I admit it. I have no idea what to really call this movie. If I call it Star Trek, people will think of The Original Series (more familiar to me as TOS perhaps), if I call it Star Trek XI, people won’t associate it with the movie posters, or the idea of the movie, being a prequel, and the younger internet generation will likely think I just added some kind of skull and crossbones smiley after Star Trek because I want it to die . . . or have some sort of a necrophiliac fetish for J.J. Abrams. Some are calling it Star Trek Zero, but that won’t do, as my mouth still rings with the aspartame solution of Coke’s latest failure.
All of this is quite beside the point that I’m trying to reach here, though. What I want to talk about it set design. Some pictures have finally surfaced, and the trailer will be coming out soon (a real one, not just another teaser), although the movie has been pushed back to the summer, demonstrating the studio’s confidence that this one has the possibility to be blockbuster, and not just a Christmas sleeper. In these peeks, we have seen a drastically different view of the future tech of star trek. The starships are slightly more angular and have a greater amount of small details. They look vaguely more militaristic, and the bridge looks like the lounge in an Apple store. And the kids are not happy.
Okay, I suppose that there is some sort of twisted sanctity to the Original Series (TOS, of course), and that the set designers back then had some great ideas, but the fact is that the design of those sets was entirely dictated by the Salvation Army budget they had available. They were extremely limited with what they could do, but they did the best they could with what they had, and created a vision of the future as accurate as they could. But here we are now, with a multi-million dollar budget, and a much clearer vision of design in the future (that we can think of. 75 years from now they will likely have an entirely different concept of this once more). The fact is, if things don’t look like what the general audience sees as being futuristic, it will not be believable (yes, even being science fiction in the first place). And the whole point of star trek is to resonate with current culture. And to make out with aliens.
So what do I say? As long as the characters remain largely consistent, the intent remains the same, and the struggles of the characters and humanity as a whole remain timeless and relevant (sorry, M), it’s all good in my books. And I can’t wait.