Should the Star Trek movie franchise call it quits?

Nay, you nave!

Only to the early 18th century. Yarrr!!!

And the thequel be in the 24th and a halfht thenthury!

Well, yeah. There wasn’t anything wrong with the production values of “Nemesis” or “Insurrection.” They were well-produced films, well made, well directed, and they didn’t cheap out on the effects. The cast is made up of competent actors so it wasn’t their fault.

I think the basic test is this:

Would this movie be a really good movie if I took out the sci-fi elements?

If you can imagine “Star Trek: Nemesis” as a Western or a spy flick, it doesn’t sound like a movie that needs to be made; it’s immediately apparent that the Star Trek elements are the only thing about the movie worth seeing. I mean, there was really very little there. You can work the same test on any movie; change “Attack of the Clones” to a modern-day-based action flick and it would be a C-level movie at best headed straight for video. I can see movies that lousy for $3.99 for the week, and I get to laugh at Treat Williams.

Now, “The Wrath of Khan” would work as a Western. “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back” would work as medeival swords-and-spurs adventures. The stories are fundamentally really good; you can change the sizzle and you’ll still have a decent steak.

Now, I must stress that PURE science fiction is different. “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” aren’t really science fiction; pure science fiction is fiction where theoretical technology or reality is used to illustrate a philosophical or sociological point. For instance, “Blade Runner” is pure science fiction; it uses a theoretical technology (artificial people) to examine a philosophical point (the nature of humanity.) “The Sixth Day,” while a mediocre movie, is similar; so was “Minority Report.” Those stories can’t really be expressed the same way in a non-fantasy genre. “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” are, to use one term, operas based in space. You can switch them to other genres and lose very little in the translation.

Well said. Nothing since has even reached the level of mediocrity.

How about a buddy movie with Wesly Crusher and Sisko’s forgotten son. The can have all sorts of Hi-jinks as they cruise through Starfleet Academy. :wink:

Wesley and Jake? [insert nauseated smiley]

One of my biggest gripes about Voyager is that they never used the Maquis storyline for anything. You’d think that military officers and members of an anti-government militia would have a bit more trouble working together, but aside from like two or three widely-scattered episodes, the Maquis aspect was totally irrelevant.

I have always thought it should have ended with Wrath of Khan and should have left Spock dead.

Aside - I like the idea RickJay’s guide to judging a movie’s story. (A little hard to apply, to non sci fi genres, tho. For ex., I think the basic quest story works even without the Middle Earth elements for the Lord of the Rings movies. And the story of POTC could be transposed out of pirate-dom to another gangster domain.)

I guess I can see the value of this exercise. My favorite Star Trek film, The Undiscovered Country, would probably work pretty well in any postbellum setting.

However, do you really think it’s the basic test? My second favorite, Star Trek: First Contact, had a pretty good story IMHO. It was engaging and fun, and I think it completely would not have worked as anything but science fiction.

When is someone going to do “Captain Pike: The Early Days”?

Well, it’s what Roddenberry used to say.

[paraphrased] “A good strory stands on its own merits and can be put in virtually any setting.” [from one of my Trek books, don’t feel like looking up the exact quote right now]

At a convention, he once said he envisioned the Enterprise Captain as a kind of Horatio Hornblower in outer space. Shatner fit that quite well.

Also, remember that Roddenberry wrote TV westerns and cop shows before he ever went into sci-fi. His war experience and working as an LA beat cop helped him get many ideas. Plus, he was talented. Two good things for a successful screenplay. (talent & ideas)

I think some of the novels based on Trek characters could transfer well to the screen. There was a Robert T. April meets a teener James T. Kirk novel that reads almost like a screenplay already.

If any of the novels is ever made into a movie, it must be an adaptation of “Prime Directive”. That would rock.

While it does have a certain rhetorical charm, I don’t think I can get behind this idea. I think Back to the Future had a great story, but what would it be without time travel? :confused:

I think you can make a pretty strong argument that “Back to the Future” (a great movie) and pretty much any time travel movie you can name is inherently a TRUE science fiction movie. There, the science fiction part is an integral function of the story, unlike most Star Trek episodes/films.

Back to the Future uses fictional technology to illustrate a philosophical or sociological point? I’m sorry, but Star Trek: Nemesis fits this description far more accurately than BTTF does, IMHO.

No, it doesn’t. I can’t think of anything about “Nemesis” that is comparable to true science fiction. Hell, cloning isn’t even science fiction, really.

There’s nothing about “Nemesis” that REQUIRES it be in a fantasy or sci-fi setting. The same basic story could be done in today’s world, or on the Spanish Main; a bad guy takes over a country and goes on a rampage of revenge with our hero standing in the way. The sci-fi stuff was secondary and is really no different from any number of Lost Twin stories. I don’t see what point “Nemesis” was trying to make through a fantasy or sci-fi scenario.

On the other hand, you can’t do “Back to the Future” without time travel because it’s ABOUT time travel.

But just a minute ago you said that The 6th Day is pure science fiction. Space travel isn’t even science fiction, either.

Anyway, I wasn’t questioning that BTTF uses science fiction elements as essential. I was questioning that the science fiction element “is used to illustrate a philosophical or sociological point”. The way you said it and gave examples, it seemed this aspect was pretty central to the definition of pure sci-fi. However, if you wish to be looser about this restriction, that’s fine.

Here’s the basic test, then, for whether a story billed as sci-fi but really isn’t is good or not. If science fiction is essential to the story, then it’s pure sci-fi and this test doesn’t apply. If it’s not, then remove the sci-fi and see if what’s left is still good.

So basically, if the sci-fi elements aren’t important, and the non-sci-fi elements aren’t good, then the story is not good. Is that it?

More generally, having thought about it more, I really disagree with that Roddenberry idea that a good story can be set anywhere. The West Wing cannot be set in a prison. The Shawshank Redemption cannot be set on a submarine. The Hunt for Red October cannot be set in a mall. Mallrats cannot be set at a football field. The Replacements cannot be set on a starship. And Star Trek cannot be set at the White House. Does that make all of these bad stories?

But, what do all those stories have in common?

Could a strory about racial discrimination from Star Trek be adapted to a West wing setting? Yes.

Could a coming of age plot from Mall Rats be adapted to Star Trek? Yes.

Could a story about intrigue and misunderstanding and changing social mores be equally at home in Hunt For Red October and The Practice or even Will and Grace? Yes.

Look at how many (good and bad) shows/movies/plays/musicals share the basic elements of Romeo and Juliet/West Side Story.

In that case, what’s an example of a story that can’t be put into a different setting?

Well, if specifcs are important, we might come up with some.

But if we use the general idea, someone can make it fit, I’m sure.

For instance: I could design a story around stopping the nuclear reaction of our Sun, going into quite a lot of detail on the hows, and yet a life threatening situation (forest fire?) could be used in a story set in pre Columbian America.

The specifics are extremely different, the basic plot, similar.

Of course, what I just posted is extremely simplistic. Let’s go further:

The antagonist decides he wants to cause death to many. He finds out a way to do it. The protagonsit finds out about and tries to stop him. The antagonist evades capture and begins to implement his plan. Protagonist has to choose between stopping the plan (if he can, let’s assume that in this story, he can), or saving his friend(s)/love interest/family. Climatic scene where a & p confront each other (make it go good or bad for p), denoument.

Fits in either setting, depending on details.

Yes, but that’s the opposite of what I asked for. :slight_smile:

I already accept that there are good stories that fit in multiple settings. We’ve even had some examples in this thread, such as Wrath of Khan. What I’m claiming is that not all good stories have to fit in multiple settings.

I think your idea of a “story” is so vague as to make the criterion useless. It’s like saying: All stories that have a protagonist and a conflict are the same story, just in different settings. That’s why I asked for an example of a story that can’t be placed in a different setting. This story, according to Roddenberry, would necessarily be bad. Unless, according to RickJay, it’s science fiction.