Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Captain's Log: Khan-founded

Work on the script for the next Star Trek JJA movie begins soon, and the JJA folks say they are considering re-telling stories told in the Roddenberry universe, including revisiting Khan, but with different results.

Really? Apart from returning to a demented villain bent on revenge because his wife was killed (which they already did in Star Trek JJA), it seems retarded to me. Do they really want to make a movie that requires so many "re" words to report on?

It certainly would fit in well with current Hollywood orthodoxy. Just about all major movies--including, and maybe even especially, science fiction movies--are sequels, reboots or derived from TV shows, comics and blockbuster books. They come pre-branded and pre-sold, and even with an established core fan base. It's a small step from appropriating the iconic characters and universe to absorbing and tweaking old stories. Reboots of Spiderman and Batman revisit old villains, sometimes repeatedly. And it's so po-mo and hip, when even Jane Austen has generated stories that cannabalize hers, even overtly mocking the author's writing while sucking its blood.

But Star Trek didn't start out as Hollywood orthodoxy. It was about discovering new worlds. Whatever happened to "to boldly go"? Sure, new stories are risky, but a certain starship captain once asserted that "risk is our business." Even when it failed in other respects, Star Trek persistently tried to explore new worlds of meaning. It was about the wonder of new possibilities, not just new visuals effects. In its subtext it was about our changing world, and a different way of seeing the important currents moving in it, determining our future.

There's a word that seems to fit the tendency to re-do the familiar but bigger, faster and with more inflated hoopla surrounding it: decadence. It looks like splendor, but it smells like decay. I would hate to see Star Trek succumb to this.

In other Trek matters, two pieces of scholarship caught my eye: this piece by Harry Barber about scenes dropped from Star Trek JJA at some point in the process, and a TrekWeb edited analysis by Bill Williams of the evolution of Star Trek: Generations.


kimm said...

i m big fan of star trek tv show and it always fascinates me as i always want to become a astronaut just want to swim in the universe. this sci fi series is just great and i never miss to Watch Star Trek just loved this show and also waiting to watch movie of this series

Bureks said...

I hope as well that more exploration will be shown in sequels. It is going to be fun to see cut-out scenes on DVD once it is released....

D. Walker said...

If you think that Khan is all about someone striking back due to a lost loved one or wife then you missed the original TV episode it was called "Space Seed". The point was that the search for few to hold power over many can change times and peoples, it can be sought by the brutal and political , but in the the end it is sought, and that eventhough man kind is very imperfect we will eventually fight to over throw such imperialisim. The star trek universe is built on two main principles 1) Freindship as long as one particular Human and one particular Vulcan are the united of purpose there is no wrong that can not be overcome and 2) The nature of this particular Human is to take an almost certain chance for death and turn it into a fighting chance for life, to somehow , someway win all "un-winable" scenarios. This is why JJA Star Trek is inline with Gene Roddenberry's central vision. keep it up JJA you are breathing new life into what I love the most amazing possiblities of the future.