The winner of the PGA award is...

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Postby HarryGoldfarb » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:15 pm

As a non-fan of the series, just someone that recognizes the impact of it in popular culture, I must say that I enjoyed this film, yes, as an entertaining one. But man, a very entertaining one! And it made me do something I never thought I would: it grabbed my attention as much as to make me search for info about the original series and characters. So, in some way, it was kind of effective, at least for people who don't care about its canon... High art? definitely not, and as I said in another post, in any regular year, the possibility of its inclusion among the best picture lineup would have never occurred... but it was fun. That's all...
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Postby Sabin » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:17 pm

They included them because the audience wanted to see them, which means they were trying to pull in the Trek audience, who is familiar with these characters an situations. If they weren't, then I could buy the "didn't need to develop the characters" argument because if that was really their intention, of creating a new Crew of the USS Enterprise, then they would not have had to include all the characters or give them corny dialogue to recite just to make it feel like the original franchise.

I'm not sure if I agree with your logic on this. The Trek audience is there. That's not even in question. J.J. Abrams was trying to boil these characters down to their essence in order to build them back up. The crew of the original Star Trek epitomized a noble progressivism of race and gender, but really they're a bunch of accents with job descriptions. There's only so much that J.J. Abrams could do -- on a first voyage. When you launch a franchise, you have to get everything in it. Every thing pertinent to what it is has to go in there, unless it's something that can elevate a sequel on its own. You can try to build up Batman with Joker like in Burton's first, but then you have to establish that he's already Batman and Nolan didn't want to do that in (admittedly, the mediocre) Batman Begins. So with The Dark Knight, he knew that Joker would be a big enough draw. There is NO ONE character in Star Trek that he could ever use to entice audiences during a sequel. OH MY GOD! IN THE NEXT ONE, THEY'RE GOING TO INTRODUCE SCOTTY! Who cares?

Abrams' job is to streamline the crew and showcase Kirk and Spock. And he does. He's not doing this for Trekkies. He's doing it for everyone. The Star Trek audience is inside his audience: everyone.

Either you've never seen City on the Edge of Forever or Balance of Terror or you just don't appreciate them. While I don't disagree that some episodes were dumb, there were many that were brilliantly written and still remain some of the television history's best written episodes.

I can appreciate them, but they're absolutely not some of television history's best written episodes. They're just some of the best remembered to some.



You're right. His motivations seems drawn to create tension without a single bit of logic. I think Abrams was so interested in destroying things like Romulus and Vulcan in an effort to create discord in the Star Trek universe and break a mold that he forgot to concentrate on creating something more original. He had a narrow concept and tried to build a film around it and the end result is what you have.

I disagree. There's a ton of logic in establishing Vulcans as an endangered species. That coincides with the Star Trek mythos of galactic emissaries. The problem is that J.J. Abrams is re-imagining a few grails that you hold holy. The script has some problems and one of them is an insubstantial third act, but so do Avatar and District 9. HUGE ones. I am forgiving as long as my attention is held.

But, for my money, this is an "origin story" that ranks among the worst of such endeavors. There's more to appreciate in the reboot of Halloween than there is in Star Trek in terms of recasting the mold.

Planet Vulcan is dead and Spock has jungle fever. Deal with it, or watch your VHS tapes until they snap.
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Postby rolotomasi99 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:31 pm

OscarGuy wrote:They included them because the audience wanted to see them, which means they were trying to pull in the Trek audience, who is familiar with these characters an situations. If they weren't, then I could buy the "didn't need to develop the characters" argument because if that was really their intention, of creating a new Crew of the USS Enterprise, then they would not have had to include all the characters or give them corny dialogue to recite just to make it feel like the original franchise.

Exactly OG. Kirk, Bones, Spock and maybe Uhura would have been plenty for the first film. Then introduce Checkov, Sulu, and Scotty in the next film. That way Abrams could have focused on the characters he clearly was more interested in, and then have something more to offer in the sequel.

I know I sound like Comicbook Guy from the Simpsons in my complaining about plot holes in a STAR TREK film, but it just struck me as really lazy writing.

Also agree with you on what a horrible villain Nero was. He was as boring as the alien cloud from the first movie or Spock's brother from the fifth film.




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Postby Big Magilla » Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:09 pm

I liked it, but I suppose to some people remaking the original Star Trek is like remaking Casablanca without Bogart and Bergman or Gone With the Wind without Gable and Leigh.
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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:00 pm

While I can appreciate the inability to redraw new characters, I don't think it's that impossible. There was more character development in a movie like Crash than there is in Star Trek. There's character development and then there's homogenizing. If they weren't going to get to these characters later, then they shouldn't have made them caricatures. They should have just left them in the periphery. If they were really trying to re-imagine the franchise, then what's the harm of leaving major characters behind or sidelined until they could be developed?

They included them because the audience wanted to see them, which means they were trying to pull in the Trek audience, who is familiar with these characters an situations. If they weren't, then I could buy the "didn't need to develop the characters" argument because if that was really their intention, of creating a new Crew of the USS Enterprise, then they would not have had to include all the characters or give them corny dialogue to recite just to make it feel like the original franchise.

Either you've never seen City on the Edge of Forever or Balance of Terror or you just don't appreciate them. While I don't disagree that some episodes were dumb, there were many that were brilliantly written and still remain some of the television history's best written episodes.

I'm not expecting Mozart here, but I'm certainly expecting more than just Britney Spears.

And, rolo, the reason the plot didn't bother me is that for the Trek universe, it isn't that awful. It's not that great, I'll give you that, but plot holes tend to creep into Sci-Fi more than most genres. For me, though, my problems with the plot were how generic it was and that the villain, something Trek has a very difficult time getting right (Borg Queen and Kahn are two of the absolute best), but sometimes they are so weak and non-dimensional that they turn into a character like Eric Bana.

You're right. His motivations seems drawn to create tension without a single bit of logic. I think Abrams was so interested in destroying things like Romulus and Vulcan in an effort to create discord in the Star Trek universe and break a mold that he forgot to concentrate on creating something more original. He had a narrow concept and tried to build a film around it and the end result is what you have.

But, for my money, this is an "origin story" that ranks among the worst of such endeavors. There's more to appreciate in the reboot of Halloween than there is in Star Trek in terms of recasting the mold.
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Postby Sabin » Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:09 pm

Star Trek has about as many plot-holes as Avatar but is a sleeker piece of entertainment. I like Star Trek more.

J.J. Abrams may be one of those [evildoers] responsible for the merging of television and cinema, and he brings at best a devil-may-care attitude to his remixing of Trek-mythos. I'm not a Trekkie by any stretch of the imagination, but I find that the biggest detractors are those who take Star Trek [too?] seriously. At a certain point when you relaunch a franchise, you boil it down to its essentials and start from there. This decade it happened successfully with Spider-Man (why do we need web-slinging wrist-machines?) and Bond, and more hit-and-miss with X-Men, Batman, etc. Abrams has ditched the New Age pleas for tolerance of its middle-aged-to-septuagenerian original cast. So we've lost quite a bit of moralizing in this new Trek, which is fine by me because Star Trek was always a well-meaning dumb show.

They are thinly drawn individuals derived in an effort to "shake up" the series and make it more soap opera/Star Wars-ish. Who the hell are Scotty and Chekov? They are mere stock comic relief characters with no motivation and no sense of purpose. Even Uhura, altered drastically from her incarnation is little more than a love interest with superficial depth.

Abrams has established this as an origin story of how Everyone Met on the same voyage. And it's goddamn impossible to do all eight or nine main characters justice when you have to set all of them up. Concessions are always involved in an origin story in order to get to the superior sequel. The original series of films drew upon your knowledge of the show and rarely deviated from the crew's already-comfortable dynamics with each other, and that isn't possible now. The original crew of Star Trek were so comfortable with each other they traded hemorrhoid donuts with each other.

As for Uhura, I'll admit she's a less progressive character than Strong Black Woman Surrounded By Old White Dudes on the show (mostly kidding), but her dynamic with Spock is by far one of the most interesting aspects of the film in the way that it toys with your expectations. It starts with implications of unrequited love, evolves into a kiss that may or may not be indicative of a previous relationship, and then evolves into the establishment of an on-going relationship. This remixes the original Trek's mythos into something that is new and deepens Spock's struggle for one-ness.

It's not quite First Contact or The Wrath of Kahn, but it's incredibly entertaining and Zachary Quinto gives one of the best performances of the year as Spock. And he's also better than Nimoy.
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Postby rolotomasi99 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:31 pm

OscarGuy wrote:And I don't agree that Star Trek was well acted at all. Outside of Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban, there's nothing of substance to any of the other characters. They are thinly drawn individuals derived in an effort to "shake up" the series and make it more soap opera/Star Wars-ish. Who the hell are Scotty and Chekov? They are mere stock comic relief characters with no motivation and no sense of purpose. Even Uhura, altered drastically from her incarnation is little more than a love interest with superficial depth.

The plot didn't bother me more than it was just an attempt to screw around with the Star Trek universe for supposed dramatic effect and so J.J. Abrams didn't have to hire a real writer to craft something into the existing universe, a difficult, but not impossible feat. They wanted to have somewhere to go? That's easily accomplished for any writer worth his paycheck.

Agreed on the acting. I do not remember Karl Urban from THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, but his Bones was both appropriately hilarious (his character was always comic relief) and appreciatively sexy. Quinto also did a good job.

How could the plot not bother you? There is absolutely no logic to a single thing that happens in that movie. Dare I say it, but even the plot for TRANSFORMERS 2 made more sense.

Whatever. Like I said, if a nomination for STAR TREK denies AVATAR the Best Picture then I will swallow that bitter pill for the greater good.




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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:05 pm

And I don't agree that Star Trek was well acted at all. Outside of Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban, there's nothing of substance to any of the other characters. They are thinly drawn individuals derived in an effort to "shake up" the series and make it more soap opera/Star Wars-ish. Who the hell are Scotty and Chekov? They are mere stock comic relief characters with no motivation and no sense of purpose. Even Uhura, altered drastically from her incarnation is little more than a love interest with superficial depth.

The plot didn't bother me more than it was just an attempt to screw around with the Star Trek universe for supposed dramatic effect and so J.J. Abrams didn't have to hire a real writer to craft something into the existing universe, a difficult, but not impossible feat. They wanted to have somewhere to go? That's easily accomplished for any writer worth his paycheck.
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Postby rolotomasi99 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:46 pm

rudeboy wrote:
OscarGuy wrote:District 9 is ten times the film Star Trek wishes it were. District 9 holds up more of the Star Trek's own tenets than does the J.J. Abrams Star Wars film.

As someone who can take or leave Star Trek in most forms (a couple of the earlier films excepted), I found it fresh, exhilarating, smartly acted fun. District 9 was serviceable, very watchable in fact, but weakened by it's relentlessly stupid lead character.

Whatever - District 9 is all but in for best picture, Star Trek would (for me) be a lovely bonus.

The Oscars are handed out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. They are meant to celebrate an achievement in the art and science of filmmaking, not an achievement in entertainment. I thought DRAG ME TO HELL was tons of fun, but other than the sound editing there was not much art to it.

The same with STAR TREK. It certainly was an achievement of special effects, sound, and editing; however, it was an embarrasment when it came to acting and writing. DISTRICT 9 had much stronger acting and writing, and to me a nomination for that film might not be as deserved as say A SINGLE MAN, A SERIOUS MAN, BRIGHT STAR, and many others which might be ignored -- but it will not be the complete waste of space and insult that a nomination for STAR TREK would be.

That movie was dumber than mud. The plot made absolutely no sense, and in almost every single scene I kept wondering "Why the hell is this happening?"
Why did Nero blame Spock for killing his family? It was a fucking supernova that destroyed Romulus! Romulans are extremely smart and powerful, yet only Spock and the Federation could save them? Nero hates Spock and all Vulcans and Humans because they did not get there quickly enough to save Romulus? What were the Klingons, Ferengi, Cardasians, etc. doing and why does Nero not seem to hate them too? What the hell does Nero and his crew do for the almost 30 years between when they first go back in time and when they attack Vulcan? Why does Nero not give his incredibly powerful and advanced ship to the Romulans of the past and alter the balance of power? Nero does understand that the sun will still go supernova and destroy Romulus, right? Why does Spock relinquish control of the Enterprise to reckless and inexperienced Kirk just becuase he is upset about losing his mother and homeland? How can Kirk who lost his father and is potentially going to lose his homeland any less emotionally clouded about going after Nero? Why the hell does Spock send Kirk to the ice planet? Are there no brigs on the Enterprise?

So many, many questions -- absolutely no logical answers anywhere to be found. When it comes to entertainment, fun and dumb is fine; for a Best Picture nomination, it is inexcusable. AVATAR and DISTRICT 9 are not exactly air-tight in the plot and character motivation department, but they do not reach the stupidity level of STAR TREK.
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Postby rudeboy » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:05 am

OscarGuy wrote:District 9 is ten times the film Star Trek wishes it were. District 9 holds up more of the Star Trek's own tenets than does the J.J. Abrams Star Wars film.

As someone who can take or leave Star Trek in most forms (a couple of the earlier films excepted), I found it fresh, exhilarating, smartly acted fun. District 9 was serviceable, very watchable in fact, but weakened by it's relentlessly stupid lead character.

Whatever - District 9 is all but in for best picture, Star Trek would (for me) be a lovely bonus.

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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:41 am

District 9 is ten times the film Star Trek wishes it were. District 9 holds up more of the Star Trek's own tenets than does the J.J. Abrams Star Wars film.
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Postby Mister Tee » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:32 am

Does anyone know: did the PGA go to the weighted-voting ballot the way the Oscars have, or was it a straight-up Select One on Your Ballot canvas? Because it might have been easier for Hurt Locker to have amassed a plurality in widely-split voting than to have been a consensus choice with what has generally been a more old-line guild.

On the other hand, they did pick Moulin Rouge one time.

I'm not tying to downplay this win. It's clearly more meaningful than any other award Hurt Locker has won this year, save maybe the Broadcasters, and says that, however predictable most acting races may have become, the best picture race is almost sure to be a barn-burner. I know for those of you who loved The Hurt Locker, this is like Christmas.

But for those of us lukewarm about it, this recalls the Oscar upset of DGA in 2000 -- after all the years when a custom was so drearily upheld, why did it fail in a year when I wasn't rooting that way? Which is to say, if a low-grossing but acclaimed film was going to take home best picture, why couldn't it have been Memento or Far from Heaven or Children of Men, rather than a film I don't see as anything so special?

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Postby rudeboy » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:31 am

I may be alone here but I'd rather see Star Trek nominated for best picture than the other two, lesser sci-fi movies in contention. :p

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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:12 am

And a lot of those people probably don't know what they're talking about.

I'm hoping Trek doesn't get nominated still, though I expect the Academy to disappoint me in that regard.
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Postby rolotomasi99 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:52 am

Many are saying AVATAR lost because the fanboy vote was split three ways by it and DISTRICT 9 and STAR TREK. I would also say that many of the same folks who loved that movie also loved INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, so it was more of a four-way split.

As much as it would pain me to see STAR TREK nominated for Best Picture, I would be willing to accept the nomination if it meant the Best Picture win went to THE HURT LOCKER. :D
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