Sunday, May 10, 2009

Confessions of a Star Trek virgin

Warning: spoilers ahead.

The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Star Wars, and (more recently) Doctor Who — these are all the sci-fi TV and movie franchises I've been able to get into over the years. But for some reason, unlike my fellow bloggers here at Pop Wenches, I could never get into Star Trek. For one thing, I didn't know where to begin with all the spin-offs and movies. And frankly, I could never get into the random episodes I caught here and there. I knew enough about Star Trek to understand pop culture references, but I decided to leave it at that.

Then J.J. Abrams, who recently admitted he was never much of a Trekkie, came along and decided to give the series a bit of a reboot with a new movie. And suddenly, I found myself excited about the cast, especially Zachary Quinto, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Eric Bana, and Karl Urban. When I saw the trailer, I figured I didn't really need to know much more than I did about Star Trek, so I decided that I would check out the movie. And I actually wound up seeing it early this past Friday.

Readers, I have a confession to make: I loved every minute of it. Sure there were some plot holes here and there, and sure aspects of it were a little formulaic. But you know what else? It was fun, and not the crappy kind of fun movies like Wolverine and Constantine have been for me. (What? We all have our guilty pleasures). It was a classic space adventure with a lovely blend of wisecracks and serious moments, and a cast that made me wish I were onboard the Enterprise.[bxA]

Here are some of the things I enjoyed:
  • The casting, which excited me the most, did not disappoint. I've been tired of seeing Sylar on Heroes, but I really enjoyed seeing Zachary Quinto play Spock. And I especially enjoyed the interaction between different characters, during both serious and slapstick moments. (I couldn't stop laughing at the "Stop it!" exchange between Kirk and McCoy when the latter kept following Kirk around to give him a shot in the neck every couple of minutes). John Cho's Sulu and Anton Yelchin's Chekov were also a ton of fun to watch. It was also a treat to see Simon Pegg as "Scotty" — you could tell he was enjoying playing the part.
  • The action sequences were tons of fun, and the visuals were lovely (lens flares and all). These are just the sorts of things you need for a summertime action flick, and I felt all of this was done so much better than it was in last week's Wolverine. The scenery was lovely too — I really enjoyed what we got to see of Vulcan (until its demise).
  • I actually did get emotional over certain aspects of the storyline. I found myself tearing up during Kirk's father's death (early in the film), and I also felt sad for Spock when he saw his mother die in front of his eyes. 
  • Interestingly enough, the parts that had me feeling the most verklempt were those featuring Leonard Nimoy. Despite not being an actual Star Trek fan, I have to admit that so much of Star Trek has seeped into pop culture over the years, that it's hard to deny how iconic the original actors were. I actually gasped at Nimoy's first proper appearance, and I cheered on the inside when we finally got to see him stand face to face with Quinto's Spock. It was fun to see the metaphorical torch get passed along...
  • ... and it was also fun to see Nimoy's Spock poke a little fun at the whole "rip in the space/time continuum" trope that is so rampant in the sci-fi/comics/fantasy genres. 
As previously mentioned, I will admit that there were some gaps in the plot, and Nero was a bit of an idiot at times. And maybe there were some elements that purists were not happy to see (I've seen some people complain about this alternate timeline even though I have gathered that Star Trek is one of those franchises that has always seemed to mess with different timelines). But as someone new to the franchise, I have to say that it was a successful reboot from my point of view. I actually find myself wanting to sit down and watch some of the original series, while checking out some of the spin-offs as well. In fact, after the movie was over, I found myself curious to learn more about Vulcans, Romulans and the Starfleet Academy.

I also had another thought, and I'm not sure if it's something that has occurred to everyone who watched and enjoyed the movie. But even though I was never a Trekker or a Trekkie to begin with, there was something truly comforting about seeing Star Trek on the big screen in today's world. It's no secret that the world is a mess right now. And in times of distress (such as during the Great Depression), people often find comfort in certain forms of entertainment. Star Trek has been around for decades, and seeing it brought back to life — revitalized with some twists added to an old formula featuring an iconic group of characters — was oddly comforting for someone like me. It was nice to sit in that theater, alongside longtime fans, and bond over a world where someone may bid you to "Live long and prosper."

At this point, I can honestly say that I'm looking forward to whatever may be next for Star Trek.

No comments:

Post a Comment