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Star Trek

My Esteemed Colleague, who I have mentioned on my blog many a time, is a Star Trek fan.

That’s quite an understatement.

He went to conventions. He has memorized the films. When he applied to Dartmouth College, he listed Star Trek as his religion. So he is exceptionally displeased with the new Trek film, which comes out in a couple of weeks. On Facebook, he posted a review of the early reviews, and, as he puts it, “Let’s just say that ‘scathing’ just scratches the surface of my review here.”

Excerpts from his comments are highlighted below in a worthy Trekkish, Vulcan-blood green, with some prudish editing for community standards:
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Review on Wikipedia:

“Orci and Kurtzman said they wanted the general audience to like the film as much as the fans, by stripping away “Treknobabble”, making it action-packed…”

Action-packed? No, no, no!!

“Abrams saw … sex appeal as …integral”

Huh??

“Orci and Kurtzman…noted…Kirk and Spock’s friendship echoing that of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.”

WHAT??

“They also noted that, in the creation of this film, they were influenced by Star Wars, particularly in terms of pacing. “I want to feel the space, I want to feel speed and I want to feel all the things that can become a little bit lost when Star Trek becomes very stately…”

STAR TREK WAS MEANT TO BE STATELY. IT WAS ORIGINALLY REJECTED BY DESILU BECAUSE IT WAS “TOO CEREBRAL”. IT IS MEANT TO BE CEREBRAL. WHAT THE $%&# IS YOUR PROBLEM?

“For Abrams, “The costumes were a microcosm of the entire project, which was how to take something that’s kind of silly and make it feel real.”

STAR TREK IS NOT “SILLY”, YOU A$$.

“Steven Spielberg (who had partially convinced Abrams to direct because he liked the script, and he even advised the action scenes during his visit).”

Oh, great. So now we’re going to have Trek sequences advised by SPIELBERG??

“Empire magazine awarded 4/5 stars, saying, “for the first time in the franchise, the Enterprise is a genuine thrill-ride”; however, it also notes that “Very much like its dynamic young cast, this Trek is physical and emotional, sexy and vital even, but it is not cerebral.” “

Ok, my point entirely. You’ve just killed Star Trek. Bye-bye.

“Hardcore fans may suggest it’s “not as good as Khan” but the rest of us (and the box office) will tell a different story.”

Ok, $%&# OFF. Get your HANDS OFF TREK. You think the original is “too nerdy”, “too geeky” for your stupid-a$$ $%&# pathetic mainstream life used to stupid and idiotic television shows? GO WATCH THEM ; WE DO NOT NEED YOU HERE. GO AWAY.

“A revamp everyone can get on board with, from die-hards to those who wouldn’t be seen dead at a sci-fi convention.”

Those who “wouldn’t be seen dead at a sci-fi convention” can go STRAIGHT TO HELL. Go back to your MALL and buy something superficial.
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There’s more, but you get the idea.

Here was my reply:

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I can’t argue with any of this, especially since I haven’t seen the film. I do remember when Battlestar Galactica was being “reimagined,” I kicked and screamed louder than anyone. Believe me, I can understand the reaction here.

I guess part of my problem is that I haven’t seen any compelling Trek since First Contact, and I’ve had no interest in any cast since The Next Generation. I’ve been told Deep Space Nine is worth watching, but I could never get into it. Voyager blew. I saw one ep of Enterprise and decided one was enough.

Later Trek under Berman became this weird, stilted, lifeless thing. It seemed very pastel – no color or vibrancy. It wasn’t particularly cerebral, either. I find in rewatching Trek, it’s the original series that I find most compelling, because there were still some rough edges, and the characters were delightful. Even in TNG, most of the characters are interchangeable – Riker is Troi is Crusher is Geordi. Picard managed to become something more interesting, but I think a lot of that was due to Patrick Stewart’s genius more than anything else. Data and Worf were the only characters who were allowed to be unique, although they made Worf a buffoon a few too many times.

To me, Trek is wrapped up in the Kirk/Spock/McCoy triumvirate. Nothing that has happened since then has even come close to recapturing that dynamic. I love the fact that they recognize that Trek is these three characters, and that this movie’s going to focus on them. What they do, of course, remains to be seen.

I also want to push back a little on the idea that Trek is completely stately with no kicka$$ery. What were all those roundhouse kicks to the solar plexus from the good captain all about, if not kicka$$ery? And Wrath of Khan, unarguably the best of any Trek movie before or since, was built on a foundation of a strong, menacing villain. Action and intelligence can coexist just fine, and in the best of Trek, they very often do.

That’s not to say that this movie is going to be great, good, or even watchable. I’m just saying that the fact that it has beefy action sequences shouldn’t disqualify it from being Trek.

As for sex, they can go to far for my tastes, but I doubt anyone could go too far for James T. Kirk, if you know what I mean. (Cue the green chick in the wings…)

I guess part of my optimism for this project comes from Nimoy’s involvement. Of anyone now living, Nimoy has demonstrated the strongest commitment to the original Trek vision and the best understanding of what made it work. He directed III, IV and cowrote VI, and despite IV’s light tone, these represented some of the best Trek ever filmed. Nimoy thinks this movie is a home run, and at 80 years old, he doesn’t need to promote himself or his image beyond what he wants to do. That says something to me.

In addition, I really have ridiculously low expectations, because Trek lost me years ago. So maybe I’m not the real McCoy anymore.

And, after saying all this, I concede that this movie might still very well suck.

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