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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 August 28 2013, 02:55 AM   #1
xconstaud
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Defending J.J. Abrams (rant) (Spoilers)

I may be one of the few who honestly believe the reboot was genius and by far the best two films to come out of the Star Trek universe. Before you attack me, notice I said "films". Personally, I enjoy the TV series more then the films. Now, I shall defend myself!

The largest argument is that the new films have lost too much of their Trek identity. They are violent (militaristic), lost many of the moments that define Trek characters and overall the universe seems to be less... intellectual. I'm not blind to it... I can see exactly what everyone is talking about.

Let's start with the violence in the reboot of Star Trek. These two films do appear much more violent then their predecessors. But are they really? Let's take First Contact; arguably one of the best Star Trek films ever created. 1996 was the year the film was released, the same year Independence Day was released as well. Both films are action packed and contain plenty of death and sacrifice. But neither film seemed violent. Aside from aliens and the take over of Earth... the only other thing these two films have in common is production style. What goes into making the movie, the thought process behind everything.

With that said, Star Trek First Contact and every movie in existence is limited to production style and consumer tastes. The consumer taste of that time were not all to different from what they are today, but the production style was behind that of what the consumer truly wanted. But yet, consumers were happy with what was being produced and learned to deal with it because the industry was maxed out at what it could give...as displayed in these two movies.. they were top of the line for 96'. Both budgets were under $100 million as well.

Now dig deeper into First Contact... you have the Borg wiping out the entire ship, firing weapons onto earth (killing countless people), the crew being forced to kill other now-Borg crew members, a drunk Cochrane acting a fool and being violent, the destruction of multiple vessels in the fight to destroy the Borg Cube...etc etc.

Now dig deeper into Star Trek Into Darkness... you have a terrorist act performed by a member within Star Fleet (killing countless people), a conference room getting shot up by Khan (killing Admiral pike and a few others), multiple Klingons getting killed at the hands of Khan, members of the Enterprise crew getting killed by the Dreadnought class, Admiral Marcus getting killed by the hands of Khan and an unknown amount of civilians and small crew killed by the dreadnought being crashed into earth...also at the hands of Khan.

If you were to counter in Star Trek 2009, of course the death count would be much higher. An entire planet was wiped out. But my point, violence has always existed in Star Trek... don't get me started on the Wraith of Khan. It's the way the violence is presented that has changed. If you ask someone who was in their teens to mid 20's when the Original motion picture came out or the original TV series, they would tell you that First Contact is much more violent then what "Star Trek" use to be. Same with those of us who grew up with Wraith of Khan or even First Contact, we will look at the reboot as violent compared to what "Star Trek" use to be. That's not the case, the ability to express violence has changed greatly within the last decade alone...expediently over the past four to five decades! Same with the ability to express how the Enterprise looks or how the starts and planets look. I don't see people complaining about how much better the planets look. On another side note: A utopia will only last so long before it is challenged. We have seen this many times throughout the Star Trek universe...it's just more dramatic and drawn out now then ever before.

Next, the characters. I will agree flat out that the character development in the last two movies was lacking. This is not entirely a bad thing though. After watching both 2009 and Into Darkness we have learned enough about the main characters to say we know them enough... their attitudes, habits, personality. Unlike other Trek movies, the character development was not heavily harped on film by film...yet extended throughout films as seen in the reboot. The exception to this would be TNG films. As there was almost no character development what so ever. I think the producers were hoping that viewers would have learned enough about the characters in the TV series, yet many viewers of the movies did not see The Next Generation TV series. That's personally why I feel that out of the TNG movies, First Contact... and only first contact was successful.

In Star Trek 2009, we got a glimpse of the characters. Kirk, a rebel. Spock in constant battle with himself, Sulu... the new guy with a lot of potential. Uhura, independent and extremely intelligent. McCoy, there when you (Kirk) need him, stills says a lot of ridiculous things . Scotty, go to guy...funny. Chekov, young and naive but has something to offer.

Their development only continued in Into Darkness. We came to found out that Kirk, though a rebel, was willing to sacrifice his life for his crew. Spock does have a human side and he is a bit of a rebel as well. Uhura shows her lack of fear and her emotion for Spock. Scotty clearly shows that he sticks by his values...even after kicking kicked off of the Enterprise. McCoy stepped up for Kirk as a support. Chekov became an assist to the crew as he was put into a command position and even risking his life to save the Captain and Scotty. Sulu showed his potential for being a future captain... earning even the respect of Bones.

So when I hear there is no charter development... I laugh. It's once again, the style in which development is introduced. And honestly, this keeps me exited for the next movie...wondering what each character will do next.

Last, the intellect of the Trek universe..they don't seem too smart in the latest movies do they? I'd have to agree and will not defend it per say. But I will add that it is the right move. They slowly took away this intellect factor in the films as time passed. Because it was corny and honestly just does not fit in a two hour movie. I'd rather see the smarts come out in a TV series as would their larger pool of viewers... yes, we do not account for the majority of viewers in the last two movies.

End Rant - Proceed with attacks!
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Old August 28 2013, 03:17 AM   #2
austen_pierce
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Re: Defending J.J. Abrams (rant) (Spoilers)

Easy big guy. I don't think this community is as polarized as you think. There are people here on both sides of the Abrams divide.

That said, you make a lot of good points. Trek needed a reboot. Abrams brought new life into the franchise. I'm not going to attack you or anything you've said, but the way you've framed your post (rant, attacks), invites a negative response.
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Old August 28 2013, 03:47 AM   #3
xconstaud
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Re: Defending J.J. Abrams (rant) (Spoilers)

austen_pierce wrote: View Post
Easy big guy. I don't think this community is as polarized as you think. There are people here on both sides of the Abrams divide.

That said, you make a lot of good points. Trek needed a reboot. Abrams brought new life into the franchise. I'm not going to attack you or anything you've said, but the way you've framed your post (rant, attacks), invites a negative response.
I'm not looking for a negative response. More or less being comical. As for the community, I know it's not as one sided as I may make it sound. This post is directed at the side of the community that has a strong hatred for J.J. Abram's work. I would have choose not to give examples and a reasonable defense if I was looking for an argument. Though I would not mind to hear some more views from the other side of the fence. There are a lot of things I don't like about the new movies... most of which debating has brought to light for me.

And thank you! I was hoping the Klingon face at the end would make me seem even more hostile... I suppose it worked.
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Old August 28 2013, 04:18 AM   #4
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Re: Defending J.J. Abrams (rant) (Spoilers)

This board seems to be VERY pro Abrams from what I've read.
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Old August 28 2013, 04:32 AM   #5
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Re: Defending J.J. Abrams (rant) (Spoilers)

For the most part it is.
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Old August 28 2013, 04:36 AM   #6
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Re: Defending J.J. Abrams (rant) (Spoilers)

Love the new films.

I think in a few years' time, and with the release of the next SW films, we'll be talking about these films as 'The Good Old Days' of Trek.
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Old August 28 2013, 04:42 AM   #7
xconstaud
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Re: Defending J.J. Abrams (rant) (Spoilers)

BruntFCA wrote: View Post
This board seems to be VERY pro Abrams from what I've read.
I haven't had any issues with anyone on this board yet. In fact, everyone here seems to love just about everything that is Trek. Which is how it should be.
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Old August 28 2013, 04:45 AM   #8
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Re: Defending J.J. Abrams (rant) (Spoilers)

Opus wrote: View Post
Love the new films.

I think in a few years' time, and with the release of the next SW films, we'll be talking about these films as 'The Good Old Days' of Trek.
[Old Man Rant]hrumph, I remember with lens flare meant something.[/Old Man Rant]
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Old August 28 2013, 04:51 AM   #9
xconstaud
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Re: Defending J.J. Abrams (rant) (Spoilers)

Lens flare will always mean something!

-The forever blinding of my eyes and as a numeric value for when I get bored and choose to count the flares.
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Old August 28 2013, 05:26 AM   #10
trevanian
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Re: Defending J.J. Abrams (rant) (Spoilers)

No, lens flares have been pretty much destroyed as an artistic tool. It is like somebody saw the opening credits of the old HAWAII 5-0 and shot a whole movie filled with zoom lens shots. There's no artistry, just artifice, and besides that, hard on the eyes.

But I was responding here to your original post and the aspect dealing with violence. I don't think levels of violence or styles of portraying violence are anywhere near the heart of most complaining about the Abramsmovies ... that isn't the case for me, anyway, and I sure as shit despise nearly every minute of both of them (saw the first one on DVD and had to fast forward a couple times, then three years later managed to get through the whole thing streaming, broken into two viewings ... my wife is a huge Cumberbatch fan so I took her to see ID in the theater, and I think she may have been more appalled by it than I was.)

I think there is more real violence in TOS than in any of the movies. PLATO'S STEPCHILDREN is one of the hardest things in all of TREK for me to watch (well, we're not going to talk about VOYAGER or LITTLE ENTERPRISE, they're hard to watch for the usual 'geezus this is shit!' reasons.) The stuff with Spock doing the tap step around Kirk's head carries huge potential for destruction, and engages emotionally in a 'let me out of here' way.

None of the trek films, or even the Abrams films, have depicted anything terribly gruesome in a seriously off-putting way (Dougherty's death in INS really SHOULD have been, and the same can be said for the transporter accident in TMP), but if you want an example where the violence went too far for some in a franchise, you can look at LICENCE TO KILL, which turned a lot of people off by being honest and portraying Bond's universe as one that was in keeping with a lot of Fleming's writing. Even the ball-whacking in CASINO didn't seem to upset like LTK did.

On a side note, the idea you mention that FC is action-packed is something I've heard over and over again, but really, it is anything but. It trades much more in suspense than action, and when it does engage in action, it doesn't do it very well (Jean-Luc Peter Pan's arcing flight over the deflector dish, anyone?) It took me over a decade to get over my huge problems with FC, ranging from how they utterly blew their chance to show some REAL ashes that the Phoenix rises out of, to the FORBIDDEN PLANET level of moronic comic relief (something that recurs in all the TNG features.)

As for character development on ID, I just saw it as bad to start with (the whole Prime Directive opening offended me massively), so whatever happened later didn't make up for the early mess (can also apply this statement to the 09 as a whole, because I didn't buy a single thing in that movie ... it may as well have been ATTACK OF THE CLONES (or THE GREEN SLIME, MESSAGE FROM SPACE, insert whatever title works best for you as film-that-is-total-suckfest, but keep in mind Luciana Paluzzi is in GREEN SLIME so it CAN'T be all bad), it had that little connection or resonance with me (except in the 'geez they sure fucked THAT up, didn't they?' ways.)
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Old August 28 2013, 04:20 PM   #11
suarezguy
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Re: Defending J.J. Abrams (rant) (Spoilers)

xconstaud wrote: View Post
Star Trek First Contact and every movie in existence is limited to production style and consumer tastes. The consumer taste of that time were not all to different from what they are today, but the production style was behind that of what the consumer truly wanted. But yet, consumers were happy with what was being produced and learned to deal with it because the industry was maxed out at what it could give...as displayed in these two movies.. they were top of the line for 96'. Both budgets were under $100 million as well.
How do you know that consumers, let alone uniformly, had similar tastes and only reluctantly accepted the style of FC? I believe Bad Boys, for a smaller budget, was significantly more violent and was also successful but for different viewers and/or different reasons.

xconstaud wrote: View Post
Now dig deeper into First Contact... you have the Borg wiping out the entire ship, firing weapons onto earth (killing countless people), the crew being forced to kill other now-Borg crew members, a drunk Cochrane acting a fool and being violent, the destruction of multiple vessels in the fight to destroy the Borg Cube...etc etc.
Don't remember Cochrane being violent but the film was certainly dark and even pretty violent; it generally didn't revel in it, though.

xconstaud wrote: View Post
violence has always existed in Star Trek... don't get me started on the Wraith of Khan. It's the way the violence is presented that has changed. If you ask someone who was in their teens to mid 20's when the Original motion picture came out or the original TV series, they would tell you that First Contact is much more violent then what "Star Trek" use to be. Same with those of us who grew up with Wraith of Khan or even First Contact, we will look at the reboot as violent compared to what "Star Trek" use to be. That's not the case, the ability to express violence has changed greatly within the last decade alone...expediently over the past four to five decades!
I don't have a problem with including violence but it should have some sense of gravitas (there was some but not enough in ID), shouldn't be overwhelming and the protagonists should only use the minimal amount.

xconstaud wrote: View Post
Their development only continued in Into Darkness. We came to found out that Kirk, though a rebel, was willing to sacrifice his life for his crew. Spock does have a human side and he is a bit of a rebel as well. Uhura shows her lack of fear and her emotion for Spock. Scotty clearly shows that he sticks by his values...even after kicking kicked off of the Enterprise. McCoy stepped up for Kirk as a support.
I mostly liked Spock in 09 and was disappointed in his portrayal here. The portrayal of Scotty was pretty good but the moments with McCoy seemed overly brief and those with Uhura and Kirk's sacrifice (and earlier decision to use Khan) both seemed overly forced, as did Marcus's actions.

xconstaud wrote: View Post
Last, the intellect of the Trek universe..they don't seem too smart in the latest movies do they? I'd have to agree and will not defend it per say. But I will add that it is the right move. They slowly took away this intellect factor in the films as time passed. Because it was corny and honestly just does not fit in a two hour movie.
You don't have to have an entirely cerebral crew but if the depiction of the future is supposed to be at least somewhat positive they shouldn't act as non-professional as Kirk and Uhura do.

xconstaud wrote: View Post
This post is directed at the side of the community that has a strong hatred for J.J. Abram's work.
I was disappointed in both films (primarily for the characterizations and plots) but only really dislike the second (because I felt the action and plotting were really bad).
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Old August 28 2013, 05:37 PM   #12
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Re: Defending J.J. Abrams (rant) (Spoilers)

suarezguy wrote: View Post
xconstaud wrote: View Post
This post is directed at the side of the community that has a strong hatred for J.J. Abram's work.
I was disappointed in both films (primarily for the characterizations and plots) but only really dislike the second (because I felt the action and plotting were really bad).
Agreed. I'm all for a reboot. I just want a good one.

Visually, Abrams' Trek is impressive. I like a lot of color in my Star Trek. I would like, however, a story that's a bit more imaginative than Evil Bad Guy{TM} seeks revenge and plotted a little more dynamically than simply jumping from one action setpiece to another.

The best thing Abrams has done is to pave the way for future reboots, so that Kirk and Spock can continue to boldly go as long as people can think up stories for them.
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Old August 29 2013, 12:05 AM   #13
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Re: Defending J.J. Abrams (rant) (Spoilers)

trevanian wrote: View Post
I think there is more real violence in TOS than in any of the movies. PLATO'S STEPCHILDREN is one of the hardest things in all of TREK for me to watch (...) The stuff with Spock doing the tap step around Kirk's head carries huge potential for destruction, and engages emotionally in a 'let me out of here' way.
You seriously think that THIS:



is more violent than THAT:



???
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Old August 29 2013, 12:09 AM   #14
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Re: Defending J.J. Abrams (rant) (Spoilers)

Let's celebrate Star Trek violence, shall we?



Gotta love Worf.


First Contact and Undiscovered Country to me are the most violent Trek films out there. Arms getting chopped off, blood spurting around, and all that.
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Old August 29 2013, 12:17 AM   #15
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Re: Defending J.J. Abrams (rant) (Spoilers)

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
Let's celebrate Star Trek violence, shall we?



Gotta love Worf.


First Contact and Undiscovered Country to me are the most violent Trek films out there. Arms getting chopped off, blood spurting around, and all that.
I love TUC, but really? couldn't take the attack on Gorkon seriously do to the Pepto Blood. As for First Contact--whatever problems I have with that one aside--it's not the scary or violent. About on par with the cantina scene in A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back's Wampa Cave or Bespin Duel. One of the problems I have with First Contact is they undersold the horror of assimilation.
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