At the Toronto Comic Arts Festival last weekend, I bumped into occasional BBP contributor JMT, and we got to talking about Star Trek and why so many of us are excited to the arrival of Star Trek Into Darkness. A few days later, this arrived in my inbox, and summed things up nicely! – Andy Burns
We at Biff Bam Pop enjoyed the JJ Abrams (gritty) reboot of the Star Trek franchise. The 2009 film was suitably rooted in Gene Rodenberry’s universe and conveyed all of the size and scale we were hoping for, from the shipyard on earth, to the reveal shot of the Enterprise docked at a truly massive space station.
The cast offered interpretations of character audiences were familiar with, rather than mere impressions of the original cast. Two hours of Chris Pine doing William Shatner would have been insufferable, even if Karl Urban, couldn’t help but impersonate Deforest Kelley at times.
The device that linked the reboot to the original franchise was elegant. It avoided becoming bogged down in a discussion of the mechanics of time travel and jumping between universes. Even the most cynical moviegoers could take pleasure in Leonard Nimoy’s role.
The many smaller nods to the original series (Kirk in bed with an alien, who’s costume consisted only of some poorly applied green paint), seemed sufficient to satisfy most trekkies, at least according the aggregate scores on Meta critic and IMDB.
The first film in a franchise is the easiest, with a tried and true structure to rely on. Act one is an origin story, act two shows the transformation into a realized hero and act three presents a threat for the hero to overcome. The second film in a franchise poses the difficult question: what now? Sequels often end up adding more to the original without expanding upon it.
However, the lack of a specific formula for a sequel presents an opportunity for filmmakers to tell a new story. We have seen how Abrams successfully wove two origin stories together within the context of the Star Trek universe, and we are intrigued by the possibilities of Abrams, unfettered by the constraints of a first film in a franchise, may deliver as a sequel.
If Star Trek Into Darkness turns out to be a standard sequel, more spectacular shots of space, more cameos from members of the original cast, more poorly costumed aliens (dare we hope for tribbles), we will be satisfied… at least until the trailer for the inevitable third film.