Friday, January 22, 2010

Star Trek

The curious thing about last year’s Star Trek was the way it ended up being great, but not for any of the reasons you would expect it to do so.

Star Trek has always been the turf of the thoughtful fan; the nerd who likes their Science Fiction full of not only hard science, but philosophy and plots for the thinking man. It has traditionally delved into the problems society encounters and tries to propose answers, albeit humanistic, materialistic ones. And not only do you have these Star Trek expectations, but the man behind the reboot…J.J. Abrams.

Mr. Abrams has developed a reputation for being a fun, smart-story story-teller. But in addition to that, he was the creative force behind Lost which in some ways is the current incarnation of Star Trek on television, at least for a postmodern audience. Lost is nothing if not a show for people who want to think and have questions thrown at them for which there are no easy answers, and often none even offered.

So the surprise in Star Trek is that it is a purely popcorn movie. However, that is not a bad thing. Sometimes a movie can be a good film simply by presenting a well-made, entertaining story. For the most part, Star Trek accomplished that. Where they take the franchise from here is anyone’s guess, but for now we can enjoy the fact that one of the best movies of the year, both critically and financially, was simply a fun story; a blockbuster that wasn’t completely stupid, but also not a hoity-toity inaccessible piece designed simply for the critics and snobs.

Here’s hoping that the expansion of Hollywood’s most prestigious recognition, the Oscars, to ten candidates for best picture will open the field up to films like Star Trek and Pixar movies; the films that have been too “main stream,” well-made, and successful to be even considered as the best.

1 comment:

  1. I love J.J Abrams as well. I loved the reboot, especially that it had such fun showing us where certain elements of the Star Trek universe came from. Alias, in it's prime (i.e. first 2 seasons) is one of my favorite shows. A spy show that really is an exploration of one majorly disfunctional family. In it you see so many typical Abrams elements that show up in his later efforts - non-linear storytelling, Michael Giacchino music, clever plot twists, sci fi meeting action and great question asking. If you haven't seen his TED talk on mystery in storytelling, you would enjoy it.

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