Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Star Trek

May 18th, 2009

To beat the heat, Michael, Paul, Nicole and I ducked into AMC Saratoga 14 yesterday to watch the latest movie in the Star Trek series. I should probably mention at this point that this was, in fact, my third viewing of the film in theaters. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie in theaters this many times, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a Trek film this good! J.J. Abrams took a franchise that Rick Berman had all but killed and breathed new life into it in the seemingly most ridiculous way possible: by effectively destroying almost all existing canon by hitting the infamous History Eraser Button and starting from scratch. The move was certainly bold, but in my opinion also absolutely necessary for Star Trek to survive. The series was so bound by all that had come before that it could never satisfy anyone: existing fans would complain about every minor diversion from established canon, and new folk would be lost in the dense mythos. As a long-time Trekkie (and Trekker), I fully support Abrams’ new vision for the future, and hope he remains onboard for any future entries in the franchise.

Until the next Trek comes out, though, we might as well enjoy ourselves with various other upcoming film releases! Today’s collection would seem to be proof-positive of successful target marketing, as several of the trailers are themselves reimaginings of existing fiction from my childhood. Allons-y!

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making movies? I couldn’t tell what the hell was going on for the vast majority of this trailer, though I did pick up several explosions and muddy-looking CGI robots punching each other. Maybe that’s all there is to it. SEQUEL of an ADAPTATION… but I did have a great time poking fun at the original, so maybe this one will yield similar enjoyment.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Back-to-back ADAPTATIONs of television shows from my childhood? It’s clear that Hollywood’s pandering to my unfounded sense of nostalgia at this point, but this looks at least slightly more interesting than the previous Michael Bay dreck. Christopher Eccleston’s a fun actor and will probably make for an equally-fun villain. The computer graphics are surprisingly subpar (the green dissolving solution on the Eiffel Tower stands out in my mind), but at least this one features humans more interesting to look at than Shia LeBeouf. That said, the new animated series looks much more interesting to me.

Land of the Lost
It must be ADAPTATION Christmas or something! Presumably this is a big-screen rendition of the original Sid and Marty Krofft TV show and not the 1990s remake I grew up with. Not that it matters, as they seem to have dropped any semblance of seriousness in favor of slapstick comedy, so I’ll likely give this one a pass.

Terminator: Salvation
Though I probably will go see this SEQUEL, I’ll still be pissed as all hell. See, I just found out this morning that Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has been officially cancelled. The show was absolutely brilliant and, much like the new Star Trek, breathed new life into an ailing franchise. On top of that, a movie release would have only helped the show’s ratings! Once again, I must give a wag of the finger to Fox for their poor decision-making skills.

Year One
I don’t get why Jack Black and Michael Cera are cavemen in the year 1, when civilization had come kind of a long way from hunting-gathering. I don’t get why Cain and Abel are there either! It’s fairly safe to say that historical accuracy is not the aim of a movie like this. ORIGINAL, though they do appear to do a lot of traipsing through biblical stories.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Kind of a crazy-big cast in this movie. I even like a few of these guys! Christopher Guest and Hank Azaria, what are you doing in a movie featuring Ben Stiller getting slapped by monkeys? Your awesomeness is not nearly sufficient enough to make me want to check out this SEQUEL of an ADAPTATION.

TOTAL: 83.33% (5/6)

Oy. As of a May 18th screening of Star Trek at AMC Saratoga 14 in Saratoga, CA, Hollywood was preparing itself for a summer of 83.33% unoriginality. If only a handful of these movies end up being anywhere near the calibur of Trek, though, that might not be such a bad thing.