Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Star Trek, JJ Abrams, etc.

So here's the link to the first full trailer of the JJ Abrams Star Trek. There's also some talk over at AICN about some scenes which were recently screened in full.

Some thoughts: Frankly, I don't know that the world needed another Star Trek movie. For my money, Undiscovered Country stands as the perfect capstone to the franchise. (In my mind, First Contact, Nemesis, and Insurrection never really happened.) I can't find it online for free, but Paul Cantor's "Shakespeare in the Original Klingon" is a cogent exploration of how Star Trek was grounded in Cold War Kennedy-era Democratic principles. (You can also find the essay in Cantor's seriously wonderful Gilligan Unbound. With the Cold War over and the Big-D Democratic consensus about American exceptionalism now a thing of the past, I'm not sure that Star Trek has anything meaningful to say to us today.

Of course, we aren't quite at the end of history yet. And it's possible that Star Trek could be adapted as a vehicle for talking about our latest twilight struggle. But somehow I doubt that anyone outside of Chris Nolan has the stomach to take part in that conversation.

All of that said, the new trailer looks vaguely promising as an earthy space opera. The shot I find most compelling is actually the opening with the kid. There's dust and dirt and the world is not totally unrecognizable from ours. And the defiant way the kid says "James Tiberius Kirk" is kind of perfectly in character.

And truth be told, maybe the world needs well-made space opera even more than it needs a Star Trek commentary for the 21st century.

Update: I don't mean to say that all of the Trek movies before Undiscovered Country were better than all of the ones which came after. It is, objectively true, that First Contact is a better movie than San Fran Whale Watch. Or Search for Spock. Or even Original Motion Picture, for that matter.

What I mean is that Undiscovered Country is such a perfect endpoint that for me, the series ends there.


Anonymous said...

First Contact is fantastic. The rest is complete garbage.

seth said...

i just caught a great sci-fi flick--Timecrimes, it's by a spanish director. it's got time travel, mystery, naked women, all the goods. only site i could find for it is www.sixshooterfilmseries.com highly recommended.

Jacob said...

"In my mind, First Contact, [...] never really happened."

I think you owe an explanation for this statement. Granted, the Borg Queen was a pretty dumb idea. But it's a pretty great action movie, it's got great lines and it has a terrific performance by Patrick Stewart.

That, implicitly, you say that it's worse than Star Trek V is objectively wrong.