Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In Which I reveal that I'm a total Star Trek nerd....

[Shatner Impersonation] There’s a …. NEW… Trailer, for…. STAR. TREK!.... availableonlinenow…. [/Shatner]

Just to let you know where I'm coming from in my appreciation of All Things Star Trek; I like TOS (The Original Series), usually more in my memories of enjoying the reruns as a kid than when I actually watch it. Sometimes it is SO dated and hokey, but I still love it because at its heart is the buddy story of Kirk, Spock and McCoy and they are always a treat to see together because they are great characters. So I really hope this translates into the remake. I like TOS cast Movies better than the series, overall.

TNG (Star Trek The Next Generation) is my favorite Trek show, though DS9 (Deep Space 9) is probably the ‘best’ one. TNG will always hold a special place in my heart because it was like having a new Star Trek all our own, and it was a point of light in a dark part of my life (middle and high- school). It gave me a common ground with several people with whom I became friends so it’s mixed in with those memories of the few friends I enjoyed in that time. By the time I was in college, DS9 was in full swing and not just a spin-off of TNG and I didn’t watch it religiously, but several episodes stand out as some of the finest TV ever broadcast. And man, what great characters! Plain simple Garak could be his own TV show and be compelling. Gul Dukat, Odo, Quark, O’Brien in his quiet way… how do you not love these characters?

I liked probably 15 episodes of Voyager... mostly it was stupid trash, but I liked Tom Paris and Harry. Janeway was cool, and the Dr. was a good character too. But too much Borg! Between overuse and silly developments they lost their mystique. Sorry, 7 of 9 was not interesting, and showcasing her huge cans does not great television make. And the biological borg, whatever they were called, were silly. And that finale! Poof! We’re home! Roll credits! No emotion! No human event! WTF?!

As for Enterprise (the show), I only watched most of the first season, and I hear the best parts are seasons 3 and 4. Enterprise had real promise to be great, and Scott Bakula was great, so I'll make time for it sometime, though it often disappointed with corny trying-too-hard sexy scenes and too much of the vague pointless and uninteresting Future Guy subplot. Dr. Flox (Phlox?) was a good character too.

Aside: In re-reading the above, I notice a fixation on character. What can I say? It’s the way to capture the human experience which is the essence of all art. But I digress.

In general, I didn't dig how Star Trek became Time Trek as it went on. That just wasn't interesting to me and it made it lose it's sheen of plausibility as a possible future to our real Earth. For me, that's important, because Star Trek has always been about exploring the human condition (which is why it's okay that the aliens are usually "forehead of the week" aliens).

Make no mistake, I love Star Trek, warts and all, and consider myself a “Trekker.” That's why I care about the remake and hope it's great.
So my thinking is that this second trailer (remember the trailer?) is the "Hey Star Wars fans! Things blow up in this too, come see it!!!" trailer. Which is probably good, even Trekkers didn't flock to ST Nemesis. I mean, Trek will die if no tickets sell. We don't want that. Unless they want to bring back Voyager.

Some insight into the filmmaker’s ideas and where they're coming from can be found in this article:,,20233502,00.html

While JJ Abrams is not a trekker, many in his crew (pun intended) are, so that bodes well. I think in the broad strokes it's going to be true to the established timeline and cannon, but as you can see in the design of the Enterprise, they've gone and mushed together the NCC-1701A (the refit Enterprise from the movies) and some kind of sex toy. The Warp pylons and tail of the engineering section look cartoonish, but I think the warp pylons still have that spinning aspect to the Bussard collectors (yes, I've read the tech manuals (told you I’m a Trekker)) for that classic TOS look.
In a change from established cannon, the ship is built on earth instead of in orbit... one of a few changes that have purists up in arms. But so far they're not going to ruin it for me like midi-chorlians and Greedo shooting first did (more on that in another entry, but for now I’ll just say, Yes, Virginia, you CAN love them both!).

Warp Pylons notwithstanding, the look works for me, it's true to the original but with realistic updates for today’s tastes, and other than go-go skirts on military uniforms, fairly realistic looking. The look makes a visual continuum with the look of Enterprise, as this fictional future unfolds. I hear (from the article in the first link above) the bridge is a very cool set.

So if this really is a Trek movie, the trailer (remember the trailer?) probably shows most of the explosions in the movie, so I'm not worried about it being a nonstop action orgy with no Trekky cerebral elements that I love. But if that does happen, if it's done well, it will still be good. You know what I mean? Good is good. Good is not necessarily TOS, however. (I'm not saying TOS wasn't good, just that this movie will be different than the TOS that it's based on).

Other thoughts on things in the trailer: The dragon thing is corny. It's very Galaxy Quest. And the gratuitous Uhura undressing scene? Why? And call me conservative, but boobies in the trailer? I don't want my 6 year old seeing this in a trailer (I don't have a 6 year old, but you get my point) ... or even in the movie. One of Trek's strengths has always been that you can watch it with your kids, even if some of the thinky parts are over their heads (but until now (well, maybe in Enterprise too) you never had to cover their eyes).

Did I see the (in)famous orbital skydiving scene that's been rumored to be in the 'next' Star Trek movie since, like, Star Trek 6?

I like the cast. Spock looks and sounds perfect, and for some reason, I totally dig Simon Pegg as Scotty. I think this Kirk looks promising, depending on the script.

As to the characterization, what I can glean from the trailer and rumors, that is: Boy Kirk as insane Adrenaline junky is maybe further than I would have taken it, but it may work. I mean, he's like, 12 when he's stealing that car and still has some growing up to do (but driving it into a canyon just to jump out for thrills, though? WTF? You need MEDS! Not boot camp).

So I think the writers are going with Kirk and Spock bonding over their mutual isolation and misfit status... strangers to their own home worlds... this totally works for me (can you see my emotional scars from high school between the lines here? LOL. COL). It's probably the only thing they have in common and otherwise they are opposites, which makes them perfect foils. This is true to TOS, I think, and basically perfect! We know from TOS they are BFF, but not really why or how it happened, so this makes sense to me and if this is how they do it in the movie, it totally works.

In short, I'm keeping in an open mind until I see it, and see it I will, as I love most of JJ Abrams works, and it looks like fun. This shows promise and I don’t believe it will totally suck, so I’m so there… unless, of course, trailer #3 looks god-awful.

For further Star Trek fun, check out Star Trek Phase II fan-made episodes continuing TOS! Neat-O!

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