take the stand eleven years too late.

The position taken on U.S. foreign policy in the film is muddled. Admiral Marcus is a renegade military man, so this does not really criticize legitimate foreign policy of the United States. That admirals should not take it upon themselves to start their own wars is a no-brainer even in a post 9-11 world. John Harrison is a terrorist which only plays into the "War on Terror" angle.

Plenty of other films have cashed in on 9-11 iconography (e.g., Cloverfield, War of the Worlds), so this isn't new ground either.

BillJ wrote: View Post
I'm fairly convinced at this point that to a certain group of fans there is simply nothing Abrams can do right, short of leaving the franchise.
And I am fairly convinced that to a certain group there is no criticism of the new films, no matter how patiently reasoned it may be, which will be tolerated.
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