Monday, May 18, 2009

What if someone else directed "Star Trek?"

Just saying--I liked Star Trek well enough to think that J. J. Abrams is perfectly capable of continuing the franchise for years to come; my one major reservation being the fact that, well, he can't direct action, at all, not here, not in Mission Impossible 3, not in any film he's directed or produced.

And I'm not alone in thinking this. David Bordwell took Paul Greengrass to task for his incomprehensible camerawork in the Bourne movies; he's spoken out in favor of the coherent action sequence (of which Hong Kong filmmakers are some of the best practitioners, and Johnnie To above all, at the moment, the best of the Hong Kong action directors) compared to the Greengrass/Abrams style of shaking the camera and cutting the footage to the point of incomprehensibility, or nausea, whichever comes first.

Which makes me wonder: who could be a better director for the Star Trek movies? I mean, given that Abrams produced (after this monster hit, I doubt if they're going to let him have anything less). If we listen to Bordwell and look for a Hong Kong filmmaker--could we get Johnnie To? He doesn't seem interested in leaving Hong Kong, at least in the forseeable future.

Tsui Hark? Maybe not the Hark of recent years (he's taken to handheld camerawork and his editing has edged towards the incoherent, though nowhere near Greengrass or Abrams (or Tony Scott, for that matter))--I'd love to see him do it in the style of the Once Upon a Time in China movies, which had wonderful wirework and martial arts combat and filmmaking (every time I see someone pick up an umbrella in anger, I think of this film; come to think of it, every time I see a wet towel I think of this film). Plus he's fluent in special effects, even digital effects (though I'd love to see him do Star Trek with plenty of wirework).

Spielberg? Everyone's first choice will probably be Spielberg, so everyone can have him--moving on to the more interesting choices.

John McTiernan? Inevitable--too inevitable. He's done fun films, but after all is said and done, he's dull--strictly a meat-and-potatoes man.

Robert Rodriguez--would he be interested in Star Trek? I'd love to see a lot more Latin-American crew members in the Enterprise--and I'd have no problem with him directing. He's got a cartoon style that takes after Hong Kong with a swoony romantic feel all his own. Just don't give him input on the script--he doesn't know how to end a story (witness Once Upon a Time in Mexico)

David Lynch--now we're talking. Dennis Hopper as a gas-sniffing Klingon? Spock and Uhura having obsessive bouts of sex in their quarters? A finger-snapping midget talking backwards on the bridge? Lynch's done science fiction before, and the results were baroque and fascinating (the fans hated it, but I've always argued a somewhat antagonistic as opposed to slavishly accomodating relationship with fans makes for interesting work). I'd love to see him do a Star Trek, maybe with an Angelo Badalamenti score.

David Cronenberg--even more interesting. Can you imagine the creatures they might face? A gigantic biomechanical penis threatening the Enterprise? I've always wondered why Cronenberg and H.R. Giger never worked together--too big egos, perhaps?

Kurosawa Kyoshi--can you imagine Kirk picking up a communicator and Spock whispering in his ear "help me..."

Dario Argento--hey, can you imagine the Three Mothers in space? Or what Argento might do with something like the lirpa?

Kevin Smith--feh. We're talking filmmakers.

Brian De Palma--truth to tell, I'd love to see him do this. He's done franchises before, and he's big on science, and I liked, oh, about 95% of his much reviled Mission to Mars. Plus he's the very antithesis of the fast cut and unsteady camera hand--always with the smooth dolly shots, the precisely built and paced movements, the dance of pursuer and pursued and camera (a kind of pas de trois, if you will). Plus he'd bring a sensuality to the images that I know will freak Trekkers out.

Hell, can you imagine him doing a remake of Amok Time?

"How do Vulcans choose their mates? Haven't you ever wondered?"

"I guess the rest of us assume that it's done quite logically."


Anonymous said...

How about Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso CuarĂ³n? Dennis.

Quentin Tarantado said...

do they have to be alive? If alive, I'd like to see Czech director Jan Sverak (Akumulator), Alejandro AmenĂ¡bar (Abre los ojos) or Bong Joon-ho (Gwoemul) and if dead, I'd like to see Piers Paolo Pasolini's (Salo) version, hehe.

dodo dayao said...

Kiyoshi - - -yeah, all those sensual ,eerie dolly shots through the Enterprise interiors. Mamoru Oshii could work. Or maybe give it to someone like Richard Stanley,who could probably use the money. I'd like to see him do a Transformers movie while we're at it.

Anonymous said...

What about Edgar Wright?

We could also toss in Walter Hill and Michael Mann for good measure.

- Patrick

Noel Vera said...

I'd love to see em all take a crack at it--Star Trek inspires more affection from me than half a dozen comic book heroes (except maybe Batman--don't ask me why, just some irrational prejudice here). Cuaron, del Toro, Sverak, Amenabar, Bong Joon ho--talk about a United Nations in space, man.

I liked Shaun, Hot Fuzz was okay, but not quite sure Edgar Wright has a sensibility distinct enough yet that I'd say go have him do a Star Trek film. But yeah, he'd probably do a decent job, at least.

Throw in oh, Stuart Gordon. And One Peter Nellhaus suggested Philip Kaufman--who not only is familiar with the science fiction genre, but was actually slated to do the first Star Trek movie (wish he did).

And throw in Irvin Kershner. Can you imagine a Star Trek as visually glorious and emotionally resonant as Empire Strikes Bakc (well, Wrath of Khan--but still).

Noel Vera said...

I'd love to have seen Richard Stanley's Dr. Moreau movie, anyway.

But one of the finest has to be Gerry de Leon's Terror is a Man. Not frightening, but haunting, with a memorable conclusion (that you might miss if you're not alert).

Noel Vera said...

Folks, forget it--the best director for the next Star Trek movie has been under our noses all along.

If what I've been saying is true and Harve Bennett apparently agrees with me, the key appeal of Trek isn't the science fiction (sci-fi--well, in this context I'll call it that) or the writing or the production values cheesy or not, or the women green skinned or not. It's the love triangle between Kirk, McCoy and Spock.

In which case, I can't wait for Gregg Araki's take on the franchise.

Jay said...

Two words: Bela Tarr

Noel Vera said...

Not as startling a choice as Araki, I think, but--seven-hour film where the camera wanders through the existential corridors of the Enterprise...yeah. I like it. Him or Gus Van Sant (who can still do a homoreotic take on the Kirk-Spock-McCoy triumvirate, in the manner (albeit lighter) of Tarr)

Dennis N. Marasigan said...

what about christopher nolan or tim burton?

Noel Vera said...

Not a big fan of Christopher Nolan.

Tim Burton would be lovely, maybe with a script by Daniel Waters. Can you imagine stop-motion Enterprise adn Klingon ships wooshing past each other?