Thursday, May 28, 2009

Issue 1 - A Child of Two Worlds

I will never admit to the number of times I have already seen "Star Trek". It would not help my social ranking - not that that's ever been much to speak of. I will say that I've not watched a movie with such child-like glee since the first time I saw the Star Wars trilogy as a kid.

Now, I know what you're thinking: those two franchises should never be discussed in the same blog. But I don't hold with the idea that you need to be either a Star Trek fan or a Star Wars fan. I've always loved both...forgiving the last few years of "Deep Soap Nine" and the disaster that was "Enterprise" (what was with all those anti-bac gel baths??)

And so, for me, I can quite happily exist as a child of two worlds. Unlike Spock. Ahem.

Spock. Now there's a blog-worthy subject. Only now am I discovering that I'm not alone in having hankered after Spock in days gone by. Women all over the world are suddenly coming out of the ready-room to admit that it was the pointy-eared one, not the sleazy Shat, who charged their dilithium crystals. (Side note to Trekkers/Trekkies: don't try to tell me the Spock/Uhura relationship came as a surprise. Any woman, at least, who was a fan of the show, picked up on the vibes between those two and, if it wasn't for heavy censorship - courtesy of 60's studio execs and Shatner's ego - they would have had their chance at romance in the original timeline.)

Ahhh, yesss. In this movie, there's none of this nonsense about killing off Spock and then concluding, "That was actually a bad idea. We'd better regenerate him." Oh, no. In THIS movie, we get two for the price of one.

Speaking of which, major kudos to Zachary Quinto. Imagine the pressure: not only do you have to re-define an iconic character, but you have to do it in the very presence of the actor who created him. Yet, apparently, no sweat. We know the man can evince the most magnetic serial killer in TV history; he also has the ability to utter a sincere-sounding, "Live long and prosper," with his lips whilst projecting a reverberating, "Up yours," with his eyes. Yes, there may have been others who could have convincingly played Spock, but, I think, only Zachary Quinto in all his Zachary Quintoness could have played him with such a delicate touch.

In fact, my hat is off to the entire cast and crew. I heartily agree with a fellow blogger's suggestion that The Academy should give the casting director an Oscar.

It's tragic, but the moment Greedo tried to shoot Han first in that &*@%! Special Edition of "Star Wars", I lost my faith in my movie-making hero, George Lucas. J.J. Abrams might just have stepped into that vacated position. Time will tell – but, George, take note: this is what Episodes I to III should have been. An over-reliance on CGI = a sensational suicide. One of the reasons we loved the original trilogy? Because it felt real.

I confess, I was privileged enough to walk the Starfleet-Blue carpet at the London premiere, and was immediately transported into the J.J. fandom. He appears to be a man whose fires of imagination are well-stoked. I swear, you can feel the creative energy leaking out of him. I remember thinking, as he and the stars left the cinema and I resisted the urge to call, "Oi, Poida!" to a bored-looking Eric Bana, that I was in for a ride of Guinan's-hat-proportions.

I wasn't disappointed. It's heart-wrenching, it's fun, it's hilarious, it's sexy. And Kirk didn't even have to get his shirt ripped. Not once.

If you'll excuse the indulgence, I feel I must now take a moment to address a few comments from my fellow Trekkers/Trekkies who did not like the movie:

WERE YOU PEOPLE EVEN WATCHING IT?? Or were you too busy being suffocated by the weight of your own pseudo-scientific nitpicking? apologies for that little outburst. (This blog isn't called "The Rant" for no reason.) But, seriously, some fans must have gone in searching for things to hate about it, instead of simply enjoying J.J.'s enchanting storytelling.

Enough has been said about the time-travel aspect of the movie. If you didn't like it, or fully understand that it's a stroke of genius which frees us up for more voyages with the Enterprise crew - without the sapped tension-level that would result from already knowing their fate - then you're screwy, or perhaps you don't remember the Doc's explanation about tangent timelines in Back To The Future. It's the best thing they could have done for our beloved and slightly beleaguered franchise. So build a bridge. Get over it.

Oh, yes – the re-designed bridge. What? Would you have preferred the dot matrix printer that – I swear – Kirk had in one episode?

Now, admittedly, there may have been as many plot holes as black holes, but don't try to tell me there were never any in the series. For example, can someone please explain to me where Voyager's never-ending supply of shuttlecraft came from? Or why, no matter which hostile alien race was currently holding the Enterprise crew hostage, they never thought to guard the Jefferies Tubes?

Now, to the greatest and most consistent complaint I have heard: that Gene Roddenberry would be turning in his grave at the lack of negotiating and philosophising in this re-booted universe.

Firstly, Gene Roddenberry doesn't have a grave.

Secondly, themes of friendship, teamwork, making something of yourself no matter the hand life dealt you, the nature of love, learning to be honest with yourself, the bitter root of hatred, revenge, genocide – are these not enough for you? Or do you need to spend three hours watching the crew float around whilst they try to figure out V'Ger? (Did they ever figure out V'Ger? I think I fell asleep.)

When it all comes down to it, these are not the things that stick in our consciousness.

What does stick?

Klingons. The Borg Queen. Data's love for his (apparently) sequentially hermaphroditic cat, Spot. "Everybody remember where we parked." Exploding consoles. Q. "Tea, Earl Grey." Geordi's VISOR. Odo's bucket. Seven's - erm - assets. Whales. "He's dead, Jim." Holodecks. Vulcan nerve pinches. Q. Those earwig thingys. "I'm giving her all she's got, Cap'n!" Ferengi lobal massages (shudder). "Khaaannn!" Q.
"Space, the final frontier…"

If Chris Pine can continue to make me smile whenever he steps onto the bridge in that gold shirt and exclaims, "Bones! [pause] Buckle up!", I'll continue to make the trek to let him do it, for as many movies as he and the rest of this crew are prepared to give us.