The Star Trek Films Aren’t Very Star Trek At All
by: Scotty White
The first teaser trailer for the new ‘Star Trek: Beyond’ is out. People lost their mind and not in the cool ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ way. People complained that it wasn’t Star Trek enough, and much like the first two JJ films I tend to agree, but what I should point out that none of the Star Trek films are very ‘Star Treky’ at all anyways. Let’s take a look at the trailer for Beyond.
Get you excited? That rocking Beastie Boys soundtrack pumping great classical musical into the twenty third century. All the action that Justin Lin (Of the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise) can muster. Many people have lamented on what Star Trek Use to be, something that the brass at Paramount doesn’t want to see. In fact in May Ign.com reported that Simon Pegg made changes on the original Beyond script because the studio miight think it was too Star Treky. Studios are looking at Disney and what they are doing with the Marvel films (and I would expect soon with the Star Wars films) trying to decided if they have something in their wheelhouse that can make them that kind of money
In fact that’s how we got “Star Trek the Motion Picture”, after the success of Star Wars in 1977 people were looking around what could be their science fiction hit. Paramount had Star Trek and after the failed attempt at a network they dusted the ashes off of Star Trek Phase II and hammered and wedged it into ‘The Motionless Picture’. I would contend that all the Star Trek films miss what makes Star Trek great . Star Trek is a show about exploration, seeing strange new worlds, seeking out new civilizations and to boldly go where no man (or one) has gone before. So let’s quickly take a look at the six films to see if the core message of the series can be found.
Star Trek The Motion Picture– It’s a Story about out with the old in with the new, a retrofitted Starship Enterprise a new Captain, a bald alien babe, and comfortable pajama like uniforms. Until the trippy part of 2001 A Space Odyssey shows up and forces Kirk to get the ol’ gang back together to go um look at it? I don’t know really I get so bored watching this movie. Admiral Kirk is the only guy to take care of some crazy Alien who turning ships into energon cubes, then replaces the Bald Alien Babe with a probe to talk to everyone and justify her existence. Spock only does the real exploration in this film and it’s trippy like watching Dave Bowman fly through the ship at the end of ‘Close Encounters’.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn– The best film in the series (and one of my favorite movies of all time) still isn’t really good Star Trek. NIcholas Meyer set out to make a Horatio Hornblower movie out in space and he does. It still follows Star Trek TMP’s Kirk’ is the only one to take command of the Enterprise to deal with what is honestly is a personal threat. The only ship that does any exploration is the USS Reliant which is punished for the efforts. Their Captain and First Officer get mind controlling earworms, the crew get abandoned on Ceti ALpha IV, then the ship gets blown up in a firefight with the Enterprise.
Star Trek III; The Search For Spock- So in this heist movie the core crew of the Enterprise minus the guy in the title and the only woman have to steal the Enterprise, sabotage the Excelsior (because for some reason there are no other ships at Earth) to get Spock’s body back so they can reunite his soul which is stuck in Mccoy’s head. For what reason I’m not sure because the script is a little vague on Vulcan mysticism. Again the only ship that does any exploration is the USS Grissom who is checking out the newly created Genesis planet, they send an away team down, then are blown up by Klingons. Clearly Paramount doesn’t need you to explore anything.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home- The crew need to steal some Whales from the past to stop some Intergalactic Tube from draining all the power from the Earth. So Kirk and the Gang sling shot around the sun and zip into the past., have a pizza and a beer, Scotty screws with the temporal prime directive, Spock refuses to wear pants, they pick up Whales and save the day. I know people love this film but it’s ridiculous.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier– WTF? Seriously WTF happened here. Okay so apparently Spock had a brother who is all touchy feely and wants to see God. Okay dokay, crew got a new Enterprise that doesn’t work, and Bones, Spock and Kirk go camping. The only exploration done here is with their feelings. Apparently we just learn that Spock just wants his dad to tell him he loves him or something.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country– This is basically Star Trek vs the end of the Cold War with some Shakespeare and Sherlock Holmes in the mix. On the eve of retirement the crew of The Enterprise is accused of firing upon a klingon ship killing the leader of the Klingon Empire, Kirk and Mccoy are imprisoned, there’s a rescue, and lots of battles against a Bird of Prey that can fire while cloaked.
I could also site the Next Generation films which pretty much follow the same space action film with little to no exploration. The Star Trek Films belong to the masses, a studio wants to make the most money out of their investments so they have to seek out the lowest common denominator. Unfortunately we are a society who loves explosions, lens flares, and fist fights. If you want high science you got six Trek series that allows you to enjoy that aspect of Star Trek. In the end that’s okay, our crew regardless of who they are will save the day but my money on the Enterprise blowing up, because it’s the third film and it that’s what ships tend to do.