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I’ve just bumped onto this:

A New Direction for 'Star Trek'

by Matt McDaniel

Director J.J. Abrams put himself in a perilous position when he agreed to direct a new movie version of "Star Trek." On one side, he had the fans. They had embraced a short-lived science fiction television show from the 1960s and, through sheer affection and determination, turned it into a worldwide institution. But in addition to being fiercely loyal, Trekkies can be finicky (for example, if you call them that, rather than "Trekkers"). The television shows, movies, books, graphic novels and video games have weaved together a dense history, or canon, and the hardcore fans reject any attempt to violate the already established continuity.

On the other side of the equation, Abrams had a public that had grown increasingly disinterested in the "Trek" universe. The last movie, 2002's "Star Trek: Nemesis," was the least successful of the 10-film series, bringing in only $43 million in the U.S. And with the cancellation of "Star Trek: Enterprise" in 2005, TV screens were without an ongoing series for the first time in nearly 20 years.

For Abrams and screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (who also wrote "Transformers"), the goal was to find that elusive middle ground that would bring a mass audience to "Star Trek" without offending the faithful. And it was a big bet, too, with a budget estimated at $150 million -- about one-and-a-half times the gross of the most successful of the previous films. So to create a blockbuster from the franchise that had basically defined the term "cult classic," the creators of this new movie knew they had to shake up the formula of what went into a "Trek" movie. Here are five things they did differently than previous "Star Trek" adventures.

1. Start at the Beginning

The first episode of "Star Trek" that aired on TV already had the chain of command aboard the USS Enterprise pretty well established. Kirk was captain, Spock was his number two, and their friendship was already firm. The writers decided that the untold story of how the crew came together could not only show fans something they haven't seen before, but give audiences who were unfamiliar with "Trek" a fresh starting point.

2. Skew younger

William Shatner was 35 years old when he first sat in the captain's chair on the original series. But that made him 48 when he returned to the role in the first movie, and 63 during his final appearance in "Star Trek: Generations." Chris Pine, the new Captain Kirk, is only 28. Along with the other younger actors (except for John Cho, who is actually older than George Takei was when he first played Sulu), this cast brings a freshness and vitality that the movies never had.

Star Trek

3. Pick up the pace

Following the pattern of the original show, the "Trek" movies often had long stretches of dialogue and discussion between action scenes. In fact, the first movie was derisively called "Star Trek: The Slow-Motion Picture" by some critics. Abrams says that as a kid he was more a fan of "Star Wars," and he credits the faster and more intense tempo of that series as the reason. So for his version, he has taken the space battles, fist fights, and even slapstick moments that have been part of "Trek" from the beginning, but speeds them up and packs them together to make his film a more thrilling ride.

Star Trek

4. Update the look

For the new film, the exterior of the Enterprise looks very familiar, albeit rendered in the most advanced digital special effects available. But inside, everything has been updated. From the bridge to the engine room, the ship is bright, sleek, and modern. The transporter and the viewscreen have been enhanced (though many of the classic sound effects can still be heard). Moreover, the visual texture of the movie is different. The camera sweeps and shakes to create a greater sense of immediacy, putting you right in the action.

5. Break away from the past

With all these changes, it seemed like Abrams and company were setting themselves up to be hated by the original fans. But with a bit of storytelling sleight-of-hand, they've been able to chart their own course without violating the series' long and well-documented history. How? The same way Kirk and Spock saved the Earth in "Star Trek IV" -- time travel. When the Romulan villain Nero, played by Eric Bana, is accidentally thrust backwards in time, he resets the past. By shifting the course of time, events play out in new and unexpected ways. Rather than the standard prequel, where the audience knows how the story turns out, this movie creates its own history without violating the established one the fans have loved.

What's important to note, though, is one element from Gene Roddenberry's original creation that still carries through into J.J. Abrams' new vision. And that is a sense of optimism for the future. So many science fiction epics take place in dystopian wastelands where technology only leads to destruction. "Star Trek" envisions a better outcome for humanity, where the Earth has united to explore the final frontier. And that's a dream that is as important to embrace and celebrate now as it's ever been.

http://movies.yahoo.com/feature/need-to-know-star-trek-new-direction.html

And I pretty much think that in one way or the other all of these can be done, in a kind of totally fictional, never-going-to-happen universe, which annoys the hell out of some fans around here with its “what if” scenarios. Probably many would object to “Skew younger” part and some might not see how “Start at the Beginning” might apply (perhaps the new beginning might be a gradual introducting of a new family and a shift in stories from some of the current, worn out veterans to new ones... something Lemay e.g. did in the 70s — killing Steve Frame off, killing the matriarch etc. and introducing Iris, reinventing Rachel and inventing Steve Frame’s never before seen family from rural US).

Furthermore, I’m sure there are tons of articles on other successful re-inventions (Batman, James Bond, Superman...).

Just thought some might be interested. Keep it civilised if possible at all.

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And remember that, at least in some people’s view, Star Trek was:

But hang on. This is Star Trek, right? The tinpot space opera from, like, the Sixties, with the bad actors and the wobbly sets and the portentous ideas above its station? The one that was cancelled by its own network after three seasons in 1969 and relaunched as a movie franchise ten years later only by applying some sturdy corsets to its ageing cast and capitalising on the success of the much more exciting Star Wars? The Star Trek beloved only of sexless academics and sad white suburban males with few social skills and poor hygiene, tramping off to endless conventions dressed as Klingons and Romulans?

Several parallels with soaps.

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I tend to prefer the Russell Davies method of revival. He loved Doctor Who and took much of the show's best while getting rid of some of the worst. He revived a show that had not been anything mainstream in about 25 years, and made it into one of the hottest shows on British TV, home to several popular spinoffs.

Abrams doesn't care about Trek, and much of the praise for the film seems to be some weird undertone that we should applaud his genius because he deigns to lower himself to work on a Trek film. It's based on him, not on the actual Trek name (unless open contempt towards the name counts), and hyping something based solely on the producer or director's name can have very short-term benefits.

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Abrams doesn't care about Trek, and much of the praise for the film seems to be some weird undertone that we should applaud his genius because he deigns to lower himself to work on a Trek film. It's based on him, not on the actual Trek name, and hyping something based solely on the producer or director's name can have very short-term benefits.

I totally agree.

Abrams = overrated and Zzzzzzzzz.

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I'm not sure why JJ's getting all this hype. He's doing a prequel that (hopefully) respects what's established. Any fan of any show (not just a Trekker or a soap fan) hates when the history of that show is ignored.

Getting to play with bigger better special effects? Hardly revolutionary. Even doing a prequal has been done before. It's not reinventing the wheel.

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I tend to prefer the Russell Davies method of revival. He loved Doctor Who and took much of the show's best while getting rid of some of the worst. He revived a show that had not been anything mainstream in about 25 years, and made it into one of the hottest shows on British TV, home to several popular spinoffs.

And then came Steven Moffat who obliterated him into oblivion and showed how Russell T. Davies had only one hit. If that. Russell’s pretty much done.

Abrams doesn't care about Trek, and much of the praise for the film seems to be some weird undertone that we should applaud his genius because he deigns to lower himself to work on a Trek film. It's based on him, not on the actual Trek name (unless open contempt towards the name counts), and hyping something based solely on the producer or director's name can have very short-term benefits.

I’ve never heard of the undertone. And I’m actually not at all interested in Star Trek and its incarnations, I find it possibly the worst show on Earth ever, just awful. The only thing I’m interested in is how Abrams is playing with various stuff. What matters is that he makes things clever and commercially successful. Which is what soaps need (not to be dumb as hell and producing no revenue).

And BTW this is not a thread about J. J. Abrams, his life and works.

I knew Alvin doesn’t like him, that’s not surprising at all. :P

Once again: not a J. J. Abrams thread.

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I'm not sure why JJ's getting all this hype. He's doing a prequel that (hopefully) respects what's established. Any fan of any show (not just a Trekker or a soap fan) hates when the history of that show is ignored.

Getting to play with bigger better special effects? Hardly revolutionary. Even doing a prequal has been done before. It's not reinventing the wheel.

:unsure: Did you even read this whole thing? :blink:

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And then came Steven Moffat who obliterated him into oblivion and showed how Russell T. Davies had only one hit. If that. Russell’s pretty much done.

I can't say he obliterated Russell, because the one hit Russell had was bringing back a show that had been written off long ago, and making it a powerhouse again. I still give him credit for reviving a dormant and often mocked show, which is in line with what your thread is about.

The only thing I’m interested in is how Abrams is playing with various stuff.

That's part of why I think pushing a revival based solely on the name of the director or producer is a bad idea. People are interested in him, not in what he creates, so when he goes, or when he starts to make mistakes, then the show or the film will fall apart.

I like Star Trek, or at least what Star Trek used to be before Braga and the other guy, so a lot of the writeups I've seen for the film over the past year, which usually amount to, "Isn't this old fossil so lucky that hip JJ Abrams/hip Sylar from Heroes are around to prop them up", don't fill me with confidence.

Star Trek, like soaps, have a long history, some good, some bad. If Star Trek, or soaps, are treated like refuse to be saved by the latest golden girl or golden boy, then the product itself will never find an audience. It's just the movie version of Guza, or Sheffer, or a slew of other past and present headwriters.

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You know me too well. ;)

I've never been particularly interested in anything he's done, and I've given his work many chances to impress me, and I'm never satisfied.

Simply put, he just doesn’t write your type of shows. I mean, sure, his shows have relationships and all about them, but it’s in a totally different style from those Herskovitz and Zwick shows you like.

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:unsure: Did you even read this whole thing? :blink:

YES, as a matter of fact I did. And the soaps have been tweaking their formulas for years. In fact, some might even say "overtweaking" and driving off their fans.

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Steven Moffat is expert at writing the exact same story, with a few variations (I still can't get over how by the numbers his last story was -- poor Alex Kingston, running around in that floaty white gown and reading bedtime stories). Mary Sue, scare word/catchphrase of the week, doomed love for the Doctor, rinse and repeat. Moffat does have talent when he applies himself. I can't say he obliterated Russell, because the one hit Russell had was bringing back a show that had been written off long ago, and making it a powerhouse again. He did show his severe limitations as a writer as the show went on, but I still give him credit for reviving a dormant and often mocked show, which is in line with what your thread is about.

Russell is just awful and Doctor Who, for me anyways, kind of sucked every since he brought it back. Until Moffat came. All those awful sets, those crappy effects, that terrible photography, then those scripts and stories... Russell is, and not J. J. Abrams, precisely the example of people hyping someon.

That's part of why I think pushing a revival based solely on the name of the director or producer is a bad idea. People are interested in him, not in what he creates, so when he goes, or when he starts to make mistakes, then the show or the film will fall apart. I don't care about JJ Abrams, whom I remember mostly for putting Jennifer Garner in lots of bad wigs and allowing Lost to fall apart after one season.

But yes, I am exactly interested in how he creates. I.e. how he takes something and re-creates it. That's what I'm saying.

And the wigs is a terrible reduction of a show. Plus, later on he wasn't the show runner. Which is also true for Lost: he wrote the bible, co-wrote the pilot and then left. So pretty much ever since season 1 Damon Lindelof later joined by Carlton Cuse ran that show And not J. J. Abrams, which now doesn't even know what's going on in there. Abrams was sometimes consulted. Later invented the Hatch. But he didn't craft the arcs.

And yes, the show didn't fall apart. :D

I like Star Trek, or at least what Star Trek used to be before Braga and the other guy, so a lot of the writeups I've seen for the film over the past year, which usually amount to, "Isn't this old fossil so lucky that hip JJ Abrams/hip Sylar from Heroes are around to prop them up", don't fill me with confidence.

Awful show in every possible way. And a cheap rip-off, too.

If Star Trek, or soaps, are treated like refuse to be saved by the latest golden girl or golden boy, then the product itself will never find an audience. It's just the movie version of Guza, or Sheffer, or a slew of other past and present headwriters.

Wow, dear Lord... :huh: No one's talking about refuse, golden girls or boys... You people all fail to talk about those 5 points. What's a movie version of Guza? :mellow:

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