The Editor Awakens

Concept art for Star Wars, by Ralph McQuarrie

Admit it, Star Wars stinks. Sure, the original movie is a classic, and Empire Strikes Back is iconic. But Return of the Jedi hasn’t aged well. The prequel trilogy is a mess. And the sequel trilogy? Well, at least the prequels had a narrative arc. It was butchered, but it was there. The sequel trilogy doesn’t even have that (though it does look good).

George Lucas wasn’t looking to create a franchise that would span decades when he started writing the script that would be become Star Wars in the 1970s. He just wanted to make a fun space shoot-em-up. Then 1977 happened. Star Wars became an unhinged success. Of course, he would have been insane not to make a sequel. The only problem was, he didn’t have a story. Everything was hammered together as they went. Luke Skywalker was a grizzled war veteran in the early drafts of Star Wars. Early drafts of Empire didn’t even include the revelation (spoiler alert) that Darth Vader was Luke’s father.

This paste-and-glue approach wasn’t a huge problem at first, but every single movie has compounded the mistakes. Now we’ve got directors completely rethinking the story with every movie. Rey’s important. Rey’s not important. Snoke’s important. Snoke’s not important. There’s Luke lightsaber! What’s it doing in a bar? The narrative is a complete mess. Not a lick of it makes sense. What Star Wars as a franchise needed, and never got, was one solid write-through. A good edit.

So because nobody else seemed interested, I did it myself.

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The Star Trek Reboot, Rebooted

I’ve watched the 2009 Star Trek reboot many times, too many times (It’s on TV every other week, seemingly). I’ve grown to both hate it and have an unhealthy fascination with it. It’s not a good movie. But you can see where it could have been a good movie, and that’s where the fascination lies.

The movie actually has a lot going for it. The special effects are superb without seeming cartoonish (like the Star Wars prequels or Avatar). The sets are well designed, the casting is good to even inspired, the movie’s fast-paced, doesn’t take itself too seriously, has fun with itself, and throws a ton of welcome homages and references to the original series.

It’s just the story that’s an absolute wreck.

Really, there’s so much going on in this movie, and it moves so fast, you don’t even really notice at first one key thing: the plot is absolutely incomprehensible. It literally makes no sense. Let’s review it, in detail.

Okay, look, I can’t do that here. It’s too convoluted and it’ll take too long (Red Letter Media does a very good job of breaking it down, anyway). Besides, I only want to bash the story as a setup for my alternate story. So I’ll assume you’re familiar with the plot. If you want to debate me on this its putridity, have at it.

Here’s just one example of a plot hole you could, well, pilot a starship through.

– We’re supposed to believe that the Romulans, who have mastered faster-than-light travel, who have mining ships that can wipe out half a dozen Federation starships at a clip (at least in this movie they do), can’t see a supernova coming in time to evacuate their home planet? Huh? What? Does that seem, you know, logical? The entire plot hinges on that point. If the Romulans evacuate, Nero’s family lives, no revenge story.

Just unbelievably lazy writing. Really, people should get arrested for taking that out in public.

I don’t have a problem with Abrams doing the whole shattered timeline thing so he can rewrite the history and characters the way he wants. I could even accept him destroying Vulcan and killing off Spock’s mother, if the story made sense. Any sense.

Now, here’s my alternate plot, which keeps to the idea of what Abrams was trying to accomplish, but in the service of a decent story that actually better illuminates the backstories of Kirk, Spock and the rest.

Ready? Here we go, Star Trek 2009, reboot take two. Action!

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