Need more proof that Hollywood has more technological know-how than brains to use it wisely? Following upon extended action set-pieces involving lousy CGI effects for no other apparent reason than they could in such movies as King Kong and The Brothers Grimm, the genius bankers who run Hollywood have decided for some reason that people watch the original Star Trek for the effects.
Well, of course, that’s the problem isn’t it? That’s why movies and TV shows today suck so badly. Nobody ever watched an episode of the original Star Trek for the special effects. Not even when they were first shown in the 60s. They were just as cheesy then as now. The reason Star Trek has become a phenomenon is because they were interested in telling stories. Yes, there was action aplenty and loving aplenty, but even going back to the Kirk/Spock shows proves that high-powered effects weren’t the driving force that brought millions to the franchise.
The effects of the greatest Trek show ever – Deep Space Nine – were hardly better than the original Battlestar Galactica, but the themes of religious differences, ethnic cleansing, imperialism and universal annihilation prompted by past racist wrongs made those flaws easy to overlook. On the other side of the coin, look at the millions of dollars poured into the effects of a movie like The Brothers Grimm. The cheesiness of the effects could not be so easily forgiven because the filmmakers didn’t bother to come up with an actual story or characters that anyone could care about.
Fortunately, there are as yet no plans to add new characters or wholly revamp scenes such as George “You Can’t Be Too Rich” Lucas did when he used new digital technology to “improve” his vision of the original Star Wars movies. The new digital effects for the old Star Trek will be limited merely to making backgrounds look a little more full, to making space look a little more realistic and things like that. Although that may sound perfectly reasonable, I imagine the ultimate effect will be to remove the cheesiness that adds to the enjoyment of the show.
Worse than that, it sets a precedent. Is there anyone who honestly believes that in the future we won’t be getting digitally recreated shows that, say, match the exterior Brady Bunch home to its interior? Or that makes the actual Vancouver exteriors look more like whatever the city any given show is supposed to be taking place in? Or, eventually, replacing OJ Simpson in the Naked Gun movies with an digital character whose presence doesn’t offend quite so many potential consumers? Where will the madness end?
I’ve even opposed to digitally replacing William Shatner with someone who can actually act.