Friday, July 22, 2016


So it turns out that "Casino Royale", "Quantum of Solace", and "Skyfall" are actually prequels to "Doctor No" and the other Bond films - the first shows Bond as a newly-minted agent on his first 'proper' adventure, the second shows him dealing with the loss of Vesper and developing his harder edge, and then the third film establishes Q, Moneypenny, and replaces both 'M' and the MI6 building with the versions from the old films (albeit with 'M' played by a different actor).

And then there's an improbably time-jump and we have the older films, ending with "Die Another Day". With the oddity that 'M' somehow regenerates back into Judy Dench just in time for the series to end.

(I don't know how "SPECTRE" fits into this mess. But given how awful that film turned out to be, coupled with how nonsensical this whole tangent is, I'm not sure it matters.)

Meanwhile, we have the "Star Trek" reboots/sequels/prequels. Which, through the magic of time-travel take us 'back' to the classic Kirk/Spock/McCoy era, but with a whole new universe where everything is different (except we never actually see much of it), and where characters are often inconsistent not only with their old versions but, in fact, internally inconsistent with themselves. (Spock, the stickler for rules, is shown having an inappropriate relationship with an academy student under his supervision. And while for anyone else you could argue that the discrepancy is due to emotions over-riding reason, that doesn't really work for the ultra-logical Vulcan who has worked so very hard to suppress his emotional responses. Oops.)

This therefore allows the film-makers to give us a three-part origin story for Kirk - in the first part he's the rebel against authority who races through the academy until he gets the Big Chair (in a sequence of events that can't work - the manner in which he bullied Spock to breaking point should have resulted in the bridge crew refusing his command from then on). Then we have "Into Darkness" where his mentor is removed from the scene, he is established as captain in his own right, and the Five Year Mission gets underway. And now the trailers for "Beyond" show Kirk struggling to move out from under the shadow of the father he never knew.

All of which is fine, so far as it goes.

The only thing is, I'm increasingly convinced it just wasn't needed. I'm starting to think that what they should have done with the Star Trek movie reboot is simply to drop the new films into the period between the end of the original series and "Star Trek: the Motionless Picture" (the "Lost Years" period). Given that TOS didn't bother with an origin story for the crew, I'm inclined to think that the movies probably didn't need one either - just introduce the new actors the same way the characters have to be reintroduced in any new film, and move on from there. Forget the time-travel, forget resetting the universe (since we're barely going to see any of it anyway), don't bother even trying to justify anything that's changed - just get on with telling some new stories with these characters.

(The three-film origin story is especially painful as it's entirely possible that these will in fact be the only three films starring this particular crew. Because the cast will have signed up to a certain number of films, and can now command considerably more money going forward.)

On the plus-side, I'm rather looking forward to "Star Trek: Beyond". And, not only that, they've just announced a new RPG, which could be cool too.

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