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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 11 2009, 04:08 PM   #1
section9
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The Right Time in History for Reborn Star Trek

Whomever made The Decision at Paramount to retcon and reboot Star Trek at this point in history was very, very shrewd.

There are a couple of things happening in Hollywood Storyland that make it possible for Star Trek to not only do well in its Young and Hip 21st Century TOS version, but to outperform other, more familiar franchises that haven't changed much since the late Nineties.

Firstly, the product itself has been reconfigured to be both of the historical Trek and just enough a departure from it to make a clean break from what had become a hideously boring and pastel Trek that had driven audiences away. The people who control Trek now are willing to use the iconic TOS characters, but to gamble with elemental landmarks of the Trek Universe in an effort to change the game and provide a totally new story environment. As they have done this, they have created a film which not only takes chances, but also deliberately appeals to the same kind of audience which flocked to such hits as Batman Begins, Iron Man, Spider man, and of course, the Holy Grail of Summer Blockbuster filmmaking, the 1977 release of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

You are seeing this in the popular reaction to the film itself.

But what about the environment in which this film has been presented to the public?

Well, people are growing tired of dark, dystopic science fiction. Blade Runner was monumental, but there are only so many times people want to be reminded that Earth Sucks, and is filled with Darkness and Silence, especially in the future. This happened to the Matrix franchise.

In this respect, we may be surprised to see a couple of franchises underperform in an age where moviegoers, beset by massive indebtedness at home and protracted war abroad, want a reminder not that life is Solitary, Nasty, Brutish, and Short, but that a better life is possible in the future. Star Trek does that. FOX's decision to put out a poorly put together Wolverine product does not do that. In that sense, Wolverine's collapse in the face of Trek's sudden popularity may mean that Paramount and JJ's team have caught the national zietgeist in the bottle.

But the actual expectations of total summer take bouncing around Paramount right now are in the 200-230 million dollar range. That's excellent for Trek, and I believe that once you add the total foreign numbers you may get up to 300 million. PAR execs and independent reporting actually believe that once you are done with Blu-Ray, DVD, toys, clothes, imaging, and merchandising of all types, XI will bring in somewhere in the range of $600 million dollars to Paramount, more than enough to cover production and advertising costs. This is a projection through about 2010, but it is a reasonable one. Trek just became a cash cow for Viacom. Sumner Redstone is a very happy man.

Which leads me to consider the "legs" this film has through the summer, a more immediate concern of the fan base. It's my strong belief that films like Angels and Demons and the last Potter installment miss the national need for optimism and hope. I could be wrong, and I fully expect to be proven wrong at some point, but I expect Trek to putter along through the Summer and do fine, ranked reasonably well with repeat business and new, interested fans. What I'm not sure about is how the Terminator Retcon will do, and that's something to watch. What I am stating is that some of the Competition will end up like Wolverine, overperforming first week, and then sliding down as interest wanes, because their producers have lost the plot and missed the national bus.

Contrast Star Trek with what happened to the greatest movie franchise in the history of Hollywood, Star Wars. Star Wars Episodes IV-VI were Homeric tales of the triumph of good over wickedness in the face of adversity. They resonated with the American public in a good way. Then George Lucas became self-indulgent and gave us the prequels, which were cinematically gorgeous, but dark and brooding. In the end, the prequels failed, because you know that Anakin betrays everyone he knows and turns to the Dark Side in the pursuit of power. Everyone knows how the Prequels end-there was no real suspense as to how things would end. Not so with Trek, as JJ has used the Alternate Universe Device to create a whole new canvas for his audience.

Now all that appears left is the Clone Wars, while the story opportunities in Trek appear limitless.

This is not to trash other films or studios. It's simply to say that Trek has come out at the perfect point in its history for this franchise. At this moment, the country needs the reestablishment of an optimistic mythos. Star Trek gives us that, which is why it will do better than expected as time goes by.
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Old May 11 2009, 04:35 PM   #2
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Re: The Right Time in History for Reborn Star Trek

That's a pretty generous way to look at it. One might also see it as just another remake of an old TV show like Get Smart or The Dukes of Hazzard.
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Old May 11 2009, 04:41 PM   #3
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Re: The Right Time in History for Reborn Star Trek

RIght time in History. Its been barely 4 years since the last Trek. its not like we havent had any new Trek this decade. This Trek offered nothing new that others didnt offer. There are not limitless story possibilities with this new Trek. This will die out about as quickly as the X-Men films and Spider-Man.(yes they are still making them but they have been getting worse and worse)
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Old May 11 2009, 04:48 PM   #4
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Re: The Right Time in History for Reborn Star Trek

Actually, it has been far longer than that since the last Star Trek (TOS) movie, and the Big 3 are so iconic that yes, the time was actually right for this to happen, whether by design or blind luck, I can't say.

And I think the best is yet to come with the prequel out of the way and the crew in full regalia on the bridge.
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