UPDATED: No Wins for Star Trek at WGA and MPSE Awards | TrekMovie.com
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UPDATED: No Wins for Star Trek at WGA and MPSE Awards February 20, 2010

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: CBS/Paramount,Conventions/Events/Attractions,Orci/Kurtzman,Star Trek (2009 film) , trackback

[UPDATED] The 2009 Star Trek movie was up for honors at two different guild award shows being held tonight. First up was the WGA Awards, where Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman unfortunately failed to win for their Star Trek script. And it was the same story at the the MPSE Golden Reel Awards were Star Trek sound editors lost out in three categories. Full details below.

 

WGA: Star Trek loses to Up in the Air – Lost loses to Mad Men

The WGA Awards were held tonight at two simultaneous events, with WGA West at the Hyatt Regency in Los Angeles and WGA East at the Hudson Theatre in New York City. The feature film nominees, including Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman were in attendance in Los Angeles.

Star Trek and Orci and Kurtzman were nominated by the WGA in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, which was a first for the Star Trek franchise. Orci and Kurtzman were the only two whose work was not based on a book. They were was going up against writers of Up in the Air, Crazy Heart, Julie & Julia, and Precious. As expected by most award watchers, the WGA Best Adapted Screenplay Award went to Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for Up in the Air, which was based upon the novel by Walter Kirn. As for the Best Original Screenplay Award, that went to Mark Boal for The Hurt Locker.

Orci and Kurtzman (pose for their mugshots?) at 2010 WGA Awards

Another member of Star Trek’s new ‘Supreme Court’ was also nominated for a WGA Award. Star Trek producer (and sequel co-writer) Damon Lindelof and the Lost writing staff were nominated for Best Writing in a Drama Series. But the award went to the writing staff from Mad Men.   

See The Wrap for the full list of WGA Awards winners

Related Stories:

MPSE Golden Reels: Star Trek loses to Avatar and Basterds

Also being held tonight in Los Angeles was the Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards. Star Trek and Avatar led the field with three nominations each. And once again Star Trek ended up empty handed, with Avatar winning two and Inglorious Basterds winning one. Although not a shocker, sound has been considered one of Star Trek’s strongest areas. Here is a breakdown of the feature film categories where Trek had nominations:

Best Sound Editing: Music in a Feature Film

Best Sound Editing: Dialogue and ADR in a Feature Film

Best Sound Editing: Sound Effects and Foley in a Feature Film

See Variety for a full list of winners.

Star Trek is also up for a number of other sound awards. The film is up for a BAFTA award in sound tomorrow. In addition, Star Trek was nominated for a sound mixing award from the Cinema Audio Society Awards, which are being held next weekend. Finally, Star Trek has been nominated for sound mixing and sound editing Academy Awards, which will be handed out March 7th. 

Related Stories:

 

Up Next:  BAFTAs Tomorrow

As noted earlier, the next test for Star Trek is on Sunday at the BAFTAs (the British equivalent of the Oscars). Star Trek is up for two awards: Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects. Look for an update tomorrow on the outcome of the BAFTAs and any photos of Trek celebs (maybe Simon Pegg will show up).

Comments

1. Schultz - February 20, 2010

I seriously think the “Star Trek” screenplay was better than “Up in the Air”. (I’m not saying that because I’m a fan.) But of the five films I would have voted for “Crazy Heart”.

2. S. John Ross - February 20, 2010

I thought “Up in the Air” had some lovely moments in it, really driven by dialogue, but honestly of those nominated I think “Julie & Julia” impressed me slightly more as far as the writing went … because the film itself may strike some as a bit gimmicky (like a kind of one-sided “84 Charing Cross Road”) I think that may overshadow things a bit, but it was a really cleverly written film, very tight and very revelatory.

I loved Crazy Heart more for the acting than for the writing, and ditto that for Star Trek. Still haven’t seen Precious (I know; I know …)

It honestly never occurred to me to look up which of the nominees were “strike movies” (screenplays that went to screen more as-written due to the strike) but I’d be curious to see which were …

3. S. John Ross - February 20, 2010

“Orci and Kurtzman were the only two whose work was not based on a novel.”

Julie & Julia is 50% based on a book compiling a weblog, and 50% based on Julia Child’s own memoirs of her time in France (two books, but neither of them novels).

IIRC.

4. Anthony Pascale - February 20, 2010

nitpick nitpick

i replaced novel with book

thx

5. Hugh Hoyland - February 20, 2010

Sorry guys you didnt win, more invalidation (good on those that won, but its us public who cares, not judges). Dont let it get you down of course, keep producing material that people want to view like you have been for many years! Im one fan that glad you are out there writing material, along with MANY others!

6. Charla - February 20, 2010

Agree HH-

7. ryanhuyton - February 20, 2010

Well, these guys were up against stiff competition. Can’t really complain.
But “history” was made when Bob and Alex became the first Star Trek writers to be nominated for a WGA award. Can’t believe they are the first, but they obviously did something write to get recognized. Congratulations, guys! Maybe next time you’ll make history again by winning the award with an even better screenplay. :-)

8. Gabriel Bell - February 20, 2010

Please, no Kahn in the sequel.

(That was a joke! I actually am completely open to whatever these two, and the rest of the new Trek team, want to do for Trek 2012!)

(I just can’t believe we are almost 10 comments into an Orci/Kurtzman thread and no one has brought up Kahn yet. The commenters are slipping!)

9. jas_montreal - February 20, 2010

Good stuff.

Its never about the destination…. its all about the journey. The Trek team has made it far..

10. Anthony Pascale - February 20, 2010

Article updated to include MPSE Awards, Trek lost there too

11. Shunnabunich - February 20, 2010

#8: Amazingly, nobody brought up Khan either. Man, you guys are off your A-game tonight!

12. Buzz Cagney - February 20, 2010

Who cares- the vast majority of people that saw the movie REALLY enjoyed it. And I’m pretty sure thats going to be validation enough for the writer dudes.

13. CarlG - February 21, 2010

Up in the Air was pretty good, but it was way more emotionally rough than I thought it was going to be. The metaphorical curb stomping George Clooney’s character gets is brutal.

14. AJ - February 21, 2010

TREK does not “lose.” It gains momentum.

Bob, Alex and the boys know this, and are going to kick our asses directly into the 23rd century with their next film.

15. Bob - February 21, 2010

While I really liked Star Trek, I’m not too surprised that they lost either.

I think it’ll be the same way at the Oscars with them losing out to other films. I think the only chance they have at winning is Makeup.

It doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the film that they lose out to other films. There can only be one winner. And like the old saying goes “It’s an honor just being nominated”. Look how many awards Star Trek 2009 has been nominated for. Surely must be a record for the franchise. Now that’s something to be proud of just by itself.

16. Dac - February 21, 2010

Star Trek totally deserves every sound award it can get. Hell, i was blown away by the bleeps and bloops you hear in the first 5 seconds of the movie…

17. Jeyl - February 21, 2010

Star Trek nominated for a sound award involving Dialogue and ADR?

I laugh at this. Trek09 is one of the worst examples of ADR I’ve experienced in a film. Everything ADR related sounds very last minute and totally out of proportion. Just listen to all the background chatter on the Kelvin bridge. The information is obviously important later in the story, but it’s all said by characters off screen.

Just look at Captain Robau and how he’s just sitting in his chair looking out the window while important information is being said off screen. Why not have Robau be the one asking “Could this be klingon?”. Give the characters lines!

I also hate those little last minute addons that make no sense like having Nero say offscreen that he would deprive Kirk of his life just like he did his father. How could Nero have known that it was Kirk’s Dad who rammed into his ship? And for that matter, why would he even care? It really feels last minute because neither Kirk nor Nero reflect back on that line.

Also hate that ADR Pike line “Your father would be proud”. You couldn’t have him say it on screen? And doesn’t Kirk still have a mother? Wouldn’t that line have held more weight to it if it was coming from someone who, you know, was married to his father?! Why does this movie hold mothers in such low regards? Just throw in a line via ADR explaining she’s off planet. ADR fixes everything.

18. Trey - February 21, 2010

stop it Jeyl.

19. DarthDogg - February 21, 2010

Actually Jeyl, I to have thought about those things, I would like to think that if I just saved the world, graduated from starfleet and was being givin a very early command of the flagship of the federation, that my mother would show up to such an event, but hey… it doesnt ruin the movie in anay way shape or form. I do believe that given thier mission of rebooting the franchise in a way that honors the past wile bringing Trek into the massess. Well hell. Mission accomplished!

20. MorbidGorn - February 21, 2010

Bleh,

To quote the Borg,

“WGA and MPSE are irrelevant.”

Trek rules, ’nuff said.

21. P Technobabble - February 21, 2010

Just as there are infinite possibilities in how things can unfurl in the universe, there are probably just as many possibilities in how a story, or script, can be written. This movie was written by two guys who were given the job, with no obligation on behalf of the studio to incorporate input from numerous “expert fans.” IMO, all of this nitpicking about the story is just a way of looking to find things wrong. Maybe it’s just a psychological thing, but I do know some people who always have to find “wrong” with almost everything. I also believe that when finding something “wrong” prevents one’s enjoyment of a moment, or an event, or a freakin movie, there is something “wrong” with that. Just my opinion, of course. So, all the nitpickers may be “right,” but the rest of us are happy. Just voicing my simple opinion, so carry on, nitpickers of the world…

22. CarlG - February 21, 2010

@18: I don’t think you can. Jeyl’s on a mission from God or something, like the Blues Brothers, but with less Aretha Franklin and more kvetching.

23. Red Skirt - February 21, 2010

#7, Star Trek has never received a WGA nomination for the Best Adapted Screenplay category in a feature film.

However, the various television series have been nominated several times for other WGA awards categories, and has won at least once. So this is_not_the first time a Star Trek writer has been nominated for a WGA award.

24. Rocket Scientist - February 21, 2010

Not surprised they didn’t win. They wrote an entertaining movie; one I enjoyed a lot. But a great one? That is yet to come, and I’m hopeful that they’ll deliver.

25. Chadwick is pissed at NASA...WHERE IS NEW THE PROPULSION TECHNOLOGY??? - February 21, 2010

I am just getting crazy restless, I need more movie news, start writing the script. The hype and marketing was just so energized for the first movie….I need more trek. This dead time in between movies is making me nuts!

26. Chadwick is pissed at NASA...WHERE IS NEW THE PROPULSION TECHNOLOGY??? - February 21, 2010

Oh and F*ck you Avatar and F*ck you UP. Not going to see Avatar 2 in theaters just to support trek….Avatar 2 will be a rental 3D shmee dee. Trek deserves all the awards because I am bias!

27. Happy Russia - February 21, 2010

“Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman unfortunately failed to win for their Star Trek script.”

Unfortunate? Really? Their nomination was surprise enough! Don’t award shoddy writing–give it the cold shoulder like it deserves. Or, better yet, a Razzie.

28. Eli - February 21, 2010

Best sound effects went to Avatar?

Did they even LISTEN to the sound effects? They were all Jurassic Park retreads! Just ask Ben Burtt! He made them!

What was that other movie last year that should have won instead? Oh that’s right… Star Trek!

These award shows are all lemmings, man…

29. Jeyl - February 21, 2010

19. “I do believe that given thier mission of rebooting the franchise in a way that honors the past wile bringing Trek into the massess. Well hell. Mission accomplished!”

Really? I thought Star Trek was always available to the masses. I don’t recall anything Trek related being pulled from the archives so that the masses wouldn’t be able to watch or enjoy them.

And besides, what is this “honor” thing that folks keep talking about? To say this new film honors Star Trek is a pretty vague assertion when you don’t provide any example or details. Sure, the look and sound certainly feels honored (to a degree), but I for one don’t feel it honors Star Trek at it’s soul. What this new movie does is honor the generalization of what most people ‘think’ Star Trek is about. A lot of people say that Kirk was this ladies man who would go after any lady he saw. I do not recall that sort of behavior being a dominant factor in how Kirk interacts with women. Or what about labeling* Scotty as just a comic relief character ? Everything he says and does in Trek09 is meant to bring about a laugh. What ever happened to that serious tone Scotty had? Like in “A taste of Armageddon” when he stood up to Ambassador Fox, or his stern commitment in helping stop the Doomsday Machine? Sure he had some funny moments, but so did everyone else including Kirk and Spock.

That’s what I think at least. Trek09 is a representation of what the masses think Star Trek and it’s characters are about, not what Star Trek really is.

*Damon Lindelof from the First Contact commentary states just that. He also thinks you should kill your borgified friends instead of saving them so they don’t have to live with the ‘memories’ of being a Borg.

30. Mikey1091 - February 21, 2010

It’s like I’ve been saying all along. All these award programs are a joke. Trek never wins. In fact, I dare all these award programs to actually let Trek win ONCE! Of course they wont because the people running them are a bunch of losers who have no life in my opinion.

31. Ran - February 21, 2010

@29

Correct. To me, the script was written from a point of view of a kid who heard about Trek from his uncle.

32. boborci - February 21, 2010

What? We lost? I must’ve blacked out after Reitman dropped something in my coffee…

…how did I get home?

33. Rocket Scientist - February 21, 2010

While Jeyl comes across as uncompromisingly negative about the new Trek, (s)he does make some points that I think are valid. These writers have paid homage to some surface elements of Trek, but they have yet to truly capture the substance of the franchise. Its essence, if you will.

I’m willing to be patient. After all they only had 2 hours in which to restart/reboot this thing. There were certain objectives that needed to be achieved during this first outing. IMHO they were successful for the most part. Once they’ve created a substantial body of work, *THEN* it’ll be time to be truly critical.

34. C.S. Lewis - February 21, 2010

NuTrek was a fun romp for a long summer’s day. Despite its basis of Star Trek, it is a long way to proving itself as meaningful or excellent in any but the sense of the revenue generated for Paramount Pictures division, Viacom Corp. My observation is that popcorn munchers rarely stand the test of time. Thus far, Star Trek withstood it more than 40 years and the jury is still deliberating. It is, as they say, a tough act to follow.

Sincerely,
C.S. Lewis

35. Michael Hall - February 21, 2010

C.S. Lewis,

Allah be praised, we actually agree.

36. gumtuu - February 21, 2010

@31

“Correct. To me, the script was written from a point of view of a kid who heard about Trek from his uncle.”

THat just made mesmile. Don’t know why. :)

37. gumtuu - February 21, 2010

@31

“Correct. To me, the script was written from a point of view of a kid who heard about Trek from his uncle.”

That just made me smile. Don’t know why. :)

38. Bill Peters - February 21, 2010

Lol Bob, Here is hoping you win the Saturn Awards

39. DarthDogg - February 21, 2010

Jeyl

Sure, Trek may have always been available to the masses, but fact is, the masses didnt watch and as a result trek dried up. Sure, there are other resons why Trek died off (Cough, berman..Bragga Cough) but the fact is is that Trek was no longer populer, even among its own fan base, and now… it is.
that was thier mission and they without question succeded. Were the characters spot on in all regards. Hell no, I do believe you make a lot of valad points. Will I be upset if some of these things are not addressed in the sequal(s)? Yes. But for now, the imidiate problem, Treks unpopularity leading to poor box office of movies and cancellation of shows, has been fixed. What they do with that now is up to them.

40. Hugh Hoyland - February 21, 2010

Bob, no you won! now go back and pick up your award, their still holding it for a limited time from what I understand. And doesnt Kurtzman look like he has devil horns in that picture above?

41. C.S. Lewis - February 21, 2010

35. Michael Hall – February 21, 2010

Who says there are no such things as miracles ;-)

Sincerely,
C.S. Lewis

42. boborci - February 21, 2010

38. Bill Peters – February 21, 2010

Why ruin our streak!?

43. dmduncan - February 21, 2010

Yeah, it’s a damned shame that 2 hours of ST.09, preoccupied with telling an origin story that rebirthed the Star Trek universe and franchise couldn’t be every thing we remember from 80 hours of TOS, and couldn’t do each one of a thousand incompatible different things that every whining fan wanted to see done.

And of course, when I say “everything we remember,” I am leaving out the cheap sets, the hammy acting, the atrocious special effects, the “science” written by writers who only dabbled in SF and didn’t have a CLUE, the mediocre editing, the shallow character development that never changed for more than an episode, Abe Lincoln, Janet Lester, the Mugato, and Spock’s Brain.

So yeah, thanks Bob for not getting the soul of Star Trek correct, i.e., that part of it which induces unintentional laughter.

44. philpot - February 21, 2010

no suprise at the BAFTAs im afraid

Avatar took FX and Hurt Locker sound

45. Rocket Scientist - February 21, 2010

43. dmduncan.

High Five!

46. DarthDogg - February 21, 2010

43
Say what you will about all those things, but let me tell you this. if I had the power to undo Spocks Brain… would I? HEEELLL NO!

47. DarthDogg - February 21, 2010

Space Hippies however…Maybe.

48. DarthDogg - February 21, 2010

boborci

Come to think of it, Forget about Khan! What about the return of Adam!
That would be Now man, real Now. What about it brother, do ya Reach!
Ubdated hippie jams…man it would Sound!

49. Mr Tim - February 21, 2010

#44

Have seen Avatar in Imax 3-D, and it looked great… but have also seen a standard version of the film.. and the effects just don’t look that impressive! Not award worthy anyways… But, we know that’s not what these awards are about in honesty though..

50. dmduncan - February 21, 2010

@Bob:

Saw “Shutter Island” yesterday. Very dark movie, but it made me think about some things relevant to ST.2012.

At the end of “Shutter Island” Leonardo di Caprio’s character asks a question. And that one question gives you an idea that is related to the whole of the movie before it in a very powerful way that makes you think about everything that you just saw happen, and whether YOU would do the same thing he did.

Now, I’m not suggesting at all that the Star Trek sequel be like a dark Martin Scorcese type movie, but I am suggesting you go see that movie and see what I’m talking about. That sort of thing, that tactic or idea would be really cool to use in some way in the Star Trek sequel. That is, that there be some powerful idea at the end that sort of ties everything together and makes you think AFTER the movie is over.

I would spoil it for those who didn’t see the film if I said anymore. Good movie. Startling ending.

51. boborci - February 21, 2010

Dmduncan

noted. Will check it out. Thanks.

52. S. John Ross - February 21, 2010

#26 sez: “Not going to see Avatar 2 in theaters just to support trek…”

Huh?

53. Hugh Hoyland - February 21, 2010

I have to admit I havent seen Avatar yet, but not out of protest or anything. I pretty much pieced it together from bits on youtube. Looking thru glass bottles for the 3-D effect didnt work though.

54. Jeyl - February 21, 2010

@dmduncan: “it’s a damned shame that 2 hours of ST.09, preoccupied with telling an origin story that rebirthed the Star Trek universe and franchise couldn’t be every thing we remember from 80 hours of TOS. And of course, when I say “everything we remember,” I am leaving out….”

dmd, all that stuff you listed in your “leaving out” list is not what I find to be the problem with Trek09. I could spend hours discussing how this film also has “cheap sets” and “writers who didn’t have a CLUE about scifi”, but that’s not what really bothers me. What I’m putting on the table here are the characters, the storyline and the film makers’ intent.

The film makers’ intent is what really has me confused. One one side you have Kirk, the lead character of the story who I think we’re supposed to care about. On the other side you have this “Space Jump/Drill” sequence. All this sequence does is give our characters something to do without really doing anything that matters. In the end the drill still works, Vulcan is destroyed and the Enterprise is left without a captain. The same result could have happened without the space jump sequence. But that’s not the only thing that bothers me about that sequence. If you look at it from Kirk’s point of view, this is his first ever assignment on a Starship and he’s being tasked to save Vulcan and it’s population. When he fails and the planet gets destroyed, he doesn’t give it any thought afterwards. He continues to be arrogant, coy and downright insulting to Spock, the person who’s race he just failed to save. Why would anyone want to support, or even like a person like Kirk after this? He shows no pity, remorse or any sense of good morality. And to add insult to injury, he actually whines about how Spock must have violated Starfleet regulations when he abandoned him on Delta Vega. Is Kirk an irony free character? Sure, he can ignore regulations like it’s no one’s business, but screw anyone else who does.

Now look at Wrath of Khan. The arrogant Kirk thinks everything is alright when the Reliant is approaching the Enterprise with no comms. Saavik see’s potential danger in this situation but Kirk doesn’t want to hear any of it. Because of that, Khan is able to fire on the Enterprise unprepared, crippling it and killing several crewmen onboard. While Kirk manages to surprise Khan and get the Enterprise to safety, the damage that’s been done has left a big dent in Kirk’s ego. Many of the young cadets that looked up to him are dead and it’s all because he didn’t want to follow regulations. He laments on this situation and works to rectify it by trying to stop Khan. There’s even a nice scene where he almost dismisses Saavik’s safety advice again before realizing how that didn’t work out too well the first time. This is what I’m talking about when you have action scenes that directly affect the characters. You can really tell Kirk is a different person, and he will eventually change a lot more by the time the movie is over. With NuKirk there’s nothing.

55. S. John Ross - February 21, 2010

Jeyl, posts like yours are what _I_ mean when I say, proudly: Star Trek lives.

56. BiggestTOSfanever - February 21, 2010

@boborci
Put the Guardian of Forever in the next movies!!!

57. Michael Hall - February 21, 2010

#43

LOL. Yeah, no doubt you’re quite the expert on what provokes unintentional laughter. Well, unflattering comparisons to the far-superior Avatar are one thing, but boosting Trek ’09 by trashing TOS? That’s a bit crass, not to say desperate, even for defenders of last year’s popcorn-muncher. Judging a TV series produced in 1966 by the technical standards of 2010 makes about as much sense as criticizing “Citizen Kane” for not being “Fast and Furious 2,” in that it’s meaningless in terms of determining real quality. Sure, talk about “Spock’s Brain” and Janice Lester and plywood sets until you’ve had your fill–then, try to convince me that there’s anything in J.J. Abrams’ megapalooza extravaganza that will stand the test of time, despite changes in special effects, set design, and acting styles, the way “The City on the Edge of Forever,” “Balance of Terror,” “The Menagerie” or even “The Trouble With Tribbles” have lived on in the hearts and minds of fans for decades. All produced on a ’60s medium-TV budget, too. There’s a reason the original version of “City” won the WGA award and the aired version won the Hugo, and that Trek ’09 will in all likelihood win neither, and it has nothing to do with any Hollywood prejudice towards SF in general or Star Trek in particular, I can assure you.

(As for those plywood sets–well, at least they didn’t wind up shooting a 23rd century starship engine room in a brewery. . .)

58. Michael Hall - February 21, 2010

#54

Absolutely, great post. For my money, if Avatar was a variation on Dances with Wolves” then it’s equally fair to say that the Kirk storyline in Trek ’09 was modeled on Top Gun. Except the protagonist in that summer’s blockbuster managed to learn by the end of the film that it wasn’t all about him; in Trek ’09, Kirk never does.

59. S. John Ross - February 21, 2010

@56: With Javier Bardem as the Guardian’s voice! :)

#57 sez “… try to convince me that there’s anything in J.J. Abrams’ megapalooza extravaganza that will stand the test of time …”

Of course, the truth is, there is ONE thing, and it’s the thing they paid good money for: the Star Trek trademarks and Star Trek trappings.

I mean, it’s the only reason I’ve wasted a post (or a thousand, bob?) on the movie … because money put a Star Trek logo on it. Simply by being branded as Star Trek, the film is guaranteed to be immortalized way past the legacy of most other movies … it will be included in Trek reference books, referenced in other tie-in media, woven into fanfic, quoted and stilled on webpages (or whatever replaces webpages in the future) and so on.

I mean … I’ve never seen Nemesis … I’ve never seen Insurrection. Not a single frame of that wasn’t in a trailer. Never once. And yet I’ve still read about them, had the plots dissected while I listened, even had conversations about them, browsed toys related to them. By all reports they’re both pretty forgettable, but _because they have a Star Trek logo on them,_ they won’t get forgotten, at least not in the next few decades. That’s what money, and a logo, will get you, automatically, before content, or character, are considered.

Now, I don’t think ST09 is a bad film at all; I think it’s a fun, no-brainer comedy action piece. A bit cynical, sure, and every kind of safe and easy … but a fun, fast-paced time. On par, trademarks aside, with other guilty-pleasures genre-popcorn cinema at the Total Recall/Demolition Man level. The kind of movie that, if it weren’t labeled Star Trek, the mention of which would make people pause, look into their memories for a moment, and then go “ohhhh … yeah …! I think I remember that!”

So, BiggestTOSfanever, that’s one thing that will stand the test of time. Because it already had when the money paid to slap it on.

Plus Nimoy, bless his heart.

60. Hugh Hoyland - February 21, 2010

Not everyone is going to dig ST 09, and thats cool. But to infer that it wont “stand the test of time” is just not a valid point. Name ONE Star Trek movie that has “stood the test of time” for anyone outside of being a trekker? The closest one to have had a more broad appeal to the general public was ST 4, but even that movie isnt often compared to movies like Star Wars, or 2001 ASO or Planet of the Apes. Now those movies HAVE stood the test of time on a broad level. Star Trek 09 gave new life to the franchise, it was fun, it had all of the elements of a TOS episode (the more action orientated ones) and it made quite a few new fans. Im sure that Bob and Kurtzman have got a good story down, and maybe even a script. Im pretty interested to see where they take the crew in the sequel. My bet is its going to be pretty darn good.

61. boborci - February 21, 2010

54. Jeyl – February 21, 2010

“If you look at it from Kirk’s point of view, this is his first ever assignment on a Starship and he’s being tasked to save Vulcan and it’s population.”

No, he is tasked with shutting down the drill. The exact threat to Vulcan is not yet evident. So actually, he succeeds in his stated mission.

” In the end… Vulcan is destroyed and the Enterprise is left without a captain”

True. Oddly, we get accused of taking the easy way out or dumbing it down. In the words of someone who agrees with you, the movie is,” every kind of safe and easy …”

Yet neither of you seem to be able to handle the dramatic complexity of having our heroes fail mid way through the movie.

62. boborci - February 21, 2010

60. Hugh Hoyland – February 21, 2010

Thanks for vote of confidence.

63. Hugh Hoyland - February 21, 2010

And as a side note, Bob if you ever get a chance, read the script for “The Planet of the Men” . Interesting concepts in that one.

64. Hugh Hoyland - February 21, 2010

#62 Boborci

Your welcome for sure, and trust me, theres a bunch of folks that feel the same way.

65. DarthDogg - February 21, 2010

Boborci

If there is one thing and one thing alone I, and I believe many others would love to see in the sequal it is this

To explore strange new worlds…to seek out NEW life and NEW civalizations… to boldly go were no man (or one if you prefer) has gone before.

Simple as that. This means no threat to the Federation or Earth. In order to achieve the above statement, the Enterprise should be no were near Earth or in Federation teritory for that matter.
This also means no villian of the week. there can be a threat sure, but this threat does not always have to be a madman hellbent on destroying earth. That formula has been used for almost every single movie.
A threat to the ship and the crew is sufficiant. The bad guys do not always need to be bad guys either, conflict can arise out of missunderstanding or any number of reasons. I would love to see a situation were peacful contact is the end result regardless of how much danger and threat there is at the beginning of a contact.
Take the episode The Cage. The bad guys in that turned out to not be so bad by the time we see them again at the end of The Managuiry.
Start Trek IV’s whale probe and V-gir were threats without being evil bad guys.
Enough ranting. Think about it please.

66. boborci - February 21, 2010

5. DarthDogg – February 21, 2010

Duly Noted. Thanks for opining.

67. Michael Hall - February 21, 2010

“Yet neither of you seem to be able to handle the dramatic complexity of having our heroes fail mid way through the movie.”

Point taken, Mr. Orci. I think the reason that “dramatic complexity” didn’t have the impact for me that you might have intended is that the crew fails in spite of having apparently done their damndest to shut down the drill. Not because they screwed up, or miscalculated; in fact Kirk and Sulu damn near died themselves in the effort. Nevertheless, it was a tradition on TOS that Kirk would have been devastated by his failure, until someone (probably McCoy) talked him out of his funk–where did you get the idea that self-doubt wasn’t every bit as much a part of Kirk’s character as his decisive confidence?

68. boborci - February 21, 2010

67. Michael Hall – February 21, 2010

“Point taken, Mr. Orci. I think the reason that “dramatic complexity” didn’t have the impact for me that you might have intended is that the crew fails in spite of having apparently done their damndest to shut down the drill.”

Yeah? And? That happens sometimes. You can do your best, do everything right, and fail. Maybe it doesn’t happen enough in “popcorn” movies, but it happens.

“Nevertheless, it was a tradition on TOS that Kirk would have been devastated by his failure, until someone (probably McCoy) talked him out of his funk–where did you get the idea that self-doubt wasn’t every bit as much a part of Kirk’s character as his decisive confidence?”

Kirk has nothing to feel guilty about. In ST2, Kirk clearly made a mistake by not following procedure. In ours, “Kirk and Sulu damn near died themselves in the effort,” so I’m not sure where the guilt would be coming from. And again, he is a younger version of the man you are referring to. There are no traditions established yet.

69. Michael Hall - February 21, 2010

“Yeah? And? That happens sometimes. You can do your best, do everything right, and fail. Maybe it doesn’t happen enough in “popcorn” movies, but it happens.”

Exactly my point. They did their best, made no mistakes, and failed anyway. That’s tragic, all right, but it’s not very dramatic, not in terms of character.

“Kirk has nothing to feel guilty about. In ST2, Kirk clearly made a mistake by not following procedure. In ours, “Kirk and Sulu damn near died themselves in the effort,” so I’m not sure where the guilt would be coming from.”

Hmm. My first time at bat, and six billion people just died. I don’t know about you, Mr. Orci, but I think I might waste a second or two, even in the midst of a crisis, to consider what else I might have done. Based on TOS, I think it’s a safe bet (see “Obsession”) that Kirk would have as well. But I’m a gulty Jew, see, so definitely YMMV. :-)

70. boborci - February 21, 2010

69. Michael Hall – February 21, 2010
“Yeah? And? That happens sometimes. You can do your best, do everything right, and fail. Maybe it doesn’t happen enough in “popcorn” movies, but it happens.”

“Exactly my point. They did their best, made no mistakes, and failed anyway. That’s tragic, all right, but it’s not very dramatic, not in terms of character.”

We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that. We think destroying Vulcan is very dramatic. You’re entitled to think otherwise.

“Hmm. My first time at bat, and six billion people just died. I don’t know about you, Mr. Orci, but I think I might waste a second or two, even in the midst of a crisis, to consider what else I might have done. Based on TOS, I think it’s a safe bet (see “Obsession”) that Kirk would have as well. But I’m a gulty Jew, see, so definitely YMMV. :-)”

Fair enough!

71. Red Skirt - February 21, 2010

#58. “Except the protagonist in that summer’s blockbuster managed to learn by the end of the film that it wasn’t all about him; in Trek ‘09, Kirk never does.”

Now, now Michael. You’ve gone and completely missed the point again. Kirk went from being a drunk, pathetic, reapeat-offender, loser, picking fights in a small town bar, to becoming the savior of the universe and captain of Starfleet’s flagship. Don’t you see? It_was_all about him!

Just because Maverick’s journey is the opposite of Kirk’s doesn’t mean a profound change in character didn’t occur in Kirk as well. Kirk thought he was nobody at the start, then the cosmos showed him he was somebody all along and he stepped right up to fill those shoes. Now that’s a message for today’s youth!

72. Michael Hall - February 21, 2010

Well, I know I’ve been hard on your film, but I do try to be fair. And in that spirit, I will say that I thought the immediate aftermath of Vulcan’s destruction was very dramatic, and handled with dignity by all concerned.

73. Jeyl - February 21, 2010

#61. “No, he is tasked with shutting down the drill. The exact threat to Vulcan is not yet evident.”

Alright, let’s do this. From what you’ve established so far in the story, there should be no reason why anyone wouldn’t think Vulcan is being threatened. You ensured that much by establishing that whoever is in command of the Narada is a very evil person. He attacked the Kelvin for no reason, murdered it’s captain and caused the death of George Kirk. Anyone who reads that kind of report will know these are unreasonable cold hearted bad guys. Kirk knows it, Spock knows it, Pike knows it, everyone knows it. Now that they’ve encountered the Narada which by now has destroyed 47 klingon ships and seven federation starships, why would anyone not suspect that what they’re doing to Vulcan isn’t a global threat to it’s entire population?

This was for all intents and purposes a mission to protect Vulcan from a force that has already murdered thousands of innocents. The ‘objective’ may have been achieved by disabling the drill, but the mission was a failure.

74. Hugh Hoyland - February 21, 2010

What was Kirk supposed to do after the failed attempt on the drill and the destruction of Vulcan? Go to his cabin and start crying, and then ask bones to come down cause he needed someone to talk to? Things were happening at break neck speed, there was NO time to grieve, be upset, or think how bad it all is. They had to act, fast or more planets would have had the same fate as vulcan.

75. Hugh Hoyland - February 21, 2010

side note, Im writting fanfic on the live chat forum. I’ve read that GR wrote a screen play called “The God Thing”. Ive looked for this on the web but so far cant find it. Does anyone know where or if its available anywhere on the web?

76. boborci - February 21, 2010

73

Basically agreeing with you. Yes, Vulcan was destroyed despite everyones best efforts. And?

77. Michael Hall - February 21, 2010

A few seconds of Kirk’s anguish over the loss might have done just fine, Mr. Hoyland. In the trade, it’s known as a ‘dramatic beat.’ I realize it’s hard to fit everything necessary into a two-hour running time, but editors, like Starship captains, sometimes have to make hard choices: maybe the Mickey Mouse hands could have been sacrificed instead.

78. Hugh Hoyland - February 21, 2010

Ok the hands could have went, but that lasted only a few seconds, so maybe a close up of Kirk with a tear rolling down his cheak. Actually Kirk was shown in sick bay with the survivors getting his hand bandaged, he looks pretty upset there.

79. Red Skirt - February 21, 2010

#69. “They did their best, made no mistakes, and failed anyway. That’s tragic, all right, but it’s not very dramatic, not in terms of character.”

Obviously you have not seen Aramgedon and Deep Impact. Very dramatic films. ;-) I would say most Summer popcorn films are characterized by the protagonists doing their best and being thwarted anyway – at least once, if not multiple times. What Star Trek managed to do extremely well was avoid the “fake” guilt that many of these unpolished heroes often eat up screen time with afterwards, when it was apparent they did their best – a token emotion over failure, where the writing failed to evoke any in the setup. ;-)

80. Jeyl - February 21, 2010

@68: “Yeah? And? That happens sometimes. You can do your best, do everything right, and fail. Maybe it doesn’t happen enough in “popcorn” movies, but it happens.”

I may not be a scientist, but I think you’ve perfectly described what a no-win scenario is all about. The film has so much screen time dedicated to Kirk not believing in the no-win scenario that when you finally put him in one, nothing comes from it.

Kirk: I don’t believe in the ‘no-win’ scenario.
Crewman: So what do you call your performance over Vulcan? I wouldn’t exactly call that a win.
Kirk: The objective was to stop the drill, and we stopped the drill.
Crewman: So you pride yourself in achieving something that didn’t amount to anything over the loss of six billion lives?
Kirk: The loss of Vulcan was a very sad, tragic event. We did everything we could. You can do your best at something and still fail.
Crewman: ….Which is a ‘no-win’ scenario.

81. DarthDogg - February 21, 2010

Jerl

I may have to give it to ya on that one. LOL

82. dmduncan - February 21, 2010

54: “dmd, all that stuff you listed in your “leaving out” list is not what I find to be the problem with Trek09. I could spend hours discussing how this film also has “cheap sets” and “writers who didn’t have a CLUE about scifi”, but that’s not what really bothers me. What I’m putting on the table here are the characters, the storyline and the film makers’ intent.”

Jeyl, it sounds like you missed the point I was making, which is that Star Trek is lots of things and to reverse the common saying, no, It’s NOT all good.

Some of it is downright bad.

Yet you and others keep pointing to ST.09 as if it somehow failed. Failed WHAT??? Your judgment that it failed totally depends on which parts of Trek you are looking at, first of all, and second of all, it ignores the fact that the critics have an entire TV series and selection of movies to compare it to.

ST.09 isn’t competing in the minds of fans against a single TV episode or movie but against ALL of them at the same time. Strike that — it’s competing against this nebulous mass of good things that fans selectively remember, picked out from all the not so good stuff in between.

“If you look at it from Kirk’s point of view, this is his first ever assignment on a Starship and he’s being tasked to save Vulcan and it’s population. When he fails and the planet gets destroyed, he doesn’t give it any thought afterwards.”

But I’m a fan of ST too and that didn’t bother me. It bothers you, but not me. Probably because I largely saw what I wanted to see: I wanted to see an OPENING CHAPTER that ran like a lit fuse and not a slow tour through Fan Love like Apocalypse Now was a slow tour through Viet Nam. Maybe for a 3 hour Trek lots of other stuff like that could’ve been included, but you really need to stop the argument from ignorance routine, where if you argue that if you don’t see it it’s not there.

Kirk lamenting the destruction of Vulcan is not something we saw — but it’s not something we can say didn’t happen because we did NOT see it, either. You cant make any assumptions on that matter at all, and yet you are making assumptions.

I could say the same thing about Avatar. The romance between Jake and Neytiri felt phony to me because I never really saw them gradually connecting, nor did I see them fall in love at first sight. And the way Jake betrays them and then gets quickly back into their graces seemed incomplete to me as well.

But hey, I can FORGIVE that stuff. I’m not going to make a big deal over it. I can just assume that more was going on on Pandora between Jake and Neytiri than the MPAA on Earth would allow being seen with a PG13 rating.

Finally, you can do Apocalypse Now and Shutter Island slowly, in puzzling detail. There’s no sequel to worry about. But if ST.09 fell flat you’re waiting another 10 years to see a new movie. But getting the franchise off to a fast start and looking at ST.09 as an OPENING CHAPTER preserves the near future as a place where they are now free to do more than an origin story, which opportunity they would not have if they made a slow moving bomb that just made fans like you happy.

57: “LOL.”

Right back at ya.

“Yeah, no doubt you’re quite the expert on what provokes unintentional laughter.”

Yes, matter of fact, I am an expert on my own reactions which I trust you won’t be so obtuse as claim better knowledge of.

And I also have the knowledge of how some non fans react when THEY see the same stuff for the first time.

“boosting Trek ‘09 by trashing TOS? That’s a bit crass, not to say desperate, even for defenders of last year’s popcorn-muncher. Judging a TV series produced in 1966 by the technical standards of 2010 makes about as much sense as criticizing “Citizen Kane” for not being “Fast and Furious 2,””

Oh, I’m sorry. A little bit of that selective fan memory at work perhaps? You missed the other things I mentioned which were NOT technically limited by the year nine teen hundred and sixty six.

Should I launch a video blog demonstrating in excruciatingly painful detail where the acting, dialogue, and ideas portrayed (though ancient by today’s standards, as far as I know, typewriters in 1966 didn’t prevent their operators from having good ideas) were just plain awful for all of you who seem to lovingly look at TOS as perfection?

“try to convince me that there’s anything in J.J. Abrams’ megapalooza extravaganza that will stand the test of time,”

There are few things I care less about than convincing you of anything. By the way you express yourself it is clear your mind is set, and I don’t argue with concrete.

AS IF what stands the test of time as it applies to a movie released last year is something that could be established today. Pfft.

“(As for those plywood sets–well, at least they didn’t wind up shooting a 23rd century starship engine room in a brewery. . .)”

Something which you are clearly hung up on. My condolences. Fan consternation about the brewery makes me yawn.

58: “Except the protagonist in that summer’s blockbuster managed to learn by the end of the film that it wasn’t all about him; in Trek ‘09, Kirk never does.”

Oh play me another tune on that violin, why don’t you?

A. The most notable thing about ST.09 for me was seeing Kirk and Spock not just looking younger but acting like immature versions of the older selves we know from TOS, and I regard that as one of the film’s premium accomplishments; I could totally accept the characters I know and love coming from who these two young people are. And in my mind that adds retroactive depth to the Shatner and Nimoy versions, a depth which we never got to see because Gene Roddenberry wouldn’t allow it. LOL!!! The one time a writer had Kirk doing something uncharacteristic and which deepened his character, Gene Roddenberry refused to let it stand written that way!

B. And yet ST.09 is set up for a run of sequels so that the story continues, and the characters can develop. This has been suggested ad nauseum by now in these threads, particularly by myself for Kirk and Spock.

Finally, I wouldn’t compare ST.09 to Citizen Kane, Casablanca, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Third Man.

But then I wouldn’t compare bald eagles to pit vipers either.

I would compare ST.09 favorably to Raiders of the Lost Ark, which I think deserves its place on AFI’s best 100 movies of all time list. Just because ST.09 is not a dark serious great movie does not mean it’s not a great movie. Raiders is a great film for its genre, and so is Star Trek.

Some people will see ST.09 as a mere popcorn muncher, but I don’t. I got way more out of it than that. Your mileage may vary.

83. Hugh Hoyland - February 21, 2010

#82 wow, very good points IMO.

84. dmduncan - February 21, 2010

80: “The film has so much screen time dedicated to Kirk not believing in the no-win scenario that when you finally put him in one, nothing comes from it.”

Now to be fair with that, wouldn’t Kirk have to be in command of the Enterprise from the beginning — wouldn’ the ship and the mission both have to be his from the get go — instead of carrying out Pike’s orders, to see what the outcome would have been under Kirk’s command?

Because if you are arguing that it would be impossible for it to turn out any other way under Kirk’s command, then you are arguing it is impossible for ANY WRITER to imagine a different scenario, i.e., one where Kirk thwarts the destruction of Vulcan.

85. dmduncan - February 21, 2010

E.g., under attack from Nero, Kirk Pine, in complete control of the Enterprise decides to steal a page from his father’s notebook. Gambling that Nero will remember well the destructive ramming of his ship by the Kelvin, Kirk sets the Enterprise on a collision course with the Narada while blasting all photon torpedo attacks from the Narada just as the Kelvin did under George Kirk to save his fleeing crew.

Nero gets a panicky sense of de ja vu. Unable to stop the Enterprise’s advance Nero severs the drill before they can complete drilling to the core of Vulcan, and warps out of range.

But alas, Kirk wasn’t in charge.

86. Michael Hall - February 21, 2010

“Oh, I’m sorry. A little bit of that selective fan memory at work perhaps? You missed the other things I mentioned which were NOT technically limited by the year nine teen hundred and sixty six.”

Nope. And rather setting up that “everything about TOS was perfect in my dreams” strawman, why not compare the handful of truly exceptional episodes I cited (including the two-hour “Menagerie” that won the Hugo, written by that hack Roddenberry who apparently wouldn’t let Kirk be written as a flawed human being even though his own writer’s guide clearly called for it) to what the Supreme Court wrought? Because, for my money, with the exception of production values and acting, Trek ’09 is vastly inferior to those old shows (and a good many others in the Trek canon besides) in every respect possible, particularly in terms of genuine wit or imagination.

But no: few aside from James Cawley, bless him, think that the original series was anything like perfect. Least of all, if you ever saw him speak publicly, Gene Roddenberry. (Rod Serling said of Twilight Zone that about a third of the episodes were great, a third were okay, and a third were dogs. Just about right for Trek’s original run, I think.) So I don’t fault Orci, Abrams et al for tampering with perfection. But for all of its faults and the ways that time has not treated it kindly, the years have also shown that the original series had a wonderful, inspiring premise that won the hearts and imaginations of a lot of people, myself included–and that, on occasion, the episodes lived up to that potential, both as good drama and at least servicable SF. The challenge for the Supreme Court was to take what worked on the show and build upon it, making it more sophisticated and discarding as much of the ’60s cheese as possible. Instead, it was dumbed-down (the conversion of stardates to earth-dates being just one example of many I could cite) to a fun, forgettable summer action flick featuring a clueless villain and a hot-to-trot astro-fratboy. You’re right: it’s not likely you’ll convince me to like Trek ’09, but the fact that I paid good money to see it–twice–should be enough to convince any reasonable person that I certainly wanted to.

87. S. John Ross - February 21, 2010

#61: “Yet neither of you seem to be able to handle the dramatic complexity of having our heroes fail mid way through the movie.”

You are (and at this point I have to assume you’re kind of pulling our leg) conflating an event which would have had the potential for dramatic complexity, with one that contained any.

@65: Yeah, that would be nice, for a change :)

@71: There are days when you render the rest of us superfluous, you know :) Your recent shift from casual-and-logical commenter to dryly-ironic-cheerleader has been something of a tour de force.

@80: Well said.

88. ryanhuyton - February 21, 2010

dmduncan,

Judging by the length of your post (#82), you seem to have a lot of time on your hands. :-) But you make good points in all of your postings. No one articulates their thoughts and feelings better than you do.

89. S. John Ross - February 21, 2010

#82: “But hey, I can FORGIVE that stuff.”

Well, exactly. If a movie rocks us, we will forgive the little oddities and flaws and flat notes.

If a movie rocks us less, we tend to parcel our forgiveness more judiciously.

I could nitpick Avatar if I were inclined. But it rocked me, so its nits become charming details to chuckle over lovingly; its omissions become treasured mysteries to wonder at; its inconsistencies become an opportunity to rationalize it and grow it in my imagination.

It all comes back to that very subjective root experience: Rocked, or not, or something in-between? The degree of Rock is inversely proportionate to the degree of Gripe. This formula isn’t determined by the number or severity of flaws in a movie, only whether they are absolved – subjectively – by the whole.

90. ryanhuyton - February 21, 2010

If a movie’s GOOD qualities outweigh its BAD qualities, then it is a success in my books. For “Star Trek” it goes like this:

BAD: Expanding hands, Nero’s lack of “depth”, engineering, Chekov’s accent, a few plot holes, some questionable science in regards to Vulcan turning into a black hole, not enough Winona Kirk, somewhat weak story, and some props that look like they were made by Playmates.

GOOD: Mostly strong performances from the new cast, great mentor performances by Leonard Nimoy and Bruce Greenwood, the opening scenes featuring the sacrifice of George Kirk, the CGI including the Enterprise and especially the Narada and Kelvin, some great action sequences, some great moments between Kirk and Bones, costume and set design, the scenes featuring Spock and Uhura, great directing and pacing, good make-up design, the end scene with Leonard Nimoy delivering the monologue, and finally, Bob and Alex showed that they understand the characters.

So, at least for me, the movie had much more “good” in it than “bad”.
But I dare Bob and Alex to do better next time. I know they will. I Khan feel it. :-)

91. dmduncan - February 21, 2010

86: “why not compare the handful of truly exceptional episodes I cited (including the two-hour “Menagerie”

A. For the same reason I don’t compare bald eagles to pit vipers. For one thing, TOS had no canon or anything to incorporate into its premise from the past and it was beholden to no one, and ST.09 obviously did not have the same kind of freedom, nor did it have the same objective.

The Menagerie was made to try and sell something that hadn’t been done before, while ST.09 was made to RESTART something that been done, was successful, and then had died. And that’s a much different trick.

B. Because if you want to be selective in your memory then you can make Star Trek to be the best thing ever created by the human race if you want to “make it so.”

I’m more of a big picture type of guy. I’m not going to exclude all the bad Trek from my memory just to make ST.09 seem worse than what remains.

ST.09 is a damned good movie.

“Because, for my money, with the exception of production values and acting, Trek ‘09 is vastly inferior to those old shows (and a good many others in the Trek canon besides) in every respect possible, particularly in terms of genuine wit or imagination.”

And I disagree. The Menagerie was a yawner, and there is no flawlessly written episode of TOS that I am aware of.

“But for all of its faults and the ways that time has not treated it kindly, the years have also shown that the original series had a wonderful, inspiring premise that won the hearts and imaginations of a lot of people,”

I agree. But I saw the SAME THING in ST.09, and I saw it done more explicitly and CINEMATICALLY there than ever before.

When Nero is drilling into San Francisco bay and Spock destroys the drill and it’s falling toward the bridge, what do you seriously think would’ve happened if Michael Bay or Roland Emmerich were directing? Yeah, buh bye Golden Gate Bridge baby, just for the stupid fun of it.

But that’s not what happened. They set that up so that you’d think that’s what would happen, and then let you sigh with relief and atypical SURPRISE that it didn’t. And that’s how you get ideas across cinematically, not by having some character read a speech about optimism, you have optimism permeate the actions you are seeing onscreen, and that’s what I saw. It’s subtle, but the point is there, and it’s there at the end when Spock Prime is off to colonize a new world with the survivors. No Vulcan suicides or deep dark depression, but that quintessentially Star Trek frame of mind that accepts adversity and challenges no matter how bad.

“Instead, it was dumbed-down (the conversion of stardates to earth-dates being just one example of many I could cite) to a fun, forgettable summer action flick featuring a clueless villain and a hot-to-trot astro-fratboy. You’re right: it’s not likely you’ll convince me to like Trek ‘09, but the fact that I paid good money to see it–twice–should be enough to convince any reasonable person that I certainly wanted to.”

It wasn’t dumbed down, and there are probably several thousand words from me on that issue on this site supporting my contention.

And surprise surprise, if you survey my comments on this site from the very beginning you’ll see that they start after the movie was released, and that I was NOT AN EARLY FAN!!! No, I only came to liking it after finally understanding it, and that took a few viewings.

Dumbed down? Not even close. But your mileage may vary depending on your viewing habits.

@88: LOL, and thanks. I actually DON’T have a lot of time, but when I get fired up I make time, and I wouldn’t be posting anything if Bob wasn’t listening. I feel like I owe Star Trek something and I’m just trying to pay back any way I can.

92. dmduncan - February 21, 2010

CORRECTION: The Cage was a yawner. The Menagerie was actually more clever and interesting.

93. ryanhuyton - February 21, 2010

#91 Its a real testament to Anthony and his hard-working staff that somehow give us a lot of articles to comment about during the “quiet” times after the release of the new movie. We still get to read and chat about comics, award shows, merchandise, and conventions. News might be slow in regards to the sequel, and there is no new series happening right now, but we still have lots to look forward to, including Bob listening to us nerds nitpick everything to death. :-)

94. ryanhuyton - February 21, 2010

#92 I have to agree, as painful as it is to do so. “The Cage” had a lot going for it, but not enough for a 1 hour episode. Its not a bad episode, but one can understand why NBC went with William Shatner for the second pilot, and changed the cast except for Spock. “The Menagerie” worked better for some reason.

95. Michael Hall - February 21, 2010

“And I disagree. The Menagerie was a yawner, and there is no flawlessly written episode of TOS that I am aware of.”

Well, okay then. If that defines the differences in our tastes, I’m more than happy to live with it. (Though I’d agree that no episode of TOS was flawless, all of the best were much better-written than Trek ’09.) And no, I wouldn’t define a decision not to off the Golden Gate bridge, which may have been more due to budget constraits than anything else, as “optimism,” cinematic or otherwise.

96. S. John Ross - February 22, 2010

#91: “It’s subtle”

Oh my. The movie repeatedly hammers the audience in the face with it’s hey-lookit-me ham-handed attempts to introduce (before it forgets or abandons) its attempts at themes … despite some fans, as you wisely put it, arguing that if they don’t see the hammers, they aren’t there. The film’s about as subtle as a brick through a car window. And I mean a brick of C4 with a red LED countdown on it …

“you have optimism permeate the actions you are seeing onscreen, and that’s what I saw.”

And I see the film as fundamentally dystopian, devoid of optimism, devoid of heroism (nifty pre-title sequence excepted), devoid of morality, devoid of humanism. Such is the nature of such a complex, subtle work of art, I suppose, so many-faceted and open to interpretation ;)

#90 sez “If a movie’s GOOD qualities outweigh its BAD qualities, then it is a success in my books. For “Star Trek” it goes like this:”

That’s fair, too. To offer some positive spin, here’s (just SOME of) my GOOD list (just a sampling, mind) :

GOOD: So much about the casting and acting! Karl Urban had such obvious respect for his role … Simon Pegg brought such enthusiasm and care (and still cheerleads beautifully for the film) … Saldana gave her lines character and energy above and beyond the call (and that goes double, maybe triple, for Greenwood as Pike) … Yelchin doing his own thing interpreting Chekov showed real chutzpah … Eric Bana elevating his material with absolute conviction as Nero … John Cho bringing the swashbuckling charm that Sulu deserves … Chris Hemsworth knocking the audience on their ass (happily) with his few minutes of rock-out awesomeness … even Faran Tahir looking like the badass captain we may never get to know … and JJ Abrams for explicitly encouraging the crew to do their own thing, choose their own level of homage. Bravo, bravo.

MORE GOOD: And let’s talk about that opening (pre-title) sequence and slather it with love, because it — both times, thank you — brought tears to my eyes and (the first time) made me think YES. THIS IS THE REAL DEAL. YOU HAD NO REASON TO WORRY; SIT BACK AND LET THE AWESOME FLOW OVER YOU. A very affecting, beautiful sequence both visually and emotionally.

YET MORE GOOD: Pacing, brother. This film grabs you by the shirt, yanks you along and never, ever lets you rest until the end. Even the quiet moments are charged with urgency and a sense of racing toward some fantastic conclusion.

YET EVEN MORE GOOD: Leonard. Frickin’. Nimoy. Hells yeah.

EVEN YET MORE MORE GOODER: Purty! And I don’t just mean Uhura. Space is purty, the Kelvin is purty, future San Francisco is purty, some of the costumes are pretty darn sweet, etc.

PLUS GOOD: I like Keenser. Little guy made me laugh. So sue me.

When I say I liked the movie (saw it twice) I’m not being (exclusively) ironic.

97. captain_neill - February 22, 2010

To me StarTrek TOS is one of the few 60s shows that transcended the time.

It was shows like Lost In Space that were cheesy but Star Trek was always something more, it had an ideal, a utopic posive view of the future.

That’s why it is still popular today.

The new movie may not be the best ever Trek but at least it is ensuring that the legacy of Trek will remain and the fact that TOS is remastered means that the new fans will watch the orginal series and hopefully the spin offs and love it all too.

98. Jeyl - February 22, 2010

84: “Because if you are arguing that it would be impossible for it to turn out any other way under Kirk’s command, then you are arguing it is impossible for ANY WRITER to imagine a different scenario”

I’m not arguing that at all. What I’m arguing is that fact that Kirk just went through a no-win scenario and no one, including Kirk thought anything of it. It’s pretty lazy to have this character brag about not believing in the no-win scenario yet do nothing with it when you finally put him in one.

82: “Kirk lamenting the destruction of Vulcan is not something we saw — but it’s not something we can say didn’t happen because we did NOT see it, either. You cant make any assumptions on that matter at all, and yet you are making assumptions.”

Ok, let me go over this again. Maybe it’s because of Kirk’s constant arguing and shouting at Spock just AFTER he’s been made a victim of recent events that I assumed he didn’t delve on the Destruction of Vulcan with much thought. Spock just lost his mother, his home planet and six billion fellow Vulcans that Kirk failed to protect, and Kirk shows no sympathy towards Spock at all. Quite the opposite actually since Kirk was ready to punch anyone who got in his way on the bridge. Maybe it was a good choice not to show Kirk lamenting the destruction of Vulcan, because having Kirk be sympathetic and than being an unsympathetic a**hole to the very victim he was lamenting for is pretty stupid. It’s just unfortunate that the writers decided the best course of action was to keep Kirk the unsympathetic a**hole all around.

99. P Technobabble - February 22, 2010

98. Jeyl

Are you forgetting that it was Spock-Prime who told Kik that he must regain captaincy of the Enterprise, and gave him a hint as to how to go about doing so? Kik wasn’t arguing with Spock because he was being an a^^hole, but because he knew this would break Spock, causing him to relinquish command. Under the circumstances, it seems quite logical to me. How else was Kirk supposed to assume command? When Spock realized he had lost the ability to command (in his own eyes), it opened the door for Kirk to take control.

100. boborci - February 22, 2010

98. Jeyl – February 22, 2010

1.) The events of the entire movie itself are a no win scenario, which Kirk won.

2.) Kirk does not think that Spock has emotions to service. Hence his surprise during the mind meld and his updated strategy to rely on Spock’s emotions to regain command.

101. P Technobabble - February 22, 2010

… and is it not true the events of the movie, themselves, are supposed to be a series of highs and lows, wins and losses? If every “beat” of a film has the hero winning something, realizing something, being on a high, then where can the film go? The hero is supposed to have failures of one kind or another, along the way, so that when he does win, at the end, that win is a significant one. I think Kirk’s changes — from being an angry, frustrated, wise-ass to becoming someone who comes to care about something greater than himself — is a significant win! And it BEGINS to define the Kirk character. Kirk’s character is still developing, and some seem to forget this is not the same Kirk we saw in TWOK – TUC, or even the Kirk we saw in TOS, which was ALREADY developed. We are there at the beginning, even if it is a different beginning than depicted in Trek-Prime.

102. Jeyl - February 22, 2010

@99: “Kik wasn’t arguing with Spock because he was being an a^^hole, but because he knew this would break Spock, causing him to relinquish command.”

Wrong scene. I’m referring to scene with Kirk arguing with Spock BEFORE he met Spock Prime. You remember? Kirk literally went haywire on the bridge and assaulted two fellow officers.

@100: “Kirk does not think that Spock has emotions to service.”

If there’s one thing I hate more about a character who acts like an a**hole is one who thinks he can justify his prejudice for being one. And what does it matter if Spock has emotions to service or not? Compassion is a trait of a great person wether the victim feels anything or not, because it doesn’t take rocket science to know they have indeed lost something.

You think Kirk didn’t see the shock and disbelief that Spock conveyed when he lost his mother? Kirk was right there looking at him! How could he convey that as anything but emotional? Especially when you look at Saavik who is pretty much a statue in comparison.

103. S. John Ross - February 22, 2010

#101: “… and is it not true the events of the movie, themselves, are supposed to be a series of highs and lows, wins and losses?”

Yes. But instead, we get none of that. Not any of it.

104. P Technobabble - February 22, 2010

102. Jeyl

My mistake.
However, the scene you refer to has Kirk arguing with Spock, again for a completely legitimate reason, and not simply because he was being an a^^hole. Kirk is arguing with Spock because he believes that what Spock is about to do — ordering the ship to join up with the fleet , instead of confronting Nero asap — is the wrong course of action. I still don’t see a problem with Kirk’s behavior, and I don’t see why Kirk would be thinking about being compassionate when he believes the Federation is hanging in the balance. It is his sense of human urgency which causes him to respond to Spock this way. And, again, this is Kirk STILL DEVELOPING, he is still not the Capt. James T Kirk we all grew up with.

105. P Technobabble - February 22, 2010

103. Sir John

I disagree. I could easily present an outline of the movie, and point out where the pluses and minuses are, but that is really beyond the scope of this thread. There is nothing I have seen about this movie that does not fit into even the most traditional story structure, and plotting.
However, the first thing I would ask is, “Whose story is this? Is it Spock’s story? Is it Kirk’s story?” I believe it is Kirk’s story, and if you follow the arc of Kirk’s character, the course of his development is clear, and his obstacles and successes (the lows and highs, losses and wins) are clear. Perhaps you may not have found them to be satisfactory, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

106. Hugh Hoyland - February 22, 2010

Off topic question which I asked earlier. I’ve been writting some fan fic over on the Live Chat room. I have read that GR wrote a screen play for a movie called “The God Thing”. Its basic premise is mentioned here and elsewhere, but not the actual script or outline. Does anyone know if the entire story or outline is available anywhere on the net?

107. Michael Hall - February 22, 2010

Mr. Orci,

“1.) The events of the entire movie itself are a no win scenario, which Kirk won.”

With all due respect, sir, to me that statement makes no sense at all. If Kirk won, then it was a ‘win’ scenario, however difficult.

Mr. Hoyland,

“I have read that GR wrote a screen play for a movie called “The God Thing”. Its basic premise is mentioned here and elsewhere, but not the actual script or outline. Does anyone know if the entire story or outline is available anywhere on the net?”

The script is covered in some detail in David Alexander’s Roddenberry biography. At one point Alexander was even commissioned to adapt it to novel form, but unfortunately this never happened due to issues involving the rights. So far as I know, it has never been published or has surfaced online.

108. P Technobabble - February 22, 2010

107. Michael

Wasn’t TWOK a no-win scenario which Spock won?

109. dmduncan - February 22, 2010

98: “Ok, let me go over this again. Maybe it’s because of Kirk’s constant arguing and shouting at Spock just AFTER he’s been made a victim of recent events that I assumed he didn’t delve on the Destruction of Vulcan with much thought. Spock just lost his mother, his home planet and six billion fellow Vulcans that Kirk failed to protect, and Kirk shows no sympathy towards Spock at all. Quite the opposite actually since Kirk was ready to punch anyone who got in his way on the bridge.”

Jeyl, I think that clues you into Kirk’s state of mind right there. That Kirk was so passionate about chasing Nero and angry to the point of mutinying against Spock when Spock was refusing to do so, and without knowing Earth was the next target, shows how strongly he felt about what Nero had just done to Vulcan, and how strongly he felt about doing the RIGHT (read: “moral”) thing afterward, i.e., to stop Nero at all personal cost as he said when he finally took command: “Either they’re going down, or we are.”

96: “And I see the film as fundamentally dystopian, devoid of optimism, devoid of heroism (nifty pre-title sequence excepted), devoid of morality, devoid of humanism. Such is the nature of such a complex, subtle work of art, I suppose, so many-faceted and open to interpretation ;)”

Dystopian? I don’t have a frakkin clue about what you could be talking about. If ST.09 was dystopian, what do you call the world of Blade Runner?

The Book of Eli? Yes. Matrix? Yes. The Road? Yes. Star Trek? It sounds funny to me even to put them in the same category.

And I found plenty of optimism, heroism and morality in the tale, including Kirk’s so called “cheat” of the Kobyashi Maru. But you are right that art reflects people to themselves.

Still, it isn’t an entirely subjective matter of your interpretation; 2001: A Space Odyssey may be open to interpretation, but still mean something that the artist intends whether YOU get it, whether YOU see it or not. 2001 didn’t explain much to you and yet it successfully communicated ideas visually, using visuals that conveyed specific meanings to say specific things without words, regardless of whether you got it or not. And not just the brilliant bone tool becomes the spacecraft tool sequence, but the entire ape sequence that shows how the apes got the knowledge of using the bone to crack skulls in the first place.

People can be as obtuse as they want to be in misunderstanding this visual or that scene, and yet those visuals and those scenes will still have the meanings they do and the effects they have on people regardless, because they are what they are, and knowing that is part of the trick in getting people to respond how the film makers want them to respond, which is not because those things mean anything people want them to mean.

2001, Blade Runner, and to a lesser extent, ST.09 are all puzzles that you have to figure out and when all the pieces are together you get a picture of what the film was doing beyond the “popcorn” level. But that “picture” is not “in” the movie and neither is it non existent because you don’t see it in the movie. (Eisenstein pointed out long ago that juxtaposing certain shots can create impressions and ideas in the viewer which are literally not “in” the movie).

Thing is you don’t HAVE to figure ST.09 out and it works just fine as a popcorn movie too; ST.09 doesn’t leave one with that dissatisfied sense of confusion that might inspire one to look deeper at the sort of story it is telling. The mistake would be to then say “I don’t look deeper because there is nothing deeper to see.”

See, I don’t disagree that Star Trek is a popcorn movie.

I disagree that it is ONLY a popcorn movie.

110. dmduncan - February 22, 2010

Words have multiple meanings. When a smart fellow says something that appears contradictory, such as “he won the no win scenario,” then he probably means that “no win” is being used in two different senses according to its multiple meanings. And there is no contradiction between using one sense against another when there is a relevant difference between them, even though the same word is used for both senses.

In the case of Kirk, I believe he had a fundamental disagreement with Starfleet over their judgment of what defines a “no win scenario.” I.e., what was “no win” for some might be “win” for him, and thus he could “win” the no win” scenario.

111. Hugh Hoyland - February 22, 2010

107 Michael Hall

Ok, thanks for the info.

112. Jeyl - February 22, 2010

@dmduncan

“UP” was a better Star Trek movie than Trek09.

113. dmduncan - February 22, 2010

@112: “UP” did have 5 of the best movie minutes out of last years movies, but it was standard Pixar fare after that. A simple story woven around a simple theme.

Look, I’m not saying ST.09 was Dostoevsky. I’m saying it wasn’t a simple movie with a simple objective.

I think it was the best “first chapter” movie out of any “first chapter” movie I’ve seen in a long time. And I personally don’t think it’s fair to criticize chapter 1 for not doing everything in chapters 2 through 10.

114. S. John Ross - February 22, 2010

#105: “I disagree. I could easily present an outline of the movie, and point out where the pluses and minuses are, but that is really beyond the scope of this thread.”

Plus, I would simply agree and offer no argument. My comment was an ironic stab at the gap between artifice and illusion, a poke at the film’s failures as I see them … not a literal comment on its connect-the-dots structure, which I agree has all the obligatory ups and downs pasted into their correct slots.

“There is nothing I have seen about this movie that does not fit into even the most traditional story structure, and plotting.”

I agree. And that’s a very kind way of putting it.

#109 “Dystopian?If ST.09 was dystopian, what do you call the world of Blade Runner?”

Dystopian. The category is hardly closed to new entrants.

“The Book of Eli? Yes. Matrix? Yes. The Road? Yes. Star Trek? It sounds funny to me even to put them in the same category.”

Indeed, the first three are dramas.

“The mistake would be to then say “I don’t look deeper because there is nothing deeper to see.””

We continue to agree. I’ve already explained in other posts how I feel about it’s attempt at father-son themes, it’s attempt at fate themes, it’s role as (literal, formal) farce, et multiple cetera … I’ve never claimed these and other layers literally _aren’t there._ Rather, I’ve explicitly mocked them, which I wouldn’t do unless I saw them.

Meanwhile, your Ye Olden Classicke “if you don’t appreciate this movie then you’re just not as clever and insightful as those of us who do” argument is charming, a very old-school geek song and it fills my heart with nostalgic warmth (something Trek09 couldn’t manage past the title card), but its shortcomings are many. Consider renting a new tune.

“I disagree that it is ONLY a popcorn movie.”

Then, once more, we continue to agree.

It’s good just how agreeable we all are, don’t you think?

#112: I agree.

115. Michael Hall - February 22, 2010

Mr. Ross,

What exactly about the film struck you as dystopian? Why did you call it very, very politically conservative?

116. dmduncan - February 22, 2010

114: “Dystopian. The category is hardly closed to new entrants.”

And actually now I agree. But I would expect the entrants to fit the category and not be inserted like Screech into a lineup of mixed martial arts champions.

“Indeed, the first three are dramas.”

Yes. Dystopian dramas. I had to shake that one off. For a moment there it almost seemed like you thought those were mutually exclusive things.

“I’ve already explained in other posts how I feel about it’s attempt at father-son themes, it’s attempt at fate themes, it’s role as (literal, formal) farce, et multiple cetera …”

I would like to know why you keep using the word “attempt.” To me that suggests failure, and if you regard those things as failures then surely you must have clear ideas of how the successful versions should have looked in contrast. Without providing cogent examples to support your points you’re just throwing pie.

“I’ve never claimed these and other layers literally _aren’t there._ Rather, I’ve explicitly mocked them, which I wouldn’t do unless I saw them.”

But what does your gall bladder have to do with Star Trek? I’d bet good money you were a healthy producer of bile long before ST.09 was a flicker in Bob Orci’s eye, so you can’t blame Bob or Star Trek for your condition.

“Meanwhile, your Ye Olden Classicke “if you don’t appreciate this movie then you’re just not as clever and insightful as those of us who do” argument is charming, a very old-school geek song and it fills my heart with nostalgic warmth (something Trek09 couldn’t manage past the title card), but its shortcomings are many. Consider renting a new tune.”

First, one who favors the song and dance of “Poor Old Innocent Me” and particularly the “See How Much I Like Star Trek Wink Wink” routine, performed with a pie at the ready in each hand, doesn’t have much room to talk.

Second, why get a new tune when the old one is still serviceable?

The things you mentioned as layers are not the things I had in mind; those things are what I view as the obvious surface elements.

But keep digging, sir; pay dirt will not elude you forever.

117. dmduncan - February 22, 2010

@Bob:

For a post that’s a little more constructive…

You might want to read “Armies of Memory” by John Barnes in your research. John writes brilliant character driven hard SF stories. Though he’s not a fan of Star Trek I think you’ll recognize in that book the type of story that Star Trek would handle.

The book reads like a mystery and though it takes a while to learn about them, the mysterious threat that surfaces by the end of the book is, I think you’ll find, more frightful than the Borg, and they have a disturbing message to deliver to us here and now.

It’s very Star Trek like in it’s message and it might give you some serious food for thought.

Be aware that “Armies of Memory” is the current book in a series that details the exploits of the Giraut character (which begins with “A Million Open Doors”), but that you don’t need to read any of the prior books to understand “Armies of Memory.”

118. Rocket Scientist - February 22, 2010

I just watched it again tonight, and saw things I wish were done differently. Hell, there are things I just plain don’t like. And then there are things I like very much. But it is what it is, and I moved on. I don’t feel the need to agonize over it, nor do I intend to lose sleep over it. Hopefully the next one has more things to my liking.

119. S. John Ross - February 22, 2010

“I would like to know why you keep using the word “attempt.” To me that suggests failure”

Must be one of those eternal verity things.

120. P Technobabble - February 23, 2010

114. Sir John

In your post #103, we said:
ME: “… and is it not true the events of the movie, themselves, are supposed to be a series of highs and lows, wins and losses?”
YOU: Yes. But instead, we get none of that. Not any of it.

Then in #114, you say: “…I agree (it) has all the obligatory ups and downs pasted into their correct slots.”

When you said, “we get none of that, not any of it,” you sounded pretty absolute. But then you agreed it has “all the obligatory ups and downs,” which seems to counter what you said earlier, claiming you were being “ironic.” With all due respect, I find these sort of “disagree-then-agree-then-disagree” kinds of responses from you make it difficult to know where you are coming from. It often seems in one post, you are severely critical of the film, while in another post you present a list of good things about the film. I’m not saying you can’t find good AND be critical, but, in the end, I don’t know whether you like the film or not. Not that that really matters, either, since you are entirely entitled to your opinions. However (and I mean this in the most light-hearted way), reading your posts is often like watching a pendulum swing back and forth.

121. Michael Hall - February 23, 2010

Not to be unconstructive, but I can think of few SF series I would less consider a template for Trek than John Barnes’ Girout Leones saga. Now there’s a real dystopia for you: a future for humanity posited as a choice between endless internecine warfare on the one hand and decadence and decay on the other. The good guys’ solution to this dilemma is a covert-ops mishmash of political manipulation and mafia-style hits. It’s a tribute to Barnes’ skills as an author that despite the grim background and politics, the character of Leones comes across as life-loving and likeable as he does. (And yes, the flashback sequence in “The Armies of Memory” which depicts a cybernetic planetary invasion from the perspective of a small child is as frightening and suspenseful as anything I’ve read.) But while I’d love to see Trek taken more in the direction of thoughtful litererary SF, the Leones novels are completely antithetical to Roddenberry’s faith (however naive) in the notion of human progress.

122. P Technobabble - February 23, 2010

I imagine it is hard to speculate about a “utopian,” or optimistic view of mankind, given our current global situation, either in Star Trek, or for real. There are some people who seem to have “gotten the goods,” in terms of our materialistic society, but, in contrast to that is the tremendous amount of suffering going on in the world. The Trek-ian vision of a more enlightened mankind — having overcome the tendency toward greed, conflict, war and so forth — is certainly a noble vision. But the question of how do we get “there” from “here” is uppermost on my mind. Yes, Star Trek is a work of fiction, but we know from history that sometimes the dreams of fiction can become reality… like going to the moon. Could the dreams of a (somewhat) more perfect world, inhabited by a (somewhat) more enlightened mankind ever become a reality? It’s all well and good to portray such things in fiction, but I honestly believe Gene Roddenberry was a bit more passionate about mankind actually, in real life, achieving something greater than simply displaying the most primal, tribal urges of the human animal. We all seem to acknowledge that mankind is a rather under-developed, primative, violent species, but we do nothing about man, himself (male or female). Instead, we focus on building civilization, based on all of our worst tendencies. As J. Krishnamurti used to say, the human mind has made tremendous technological advances, but the human heart is still the same as when men lived in caves.
I love the optimistic, hopeful vision of Star Trek, in general, and not of any specific episode or film. I pray, for my kids and their kids and those that follow, that there is a world in the future worth being optimistic about. But when I look at the world today, I see far too many devious politicians, far too many greedy corporate leaders, far too many archaic belief-systems, and far too much suffering. So, I keep wondering, “How do we get there from here?” I am currently at a loss for an answer…
Sorry if I’ve wandered off track, but all this talk has got me thinking.

123. dmduncan - February 23, 2010

@121: Let me clarify. John would agree with you on the dystopian aspect of the thousand Cultures. He looks at the Thousand Cultures and the events that happen in that book as applying to us today.

So I’m not suggesting that Bob would draw inspiration from the world John has created; Niven’s The Mote in God’s Eye is much more Star Trek-like. And I think Bob has already read that one. So John’s work is not a template for the Star Trek universe. I wasn’t suggesting that.

I’m suggesting that the enemy in “Armies of Memory,” and what that enemy represents is done in the same way that Star Trek handles insightful ideas, and JB gives us an example of brilliance there of the SORT that I would like to see in Star Trek.

Images and ideas from “Armies of Memory” still haunt me today. Whoever those bastards in “Armies of Memory” were, I found them much more scary than the Borg; he’s got one more Giraut story to tell, so hopefully we’ll find out soon enough — although on another level we already know who those bastards were. And are.

(On the artistic level, some of Star Trek’s best episodes were really about aspects of ourselves dressed up in alien garb or brought out under strange circumstances that only SF stories can explore in that way; thus you could represent humanity positively while exploring the not so positive aspects of A human).

124. dmduncan - February 23, 2010

122: “So, I keep wondering, “How do we get there from here?” I am currently at a loss for an answer…
Sorry if I’ve wandered off track, but all this talk has got me thinking.”

I think of that as well. And maybe we do not. Maybe optimism doesn’t mean achieiving some utopia on Earth, but some utopia in our hearts and minds regardless of the condition of things on Earth. I understand that’s what Gene Roddenberry hoped for, but his life was an emotional mess. I don’t think he ever really understood the sorts of things Krishnamurti said.

I think Ron Moore’s BSG dramatized the best philosophical answer about the nature of reality that I’ve ever seen done on TV. What’s more, I think it may be true. And to a lesser extent I think ST.09 touched upon a similar idea. Of course BSG had four seasons to tell the story and paint a complete picture, so it’s not an entirely fair comparison.

I do think, however, that BSG was great because it was really about the serious questions Ron More had about the world. I think for the next Star Trek movie to be great, it really has to be about what Bob and Alex seriously wonder about.

They are the writers. They can’t just take notes on blog comments and put them into a story. If it’s not personal to them I don’t think it’s going to feel authentic to us.

125. Michael Hall - February 23, 2010

Glad to hear that there’s one more Leones story in the works, especially given what was about to take place at the end of the last one. :-)

126. S. John Ross - February 23, 2010

#120 says: “When you said, “we get none of that, not any of it,” you sounded pretty absolute.”

I felt pretty absolute. Still do.

“But then you agreed it has “all the obligatory ups and downs,” which seems to counter what you said earlier, claiming you were being “ironic.””

Context (not just the context of what I was saying, but who I was responding to …) In the first instance, I was talking about the film. In the second instance, I was responding to dmduncan’s claim that an “outline of the movie” would show the ups and downs. I agreed with him, because his change of subject (from film to outline) underlines my expressed stances about the gap between what the filmmakers (apparently) intended, and what was delivered to the audience (IMO). (See my uses of the word “attempt,” and similar comments to that effect)

The point is that while these things are structurally present, they are not dramatically present. The movie ticks off its checklists, connects its little dots, and zips along its merry way unencumbered by dramatic impact.

Had dmduncan addressed my points instead of dancing past them (to be perfectly fair, I do the same thing to him much of the time, but that’s in response to his history), I had a third turn ready where I’d contrast my feelings on the movie as a successful “roller coaster ride” with it’s lack of dramatic “ups and downs” and build some nice little notes of irony around that and have a bit of fun with it, but it never really fit the flow … might have been fun to write, though. Ah well :(

But how I relate to dmduncan differs from how I relate to boborci, or Red Skirt, or you or Anthony, etc … different devices for different contexts, mainly led by the tenor and substance of the other person’s posts. And honestly, I’ve written entire, very serious-sounding posts just to erect a precipice off which to casually toss a single lame joke. This is my alternative to caffeine; it keeps me awake at the keyboard. But on the other hand, there are some posters here who are just sort of brilliant, and so it’s not _just_ mucking about I’m here for … I’m here to enjoy their insights, and to (on threads unrelated to the film) to celebrate my love of things Star Trek , and of other stuff the site touches on (Doctor Who, Terminator, Avatar, Firefly/Serenity, Pixar films, etc).

“It often seems in one post, you are severely critical of the film, while in another post you present a list of good things about the film.”

All true. But consistently so … I consistently praise the casting of virtually every role. I consistently, quietly, _avoid_ praising the casting of Kirk and Spock (I seldom outright criticize these days, I just pointedly omit them in my praise). I consistently praise the pace, etc. I never, ever praise anything relating to the film’s writing or content (or characterizations, with the exception that I frequently praise the actors for — and I always use this phrase — “elevating the material”). It’s all there, it’s all very deliberate, but – to be fair – I twist it through layers of playful irony, outright condescension, or just good-natured fannish/brotherly humor depending on who I’m responding to or what article I’m commenting on, because (and this is where I and the filmmakers differ, I think) we can love a formula without letting it try to shoulder the entire burden.

“I’m not saying you can’t find good AND be critical, but, in the end, I don’t know whether you like the film or not.”

Well, on that point I’ve been straightforward with the honest mantra: I like the movie. Saw it twice. That’s true, it really is. But there is a separate question of “do I like the film as Star Trek?” and I don’t, no. I don’t feel it is worthy of the marks that money attached to it, and I wish for a world where money can’t do that …

“… reading your posts is often like watching a pendulum swing back and forth.”

Writing them, by contrast, feels like holding the pendulum vertically still, and _turning_ it ;)

127. S. John Ross - February 23, 2010

#124: “I think Ron Moore’s BSG dramatized the best philosophical answer about the nature of reality that I’ve ever seen done on TV.”

LOL

128. P Technobabble - February 23, 2010

126. Sir John

you noted: “In the first instance, I was talking about the film. In the second instance, I was responding to dmduncan’s claim that an “outline of the movie” would show the ups and downs.”

In fact, that was my claim regarding the outline in post #105. I mention that only because I couldn’t find any instance of dmduncan mentioning an outline, and also I wouldn’t him get blamed for anything I said ;)
In any case, one man’s liver is another man’s pudding. Two tylenol might work for my headache, but you might need four. I wasn’t looking for a Star Trek full of heavy drama. I thought it had just the right amount of drama, action, adventure, humor… and, therefore, I have nothing to criticize about the writing or content. I thought Pine and Quinto were as perfect for their roles as the rest of the cast. I recently watched every Kirk/Spock movie, one after the other — just for the hell of it — and, from my POV, Trek09 was definitely a Star Trek movie. Can’t wait for the next one…

129. Red Skirt - February 23, 2010

#96, John, you are not working hard enough, and are obviously a predisposed pessimist. ;-)

I saw optimism all over the place. Starting with the blinking lights in the back-ground: many more green ones than red ones, clearly an intentional choice to make the Enterprise a more positive place. In fact in one speech Kirk gave, there was a green light that kept blinking once every few seconds behind his right ear. Clearly a positive reference to The Menagerie when Pike could only answer by blinking once for “yes” and twice for “no”. “Yes”! Such an optimistic statement. But perhaps the biggest statement of optimism was that when Vulcan was destroyed by a black hole, it did not suck the Enterprise in, as at the end of the movie, nor did it throw Delta Vega off its orbit, or otherwise destroy the Vulcan solar system, so Kirk could meet Spock and Scotty and Nimoy and Keenser could live to tell their tale. These are things you have to be_open_to seeing John. But when you insist on seeing the film only your way, you miss all those things the filmmakers so clearly embedded into the fabric of the film rather than explicitly showing them to you.

And remember, it’s not what you see on screen that’s important, but rather what you don’t see. That’s what makes this movie a work of art, not the stuff they show you, but the stuff they don’t show you! Everything you’re missing in the film is there, just no on screen. After all, if the movie doesn’t make you think, how good can it be? ;-)

130. dmduncan - February 23, 2010

128: “I wasn’t looking for a Star Trek full of heavy drama. I thought it had just the right amount of drama, action, adventure, humor… and, therefore, I have nothing to criticize about the writing or content.”

That’s how I see it too.

And I don’t recall mentioning outlines either, and tho I didn’t catch it, thanks for correcting yourself. That was an uncharacteristically civil thing to do for the internet.

131. dmduncan - February 23, 2010

Since I do prefer to be constructive and offer thoughtful analyses, I’ll throw this out about BSG.

BSG was 4.5 seasons long; due to the commercial nature of TV that was a little too long for the story that the series had to tell. So it sunk into soap opera here and there, but underneath the fat there was a strong figure trying to get out. And it did.

It reached fighting weight by “Islanded in a Stream of Stars.” Spoilers ahead. Be warned.

Don’t blame me if you don’t want to know what happened and you keep reading.

***

And that BSG did dramatize an idea about the nature of reality is a clear implication.

Starbuck meets a mysterious piano player in the Galactica’s bar who plays an odd tune she is somehow familiar with. She befriends the man and soon she is playing the same tune beside him. He disappears, leaving her the one playing the piano.

And what is this tune she is pounding out on the keys? It’s the hook from Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” But what is a Dylan song written on Earth in AD 1966 doing in a SF series about human looking aliens from across the stars?

Good question, that one is. An answer is implied by the extreme end of Daybreak part II.

Furthermore, the Dylan riff, it turns out, is the jump code to our Earth. But not our Earth today. No, our Earth 10, 15, 20,000 years ago. The Galactica’s present is our past.

Now we start to see. The Greek myths of Caprica did not originate here. They came here with the people of Galactica, with the history of Caprica long forgotten by the time of the Greeks.

And now Starbuck, her dead body found long ago while her form refused to go away, and her mission of leadership now complete, tells Apollo goodbye and is gone in an instant, like a spirit.

And here on this Earth, the one that Galactica colonized, a man named Bob Dylan will be born who will write “All Along the Watchtower” as if that song had never been written before.

But it WAS written before, though Dylan will know nothing of it’s ancient past.

And as we cut to the future of Earth and enter our present day, we see intelligent machines being invented again (precursors to the same mistake of creating Cylons?) and the same two angels in the form of Baltar and Six taking bets on whether the story will unfold in the same way yet again — and a repeating cosmic cycle view of reality has been delivered that depends on the idea expressed in Ecclesiastes 1:11:

“There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.”

Now it begins to make sense. The Dylan song makes sense in the context of a theme we see repeating unbeknownst to the now current generation of actors in The Play. WE are that new generation of actors. The Dylan song never existed before Dylan wrote it; and robots never rose up against their human creators before either.

Right? Or. Or?

Or perhaps prophecy is not seeing the future, but remembering the past, remembering what comes next in a story you have been a part of countless times against the infinite expanse of time because you are more than mortal flesh, a story which seems new to us all because we forget near completely that we have been here before, while the angels remember and advise; oblivion makes an old story new every time, and us in that story perhaps playing the same roles, perhaps switching them, but playing roles on and on into immeasurable future history, living a timeless drama desperately as if each time were the first and last time, while occasionally we remember glimpses of the future that is to be yet again, calling ourselves prophets and sages for the seeing.

We die, are reborn, and a new drama begins. The universe ends, is reborn, and a new drama begins. But it’s the same story with all it’s variations. Glad we never played in it before!

(Or as Paul Muad Dib pointed out: t’would be hell to know every thing before it happened, and equally true to say, I think, that it would be pointless only if we knew how many times over we’ve played these myths for real).

132. S. John Ross - February 23, 2010

#128: “I couldn’t find any instance of dmduncan mentioning an outline, and also I wouldn’t him get blamed for anything I said ;)”

Fair catch. :) And my apologies to you sir, for conflating you with dmduncan (it happened because I was mentally answering three things when my fingers were typing about just one … but that’s an error of _my_ monkeybrain that you should not have had to endure).

“I wasn’t looking for a Star Trek full of heavy drama.”

I’m not aware of anyone who was, but okay.

“I thought it had just the right amount of drama, action, adventure, humor… and, therefore, I have nothing to criticize about the writing or content.”

And that’s excellent.

#129: “I saw optimism all over the place. Starting with the blinking lights in the back-ground: many more green ones than red ones, clearly an intentional choice to make the Enterprise a more positive place. In fact in one speech Kirk gave, there was a green light that kept blinking once every few seconds behind his right ear. Clearly a positive reference to The Menagerie when Pike could only answer by blinking once for “yes” and twice for “no”. “Yes”! Such an optimistic statement.”

My god that’s … truly … THIS IS A MOVIE THAT BLINKS ONCE. And shame, SHAME upon me for failing to see … yes … yes!

“But perhaps the biggest statement of optimism was that when Vulcan was destroyed by a black hole, it did not suck the Enterprise in, as at the end of the movie, nor did it throw Delta Vega off its orbit, or otherwise destroy the Vulcan solar system, so Kirk could meet Spock and Scotty and Nimoy and Keenser could live to tell their tale.”

… and although I never took the time to unravel the brilliant, intricate puzzle before, there were thousands of planets the black hole never destroyed! There were SONGS it didn’t interrupt … paintings it didn’t mar … sunsets it never blotted out and love, sweet romances that flowered, untouched by its impotent destructions …

I had been thinking … here is a future in which Iowa produces yuppies … how can that be better? How can that be _anything_ but a grim and perilous doom for mankind? But my perspective was Iowa-small, when it should have been GALAXY LARGE … and I was so wrong. May I one day, wretched sinner that I am, be forgiven.

Short of a galactic invasion of Care Bears, it’s difficult to imagine something more sweet and uplifting. And all along it was woven artfully into the film’s DNA, waiting to be unveiled one delicate layer at a time, like a puzzle that is a dance that is a CELEBRATION of the human intellect. That’s a sure sign that the filmmakers respected the audience.

“These are things you have to be_open_to seeing John. But when you insist on seeing the film only your way, you miss all those things the filmmakers so clearly embedded into the fabric of the film rather than explicitly showing them to you.”

Indeed. Now I see it … only clumsy filmmakers would offer the good stuff up to the audience themselves, reducing them to passive observers to a recorded audio-visual form … but real geniuses … who understand and respect that their audience wants more … leaves the good stuff OUT of the film, drawing the audience into an interactive, ephemeral form in which the film is discovered/created/understood as it happens, and in blissful days, months and years afterward, as the film grows toward its rightfully blessed and celebrated role in eternity. That must have been what my toast meant this morning, with Kirk’s face on it.

I repent my wicked ways, and I embrace this glorious truth.

“And remember, it’s not what you see on screen that’s important, but rather what you don’t see. That’s what makes this movie a work of art, not the stuff they show you, but the stuff they don’t show you! Everything you’re missing in the film is there, just no on screen. After all, if the movie doesn’t make you think, how good can it be? ;-)”

I am … humbled. You bless me with your insight into this great work, and we are ALL blessed – though some of us, shamefully, turn away from its great gifts – by this film. No, so much more than a film … this great and eternal work. It’s so good, it deserves a website.

#131: “Good question, that one is.”

This too is true, Socrates.

While praising the unquestionable depth and brilliance of BSG is a laudable exercise, shouldn’t we just join hands, and talk about how great ST09 is some more? I think we should.

133. dmduncan - February 23, 2010

@132: Are you drunk?

134. dmduncan - February 23, 2010

Well, drunk or sober, that’s an egregious case of trolling.

135. P Technobabble - February 24, 2010

It’s so enlightening to have the benefit of such sarcasm…

136. Gerald Halverson - April 21, 2011

Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

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