Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies XI+' started by HaplessCrewman, Apr 22, 2014.
Voting is now closed: Post Of The Month.
With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant.
Now that's the spirit!
This is exactly how I feel. Felt like I was eight again watching the Abrams movies. Sometimes pure fun outweighs being overly critical about a movie.
Well, since you bring up the "Rotten Tomatoes" site, let's see what it says about the Star Trek feature films, past and present:
As for critical reception for the JJ Abrams films (from Rotten Tomatoes):
Star Trek (2009) - Critics 95% Audience 91% (Link)
Star Trek: Into Darkness- Critics 87% Audience 90% (Link)
As for other ST feature films:
Star Trek: TMP - Critics 45% Audience 42% (Link)
Star Trek II: TWoK - Critics 90% Audience 90% (Link)
Star Trek III: TSFS - Critics 78% Audience 61% (Link)
Star Trek IV: TVH - Critics 85% Audience 81% (Link)
Star Trek V: TFF - Critics 21% Audience 25% (Link)
Star Trek VI: TUC - Critics 83% Audience 83% (Link)
Star Trek: Generations - Critics 47% Audience 58% (Link)
Star Trek: First Contact - Critics 92% Audience 89% (Link)
Star Trek: Insurrection - Critics 55% Audience 45% (Link)
Star Trek: Nemesis - Critics 37% Audience 50% (Link)
Interesting, wouldn't you say?
Most of these are in hindsight reviews, since RT doesn't exist since 1979. Thus, they should be taken with a grain of salt.
Even the "Star Trek" (2009) and "Star Trek: Into Darkness" ratings (which are in fact the most recent Star Trek related feature films, and made well after the site first debuted)...
Go beyond the Trek films and the films written by Orci and Kurtzman they don't have a very good track record. Besides, what really separates ST09 from something like TRANSFORMERS is that there's a certain charm to it with Abrams' energetic direction and the chemistry between actors that makes it more appealing despite such weak scripts. That actually has me worry about Spidy 2 even more, because I thought one of the strongest things about the first Andrew Garfield film was the casting and chemistry. To get such mediocre reviews must be saying something. Guess I'll find out myself on rental.
Exactly. Adjusting for inflation I'm sure all the previous Trek films were better reviewed than the previous two.
All? Maybe half...
You mean like all reviews?
Wow, you guys...
... it's time for a distraction?
Actually given the changes in the media and movie landscape it probably is pretty meaningless to compare "Rotten Tomatoes" scores with reviews made before aggregators existed, and especially before the vast bulk of traditional independent film critics were largely replaced by freelancers and web critics c. 2008. Part of why brandishing Rotten Tomatoes scores at people is questionable, though in all fairness this also applies to the person you were replying to.
It's only a distraction because it disagrees with the narrative you're spinning.
I was actually thinking about the part where it conspicuously changes the subject from movies produced by Orci and Kaufman to movies directed by Abrams.
Spidey's going to have to make a killing in order to be successful.
The production budget is said to be around $255M, with about $185M-$190M spent on marketing. That means all in it needs to make well over $752.2M worldwide (which is what the first installment grossed).
Might be a problem if this was 1979. But today they aren't reliant on just the theater grosses. Factoring in merchandising, home disc and streaming, cable and broadcast revenue, the movie only needs to make a good chunk of that $752.2 million in theaters in order to be financially successful.
The only measure you can imagine is money?
That's pretty much the standard news story on the opening day of every big budget movie now - an estimate of the "reported production budget" with everything but the kitchen sink thrown in, and ominous notes about how much the film will have to clear to break even.
A fair amount of that info is fed by competing studios.
Remarkably enough, the movies that then go on to do big box office are considered successes by the studios and distributors and sequels get made. It's almost as if the people with access to the real numbers know something that reporters and Internet chatterboxes don't...
Such information is not always reliable. Studios inflate production costs (e.g., tax loopholes, avoiding paying percentage points). There are a lot of successful films that have technically reported losses.
Also, budget reports amount to a bit of puffery on the part of marketers. Low-budget movies tend to have less impressive visuals and well-known actors. High-budget films promise, if nothing else, exciting visual effects and familiar faces. Putting production costs out there is a way of signaling to the audience that they're in for a spectacle and more or less competent film-making (e.g., lighting, sound-design, camera work, sfx).
The stakes these days are undoubtedly high. Avatar was reported to cost what? Half a billion to make? We're in an age where the thudding heuristic thinking of "more is better" has pushed studios into an arms race where just a few glaring failures can bankrupt a production house. Remember Carolco? Players like Lucas and Spielberg don't think the arms race is sustainable and have predicted an implosion of the system as we know it. Meanwhile, theaters are running on thin margins, studios are relying on gimmicks like IMAX and 3D to try to keep people spending money, and alternatives like Netflix and HULU and a renaissance in quality TV (e.g., Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones) are becoming more enticing the larger and cheaper home theaters get and the more powerful personal electronic devices become.
But why would studios be ruled by the metric of "more is better" if it wasn't the best way to go? Well, studio heads are people, and they cue off heuristics just like everyone else. The economist's favorite fiction is the "rational world actor" who reliable and intelligently spends money in his/her own self-interest. Studio bosses, however, aren't any more rational than anyone else. They ride hunches, do favors, support pet projects, and rationalize bad decisions.
The result is high stakes mediocrity.
Oh, it's not just the never ending sequels, but also copy-cats, prequels, and reboots. And is this because $$$ = quality? No, it's because $ = $ and our "magic makers" are clumsily chasing every buck they can pocket.
We all know that films that make big box office get sequels made (this is done because Hollywood plays it safe, because they don't really know what works, so they just throw more money at what worked last time).
Just want to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading that. Most insightful. And I should say that one of the things that does turn me off from nuTrek is that sense that Abrams is to an extent embarrassed to play things straight. It's how things are played with a sense of irony. Like Kirk being treated as a joke, because how could we ever take this cocky horndog seriously? LOL, he grabbed Uhura's boobs! Haha he's running from a monster and screaming! Poor fool!
While I'm cautious about Abrams doing STAR WARS, at the same time I think it will fit him like a glove. People will look to his STAR TREK films to get a sense of what EPISODE VII might be like, but I think they're looking at the wrong place. I can never see Abrams treat STAR WARS with the same detachment he has for TREK. He'll very much play things more straightforward because he has a deep love for the films George Lucas created 30 odd years ago. If you wanna know how he'll approach it, SUPER 8 might be the best indicator of what we're gonna get because that's all nostalgia and zero irony.
I can already tell that without Abrams directing, we will get something different from the two films. Orci (assuming he does end up directing), being more openly proud of Trek, might have a less ironic outlook but at the same time he might have learned something from Abrams' approach that he'd want to maintain that for the sake of consistency. Whatever the case, it will be interesting to see how a new director will approach this.
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