Sure there’s a fair amount of good buzz for the movie so far, but at least among Trekkies, Abrams seems like he’s going to piss a lot of people off by not following canon exactly. As far as I’m concerned, the canon can go screw itself if it would have prevented the bad-assery seen in the trailer. There’s a lot to like, even for a self-proclaimed Star Trek fan like myself, so let’s go through just a few reasons why anyone bitching over the trailer is a pointless pursuit.
It’s a two minute trailer. Chill.
At this point in the build-up to May 8, 2009, it’s pretty ludicrous to sharply criticize a two minute trailer for having no plot and too much action. By watching this little two minute video here on youtube, you’re able to deduce that the entirety of the probably two hour movie will be nothing but explosions and hot young actors with nearly zero plot and no characters and ideas? If we had gone by your instincts nobody would have showed up to The Dark Knight, the first trailer of which only showed the Batman symbol and a few people talking. Because as we all know, the very first trailer that comes out of any movie is always enough to judge the movie itself on, regardless of how long the trailer is. Now I’ll raise my eyebrow and tell you to give me break.
But TOS was an amazing show! This movie will just rape it!
No, no raping will be going on. “The Original Star Trek was about ideas and deep thoughts, this one will be just be flash whiz-bang with no heart at all, a pathetic attempt to capitulate to the demands of an ADD society only longing for the next hot star or big explosion.” People who state this obviously have never seen an episode of the original Trek, because while some episodes, like ‘The Menagerie’, still stand tall as great achievements in filmmaking by today’s standards, others clearly don’t. Like any other TV show in history, Trek had its slumps and gimmicks. Only occasionally did they delve into a deeper philosophical conversation. For the most part it was just a character-driven space opera that could very often get quite silly and ridiculous, and sometimes just outright bad. The same goes for the rest of the series, too, and especially the movies. The pedestal that TOS has been put on is a result of how much influence it has had – but we must not let Trek revisionists attempt to make us forget how sometimes laughably awful the original series was. Do you think Kirk was always playing chess or Monopoly with those green alien women? These same Trek revisionists are also those who cry foul when canon is infringed, as if they had been physically burned. But though there is something to be said for following canon, there’s also merit in deviating from it.
He’s Kirk. Not Jesus.
There I said it. The characters and script in Star Trek are in desperate need of a change. How many more times can the Klingons hide from the Federation ships behind those cloaking devices? How many more times can Kirk get pretty pissed at Klingons? And yes, I know that the defense is to start afresh and anew with a brand spankin new crew and ship, and thus that will remedy all the problems, right? Or more importantly, if I hear “shields at so-and-so percent” one more time, I will scream. Much of Star Trek was cool because of the time period it was in – these are the 2000’s, it’s about time that Trek went through a little upgrade. It’s also just simply practical. We’ve had great leaps and bounds in technology since the original show came out, leaps and bounds that many of Star Trek’s creators, of course, couldn’t and didn’t foresee. So why should we have to stick with outdated 60’s ideas of what 23rd century technology would be like? Let’s upgrade it a little – there would be absolutely no point in having Uhura stare at a static screen and press large cardboard buttons when someone in today’s day and age could touch the actual screen and do cool stuff on the very phone in their pocket. When the new iphone has faster and cooler-looking technology than anything on the Enterprise, you know something’s got to change. And then, of course, there’s all the character continuity that people are disgruntled about, as in the trailer makes it look like they’re all going to be starting on the ship together at the same time, which isn’t how it happened in Trek history. Once again, “history” is all very fine and good, but once you start to go with history over what could potentially make the series better, your priorities are a little screwed up. There’s nothing inherently wrong with starting afresh, in any case – for example, we could easily foresee holodeck like simulations, potentially, within the next two hundred years, so why would they not have it in the 23rd century?
And everything else.
The problem with the Trekkies is that they falsely assume that because something happens to be old and established you can’t mess around with it – but that’s what the beauty of a universe like Trek’s is – you can do so many dozens of different thing with it; hundreds, even, thousands, and it’s always been creatively stifled in the past because it’s had to remain within these tight confines of some dude in the 60’s idea of how technology would work three hundred years in the future. There’s a reason Insurrection, Nemesis, and Enterprise were both critical and box office failures– they were 90’s entertainment in a ’00 world, relics that couldn’t really speak the language of today and still get by. Trekkies? If you want your beloved Star Trek to survive, it’s got to evolve too – you can’t stubbornly keep it locked away in this dusty cabinet where creativity has effectively run dry. It needs a boost, a jolt, and Abrams’ version looks to be like just the jolt the series will need. Stop living the 20th century’s version of the 23rd century.