Admittedly bad title and major clickbait. Also sure I just made it to the top of the PRISM program. (How goes it NSA? You got cool jobs for someone who wants to wear a tux, jump out of airplanes, and snow board into the ocean and covertly sneak into enemy territory? Call me – feel free to remote activate my phone if I forget to turn it on. No biggie.)
Sooo….. yeah, the title is in response to “<Blah> defiled my childhood” kinda comments.
Star Wars and Indiana Jones have a mass following that caused major outcries when they put a swinging monkey in there (oh and also the CGI things to accompany him.)
The one that really really really pisses me off, is what Abrams has done to Star Trek. He claimed he wanted to bring a little bit of Star Wars adventure to Star Trek, and what he spit out is much like Episodes 2 and 3. I actually rather liked Episode I (in comparison) because it had a story. I walked away remembering what they wanted, what they cared for. In Episodes 2 and 3, I don’t recall the plot. I find no “buy in” into what’s going on. Do I care about who wins? What do they want? What are their motivations?
1. Don’t Go “Beyond the Fans”
Fans are fans for a reason. I’m SICK of studios trying to go “beyond the fans”. You want to know why The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe really really worked? It catered to fans. You know why that works? They are fans for a reason. That reason is why the book became famous. It goes to argue that that may be the reason people would want to watch the film. Whether it is a portrayal of a character, a particular message, or some entertainment.
We see this happen repeatedly – does anyone remember the plot to the last couple of Harry Potter movies? What were they doing? Why? Who was involved? The last Narnia movie had the same problem – that began with Prince Caspian. Why were they on that voyage? What the heck was going on? Who are these people I’m watching? Why must I care about them? The books were bluntly allegorical, and you know what? I loved them for it! I don’t know if it is the entitlement generation or just idiots, but WE DO NOT HAVE TO LIKE A CHARACTER to like the story. You know what made 1984 great? It certainly wasn’t the likeability or relatability of the characters.
What makes stories great, is honesty. The Chronicles of Narnia are allegory. That’s what made them famous. That’s what adds the mystery and magic to them. Father Christmas giving gifts. Aslan sacrificing himself. The Emperor over the Sea. A movie done honestly to the characters becomes interesting. You don’t have to AGREE with Christianity to be compellingly interested in finding out what happens next. I appreciate that the world is a larger place, and more non-Christians watch Hollywood movies than Christians, but once again, the entire point of the books is lost. The books aren’t about four kids living on a ship. The books are about four kids overcoming sins and challenges and doing what’s right. They are what they are and that’s what made them work!
You think Star Trek is about science and anti-religion? You’re stupid – because Star Trek has more tolerance to spirituality, religion, admiration and respect for history and the our past then you’ll ever know. Since this entry is ABOUT Star Trek, the whole thing explains how Star Trek stopped being Star Trek when they went “beyond the fans” – the very fans whose fanboyism got the budget approved to make the damn movie! It was like Abrams was bailing out the non-fans with Fanboy cash. He knew we’d pay, so he made a space-cowboy adventure movie, gave the characters the right names, and titled it Star Trek. Fanboys paid for the whole enterprise (get it? eh? eh?), and others enjoy the “pew pew” space fights.
2. The characters have to be better than us
Last night, I was telling someone why I hated the film Gravity. I trust Sandra Bullock is an excellent actor. I don’t trust any astronaut would behave in that manner. When her O2 is running low and she’s hyperventilating, I wanted to see her passing out. You know what makes characters relatable? When they show us how we’d feel. You know what makes characters inspirational? When they show us how they overcome it. This comes up in my scuba diving world all the time – modern-movie-like emotional attitude cannot overcome physics or physiology. Your being “more badass” than I am, or you having “more willpower than the puny character”, doesn’t make you immune to a shallow-water blackout.
I understand that it makes us feel bad, and you don’t want a fan feeling inadequate do you? Well yes you do! That’s what made Star Trek great! Star Trek was not showing me how Captain Kirk is the same whiny crying emotional wreck that I would be. Star Trek was showing me that Captain Kirk was better than me! It made me feel bad, but it told me what I need to do.
That is precisely what is wrong with Gravity. The academy needs to set up a demo-reel award to save us from this bullshit. I totally imagine Sandra Bullock can emote. Create a demo reel, show it to the academy and get your damn award. When I want a story about the horrors of space, I want to see a role model. I know that Sandra Bullock and Catniss Everdeen and (I can’t believe I’m saying this, and that it’s going to be immortalized on the internet) Bella Swan appear to be feminist role models, and yet we’re moving ass-backwards on feminism! They are the opposite of strong female characters, and we can’t debate it because what am I? Anti-feminism? Bring it!
There is a reason, Apollo 13 astronauts calmly said, “Houston, we have a problem.”, instead of screaming, “Holy shit the O2 tanks just blew. All my sensors are down. OMG OMG!!!! OMGosh…. Please update my facebook! OMGosh!!!!” It is also the reason, I am not allowed to dive in Caves without proper training.
Gravity was supposed to show us the kind of person who stays calm when her Shuttle’s shielding tiles have broken lose. THAT is what good acting is – to demonstrate the frightening circumstances, and how our role models overcome them.
Kirk not shooting when the rest of us would shoot, is what Star Trek was about. Kirk not going on a revenge mission for Christopher Pike, when the rest of us WOULD, was what Star Trek was about. Yes, it makes us feel like shit. It makes us realize we are cowards. It makes us feel slightly guilty that had I been in that position, I would go on a revenge-fuelled murder-spree across space. And that is why I don’t command the NCC-1701.
Kirk was the youngest starfleet captain…. after only more than a decade at the academy. Abram’s Kirk becomes the captain for… huh? It doesn’t make Kirk look great, but it makes Starfleet look stupid and incompetent. (Same criticism of Gravity – rather than admire and respect the NASA training program, their program directors and all the awesome stuff they do, I began to question how and why they put a biologist or whatever in space to replace some PCBs.)
Star Trek built a generation of people who studied physics and mathematics and biology and medicine. They aspired to study hard and work their ass off, and be a “walking stack of books” so they could be like Kirk. Abrams’s movies tell kids that if they’re cocky and stupid and go on revengue-fuelled murder-sprees across the Galaxy, they’ll get to command starships. Did you ever wonder what impact that would have on alternate-timeline Picard? You think the cadet who studied his ass off for years, studied military strategy, studied philosophy so he would understand the Prime Directive better, commanded other ships, is going to be inspired that a 3-year-non-graduate at the academy got command of the Federation Flagship?
3. Star Trek shouldn’t be idolizing rebellion against the principles of the Federation!
This stems from the above. What would we do if Khan attacked us?
Who’s Khan you ask? Who knows – some British Dude also known as John Harrison. Did that help you know who Khan is? Me neither. Why would he go by John Harrison? Why would John Harrison tell me his name is Khan. Is that supposed to mean something to me? Why was there some dramatic-reveal music behind it. I know plenty of people named Khan – Shahrukh Khan. Salman Khan. Aamir Khan. And now John Harrison Khan. I don’t get “grand reveal music”, when someone tells me, “I’m Khan.”
If Khan attacked me, I’d simply attack back. When that big reveal came in “Into Darkness”, I had no idea what I was supposed to feel and why Benedict Cumberbatch was telling people his alias. All they had to do was call Old Spock, and figure out what to do. All the character development, all the experience gained by original-Spock is unnecessary. When Kirk says, “I’m sorry” to his crew, what is he sorry for? What has he learned?
Let’s go further back. After that cool opening sequence featuring the beautiful Enterprise underwater, a sequence ruined by humans in it, you get to watch Pike being all pissed about violation of the Prime Directive. Do you know what the Prime Directive is? Do you know why it’s important? Did you question Kirk’s motives? Did you ever wonder what you would have done when you saw a culture about to be killed by a volcano?
Once more, we’re treated to a depressing future. Instead of looking forward to a hopeful future run by a mature Federation Council that has learned from a great deal of historic mistakes, I have to look forward to a dogmatic idiotic agency that creates all these buzzkill “rules” and then have a senior Admiral mildly scold my favorite hot-shot captain, after having made him a Captain without proper training to start with. Let Kirk do what he wants Pike! Don’t crimp his style with this Prime Directive bullshit!
I’ll bet anyone not familiar with the series was totally rooting for Kirk without knowing why. Kirk didn’t even mention breaking the Prime Directive – and yet you rooted for him,didn’t you? Admit it!
In the series and TNG, entire Episodes are dedicated to court hearings on the Kolvoord Starburst and what a fundamental duty of each Federation officer is. Every time the Prime Directive is broken, there is a sense of loss – a sense of betrayal of the values the Federation was built on. Entire monologues are dedicated to commentary on Integrity and Honesty.
Now I understand rebellion. Rebellion is cool. That’s Star Wars. The United Federation of Planets is not Palpatine’s Galactic Empire. You’re working FOR the good guys. Abrams got so carried away up his own ass with Alias, that he can’t tell the difference anymore.
You were supposed to root against the Galactic Empire. Even George Lucas had trouble depicting the Jedi as dogmatic in the prequels. The Jedi were the good guys. They didn’t force/enforce their views on anyone. Anakin choose to join them. He ASKED to join them. Instead of Anakin being “seduced” through a complex and cunning plot, we saw a whiny ungrateful jackass killing Padawans.
The Federation will have bad Apples. You are supposed to fight against the Federation to UPHOLD the values that members forget. Kirk was supposed to rebel against those who questioned the value of the Prime Directive. Kirk was supposed to rebel against those who advocated going after Khan and killing him. The last thing Kirk was supposed to do, was rebel against the people calling for moderation and reason.
4. Characters have to take responsibility – that makes them GREAT!
You want to make Kirk great? Show us Kirk trying to figure out how to defeat Khan. Show us current-spock out-thinking Khan’s strategy. Asking old-spock for a cheat-code makes no compelling Star Trek. Once more, I get plenty of good pew-pew space-laser action in other movies. First, I had no idea why this one guy they had in the brig should be hated. His people were held hostage and he was threatened to do the Federation’s bidding. If your kids were held hostage on the home-planet of the Federation, with thousands of light-years of Federation space in every direction, and you killed your hostage-takers, would you go through the nuance of figuring out the one Admiral who’s doing it, vs the others who aren’t? (Hey there NSA, must have tripped your PRISM filter again with that sentence. Remember that job I was talking about? Call me!)
Then let’s come to the punchline I was building up to – if Benedict Cumberbatch played a guy called John Harrison, would you have rooted against him still? Reedit the entire movie, to remove that one scene where he announces his alias, and after that shot redub every mention of Khan with John (say it with a thick american accent, and you won’t even know the lip-difference.)
Let’s watch the movie in this form. You got any clue as to who the villian is? I’m not sure I wasn’t rooting for a bunch of Federation ships coming around to arrest Kirk, John and that crazy Admiral Marcus.
Don’t even get me started on Carol Marcus – a previously wise educated respected scientist working on the Genesis project.
Without Old-spock mentioning it on star-FaceTime, would you have known john was the most dangerous enemy faced by the Federation? How? Why? Because he was trying to free his hostages? Watch the movies Taken, Ransom, Taken 2, Commando, etc. Begin rooting for all those henchmen who got killed because this one NSA/CIA spy who’s done horrible things goes and kills them to try to free his family. Is violence the answer? The way John should have somehow trusted that other Admirals in Starfleet are not necessarily evil (because John is all about walking around in public with the freedom he has, so he gets to meet and know the motivations of various Starfleet Admirals.)
Alright fair enough – I think I’ve got to begin taking back some of what I said about Star Trek – it did make me think. I’m sure I don’t know anyone currently who got the nuance but look – Space Lasers! Pew! Pew! Pew!
So here’s recap what kids learned out of Star Trek so far:
1. Don’t you study hard about civilizations or whatever, that’s bullshit. Just do what pops in your head. Cause that’s how we roll!
2. If you reboot your computer during a test scenario, your instructors will be totally cool with that. It’s not like they’ll simply forfeit the results, and ask you to take the test again, because when has that happened? Next time you’re taking the SATs, just make sure the lights go out for a few minutes, copy all the answers from the next guy, and watch as those results are held perfectly valid by the ETS. You may be court-martialled in front of the entire population taking the SATs that year, to ponder the philosophical reasoning behind the test, but a power blackout? Nah, it’s too much trouble to simply make you take the test again. What are we, barbarians? God knows Kirk doesn’t have time to take it more than once… oh wait.
3. Starfeet is a bunch of fools who put in buzz-kill style-crimping regulations and give them important-sounding names like the “Prime Directive”. Don’t worry about it.
4. When you’re questioned, as a heroic officer representing Humanity and the Federation of Planets to other races, just lie about your violations. Also, make sure you criticize your alien/foreign for being honest – cause that’s not how we roll! Those foreign people with their principles and bullshit! Meh. Heaven’s knows, I want to know my alien friends display loyalty to mere acquaintances on their ship, because older-versions told them to, rather than demonstrating integrity and honesty. (Heck, let’s go after Khan and kill him because he was trying to save his people and he was practically being held hostage, and under great abuse by any definition of the word.)
5. Old-Spock always helps when they’re in a jam. New-Spock and New-Kirk aren’t quite intelligent, capable, witty or competent. It’s not like THEY found ways to get out of tough situations. Just ask Old-spock when in trouble.
6. Try not to study. Don’t train for anything. There’s no reward in that. Just hang around a ship until everyone who outranks you dies, until you get command by default. If you spend a couple of decades studying interstellar history, politics, philosophy, war strategy, morality, ethics, etc. you’re not going to be invited aboard the Federation Flagship. No way. Hang around San Francisco as random crap falls on it from space.
7. If there’s a woman around, she’ll undress to under underwear at least once in the next few hours.
8. That Vulcan friend of yours who tends to display far more aggressive emotions than you do? Yeah, keep teasing him about his lack of emotions. Remember that one time he lacked so much emotion he beat the crap out of his school friends, Kirk, Khan? What a lame jerk that guy is huh? Hehe….
9. If you work for an agency that is founded on Principles and Values, make sure you rebel against them every chance you get, or go to an arbitrary planet to create a chance to rebel. Look to teenagers for cues on how to find such opportunities.
You’re having trouble hating George Lucas or Steven Spielberg now, aren’t you?