|Don't copy-paste legends|
As I soon discovered, that idea was a colossal miscalculation.
Yes, it's obvious that the franchise needs to be geared toward a mass audience, and a market of Star Trek aficionados simply can't pay enough in ticket purchases to offset the costs incurred by Paramount every time the studio mounts one of these productions. The movies, therefore, have to follow a strict diet of predictable action, adventure, pretty people, and explodey stuff in order to maintain ticket sales and repeat business.
|This is a mandatory, yet completely unessential, three-second scene that fulfilled |
Paramount's requirements for "a sexy new Star Trek."
Abrams famously stated he was never a Star Trek fan growing up, and really never watched much of the series until he was hired to direct the first reboot film. It's almost a matter of pride to him that he had no love for Trek as a child, and this lack of affection seems to percolate through the latest film.
Note: before I continue any further, I want to assure you that I do not want to spoil any plot elements for people who haven't seen the movie, so I'm going to talk in general terms about the problems in this film. My criticisms will probably make more sense after you've seen the movie, but I think it's important to view the film without having any plot surprises ruined for you.
The attitude of the script seems to be that it was written by someone who screened several key episodes of Star Trek and watched a few of the films, but had no idea about the personalities of the characters mentioned in the shows. It's as if they had watched "City on the Edge of Forever," and then decided to rewrite Edith Keeler as a Romulan spy. Sure, everyone in the film is saying the same catchphrases that resonate from earlier episodes and films, but the screenwriter Damon Lindelof doesn't seem to understand why the characters say the things they do. The ignorance of the why part turns the phrases into gibberish, or worse, unintended comedy.
|The Squire of Gothos? Cadet Finnegan? Sure, pick a TOS villain and cast Cumberbatch in the role.|
You don't have to be a Trekkie to know the basic rules of Star Trek: Kirk makes bold decisions, Spock's favorite word is "logic," guys in red shirts don't live long. But the characters and their interactions were more complex than superficial features. Even the guest stars on the old TV show had backstories that explained their reasons for doing things: Commodore Decker was driven by guilt over the loss of his crew to attack the Planet Killer in a shuttlecraft; Khan Noonian Singh was the pride-drunk leader of a remnant of 20th Century supermen whose weakness was his arrogance; Commander Balok was a master of deception because his diminutive race had previous run-ins with aggressive species. The aliens and opponents the crew of the Enterprise faced each week had motives and desires that made sense in the context of the plot of every show.
|May the Force be with you, Frodo. Epic misunderstanding of a franchise.|
The motivations of the villains are breathtakingly shallow. They are bad guys simply because the script needed bad guys at certain points in the film. New locations crop up only because the Enterprise crew required a new place for fight scenes scheduled at regular intervals in the movie, and the previous venues had been destroyed during earlier fights. Ships are destroyed, crash, and somehow fly again because they're needed for the next battle scene. In one particularly absurd moment, a starship, already blown up by six dozen photon torpedoes, reappears for another barrage of phaser fire.
|Don't worry, it's only a scratch.|
I could continue with nitpicking the howling continuity errors, the usurption of the laws of physics, and the over-reliance of jam-packing every single scene with floating debris and shuddering camera angles, but those points don't begin to match the immensity of the ineptness of the script. This is a Star Trek film, mostly in the sense that Paramount owns the intellectual property and that the character names are the same as those used in the original Roddenberry series. It is not a Star Trek film, though, in any aspect where it's supposed to match the quality of the original series' story-telling, or show respect for the characters and their motivations. It's an auto-tuned version of Star Trek, replete with mandatory set pieces to please the ticket-buying audiences of the world. I'm not saying it wasn't a fun movie - - it's just not really about Star Trek anymore. If Edith Keeler must die, the reason shouldn't be so that there's a satisfying explosion at the end of the film.
|Let's cram some more merchandise onboard, shall we?|