Quentin Tarantino's 'Star Trek' Movie Will Be R-Rated

Thursday, 07 December 2017 - 8:05PM
Star Trek
Thursday, 07 December 2017 - 8:05PM
Quentin Tarantino's 'Star Trek' Movie Will Be R-Rated
< >
For the first time in a while, it seems like a lot of progress is being made with a new Star Trek movie.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Quentin Tarantino, best known for movies filled with gratuitous violence and pop-culture references (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Inglorious Basterds, and many others) is workshopping his own idea for a Trek film, alongside longtime series producer JJ Abrams.

Now, we've gained a little more clarity on the project. It's looking likely that Tarantino will sit in the director's chair himself (although nothing is set in stone just yet), and he's definitely outsourcing the movie's script to a team of writers. Frontrunner among these possible writers will be Mark L. Smith, who's best known for penning the script for The Revenant.

The other key thing that's been revealed about the movie is its rating - apparently, true to Tarantino's main body of work, this film will enjoy an R-rating. This was apparently Tarantino's condition for letting Paramount use his idea, and it's likely that the decision to take this tone came in large part thanks to the success of films like Deadpool, Logan, and IT, all of which have proven that gory content won't necessarily preclude a movie from enjoying a large box office taking.

As intriguing as it might be to see a version of this movie that comes from the mind of a director as depraved as Tarantino, it's hard to view the man behind Reservoir Dogs as a particularly good fit for Star Trek. The idea of a movie that's dripping with blood and gore feels even further removed from the core optimism of Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future.

In truth, Trek seems to have been suffering from an identity crisis for around a decade now. As much as JJ Abrams did his best to directly copy the successful beats of Star Trek movies and TV episodes of years past, he's never really proven to have a solid understanding of the characters that make the original series so special. There are an awful lot of corrupt leaders and petty squabbles in the Kelvin timeline, which feels far removed from the Star Fleet of Roddenberry's work, which is made up of admittedly imperfect people who always strive to be the best they can be.

Even Star Trek: Discovery, hailed as the franchise's triumphant return to television and a progressive look at an inclusive future, portrays humanity as battle-hungry, suspicious, and dismissive of the value of sentient life.  Admittedly, it's hard to write a story about pacifist characters who avoid unnecessary conflict. This kind of movie or TV show can end up feeling dull and tedious, and it takes a master of storytelling to make hopeful optimism look cool and exciting.

Too often, though, modern Trek relies on the laziest possible narrative devices in order to push the story forward, glorifying violence and allowing legacy characters to act contrary to their earlier nature for the sake of pushing them towards infighting and bickering.

This isn't a dealbreaker, and there's still a lot of fun to be had with modern Star Trek. That said, whatever Tarantino is cooking up, with its gritty deconstructionist plot and over the top violence, is likely to be very far removed from the core message of the series at its inception.

One credit that should be given to Seth McFarlane's The Orville is that the show has aimed to be hopeful. This isn't necessary for parody works, but it helps to make the show feel more like Star Trek, and less like, say, Firefly, which works harder to cast aspersions on the altruistic nature of humanity among the stars.

Firefly feels more like Tarantino's kind of thing (even if it's ultimately Joss Whedon's thing), and as such, whatever he's cooking up, it's probably going to be a lot of fun. It just won't be Star Trek - not in its truest sense. While it's exciting to see what Tarantino and his writers manage to turn out, it looks like, for the moment Seth McFarlane of all people is upholding the warm, fuzzy message taught by the original Trek.

The new Star Trek movie is probably going to be great in its own way. Here's hoping we can also get something a little more family-friendly in the long run, as well.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
Star Trek