Thursday, May 21, 2009

Star Trek

In the proud tradition of this blog, I now give you last week's blogging, today! Two warnings: First, some hard core nerd coming up. Second, beyond this point there be spoilers.

So I saw Star Trek tonight. For the second time. It's awesome, and if you haven't seen it you really should. Not only is it the movie of the summer, it's just been so damn long since we've had a watchable ST product. And I say that as a guy who endured Enterprise for far longer than it really warranted.

But that's the great thing about this movie -- it manages to embed itself in the lore of Trek even as it overturns it. Even Enterprise gets a brief mention, when Scotty talks about a transporter accident with "Admiral Archer's prize beagle." The actors by and large do a great job, and while Quinto is great as Spock my favourite has got to be Karl Urban playing McCoy. Just note-perfect.

The movie also implicitly damns George Lucas all over again, because it shows that it is possible to revitalize a stale franchise after and despite decades of story and hysterically loyal fans. More than that, it's the kind of Star Trek movie you can only make after 40 years of Hollywood science fiction that, itself, was made possible in large part by the original series. Seriously -- there are influences from Lucas, from Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica, and of course references to the previous decades of successful and not-so successful Star Trek series. Gene Roddenberry may or may not have liked this movie, but he'd appreciate the time-space paradox.

It's also most definitely no longer the same universe that Roddenberry created, despite still having his name in the credits. Roddenberry created a world that was an analog of Cold War liberalism's aspirations -- one where the Americans were friends with the Russians, blacks served with whites, but you could still count on a white dude to be running things. (Kidding!)

But this new movie avoids the cheap, easy comparisons to contemporary events. In JJ Abrams' analog, we see an arrogant, alcohol-abusing hick get help from friends in high places to put himself in command, where he ignores the advice of his most competent analysts and, despite his obsession with tough talk, is unable to stop a terrorist attack on a major American city, and truly disastrous results for his allies. Clearly, the future is nothing like the present.

Okay, enough from me -- go see the movie. Terminator is going to suck, and you know it, so go see Star Trek.

4 comments:

Mike said...

I also saw it last night...for the second time.

I also thought McCoy was the best.

I saw Uhura wearing the original ear-piece.

And right near the beginning, when Kirk's father's ship was under attack, I'm pretty sure that was the guy who played "Tom Paris" standing at an engineering screen claiming they had taken heavy damage...

Mark Francis said...

One thing that bugged me about Voyager, was that despite being lost on the other side of the galaxy, low on resources, the ship was always clean, tidy and repaired (The Episode 'The Year of Hell' excepted, but that got conveniently put off to another time line). As the new movie started I saw how the Kelvin was clearly 'used' and we even saw support struts with -- gasp -- nuts and bolts!

A decent movie. I liked it, but we could have done without those lens flares they added to the sfx.

McCoy stole every scene he was in.

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Roddenberry intended the show to have a highly progressive political agenda reflective of the emerging counter-culture of the youth movement, though he was not fully forthcoming to the networks about this.