Recalling Roots of 'Star Trek' Brand

    Aug. 9, 2016—In a downbeat movie review, Weekly Standard magazine film critic John Podhoretz neatly capsulizes the history of the Star Trek franchise.
    The sci-fi property dates to a TV series that premiered on NBC Television in 1966, generating 79 so-so received episodes. “Successful
Star Trek Beyond is the eight movie of the sci-fi franchise

reruns on New York's Channel 11 led to the first serious Star Trek convention in 1972 in the city, run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts,” writes reviewer Podhoretz. “That ‘con’ and the hundreds that followed it gave rise to the ‘Trekkie,’ the kind of person for whom the fantasy world of the show was more real and more comforting than real life.”
   That unexpected audience groundswell in re-runs led to “eight movies, four subsequent television programs, two video games, innumerable toys, and dozens of novels,” wrote Podhoretz. “It was one of the original ‘brands.’”
   So the “brand” is the concept, story elements, characters, plotlines and universe that is the backdrop. They, in turn, are stretched across merchandise, books, tie-in promotions and licensed to third parties for use to sell their own products/services.
   The eighth movie is Star Trek Beyond, which Paramount Pictures premiered July 22 in the U.S./Canada (the Weekly Standard story was just published). The PG-13 rated movie cost $185 million to make and grossed $129 million after 18 days in domestic theatrical release.
   Podhoretz is unimpressed with the movie from an artistic viewpoint, writing: “The director Justin Lin does everything he can with camera flourishes to make things look new. The (space ship) Enterprise is always seen backwards, or sideways, or upside down, and things are constantly blowing up. But in the end, all these visuals come to resemble nothing so much as sped-up versions of the screen savers on old Macs (you remember—the fish tanks and the rings of Saturn, that sort of thing).”

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