JJ Abrams Didn’t Make The Voyage Home but he Followed a Similar Script
Action Adventure Takes Precedence over Sci Fi
Studio ; Paramount, Poster
Star Trek IV is probably the TOS film that has the most crossover between Trekkies and the rest of the popular culture. The success of The Voyage Home also probably paved the way for The Next Generation, and the save the whales premise, gave us something to hang our science fiction hats on. Even so, doesn’t the science fiction get overshadowed by all the action. Enjoyable for sure, but it's almost like a guy named JJ Abrams was responsible.
Why did Trekkies let this stand - especially when there was room to explore the issues in a much deeper way.
So we learn the probe is pointing at Earth’s oceans, and only human arrogance says the message must be meant for man. A little more Spock speculation, and “If my suspicion is correct, there can be no response to this message.”
These are songs sung by whales, and since humpbacks were wiped out by the 21st century, our science fiction wheels start spinning at warp speed. But we can’t even plead our case, and what would we actually say.
Star Trek as we knew it in our youth would have taken on the conundrum. The Spock facilitated discourse would be intelligent species to intelligent species and cover all sorts of philosophical ground. Either way, why should George and Gracie help those who have caused their extinction?
Because all the other species would die. But what if aliens came back from the future for our help and happen to reveal that they wiped us out at a later date. Would we simply turn the other cheek and sign up as good samaritans. We’d probably want some redress and assurances going forward.
The probe would want its says too. Does it make any sense that the cylinder would tuck tail and disappear. The Federation wouldn’t simply gloss over the genocide if an aggressive life form decimated an ally.
So there’s a lot to talk about and plenty to soul search over. But instead, the possibilities are put aside, and the atrocity is dealt with in passing. “They're unhappy about the way their species has been treated by man,” Spock conveyed.
We are then left with an action adventure blockbuster and a great one at that. On the other hand, we lose the chance for the introspective type of journey that gave Star Trek original staying power. So where is the outrage you reserve for JJ Abrams.
Could it be that movies require a different formula. Big, loud, bright and fast take precedence over the slower thought provoking pace of a TV series. They also tried this with Star Trek : The Motion Picture, and while I love TMP, most Trekkies hate it.
And don’t tell me the JJ Universe has no science fiction. Nero has plenty of faulty history on his side to justify his vengeful grief. “I didn’t commit genocide, I prevented one,” implores the demented rogue.
Hitler got a nation behind him and wiped out whole swaths of people with the same reasoning. Democracies have also employed their own spin on Nero’s words to get popular support for hegemonic economic dominance. I mean, you don’t really think The Monroe Doctrine was about being a “Good Neighbor,” and that the World Bank was created to provide a bank for the world.
So Nero knows well from human history and Admiral Marcus applies his own expertise in the second film. He alone knows the greater good and is ready to sacrifice Starfleet’s ideals to achieve security.
At the same time, Starfleet’s best also succumb to trying to balance security against liberty, and JJ puts Kirk at the fore. “Our first instinct is to seek revenge when those we love are taken from us, but that’s not who we are,” Kirk clarifies.
A hard lesson learned by our captain, and yes, plenty of action. You know, a lot like Star Trek IV so JJ is in good company.
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