Normally I don’t post things like this on my site, but I feel I must sound off about this. For about the past year Paramount Pictures has been trying to get an eleventh Star Trek movie off the ground. Heading things this time will be JJ Abrahms, who brought us Felicity, Lost, and directed Mission Impossible 3.
The gimmick is it’s a “Star Trek Academy” sort of idea, a “Kirk Begins” if you will. Now that’s all fine and dandy, but I can see several problems with this idea. Sure, I’m not limo-crusing executive, but it doesn’t take a brain scientist to see…
1) All of the rumored actors are as old as the original cast, yet they are supposed to be younger.
Call me a geek but I have a resonable idea of how old Shatner was in 1966. More than reasonable, exact, he was 36. Assuming “Star Trek 11” shoots this year, Matt Damon is this same age. Sure we consider him younger since he’s a newer actor, but didn’t anyone pass first grade math? I can buy 30 year old high schoolers a la “Grease” but this is stretching it.
I saw Gart Sinise rumored as “Bones” McCoy, that could work except for, of course, he’s actually OLDER than DeForest Kelly was in 66. Again, are they making Star Trek Academy or Star Trek The Midlife Crisis Years?
2) It’s an odd-numbered Star Trek movie.
However maybe this isn’t a problem because “Nemesis” was even and I thought that was probably the worst Trek of all. Yes, even worse than 5. So maybe the curse has been lifted, and now they’ll just all suck.
3) A 2-hour movie is not long enough to care about new characters and actors.
Well it can be, but not with an ensemble cast. One of the main reasons a movie uses an actor is so the audience can use pre-built emotions about them. IE, don’t bother writing a wisened old man, just throw in Morgan Freeman. Want a young buck renegade, throw in 1992-era Tom Cruise.
Now on a show like “Lost”, we care about the characters even though it’s filled with nobodies. (OK, it has a Hobbit and the mayor of Tombstone) This is because the show is long enough that we establish a connection with them and have the time to see ourselves in the same position. The writing props up the story and characters, not a big name actor like Matt Damon. (Surely the next Tom Hanks)
4) There aren’t any name actors in their early 20’s you could cast anyway.
Or very few. When we typically think of good young actors it’s always Leonardo DiCaprio or Angelina Jolie. Problem is they’re all at least 30. Who do we have in the early 20’s? Lindsay Lohan?
5) With a dearth of good young “name” actors, again, it should be a TV show.
As a TV show you can use as many nobodies as you want and it can still work as long as the acting is good. A great example is “Battlestar Galatica”, season 1 & 2 before it turned into Dawson’s Creek in Space. It starred a bunch of no-names (sorry, um, whatever your name is from Dances with Wolves), but that didn’t matter because the story propped it up.
Now some of you will say “But what about Serenity?” While I agree the short-lived series and movie were very good, it unforunately was on a network and therefore wasn’t giving the breathing room found on cable.
Having said that, here are some free suggestions for Paramount Pictures:
1) If you HAVE to make this damn movie, spend the money to get Beyonce Knowles as Uhura. At least she’s the right age.
2) Better yet, come up with a new franchise instead of beating Star Trek into the ground.
3) Mission Impossible 3 underperformed because Part 2 was a giant pile of crap. Just so you know.
4) Go back in time and get a 1994-era Matthew Maconaughey to be Kirk. Or cast him right now since you don’t care about age anyway.
5) Just make Star Trek 6.5 with the original cast and call it a day.