George Takei: the new Star Trek films are just “surface entertainment” – the original movies had an “added dimension”

The former Mr Sulu says Gene Roddenberry's stories were parables of their time, while the reboot of the franchise is just simple action-adventure

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George Takei admits the new generation of Star Trek movies are “rip-snorting good space opera” but says they can’t compare with the original films made under the show’s creator Gene Roddenberry.

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Takei played helmsman Mr Sulu in Star Trek the original series and its big-screen spin-offs, and says the JJ Abrams-produced films – the most recent of which was this year’s Star Trek: Beyond – don’t have “that Gene Roddenberry element”, which included making the plots parables for relatable real-world issues.

“With Gene Roddenberry’s shows you can see beyond the surface action-adventure, the surface humour and entertainment,” Takei told RadioTimes.com.

“You were able to also guess at ‘Oh, that’s what they’re talking about: it’s the Cold War or it’s climate change’. Star Trek IV [The Voyage Home] was not just about our flashing back in time to San Francisco in the 20th century, it was about the key role that whales play in our environmental chain.

“That is what made Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek so enriching and so challenging – you look for that additional dimension. With the rebooted films, it’s just that surface entertainment.”

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The Star Trek 50th Anniversary TV & Movie Collection Blu-ray box set is out now