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Chris Pine says you can't make a cerebral Star Trek film in 2016

06.17.2016

Chris Pine Kirk Star Trek Beyond banner

When the first trailer for STAR TREK BEYOND hit, fans were a little worried that, like the previous effort, this film's focus may be too much on the action and not enough on the story. Now, co-writer Simon Pegg has assured fans this isn't the case with BEYOND, but for those of you craving something along the lines of THE MOTION PICTURE, you might want to lower those expectations. In a recent interview with SFX, Kirk himself, Chris Pine, doesn't seem to think Trek could return to its more cerebral roots. At least, in this day and age. Check out what he had to say about it below!

You can’t make a cerebral Star Trek in 2016. It just wouldn’t work in today’s marketplace. You can hide things in there – STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS has crazy, really demanding questions and themes, but you have to hide it under the guise of wham-bam explosions and planets blowing up. It’s very, very tricky. The question that our movie poses is “Does the Federation mean anything?” And in a world where everybody’s trying to kill one another all of the time, that’s an important thing. Is working together important? Should we all go our separate ways? Does being united against something mean anything?

So what do you think? Could a TREK film like THE MOTION PICTURE or even THE VOYAGE HOME be made today? I'm certainly not opposed to some sweet TREK action, but an aspect I appreciated about the TV show was that it could slip into the guise of all sorts of different genres. Perhaps the new Trek show will continue to tackle those issues, leaving the films to deliver the big explosions and the space bikes. In any event, I hope there's enough in BEYOND for fans to chew on!

STAR TREK BEYOND opens in theaters on July 22, 2016.

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Source: SFX

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8:24PM on 06/19/2016

You can have both

I look at a film like District 9 for example, which was a sci-fi film with a lot of social commentary and just the right amount of action and explosions. You can do the same in a Star Trek film, but you need the right writer and director to pull it off.
I look at a film like District 9 for example, which was a sci-fi film with a lot of social commentary and just the right amount of action and explosions. You can do the same in a Star Trek film, but you need the right writer and director to pull it off.
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+1
5:42PM on 06/19/2016

In a way

I might agree with him. It's definitely easier to get a large scale production made by attracting a larger audience with explosions and action. He's right in that sense. I know a lot of people are citing Ex Machina and Inception here but that's a different story. Ex Machina is a small budget film compared to something like Star Trek. Inception is louded with action. Sure, it has a pretty complicated narrative but it doesn't have that much to say and it does attract the audience with explosions
I might agree with him. It's definitely easier to get a large scale production made by attracting a larger audience with explosions and action. He's right in that sense. I know a lot of people are citing Ex Machina and Inception here but that's a different story. Ex Machina is a small budget film compared to something like Star Trek. Inception is louded with action. Sure, it has a pretty complicated narrative but it doesn't have that much to say and it does attract the audience with explosions and action scenes.

However, there are still films like Interstellar or Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. They are definitely very cerebral films. Both are huge blockbusters for over 100 million dollars and they were both a critical and, what's most important, financial success. So even though such cases are rare, it's not impossible. You just have to try and you have to make it emotional.
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4:43PM on 06/18/2016
Star Trek (2009) had discussions of alternate timelines, destinies, friendship and learning from others who have differing perspectives and points of view.

Star Trek Into Darkness had discussions of using unmanned weapons against an enemy, not too dissimilar from the usage of drone strikes. It also has elements of The Federation enacting patriot act levels of violence after a terrorist attack (the destruction of Vulcan standing in for 9/11)

These films have plenty in them, they're just
Star Trek (2009) had discussions of alternate timelines, destinies, friendship and learning from others who have differing perspectives and points of view.

Star Trek Into Darkness had discussions of using unmanned weapons against an enemy, not too dissimilar from the usage of drone strikes. It also has elements of The Federation enacting patriot act levels of violence after a terrorist attack (the destruction of Vulcan standing in for 9/11)

These films have plenty in them, they're just loud and fun too.
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6:15PM on 06/18/2016
By that same argument you could say that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows explores themes of the ethics of genetic experimentation, imperialism, brotherhood, and the inevitable cultural disparity that would occur when alien cultures meet. However, that doesn't mean that it handles in a way that's other than superficial.

Star Trek (2009) had potential to handle some weighty stuff, ,I'll give it that much, but instead it treated the material like a fairly generic action movie.
By that same argument you could say that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows explores themes of the ethics of genetic experimentation, imperialism, brotherhood, and the inevitable cultural disparity that would occur when alien cultures meet. However, that doesn't mean that it handles in a way that's other than superficial.

Star Trek (2009) had potential to handle some weighty stuff, ,I'll give it that much, but instead it treated the material like a fairly generic action movie.
3:34PM on 06/18/2016
To some extent Mr Pine is correct. But on the other hand action-sequences are helpful distractions when the plot starts to get heavy.

Take the Bourne movies, take out the ass-kicking and they still work as an intriguing spy dramas.

Its all about balancing what works for intellectuals and those with ADHD.
To some extent Mr Pine is correct. But on the other hand action-sequences are helpful distractions when the plot starts to get heavy.

Take the Bourne movies, take out the ass-kicking and they still work as an intriguing spy dramas.

Its all about balancing what works for intellectuals and those with ADHD.
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2:45PM on 06/18/2016

I call BS on this

The two JJ Abrams Star Trek films were tons of fun, but they really were just big dumb action movies. The first one had little to no intellectual or scientific subtext and "Into Darkness" had a lot less to say than it probably thinks it did. Thing is, people still make "thinking man's sci fi" all the time. I mean heck, I wouldn't call "The Prestige" or "Inception" Star Trek-esque but they were definitely sci-fi films that made you think and had ethical dilemmas behind them, certainly a lot more
The two JJ Abrams Star Trek films were tons of fun, but they really were just big dumb action movies. The first one had little to no intellectual or scientific subtext and "Into Darkness" had a lot less to say than it probably thinks it did. Thing is, people still make "thinking man's sci fi" all the time. I mean heck, I wouldn't call "The Prestige" or "Inception" Star Trek-esque but they were definitely sci-fi films that made you think and had ethical dilemmas behind them, certainly a lot more so than the Abrams Star Trek pics and I'd say that Interstellar (even though I personally wasn't a big fan) comes pretty close in many ways to the classic Star Trek spirit. There's no reason why they couldn't dial down the budget and make a $100 "cerebral" film that would still be a significant hit, just possibly a smaller one, instead of a $200 million action-fest. Or, they could take a page from the recent Planet of the Apes films and make a film that's action packed and still loaded with social commentary. Or I guess they could just keep making up excuses.
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2:05PM on 06/18/2016
I happen to agree with his statement. The TV Program, sex was implied but I think I've seen Shatner without a shirt once in the series. Could be worng there. Roddenberry took on the issues of the day. He continued right up to his death. Now its all video-game-ish and very sexual. Opportunities to take on today's issues have come and gone and J.J. Abrams has just blown by those. The Next Generation faced the issues of the day. Yes, both of the series had sexual implications but not how many
I happen to agree with his statement. The TV Program, sex was implied but I think I've seen Shatner without a shirt once in the series. Could be worng there. Roddenberry took on the issues of the day. He continued right up to his death. Now its all video-game-ish and very sexual. Opportunities to take on today's issues have come and gone and J.J. Abrams has just blown by those. The Next Generation faced the issues of the day. Yes, both of the series had sexual implications but not how many times did Kirk score... it was set up in a way that we knew he wasn't alone for long. Roddenberry chose his battles and it made Star Trek unique and intriguing. I hope they go back to that.
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10:02AM on 06/18/2016
He's right.
He's right.
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11:53PM on 06/17/2016

Quality

Actually, people respond to quality. Show us some quality, Chris. Crying at the Oscars about a slavery movie doesn't make you an artist. And making Star Trek look like Guardians of the Galaxy is just sad.
Actually, people respond to quality. Show us some quality, Chris. Crying at the Oscars about a slavery movie doesn't make you an artist. And making Star Trek look like Guardians of the Galaxy is just sad.
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2:52PM on 06/18/2016
Totally agree with this man, you look at the top 50 on Box Office Mojo and aside from Transformers, it mainly consists of highly acclaimed films: Avatar, Titanic, The Dark Knight, Avengers, Catching Fire, Toy Story 3, the later Potter films, Lord of the Rings. Civil War, Zootopia, The Jungle Book, etc. Good films sometimes bomb, but overall, people certainly do tend to respond better to quality.
Totally agree with this man, you look at the top 50 on Box Office Mojo and aside from Transformers, it mainly consists of highly acclaimed films: Avatar, Titanic, The Dark Knight, Avengers, Catching Fire, Toy Story 3, the later Potter films, Lord of the Rings. Civil War, Zootopia, The Jungle Book, etc. Good films sometimes bomb, but overall, people certainly do tend to respond better to quality.
7:50PM on 06/17/2016

He's Sadly right

The Snowflake Generation can't handle cerebral concepts or genuine intellectualism. That requires presentation of thoughts that are provoking. If they dare present anything even remotely disagreeable to the snowflake mind, they'll be stomping their feet demanding that the MPAA give the film a TW rating (trigger warning), and end up yelping something unintelligible about privileges, safe spaces, cultural appropriation, and micro-aggressions. They're really only interested in consuming
The Snowflake Generation can't handle cerebral concepts or genuine intellectualism. That requires presentation of thoughts that are provoking. If they dare present anything even remotely disagreeable to the snowflake mind, they'll be stomping their feet demanding that the MPAA give the film a TW rating (trigger warning), and end up yelping something unintelligible about privileges, safe spaces, cultural appropriation, and micro-aggressions. They're really only interested in consuming thoughts that reflect their own, which are few and narrow.
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8:02PM on 06/17/2016
Moat Man, there are often times where i give you shit and you give me shit. But our thought process about the current generation is on the exact same wave length. I salute you.
Moat Man, there are often times where i give you shit and you give me shit. But our thought process about the current generation is on the exact same wave length. I salute you.
9:56AM on 06/18/2016
Or maybe it's as simple as people wanting more spectacle over substance when they go out to the movies. Don't try to spin the topic into something it's not
Or maybe it's as simple as people wanting more spectacle over substance when they go out to the movies. Don't try to spin the topic into something it's not
10:40AM on 06/18/2016
@DrkBlueXG Well yes, that's what the Snowflake Generation wants; more spectacle over substance. It's the essence of what I just wrote above.
@DrkBlueXG Well yes, that's what the Snowflake Generation wants; more spectacle over substance. It's the essence of what I just wrote above.
3:01PM on 06/18/2016
Personally, I don't agree with that at all. When they come out with commercially viable, but intelligent sci fi, people respond. How else do you attribute films like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or District 9 with no-name directors and character actors in leading roles becoming major hits? The studios want surefire hits, but that doesn't mean that consumers aren't willing to pay for headier stuff when its given to them. There's actually been stories in Wired, Variety and elsewhere saying
Personally, I don't agree with that at all. When they come out with commercially viable, but intelligent sci fi, people respond. How else do you attribute films like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or District 9 with no-name directors and character actors in leading roles becoming major hits? The studios want surefire hits, but that doesn't mean that consumers aren't willing to pay for headier stuff when its given to them. There's actually been stories in Wired, Variety and elsewhere saying that, on the whole, audiences today demand higher quality and smarter storytelling than they have in any period since the early 70's (i.e. why generic star vehicles and action movies don't cut it any more and we get "The Dark Knight" and "Civil War" instead of Batman Forever and Spawn).
6:47PM on 06/18/2016
How do I explain Apes and District 9? Easy. They communicate a leftist message that unthinking SJWs from the Snowflake Generation already accept. They're not thought provoking; they're merely confirming what the audience already believes - for now.

The problem you're having is that the writers at Variety and Wired aren't exactly authority figures on what constitutes smarter storytelling. In most cases, they conflate smart storytelling with political messaging that they approve of. Also
How do I explain Apes and District 9? Easy. They communicate a leftist message that unthinking SJWs from the Snowflake Generation already accept. They're not thought provoking; they're merely confirming what the audience already believes - for now.

The problem you're having is that the writers at Variety and Wired aren't exactly authority figures on what constitutes smarter storytelling. In most cases, they conflate smart storytelling with political messaging that they approve of. Also in most cases, the two are entirely different and separate.


5:59PM on 06/17/2016
I love all things Star Trek. I embrace it all and respect each series and film for what it is.

I'm currently taking my girlfriend through the entire Next Generation series, as she got into Trek via the new films.

I think you can make a Trek film cerebral but would it sell as well? Remember Trek did become a bit stale which is why the 2009 film came about in the first place. Some fans disregard it as a bit Star Warsy - but I don't think that's a bad thing. Certainly not for a film series.
I love all things Star Trek. I embrace it all and respect each series and film for what it is.

I'm currently taking my girlfriend through the entire Next Generation series, as she got into Trek via the new films.

I think you can make a Trek film cerebral but would it sell as well? Remember Trek did become a bit stale which is why the 2009 film came about in the first place. Some fans disregard it as a bit Star Warsy - but I don't think that's a bad thing. Certainly not for a film series.

I've always felt the TV series were where Trek thrived and I eagerly await the new series to see what diverse stories we're given, whilst I will continue to enjoy the more action filled films. I don't know how Star Trek Beyond will turn out, but I hope we get a few more films with the likes of Pine, Quinto, Urban and Saldana.

I'd be quite interested to see a film featuring Q at some point, I thought it was a shame we didn't get one back when the TNG lot were filming.
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5:49PM on 06/17/2016
Chris Pine is respectful toward fans in his quote. And, he speaks matter-of-factly about what many in "the business" consider fact.
However, I must respectfully disagree with Pine. Science fiction has often been a combination of the exciting and the thoughtful. Ex Machina, The Force Awakens, and District 9 are all examples of wide releases that successfully gave fans both the visceral and the heady. In any era, including the times of the previous Star Trek chapters, film-makers were surrounded
Chris Pine is respectful toward fans in his quote. And, he speaks matter-of-factly about what many in "the business" consider fact.
However, I must respectfully disagree with Pine. Science fiction has often been a combination of the exciting and the thoughtful. Ex Machina, The Force Awakens, and District 9 are all examples of wide releases that successfully gave fans both the visceral and the heady. In any era, including the times of the previous Star Trek chapters, film-makers were surrounded by mostly entertaining fluff, and they had a choice whether to follow suit.
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6:13PM on 06/17/2016
I wouldn´t consider The Force awakens "heady" and Star Trek is (unlike Star Wars) just a prime example of a Franchise that is known to head more into the thoughtful direction that the exciting one.
I wouldn´t consider The Force awakens "heady" and Star Trek is (unlike Star Wars) just a prime example of a Franchise that is known to head more into the thoughtful direction that the exciting one.
3:10PM on 06/18/2016
I wouldn't consider"The Force Awakens" heady either (maybe replace it with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or Inception), but I wholeheartedly agree with your overall point. I mean shoot, has anyone both to check what the average sci fi movie looked like in 1979 when Star Trek: TMP came out? It definitely wasn't all Alien and Star Wars, I can tell you that. In fact, if you take the average Rotten Tomatoes scores of the 50 highest grossing films from the 70s and the 50 from the 2010's, our
I wouldn't consider"The Force Awakens" heady either (maybe replace it with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or Inception), but I wholeheartedly agree with your overall point. I mean shoot, has anyone both to check what the average sci fi movie looked like in 1979 when Star Trek: TMP came out? It definitely wasn't all Alien and Star Wars, I can tell you that. In fact, if you take the average Rotten Tomatoes scores of the 50 highest grossing films from the 70s and the 50 from the 2010's, our decades block busters score about 20% higher. This should show that, if anything, audiences today are more attuned to expect quality in their films so it should be even easier to make a good, thought-provoking Star Trek film.
+2
5:03PM on 06/17/2016
Sadly he is right. The attention span of the audience nowadays is way Shorter than back in the day and the need to get more entertaining and more spectacle for your money gets higher each year. The ticket Prices get higher and everyone wants to get his money worth.
Sadly he is right. The attention span of the audience nowadays is way Shorter than back in the day and the need to get more entertaining and more spectacle for your money gets higher each year. The ticket Prices get higher and everyone wants to get his money worth.
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