At the end of J.J. Abram’s reboot of the Star Trek franchise, a newly minted Captain Kirk turns to his buddy “Bones” McCoy and tells him to, “Buckle Up”.
Well if the Star Trek: Into Darkness trailers are any indication, it looks like you’ll be doing the same for the latest instalment.
But, before Simon Pegg’s version of Scotty warms up the engines, let’s take a look back at the evolution of the Star Trek universe in the movies. Now I know what you’re saying “the franchise is based on the T.V. shows” (it’s like you’re in my head) and yes that is true. However, this is Good FILM Hunting not Good T.V. Hunting. We can obviously agree that the T.V. series, especially the original Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation, laid the ground work for the movies. Let’s begin, shall we…
Fancy Special Effects
If we look back the original six movies, we see a drastic evolution in special effects. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country made the original movie look ancient and it should… it was made 11 years afterwards. We then see another huge jump from that to Star Trek: Generations and yet another jump in between that and Star Trek: First Contact. The jump between The Undiscovered Country and Generations is expected because of the time lapse, however between Generations and First Contact is trouble-some. The answer? It seems Generations was made in a hurry with a small budget. I remember reading that the uniforms they were wearing came out of storage and there were several other short-cuts made in putting together the film. The next time you watch it… especially pay attention to Commander Riker’s uniform: he’s always got the sleeves rolled up. Apparently it is because they were too short because the uniform actually belonged to another (bigger) member of the Star Trek TV universe cast.
Story, Acting and Stuff
From the original six what was your favourite? For me it is a toss-up between Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Not because of the great action in both, which is by far the most spectacular of all of those movies. But because of the inner battle, which the characters face in each of those films. Kirk comes face to face with the consequences of two past decisions in his career and personal life as well as his unwillingness to face life and death head on in Wrath of Khan.
Then in Undiscovered Country we see the internal battle of dealing with change in both Kirk and Spock as the Klingons propose peace. Both of them were extremely well done (and yes, that includes acting)
The worst of the 6? Star Trek V The Final Frontier… shudder big time. I won’t even bother with a trailer and save you some time. (Hint: even Shatner hated it)
As for the movies with The Next Generation crew. Star Trek: First Contact is an easy pick. Once again I will have to say it is because of the internal battle Captain Jean-Luc Picard faces. A man who’s never agitated, goes from a peaceful, steady, strategic and quick witted leader to being wittled down to a man bent on revenge by blind hatred of the Borg. The other three had their moments, but First Contact was solid from beginning to end, it also has the best quote in the series when Data says: “Captain, I believe I speak on behalf of the entire crew when I say, TO HELL WITH OUR ORDERS.”
J.J. Abbram’s reboot was massively popular because it challenged the minds of Trekkies on an scientific and imaginative level, while at the same time providing great entertainment with a solid story line for the average movie goer. And oh yes, the special effects were something else. The movie left you inspired. I think this is where I believe Abbrams truly went “Where No Man Has Gone Before” (yes, I said it). He managed to bring the universe of the Trekkie into the same dimension as the universe of the average movie goer, while introducing the Star Trek franchise to a whole new generation. What a win at the box office and now he just has to keep the momentum going with “Into Darkness”.
Looking ahead, if I was to guess as to what we will see in this latest movie to hit the big screen…We will see the ‘maverick’ in Captain Kirk, which was evident in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (although this movie will be done much better…fingers crossed) Christopher Lloyd should always be remembered as Doc Brown from Back to the Future and not a Klingon… shudder. And we will see the internal conflict, which has made for a great recipe for the movies described above and many, many other films. And finally we will see some great special effects, which will live up to the high expectations of summer movie-goers. If it doesn’t, the late Gene Roddenberry would be ashamed. Except he’s dead, so he’s probably fine.
What do you think of J.J. Abram’s latest? Let me know @GoodFilmHunting.