JJ Abrams Star Trek sequel is coming and like the Sun expanding and swallowing the Earth, it cant be stopped. OWF looks ahead to one of the most anticipated blockbusters of 2012 with our wish list for the new movie. The filmmakers should note that we will expect you to act on these recommendations. No really, dont make us come over there.
If you haven't yet checked out our Star Trek villains wishlist you can still read that here. But now the discussion turns to what OWF expects from Star Trek 2;
As opposed to a series of incidents designed to get your characters to the point where a real story might begin. The first film was tremendous fun but the treatment of our favourite characters was superficial when stacked against the likes of Star Treks 2, 3, 4 and 6. Ah, you say, 'but it was a reintroduction to the characters was it not? We werent expecting an existential tract.' Well even within the origin tale theres the potential for a real story with psychological depth, witness the meaty character driven X-men prequel for an example of how this can be done.
The reboot had a villain who was less a character, more a device to bring the crew together. His motivation made little sense, he had no personality and he lacked the quality required of any memorable adversary, a second and third dimension. The new film must ask more of its characters and give them a real problem to solve, not just a world to save. This must be a problem that tests the crew both intellectually and morally.
Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan had a theme, as well as a series of action sequences getting old, coping with death; Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock dealt with sacrifice, friendship and hubris. This is Trek at its best and its the reason why both those movies are superior to Abrams film. All the elements are in his favour. He has the actors, their characters are established and theyre together and ready to have adventures. Now the crew must be set on a course that explores their characters more fully, providing a cerebral workout for the audience. Star Trek is about ideas or it is nothing. Thats what sets it apart from other shows. Abrams wont want to scare off the newbies who drove the first films box office but the rest of us are still here and we expect our heads as well as our hearts to be fully engaged.
A Magnificent Scorehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6QPye9IuGs
You wont believe this but I can actually remember some cues from Michael Giacchinos Star Trek score, but then I saw it three times. It wasnt bad, he tried hard, but those of us that have long since argued that the orchestral score is in decline, with the composers of yesteryear who made it all look so effortless conspiring to make their modern counterparts look very ordinary, found a case study in the reboots generic choral and string support. Great scores add texture and scope to the world of the film, offsetting practical handicaps like budget.
The Wrath of Khan cost a mere $18m but James Horner added another $90m worth of pathos, energy and awe in his movie debut. The greats of the original series movies, the likes of Horner and Rosenman, elevated their pictures to the point of enchantment. I dont want to just see a great sequel, I want to be charmed by its soundtrack too. A movie that doesnt possess a magnificent score, particularly a space opera like Star Trek, is missing a critical component that no amount of kinetic camerawork and beautiful vistas can cover.
If youre reading JJ, hire someone whos up to it. Thats not Horner anymore, he lost it sometime in the late nineties when self-plagiarism and a lack of hunger started to dilute his sound, and it isnt Williams, whose efforts since the early nineties have shown a heartbreaking downward trajectory, but surely theres some new blood out there, someone like the young James Horner, who wants to prove himself on a big canvas and wants to break our hearts and buttress our brains with an orchestral effort designed to court an Oscar nomination? Jerry Goldsmith was nominated for his Star Trek: The Motion Picture score yknow. This isnt a fanciful dream.
Visual Effects To Equal The First Film
Were so accustomed to computer generated effects being rushed and therefore imperfect and conspicuous, that a movie where the craft is displayed to its fullest potential, deserving of the epithet superb, is a beautiful thing indeed. A delayed release for the 2009 movie, allowed Industrial Light and Magic more time than theyre accustomed to, to turn in their best work and the result was a movie that looked fantastic, boasting a series of flawless effects sequences that were majestic in their scale; furious masturbation for the eyes.
Cruelly robbed, if you ask OWF, and you didnt, by the more obvious but possibly less deserving Avatar on Oscar night, any sequel that failed to replicate that standard, maybe even advancing the visuals to new heights, would look very backward indeed. ILM showed young pretenders like WETA and Digital Domain how it was done in the first film. We expect nothing less second time around.
Fewer Jokes For The Kids
Trekkies were delighted to have their franchise back in whatever form, so we were forgiving of some of the reboots shall we say, broader moments, but these are not to be repeated. No Cartman impressions from Kirk please, no jokes about swollen body parts, or cheap laughs mined from swear words. This is Star Trek not Star Wars for Gods sake, and as such we expect wit, not gags aimed at the under fives.
The case study for Abrams and company is the 1986 blockbuster, The Voyage Home, a movie that reached out beyond Treks core audience with its humour and a plot friendly to the uninitiated. However, because this is Star Trek, the writers and producers didnt lose sight of what was important. The film has an intelligent ecological message, an important moral; there were nice character moments and the jokes, of which there were many, were well judged and sharp. If humour is to feature in the sequel, and it would be keeping in the tradition of old if it did on some level, then it must be worthy of the name. A general audience doesnt mean dumbing down. If youre planning to do that, fine, we cant stop you, just dont call it Star Trek.
And While Were At It
Four words: Lens flare and shockwaves. The look of the first film was excellent, and though it may have perturbed some, some of us enjoyed Abrams attempts at making shots look more dynamic with cinematographic excess. Keep it moving, as before (pausing where appropriate), and flare us up. I like it. Just one thing, can we have some shockwaves? Im a fan. Sure, things may explode, thats fine, but if they do, a) bring back the antimatter explosion effect used in Star Trek 3, as thats rather good, and b) add a shockwave effect. Theres no point to it but it looks cool and theres nothing wrong with that. Look, I didnt say I was deep, alright?
The as yet untitled Star Trek sequel is provisionally slated for June 2012 and should contain all of the above. If it doesnt theyll be hell to pay.
Ed, or Extreme Discernment, is experimental Film and Television critiquing software developed by and for What Culture. Invested with over 3 million digitised artefacts, spanning 80 years and including volumes of criticism from luminaries such as Paul Ross and TV’s Alex Zane, Ed generates the best reviews money can buy. Ed’s editor plug in also allows him to oversee The Ooh Tray, a magnificent film and literature review. Follow Ed’s digi-pronouncements on Twitter: @edwhitfieldSee more from Ed