The newest entry in a popular film franchise invariably invokes feelings of anticipation and excitement from diehard fans. It also happens to raise expectations enormously for the finished product. Most of the time, when people actually get around to seeing the highly anticipated new release, their reactions are polarized. Some are enamored and fall in love with the offering, while others simply detest it. For the most part, eagerly awaited new installments in franchises like "Star Wars," "Indiana Jones," and "Star Trek" are met with one of those two reactions. Rarely are they thought of as simply mediocre.
All of that being said, we here at Starpulse are eagerly awaiting the newest film installment in the "Star Trek" franchise, due out in the summer of 2009. That release date still seems ages away, but that doesn't mean that it is too soon to ask and answer the all important question: will the new "Star Trek" film suck or satisfy?
We happen to think the latter, and perhaps satisfy is not a strong enough word for those sentiments. We have a feeling that "Star Trek," (currently the title of the new film) is going to do far more than satisfy. We think that it is going to be an amazing piece of cinema and one of the best films of 2009. Here's why:
Because Reboots are 'In'
Ever since it was announced that the new "Star Trek" film would include young members of the original series cast embarking on their first mission, there has been some skepticism. Some people find it hard to accept anyone other than William Shatner as Kirk or Leonard Nimoy as Spock. To them, the notion is blasphemy. Apparently none of them are fans of the James Bond films.
Worries about disrupting precious canon aside, rebooting the series by going back and focusing on younger versions of already established characters makes a whole lot of sense. Honestly, would people really care as much about the upcoming film if it focused on a bunch of young hotshot characters that no one has ever heard of before? The answer to that, in case you were wondering, is a resounding no. By recasting the roles from the original Trek, J.J. Abrams and company are accomplishing two goals simultaneously. They are holding onto the popular, well known characters and names while still managing to give the series a much needed shot in the arm. Only good things can come from this decision.
Still not convinced? Look at some other reboots from recent years. "Batman Begins," took a franchise that was left for dead after the abomination otherwise known as "Batman & Robin" and breathed new life into it. The franchise was resurrected with the much darker film (that was also much more faithful to the original comics) and "Batman Begins" became a critical and popular success. Now, audiences are working themselves into a frenzy anticipating this summer's release of "The Dark Knight."
Another recent example of a successful reboot is "Casino Royale." It revitalized the sagging Bond franchise by turning back the clock and focusing on a younger, rougher and altogether unrefined version of the dapper spy. "Casino Royale" was not only extremely successful, but it was arguably the greatest Bond film of all time. Much like how the new "Star Trek," in daring to take a chance, could one day be recognized as the greatest film in that storied franchise.
Because J.J. Abrams is Involved
When it was originally announced that J.J. Abrams was going to be producing the new "Star Trek," it was reasonable to assume that the film would turn out to be pretty good. When it was subsequently revealed that he would also be directing, well then it quickly became apparent that the film would blow good out of the water. Abrams, regardless of the medium, has the Midas touch. His body of work is extremely impressive, from "Felicity" to "Alias" to "Lost" to "Mission Impossible III." There is no reason to think that the new "Star Trek" will be any less incredible (and his unrelated new Fox TV series "Fringe" likewise will be awesome).
Abrams is quite familiar with the Trek franchise, so one has to assume that he will be faithful to it to an extent. But one also can't help but feel a sense of excitement about the fresh blood that he brings to the series. The Rick Berman years were fruitful ones for "Star Trek," but a change was in order if the series was to continue any deeper into the 21st century. There is no better man to oversee that change than Abrams.
While the main characters of the new film (Kirk, Spock, McCoy, etc.) are all household names, the majority of the actors filling the roles are not. In casting the roles, Abrams wisely chose to not go with any superstars who could potentially overpower the very characters they are meant to portray. Instead, he put together an eclectic cast of moderately well known (and exceedingly talented) actors such as Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg and John Cho.
The most anticipated performance may in fact be Quinto's as the young Spock. Spock is arguably the most beloved character from the original series, and the task of disassociating the character from its previous actor will be particularly arduous for Quinto since Leonard Nimoy will be appearing in the film as the older Spock. Still, if anybody is up to the challenge, it is Quinto. He has been absolutely captivating as the bizarre, power collecting serial killer Sylar on "Heroes," and it will be very interesting to see his take on a very different type of role.
It will be a challenge for all of the actors, not just Quinto, to make the characters their own. Wisely, all have so far stated that while they are basing certain aspects of their characters personalities and traits on the previous performances and actors, they will also be reinventing the roles and making them their own. They can only hope to be as successful as Ewan McGregor was in playing a young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the "Star Wars" prequels, and the odds are that they will be.
Time Will Tell
Reboots have been all the rage in the last few years, and the trend will be continuing with this new "Star Trek" film. If it follows the patterns of other series' that have come before it, anticipation will continue to build throughout the next year. Eager fans will be scouring the internet looking for spoilers and arguing about plot points in online forums. It will all culminate with the release of the film next May, when it is all but guaranteed that nearly every one who goes to see the film will either love it or hate it. Chances are, a large majority of them will leave the theater feeling quite satisfied.
What are your thoughts on the new "Star Trek" film? Excited? Skeptical? Comment below!