As a long-time Star Trek fan, I watched this newly-released trailer for the latest installment in the rebooted Star Trek franchise with a great deal of anticipation:
Star Trek Beyond - Trailer (2016) - Paramount Pictures
This trailer brings up an interesting point: I once read that all good science fiction must challenge something and/or push society to be better, which is why all of the individual Star Trek television series dealt with issues of war, morality, science/technology, racism, power struggles, etc. If you go back to classic Science Fiction like Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, etc., they all challenged similar subjects.
However, the most-recent Star Trek movies have not challenged much of anything; they are simply action flicks. At the moment this latest movie seems more like it's going to be "The Fast and the Furious with Aliens." That might not be so bad if all you're interested in is two hours of mindless fight scenes, chase scenes, and sex scenes, but that's not good "Science Fiction" in the traditional sense.
So at the moment I am unsure about this upcoming Star Trek movie; I will have to wait until next year to know how it turns out.
June 22, 2016 Update: I found the following article rather insightful about what makes good Science Fiction:
10 Laws of Good Science Fiction10 Laws of Good Science Fiction
While I realize that true creativity follows no rules and knows no boundaries, I still agree with a lot of what that article has to say.
I am a big fan of movies; and to be honest, I am mostly a fan of classic movies. I have slowly collected a large number of classic movies over the years from several of my favorite actors/actresses: Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, Jimmy Stewart, Katharine Hepburn, Errol Flynn, etc., etc., etc.
That being said, I am generally not a big fan of recent movies; more often than not the creative team is too short-sighted, and they frequently fall short of creating a truly great movie. Sometimes the problem is writing, sometimes it's direction, and other times it's the acting. But to be fair, sometimes the problem isn't with any of those contributors - sometimes it's a problem with post-production, and this is why I love to buy "Director's Cuts" for many films. Quite often there is a level of depth that is missing from the movie that was part of the director's original vision, and it makes the movie so much better when you add that detail back.
Here's a case in point: I actually like the movie Far and Away with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Once you get past their bad Irish accents, the movie is a somewhat-acceptable dramedy.
But there are a few scenes that were cut from the film, and unfortunately the DVDs that have been released have never added those scenes to the media. Without theses scenes, parts of the plot have abnormal jumps in the storyline, and it's too bad that a Director's Cut has never been released.
Here are some examples of what I mean:
- Near the beginning of the movie was an extended sequence near the piano in the Christie's house where Stephen Chase has a private conversation with Shannon Christie. We see Stephen's character soften a little; we learn that he truly cares for Shannon, and that Stephen is not a complete jerk - he's just an arrogant by-product of elitist class.
- Likewise there was a hilltop scene in Ireland after Shannon and Joseph Donnelly have left for America where Stephen is emotionally destroyed, and he expresses his sentiments to Daniel Christie. Once again this softens Stephen's character a little, and this adds a great deal of conflict to the movie as a spectator - you want to hate Stephen, and you feel like you should hate Stephen, but now you can't. That was a great piece of filmmaking that should have stayed in the movie because it added so much depth.
- There was an extended scene later in the movie when Joseph was working for the railroad. The shortened scene that was kept simply shows Joseph in a job with no future, whereas the original scene showed Joseph as near-suicidal; Joseph believed not only that he had lost Shannon for good, but that Shannon might not have survived her gunshot wound. Because of this, Joseph was known as the "Crazy Mick" and sent on all of the dangerous missions - because Joseph no longer cared if he lived. This added a whole new dimension to the scene when Joseph discovers Shannon in Oklahoma, because it wasn't mere coincidence to him, he felt as if he was seeing a ghost.
- There was a brief scene when Joseph and Shannon first arrive in America where they pass under a bridge and they see scores of homeless Irish living in squalor. Later in the movie this comes full-circle when Joseph and Shannon are tossed out in the streets, because they find themselves living in that same squalor, and we get to see just how far they have fallen.
- There was another scene after Joseph and Shannon are tossed out in the streets where workers were needed for ditch-digging; Joseph volunteers so that he can earn money for the two of them, yet when he turns around at some point he sees Shannon working beside him digging in the ditch. This scene was extremely important to see how the two of them were truly becoming one unit in their struggles together, and it adds a great deal of depth to the scene later in the movie when Joseph and Shannon attempt to hide in the house they thought was unoccupied.
The last two deleted scenes that I described show the many months that Joseph and Shannon suffered together, instead of the awkward jump in the theatrical release between the scene when Joseph and Shannon were thrown out of their apartment (with Joseph beat to a pulp) and the scene when Joseph is begging to help someone load firewood (with Joseph now healed and exclaiming that they haven't eaten in days). Without that detail, the theatrical release is missing a great deal of its emotional impact.
Unfortunately, none of the scenes that I have described have ever been released on a DVD, so they are somewhat lost to the world. My descriptions of these additional details won't bring them back, and it's too bad that Imagine Films won't release these scenes in some format. If anyone knows Ron Howard, you might want to suggest that he release a 25th Anniversary Edition of Far and Away when that date eventually rolls around, but in the meantime - my lamentations won't make a bit of difference.