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The Series Project: Star Trek (Part 3)

In week three, feel the Trekkie rage as an old-school fanboy rails against the J.J. Abrams films, and apologizes for the NextGen films.

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To reiterate right up front: I feel like I am uniquely qualified to discuss Star Trek movies at length the way I have been doing for the past three weeks. This is because I grew up watching “Star Trek” on TV, became obsessed with the franchise in earnest when “Star Trek: The Next Generation” began to air in 1987, and I have even attended several Star Trek conventions. I read pulp novels based on “Star Trek” all through high school, and I even started to write one of my own once – yes, there was a time when I dabbled in fan fiction. No, you cannot read what I wrote.

I mention all this not only as a form of Trekkie résumé, but to guide you through my approach to the movies I'm going to talk about this week. In this third and final week of The Series Project: Star Trek, I will finally be rounding the corner through the final films based on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and the two feature films in a brand new continuity directed by J.J. Abrams, including the newest film, Star Trek Into Darkness, which opens in theaters today. I will likely say some untoward things that you disagree with, so I want you to know that most of my criticisms are perhaps a form of Trekkie prejudice over what Star Trek “should be.” Feel free to leave angry comments below. Provided you disagree with me.

When we last left the Star Trek movies in this particular installment of The Series Project, we had just talked about Star Trek: First Contact, the eighth Star Trek film, directed by Jonathan Frakes. The current trend of the Trek movies seems to dictate a slow turn to kind-of-bland action shlock. Frakes has said in interviews that people want Star Trek to be an action movie, largely failing to acknowledge the wry egalitarianism, close-to-accurate techno jargon, and classical intelligence that truly marks the series. This may be why the NextGen films are, for the most part, pretty widely dismissed by most critics. Although the next film in the series almost captures the tone of the TV show the most accurately. Without further ado, here is…