DO YOU THINK JJ ABRAMS WILL DESTROY STAR WARS TOO?

Darth Vader already blew up Alderaan, so JJ Abrams will not be able to blow up Vulcan in the upcoming Star Wars films.

At least, I hope not.  If he destroys Kashyyyk, there will be a lot of angry Wookies after him, and I’m telling you, Wookies hold a grudge much longer and harder than the pacifist Vulcans.

I was not a big fan of the JJ Abram’s Star Trek reboot.  Yeah, the 2009 film was fun, but it made so many radical changes to the accepted story lines that it felt more like Abram’s was playing with the action figures of Kirk and Spock that Roddenberry left on the living room floor.  Don’t even get me started on Star Trek Into Darkness.  Ugh…….

What I’m thinking about, though, is what will Abrams do to Star Wars.  It seems there are three options.

1.  A complete reboot, like the Star Trek film, and find someway to recreate Luke, Leia, Vader, Han etc…  I don’t think he will do this because that is exactly what he did with Star Trek.  But if he does . . . will Obi Wan Kenobi still be a liar?

2  Play with the characters–but totally ignore all the written literature and just set it 30 years after Return of the Jedi with a fresh new script.  If you do this, Abrams, you will really make a lot of fans angry.  Starting with me.

3.  Use the written literature’s characters and their personalities to launch into something really new and dramatic, but that doesn’t undo everything we already love about the Star Wars Universe. 

My personal preference is to dwell on the Solo children:  Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin.  I’ve already begun to cast it, actually.  Jaina must be played by Jennifer Lawrence.  She could so easily channel the dark side like we all know Jaina has going on.  But for the love of all that is good and decent, please keep Shia Labeouf away from this film project.  But wouldn’t Famke Janssen make a great Mara Jade?  I mean, its only natural for Janseen to be in Star Wars, she’s already got James Bond, X-Men, and Star Trek (TNG) under her belt.

As you can tell from this fake poster from Entertainment Weekly, I’m not the only one thinking about it.

I'd Buy A Ticket to See This
I’d Buy A Ticket to See This

If they go with with the Solo children, then the big question is–when?  When do they pick up the story.  A natural thought is the Yuuzhan Vong invasion chronicled in the excellent New Jedi Order series.  The problem with that, though, is the story is already written.  We know how it ends.  RIP Anakin and Chewie.

So, my suspicion is that they will go the Solo Children route, but the prologue to start will be “Rebuilding after the devastation of the New Republic, The Skywalker and Solo families face a great challenge from within their own family …” and then we learn about the new trouble that has arisen as Jaina does what we know she wants to do–become Sith.  I think that story has juice because the Republic is broken so it has the elements of dystopia we all loved in the original Star Wars but the younger set to work with.  They are trying to rebuild something they never experienced, because they became adults in a time of war much like Luke, who grew up in an oppressed society but fought for freedom.  It also carries that old “sins of the father” motif we know Lucas loves dearly.

Yeah. Abrams, I’m waiting for that phone call when you invite me to come help you write that script because I really want to keep from from repeating that dreadful Khan debacle from this summer.  Call me.

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS AND BACK AGAIN

Let me nerd up one more time for a final post on the new Star Trek movie.  I posted two last week and a third is probably overkill, but its my blog so I’ll do what I want.

WARNING–RED ALERT–SPOILERS FOLLOW

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IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME!

For starters, I would rate this as a middle of the pack Star Trek film.  I liked it, but it doesn’t even come close to the top of the line in the genre.  It is definitely not as good as the 2009 edition.  The special effects were nice and the Enterprise looked beautiful.  All of that was expected.  Benedict Cumberbatch is awesome but so too is Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto.  For me though, the story was weak and forced and the dialogue was not as crisp as I expected.  It felt to me that Pine and Quinto didn’t have that much of a script to work with.  I loved what they did with Scotty, though.  From the TOS (The Original Series) we knew that Scotty had a drinking problem and a fiery stubborn temper, so having him resign and make his way immediately to a bar was perfect.  By contrast, Chekov is reduced to running around the engine room like an incompetent cadet (what happened to the boy genius from the first film?) and Bones is almost non-existent.  Uhura virtually disappears as she is only important insofar as she relates to Spock.  These are not problems necessarily of plot or of directing, but of dialogue.  The dialogue was very bad.  Carol Marcus apparently was just eye candy (what’s with her suddenly and inexplicably stripping down?  That made no story sense) and Admiral Marcus was a total cliche.

Now, in addition to this, here are some things that caught my attention.

1.  I loved the Section 31 reference as being responsible for the whole debacle.  It made me miss Dr. Bashir.  I know that most folks think the tribble business was the big tip of the hand to Star Trek fans, but they are wrong.  When Section 31 was referenced my oldest daughter and I began to visible beam with joy.

2.  I did not love the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan.  Let me be clear, I love love love Cumberbatch.  He did a great job in this movie and he is a powerful actor.  However,  Khan Noonien Sing is supposed to be an Indian prince, not a British Caucasian.  I know that the timeline is different in this film universe but that alternate timeline didn’t go into effect until Kirk’s birth on the Kelvin.   Khans character from the past (1990’s) should be unaltered.

3.  Seat belts.  It has been the longest standing joke that there are no seat belts on the Enterprise.  It is about time.

4.  Wasn’t it great when new Spock calls old Spock for help?  Yeah, it was.

5.  I think that the scene in the role reversal, where Kirk dies and Spock yell’s Khan just like The Shat did in the original Star Trek II was pretty close to a jump the shark moment. (If you don’t know what “jump the shark means”, I don’t have time to explain so click here.)

6.  Three times Captain Kirk has died in a Star Trek film.  Why, why can’t he at least die on the bridge in one of them?

7.  The Klingon bird of prey was awesome–did you notice the wings moving up and down?  That was nice but so too was the commando type zip line decent into battle.  That was very, very Klingon.

8.  The “darkness” alluded to in the film didn’t last long.  Kirk should have stayed dead through the end of film.  If you’re going to kill him like you killed Spock so many years ago, you lose the weight of it if you bring him back so quickly.  Or just leave him dead.  You’ve already destroyed Vulcan, why not off Captain Kirk and then make the next Star Trek Movie all about Spock or, better yet, go to another timeline and get the real Kirk?  As it is, they combined Star Trek II and Star Trek III in about seven minutes of film.

9.  If your going to do Khan, again (or as one friend of mine put it, ‘JJ Abrams boldly going where Gene Roddenberry already went’) then I need him to say these words:  “He tasks me!”

10.  Another moment my daughter and I shared was when all the captains were together in the briefing room right after the terrorist attack.  Before Captain Kirk even begins to piece it together, I looked at Belle and she looked at me and we both said at the same time, “Godfather Part III” and sure enough here comes the same helicopter kill scene.  Is it homage, or is it copycat?  You decide.

11.  Last thing–and then I promise I’ll quit complaining–Kirk was written up for violating the prime directive when he saved Spock.  Right?  Did anybody else think, “Hey, wait a minute, stopping the volcano and saving that civilization (which clearly was a reference to TOS) is a complete and total violation of the prime directive anyway.”  I mean, for crying out loud, Captain Picard would have let the whole world blow up without doing a thing to help them while he drank tea.

All in all I enjoyed it, liked it, and am pleased with how right I was about what it would be.  These are the things that caught my attention on the first viewing.  I am certain I will see it again.  Certain.

THE STAR TREK COUNTDOWN

Yesterday I blogged (READ IT HERE) about the new Star Trek movie, Star Trek Into Darkness.  Today, though, I am ruminating about the other films in the franchise and where I rank them in order of excellence.

KHANNNNNNNNNN!
KHANNNNNNNNNN!

1.  Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan–without a doubt this is the best.  It ranks in my top five science fiction movies of all time.

2.  Star Trek:  First Contact--Aesthetics, plot, acting, and the f/x were all superior in this film.  It was for everyone, but included something for the fan as well.

3.  Star Trek (2009)–I know most would put this as the first one, and it certainly made more money than any of the others, but there were too many plot holes in it for me to push it any further up the list.

4.  Star Trek IV:  The Voyage Home–Of Course, the voyage home is not to earth with the whales, but the voyage is back to the rebuilt Enterprise at the end of the movie.

5.  Star Trek Generations:  This film gets panned a lot because of the plot holes and time-travel nexus problems (which are no worse than Star Trek (2009) by the way) but this is the best thematic film of the lot in terms of emotional energy and morality.  My oldest daughter was an infant, 4 weeks old when we saw this movie in the theater.  She graduates from high school in three weeks.  Generations means something more now.

6.  Star Trek VI:  The Undiscovered Country–Kirk and crew have a great idea to work with, but the elements feel rehashed.  How many female Vulcans does Spock need to train?  However, I do love the Hamlet references.

7.  Star Trek Insurrection–I do not like this movie very much, but I do not hate it very much either.  It feels like an elongated episode.

8.  Star Trek III:   The Search for Spock–Stupid plot, poor f/x and needless emotional ploys (killing David Marcus and blowing up the Enterprise) spoil it.  The only real bright spot, Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon!

9.  Star Trek Nemesis:  Oh dear, this was an awful film.  It was a poor rehashing of Star Trek II (Which I am worried the new film will be as well) and it weakened the Romulans.

10.  Star Trek the Motion Picture–This actually is tied with Nemesis.  It is put at 10 only because of the vanity upon vanities of beauty shots of the Enterprise floating in the cloud thingy.  Never mind that this is essentially a stolen story from the original series.

11.  Star Trek V:  The Final Frontier–Awful awful awful awful.  The worst not only of the original six, but the worst of the entire franchise. The only positive aspect at all of the movie is the emotional energy of the individual ‘pain’ of the triumvirate.

Time will tell where the new film will rate.  Time will tell.  Time is “like a predator.  It’s stalking you.”

Read also:

Beard Trek

Some Star Trek Philosophy

 

STAR TREK INTO HALF-LIGHT

I, along with about a billion people I think, are pretty excited about the release this weekend of Star Trek Into Darkness.  The trouble is I will not be able to see it until Tuesday, probably, because my weekend is slammed full of stuff (UPDATE AND CORRECTION–LOOKS LIKE I WILL BE ABLE TO SEE IT THURSDAY)  What that means is nobody can tell me anything ahead of time–NO SPOILERS PLEASE!!!  After I have seen the film, I will post a review, but will warn of spoilers.  I don’t like them.

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ENERGIZE!

Yes, I do not want anything to ruin my experience.  As a part of the experience, though, I am trying to imagine what this story will involve–what is the darkness?

As I prognosticate, here is what we know:

1.  The Enterprise crashes into the ocean.

2.  Dr. Carol Marcus is in the movie.

3.  There is a well defined villain played by the excellent Benedict Cumberbatch (loved him in Sherlock).

4.  There is a scene in a room full of what looks like coffins, or are they cryogenic chambers?

5.  The plot seems to revolve around some kind of terrorism.

So these are the things we know, which is not much, but it is a start.  From these building block nuggets, let me make some predictions as to what will be in the movie.  Keep in mind,  I stink at making predictions but that doesn’t keep me from making them.

1.  The crash of the Enterprise can’t be real or serious.  It must be easily fixed, like, the ship just jumps out of the water after the engines kick back in.  The reason for this assumption is that destroying the Enterprise is a big deal and it would never be put in the previews.  Too much tension is released if the audience already knows it is going to be destroyed.

2.  Dr. Marcus and Kirk will pair up as a love interest.  I suspect that the Cumberbatch villain is a rival flame vying for Dr. Marcus’ attention.

3.  The terrorism will be bio/genetic.  The film will carry a similar plot of Star Trek II where Khan is the villain with an old association of Kirk’s and he uses a weapon of mass destruction.  Now, the plot will not duplicate the Khan plot, but will be familiar enough to feel borrowed and might even steal a line or two, (He tasks me?)

4.  Someone must die.  It cannot be Kirk and it cannot be Spock.  Dr. Marcus?  No, she has to have Kirk’s son David.  No, who can die?  Well, who could it be but Uhura?  JJ Abrams loves to torture Spock, this would only increase the torture.  Everyone is expecting Spock to die in this film, as homage to the aforementioned Khan film, but instead here he will have to make a choice to save the crew or save Uhura.  In this timeline, he saves the crew but kills Uhura.

5.  Klingons.  Somehow we need to see Klingons.  Lots of them.

Okay, so those are the predictions, but I also have some worries.  First, it has been terribly over-hyped.  Usually that doesn’t bode well.  Second, the trailers I’ve seen remind me of Nemesis and that is not a good thing.  Third, I am afraid they will steal too much from previous films.  I know that everyone loved the rebooted Star Trek (2009) but to those of us in the know, who look closely, we can spot that Abrams, aside from recklessly destroying Vulcan, really did nothing new but rehashed old ideas with nice camera angels.  I am afraid he will do the same again.  Fourth, I am afraid I might have to see it three or four times, just to make sure.