Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Confusion about why audiences of Star Trek and Star Wars were alienated in recent decades

 

Chris Gore is an America writer and founder of Film Threat magazine.  I remember him when we was on Attack of the Show on the now defunct G4 cable channel.  The video above, titled "How To Alienate The Audience - Chris Gore", is a recent interview where he discusses how modernization of story franchises alienates audiences.  In my opinion, he badly misses the mark.  His argument is that franchises shouldn't be modernized, instead they should be told in the traditions within which the story originated.  His examples (vague references to Star Wars and Star Trek) are based on either his own opinion about style or bad examples of storytelling in general.  But, instead of recognizing bad storytelling as just that, he incorrectly links his examples to a generalization about modernization of franchises. 

Gore first talks about the movie adaptation of Lord of the Rings, in which he admits he's not read the original books, but he is a fan of the Peter Jackson's movie trilogy.  While I agree that great choices were made in the product of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, I disagree where Gore tries to extent his argument to all franchises that are based on older source material.

For example, I don't agree with his reference to Star Trek reboot's use of Beastie Boys music.  His snide comments seem to suggest he is too close to the subject matter.  The Beastie Boys song is an intentional period piece choice that represents what a major character is experiencing.  As such, it's no more out-of-place or dated than any Disney animated movie with a musical number that does EXACTLY the same thing.  Why is 20th Century rock/rap taken so much less seriously than 20th Century faux-classical music?  

Maybe some Sci-Fi fans are turned off by this music choice in Star Trek reboot. However, this rejection may have more to do with established and predictable expectations for Sci-Fi movies more so than what makes a good Sci-Fi movie.  Why are some dismissive of music in a Sci-Fi movie that isn't written by Danny Elfman, Alexander Courage or John Williams?  Even in the original Star Trek series, non-traditional music was used for particular scenes to capture a particular emotion for that scene, so I would challenge Gore's argument on this point as well.  There's nothing inherent to the Star Trek franchise that precludes rock/rap music. 

Gore then states his issues with the quote "It felt only natural to us that an adaption of the author's work would reflect what the world actually looks like."  His issues with this quote reinforce to me that he is confusing bad storytelling with the concept of modernization of franchises.  Well, as I mentioned above, bad storytelling is not the same thing as modernization of a story franchise.  Modernization can include bad storytelling, but you don't necessarily make a story bad because you've modernized it. 

Basically, what works for Lord of the Rings may not work for other story franchises.  Retelling stories in difference periods from the original works often necessitates updation.

Maybe Gore would benefit by exposing/re-exposing himself to Joseph Campbell works about storytelling of myths and how each Age needs to retell stories for that Age.  We don't need to tell stories to preserve them indefinitely for future generations.  We should tell stories so that they make sense for us today.  Future generations will determine if or when a story becomes timeless.

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