We have debated this countless times in our store….almost having fist fights concluding with little boys crouched sucking their thumbs in a fetal position. I have found this great article by Damon Wellner at Probot Productions.
Am I the only one who isn’t buying this Star Trek “out-prequeled” Star Wars BS or what?
I had a great time watching the new Star Trek movie. Love the cast. Great visuals and fast pacing that kept me fully entertained the whole time.
However, it was no Phantom Menace.
It’s been ten years since George Lucas first turned back the clock and showed us how it all began. The anticipation for that film was unlike anything before or since. Because people had impossible expectations, people overreacted to the relatively few flaws that the film has, and the public quickly turned against it. But time has shown Darth Maul to be a classic badass villain and I’ll bet that ten years from now the name Nero won’t be on anyone’s list of great villains. Ricardo Montalbán he aint. The Phantom Menace gets unfairly judged in my opinion because it was so over-hyped, when it should have been compared to the 4th film in any other series, like Halloween 4 or Jaws 4, as in FOR FANS ONLY, and don’t expect too much.
The new Star Trek movie was admittedly a fun movie, but NOT better than the worst of the 6 Star Wars films. Oh, there are several reasons why it’s getting better received, but it boils down to one thing, and it’s all there in the core message of the film: Cheating is okay. In Hollywood everyone knows that’s a fact, but no one knows it better than JJ Abrams. There are a million tricks in storytelling to tugging audiences emotions around and JJ Abrams is a master at the craft. They do it on Lost every week. There is a lot of talent in his work, but also a lot of emotional manipulation to get audiences to feel the way he wants, then jerk them in the other direction for a while. I grew tired of it on Lost and stopped tuning in a while back.
The reason this new film is a cheat is that it’s not a prequel at all. It’s a RE-quel. Die hard Trekkies probably hate this film because it’s actually a betrayal of the original story.
Alternate reality? Easy answer I say. The use of this plot device reminds me of the new Terminator film and TV show taking that story in 2 different directions. Exploiting a loophole in space/time and script writing, Abrams cheats his way out of every criticism, and I commend his honesty at least. He made “cheating” the theme of the film.
But imagine if Lucas had done the same thing? What if C-3P0 had appeared in Phantom Menace saying he was from the future and went into a long, extensively narrated flashback about flying through black holes and new destinies and all that? That easy cheat would have freed Lucas to proceed in any direction he chose, with no need for that little detail of the required closure of actually fitting into the classic timeline. Better yet just fire Lucas and get some young blood in there to make Star Wars “cool” again, right? Some people may have preferred that. But it would have severely disappointed fans and the film would have an even worse reputation than it does, at least in this reality.
The reason everyone is letting Abrams get away with this hijacking of a beloved franchise is that Star Trek has always had much lower standards to live up to. After all it’s just TV. Star Trek only became palatable to me in a few of it’s film incarnations so I am not a Trekkie at all. I just think that this film, while fun to watch, often drifted into territory that felt a lot more like tv to me than film. And that’s fine! Good for Abrams for raising the bar for Star Trek to almost filmic levels of fun. But that’s not even the same league that Lucas is playing in. Visually, The Phantom Menace was absolutely stunning from start to finish, and the cinematography and effects in the Star Wars prequels only got better and better. But there really wasn’t a lot in the new Star Trek that we haven’t seen before in the Star Wars prequels and the new Battlestar Galactica.
I can think of several plot points in this Star Trek film that were lifted directly from the Star Wars saga. The Spock/Leia connection, The planet Vulcan implodes just like Aalderan was destroyed, and for similar storytelling reasons. To send a message to the Galaxy and to punish a single person. Then there is the Snow monsters scene, which starts out referencing Luke’s Wampa attack on Hoth, then switches to a plot point used TWICE in Phantom Menace: The Monster gets eaten by a BIGGER, SCARIER monster! The coming out of warp (hyperspace) into a post battle debris field. Very similar to when The Millennium Falcon comes out of hyperspace into the bown up remnants of Aalderaan. I could continue…
One last reason Star Wars prequels will always be better in my book: NO PRODUCT PLACEMENT. Good to know that Budweiser will still be selling piss beer in the distant future, and that Nokia won’t bother updating their jingle for centuries to come. Can I order another alternate reality please? Admit it. Star Trek still sucks.