David Gerrold wrote for Star Trek: The Original Series and The Animated Series.
With the fourth movie in J.J. Abrams’ line of Kelvin timeline Star Trek movies a go, there is much controversy on whether or not it’s too late for another film, especially with the current spate of Star Trek series that are out. Plenty of Trekkies weren’t fans of the movies that starred Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, mostly because Abrams made changes to the timeline and the histories of both Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. But one science fiction writer, David Gerrold, known for having written one of the best Star Trek: The Original Series’ episodes, The Trouble with Tribbles, had a much different issue with the first two movies.
Interviewed in 2014 by Trekmovie, Gerrold was asked his opinion of Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness, and the Hugo award-winning writer didn’t hold back when he spoke about the “blockbuster trap of we have to have big moments, big blockbuster, CGI exciting moments.” He believed the emotional growth of the characters got sacrificed for those big moments and even said Steven Spielberg and George Lucas had done this in some of their worst pictures. (He didn’t specify which films he was referencing.)
David Gerrold believed the new Star Trek movies were exciting but were missing something.
Many sci-fi and fantasy movies insert a lot of “big movie moments” into the film while keeping character growth to a minimum. Captain Kirk did grow a little in Abrams’ movies, but Gerrold said the movies didn’t get back to the heart and soul of the original Star Trek.
"“For me that is the problem in the JJ pictures is that they very exciting but they don’t get us back to the heart and soul of the original Star Trek which is that Kirk has an interesting problem to solve that forces him to deal with a moral dilemma of the prime directive, being a Starfleet captain, and following the rules. And if you look back there was a severe limit on what Kirk could do because he was a Starfleet captain. And what we got in the JJ movies is a little too much Star Wars and not enough Star Trek.”"
There were a lot of splashy moments in all of Abrams’ Star Trek movies, and, undoubtedly, there will plenty more in the fourth. It would be impossible for Abrams to not be aware of the comments, concerns, and complaints about the first three movies. Does that mean he’ll change anything? That’s up for debate because the films did earn a rather sizeable amount of money, with Star Trek Into Darkness earning the highest at $467.4 million against a budget of approximately $190 million. With that kind of income, where’s the impetus to change?
What do you think? Did J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies have more flare than heart? Should they be toned down to focus on more character growth?