Star Trek XIII: Beyond just released its first trailer. It is the most abominable trailer I have ever seen. How this is the case is beyond me, since all you need is some swelling music and a dramatic voice over to have a trailer that’s better than most movies. This is bad. So bad. It’s worse than Hitler.
Wow. It’s almost like the the director of several Fast and the Furious films set out to plagiarize Guardians of the Galaxy without ever having seen a single episode or movie of the Star Trek franchise.
Oh wait, that’s exactly what they did.
In over two minutes they manage to convey not the slightest hint of a plot other than … BAD STUFF! ENTERPRISE AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!
It exists solely to showcase a bunch of CGI and inject as many one-liners as possible. And while it has some painfully obvious attempts at humorous beats, they’re not, like, actually humorous. They’re the gross facsimiles of jokes written by someone who has only had the concept of a joke explained to them by someone who once heard one. Someone apparently thinks that “write funny dialogue like Joss Whedon” means “make Galaxy Quest without any of the satire”.
Star Wars had the emotional resonance, it was all gut feelings and adventure. It was about what made heroes heroic. Star Wars did it better than almost anything else, but it fits a familiar model of dozens of other films. But Star Trek fit into a different niche, this awkward sort of thing somewhere between space opera and literary science fiction. It was about trying to ask the questions about what makes us human, about what our place in the universe was meant to be. They were questions asked and answers attempted with a sort of guileless innocence. It told stories of deep darkness at times, but not of cynicism. Its great answers and soul-searing scenes were never particularly visual, they were almost always born of words. It is a set of stories that tried to talk about the big questions, and tried to do so by dragging the subtext into the text, of not being content to let it all be metaphor and underlying gut feelings. It tried to articulate along with all the awkwardness that goes with that.
This isn’t that. This is just flash and a profoundly sad lack of substance.
And as an aside, let’s not dismiss the notion that the Beastie Boys make a huge noble stand when they decide to stand by deceased band member Adam Yauch’s will forbidding use of his music in advertising. Because if an indie toy company that makes toys encouraging girls to learn about science and engineering writes a satirical version of Girls, the ode to wishing that bitches would know their place and make the band sandwiches already, oh that’s about the principle of art. But getting handed an enormous check to help fuck Star Trek into the mud of mediocrity, that’s totally different. It’s almost as if a band whose entire success was based on the violent erotic fantasies of angry thirteen year old suburban boys in 1990 doesn’t actually have any ethical foundation. Weird.
If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go build a fort out of the couple hundred Star Trek paperbacks I have in boxes in the closet.