A new Star Trek trailer was released over the weekend and it was glorious. I loved the teaser because it looked like it brought back the old school fun of the series (you bet your ass TOS would have had Kirk doing motorcycle stunts if they had the budget for it). I love this new trailer because it reminds us what Star Trek is really about. It’s a family aboard a space ship exploring the final frontier in the pursuit of spreading equality and knowledge with other cultures across the galaxy.
The criticisms lobbied at the Trek movies after 09 entail them shying away from these quintessential aspects of the Trek universe. I can’t blame them. Mind you, I think 09 is one of the best in the series and there hasn’t been a truly great Trek film since The Undiscovered Country. The only thing is 09 isn’t heavily involved with the ideas of Star Trek until the ending where they go off to start their five-year mission (there’s no reason we shouldn’t have started Into Darkness with them not on the five-year mission).
09 works as more of a pilot episode to a new series but don’t discount it as a Star Trek adventure. These are still the characters we’ve come to know and love. By the end of their freshman outing – it very much feels like a wacky extracurricular adventure given the focus on Starfleet Academy for the first half – we’re on board for exploring the vastness of space with the Star Trek babies.
Star Trek Beyond has a lot working against it given short production time, bad (unjust) reaction to the first teaser, and coming off an entry that is hardly beloved. I want to clear up a misconception that Justin Lin is a bad choice for the series. First of all, Justin Lin could probably do anything. From his low budget work on Better Luck Tomorrow to the various action locales in his entries in the Fast and Furious franchise, the man knows how to direct a movie. Better yet, the man knows how to direct ensembles.
Say what you want about the silliness of the Fast and Furious franchise, but it has heart and it’s not an unintelligible series. They’re some of the most competent blockbusters around with action and characters established with crystal clear motivations from the start. That’s not dumb; that’s talent. It takes a talented director to make me feel fear, excitement, and decompress with heart melting sentiment in under 30 seconds.
Speaking of heart, from the small moments seen in the recent trailer it looks like we’ll be getting plenty in this adventure. Kirk and Bones discuss their lives over drinks, Bones and Spock discuss the philosophy of death…it’s beautiful. I imagine Bones will also be speaking the central themes of the movie as well. Bones seems like the type of person you could talk about anything with. We all need a Bones.
In the teaser trailer for Beyond Idris Elba’s nameless alien villain says, “This is where the frontier pushes back.” What does that mean? Is that a dangerous planet they’ve crash landed onto? Is Starfleet causing more trouble than spreading goodwill throughout the galaxy? These are the types of questions Star Trek should be asking. But it’s important to always let the crew of the Enterprise guide us through these adventures to ask these things.
Star Trek is a series involving a future where humanity is achieving its utmost potential to the point where equality is no longer a concern. If we get some pulpy science fiction action along with it, screw it, the more the merrier.
Featured Image: Paramount Pictures