Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A New Direction For Star Trek

The last few weeks have seen a bit of a minor panic playing out at Star Trek central. With the next film due for release in 2016, the franchise's big fiftieth anniversary, home studio Paramount had settled on Roberto Orci, who co-wrote and co-produced the previous J.J. Abrams-directed entries, to direct the third installment of the rebooted franchise. Then, a few weeks ago, Orci either jumped ship or was pushed. Either way, the center seat was empty at the most inopportune of times, and Paramount was left in a mad rush to get their starship up to speed in time for its release date. 

Well, in a move that's sure to prove polarizing for many, but which I'm actually energized by, the studio has signed Justin Lin, widely credited with turning Universal's Fast & Furious series into the powerhouse roadster that it is, to helm Trek 3 (or 13, depending on your math). While Lin was on a shortlist with names like Edgar Wright and Rise of the Planet of the Apes' Rupert Wyatt, his selection definitely makes the most sense from a strictly dollars-and-cents perspective.

He's shown an ability to stage elaborate action sequences without breaking the bank, and he's demonstrated a remarkable utility when working with a large ensemble. As noted above, the Fast & Furious franchise was basically one step removed from direct-to-video fare when he came on for 2005's Tokyo Drift. No one was taking it seriously. And while that film did make the least of any in the series, it also pointed the way to a creative resurgence that's led to every Fast & Furious making more than the one before it. 

In fact, 2013's Fast & Furious 6 hit exactly one week after Star Trek Into Darkness, and outran not only its opening weekend, but also its domestic and foreign totals -- all on a smaller budget (and it was a better movie, to boot). No word on who's shaping the new flick's story (or what that story is, for that matter), so still some big question marks in play, but this is a franchise that's always been at its best with its back to the wall. As such, I find plenty of reason to be encouraged by Lin's signing. There's time for pessimism later, but for now...let's see what's out there.

No comments: