10 Things The Star Trek Movie Doesn’t NeedSeptember 29, 2008
As the May release date for the new, unsubtitled Star Trek movie nears, the fan community is vibrating at warp levels. Will it be a faithful homage to The Original Series? Or will it rape and pillage decades of continuity in order to tell a J.J. Abrams version of the adventures of Kirk, Spock and McCoy?
Abrams, one of the brains behind Alias, Lost and, um, Felicity, has been running this new movie since its inception, and has kept a scarily tight lid on its content. Very few spoilers have emerged, and a handful of set photos leaked a few months back, but showed little. One trailer has played; Abrams says it’s unlikely that cryptic scene will even be in the finished film. And we’ve seen some vague teaser posters and character headshots.
Beyond that, it’s rumour. We know Leonard Nimoy is in it, and Shatner isn’t. There may be time travel. Romulans are around, as is James Kirk’s abusive drunken uncle. Captain Pike is in it. Man, there isn’t much more. Oh, a Maxim model plays an Orion, or, as she put it, ‘One of those green girls.’
Fans are filling up the Internet with stories of what they want to see in this new film. I think it’s time to talk about what we DON’T want to see:
- The uniforms can fit. Part of the TOS charm was those velour sweaters, which apparently shrank a bit each time they were cleaned. You can actually see the lead actors’ sleeves get shorter as the first season wore on, until it looked like Kirk had borrowed some skinny young ensign’s uniform. Maybe Shatner’s expansion had something to do with this, too. Also, the women’s skirts don’t have to be so short. This is the 21st century, people. There’s no room for exposed panties on starships. All in all, the old uniforms were fine for their time, but an update is necessary.
- There is no need to try to explain UESPA, the United Earth Space Probe Agency. That’s who Kirk and the crew worked for early on in the series, before the writers came up with Starfleet. There have been a lot of attempts to explain UESPA, but really, don’t bother. Just ignore it.
- It’s the same deal with Spock’s behaviour in the second pilot episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” which sees him smile, chitchat, chuckle, holler a bit and actually say “Oh, yes, one of your Earth emotions.” He also tells Kirk he had “a human ancestor.” J.J., there’s no need to write in some kind of “explanation” for this (ie. Spock picked up a rare virus on Takron-Galtos IV, and had a sense of humour for a few hours). Just ignore it.
- Don’t shoot the women in Guccione-style soft focus. It looked cheesy then and it looks cheesy now.
- Kirk-fu. I’m serious about this. If Chris Pine starts judo-kicking bad guys, I will say two things: There is no kicking in judo, and it looked stupid. You have a phaser with multiple settings. You do not need to kick people.
- Don’t even mention the Prime Directive. Whatever it really is, it’s clear nobody in Starfleet follows it. It supposedly forbids contact with pre-warp civilizations, but in TOS Kirk does that on a weekly basis. It’s actually the point of the show. “My old friend Tyree!” (A Private Little War) No Star Trek writer ever understood the Prime Directive, and neither did viewers, so just leave it out.
- Uhura’s stupid silver earpiece can be dispensed with. It may have seemed high-tech at the time, but the idea that hundreds of years from now communications will involve sticking a giant silver butt-plug in one’s ear is just ridiculous.
- We know Nimoy’s in it. There’s no need for humourous little cameos by the others. “Oh, look, that’s Sulu dressed as a Vulcan ambassador! And he’s talking to that small alien child, played by Walter Koenig!” Really, no need. We love them. We miss them. But let’s move on.
- Don’t sneak Shatner in. After more than a year of this “I wasn’t even asked!” from the great one and steady denials from the film team, to have him pop up now would be an insult. Look, I know there are ways to make it work. This is Star Trek. Kirk can come back to life. He just doesn’t have to.
- If the movie’s a huge hit, don’t rush to make a new series in order to ride the momentum. Take the time to plan, to write, to cast, to create the perfect concept to bring Trek back to TV. We don’t want a rush job. We’ve come this far, we can wait until it’s done right.
I hope there are a few little nods to what has come before. There’s no reason we can’t see that poster of Jonathan Archer on young Kirk’s bedroom wall. It would be great to finally learn who Number One really was (there are many theories). And there’s nothing wrong with having a character named, say, Captain Pete Riker or whatever, just to get fans wondering “Could it be …”
Wow, that’s a lot of demands. You know what, though? All of these things could be in this movie, and I will likely still love it. Hell, it could open with Kirk and Spock as boys together in Iowa (because Spock is ‘on vacation’ with his family, and that’s where his mom’s from, or whatever) and I would ignore the obvious moron factor and enjoy the scene.
In the end, I just want to see a good movie.
Other Trek stuff from Weather Station 1:
- How Riker Screwed Up Continuity
- Six Degrees of Captain Kirk (With Extra Cheese)
- What Might Have Been
- Enterprise: The First Adventure
- The Lost First Movie
- Hot Space Love
- If George Lucas Made Star Trek
- Hardcore Nerdity
Also, the self-described oldest person on the Internet has added on to this list.