The new Star Trek reboot films from director J.J. Abrams has upset yet another cast member of the older Star Trek TV series. This time, it’s LeVar Burton (again). Of course, LeVar Burton played Lt. Cmdr Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He has said some unkind things about J.J. Abrams and his 2009 Star Trek reboot in the past, and now it appears he has some words for Star Trek Into Darkness.
As reported on TMZ, LeVar Burton was asked what he thought of J.J. Abrams Star Trek sequel film. Although he said he has already seen the movie twice, the 56-year-old actor is conflicted yet again with the new movie. Burton went on to say that Star Trek Into Darkness was lacking the vision of Gene Roddenberry. Burton explained:
“At the end of the movie, I really care about what happens to the characters … but I’m pretty much missing Gene Roddenberry in J.J.’s interpretation … and at the end of the day, that’s just not OK for me.”
It is ironic that an actor who played a man who had lost his sight in Roddenberry’s Star Trek can see so clearly the depravity of Abram’s.
Abram’s Star Trek has about as much connection with Roddenberry as the movie I,Robot had with Asimov. It displays a level of moral corruption not seen in Roddenberry’s Star Trek.
Roddenberry’s Star Trek presents us with a place that was better than ours and worth shooting for. It is aspirational.
Abram’s Star Trek presents us with a place that is in some ways much worse than ours, whose worth is open to argument. It is desperational.
As a movie, Star Trek Into Darkness is fine. But as a representative member of the Star Trek Universe it is horrible and completely inverts the whole point of the series.
It is bad enough that there is actually none of the “going where no one has gone before.” It is bad enough that the reboot, which was supposed to free the writers from the constraints of the old series, promptly gives us a ‘new’ version of an old series plot.
It is what they do to Roddenberry’s view and thus the whole series that is so wrong.
Roddenberry’s society does not erase power-mad lunatics – they still exist but not at the top of the social structure. We have removed the psychopaths from positions of power. They exist in backwaters away from the central power structures.
Yet the main driver of the new movie is that the head of the military is an Admiral who has created clandestine military bases producing secretive weapons of war. He is hell-bent on starting an interstellar war between the Federation and the Klingons.
And he is simply a plot device.
His monomaniacal lunacy sets the entire plot in action. If he did not exist – and he would not have in Roddenberry’s Star Trek – there is no movie.
In the real Star Trek universe, such a lunatic would never have been allowed to occupy such a position of power. His lunacy would have been rooted out long ago.
But not in Abram’s Star Trek. Here we get to see a place where everything is just like it is today, where the society is no different than today’s, where thousands of people are killed without batting an eye, where almost every single character does something unbelievably stupid, where mad men are called “Admiral.”
He exposed the depravity of the Abram’s universe, marking it as a place where few would aspire to occupy. Would you want to live in a place where a psychopath could priouce the deaths of thousands of people while trying to start an interstellar war? In fact, would any alien races want to work with a society that permitted such people positions of power?
Abram’s displays a total lack of understanding regarding the type of place Star Trek existed in. For Roddenberry, the people of Earth go through really terrible times. Society is forced to deal with many things holding us back – violence, poverty, etc. It struggled mightily until it reached a place where its social structure allows it to expand outward in relative peace.
In fact, we are so good at peaceful co-existence that we are instrumental in bringing one of the most war-like races ever – the Klingons – into the Federation.
It is the drama between the experiences of our outward expansion into areas that are not so socially balanced that made the show interesting. Humans may still be fallible but humanity is better than today.
Abram;s universe now no longer makes internal sense. In Roddenberry’s we had the respect of the other races because we had overcome our inner demons in a novel way that they had not seen before. Restrained emotionality. Instead of the forces logic path Vulcan took, we created social structures that channeled our emotional responses in positive ways. It was a different way than the Vulcans had chosen and possibly a better one.
But in Abram’s Star Trek, we are still the same old society just with bigger toys to destroy things with. It makes no sense now that any alien race would want to work with us. we are still too emotional stunted and depraved to risk working with.
Abram’s completely destroys the underlying rational for Star Trek.
Why? Because it makes it much easier to blow stuff up and move the plot along. The writers for Abram’s Star Trek are just plain lazy, using old tropes in new CGI clothes.
It is hard to write drama. It is easier to do action and just blow stuff up.
I believe it was David Gerrold who said the problem with the Original Series is that it was really a drama that was put in the action genre. This was fixed with The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. And the best movies continued this.
Abram’s movie is all action, way too much action, in fact. It is not Star Trek. They stole the name but not the vision.
I want to live in Roddenberry’s Star Trek Universe. I do not want to live in Abram’s.