Wednesday, 6 May 2009


Ok, I just wanted to quickly jot down some of my thoughts regarding the new Star Trek film before I actually see it later today (I may do a follow-up post once I have actually seen the thing).

Firstly, I imagine that, judged purely on its own merits, this new film is going to be a great success indeed. I can see it being a slick, exciting and fun example of action-scifi-blockbuster fare.

However, my main issue with the film lies more at the conceptual level. In that respect, this film kind of reminds me of Gus Van Sant's Psycho: it's a perfectly good film, as far as films go, when judged on its own merits, but the real headscratcher is why the film even exists at all. Who the hell thought that the world desperately needed a remake of Hitchcock's Psycho?

Indeed, whilst a bold, new direction was very much needed in order to bring life and public interest back to the Star Trek franchise, I do wonder about the wisdom behind harking back to the franchise's Kirk-and-Spock origins, which almost seems to ask us to imagine this film in the same vein as other classic-TV-show-reimagined-as-modern-film releases of the last several years. Is that what Star Trek needs, not a Grace Park Battlestar Galactica but a Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson Starsky and Hutch?

Ok, that was perhaps an unfair comparison, I admit, but my main point remains: what does it say about the future of the franchise that the only way to bring it forward is by looking back, by fetishising the past? Is this 'reinvention' really just a way to sell us on old ideas a second time around? Will we be seeing Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Next Generation twenty years from now when the whole thing goes full circle?

Still, I see that sacrifices have to have been made in order for the money-men behind all of this to have even signed off on making this new film. The thing does have to be saleable, after all. But still, that worry is there: can this new direction actually bear interesting fruit in years to come (they're already working on Star Trek 2, you know) or will the whole thing prove to be a shiny-but-shallow excercise in wistful nostalgia taken to infinite regress?

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