Saturday, June 1, 2013

Star Trek: Out of Darkness

For years, Star Trek Fans have had problems with eachother, long before J.J. Abrams came along to re-brand Star Trek. They argued over Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise and why they didn't like them, and what all the inconsistencies were, and which one's little details offended them that they observed, and to the point of insults and screaming unfounded absolutes at eachother. Opinionated assholes were dismissing people for simply expressing they liked one series or the other, so in a way, the effect of Abrams' negative marketing scheme is nothing new. Before though, it wasn't a marketing scheme, it just emerged out of the many different types of fans of Star Trek. People attempted arguments as if they were theologians in the Vatican, citing 'canon' and 'non-canon' and gazillions of little details whether they had to do with technology, or timelines or dates, character names, actors, or story elements. People with political agendas argued against elements of various shows, and others with the obsession of technical details argued about what was 'continuity' and what wasn't. 

Today, we have new arguments about which parts of J.J. Abrams movies fit and which ones don't and how they do and how they don't and how people need to ignore certain details, and how certain details need to be paid attention to. It sounds the same, but it isn't...not exactly... In reality, not one detail is related, and there is no continuity, and none is even intended. No more than Never Say Never Again is related to Thunderball as any kind of sequel, prequel, or continuation. No more than Peter Jackson's movies have anything to do with the cartoons of the 80s. The perception is created in the movie, in order to market these new movies, but there simply cannot be any real connection whatsoever based entirely on the idea that one can see these characters have been re-written. The 'future' setting has been re-written. Everything has been re-written. These are not prequels, these are not continuations or backstories of any kind, and 'alternate realities' which occur in them still have nothing to do with any single episode or previous movie which ever took place before these two new movies. To believe so is futile. So in fact, no arguments of this kind are necessary. The arguments left, are those of cinematic technicality, that they are bad movies, that perhaps not only do they have nothing to do with the original Star Trek, they don't even contain the same essential philosophy or intended ideas, narrative or themes. It might even be argued they have the complete opposite of them.

When one looks at all this, one sees, whether they like it or not, that every episode and movie which took place before the Abrams films are ALL connected, all part of one series, one long timeline where at no time has it deviated in any way, not like Abrams Trek has.  There are minor little details here and there, but no matter how poorly an episode or movie might have been made before the Abrams films, they all were part of one single story that developed however it developed. One thing that cannot be argued whether you hated ENTERPRISE, or VOYAGER or DS9 or not, and that is that they still all contained the 'spirit' of the original intended themes, ideas and concepts, and the basic narrative which was carried over again and again throughout the years.  They represent some 'thing' that in no way has been re-created in any way by J.J. Abrams. His Star Trek simply has nothing to do with them, no matter how many series there were, nor how long it went, nor whether there were prequels before or not. 

The arguments about the old shows and all their details are made irrelevant when one compares the two. When one compares the original themes, ideas and intentions to the new movies, one finds that whether you like it or not, ALL of them were Star Trek, good or not in your opinion, where as the new one isn't. How can one then believe that his replacement is 'good' for the series, when it isn't part of it? How can one believe that it 'helps' or 'invigorates' or 'brings new life' into the series, when it isn't part of that series? It is in fact quite possibly the death and the end of that series, in terms of any possibility of its continuation (since we obviously know it still all exists on DVD, but may never continue from where it was when it all ended). 

Tim Burton's Remake of PLANET OF THE APES was actually a success on opening night. It actually made a lot of money. They never did a sequel to it. People didn't like it. Critics hated it. There never was a follow up. It has nothing to do with any Planet of the Apes movies which came before it, nor the TV series. The RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES has nothing to do with Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes Remake, but it does intend to be a prequel of sorts to the old series, AND it attempted to contain the same themes and philosophy of the original, and neither erase, replace nor assume nor insert a contradictory message to the originals. Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes has no category now, other than 'bad remake that has nothing to do with any of the other movies.' This is what J.J. Abrams remake of Star Trek is, it is a really bad remake that eventually will live as nothing but an anomaly. Nothing in the future of Star Trek should ever attempt to reference it, tie it in creatively like ENTERPRISE did with the Klingons foreheads, and the Augments, and it should not make any attempt to make any acknowledgment of it whatsoever. While a new Star Trek series following J.J.Abrams deviation may update more technology, or add new characters, planets or species, in no way should it make itself a continuation of Abrams' Trek. It should however reference, and be a continuation of all that we have seen before it. J.J. Abrams had his way with the series, he produced his remakes, some people liked them, he made his millions, now be done with it because it didn't 'damage' continuity, it ignored it all entirely, and had no intention of being any part of it.  

As Star Trek fans, it is time to look ahead, realize that whatever details from earlier shows may have been inconsistent, at least it was all in fact related to the Star Trek that started it all, and each Star Trek series which preceded another, without becoming an entirely different kind of Star Trek and entirely different kind of movie. They didn't remake the series over and over again. Each one honored the one before it. One can most certainly update, modify and re-introduce and continue a series without going to the lengths which J.J. Abrams did with Star Trek, and what he did shows us what happens when companies make really low attempts to control not just where a product goes, but how we perceive the products it is a copy of.   The  J.J. Abrams films were not any kind of continuation, they were a cheap copy, refashioned like Michael Bay films, they tried to 'fuse' the idea of a remake and prequel, and ultimately, as far as history will see, it worked out monetarily for him, but it didn't work out too well when it comes to being worth anything to society as art or entertainment that has any real value. It is about as intelligent as Catwoman, and Transformers, and it came from a product which was nowhere near anything like that, and gave so much more to people than thrills. The continuation of STAR TREK is not dependent upon whether it can be sold as some billion dollar blockbuster, the continuation depends on whether anyone thinks its worth making. The problem is not whether fans will accept it, or whether you need to alienate those kinds of fans because they draw negative attention to your 'product,' the problem is that these companies feel they need to make billions and billions more each time they make a new movie, not merely make what would be considered a 'profit,' but a profit that it bigger than the last profit they made. The escalation of these profit-games has gotten completely out of control, so much so that they can't simply spend 50 million dollars on a Star Trek movie anymore, they can't even spend 50 million any more on ANY movie, unless it makes 350 million. They will spend 200 million and basically demand that it makes billions, or else not make another one again, or at least this is what they say to us.

...And yet the remakes keep coming...

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