Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Star Trek Still Exists

Yes, Star Trek still exists. It does. On DVD and Blue-Ray. Every episode which ever aired can be purchased for thousands of US dollars at various stores and on the internet. They may even be available for some time. Some cable channels may even still re-run many of these episodes. Star Trek hasn't been erased yet. 

What concerns many people who take many issues with J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movies is that they are such a departure, and a departure no Star Trek film or television series has ever taken that they have basically ended the long-running series which once existed.  Star Trek may never pick up again where it left off, nor return to what might be considered the 'original timeline' or 'original storyline.' 

Yes, many television shows come to an end, but the choice to continue this series and essentially declare that the 40 years of collected fans of many if not all of these series' to be obsolete, that they're going to 'continue' the brand name, but attempt to refashion it in such a way as to leave very little connection to anything which came before seems an absurdity. What they've done is basically take something that needed no remake (The 1960s original series), simply because they figured people would buy it, either just to see it, or because they literally could be duped into thinking it would be even remotely the same. Yet they told those people to basically go fuck themselves if they didn't like it--that this was made to create a new generation of Star Trek fans... if so, then why bother resurrecting the character names of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, etc? Why try to 'go back' with some 'new spin' of some kind? It wasn't even remotely 'intelligent,' and these movies do not have much reverence for the original series other than some shallow and superfluous references and jokes. Do they honestly believe that is enough to 'satisfy' the original fans by just name dropping and re-using old lines? It isn't the same, these characters are different, it's a totally different reality than the earlier one, and not just because it has a different bridge with more special effects.

This is not the usual "I spotted an error!" gotcha game played by nitpicker culture, this is an issue regarding deeper themes and concepts, perhaps the reason why Star Trek even exists in the first place. Imagine how much more disappointed fans would have been of the Prequels if George Lucas had decided not to make them about anything even remotely connected to the original movies, and Darth Vader was a space-racer pilot, and the 'clone wars' turned out to be a space-speeder race contest which ended in a climactic space battle between clone racer pilots and competing aliens, resulting in the creation of the Empire simply to control the animosities of the losing alien species that took part in the 'Galactic Games.' People would be seriously upset not simply because they have no idea where this shit is coming from, but this is even further removed from what they've come to understand as 'their story' that they're familiar with. 

Our Star Trek still exists, yes, and perhaps these movies will be best remembered the same way as the remakes of LOST IN SPACE, GODZILLA, and PLANET OF THE APES. As embarrassments, many in a long line of cash grabs and failed 'remakes' which often are done to re-secure property rights to make money off movies. 

The crowd that loves the new Star Trek movies have the attention span of fleas, so it goes, when the next "Pacific Rim" comes out, Star Trek is quickly forgotten, and so it is the way they made it, a quick moving sensory overload that means nothing and is gone before you know it, nothing memorable, nothing to think about later, nothing to ponder. It's their own fault, but admittedly it does have some staying power, perhaps about as much as the FAST AND THE FURIOUS series which leaves little to remember, little to ponder after the fact, but maintains a certain amount of success...

Meanwhile, the intelligent fans of the original Star Treks wonder if they'll ever see anything like that again, and why the hell people are making Star Trek movies that make no sense, and that are so shallow and useless, rendering perhaps into a public perception that Star Trek is a worthless shallow series of mindlessly entertaining space adventures for infantile people who can't pay attention to anything longer than 30 seconds. 

There is much to go on out there in Star Trek merchandise land, even I have not seen every single episode of every single Star Trek series ever made, but when one looks at how ENTERPRISE ended, one sees how much more could be done. Certainly this property exists because it makes money, and it makes money if people like it and buy its products, but there's a central issue to understand regarding why people like it that is now essentially being ignored by the companies which own it or make movies from it. We've discussed this already. It's a thoughtless, empty thing, a soulless thing.  Who wants that? We look back and see 40 years of worthwhile 'product' if you want to call it that, why change that? Sure it's conceivable to go ahead with a new series, it's worked before, and kept it's purpose, but now, somebody's come along to turn it into something it never was. There seems to be no reason to have done that. It isn't like we hadn't seen Star Trek in 20 years, and they miraculously brought it back from the dead.  Star Trek Enterprise wasn't cancelled because "nobody" watched it, it was cancelled from on high to make room for a reboot/remake movie series.  One nobody asked for to be sure.

So here we are, fans with a Star Trek we don't really want, with a perception on the internet that "everybody" loves it, and they're spending a couple hundred million dollars a movie. I'd be happier if they spent that 200 million on some crappy cardboard sets, some bad makeup, some no-name actors and a few good writers. That comes to about 9 million dollars an episode. Imagine that. "Low budget" television eh? 

All we can hope for is an Abrams Cinema failure to stop this madness, but this isn't entirely what I want to address here on this blog. 

We scarcely see "Star Trek" in our Star Trek. Now take that and use it on anything else you value. We scarcely see anything in our anything these days, more and more and more. The reason seems to keep coming up "money."  Greed killed Star Trek? Could it be? Could this latest film be a failure? If it is, what does that mean for the franchise as a whole? They said that we should all be happy because the first one is a success. Why should we care about whether they made money off it? Do you value your car, your dvd player, your washer and dryer based on how much it makes the company money or how well it works? 

Give us something that makes sense. When people rent or buy or download (or however they obtain it) PORN, I assume they expect to see PORN. Not videos of tennis. Not videos of people playing videogames. Not videos of people talking about quantum physics. They expect naked people doing things they wish they could be doing. When it comes to Star Wars, people wanted space battles, lightsabers, romance, quasi-mystical dialog about destinies and cosmic conspiracies. That is what made it a success. Not cartoon rabbits stepping in shit. They were disappointed. When it comes to Star Trek, people want to see a spaceship full of people making hard decisions about big challenges they face while exploring the unknown, an imagined future with high technology which makes sense, and certain ideals to believe in regarding our own real future. What they got was a bunch of kids arguing about what to do because some guy from space wants revenge, with lots of explosions, shooting all over the place, people screaming all the time and some silly one-liners. This may have been what people were entertained with that week in 2009 when it came out, but it's hardly something so memorable you can watch it again, nor should one continue with that nonsense time and again.  One fact might simply be that Star Trek should have continued its way being a television series, rather than movies, and let movies be made for some big nostalgic and epic purpose because somebody wrote a really good script, not because it's a movie-franchise. Star Trek worked best as a television series, it's how it began, it's why there's five of them, and why it lasted for 40 years, not because of the movies. Check your facts on that boys and girls, only a couple of them were that big of a success.  The television shows however, still re-rerun and are still revisited by millions of people every day.

Something is "Warped" out there in Hollywoodland and it almost seems as if they're intentionally degrading these time-honored franchises by turning them into crap nobody wants to watch. I highly doubt that now, I do think it's simply a bunch of careless people simply trying to make a buck and thinking to themselves, why bother putting any effort into this, these people will just buy it on the name alone won't they? In many cases this is true, merchandise addiction has certainly become a decades-old American trait.  Companies depend on consumerism, buying crap with likenesses and logos for seemingly no apparent reason other than these people need more shit to waste their money on, but take away their like and sentiment for your 'franchise' and see what happens. 

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