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Star Trek

Big confession from the person who left Next Gen bitter, tired and disillusioned, and longing for the original Trek.  There were times during those endless, stiff, moralizing episodes on TNG when all of us were longing for Kirk to kiss a girl and slug a bad guy, and Spock to life an eyebrow, and McCoy bluster.

But I digress.  I went to the J.J. Abrams Star Trek with no expectations, and ended up enjoying it very much.  It played to the feel of what made old Trek so appealing.  I especially liked the dialogue which was real and breezy instead of the turgid exchanges we were forced to write.  And there was humor.   Thank god humor has returned to Star Trek.

The cast of virtual unknowns were all very appealing, and it was wonderful to see Leonard Nimoy.  Then there was Simon Pegg as Scotty who just stole my heart.

Flaws — way, way too many coincidences were required to make the plot move.  As my friend said “the plot creaked dangerously in the middle when Kirk ends up marooned not fifteen minutes from old Spock.  They danced past it by keeping up the energy, charm and humor.

I could have done without having Scotty flushed down a toilet.  A silly, pointless scene.

I also wish we hadn’t ended up with Kirk once more the captain of the Enterprise.  I had really hoped they would have spent time exploring the possibilities of Star Feet Academy.  Years ago I suggested to my bosses that the Academy should be the next series, but there was such hatred of the old show the idea was dismissed.  I tried to do it in a shared world anthology I tried to sell, but space ships aren’t very popular in publishing right now.

There has been an on-going discussion about whether Kirk, in particular, had an “arc”.  Arc is something network and studio suits are always nattering on about.  They don’t actually understand what makes a good story so the grab Syd Fields, and The Hero’s Journey, and start pummeling you with the arc.
Carrie Vaughn made the point that both Kirk and Spock are struggling with expectations in the opening of the film.  Kirk is rejecting them, Spock is trying to embrace them, and twisting himself into something he’s not in the process.
I also don’t have a problem with somebody just being a hero with a capital H in a romance with a capital R.  Indiana Jones in the first movie is that character.  John Carter in the Mars books is that character.  In fact when I was trying to write a film of Princess of Mars for Disney we kept running into the “but John Carter needs an arc” gibberish.  Some of a the earlier writers on the project had made him, in no particular order, an alcoholic, a coward, a nihilist devastated by his experiences in the Civil War.  

Sometimes a project does just fine with just a hero. 

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