Saturday, August 19, 2006

News Update

I've been invited to participate on a panel at the 40th anniversary Star Trek convention in Seattle. I'm hoping to be able to make arrangements to do so. It's a pretty exciting prospect.
UPDATE on the update: I will be moderating the panel on Soul of Star Trek: The Prime Directive and Beyond, probably on THE anniversary, Friday, September 8.

You may have read the depressing quotes purported to come from a Paramount executive, pretty much dissing Star Trek fans for abandoning "Enterprise" and "Nemesis," and stating that the new Trek movie will be a complete reboot of the original series. If fans like it, fine, but basically they're going for a totally new audience, the kind that watches "Lost."

I can't imagine J.J. Abrams could be happy about such a statement. I haven't seen it denied yet, but I expect it will be, though it remains to be seen how truthful it really is. It does remind me of at least one prior instance, when the people who decided to "reboot" the Lone Ranger went out of their way to distance their project from the original series, to the point of denying its star, Clayton Moore, the right to wear his trademark mask at personal appearances. When I read this statement from a supposed Paramount source, I suddenly remembered an odd detail--that Paramount had refused William Shatner the right to use "Captain Kirk" in the title of the special he did for the History Channel. This supposed source was openly contemptuous of Shatner's statement that he'd been happy to appear in Star Trek XI. Is it possible they are trying to distance Shatner from the character he created?

It's hard to believe they could be that obtuse, but then a certain executive broke up the championship Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan, and so that team became the NBA punching bag for a decade. For Trek, it goes beyond diehard fans. At a time in the 1990s when it was said that half the world's population had never used a telephone, a quarter of it could recognize the face of William Shatner as Captain Kirk. I think that demands a little respect.

Anyway, that Lone Ranger movie failed dismally, and destroyed its own future. How many "reboots" or remakes (as the first story is as a feature film) were really better than the original? I just saw part of Peter Jackson's "King Kong" and it's not even as good as the De Laurentis version, let alone the original.

Does Paramount want a war between the old fans and the new (assuming there are any)? Do they think it will come out like the TOS v. TNG wars, in a story marriage? It's quite a risk. Conflict could stimulate publicity, but how bad blood and wars turn out is anything but certain.

Some Star Trek fans active on Internet discussion boards have been pretty negative and even toxic in the recent past. But that's not the majority. If Paramount succeeds in alienating traditional fans, it may get itself a hit movie anyway. But only one. The whole thing could end up being such a debacle that there will be no Trek XII. They risk the end of Star Trek, except for what fans create.

What follows here is the first in a series creating the context of Star Trek's debut in 1966, and then examining aspects of its legacy and meaning for us now. We begin with the dawn of the space age, which was both exciting and frightening--both aspects important to what Star Trek was and what it is today.


RWA said...

That's sad - and about as ridiculous, to me, as what Michael Mann did with "Miami Vice."

You might as well name it something else if you're going to change everything.

Anonymous said...

It isn't the fans that are bringing down Star Trek, it's Paramount. Paramount doesn't deserve to even have Star Trek anymore!

Anonymous said...

i agree with you for the most part, but you lost me with the king kong comment. jackson's kong was too long and overblown but it was still very well done and was vastly superior to the 70's remake.

Captain Future said...

You may be right about the last two Kongs. I haven't seen the 70s version in awhile but I recall liking its pretentious energy, and Jessica Lang's debut. To me Jackson's remake is lifeless and as you say overblown. But I haven't had the patience to see the whole thing yet. Still, neither is as good as the original, especially the restored complete version now on DVD.

Anonymous said...

Hey congrats on being selected for that panel Captain Future. I would love to do that someday. Mind if I ask how/why you were selected or how they go about choosing people? Thanks

Anonymous said...

I think Paramount IS looking to distance itself from the past 40 years of Star Trek.

While I know this isn't 100% related, anyone who registered with Christie's auction coming up in October, can see from the lots that they are auctioning off, that Paramount really wants to get rid of EVERYTHING that isn't already part of the Star Trek Experience exhibit in Vegas.

Every prop, set dressing, costume and model imaginable are part of this auction. In sharp contrast to what Paramount is doing, take for example George Lucas - he keeps EVERYTHING from all of his movies archived and preserved. Paramount is letting the models of NCC 1701-A, NCC 1701-D, NCC 1701-E, Deep Space Nine and Voyager walk out the door to the highest bidder.

While it's a great time to be a fan w/money and the ability to try to get a piece of the past 40 years, these are not exactly the actions of a studio that feels ANYTHING that was created in those past 40 years is even remotely valid or important to how it tells stories set in that same future on an ongoing basis.