Monday, 29 April 2013

How JJ Abrams saved Star Trek

If you love a long running film saga and had to sum it up in a three or four minute track, what would it be?

James Bond: Nobody Does It Better perhaps, or the Star Wars theme from that saga.

When it comes to Star Trek, I’d opt for Labour of Love, arguably the most emotional single track from a movie over the past 10 years.

You hear it in 2009 epic Star Trek, marking the birth of James T Kirk, and the sacrifice of his dad, George (Thor’s Chris Hemsworth) in the midst of battle.

Michael Giacchino’s track may have done more to convert a new generation of fans to one of the planet’s most beloved, and loathed sci-fi sagas: Star Trek.

I’m not one of those blokes who dressed in a Kirk-style Wolves top, or dons plastic pointy Spock ears at conventions.
However, I will confess my best man gave me a phaser gun on our stag do, which is ageing more gracefully than its owner.

I’ve spent decades watching Trek movies on the big screen, so to say I’m a little excited about the 12th movie, Star Trek Into Darkness this month is a bit of an understatement.

I won’t bore you with a list of the films, or when they were released, though I could if it came up in a round of Pointless.

Kirk killed off in 1994’s Generations was a bold move, but it left a void at the heart of the franchise, and as worthy as Patrick Stewart’s Captain Picard was, the series felt lost in space.

After several years, that black hole was finally filled by Paramount’s golden boy JJ, the guy who’d baffled and amazed us with Lost and Alias, before effortlessly hitting a home run with Mission: Impossible III.

Abrams has that magic touch when it comes to capturing the essence of a show, and is not afraid to upset a few fans in the hope of retrofitting an iconic saga for a new generation, whether it’s destroying planet Vulcan or killing Spock’s mum (Winona Ryder).

Unlike Zachary Quinto, who’s a dead ringer for a young Leonard Nimoy, Chris Pine might not look much like a young William Shatner, but he has that cocky charm.
That’s why his journey Into Darkness matters so much this year after a four year break. It also helps that the Enterprise crew are up against Sherlock himself, Benedict Cumberbatch.

My wife is not a Trek fan, but she is looking forward to the new Trek movie, probably because Abrams and his team did such a good job of tugging at the heartstrings with 2009’s series reboot.

Like James Bond and Star Wars, any saga that has been running since the sixties or seventies is bound have an indelible effect on an adult generation, while mesmerising a new bunch of fans.
Little wonder the recurring themes of time travel, family and healing old wounds touches a chord with any of us who ever ran around a playground making phaser noises for our finger guns.

It may have a whiff of ripe cheddar, but Patrick Stewart seems to have said it best when contradicting old acting mate Malcolm McDowell on their polar opposite views of time.

“I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment, because it will never come again.”

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