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Warren Scott
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Posted: 02 September 2017 at 8:14am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Normally I am the "grumpy old fan," but I may surprise some people by saying yes, though I don't agree with the way they went about it.
I once said it would be fun to write a Star Trek book or comic but also daunting because there are so many fans who know so much trivia, you would be bound to contradict something that was written in one of the many episodes, movies, books or comics.
The reboot gave them a clean slate to start over with new stories of the original five-year mission. Since the crew would not be played by the original actors (death and age being among the reasons), it allowed a little variation in their personalities (That can be done while still respecting the characters. Think of all of the Sherlock Holmeses.). It also allowed them to update the technology to reflect what's available today.
One way I think they went wrong is re-making "Wrath of Khan." Until Benedict Cumberbatch's identity was revealed, I thought John Harrison was an interesting character. There were certainly some holes in the plot but there was potential for an interesting story.
Why not use the opportunity to introduce new stories and characters instead of re-making old ones?
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 02 September 2017 at 8:48am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I don't feel it was necessary. 

I understand that actors from TOS would have been too old (or passed away) and so not able to reprise their roles.

But like any sci-fi universe, the STAR TREK one is a big one. So may ships out there. So many stories to tell. There are a lot of ships out there, plus other departments of Starfleet. Why not a Starfleet JAG movie? It's not sci-fi, but as the TV series JAG showed us, you can have action and courtroom drama. 

I can think of so many things I'd have taken over an Abrams reboot.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 September 2017 at 8:55am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Was the Star Trek reboot necessary?

Short answer, no.

Long answer, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!!!!!

++++

The reboot gave them a clean slate to start over with new stories of the original five-year mission.

I wonder why they didn't do that?

In STAR TREK - NEW VISIONS I have a very nearly unique opportunity to tell new stories from the Five Year Mission, actually using the original actors. I have allowed myself to incorporate some recent additions to the lore (raktajino for instance, and better knowledge of what's really "out there").

And, of course, the "reboot" was nothing of the sort. Instead, it was a compilation of all the misconceptions civilians have had about TOS for decades.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 02 September 2017 at 10:23am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

The Abramsverse is a microcosm of everything wrong with modern iterations of longtime genre properties. It managed the trick of being a sequel AND a prequel AND a remake AND a reboot, since it tried to appease fans of the old while bringing in a new audience. As history has proven, a good chunk of old fans were ticked off, and new viewers didn't stick with it for long, as evidenced by the failure of BEYOND.

Bad Robot robbed Peter to pay Paul. They banked on the nostalgia for the original characters, and presented them in a high-action, high-comedy way. The novelty of this new and off-model approach worked for exactly one film. INTO DARKNESS immediately proved that the reboot concept wouldn't have legs, and tossed away any goodwill built up for fans of the first film. It was another lame WRATH OF KHAN riff (as was NEMESIS) which smacked of a lack of new ideas and fan-pandering. 

A key mistake was their not launching into a five-year mission scenario after that first film. But, Hollywood is obsessed with origin stories, and so they tried to stretch it out into multiple films, ostensibly to help justify the terribly off-model characters by having them "not quite there, yet".

I've not seen BEYOND, but it sounds very much like a case of too little, too late. Closer to what the first two films should have been, but at a time when most of the target audience had stopped caring.


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Ron Goad
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Posted: 02 September 2017 at 11:29am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Pretty much sums it up nicely...
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Paul Kimball
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Posted: 02 September 2017 at 11:48am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The reboot wasn't necessary of course, but it was the studios choice.
Could it have worked? For some fans, not possible. For other fans, yes it
could've worked but I don't think the last 2 films have been good enough to
please anyone so there will likely be another reboot at some point. Too bad. I
thought Zachary Quinto was a good casting choice.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 September 2017 at 12:41pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I thought Zachary Quinto was a good casting choice.

The Brandon Routhe of STAR TREK. Hired for a superficial resemblance, delivering a superficial (and off-model) performance.

At one point in his reign, Jim Shooter started saying "anybody" could be Captain America. Or Iron Man. Or Spider-Man. And even tho these were completely fictional characters, by saying this he demonstrated a profound lack of understanding of what makes those characters who they are.

Now we get "anybody" can be Spock. Or Kirk. Or McCoy. And the same lack is demonstrated.

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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 02 September 2017 at 1:09pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

One way I think they went wrong is re-making "Wrath of Khan."

If it had just been a kinda "meh" movie, as the first and third installments were, it'd been somewhat forgivable. But, on top of being the worst of the three, already, it also took a big ol' dump on the best Trek movie, ever.

Overall, not only did we not see the 5 year-mission start til the end of the second movie, we see Kirk already soured on said mission by the start of the third. Weak sauce. I'm tired of seeing my heroes tired. Bruce Wayne's number one motivation should not be not being Batman. The now-even-younger youngest starship Captain ever should not be ready to step down. Christ, TWOK had old Kirk aching to get back into the command chair. And this little piss ant is already trying to ditch.

Was the reboot necessary? No. But since they did it, I just wish they'd done it better.
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Laren Farmer
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Posted: 02 September 2017 at 1:37pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

NO!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 September 2017 at 1:38pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

TOS was made before Watergate. It is hard to over-express the significance of that. When STAR TREK was broadcast the first time, we mostly still respected authority. This was barely three years after the "golden age" of Kennedy's "Camelot". The military were automatically the good guys, gunboat diplomacy was still a good thing. And the space program was at full vigor.

Vietnam and Watergate changed all that, and the NuTrek movies represent the national contempt for authority turned all the way to 11. Kirk has to be a rebel, a bad boy -- and, as I have said, a character much more like Finnigan than the James Kirk we knew.

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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 02 September 2017 at 7:13pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I find it frustrating that I can not explain the differences between TOS and the reboot movies as you do, or the various presumptions the audience has about the original series versus the reality.

Somehow a lot of people have the idea that captain Kirk was always a rebel who broke the rules whenever he could because the rules and regulations are somehow fundamentally flawed while instinct and gut sense always prevail.


Edited by Marten van Wier on 02 September 2017 at 11:08pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 02 September 2017 at 10:10pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I think it boils down to two factors (in addition to the Watergate thing):

1) People forget that TOS ships were akin to old-school British ships, where the ships' commanders had great latitude in making contact with far-off regions. Communication with home was limited and/or took a long time, so Captains were empowered to make a lot of big decisions all on their own.

All those instances where Kirk made big decisions were part of his job, and the reason he was commended for his "cheating" on the Kobayashi Maru test is because it proved that he was a creative thinker capable of working outside the limitations imposed upon him.

2) People blurring fantasy and reality, in that the popular perception of William Shatner as a hammy, egocentric diva has bled over into the popular perception of James T. Kirk, the fictional character portrayed by Shatner.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 5:38am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Stereotypes. That's all puTrek brought to the characters. They don't act, they fulfill required phrasing and action to cleave to a mistaken and outdated perception of how they should be. Abramsverse did not want actors... it wanted imitators.

Comparing this to my own experience (I do a lot of community theatre), it's the difference between performing a famous role... and being told to do the Cowardly Lion just like Bert Lahr. (Oh, I tried to spice it up a tiny bit... but it's the Wizard of Oz. There's only so much to be done.)

These actors are being forced to play Bert Lahr, Ray Milland, Jack Haley, and Judy Garland.

Did Star Trek have rough edges to be smoothed out? Surely. But did it require junking the whole concept, and then picking through the detritus to rebuild it - and not even start from scratch?

I agree completely with Mr. Byrne's assessment, both short and long answers.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 6:25am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

All those instances where Kirk made big decisions were part of his job, and the reason he was commended for his "cheating" on the Kobayashi Maru test is because it proved that he was a creative thinker capable of working outside the limitations imposed upon him.

I consider the Kobayashi Maru one of the worst retcons in TOS history. This was not "creative thinking". This was some smart-ass writer showing contempt for the system. And in any kind of real world scenario, Kirk would not have been commended, he would have been drummed out of the service.

This is a root problem with post TOS TREK, including the movies: more and more we see the "clubhouse" mentality overtake and ultimately overwhelm the military groundwork laid down by the two Genes.

The mentality is not unique to TREK. Remember, Batman always wins because "Batman cheats". Ahh, there's a true hero for ya!

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 7:31am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Like it or lump it -- Star Trek is fundamentally a military tale. Nobody should undervalue the significance of the real-life experience of the men behind it. Captain Gene Roddenberry, of course. And producers Robert Justman (Navy), Fred Freiberger (Army Air Corps) and Gene L. Coon (Marines), were also military veterans, as well as these guys: Sergeant Leonard Nimoy, Lieutenant James Doohan, Private DeForest Kelley, etc!




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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 8:51am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

I consider the Kobayashi Maru one of the worst retcons in TOS history. This was not "creative thinking". This was some smart-ass writer showing contempt for the system. And in any kind of real world scenario, Kirk would not have been commended, he would have been drummed out of the service.
+++++++

I think that it comes down to Nick Meyer trying to establish that Kirk didn't like to lose, and always found ways to snatch victory out of defeat. That sort of arrogant attitude--"I don't like to lose"--would cause Spock's death to hit him extra hard. Meyer's thematic arc for Kirk in that film was designed to show him hit an epiphany ("I know nothing. I haven't faced death, I've cheated death."), and then take a positive lesson out of the loss of his friend. 

Of course, this is where Meyer's irreverence for TREK come in, and it all flies in the face of the "stack of books with legs" characterization established in TOS. And opened the door for Abrams' totally ridiculous depiction of the test itself (which NuSpock himself conveniently programmed).

As much as I applaud Meyer for saving the franchise, he most certainly took Kirk down the first steps to what he's now routinely depicted as: an arrogant rulebreaker and rebel.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 03 September 2017 at 8:52am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 9:00am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I think that it comes down to Nick Meyer trying to establish that Kirk didn't like to lose, and always found ways to snatch victory out of defeat.

Cheating is the same as losing.

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Ron Goad
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 12:14pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Star Trek was based more on Horatio Hornblower (C.S. Forester's novel series) than on "Wagon Train". It was much more of a echo of late 18th to early 19th century - Age of Sail - than anything else.

Jim Kirk was loosely based on Captain James Cook, the great British explorer of the late 18th century. The Enterprise has that odd curved cut out below the shuttlebay doors to reflect the stern of a sailing Frigate and has a bit of a "Tall Ship" profile.

Communications with command is slow, leaving Kirk to make many decisions on the fly, rather than to wait for orders. Missions include nearly as many "Show the Flag", or "Defend Outposts and Colonies" moments as exploration.

This solidly reflects the influence of the era of sailing ships.

Sadly, later productions lack that open sense of adventure.
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Warren Scott
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 7:02pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Eric, you bring up a good point. I know what you mean because I have seen two productions of "Harvey" (best known as a comedy film starring Jimmy Stewart). In one, the lead actor did his best Stewart impression and I didn't enjoy it because I kept thinking about whether it was a good impression. In the other, the lead actor did his own thing while staying true to the character's nature and I enjoyed it much more (even though I love Jimmy Stewart in the movie).
The question is whether an actor can walk the line between those two approaches, paying homage to what has been done before while adding something new. I think it has been done in a number of Sherlock Holmes portrayals.
It's hard for me to say whether we were getting that or straight impersonations from the new Star Trek cast because, I feel, we really didn't get to know them that well. There was too much action to allow time for character interplay.
I didn't care for any of the movies much but I felt Chris Pine had a chance to strip the Kirk character of some of the hamminess associated with him and bring him back to basics a bit.
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Warren Scott
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 7:12pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

One more thing regarding the original series and the movies. I think JB is right when he says there was a clubhouse mentality in the movies.
But one thing to consider is the films take place years later, after the mission is over. You could argue a certain formality has been dropped because the characters know each other and are older. You might imagine old veterans who once served together behaving as they do. Also, they were not actually on official missions in Star Trek III and IV.
Now, whether that's how the movie-makers should have gone may be debated. Hollywood, when making sequels, has a tendency to have everyone return as friends, regardless of what their relationship was in the previous film. Think "Beverly Hills Cop II." Would Axel, Rosewood, Taggart and even Bogomil really be close friends after the first film? Maybe, maybe not. Would the sequel have been more interesting if they had picked up more immediately after the first?
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 8:12pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

I consider the Kobayashi Maru one of the worst retcons in TOS history. 
++++++++

This raises the question of what everyone considers to be the worst retcon. Anyone care to opine?

(And, arguably, all of AbramsTREK could be considered a retcon, so let's leave that off the table.)
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 8:17pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I didn't care for any of the movies much but I felt Chris Pine had a chance to strip the Kirk character of some of the hamminess associated with him and bring him back to basics a bit.
++++++

I think the Abramsverse actors are by and large good and fine, but...

A) The TOS crew is on my shortlist of characters who should never, ever be recast, because the actors and characters are so indelibly linked.

B) The writing and directing let them down. Case in point: Chris Pine did a much better job of playing Kirk in WONDER WOMAN, where he was allowed to play a "straight" military role, without the arrogance and frat-boy antics.

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Steve De Young
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 8:19pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

This raises the question of what everyone considers to be the worst retcon. Anyone care to opine?
----------------------------------------------
Easy.  Sybok.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 8:24pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

(That was my first choice, too.)
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Byron Graham
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 10:11pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

But without Sybok, we wouldn't have my favorite Kirk quote!

"What does God need with a starship?"
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