Newsbites: Watchmen! Trek! Jesus! Astrology!

Just a few more items that have come up in the last few days.

1. CHUD.com says Watchmen director Zack Snyder plans to shoot some of the parallel storylines that were cut out of the main film, possibly in animated form, and release them separately, possibly on a DVD that would come out at the same time the movie hits the big screen. Chris at Movie Marketing Madness says they should take the idea a step further and release the parallel films “in advance of the feature film for free through iTunes in much the same way Hotel Chevalier was released prior to The Darjeeling Limited.”

2. William Shatner is still annoyed that he hasn’t been cast in Star Trek XI. He recently told Extra TV: “How could you not put one of the founding figures into a movie that was being resurrected? That doesn’t make good business sense to me! . . . I’ve become even more popular than I was playing Captain Kirk. I’m good box office and I get publicity.” Three points come to mind in reply.

First, Captain Kirk died in Star Trek: Generations (1994; my comments), and in such a way that it would be exceedingly difficult to resurrect him even if they devoted an entire movie to doing so, the way Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) was devoted to bringing Spock back. And of course, this new movie will be too busy doing other things to do that.

Second, Spock was part of the franchise even before Kirk came along, so in a way it’s kind of fitting that the reboot should revolve around Spock more than Kirk. Plus, Leonard Nimoy brings a certain credibility to the film that Shatner lacks; the three Star Trek films that Nimoy directed or produced were all fairly good, while the one film that Shatner directed was one of the worst in the series.

Third, as Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere has argued, Shatner has become something of a parody of himself, so much so that it might be difficult to take him seriously as Captain Kirk again. Shatner himself inadvertently points in this direction when he says, “I’ve become even more popular than I was playing Captain Kirk.” Popular as what? And if he truly is more popular now than he was then, might not his current persona overshadow any attempt to return to one of his older, more serious roles?

3. Brett McCracken at The Search has some interesting thoughts on What Would Jesus Buy?, the anti-consumerism documentary produced by Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me (2004; my review) fame. He concludes:

I don’t know what Jesus would buy, but just like he’d be angry when his name is slapped on a pair of socks and sold to Christians for $10, I’m sure he’d likewise be pissed at his name being so cavalierly invoked to sell America on anti-consumerism.

4. Michael Ward has a fascinating article up at Touchstone magazine’s website on the astrological themes in C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. It’s must reading for anyone who would praise Lewis’s books while slamming the Harry Potter books and others like it for allegedly promoting occultism.

5. 20th Century Fox has apparently apologized to The Movie Blog for having one of their reviews yanked off of YouTube.

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  • In Star Trek canon, Kirk was certainly resurrected, so they could have always just used Shatner’s books as a base for explaining that one (if they needed to).

    But what I couldn’t understand is: why would “reflective Kirk” have to be post-Generations Kirk? If they can make Shatner look fairly decent as a younger Kirk in a Direct TV commercial, surely they could (with a bigger budget than a commercial) make Shatner and Nimoy look like they did before that time.

    Also, speaking of Shatner’s (co-written) Trek books… they’ve been a wonderful addition to Star Trek mythology. As far as the Trek world, he does know what he’s talking about, and outside of the late Gene Roddenberry, I’d trust nobody with the mythos of Kirk more than Shatner himself.

    With reference to the What Would Jesus Buy? comments, I don’t think I could disagree with Mr. McCracken more. First of all, I don’t think Jesus would ever be “pissed” (awful choice of words, IMO). Secondly, I think Jesus would honestly back any charge to sell America on anti-consumerism. His parables and the way He lived His life were certainly in line with the idea of “have less, give more”.

    Wow… I said way more than I had planned to say there. Star Trek and consumerism are apparently subjects I feel strongly about. 😛

  • Re: Star Trek. I think the novels are pretty clearly aprocyphal, not “canon”. Certainly the TV shows and movies have never felt obliged to pretend that the books exist. For example, if I recall correctly, one of my favorite books in the series, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens’ Star Trek: Federation — written to coincide with the release of Star Trek: Generations (1994) — includes a subplot involving Zefram Cochrane and the origin of the warp drive which was completely ignored by the very next movie, Star Trek: First Contact (1996). I suspect the latter film also contradicts the book Shatner wrote around that time in which Kirk and Picard supposedly defeat the Borg by going to their homeworld.

    As for why the old Kirk of Star Trek XI would have to be a post-Generations Kirk… well, based on some of the rumoured plot points that have leaked out so far, it sounds like the old Spock won’t be simply “reflecting” on his days in the Academy or his early days on the Enterprise. It sounds like he will be going back in time to stop a Romulan plot. And I imagine any attempt to shoehorn the old Kirk into the storyline would look pretty contrived, even gratuitous.

    Re: What Would Jesus Buy?, I have not seen the film and I do not even know if it will come to Canada. But I have always been somewhat suspicious of the “what would Jesus do?” line of reasoning, for the simple reason that there are many things that I can imagine Jesus approving of even if I cannot imagine him doing them. For example, I cannot imagine Jesus getting married, but I can easily imagine him being okay with other people who do; indeed, John 2 says he performed his very first miracle at a wedding, to ensure that the partygoers would not run out of wine. So, I have to say that “the way he lived his life” only goes so far, with me.

    As for his parables, or whether Jesus ever felt emotion so strongly that we might say he was “pissed”, well … let’s just say that these are complex subjects, and it’s very late, and I really need to get to bed. 🙂

  • Very valid point regarding Trek canon. I suppose I was just thinking that if they wanted to (which clearly they don’t), they could’ve easily borrowed some of those ideas.

    I do love Shatner, but if I had to choose between the 2 appearing in the new movie, I’d for sure pick Nimoy. So I’m okay with the decision, but since Abrams had originally talked to Shatner about him being involved, I can understand why he’d be a bit upset or confused.

    Oh, and I didn’t necessarily take issue with the idea that Jesus would be angry (at least in regards to my post), but more the choice of words. Even in 2007, the word “pissed” is certainly frowned upon by many. Plus, it seems to me that anything involving Jesus deserves a less immature use of vocabulary.

    Hope you’re long asleep by now!

  • shanpeter45

    Astrology is an ancient practice based on the study of the movements of the planets and stars.According to the historians,astrology was first practised and started by the Babylonians.Astrology and astronomy might sound similar but they are both different in nature.Astronomy deals with the science of the movements of planets whereas astrology deals with the prediction of the future based on the movements of the heavenly bodies.