Levar Burton aka Geordi La Forge criticizes Star Trek 2009

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies XI+' started by serenitytrek1, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    Well, the film touches on bullying, being a child of two cultures, nature vs. nurture. But it doesn't smack you upside the head with any of them.
     
  2. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And it's too bad that TNG rolled that back with episodes like Code of Honor. and Zulu warriors.

    or

    TNG taking the easy way out and making Riker's love interest in the Outcast a female as opposed to male dominate.
     
  3. TorontoTrekker

    TorontoTrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    First, that's the Star, not the Sun. The Sun is, like its British namesake, a tabloid that revels in creating controversy - the Star is a more serious paper.

    Second, I've met Rob Salem, the interviewer - and he's a fan. (We had him as a presenter at the inaugural Constellation Awards back in 2007 - I've been the stage manager for the ceremony since we started the awards.) In this photo, he's on the right. Take a close look at the T-shirt he's wearing:

    [​IMG]

    He's been an entertainment reporter at the Star for as long as I can remember - he's not one who's prone to making stuff up.
     
  4. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    Which was my point: I don't see those things in Salem's piece from the Star.

    While Burton's comments in the other interviews are more generally positive (despite his apparently being misinformed or unclear about how this or that story detail is supposed to have affected TNG's place in it all,) the allusion to "things coming out of Abrams' camp" and the "bullshit" remarks aimed at J.J. appear only in the Sun interview. Even if it's not invention, one might wonder: why there and in none of the other interviews? If Burton did say those things, what was it at that time which really set him off?
     
  5. Devon

    Devon Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I agree. It's very puzzling. To make matters worse, he linked to the TrekWeb.com article on his Twitter stating something like "It's hard to keep my mouth shut sometimes" only to impress a few dozen of his brown-nosing followers who blindly agreed with him without even really knowing what they were talking about either. If he linked to a TrekWeb article, then SURELY he's read the talk back section there too in which nearly everyone called him out on HIS bullshit (but then I have no idea if there's someone else doing all that on his behalf or if he's really active on the net himself.)

    Personally, I think Burton would owe Abrams a huge apology for stating something in public that is obviously a complete falsehood and VERY unfair to his team when they have tripped over themselves in interviews talking about honoring what has come before, Roddenberry's "Vision" and all that jazz.

    Yes, the low rated series that got cancelled and only became popular *after* civil rights movements really did the job. Everyone remembers when Uhura decided to sit in the front of the shuttle, right?

    That's ALL of Star Trek. Quit pretending otherwise.

    Honestly. If an adult needs Star Trek to tell them things like "War is bad" or "Now, now, be kind to people" then that person has REALLY been living under a rock. The "messages" that Star Trek supposedly conveyed were, while nice, also easily conveyed in episodes of "Sesame Street" or "The Golden Girls." Honestly, they aren't at all "groundbreaking."
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  6. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    :guffaw: Yea, yea but they quote Shakespeare in many of the films and series so that makes Trek, "smart." ;)
     
  7. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    :wtf: This makes me want to boycott the new movie. Seriously. Star Trek is ordinary science fiction without moral dilemmas, social commentary, and the imagination of what we would find in the universe. Quoting Shakespeare doesn't make them smart, that is true. Chang is not in any way articulate in the final battle scene. He is just picking out famous lines and it's almost comical. He, is articulate in the trial scene.

    However, take an episode of TNG like "First Contact." Where old traditions are changed by what we find in the universe. This is as old as Galileo, even older. It's setting is the future and dramatized with a message about a potential problem in society--the battle between the old and the new.

    DS9's enemy was oppressed. That is the cause of the existential threat of the Dominion. Without torturing the changelings they would never dismiss the solids so easily and they wouldn't be xenophobes. "Violence breeds violence."

    Alien of the week stories, if not done properly, were annoying, even though they conveyed a message--it was thinly veiled. They could seem like Sesame Street.

    Those that had messages that transcend time and speak to the human condition can be applied to every generation, stay relevant. That's what fiction can be. That's what makes Star Trek, and a host of other shows, timeless. The messages were more than "save the whales" or "save the planet." It was a complex lesson, at least it was from good Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and most of the Original Series.

    What I fear, and why I think this new cynicism is so dangerous, is Star Trek becoming like James Bond. He says "shaken, not stirred," Bond, James Bond," show us the guy trying to kill Bond, and then we watch James Bond escape. The end. I just described every James Bond movie.

    What's Star Trek's potential formula? Khan-like villain threatens the earth, Federation, or Enterprise, maybe all three, and then our heroes rescue them. The villain wants revenge for something. It doesn't matter what. And that's it. Explosions get bigger and that's all the fans care about. In 10 years, the movies are dated and people stop watching them. I can't tell you the last time I watched a Roger Moore James Bond movie.

    So laugh cynically and dismiss Star Trek as Aesop's Fables, and we will never have another original concept in Star Trek. They will just keep doing the same thing over and over again until we get tired of it. Star Trek tried to see things in the future--technology, social structures, the universe--and it sparked the imagination while making me think about psychology, sociology, science, logic, and literature. It was an introduction to those things as a kid, and it was more entertaining as I got older and had more experience. It hasn't aged, in my opinion. Just the graphics.
     
  8. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

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    Again, it's simply futile to compare the movies with the TV shows. They're different stories told in a different format to a different audience.

    You might as well be criticising an episode for only being an hour long or for having ad-breaks.
     
  9. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Revenge is not a commercial break. TMP, TVH managed to do it without revenge and they were commercially viable. It was an original story, and so was Khan at the time. This is a problem with fans' expectations.
     
  10. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Any of the original ideas in Trek IMO are overshadowed by the acute failures that were ST Nemesis, Insurrection, Generations, and ST V The Final Frontier.

    I'll take Abrams Trek over any of the aforementioned anyday.
     
  11. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

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    TMP made money but was enough of a commercial disappointment that TWOK's budget was lower. I'm not sure you can actually say strictly that TVH did it 'without revenge'; it does have the BDO that threatens all life on Earth etc. That it comes down to an absence of whalesong doesn't change that it's a mortal threat to Earth which prompts the action, part of the formula you mention fearing.

    So there's kind of a fractal thing, even though we're dealing with a small sample size. One third of the TOS movies have a mortal threat to Earth prompting the action. To be honest I don't recall if Soren's actions in Generations are a threat to Earth specifically, but let's assume not. So including STID, of the latter six, again one third will have been about a massive threat to Earth (Nero intends at some point to destroy Earth but I think that might have been prompted by Kirk's actions, not sure).

    TVH is my favourite of the movies and I think it's worth examining here as you hold it up as an example of the kind of movie you'd like to see and praise its "moral value". But as far as I can see, it doesn't really match the picture you're painting of what a 'good' Trek movie should be. The moral framing is entirely incidental and utterly simplistic - in terms of the actual story, the whales are nothing more than a McGuffin. There's no moral conflict in the story, no exploration of any themes about why whales are hunted, no reflection on the unemployment etc caused by the dismantling of the whaling industry or anything of that nature at all. There's literally just the assumption "Hunting whales is bad" which the movie knows the audience will be sympathetic to, and once that's out of the way we get on with the hi-jinks. It really doesn't seem anything like the kind of consensus-challenging, morally complex fare you seem to want Trek to be.
     
  12. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Nero wants to destroy all the Federation worlds. All three--the Enterprise, Federation, and Earth are in peril in 2009. The drill is lowered into San Francisco bay and turned on.

    No, Khan is rich in theme. TVH is not. I was making one point about commercial viability, not about what's a good picture. My point is that it can be a different life form that threatens earth, not some hell-bent politician or megalomaniac. And in that way only, TVH is original. We never spent any time with the probe. Earth was about to be destroyed, and we didn't know how to communicate with it. We learned what it was doing and came up with a solution. You're seeing the hi-jinks, I'm not referring to that. I don't particularly like the TVH.
     
  13. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'd take all of those movies over Abrams Trek any day of the week. I get more out of them then the tired Ahab story with parential influences as a theme.
     
  14. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

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    I'll take your word for it that that's his original plan rather than a reaction to Kirk's interference.

    With the exception of successfully communicating with it, that's more or less TMP though, isn't it?

    And what I'm saying is that it's the hi-jinks that made TVH the commercial success it was, not the paper-thin Threat To All Life On Earth that prompts them.
     
  15. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    And those hi-jinks ended up sinking The Final Frontier because that's what Paramount thought audiences wanted out of Trek films.
     
  16. KirkusOveractus

    KirkusOveractus Captain Captain

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    You mention here about Khan being original as well as a tired old Ahab type story in another post. You do realize that TWOK and FC were both essentially Ahab stories, don't you?

    What is it that makes Khan original? It was about someone out for revenge, wasn't it?

    FC has a revenge undertone, with Picard hell-bent on destroying the Borg no matter what, even at the cost of the lives of his crew and the ship.

    When I read about people who read into Star Trek as being all this glorious storytelling with intriguing morals, I have two things that come to mind:

    1. "Spock's Brain", and

    2. Nichelle Nichols once said, "We were going out there with high adventure. Of course it was peaceful exploration, but each week was a big adventure."
     
  17. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The TNG episode, Code of Honor makes Spocks Brain look like award winning televsiion. At least Spocks Brain wasn't blatently racist.

    Oh and lest us not forget the 'high minded,' Voyager Episode, Threshold where Tom Paris and Captain Janeway mate as salamanders
     
  18. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    ^Still a better love story than Twilight!
     
  19. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yes, I do. It was the first time that Star Trek had done a revenge story...ever. No one in the original series, 80 episodes, was out to get Jim Kirk because of a foul-up he had along the way. That's what makes it original.

    Continuing, there's more to the story than that. We seem to forget that these movies have more than just one piece. What made Khan original was the elements of the story. For instance, exploring what makes Jim Kirk tick by showing him as a teacher. The two 5-year missions are over, now it's time to train the new recruits. The Kobiashi Maru (Japanese for merchant ships) was a way to show that Kirk "cheats death" and he's proud of that fact, even rewarded for it. Ever try to teach a child something that comes natural to you? This is real-to-life. That's one.

    Two, Genesis and Khan are the results of technological advancement. Both eugenics (WW III) and and Genesis (as a bomb) are "peverted into dreadful weapon(s)." Being able to pick hair color and intelligence led to a race of Super beings. I refer you to the scene where McCoy, Spock, and Kirk all talk about Genesis. "Scientists have always been pawns of the military." This continues today. For instance, memory capacity in computers and robotics has led to drones today. In the time of this movie, it was talking about splitting the atom and turning that into a weapon, the A-Bomb and the H-Bomb.

    Three, this movie talks about "life from death." Genesis creates a living, breathing planet. Spock sacrifices himself for the Enterprise crew. Kirk is constantly turning his circumstances of defeat into victory. Life from death.

    Four, Kirk is seeking fulfillment whereas Spock has found it and is at peace. Kirk is brought back to life from his lack of purpose by his son, David, and losing Spock. Life from death.

    "There's a man out there I haven't seen in 15 years who's trying to kill me. You show me a son that would be happy to help? My son. My life that could've been and wasn't. What am I feeling? Old. Worn out."

    "It is a far better thing I do now than I have ever done. A far better...resting place I go to now than I have ever known."
    "Is that a poem?"
    "No, something Spock was trying to tell me, on my birthday."
    "You okay, Jim? How do you feel?"
    "Young. I feel young."

    Khan is out for revenge and he's destroyed by his quest. What's his response to hearing he has escaped permanent exile, defeated the plans of Admiral Kirk, and has a ship to do with as he pleases?

    "He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him. I'll chase him round the moons of Nibia and round the Antereas maelstrom and round perdition's flames before I give him up!"

    This is the first movie that does this. And it's a very rich and textured story in terms of theme and character. There is no comparison to the other movies.

    Who said I liked "First Contact?" This would be the second movie, thank you for making my point. Star Trek: Nemesis would be number 3. Star Trek 2009, and what appears to be Star Trek Into Darkness, are 4 and 5. That's 42% of the movies where revenge gets the bad guy killed. And they will keep coming if we don't like anything else.


    We are talking about good Trek, no? Not that every single episode was a winner, I mean, look at Voyager and Enterprise. Have I yet to bring them up in a good light? So the comparison to Spock's Brain is nothing to me. Honestly, I can't talk too much about it because I haven't seen it recently. But when Star Trek is timeless, it relies on the formula I describe. For all the complaining about Insurrection, it still has a thread every week talking about the moral conundrum. That's 14 years later. And that's the bad Star Trek movie that does this. Khan is the good one. So Nichelle Nichols can have her opinion, but Patterns of Force, A Piece of the Action, City on the Edge of Forever, all these episodes dealt with some heavy material.
     
  20. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    *cough*Court-Martial*cough*
     

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