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Who Watches the Casting Directors? 25.08.2009

Posted by Yeoman Nacelle Envy in Uncategorized.
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What the hell are you smiling about?

What the hell are you smiling about?

Finally broke down and saw Watchmen on Netfix.  Yes indeed, a mess.  Too long, too lumpy and focus-less, too faithful to the original graphic novel in all the wrong ways, too nasty in similarly wrong ways, and blah blah blah.  Yeah yeah yeah.

But no other reviews I’ve read brought up what to me is the biggest problem with the flick: Casting.  Seems like the downfall of many a sodden superhero film lately.   Yes, the wonderful Jackie Earle Haley was absolutely fantastic (though by necessity his face was covered for much of the film so that didn’t help much).   But the rest?  Yeesh!

To get my point please imagine for a second (if you will) the very same film, with the same desperately-needs-a-rewrite script and uninspired directing and uneven special effects and stale craft-service Twizzlers, etc, but with the following cast:  A young Angelina Jolie or Jessica Lange as Silk Spectre II.  A young Jack Nicholson or Kevin Spacey as the Comedian, a young Michael Caine or Patrick McGoohan as Ozymandias, a young Marlin Brando or Gary Oldman playing Night Owl (instead of a wonderful actor who was unfortunately cast-EXACTLY-to-type, Patrick Wilson), and maybe a young Bruce Willis or Christopher Walken in blue makeup, white contacts, and shaved head as Doc Manhattan instead of the searingly bland motion-capture cgi stuff that was kinda/sorta Billy Crudup (but mostly not).

Just imagine such a film.  Big difference, yes?  HUGE difference, really.  And hear this: there really ARE unknown young actors out there RIGHT NOW who possess the kind of charisma and amazing screen presence and hypnotic quirkiness as my random famous examples.  There really ARE unknown young actors so compelling they can make you forget the script ain’t all that great.  Why the hell don’t they cast THEM, especially in these kinds of “no big stars” tentpole projects???    Why cast mostly unremarkable people who are pretty, bland, can hit their marks, remember their lines and perhaps did a few episodes of CSI SUV?  In Watchmen’s case it would have made the difference between what ended up a forgettable mess and what might — just might — have been at least worth watching.  Creative casting could possibly have redeemed the entire film.  Wake up, people!

There’s an old saying that “Casting is half the job of moviemaking.”  Words to live by, Hollywood!

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A Vulcan Salute May Be Quite Continental . . . 20.06.2009

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A mashup with Monroe. Perhaps a malfunction in the transporter??

A mashup with Monroe. Perhaps a malfunction in the transporter??

Ooh Swish! 04.06.2009

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Welcome to the Future 01.06.2009

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Dear Currier and Jeeves,

Check out this Astounding World of the Future vid.

Just Call Me Janus 15.05.2009

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Is it beer-thirty yet?

Is it beer-thirty yet?

Funny thing about that movie, as time passes and more and more of my friends go see it I find I have an interesting reaction.  When people say to me “Wasn’t Star Trek absolutely fantastic!” I smile and agree with them wholeheartedly.  And we start happily re-living our favorite parts together. 

But when I run into the few rare people who say “I don’t get the fuss.  I thought the movie kinda sucked!” I smile and agree with THEM.  And we start re-living all the stupid stuff.

As Spock would say: “Fascinating.”

I usually tend to be very stubborn and fervent in my opinions about films.  I wonder if this latest weird wrinkle has to do with head vs. heart?  Or maybe my inner adult vs. my inner child?  Maybe the little kid in me who thrills at roller coasters loved the film, while the adult who enjoys a well-crafted, carefully plotted novel found it annoying?  The inner tot who got misty-eyed to see his old favorites depicted (and squealed over all the spiffy inside references) vs. the inner grown-up who thought the screenplay was seriously lacking and that they failed to capture much of that original Trek magic. 

Who knows.  But here I am: Mister Two Face.

Fascinating.

Save the Bloops 12.05.2009

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I Have Been, and Always Shall Be, Your Trek. Kinda. 09.05.2009

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The Famed USS Franklin Mint

The Famed USS Franklin Mint

My last entry gave nothing away but this here puppy is full of spoilers.    I mean it, there be dragons ahead.   If you haven’t seen the movie yet I REALLY would advise you not to read the following.  Consider yourselves warned.

The bottom line?  With all this hoopla and fan sturm und drang, I was assuming the film would be REALLY bad or REALLY good.  It never occurred to me it might be neither.   I wasn’t prepared for it to be, um, just fun.  A zippy, enjoyable, popcorny summer flick.  Not great, not horrible — but a fun two hours at the movies.  On a “Spinal Tappy” scale of one to eleven?  I give it a solid seven-and-a-half.

Ironically, after all the worries about whether the hardcore fans would take to it since it was supposedly geared to a “universal” audience, to me it actually seemed to be designed FOR the fans more than the huddled masses.  In fact, it’s hard to imagine anyone who’s not at least reasonably familiar with the show and its history enjoying this film in the least.  I saw it in a packed house full of obvious Trek Peeps and the entire film was punctuated with applause, cheers, hoots, sighs, and laughs for each “inside” reference.  And those happened pretty frequently.  The Trekkies seemed to have a good time.   (But like I said: I can’t imagine a person who didn’t know the show could have kept up with it.)

But down to the details.  Time to pick a few nits.

First: I have to admit, they had me at hello.  The “pre-credit” sequence with Kirk’s dad sacrificing himself to save newborn Kirk was a cheesy fanboy weeper.  Come on: it’d be hard to hate any film after that wonderfully sappy, operatic opening.

Overall the plot certainly had its share of holes and contrivances. It’s one of those movies you enjoy at the time and then the next day start picking apart.  For example: Old Spock just happens to be stranded on the same planet Kirk gets dumped on?  Okay, no biggie.  But Spock’s hanging out doing his Sudoku in the exact same CAVE that Kirk dashes into?   Hmmm.  How ‘bout we write a good reason they wind up in the exact same spot?  Not that tricky, folks.  (And was I the only guy who half expected the Wampa from “Empire” to show up in that cave?)

Speaking of this “Hoth” sequence: Lemme get this straight.  Kirk irritates people on the bridge and so is knocked out and dumped on a dangerous planet?  Really?  The Enterprise doesn’t have a brig or something to pop him into?  Pair of spare handcuffs, maybe?  Just asking.  Seems a bit “un-starfleety.”

And while were on the subject of the ice planet, that thrilling monster snow chase was damn cool, but it would have been cooler if it didn’t feel so “tacked on”–  almost like it was from another film.  It was as if they shoehorned it into the script just to prove they could do nifty CG monsters.  Something for the trailers, I suppose.  Fair enough.  But a more legit plot-driven reason for it to happen would have been more satisfying.

The deus ex machina “Perils of Pauline” rescue at the end was a little annoying too.  “They’ve all blown up and died!  No, wait, they’ve all been transported simultaneously by the amazing Scotty.”  At least in the old show they would have set up the possibility of rescue by cutting back and forth to Scotty wrestling with the finicky transporter.

As for the new cast, I have mixed feelings.  The big surprise for me was Quinto.  I was the first guy out there who squealed like a schoolgirl when I learned Zack Quito was playing Spock.  When they first announced it, I plotzed about the perfect casting.  I even blogged about Quinto repeatedly below.  To me when I watched him on Heroes it seemed he looked like Spock, moved like him, sounded like him, even smelled like him.  Then last night I finally saw him up there on the massive silver screen in his Spock haircut, Spock ears, Spock eyebrows and Spock blue shirt.    And my first reaction was:  Oh.  Hey, wait.  He doesn’t really look much like Spock.  Or sound like Spock.  Or even…. 

But he grew on me during the course of the film and by the end I was okay with it.   Not perfect, but pretty okay.

Chris Pine: A Bit Out of Focus?

Chris Pine: A Bit Out of Focus?

On the other hand Chris Pine as Kirk was about what I expected. My hopes were low.  Pine is a perfectly fine, attractive young actor.  And they gave him lots of fun Kirky stuff to say and do.  But I never really got that special vibe I wanted.  In fact, in his very last few moments on screen they have him say his final lines with a slight Shatner cadence.  At that moment I dearly wished he’d been doing subtle touches of that the entire time.  Sigh.

To my surprise, my favorite cast members were Karl Urban as Bones and Simon Pegg as a wonderfully comical Scotty.  They both looked perfect for their roles, and both did a great job of capturing the essence of their characters without doing outright impressions.  And both Pegg as Scotty and Anton Yelchin as the curly-haired Chekov actually had a far more authentic accents than our beloved original performers did. 

(Strange Fanboy Disconnect Moment: it threw me when Old Spock “recognized” his pals young Kirk and young Scotty.  I found myself thinking: “Huh?  How can you recognize them?   They AREN’T your Kirk and Scotty, Leonard!)  

That leaves Uhura and Sulu.  Oy.  I’m not accusing anyone or being INTENTIONALLY racist, but Zoe Saldana as  “Nyota” Uhura and John Cho as Sulu seemed to have been cast totally because of their ethnicity.  Neither one looked, sounded, or “felt” like the original actors in any way, shape, or form.  It was like the producers said: “Go get me a really hot black chick and some Asian guy.  Hey, how about that dude from Harold & Kumar?  He’s Asian, right?”

Annoying.

As for the villain, Eric Bana was fine, but there wasn’t enough scenery-chewing for my taste.  Like they say, a movie is only as good as its bad guy is bad.  I think it would have helped to have a more “Khan-like” charismatic, over-the-top villain.  (Much like Khan, this Nero fella is an obsessed dude who holds serious grudges.   Do NOT get on his bad side.)

Speaking of “un-starfleety” behavior, I had no problem at the end when Nero stubbornly refused to be rescued as his ship disintegrates around him, but did we REALLY have to THEN fire all phaser banks at it?  The thing was already falling apart.  Kinda nasty, that.

But, I admit, even that part LOOKED great.   The special effects are all truly lovely.   Wow.  It’s hands-down the most big-budget-looking, spectacular Trek film ever made.

And that new Enterprise looks terrific.  The “beauty shots” of the ship as it rises up from the “mists” of Saturn’s rings or when we first see it in its full naked glory out the shuttle window are just breathtaking.   The music swells, the ship proudly displays her updated-yet-still-familiar sexy form, my eyes mist up.  Fanboy porn.

And a very nice thing they did with the ship — which has never been fully exploited before — is to finally mess with the idea that there’s no “up” or “down” in space. It was really fun to occasionally see the Enterprise upside-down or at some cool, unexpected angle.

Loved the nifty planet-drilling barbed-wire space-needle dangly thingy, loved the tendril/vortex transporter effect, loved the MacGuffin-y “red matter” (ha!), and loved that intricate phaser pistol stuff.  (Dunno quite WHAT was happening with the flip-around phaser dealie and recharging indicator lights but it was super cool.  Gonna have to get the DVD when it comes out and slow-mo that all down.)

The “updated” sound effects (red alert, transporter sound, ambient bridge beeps & tweets) actually seemed to my ear a little LESS realistic and more “old fashioned” than the original stuff.   Weird.   And I’m a big fan of composer Michael Giacchino, but I felt, though his workmanlike score got the job done, it wasn’t fantastic.  Plus I sure would have loved more soundtrack references to the old themes.  (I only caught one music cue “joke,” during that final Finnigan-ish fistfight between Kirk and the Romulan.)  Of course, that said, the music in the closing credits was bliss.  Sheer geek bliss.   Got chills, dude.

My biggest pet peeve visually was the bridge.  I’m not a fan of the new bridge’s over-bright “everything’s a source light” Sephora look.   The “I’m inside a glowstick” design is all so very late Oughties, you know?  So very 2009.   Mark my words: that Apple-Store-style is gonna look dated about five minutes from now.  I wish they’d at least thrown in some design elements to make the bridge look like it just might possibly be the precursor to the set we know & love.  Some hard angles, some accents of black and deep red, or perhaps a primitive version of Spock’s viewer in the background?    Throw a few set-design bones for us nerds, would ya?  The wardrobe people did great by us.

And finally, the irony of this controversial Star Trek film is it turns out that the whole “alternate reality” time travel thing — which allows all kinds of canon-breaking stuff  — really isn’t all THAT pivotal after all.  There was no pressing need IMHO.  The conceit theoretically offers the writers all kinds of freedom to reinvent Trek history from scratch, but they don’t really use it in any important, pivotal way.  (Not to downplay the deaths of all those poor Vulcans, RIP.)

Screenplay-wise, they could easily have written another draft where everything winds up set to rights in the end.  Hell, that’s how time travel episodes WORK.   And frankly that would have been enormously satisfying to those of us fanboys who were eager to consider this our formal “Star Trek Origins” story.    Instead we’re left stranded in a semi, sort-of, quasi, pseudo Star Trek universe for all future films.  And for no compelling reason that I could see. 

Okay.  To wrap up: what could they have done to make this film better?  Well, a better bridge design for a start.   And maybe a different Kirk (sorry Chris, you tried).  But mostly just a new draft of the script.  Run it through the typewriter a few more times.  Lose the alternate reality deal, lose the holes and contrivances and cheats, keep the old canon intact, and, while you’re at it, get rid of poor Lenny Nimoy’s awkward “plot exposition” speeches (show, don’t tell, remember?  Screenwriting 101?)

But, like I said, overall not too darn bad.  Quite fun.   7.5 of 11.   (Bottom line is I had a big stupid grin on my face for most of the two hours.  And yeah, I admit I squeezed out a tear or two.)

Oh, wait — one more thing before I sign off.   I forgot the best part.   The finest, coolest thing about this film was… the ears.   I’m not kidding.  The best pointy ears of any Star Trek film or TV show.  From Quinto’s shapely ones, to Nimoy’s wrinkly gnarled ones, to Nero’s half-chewed-off ones, to baby Spock’s adorable pinkish ones, to Sarek’s slightly fuzzy ones — them pointy ears stole the show.  Most realistic, well-designed ears in Trek history.  Kudos to the makeup artists.

Okay, I’m finally done praising nits and picking them.  Shutting the eff up now.

I eagerly await YOUR perspective, good Commodore!

Spoiler-Free Zone 08.05.2009

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The New, Young Cast?

The New, Young Cast?

This is really just a tease.  It’s part one of my two-part “Review of the New Movie” blog.  Yes, I just saw the film last night.  But there are no spoilers here. It’s not even a review.  No.  It’s actually just a personal “back story.”  

The thing is I really need to come clean about some stuff before I write about the new film. 

Star Trek, The Original Series was my first love.   And because it was my very first, nothing that followed ever was quite as good in my mind.    Ever.   I’m not just talking about the short-lived Animated series, The Next Generation, DS9, Voyager, or Enterprise.   I’m ALSO talking about every one of the movies (including those that featured the original cast). 

Yeah, you heard me right.  And I realize that’s a pretty radical statement.  But we’re speaking about my first love here, see?   Though Wrath of Khan was super crazy cool and Voyage Home was a giddy wacky blast and First Contact was one of my all-time favorites, none of the movies ever fully captured the certain je ne sais quo I adored about the original series.  They were all a touch too light or maybe a bit too dark, a soupçon too “Aliens-y” or a spot too “Star Wars-y,” a tad too deep or a smidge too corny, a morsel too nasty or a dash too tame, a dollop too claustrophobic or a splash too sprawling….   You get the idea.

I’m sure part of this was just the nature of TV vs. film, and maybe part of it was my relative age and all the different eras involved.  Certainly I can chalk a lot of it up to the visual design changes.  For example, to me, nothing ever beat the bold colors and dramatic hard-edges and curves of that lovely, distinctive first bridge set, no matter how much more “realistic” (read: industrial and/or submarine-like) bridges that followed became.

And as for the TV series that came after TOS, don’t misunderstand.  There was some fantastic stuff there.   Cool crap.   Star Trek: The Next Generation had some truly great episodes and wonderful performances (plus, for bad guys, you sure can’t beat them early Borgs.  Yikes).  But in my heart-of-hearts this second show still always paled compared to the original series.  First of all, stylistically that late 80s aesthetic was definitely not an improvement over the hip 60s of TOS.  (Sorry, the sixties were way cooler then the eighties, design-wise.)  SSTNG’s suppository-like Enterprise, Carnival-Cruise-lounge brown/grey bridge, and workout-jumpsuit-with-shoulder-pads costumes never really thrilled me.

And STTNG’s expansive cast (of, ahem, “uneven” thespianic talents) did nothing to improve on the perfect “Ego, Id, Super-Ego” balance of our original three main musketeers. (We tend to forget what an amazing, distilled “perfect storm” of characters – and clashing acting styles that somehow meshed perfectly together – the original Trek trinity was.  Pure chemistry.)  Yes Patrick Stewart was of course terrific always and Brent Spiner did truly fantastic work.  (Though it was always painfully obvious to me that Data was just a poor man’s Spock.  A Spock in positronic clothing.)

DS9 and Enterprise both had wonderful compelling, entertaining stuff going for them.  I mean it.  And – hey – I may be one of the very few Trek fans who thought Voyager had a LOT to offer.  But in the end none of them really floated my boat.  None.  Series nor films.  Not like TOS.  They were all sweet, charming ladies out on a heavy date with me, batting their smoky eyes seductively as they sipped on their Mojitos and made cute small talk, desperately trying to get me to forget my first love.  But as enchanting as they were, they all seemed like shadows.   Pale ghosts.

So there you have it.  Star Trek The Original Series was my first.  And, frankly, that’s why I’ve been so damned excited/terrified to see the new movie.  Perhaps more than any of the other films or TV series.  Because I was hoping against hope that, for the first time since my heart was broken when show went off the air in June of 1969 (I was a fragile, ten-year-old, toe-headed, proto-fanboy at the time), I might have a little taste, just a little whiff, of that ST:TOS experience.  I might recapture, perhaps in an entirely new way, that thrill of my first time.  With my first love.

 For this reason I suspect we older, 50-plus, “first-run” Trekkies (yes, I said Trekk-IE, not Trekkers, dammit  — I’m that old) might be even more eager to embrace this new film than the younger rabid fans.  We’re hoping it might capture something we haven’t actually experienced in years.  40 years, to be exact.

 In my next blog I’ll let you know if it worked out or not.  Stay tuned….

Are You Here for the Festival? 07.05.2009

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I'm seeing the movie tonight.  How much do you dare me....

I'm seeing the movie tonight. How much do you dare me....

The thing is, Star Trek is like pornography.  If you’re into it and it works for you it’s a glorious, exciting rush, but if you’re new to it and you’re not turned on yet, all you’ll notice are the black socks and butt pimples.  Um.

I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let me start over.

This blog’s subject matter might seem like Trek sacrilege, but please bear with me, okay?  My well-established Trekker credentials are over two-score old and in perfect order so I think I’ve earned the right speak freely.  Here goes.

Last night I couldn’t sleep.  I was one day away from seeing the new movie.  I lay in bed staring up at the ceiling and thinking about TOS, fondly remembering all my favorite episodes.  Running through them one after another  in my head.  What a great show.   An amazing series.  (In my case, you might say it was literally life changing.) 

Then, as I lay there, just for the hell of it I played a little mind game with myself.  I imagined I was watching all those great old episodes again today while sitting next to my two nephews (one is 13 and the other is 21).  It was a very interesting mental exercise.  When I was REALLY honest with myself, I realized I would probably experience one overriding emotion in such a scenario.  And what would that emotion be, you ask? 

Embarrassment. Pure, raw embarrassment.

I know.  But it’s the truth.  I can imagine myself continually glancing at my nephews and mumbling things like: “Um, yeah, well it might seem a little corny and dated in some ways, but you’ve got to look beyond that.  I know it appears really old-fashioned to you guys, but give it a chance.  And sure, it might come off a bit sexist or racist occasionally, but it was actually groundbreaking in both those areas, believe it or not.   Very forward-thinking in its day.  And the special effects and lighting and costumes and makeup might look a bit silly to you dudes, but they were state-of-the-art then.   Seriously — no joke!”

I can see myself squirming in my seat and, as sweat dripped down my face, blurting out stuff like:  “Yeah, okay, I know, some of the acting styles and music and dialogue does feel campy now, but put that all aside. Appreciate the camaraderie and fellowship, the hope, the adventure!  Enjoy the goofy comedy!  The high drama!  The awesome science fiction concepts!  The social commentary!  The thrills and romance!  And hey — notice how Kirk, McCoy, and Spock are kinda the id, ego, and superego of one single person?  How cool is that?  No no, ignore the gorn’s zipper and that goofy dog in an alien costume.  And, um, just fast forward right through that ‘Spock’s brain’ one, okay? And pay no attention to the papier-mâché rocks and strategically torn shirts.  Just watch.  Just enjoy the good stuff.  Give it a chance.  It’s the Best Show Ever.  Really.  Trust me.  Please.  Just pretend you’re back in the late sixties, if that helps.  Pretend you’re a little kid.  Pretend you’re ME.  Hey, where you guys going?”

A sobering thought experiment.  Freaked me out a bit. 

Black socks and butt pimples.

But the upshot was this mental exercise made me even more hopeful about this new Star Trek film.  It gave me hope that young people like my nephews – poised to perhaps become a new generation of Trek fans – might have a chance to experience a taste of the wonder of Star Trek.  And I dawned on me that this new movie is probably the only way they can even come close to experiencing what I originally went through, because it just might eliminate some of those “embarrassment factors” that naturally arise from something being 40-odd years old.   Lets face it, if all goes well this “reboot” movie could take off the black socks and clear up the ass zits. 

Maybe.

Or maybe not.

I’m off to see it in less than eight hours.   Gulp.   I’ll probably post a full review in the days to come.  Er, unless I’ve killed myself.

For the Word is Hello, and I Have Touched This Guy 05.05.2009

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Guess which one is me.

Guess which one is me.

Dear Doctor Korby’s Skin Flap,

Okay, I agree with a lot of what you said, but I think we are actually talking apples and, um, Saurian apples here. 

We need to define our terms.  When I say reboots I do NOT mean remakes.  Almost all the examples you gave (aside from Godzilla and Planet of the Apes) were remakes, which admittedly have a notoriously abysmal record.  No argument there.  I’m with you when you claim remakes are often “Why did they bother?” failures. 

 And I would certainly agree with you that, for example, a remake of “The Wrath of Khan” (starring, perhaps, Shia LaBeouf as Kirk and Mario Lopez as Khan?), or some new, feature-length version of “The City of the Edge of Forever” rewritten by Jerry Bruckheimer’s drycleaner (and featuring the Jonas Brothers as Kirk, Spock & McCoy, and Miley Cyrus as Edith Keeler, perhaps?) would be a please-kill-me-now nightmare of epic proportions, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.    Not at all.

We’re talking about a reboot.  A reboot is not a prequel or a sequel or a remake.  For example, from what I understand the Wolverine film in theaters right now (I haven’t seen it yet) is a prequel.  If they were reBOOTing the X-Men franchise, they’d be starting from square one with a brand new approach to the entire X-Men story, with completely new cast and a “reimagining” from page-one of all the X-Men basic concepts as if no one had ever tried to tackle this particular comic series in film form before.  A fresh start, if you will. 

(Okay.  In the interest of full disclosure, I was one of the three creepy dudes on the planet who really dug that Planet of the Apes, which indeed was a reboot attempt, as well as the third Mission Impossible film, which I thought FINALLY captured the full flavor of the original series while still updating it.  And, while I’m confessing my cinematic sins, I was the one guy alive who liked Ang Lee’s Hulk yet thought The Dark Night was a total mess, script-wise. ).

But I digress.

My point is a reboot is a different animal from almost every one of your admittedly (mostly) nightmarish examples. We’re talking about re-starting a once-successful, but now-failing (or dead) film FRANCHISE for a new generation.  Going back and jump-starting an established movie series from scratch.    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I can only think of a very few examples of genuine reboots.  Batman Begins (decent, if deeply flawed), Superman Returns (sucky indeed), Casino Royale (pretty freakin’ awesome) and that 1998 Godzilla (sue me, but though lame-ish it was also kinda fun).   I suppose you could even officially consider 1985s Young Sherlock Holmes a reboot as well (and also quite fun, if you ask me). 

But offhand those five (plus maybe that Planet of the Apes) are the only examples I can think of. 

There may be others in the zombie or Highlander-type genres or such but I’m not as familiar with that stuff.  Dunno.  But remember, I’m not talking about one-shot remakes like 1990s Night of the Living Dead.  I’m talking about attempts to revive an entire franchise and launch a new series of films.  A reboot is actually a pretty rare event in Hollywood.

The fact is there just haven’t been all that many successful, long-term film franchises to START with, let alone multiple-movie series that begin failing and then the mucketty-muck powers-that-be decide to restart them over with a clean slate.   It’s really unusual.

Reboot Me, Scotty!

Reboot Me, Scotty!

And hey, from the few examples I could think of above, reboots actually don’t have THAT bad a track record, quality-wise.  No?  Certainly better odds than remakes.

But, okay, I’ll play by your rules.  If you want to set aside my whole “reboot” concept and forget for a moment about all the Star Trek films that have been made in the last 30 years and pretend this is the very FIRST Star Trek movie ever – up on the big silver screen for the very first time with a brand new cast (kinda like, say, that first Flintstones film) – I do see your point.  An old TV show turned into a movie.  Not many have succeeded artistically.  Most, frankly, suck.  (Though there are the rare exceptions like The Addams Family, Pennies from Heaven, Twilight Zone, and – don’t kill me – Lost in Space.  Huge flop but trust me, give that one another gander.)

But the good news is, even if it WERE the case with this film (which it isn’t), horrible first-time TV-to-movie attempts don’t linger in the mind for long.  I remember with deep affection television programs like I Spy, The Wild Wild West, The Saint, The Mod Squad, My Favorite Martian, The Honeymooners, and, of course, the fabulous The Avengers.  (Yowza!)  But thankfully I don’t remember a damn thing about the confused, irritating, messy movies Hollywood made out of each of them.  And the fact they attempted to make said films and failed doesn’t diminish the original shows at all.  Not to me.  (When I think fondly of Mrs. Emma Peel I sure as HELL don’t think about Uma Thurman.  Uma, no offence, but it wasn’t YOU who helped me through puberty.  It was Diana Rigg, wearing skintight black leather.)

So, in a way, we’ve got absolutely nothing to lose.  If the movie sucks, it’ll die a quick (if painful) Hollywood death, we’ll soon forget it, and everyone will go back to fondly remembering TOS.  If it DOESN’T suck, then, um….well… COOL!  Then, hey: it DOESN’T SUCK!!!   It’s kinda a no-lose situation.  The opposite of Kobayashi Maru.

(This win/win issue is the same reason I didn’t panic when I heard there were plans to shoot a feature based on “The Prisoner” — another truly fantastic, classic, deeply-quirky cult show that was a big favorite of mine.   I didn’t freak at the news because: what’s the worst that could happen?  The film’s horrible?  So what?  No one’s gonna think the original Prisoner suddenly sucks just because they make a sucky movie based on it, you know?  And if by some fluke the film rocks, then awesome!  Yay!)

Lil' Kirk looks a lil' bummed about the reboot

Lil' Kirk looks a lil' bummed about the reboot

Commodore, I believe the truth is we’re not that far apart, you and I.  I think you love Star Trek TOS and are terrified they are REALLY gonna fuck it up (while you’re perhaps secretly hoping it will actually turn out fantastic).  I, on the other hand, love Star Trek TOS and am hoping it will actually turn out fantastic (while perhaps I’m secretly terrified they are REALLY gonna fuck it up.)   

Two sides of the same Quatloo, if you ask me.

In the meantime, stand on a long movie line and prosper, my friend.

Yours with twice the grain,       Ensign Octo-triticale

PS — The irony is, you’re probably more likely to enjoy the film because you’re so pessimistic about it, whereas I’ll undoubtedly hate the damn thing because I’ve got my hopes way up.  Hmmm.  Okay, you win.