From a reader:
I had high hopes for this flick, but I think it’s gonna be sucktacular. Abrams apparently has no real idea about the original series’ history. In the series, when they went to the gangster planet, Kirk had trouble driving a car because he’d never been in one before. And yet now he’s driving a corvette like a 12 year old Mario Andretti? Viewers over on Slashdot picked the trailer apart, and I think for longtime Trek fans, this ain’t gonna be pretty. They’ve started calling the movie “Star Trek Babies”. It looks more like Star Trek 90210 to me.
Rather than return to the Interplanetary Horatio Hornblower-stylings that drove the best of the original series, and rather than imbue it with the gritty seriousness of Nolan’s Batman movies, it appears as if it’s borrowed a few of the surface trappings of the old series and reimagined Star Trek as little more than another J.J. Abrams production. Kirk is a self-conflicted hothead hunk who gets in power struggles with the other dominant male, the cold and calculating alien Spock, as both wrestle with their upbringings and seek a measure of self-definition. No doubt there’ll be some Big Question that will drive the narrative but won’t be satisfyingly resolved. Sound familiar? Yes, it looks like Abrams has given us ‘Lost’ in Space, or Felicity: Starfleet Academy. Take your pick; whatever it is, though, it’s not Trek.
That may not be the worst thing in the world, but as a Trek fan, I do find it frustrating. Anyone who’s ever seen an Abrams production knows his routine, and knows how simultaneously gripping and infuriating it is. Lost, probably his best work, is a delightfully shallow series — a very clever tease, but not much more. I even enjoyed Mission: Impossible III — though again, it’s a movie built entirely on gimmicks and surface thrills. Of course, maybe you can expect from a guy whose storytelling philosophy can essentially be summed up as “tantalize people with a shiny box — and never tell them what’s in it.” Abrams deserves some credit for genuinely trying to engage his audiences, if in an almost exclusively superficial manner, and there’s a place for his brand of string-the-viewer-along entertainment, but I really don’t think that place is on the Enterprise.
Cue Brad Pitt: “What’s in the box!?!”
More seriously, I’ll chime in on the Trek issue tomorrow hopeully.
Update: A reader corrects me, this is the relevant “What’s in the box?” reference.