Monday, February 14, 2011

The Heart of Star Trek

In an interview with, Rick Berman, former producer of the Star Trek TV shows, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise and films Generations, First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis talked about the Star Trek movie from 2009 directed by J.J. Abrams. Here are a couple of comments about the Abrams film.

"I thought it was a wonderful movie. .... it was a very, very exciting movie. In terms of it having the heart of Star Trek, I think it could have perhaps had a little bit more of that. But I liked it very much."

Now if you read some of the comments by Trekkers, you'd think that he insulted the movie and hated it. Yet, he called it "wonderful."

So who's right? Rick Berman or the movie zealots? Was Star Trek (2009) concerned about the heart of Star Trek? The answer is no. Let's go to the director of Star Trek and see what his attitude towards Star Trek was. J. J. Abrams, director of the 2009 films, says, " We weren't making a movie for fans of Star Trek. We were making a movie for fans of movies." Entertainment Weekly, 10-24-08, pg. 31. Chris Pine who plays Kirks, says, "Exploring grand social issues can wait till the next movie. The goal this time was to make a Star Trek that wasn't alienating to nonfans. We mainly wanted it to be accessible." Entertainment Weekly, 5-8-09, pg. 32.

What is the heart of Star Trek? It's creator Gene Roddenberry's vision. If you watched PBS' Pioneers of Television you saw what Gene fought for. His original series Star Trek covered war, the Viet Nam War, American foreign policy, race, and science. When the network wanted more monsters so the show could be more accessible, Gene resisted. The PBS show said Star Trek was the show with "something important to say." (Clip below.) His vision did not exclude being accessible. But he wanted substance; that was his vision. (See newly discovered letter by Roddenberry detailing his desire for the show to have substance.)

I go on and post comments. Under the name Basement Blogger, I've distilled Star Trek into three elements for posts. Heart. Adventure. And INTELLIGENCE. That's great Star Trek. You can slap the name Star Trek to any space opera you want. But it's not Star Trek unless it adheres to Gene Roddenberry's vision.

Pioneers of TV Clip: William Shatner on origin of Star Trek from TrekMovie on Vimeo.

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