Monday, November 19, 2012
The Once and Future Vision
This satirical video from General Grin looks at Star Trek JJA from the perspective of the Star Trek Prime universe. I have to agree with some commentators at Trek Movie that it's maybe five minutes too long, but don't miss the ending even if you skip through. Another commenter assumes that "half the fan base" hates the Abrams movie and its universe. I don't know how accurate that is. But I'm sure there's anxiety, as the wind machine winds up for the second movie of the JJA reign, now officially called Star Trek Into Darkness.
Apart from the perceived disrespect towards the Roddenberry Trek, and the ruptures between the two story universes, there is some sense that the opinion of an early reviewer of the JJA TV series Revolution might be correct: "Revolution is science fiction for people who don’t want to be bothered with any of that tedious thinking stuff that tends to go along with true science fiction, and just want to get to the action." They don't want to see it happen to Star Trek.
There are reasons why it might be, besides the tastes and preferences of the producer/director. In television, Revolution seems to be one of those series that is driven by social media. The plot moves and especially the "character" moves week to week seem to be on the order of what people like to tweet about, or talk about on Facebook, etc. and in comment threads. JJA responds to today's movie universe of international markets of young people, where supposedly action translates better than ideas, and reboots of storied "franchises" have to recur to reflect the changing technologies available to the audience. It's all about image--Blu-Ray, 3D, IMAX, and the technologies depicted as well (any "now" without touchscreens and smartphones is obsolete.) And it's a lot about marketing, with its associated comic books etc.
It may or may not matter that Star Trek invented and excited its own fan base--in some ways, the pioneer of all current fan bases-- with ideas. There were debates over ideas, and applications of what came to be known as "Gene's vision" to contemporary life. (For all they were criticized as superficial, a lot of it is there in the Trekkies docus.) We're apparently in a different part of the cycle.
But there's no sense prejudging Star Trek JJA2. And it is pretty remarkable that a decade after the last Roddeberry-era Star Trek film and 7 years after the last TV show made a new episode, there are still fans, introducing that universe to new generations through DVDs etc. Star Trek online fans are always taking sides over something. Still, there's something melancholy and maybe profound to the ending of this General Grin video.