Saturday, May 12, 2007

Deja Trek?

Once again, there's hot gossip and brewing panic on the Star Trek BBSs of what a flop they expect/hope the next Star Trek film will be. Have I posted about this before? Talk about deja vu, 'cos it's back again.

Fans will claim, "This is one of the biggest problems with Trek today. The powers that be have no understanding of their own franchise or the audience that likes it. And they consistently try to work against the existing fan base." Etc.


Many of these complainers are probably too young (or not born) to recall the huge block of antagonism to the changes Gene Roddenberry, Harold Livingston and Robert Wise made to ST for "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (TMP). In the lead up to the film's premiere in 1979, fans complained about the Enterprise being remodelled, crested Klingons, new uniforms, the revamped bridge set, Kirk's promotion, Spock's rejection of his friends and all humanity to undergo Kohlinar, "the interloper" Will Decker, the focus on SPFX over character interplay, not enough Alexander Courage theme music, the changed transporter effects, Vulcan's orbiting planetoid (even though it had been seen in TAS), Ilia in Chekov's chair...

TMP got me into Star Trek, and it took me only days to find the local fanbase, but it took years to find more than five new ST friends who actually accepted TMP for what it tried to do. I felt quite alone in a fan club of hundreds.

ST II came along and most fans seemed to happily forget TMP altogether, but it's also had a grudging acceptance, by whoever's left in original fandom, as they look back with nostalgia and compare TMP to what came later. And ST newsletters in 1978 were filled with similar sentiments about TMP. And again, as they anticipated detesting the infiltator "Mary Sue" Saavik in ST II, who was being groomed to replace Nimoy. Not to mention the assumed Kirk replacement, David Marcus.

In their haste to hate the upcoming JJ Abrams' new film already, I assume that they do not care for "Lost" and the fresh take that series has given television drama in the midst of the reality show overkill.

Sometimes, they'll hold up Peter Jackson and his "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy as a franchise done right, but I disagree that that series has been uniformly accepted by the diehard LotR book fans. I sat next to a very dear friend of mine who gnashed her teeth all through "Fellowship" because Jackson dared to name a creature Lurtz. "Lurtz," she muttered. "Who's Lurtz?" She was almost inconsolable during the change of venues in "The Two Towers".

Mind you, she now has a new respect for the trilogy and has learned to appreciate the impossibility of filming Tolkien exactly as written.

(She was also the one who shouted at the screen after seeing the premiere of "Dune" in the 80s, "It doesn't rain for two more sequels, you idiots!")

Me? I can't wait for Abrams' Star Trek.

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