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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness: Too many dicks on the Enterprise.

[From my Star Trek Into Darkness article at The Daily Dot.]

In 2009’s Star Trek, JJ Abrams successfully made the effort to appeal to new viewers as well as dyed-in-the-wool Trekkies. This time round, he seems to be going further afield— and alienating the original fanbase entirely.

The publicity for Into Darkness has been solidly high school: Don’t worry—it may be Star Trek, but it’s not for nerds anymore! In an interview with Jon Stewart this week, Abrams made it very clear that he’d never liked the show as a kid, because it was “too philosophical.” “I stopped listening when you said you didn’t like Star Trek,” Stewart joked. “I saw your mouth moving, so I assume you apologized.”
It’s not actually necessary for a director to be a lifelong fan if they want to make a successful adaptation. In fact, JJ Abrams’ first Star Trek movie was proof of that. But it’s another thing for an adaption to leave most of the original show’s values in the dust, which is what Into Darkness seems to be doing. The dialogue is snappy, the action sequences are fun, and the characters seem real enough, but the heart and the brain are now gone.

In 1966, Star Trek broke new ground with its international crew of hopeful explorers, scientists, and adventurers. True, the show was full of heavy-handed Cold War metaphors and casual 1960s misogyny, but its central messages were obvious: Racism is bad. Give peace a chance. That kind of thing. Men and women, Russians and Americans, aliens and humans: all could work together on a more-or-less equal footing. For many viewers, Nichelle Nichols (Lieutenant Uhura) was the first woman of color they’d seen playing anything other than a maid. Star Trek was pushing the envelope.

In 2013, not so much. [READ MORE]

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