So, the new Star Trek trailer came out this morning. Watch it and then we can have a discussion.
I’m a huge fan of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. But, the biggest problem I have is with the fan anticipation of the movie. People don’t want Star Trek: Into Darkness. People want Star Trek II: The Wraith of Khan re-made with new actors. Why do people want a re-make of a movie when the movie has already been made before?
People think they want innovation. They really don’t.
Star Trek II: The Wraith of Khan is a great flick. Simply great. There is a feeling you get when you watch it, the feeling of amazement, of wonder, of joy because it’s so good. It’s natural and realistic to want that feeling. And, sense the original movie gave you that feeling, why can’t movie makers just make a re-make so we can have that feeling again? The answer is that you can’t feel the same thing from something that’s completely different. Each product creates a different feeling. There’s no way you won’t be disappointed if the remake doesn’t make you feel the same as the original. You’ll hate the re-make. That’s why movie producers try to innovate by using the same IP, but changing it to create something new based off the original. But fans don’t want that. Fans want the EXACT feeling they had the first time, but they want it to be DELIVERED in a NEW way. That’s impossible.
The perfect example is Superman Returns. If you watch it, you understand that it is an almost direct reproduction of the original Superman and Superman II. Superman Returns tried to reproduce the feeling we got from watching the originals, but it failed horribly. Instead of doing something new and wonderful and powerful, making something that takes risks, Superman Returns tried to give us what we already had. That’s why Superman Returns doesn’t work. It lacks innovation. It was too beholden to the past and not focused on making it’s own way.
People had a hard time with Batman Begins because it was re-making the Batman myth from the ground up. It worked, though, giving us an experience that we couldn’t have had if Christopher Nolan hadn’t of taken risks. People like to hate The Dark Knight Rises, but at least it was pushing boundaries Why watch what you’ve seen before? Why waste your time doing that?
If I were J.J. Abrams, I would respect the Star Trek myths, but I would not be tied down by the sad and lonely day-dreams of a bunch of nerds doodling in their Moleskine notebooks. The Star Trek myth needs to be expanded, needs to be added on to, not held hostage by the past.
The past is done. It was wonderful and pretty, but nostalgia doesn’t allow for the rise of fresh takes and brilliant risk taking. Even if a movie fails, at less the attempt at innovation shows the understanding that art is about appreciating new ways of seeing the world. It’s not about re-painting a picture that we’ve seen a million times before.