Monday, November 17, 2008

Ugh, posts like these make me look like I have no life

I hate getting into these rants, but hey, that's life.

I've finally seen the new Star Trek trailer. They claim it honors the "spirit" of the series. They've positioned themselves many times in interviews to be as ambiguous as possible when it comes to how much respect it'll actually have.

Now I know why.

That they're doing a film that spans over 30 years of Kirk and Spock's lives, throwing in references to the maiden voyage of the Enterprise, time at the Accademy, and how the TOS-crew came "together" means either they're cutting out established history or they're just going to ignore it.

What the film needs to appease me
There are a few things that, unless otherwise given a reasonable reason for being excluded, will establish whether or not it's a film that has "renovated the imagery" or if it's a reboot:

-The kid playing young Kirk (the one who jumps out of the 200 year old car), is 12. (Going off memory and the Memory Alpha wiki), that means if he's on Earth, he moves to the Tarsus IV colony where Gov. Kodos executes half the colonists about a year later. A life changing event for him.
-He served on the USS Republic as an Ensign.
-He served on the USS Farragut as an Lieutenant. (I don't care if they don't show his assignment on planet Neural)
-Pike commands the Enterprise for 13 years (probably ignoring the fanon "Robert April" captaincy since he only appears in the cartoon)
-Spock serves under Pike for 11 of those years (eleven years, four months, and five days). He apparently stays with Enterprise through the command changes.
-Kirk takes command of the ship after Pike is promoted to Fleet Captain where they meet, if not for the first time, only very briefly.

We really won't know until the film gets closer to being released what exactly they're going to cover, but frankly, the scope of what they're talking about showing would be either un-filmable (4+ hours), boring, or incoherent (see boring, illogical) for anyone but a die-hard fan.

Pike as Captain
Apparently the film appears to have also changed the established history that Pike and Kirk had met only in passing, mostly when Pike handed over the reigns to Kirk after being promoted to Fleet Captain. Later on, unbeknown to Kirk, Pike later had an accident that crippled him - months (if not a year) after stepping down from command of the Enterprise.

The trailer shows that the film most likely will be ignoring this. The scene where they come out of warp to the middle of a battle (or the aftermath of one) it's clear it's Sulu, Chekov, Pike, and Kirk in the shot. A shot a few seconds later confirms that Pike is in command with Kirk (in his Black uniform) standing behind him.

It's one thing to ignore a passing reference in "A Piece of the Action" where Kirk does not understand how to drive a combustion vehicle, it's completely different to discount a huge amount of established history from "The Menagerie." Unless the entire sequence is somehow just a simulation - with Pike testing Kirk's command abilities before his farewell - though the odds are doubtful since Pike has been referred as being the "doomed Captain" (as EW put it) in a few articles so far.

What it all means
Coupling those two (there are more than just the Pike reference, but I'm using that as the sole example at the moment) - leads me to believe that they all pretty much graduate from the Academy, and end up on the same ship together from the get-go. If that's the case, it can't be considered anything but a reboot as it would be about as similar as Batman (1989) and Batman Begins.

With time travel playing a part, it means that since the film exists in a "changed" universe, it technically would not be a prequel to subsequent Trek-universe stories, especially if the events portrayed in the film change the established back-story of the characters. They've created a "B" universe where Kirk is now under the command of Pike and takes control from the "doomed Captain." That alone may not seem like a huge change on it's own, but it's indicative that they're not going to follow any established Trek history, especially if the film is somehow popular enough to have sequels made. Unless any meddling of the timeline is eventually "fixed" by the end of the film - to restore everything back to "normal" - it can no longer exist in the same universe as TOS, let alone the last 40 years of Trek.

In other words they were too lazy to come up with their own universe to create a science fiction name so they're riding on the (supposed) popularity of Star Trek to do their own thing. Star Trek was on life support long before Enterprise aired. Voyager effectively killed the franchise but was able to carry on for another 6 or so years. If it was Star Trek's time to die, then so be it.

The problem is Star Trek has never been popular with the mainstream. Never. Creating a film that pisses off a substantial amount of the audience, to sacrifice it to people who have no stake in the matter is crazy. The idea that hiring JJ Abrams and rebooting the storyline will make it popular is a risky move, bordering on insanity.

The film will have to impress a huge amount of people for me to want to sit through it, not only in the theaters but at home.

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