The new Star Trek movie, Into Darkness, will probably be good. J.J. Abrams did a nice job with the series reboot, Star Trek, and set about a clever maneuver to start the series over with new flash and new zing. I’m sure it’ll be just fine, like all J.J. Abrams movies.
But that might be a problem. I watched the Into Darkness trailer again, and it causes me a little worry. It’s the same worry I expressed when it was announced J.J. Abrams would be directing the new Star Wars film. What’s with all the J.J. Abrams? It’s not like he’s a sci-fi master. Lost is not relevant here, though Lost was wonderful. It’s TV, he created it, and it’s a different endeavor. As a film director Abrams has a small tool-box that he uses effectively. He makes pretty good action/sci-fi movies, that have terrific production quality and look brilliant (excepting the lens-flares).
My biggest problem with J.J. Abram’s Star Trek was that it was called Star Trek. Star Trek is cerebral and weird. It puts an android into a Sherlock Holmes story, just because. Star Trek: Into Darkness has explosions and somber flag-folding as leaders sit around a giant table waffling, only to have a lone hero stand up to do the right thing. That’s not Star Trek; that’s Armageddon, that’s boring. It’s savvy tech-action hero-worship and lacks the oddball creativity that defines Star Trek. Granted, it’s just the trailer. But it seems a step further away from Star Trek and towards Roland Emmerich. And then he’s doing Star Wars.
Star Trek and Star Wars are distinct identities. This is why Abrams worries me. He’s a limited director, capable of making a J.J. Abrams movie. If there is a Star Trek-Star Wars Continuum™ (one end being totally cerebral crazy sci-fi, the middle being Taylor Kitsch Films, and the other end being Luke and Han bro-ing it up with Leia on a smugglers boat unconcerned about you or your opinions) Abrams is pushing Star Trek further out of the Star Trek Realm and towards the milquetoast center of generic action/sci-fi. And we all know Star Wars needs to be rescued from that center, not put on a parellel trajectory towards the event horizon of the Battleship-hole from which nothing escapes.
Hollywood is capable of making great science-fiction pictures. It’s yet to be seen if Abrams can make them. If Abrams blends the two greatest sci-fi cultural landmarks into the same mushy generic “Abrams action picture”…
If you’re curious. The Star Wars – Star Trek Continuum is displayed below: