Monday, May 11, 2009

What's This? A Blogger Reviewing Star Trek?

I can't tell you how much a burden it feels to be the one and only blogger to undertake a review of the new Star Trek film, which I saw this past weekend. Alas, a blogger has certain responsibilities, and since no one else appears willing to hazard an opinion on this film anywhere on the internets, I feel I must. Sigh.*

++++ Spoiler Alert ++++
The extremely well thought out text appearing below this will surely reveal details of plot, character, personal quirks, gratuitous name-calling, and other things decent people try to avoid.

Quite obviously, the storyline is a vehicle through which to give new life to the Star Trek franchise, and as such things go, it's not so bad. I hope I am right to speculate that this is a loving goodbye kiss to the forlorn hordes of Trekkies who can't let go of the old characters, and equally, to the very old actors who played the old characters. If I am right, this is the last convoluted, nonsensical time-travel plot we will have to endure from a Star Trek film; and it is the last time we will have to watch in pity as one of the moribund actors from the original series (in this case, Leonard Nimoy) is shot full of enough horse hormones to wheeze his way through a few scenes. Which is to say: henceforth, Star Trek films will no longer feature Nimoy, Shatner, Takei, or any other surviving original cast member.

If I am right, I issue a heartfelt thanks to the makers of this film. Let us all wave farewell and good luck to them all, and this goodwill embraces all the original cast members of all the assorted Star Trek series. We loved you (er ... mostly), we thank you, but your time is now past.

This is, of course, quite a gamble. Can Star Trek survive with new bodies in the familiar roles? In this newly-refactored universe conspicuously lacking a planet Vulcan, will Kirk still have that lame fistfight with that lizard creature? Will there still be trouble with Tribbles? Will a green dancing woman still light an erotic fire or two?

On the basis of the new film itself, the answers to the above are, respectively, uncertain, uncertain, uncertain, and absolutely.

Here's a hopeful sign in my book: the best visual effect of this film came in the opening minutes when, in the course of an attack on the Enterprise, a hole was ripped in the hull and we were given a spectacular view of a crew member being yanked into the vacuum of space. It looked amazing and, better yet, it even represented the fact that sound does not travel in space. Here is a small but potent signal that henceforth, Star Trek will strive for more grit and less camp. Such is my hope.

I am just Trekkie enough to have enjoyed the additional background material on Kirk and Spock; I like the new actors who play the new roles; I am willing to enter the theater and accept the terms of this new arrangement if/when a truly, wholly new Star Trek film appears. If the regrettably hole-riddled plot for this film was a necessary evil to make that possible, I'm willing to accept it and go boldly with it one more time. One.

* Cf.

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