Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Wrath of Abrams

The following 'rant' is a compilation of thoughts and discussions I've had concerning the new Star Wars Trek film.

What has been bothering me quite a lot lately is, in reference to the new Trek film's fanbase, is the complete disregard to concerns about the direction the film is taking. Most of the problems are stemming from a clear lack of respect for the source material.

San Francisco Fleet Yards is now conveniently in Iowa. Ignoring the lack of geography skills, there are more pressing problems with the film.

Kirk's backstory

Or now how Kirk is recruited into Starfleet by Pike, and apparently serves on the Enterprise while in the academy, and receives his command shortly after graduating.

In "Where No Man Has Gone Before," Mitchel and Kirk discuss Kirk's class at the academy. In "Court Martial," Kirk explained that he served on the Republic as an ensign. In "Obsession," the entire episode revolves around when kirk served as navigator on the Farragut under captain Garrovick. I believe Kirk also had his first deep-space assignment (post-Academy) under Garrovick.

What has been seen and explicitly said about the film is that Kirk is *in* the Academy (black uniform), on the bridge behind Pike, and at some point in the film takes command of the Enterprise after apparently Pike is injured and he eventually dons an actual Starfleet uniform.

Expect them never to mention the life-changing massacre he was part of out there on a completely different planet when he was 12. Apparently in the new film he just wrecks antique cars at that age.

Or other minor things like having the Romulans attacking Vulcan a year or two before they attacked the Federation for the first time in decades during "Balance of Terror."

The one of the main elements of the dramatic tension in "Balance of Terror" is why Spock looks like the Romulans. They're shocked because they've never *seen* one before.

Chekov is apparently already a graduate of the Academy and on the Enterprise while Kirk is still just a cadet. There is supposed to be at least a 10 years age difference between the two.

Is canon really important?
Personally, I think the excuse that Star Trek has been lazy and never really bothered to keep facts straight is a serious injustice to Star Trek's franchise history.

From time to time yes, things were "ignored" - but as many people have been trying to say for (years), these issues came up because of poor fact-checking and an incomplete review of continuity before the episode/movie was released for nearly all instances of "errors" in continuity. I'd gather that 9 times out of 10 if you could ask the writer, director, or producer who oversaw any of those problems, they would tell you that if they had realized their mistake, they would have fixed it.

Compare that with these guys (the writers of projects of dubious quality such as Transformers, The Legend of Zorro, and Xena) who claim they spent hours and hours on Memory Alpha studying the backstory of the series and it's characters - yet seem to have completely ignored huge swaths of it - because it's the easy way out by using a tired plot device - time travel.

Do they honestly think new fans will by "time travel?"

Making things more confusing instead of less
The only thing this will do is do the exact opposite that DC comic's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" did, which was a comic book miniseries created to 'simplify' the comic book's "established continuity." That is, to take a multitude of contradicting, and alternate storylines (multiple version of the Flash, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) and merge them into one coherent universe. The "confusion" came directly from "rebooting" them every few decades, like they're doing here.

The example would be better put if this was 2040, sometime after the 4th or 5th reboot of Star Trek which involved a storyline that 'eliminated' all the 'conflicting' and contradicting details of Trek. Like deciding whether or not the "true" time line would include Pike being injured on a J-class training vessel or on the Enterprise with Kirk taking over for him in command. Or a universe where Kirk lives on Tarsus IV or one where he doesn't. And so on.

I've actually seen people use "Crisis" as a defense for doing what Abrams, Orci, and the rest are doing to Trek.

Who wins?
The devastating thing is that the only winner in this whole thing in the long run is Paramount. Since the film will have little to do with the original series and any of the works that followed the show, except Enterprise which would still "exist" in the same universe as AbramsTrek, why the heck would anyone want to watch TOS? However, their huge cash cow is getting old fans to re-purchase the same thing over and over again, so even if the film isn't a success, you'll see people line up for the BluRay release of this, then the box set with the first 6 films and the new one, then the new box set with the seven already mentioned and the 4 TNG films. And so on and so forth.

Remember, the storylines will not match up with anything that occurred in the film. They'll be lucky to pull in 10% of the "new" fanbase to be consumers of the original series. That is, if they're not busy seeing any of the other films that don't have the stigma that Trek has that come out in May - X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Angels & Demons, Night at the Museum II: Escape from the Smithsonian, and Terminator Salvation along with many others.

Bottom Line
But then again, if the film isn't successful, our points are moot and the universe goes away just like the "wrong" alternate universe went away in "Yesterday's Enterprise."

Listen, if they had just come out and said "we are remaking Star Trek" back in 2006 instead of pussyfooting around and saying "oh, remember in Back to the Future Part II when they go to the 'alternate 1985' - that's what we're doing in this film, so don't worry the Kirk you grew up with exists in an alternate reality" - you'd find a lot less annoyed people. Especially since the crux of their argument is that due to Quantum physics, an infinite number of universes exist - which means that Old Spock's entire role in the film doesn't fit into their theory. Old Spock shouldn't give two rat's asses about this alternate universe if he's from some other reality. In the past the show has repeatedly stated that the "right" universe is the one that the TOS, TNG, VOY, DS9, and ENT universes exist in, and any deviation to the timeline is strictly verboten. And no, we're not talking about a universe where the only change is that a pond now has fish in it as opposed to one that doesn't - one that has a real impact in storyline, characters. Not only that, if Old Spock's mission is to "correct" the timeline - then he fails since the producers and director have stated that this film allows for a different look and direction that can deviate from established storylines at the conclusion of the film.

A "reset" where everything is back to the way they were (no Romulan attack, corrected backstory, etc) is doubtful, as such a plot twist would hardly be appreciated by the non-Trekkie fanbase that this film seeks to pull in.

Oh well.

Time will tell.

No comments: