Saturday, March 17, 2007

Light at the end of the tunnel...sunlight or oncoming train?

Things seem to be solidifying a tad regarding the premise of the upcoming film, apparently to be titled simply "Star Trek". This particular detail, along with the intent to have both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy intimately involved in the story, might beg the question of when is a reboot not a reboot, but that'll have to wait for another time. Or at least later in this entry.

For the moment, however, we'll have to content ourselves with the apparent knowledge that this willl not, I repeat, NOT be a Starfleet Academy story. What we don't know is if this was prompted by the not-so-veiled threat of a lawsuit by former Trek helmer Harve Bennett (whose own ill-advised Starfleet Academy proposal was purchased, then shelved, by Paramount lo, these many years ago), or someone finally pointed out that Spock is a couple of years older than Kirk, so that even though there's some overlap of their respective times at the Academy, their chances of interaction to any significant degree would be minimal at best, or even maybe the starndard response of serious disdain that this idea always produces. With a fanbase as fractured as this one is, that last thing they need to do is trot out an idea guaranteed to cheese off a sizable portion of that fanbase before the first frame of film is exposed.

No, this magum opus will apparently deal with Kirk and Spock's first adventure on the Enterprise, with Kirk assuming command from Captain Pike. Since it's already been well established that Spock had been on the ship eleven years before Kirk showed up, this is not a problem. Apparently, McCoy and Scotty will be along for the ride as well. It makes sense that Scott would've been there before Kirk as well as Spock, so again, no problem on that front. McCoy's presence will need some explanation, thanks to Dr. Piper's presence in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", but all that's needed on that front is for McCoy to go on an extended leave, maybe to deal with that nasty divorce that's supposed to have driven him in to Starfleet in the first place.

Which brings us to the casting rumors.

Kirk: Despite denials of varying degrees, the most frequent name is Matt Damon. The main ray of light on this front is Richard Arnold reporting that while Paramount is chasing a big name, Damon isn't it. As for who I'd like to see as Kirk, I'm at a loss.

Spock: Some delusional genius has inserted the name of Adrian Brody into the mix. Sorry, I like Brody, but he ain't Spock. Personally, I'd like to see Josh Hartnett get a crack at it. Maybe Tommy Lee Jones as Sarek (he's a hardcore Trekkie, he'd do good by the Ambassador).

McCoy: With the exception of the odd naysayer, just about everyone's shortlist consists of the name Gary Sinise. Some wags make a point of how Sinise is in his mid 50s, while DeForest Kelley was in his mid 40s at the time of the original series. So what? Sinise looks like he's in his late 30s, and he's a dead ringer for Kelley in his younger days, so the only issue is how well they can shoot around his CSI:NY schedule.

Scotty: Thankfully, James McAvoy has publicly stated that he is NOT up for this part. Great guy, fine actor, but about twenty years too young. There are a few Scottish actors who can do justice to our beloved miracle worker, so I'm not terribly worried. Personally, I'd like to see Craig Ferguson take a whack at it. He's a big fan, and I suspect he'd take it as a personal honor to redeem the Scottish people by playing Scotty as a Scotsman with a proper Scottish accent and not what Ferguson has described as a Pakistani accent (even though Billy Connelly has said that Jimmy Doohan's accent wasn't that bad).

Pike: Can't go wrong with Ray Liotta. And before anyone points out that Liotta's several years and more than a few pounds past the time when he looked a lot more like Jeffery Hunter than he does now, I'd like to remind folks that he wouldn't be playing the Chris Pike we saw in "The Cage", he'd be playing a Pike about ten years older and a lot more world weary. On that scale, Liotta would be perfect.

And, as always, we have the aspect of Shatner and Nimoy being a part of the proceedings, which kinda blunts the edge of the position that this is a reboot. The fact that they're trying to work around Kirk's death in Generations, i.e., effectively undo the most idiotic creative decision in the entire history of the franchise, that alone is reason for hope that maybe, just maybe, the folks in charge actually know what they're doing this time.