ROUND TWO: One Trek, One No Trek

April 18, 2013 at 11:25 pm

One Trek... One No Trek | Original Star Trek vs New Star Trek J.J Abrams Star Trek Into Darkness






The Setup:

JAY: A fan of J.J Abrams’ Star Trek Universe with little knowledge of the original series.

JOHN: Not a fan of J.J Abrams’ Star Trek Universe but a huge fan of the original series.


(JAY) The simple answer to your question is no.  I haven’t seen an episode of the original series.  However, in the spirit of One Trek, One No Trek, I did watch Wrath of Kahn.  I’m happy I did because I recognized a bunch of references from J.J Abrams’ adaptation.  Take the Kobayashi Maru for example.  Kirk cheats and beats the unbeatable test because he doesn’t believe in no win scenarios.

It brings up an interesting point and further confirms that they at least tried to please fans of the original cast.  While I agree that Chris Pine is no Shatner, the spirit of Kirk was alive in him on the screen.  The new Kirk doesn’t believe in no win scenarios either.  In this way, while different, they were still true to the character.  The Kobayashi Maru test was just one of many references they included in the reboot.

Regarding Spider-Man, I couldn’t agree more.  It was a quick reboot but I actually liked Marc Webb’s take Spider-Man’s origin better than Raimi’s.  I’m not saying The Amazing Spider-Man is THE Spider-Man movie (Spider-Man 2 is still my favorite) but I liked it.  Mostly because I love Spider-Man and it was great to see the character on the big screen again.  I suppose the comparison is difficult as so little time passed between the films.  Andrew Garfield had it a lot easier than Chris Pine.  But I’m curious, did they ever do a Kirk & Spock origin story in the series?

I think we both agree that while the new Star Trek was rebooting legendary characters, it was created to bring new fans to the franchise.  Honestly, if they had created all new characters or reused existing cast members, I wouldn’t have been interested.  I wasn’t interested in them before but there was something about that first trailer that hooked me.  Maybe the new Star Trek will be different?  I think that’s why I liked it so much.  It was an opportunity to get in on the ground floor.  At the beginning.  A chance to get to know Captain Kirk, Spock and the rest of the crew from scratch.  I just wasn’t interested before.  (Which I admit is tragic as I’m a big science fiction fan.  I’m still baffled that I never watched Star Trek growing up.)

I actually interpreted the ‘new universe’ approach differently than you.  I saw it as their way of preserving the original series while still giving them a clean slate to work from.  When you deal with prequels there is a fundamental lack of suspense.  Take the Star Wars prequels for example.  We all knew Anakin would survive any situation throughout the new trilogy because Darth Vader doesn’t die when he’s a kid.  In Star Trek, they went back to the beginning but there are rules when you are setting a film in an established universe.  Creating an alternate reality means all bets are off.  Every episode of the original series and all the previous movies still happened AND suspense can exist in the universe again.  It could have been a disaster but I actually think Star Trek was one of the better reboots/prequel we’ve seen because it solved that problem.

Beyond that, they were successful in making me want to see the original cast in action.  I thought Wrath of Kahn was a solid movie.  I actually wish there was more ship vs ship action in the new Star Trek as a result.  Kahn vs Kirk was a fascinating battle.  However, I still like the new movie better.  You love the original because they were all you knew.  I feel the same way about the new series.  The alternate universe created in the reboot was my first exposure to the franchise.  J.J Abrams’ Star Trek is my Star Trek.

But I totally get why you’re attached to the original.  Star Trek is a treasured part of your past and brings back fond memories of your youth.  I can’t think of a similar series that I grew up with.  But I would argue that, while it’s frustrating to see new people assume the iconic roles, they did so with you in mind.  But they presented it in a way that would get people like me interested.

I think the filmmaker’s knew they had a 50/50 shot at winning over fans like you.  People who grew up watching the original series.  I think that’s why they sold the movie with the tag line: ‘Not Your Father’s Star Trek.’  It’s a line that speaks to you and I simultaneously.

That was their way of saying ‘Keep an open mind.’  What did your father think of the new Star Trek?

I already discussed how I loved watched Kahn vs Kirk attempt to outwit one another.  The new movie lacked the strategic element.  I think they left that out in favor of a faster paced narrative with frantic action.  That’s more in line with Star Wars than Star Trek.  This is a Star Trek built from the ground up with shorter attention spans in mind.  But that’s the balance I’m sure they struggled with.  I hope they bring that element back in the sequel.

XTRA | J.J Abrams Star Wars Episode VII Round Up

“Are you a fan of ONE movie that came out, or are you a fan of science fiction? The exploration of ideas, concepts, time and space? Things that make you think? Equality, the human condition, political issues? These are the things Gene Roddenberry was thinking about when he created the series back in 1966. THAT is what the franchise was built upon.”

I think this is a great point.  At the end of the day, the Enterprise is tasked with exploring strange new worlds and there wasn’t a lot of that in the reboot.  But let’s look at it another way.  They’ve rebooted the series now.  The characters are established and the alternate universe is in place.  I think they have to reboot the series with the original characters.  It’s just not as interesting without Kirk & Spock and it gives them an opportunity to introduce the icons to new fans.   The movie was doomed if they focused too much on pleasing new and old fans.  They still had to tell a good story.  Now they don’t have to set anything up moving forward.  The world exists.  Star Trek Into Darkness will be able to build on the foundation they laid down in the reboot.  They have the attention of the new people (me).  Now they have a golden opportunity to incorporate elements that will put smiles on the faces of Trekkers that didn’t like the first film.

Do you think the sequel has a chance to win you over?  Will Star Trek Into Darkness be what Wrath of Kahn was to Star Trek: The Motion Picture?  I’ve got my money on ‘yes’.

It must have been frustrating to watch Kirk & Spock fight but solidifying that friendship and watching Kirk take his seat as captain was a great moment.  A launching pad for exciting things to come for the series.

They have an entire universe at their disposal now.

Going back to the Spider-Man reboot, I was just happy to see the character alive on the big screen again.  Obviously I don’t get the same feeling with the new Star Trek movie as I have no attachment to the original series but you might if the sequel delivers.  They had to reboot Star Trek with the original cast and find a way to co-exist with the original series.  I think they did a brilliant job.  Imagine if they rebooted Spider-Man but used Spider-Man 2099 as the template.  I think hardcore fans may have been excited but general audiences would have been frustrated.  Where is the Spider-Man we knew?  So you take the classic character and all the elements we know and love and then you bring something new to the table.  (Like the story of Peter Parker’s parents in the new film.)  J.J Abrams brought back classic characters and kept their rich histories in tact but brought us something new.  It’s the spirit of adaptation.  You take risks and hope for the best.  But going in a completely new direction would have been a mistake.

What do you think it would take for them to win you over when Star Trek Into Darkness is released? Maybe there will be elements that make you think back to exploring new worlds with Shatner and Co?  You might just be happy to see something new.  You might just be happy to see these characters on the big screen again.

Accept the new Kirk!


“You might just be happy to see these characters on the big screen again.”

Unfortunately, these aren’t the actors I want to see portraying these characters. Add to that, I’ve seen these characters live, (and in some cases die) and have accepted that time moves on and their journey is done. Nothing lasts forever and I’m cool with that. There are so many stories to choose from.  If I ever have a craving to see them on screen again, I’ll just pop in a DVD.

I will say that I think I’m definitely in the minority when it comes to people MY age that puts The Original Series as their favorite Star Trek series. The Next Generation ran while I grew up so one would think that was my automatic favorite series in the franchise, but as we discussed earlier, it’s narrowly edged out by the ORIGINAL Kirk and co. I only bring this up again because that may be part of the reason why the reboot didn’t work with me. A lot of other fans I know our age, yourself included, very much enjoyed the new “Star Trek” because they didn’t have the allegiance to TOS that I did. My dad has not seen the new film, nor will he ever. As a loyalist to the original I can tell you he has absolutely no interest in seeing it.

They didn’t do one “single” origin story about Kirk or Spock, more along the lines of adding little pieces of history as the series went along. Kirk was supposed to have already served on a few other starships before becoming Captain of the Enterprise, Spock had already been on board for up to 11 years serving under Captain Pike. These are direct references taken from TOS. I don’t mind “origin” stories, but it depends when they are being told. Many times during some of the original running of the various Trek series’ they did an origin story and that was fine. They used the existing characters and actors to tell it.  Well done. To do an origin story 46 years after the show premiered with a different cast just doesn’t translate with me.

I’m afraid to say that the sequel does not have a chance of winning me over. I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m stubborn but I just can’t accept new actors playing these characters. If it were up to me, they never would have gone back in time to revisit these characters. I’ve accepted that it’s over. I think sequels and prequels and any other kind of ‘quels are becoming a growing problem these days. Studio’s want to squeeze every bit of money they can out of an idea, so more and more we see one movie stretched out into 2,3 or more until they are absolute garbage come the end of the run.

We all laughed…because it’s true. Now I know this is a different scenario and I also know that once again, it’s all about dollar signs. Can’t we just let some things end?

“Maybe the new Star Trek will be different?”

Different than what? Having not ever seen an original episode or movie previous to this, what was the concern?

….and yes, I will probably go see the new movie in theaters.  To me, I won’t be going to see Star Trek. I’ll be seeing a sci-fi/action movie that just happens to be using some names I recognize.