14th Apr2009

choo want CONSISTENT!?

by jerad.formby

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Previously on Hey Star Trek!

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And now… the continuation…

The new Star Trek movie creeps closer and closer to theaters.

I have been putting up with a lot of nay-sayers since the movie was announced back in 2006. The boo-hooers have been whispering in my ear that this new movie is going to some how “screw up” everything that they love about Star Trek.

What they really mean is that it will mess up their continuity.

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Any story that features the characters from the 1960s sounds like a movie I want to see. I guess the boo-hooers don’t see it that way. They see Star Trek through a very narrow prism that’s called continuity.

This new movie will be taking place before any story we have so far seen with Captain Kirk, so it’s being attacked and panned by the Trek purists because they’re afraid that their precious, golden, sacred, continuity will be ignored in favor of “dumbing down” Star Trek or “making Star Trek into something it’s not.”

They guard their continuity with razor sharp teeth and forked tongues. These fans respond like potbelly pigs with their belly rubbed when continuity is respected. They cry foul and throw tantrums when it is not.

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What makes me laugh is that continuity has often been ignored or tossed out the window when it comes to telling stories in Trek. The 40 year tapestry of Trek has any number of continuity violations. Often continuity whores will ignore these infractions and will still take J.J. Abrams and his film to task.

Acting as snide and drooling Feklar, these guys will allow Star Trek: Remastered to happen because they want the Original Series to appear new to them again. Here’s the situation, however… anybody watching Remastered for the first time isn’t going to get that same thrill. The effects are going to appear acceptable.

But this is what Star Trek would have looked like if they had money!

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Come on. Remastered isn’t for us. It exists so that our favorite stuff will be watchable by others in HD. We love it of course, but they’re really trying to hook your kids.

Some fans have even embraced this new film and invented an excuse for its inconsistent appearance. They’ll talk to me about how they can accept the film as a “reboot” or an “alternate universe.” They’re fine with it then, because they can keep what continuity they care about separate and embrace the new film as some odd new life form.

I’ve been hearing about this idea since Enterprise happened in 2001. It’s alternate. Not the true past for Kirk.

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I refuse to see the film in this light. We have never seen the story where Kirk met his valiant crew and now we will. I will not look on this new film as “oh that’s how alternate Kirk met alternate Spock.” No way. This is how it went down. How it always went down.

This is bad because… what? Kirk never mentioned it on the show? Spock never brought it up? How often do we recount to each other when we met our friends? Almost never. Kirk mentions in passing that he met Pike once before in “Menagerie”.

How do we know he wasn’t putting that dude on when he said that? Kirk plays lots of stuff close to his chest. He could have just as well be saying, “Wow. you don’t remember that Nero thing?” Don’t say I’m wrong about that.

Never forget that Kirk’s job is to be Kirk and not to inform us of unshakable truths. He is a rich, vibrant and amazing character. This new movie is going to show us lots of Kirk we haven’t seen before, but I argue that this will do nothing but enrich what’s come before.

Don’t get me wrong. I know me some Kirk history. I know me some Taursus IV. I would love for this movie to demonstrate 14 year-old Kirk as the only witness to a Colonial massacre. At the same time, however, I’ll understand if this movie “skips” that part or “forgets to mention it.” I got a small continuity potbelly that would love to be rubbed that way… but at the same time, I know that happened to Kirk no matter what this movie says.

Young Kirk rocks a stick shift car in the preview. I can hear the Continuity Police sending out all units.

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Oh no! They got it wrong! In “A Piece of the Action,” Spock had to explain to Kirk how to operate a stick shift! Why couldn’t Kirk drive a stick shift then!? Well, obviously, with this new information we know he could… Kirk must have been messing with Spock (as he was prone to do). I think it adds another layer to what’s come before –a hilarious, unforeseen golden nugget.

Now when you’re showing your new-hot-lover-Star-Trek-fan “A Piece of the Action” and that scene happens, he or she can giggle at the fact that Spock has no idea that Kirk’s putting him on. Works for me. It informs what’s come before, it doesn’t negate it. Get me?

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“But that bridge isn’t the bridge from the Original Series,” whines the Continuity Street Urchin at my window.

Yes it is. It’s as Original Series bridge as the Original Series bridge was. In the 1960s, Star Trek’s intention was to awe and wow people with what the future could be. The Original Series bridge was introduced at a time when television was sending its first color signals. The Original Series bridge did its job. It wowed and inspired.

And it got dated.

The wow factor of Star Trek has always been tied to the Enterprise as a set piece. The Enterprise is Star Trek’s lightsabre… it shoulders all of the responsibilities that a Jedi carries in his hand. Its what excites people the most when they see it and it’s the one icon Star Trek truly has –outside of Spock.

I am glad that this movie has anticipated and wishes to deliver on the “wow factor.” Star Trek needs to get back to its roots and give us inspiration again. Do you really expect me to believe that Kirk and his friends were rocking a starship with buttons that are archaic by even today’s standards?

I have news for you. In the 23rd century, we will have technology that we can’t even wrap our brains around. And 80 years later? Picard will have stuff that would confuse Kirk. That’s just being realistic.

I know what I want from this movie. I want a Star Trek thrill ride. That’s what we’re getting.

Shed your continuity prisms everyone and take up your Star Trek prisms. Imagine that there are stories in this world. They are stories about our future. These stories involve iconic, wonderful characters and now we get to see them again.

We have the advantage –they aren’t new to us, but they are new to so many others.

Look at this movie through a prism called Star Trek and not Continuity. Walk with me.

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So why should our new film pander to the bizarre continuity when we all know deep down that if this was the first thing ever Star Trek it would look exactly like it does now. Star Trek’s job right now is to trump modern cinema. It has to make I, Robot look dated.

It has to demonstrate an unstoppable, adorable, amazing, and scary future.

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That’s what Gene Roddenberry wanted and I guarantee you that if he were J.J. Abrams’ peer and Matt Jeffries was brought on board to build us something inspiring, they would be drawing inspiration from what’s sexy about people and sexy about technology.

Hate on Apple all you want, but most people associate that slick look with how they decorate and how they dress.

And it doesn’t look half-bad. I prefer looking at people now more than I did in the nineties. It’s the difference between what’s current and what’s first season, no?

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  • April K

    Jerad Formby, you rock. Thanks for all your hard work on such a rockin blog. I owe you a drink in Vegas sometime.
    Thanks,
    April K

  • http://www.subspacecomms.com Captain Pyke

    Hey Jerad,

    Fantastic blog, again! I felt much like the continuity nay-sayers when I saw the first teaser. Even after the second teaser, I was still freightened by what was to come.

    I think paramount or whomever made the right decision in green-lighting Countdown. That made all the difference in the world to me. Connecting current Star Trek with the new movie / universe. I kinda get the feeling that this was a love letter to the die hard fans. I know it made me super excited for the JJ Abrams version.

    I’ll be there in line as giddy as a school girl.

    Cpt. Pyke

  • Raul4510

    You guys are brilliant! I love this!

  • http://adamnbowen.com/ Adam

    I remember being frightened (though still excited that Star Trek was being revived) when I first heard what J.J. Abrams was doing. But the moment I saw that first welding-torch flash, I was hooked.

    Star Trek is, has been, and always will be about our own time. It is about time that 2009 has some Star Trek too!

  • zancho

    i just hope we get to see the first moments of Ohura and Scotty’s never realized attraction for one another…..like a door closing on the two as they move purposfully toward one another. Or perhaps a lingering look of approval when they first meet. anything. i was so happy when she brought him dinner in #5! and then….nothing…..i want to toast their union!

  • VegasAndorian

    I remember Season 1 Jerad. Whew, all the re-writing since then….

  • http://csixty4.com David Ross

    I always shift into my Comic Book Guy voice when discussing continuity these days. It’s fun to point out inconsistencies as long as you realize that the writers are trying to tell a story first and build a coherent universe second…or third…or probably closer to 2,425,382th.

    Another great posting.

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