Be Enterprise: Star Trek Must Avoid Marvel’s Money Trap | Movies

IIt’s easy to imagine the look of horror on the faces of Hollywood VFX artists when Chris Pine said recently that he thinks Star Trek movies are spending too much money trying to emulate Marvel. No more spectacular settings in the depths of space or on sumptuous alien planets. Gone are the giant special effects budgets and lucrative months of planning how to bring massive Federation space stations and Klingon warbirds to the big screen in glorious ultra HD. Instead, Pine (who is back as Captain James T Kirk in an upcoming fourth Star Trek movie in the new rebooted timeline) seemed to envision a return to the low-budget vision of the future seen in the series. original – or at least, one that doesn’t cost serious megabucks.

“I’ve always thought Star Trek should operate in the smallest area,” Pine said on the deadline. “You know, it’s not a Marvel call. It’s like, let’s do the movie for the people who love this group of people, who love this story, who love Star Trek. Let’s do it for them and then, if people want to come to the party, so much the better. But do it for a price and do it, so if it’s half a billion dollars, that’s really good.

Pine added, “But we’re operating in a system now that I don’t know how long we have if you have to spend $500 million on a movie to achieve…even you have to pay back all kinds of people. So to make a billion, it’s like you haven’t even…brought your net. So, I mean, if I had my costume, that’s what I would do, but I don’t know where it is. That’s way above my pay grade.

It’s certainly true that Star Trek didn’t get where it is today by spending huge budgets on high special effects. The original series that aired on television between 1966 and 1969 was known for its cheap take on the 23rd century, so much so that the iPad-like handheld devices used by the crew of the Starship Enterprise were said to be based on a children’s toy called Magic. Slate, with some lights added to give them a kosher look.

Such economic shortcuts would be difficult to achieve in modern Hollywood – cheap effects can give a movie a bad name even before the opening credits are played. But Pine is right to suggest that the key to success in 2022 isn’t necessarily doing everything Marvel does. The essential formula of the Disney-owned superhero saga – huge, expensive fantasy spectacle and lots of well-written jokes – has often proven disastrous when other franchises have tried to borrow it.

DC’s ‘Extended Universe’ Never Quite Recovered After Parachuting The Avengers’ Joss Whedon From His Rival Studio After Zack Snyder took a step back from 2017’s Justice Leaguewhile some Star Wars fans hated The Last Jedi from the same year for seemingly ridiculing The Force, its furriest adherents, and the saga’s storied past. It’s hard to say if the Tom Cruise-directed monster picture The Mummy, which came out around the same time, was aimed at a Marve-style action-comedy, because the whole movie is a diabolical mess. But it wouldn’t be surprising to find that someone involved (probably Cruise, who would have had contractual control of everything) thought throwaway banter and a breezy, irreverent vibe was a great way to adapt a classic monster tale as scary and gothic as possible.

Let’s be realistic… Sofia Boutella in Star Trek Beyond. Photo: Paramount Pictures/Allstar

There have been some great sci-fi movies made relatively recently that haven’t cost the planet Vulcan to make, or torn such a hole in thematic architecture for die-hard fans. Whedon’s Serenity, perhaps the closest thing to Star Wars to ever hit the big screen before JJ Abrams’ Star Trek films, only cost $39 million (albeit in 2005). Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 was budgeted at $30 million four years later, while Gareth Edwards’ Monsters cost a miraculous $500,000 in 2010. These things can be done.

Additionally, die-hard Star Trek fans are clamoring for a more cerebral take on the saga on the big screen as a hymn to Apollo-era optimism and moral rectitude. The crash, bang, wallop of the cheeky, big-budget films produced by Abrams didn’t always go so well.

There is a training drill in the Star Trek mythos known as Kobayashi Maru. It’s an unwinnable scenario, designed to test the stamina and ability of Starfleet recruits to keep their cool against impossible odds (naturally, the arrogant Kirk of Pine defeated him during his first outing on the big screen by reprogramming the entire system without the knowledge of his superiors).

Looking at Star Trek’s box office struggles over the past few years, despite generally positive reviews, you’d think Paramount was facing its own insurmountable challenge. The truth couldn’t be more different than a Romulan and a Tribble: it’s a saga that, after three episodes, is far from doomed. But if Pine is right and a simple tweak to the next movie’s budget can speed up the series, the studio could at least consider continuing its mission to boldly go where no man has gone before… but with a lower budget.