Why did they bother...

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies XI+' started by Captain Nebula, May 26, 2013.

  1. Captain Nebula

    Captain Nebula Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    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?
     
  2. Kpnuts

    Kpnuts Commodore Commodore

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    I suggest you just re-watch the old movies if you're only interested in re-living TOS.

    Why would people want Pine to do Shatner-isms? Pine's Kirk is fantastic and a breath of fresh air. Let him be his own man.
     
  3. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise are Star Trek.

    Abrams called George Takei before casting John Cho. Takei said Sulu wasn't Japanese that he was "Pan-Asian" and gave his blessing to the choice.

    Spock had a relationship with a human woman six years prior to season one of TOS per "This Side of Paradise".

    This.
     
  4. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Korean, actually.
     
  5. Cyke101

    Cyke101 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In an ideal world, it would be great to cast ethnicity by ethnicity. But with that said, Asian and Latino actors often have to compromise by playing roles outside their ethnicity but still within their racial group because there are so very few opportunities out there for minority-based roles.

    With that said, I echo BillJ's point that Takei explained Sulu as pan-Asian. To sum up, we have a Korean-American playing someone with a Japanese first name and a Filipino surname. If anything these days, we're seeing more and more couples and families composed of different Asian ethnicities.
     
  6. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yep.

    Next.
     
  7. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    New crews...been there, done that, got very stale the last couple of times. Reimagining the more iconic original crew was exactly the sort of bold move that the franchise needed.
     
  8. sj4iy

    sj4iy Commander Red Shirt

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    Sulu isn't a Japanese name, for the record. There is no "l" in Japanese (many Japanese can't even pronounce it), but "Hikaru" is (it means "light"). According to Wikipedia, this is what Takei said of the character:

    "Takei recalled Gene Roddenberry wanted the character to represent all of Asia, which symbolized the peace of the Trek universe in spite of the numerous wars in the continent. Roddenberry did not want a nationally specific surname, so he looked at a map and saw the Sulu Sea. "He thought, 'Ah, the waters of that sea touch all shores'," the actor recalled, "and that's how my character came to have the name Sulu." The Sulu Sea is southwest of the Philippines.

    There are many Asian-americans in the US that are of more than one nationality. One of my good friends in college is half Japanese, half Caucasian, and she has always identified as American, even giving up her Japanese citizenship. I always assumed the character of Sulu was very much like her (he was born in San Fransisco).

    Also, why redo it? Because the last few entries sucked big time. Throw everything out of the window and start again if you can.
     
  9. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. Back in 2009, the fact that Trek XI featured recast TOS characters was a Big Deal. It's all the newspaper review I read went on about. You wouldn't have gotten that kind of publicity if it had been a new crew.
     
  10. Mr. B

    Mr. B Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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."
     
  11. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Kirk and Spock are bigger than William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. Superman is bigger than Christopher Reeve. Sherlock Holmes is bigger than whoever the hell played him prior to Benadict Cumberbatch, Johnny Lee Miller and Robert Downey, Jr.

    Plus, who gives a shit about Captain Nobody of the USS Generic Starship? I want to see the characters I cared about reborn. I got that and I'm very happy:techman:
     
  12. sj4iy

    sj4iy Commander Red Shirt

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    I've always felt that the more fans the merrier. I've lived most of my life liking things most of the people around me didn't and being judged (unfairly) for it. It's nice when things become more mainstream because then I can talk about it to others. But truthfully, TOS didn't age well at all (not many shows from that time did), and I wouldn't expect it to garner many new fans since the cheapest cartoons on tv look 100 times better. You need stories relavent to today, because the newer generation won't understand space hippies. Things have to evolve or die away. And I would rather Star Trek evolve so that my husband and I can watch it with our kids and their kids one day.
     
  13. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  14. sj4iy

    sj4iy Commander Red Shirt

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    I could be wrong, but I don't think Hollywood is subject to Affirmative Action, but it is subject to public opinion. If people are demanding more variety, or if the show is trying to appeal to a broad range of people, they will include different races and body types.

    However, I do agree that you should also try to find the best actor available. Which is why I am really glad they cast Cumberbatch as Khan.
     
  15. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    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?
     
  16. SonicRanger

    SonicRanger Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  17. YARN

    YARN Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  18. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  19. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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.:rolleyes:
     
  20. YARN

    YARN Fleet Captain

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    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.