A Conversation for Ask h2g2

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 1


smiley - space
Now that we have two, we can compare and contrast.

I loved the first one.
I wept.
It abolished all my fears that we would have to live without any new versions of the Roddenburys' vision.
It was sensitive. It was action. It was techno. The music was old yet new.

The second one was good too smiley - smiley but nothing like the other one.

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 2

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

I didn't watch the first one because I didn't like at all what I saw in thetrailers.

I watched the second one last week and it was a good movie. But it was not really Star Trek. I think they did a good job with the characters, even their looks fitted to the old characters I think. But for me... I would have liked to see a lot more Klingons (in this case, fitting to the story). For me it was too Earth-centric.

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 3


Abrams' stated aim was to make a movie first and foremost for people who weren't Trek fans - specifically people who hadn't even seen the first of HIS Trek films, much less the other ten (!).

I think he did a great job. It satisfied this Trekkie.

My only wish is that they do more with McCoy. There's a couple of reasons for this. First of all, Karl Urban is fanTAStic in the part. Second - the Trek movies so far have been all about the bromance between Kirk and Spock. It's very much focussed on just those two guys and their interplay. There was a moment, briefly, on the bridge, where McCoy joined in the conversation, and there I was left wanting more...

Because the old series was always a three hander - there was Kirk, there was Spock, and there was McCoy. Spock and McCoy were the angels on Kirk's shoulders - one counselling logic, the other emotion. Kirk's role was to balance those two competing impulses - to be the ego to their superego and id, if you want to get all Freudian on yo ass.

There are glimpses of that possibility in the latest film, but glimpses only, which is a shame. I hope they do more of it in the third film, because when you bring McCoy into the Kirk/Spock dynamic, that's when it really, really shines.

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 4

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

I absolutely agree.

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 5


smiley - space
Hmmm the Spock, Kirk, McCoy dynamic - interesting.

I think McCoy - Kirk interaction in the first film was excellent and in this second one, lacking. The humor of that first film's scene where McCoy is infecting Kirk with the virus to make him sick enough (?!) to get to go on the Enterprise is Priceless! Priceless! I felt JJ actually brought out the potential that had always been lurking in that relationship!

In fact, it seemed that most interaction was not developed that much in this one, that JJ didn't seem to find the time to develop anything in this one. Just good action, but the social interaction is important too and is what made the first one truely Outstanding.

There was some funny stuff in this one but even Kirk didn't really shine as the old Kirk like he did in the first one.
Everyone seemed kind of ...tired. Maybe it was all the fame and parties after the first one. Or everyone in the real world noticing them and wanting to shake their hands and thank them for the first one - that distracted JJ or something.

It just seems Kirk and Spock were less grand in this one, less glamorous, I don't know, just not such tightly controlled scenes in this one. Less honed? Less tweaked? I don't know

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 6

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

Both of you have made me find out what one of my problems are with this film. Why it wasn't really as good as it could have been.

In all the Star Trek series there is always one character who is not human and questions the human mind and the humans' actions. If you know what I mean. In the original series this is Spok. In Next Gen the role is fulfilled by Data, not sure about DS9, in Voyager it's clearly seven and in the newest one it's T'Pol (sp?).

In this movie Spock did not fulfill this role. Yes, he was the one who reminded Kirk of the rules etc, but still I think he was too human in a way.

Does that make sense?

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 7


Oh Tavaron, you are really missing something by not seeing JJ's first Star Trek!
The most beautiful love scene I have ever seen is in the beginning of that movie.
And the surprises all through the film, the technology, Spock's ship is to die for, the aliens,
the timing, the character development, the humor, the detail in every. single. character.
every. single. character. And all the main players are Perfect. Perfect.

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 8


And yes, Spock wasn't so Spocky in the second one. In the first one he is so young and
his character is so beautifully defined.

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 9

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

smiley - cheers Guess I'll have to find the first one on DVD.

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 10


Tav in DS9 it's Odo and, to a lesser degree, the Prophets.

It's hard to fault Hoo's analysis. I don't really blame them for emphasising Spock's role (to the degree I'd say he was the lead in Into Darkness) because Zachary Quinto is a *fantastic* actor. There were a couple of scenes in the new one where you could almost believe you were watching a young Leonard Nimoy, without it ever feeling like Quinto was doing a mere impression. It's an impressive feat and it's one the entire cast pull off in both films: Sulu in Into Darkness was a particular delight.

For me the Abrams feel much closer to the original series than the newer ones I'm more familiar with and I think that's the right choice (not just because of the cast). My particular favourite was DS9, I liked its depth and darkness, but films are never going to be able to recreate that, there's just not enough time.

The only thing that makes me pause is it seems a little average: trying to see it from a non-fans perspective I'm not sure I can pull out anything truly stand-out. In a way that's flattery by imitation: the Star Trek series was one of the first to do big-budget, big idea sci-fi and it created a path for others to follow. The reboots don't really have a choice but to follow and look somewhat generic.

There are specific criticisms you can make: JJ Abrams uses far too much lens flare (not looking forward to lightsabers with lens flare), he telegraphs his punches something awful and, as a nerd, I feel he plays too fast and loose with the universe's science. They are relatively minior issues though and don't detract from two highly enjoyable films that manage to both pay tribute to the original and expand the universe.

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 11

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

You are right of course, Odo, and I forgot in Voyager it's of course also the Doctor.

I've got to say that I've never been a huge fan of the old Star Trek series. Picard is much closer to me than Kirk and yes, DS9 was great. I also liked Voyager, even if people say it wasn't good. But you are absolutely right in what you say about Star Trek creating a path for others and all that.

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 12


Well I loved it, just like I did the 'first' one.

However, I think Hoo has it pretty well there for me too.

Two buts though...


The Spock-Uhuru thing is overplayed. In the original series - maybe my memory is fading - but there was a *bit* of that. Yes I know Sock-Uhuru was the first on-screen interracial kiss on US TV and I think -well - they're over playing it. Spock is too emotional in these new films for my tastes and there wasn't this 3-series long epic love affair between them as these films seem to be implying . Brilliantly as Sylar is playing him (sorry, he's still Sylar to me smiley - winkeye)


I just don't like Simon Pegg's Scotty. I may be alone in this but it smacks too much of him doing a Canadian playing a Scotsman. Yes I guess that's what he's doing - but please DON'T!

but... (last one)
Please write a NEW plot. Whilst I was crying with both pleasure at the essential reenactment of the interplay between Spock/Kirk/McCoy (and yes there wasn't enough) and various needs of the many versus needs of the few stuff, really we were watching the Wrath of Khan reboot. I'd love these guys to do a completely new plot I haven't partially seen before. No matter how much I love it.

but... (nobody expects the spanish inquisition)
Why was Khan so bloody English. He was 'eastern' before (well Mexican but y'know) - and with a name like Khan he shouldn't look like he came out of Eton and Magdalene.

Other than that - I was crying with pleasure at many many things - not least the little noises and sound effects that took me all the way back to when were a lad... smiley - ok

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 13


Sock-Uhuru? I think I rather like that smiley - laugh

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 14

Just Bob aka Robert Thompson, plugging my film blog cinemainferno-blog.blogspot.co.uk

I was rather disappointed with this one. My biggest problem was that I couldn't stand Kirk. Yes, he's always been a bit of a headstrong fool, but it stood out much more this time. He seemed to exist entirely on whims, ignoring anything anyone around him said until it suited him. He seemed to treat every single rule or order directed at him as if it were an injunction not to tread on cracks in the pavement. As a captain, a leader of hundreds of people, the personality he displays is absolutely disastrous. I suppose he is meant to be a bit of a counterbalance to Spock's logicality - as people have mentioned McCoy being above - but that's not what I saw.
The first JJ Abrams Star Trek film was described by some as "the best Star Wars smiley - biro film in years", and I mostly agree with that. The second isn't even a particularly good Star Wars film. The key difference, for me, is that Star Wars is essentially an action/adventure franchise, whereas the drama in Star Trek all comes from hard science and moral dilemnas. In STID, the science was absolutely beyond comical and moral dilemnas are just barrelled through in a fit of raw emotion. Even in the original Kirk/Spock series - and far more in TNG and onward - we would often see decisions of this kind, taken sometimes swiftly but always deliberately, and usually see the consequences played out for good and ill. In STID, it's "and of course, he was right" every time.


Then there are the timeline and plot gaffes. Everything is concertinaed in the time it takes. When they get stranded, it is stated that they are only about 20 minutes from the Klingon homeworld but, later on, we are told that they are on the edge of the Demilitarized Zone. That narrow a buffer zone is totally useless in military terms, surely? And a bit later on, Scotty says he has only been off the Enterprise for one day! That means the Klingons could legally build a huge fleet well inside their own space, and be in orbit around Earth with weapons trained before any potential defence force are out of their pyjamas! It's all appallingly thought out.
The parallels to the old 'Wrath of Khan' story are poorly implemented too. If it had been done well, it would have shown us a familiar story from an unfamiliar angle, and thus brought something new to it. Instead, it only came as a dumb rehash. The denouement to it all with the regenerative blood was simply awful, and was so obviously set up that it leeched out all of the drama that permeated the situation in the original.
Also, the Leonard Nimoy cameo was utterly pointless and cringemakingly shoe-horned in.

Having said that, there are good things. Benedict Cumberbatch was as brilliant as in everything else I have seen him in. Alice Eve is smiley - drool. The plot, although it doesn't stand up to a moment's thought, is snappy and compelling. The script is very witty and enjoyable. And, there is the consolation that in the midst of all the screw-ups, at least they didn't do any permanent harm with irrevocable plot points. Maybe, with Abrams' attention soon to be focused elsewhere, they will let someone else have a crack at it and bring soem new tricks to the party...

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 15

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

I saw the first one, but haven't had a chance to see this new one. It opens today in my area. I've seen Chris Pine in a few other movies, and have been impressed with his range. Simon Pegg is always great, and I'm always eager to see Anton Yelchin in any new movies. He has been criticized for some word choices in the previous movie. The new Spock [can't remember his name] seems eerily like Leonard Nimoy. smiley - smiley

I'll get back to this thread after I see the new movie.

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 16


Zachary Quinto = Spock smiley - smiley

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 17

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

Thanks, Orcus. smiley - smiley

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 18


It would also be an excellent score in Scrabble smiley - bigeyes

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 19

~ jwf ~ scribblo ergo sum

JJ was on the Colbert show recently and admitted
he didn't like or watch the original series until
he was assigned the task of creating the new film.
But he was always a big Star Wars fan from the get-go.

Pressed by Colbert he analysed his reaction as being
one of youthful interest; in that Trek was all philosophy
and morality and relationships in a low-budget, dialog-rich,
TV space-western way, while Wars was action/adventure
in a big-screen, war-story, SFX/CGI sorta way.

Little wonder then that the new Treks suffer in terms of
social, moral, philosophical and character interactions.

Yes, people are boring, emotionally needy, complex and
unpredictable but shooting a small bomb down a vent-hole
in a moon-sized death star is just a matter of ballistic
variables being left to something called 'Force'.

smiley - aliensmile

JJ Abrams and his Star Treks

Post 20

Sho - with added slapping hand

I've always thought that one of the reasons that Kirk is good is that he does everything from his gut instincts/feelings. And as Hoo said, Kirk & McCoy are supposed to sit on his shoulders and temper that, or at least offer choices and point out exactly why he's wrong.

I read once that the original Trek was based on being Hornblower in Space. Kirk, like Hornblower, is part of a massive organisation, but is always separated from them (the 5 year mission) and has to rely on his wits and knowledge and gut feelings to get himself and his crew out of scrapes etc. In that respect the new film works pretty well.

I loved it though, and I don't care about rubbishy bits of plot holes when it comes to films like this. But oh boy, I absolutely can't wait to see it in English because I'm not used to the vocabulary in German.

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