Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Once More Into the Breach....

I keep going back to a complaint Harlan Ellison had about TOS, that fits like a freakin' glove to this movie.

Not only was it mediocre, it was deliberately intended to be mediocre.

They didn't strive to make something great and fail (that's the saving grace of some of the worst episodes, at least they tried something different and it didn't work). They targeted this film to hit that lowest common denominator and get the biggest bang for the buck. From the ubiquitous lens flares to the shaky cam to the MTV rapid edits to the pandering to every Star Trek stereotype in the book, both real and imagined, this film was plotted and made solely to suck in as many people as possible and separate them from their money (nothing wrong with that, in and of itself), and (here's the real crime) BE AS UTTERLY NONCHALLENGING AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE!

And for Star Trek, any incarnation of Star Trek, that is completely unforgivable. Star Trek is supposed to make you think. That this film not only doesn't make you think, but actually requires you to not think, lest the whole house of cards falls apart, is far worse than just another bad installment in the franchise, but a fundamental betrayal of the very idea behind Star Trek that Roddenberry tried to instill in the production and the writing, summed up by his favorite saying on the subject, "There is an intelligent life form on the other side of that television tube!" Eye candy is not enough, you have to appeal to the mind, to the intelligence of the viewer. Short change that, and you sell out the whole thing and reduce Star Trek to "just a movie."

Understand why I'm so angry over this thing now?


Anonymous said...

I thought the special effects were great

Herkimer Jitty said...

I don't understand why you're angry over a 3 year old movie, no.

pbz said...

I have to agree with you: Trek without any requirement to think or to ask deeper questions about the world around you posed by the scenarios in the show makes it pretty much pointless. STII: TWOK wasn't so much known for its' effects (it was shot on a shoestring budget compared to TMP), but rather for the scenarios posed: the past coming back to haunt you, the morality of using a machine that practically allows you to "play god", the implications of such a device being used as a weapon, one's needs vs the needs of the many, etc.

So, in this vein, I'm going to refute the only two comments to this as I think they are lacking and were just plain poor:

Speaking on "special effects": while the 2009 movie might have had considerable eye candy, that alone does not redeem a horrible plot in a story anymore than a yummy chocolate sauce makes cockroach ice cream palatable. Special effects are meant to enhance a script, not rescue a poorly-written one that was hastily slapped together in an attempt to be "different: from what has come before". Being the dialectical opposite of something is not being different; it's just going to the opposite end of the same "see-saw" and is itself cliche.

As to "complaining about a 3-year old movie": the age of a movie has no bearing on how well the script was or was not made. Bad is bad, and it doesn't matter if that means Plan 9 from Outer Space, Zardoz, Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes or Solaris. Abrams had the chance to make a decent Star Trek movie and pretty much dropped the ball IMO. Dstance of time does not reduce what was done: a stubbed toe from 3 years ago, while healed, still leaves a scar.

El Vaquero Zuvembie said...

Amen, Brother April.