"Abrams also wants us to think that Starfleet ships double as the Federation's Apple stores. So I want to see click-wheels on the armrests of the captain's chair, dammit. I expect Spock and McCoy to beam down to alien planets with iCorders in hand."
If that isn't the best assessment of the new bridge design, I don't know what is. I'd get a kick out of Steve Jobs appearing as the Federation President or the Starfleet Academy commandant. But it looks like we're getting Madea instead.
Anyways, he's dead on with his assessment of the visuals in the new movie. As much as I love the original bridge layout (and it was a major fucking trip to get to sit in it at the exhibit,) it is a 1966 vision of the future. It would not be as exciting to drop that into a brand-new movie. Nor would it be to use the same kinds of scene composition or camera activity. Science fiction films are always a product of the time that they're produced, as much as they are the time that they depict. This one must be as well. What's essential, what cannot change, is the society and the characterizations. We have our gutsy, maverick captain, his brilliant, emotionally-controlled but conflicted first/science officer, and his affable curmudgeon-in-development doctor. We have our think-nothing-of-it multicultural crew. We have an upbeat-looking society, closer than we are to the asymptote that is perfection, while it works on getting closer still. Everything else should leap to the forefront of what we can do with writing, set design, and science. The 1966 bridge looked cleaner, more spacious, more functional, and cooler than actual 1966 space flight technology. (No arguing. The Apollo 9 capsule was right across the way from the Trek exhibit. It fucking did. I wouldn't want to go into space in that capsule. On that ship? When do we leave?) It inspired us to deploy its elements in the new things we built after it. A new 2009 Star Trek set should look like the coolest, baddest thing we can imagine today. It will inspire us to do the same all over again, and will set the stage for the next big cool thing we do.
You don't have to buy into the multiverse concept. It's nice if you do, it fits with concepts previously explored. You can say that both tellings exist simultaneously, that way. But I still find it perfectly acceptable to say, we're going to tell this story again, and we can't help but do some things differently, because we're different people, and the product of the intervening forty years. We still treasure the original. It holds on to its meanings as much as it ever has, and is not diminished by this new product. Would Gene approve? I can't say, but I would hope so. I take the participation of Leonard Nimoy, and especially of Majel Barrett Roddenberry, as favorable signs.
I'm also willing to accept (hell, I would gladly welcome!) some larger roles for the supporting cast. The promotional posters are featuring Pine, Quinto, and Saldana as Kirk, Spock, and Uhura. Yes, the proper lead triad is Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. I'll be disappointed if McCoy is relegated to the background, but I don't see why that has to happen just because you elevate one or two others. So let's do that. Besides, it's not like there aren't going to be some changes in presentation anyways... you can't expect Simon Pegg to NOT be Simon Pegg.
Two weeks, then punch! that! shit!