You may have heard that there is a new STAR TREK movie coming out. You may also have heard that the director is J.J. Abrams, who is currently hot for being the man behind the hit TV series LOST. Early on when it was announced that the new TREK movie would be focused on the early years of the original cast, we were told to be prepared for this STAR TREK to be different. The word the studio used was “re-imagining”. To many long term TREK fans, this was uneasy news.
I was born the same year the TV series premiered in 1968. When I was 5 years old, TREK was at the height of its new popularity in re-runs. I was learning in school about the moon landings and what the future of mankind in space might be. And on Saturday mornings, along with my cartoons, I was transfixed watching Spock and Kirk and all the others we know so well. Yeah, I’m a Trekkie from way back.
But for many of us original Trekkies, we have watched some incompetent captains take the helm of the STAR TREK legacy. It became politicized, and used to preach to us about not what we could be, but what we should be. I mean, could it get any worse than using STAR TREK to tell us to save the whales? Well, yes. It did in 1996, movie #8, FIRST CONTACT, when Capt. Picard imparts to us that the greatest leap forward humankind ever made was when it abandoned money and the pursuit of profit. Talk about science fiction! The TREK universe had previously been about what was at least tenuously possible and COULD be, yet here we were getting a collectivist utopian sermon on utter impossibilities that violated the laws of nature and science. I’m still mad about that one. That’s 2 hours of my life and $5 I’ll never get back. I mean even the Star Fleet and UN logos are so eerily similar and has given me the creeps ever since I was old enough to understand how inherently evil the UN is. Its enough to make you contemplate rooting for the Klingons.
So for over a decade, while I’ve still been a fan of STAR TREK, I’ve been guarded and fearful of anything new coming from the custodians of Rodenberry’s creation.
Last night, Freedom’s Phoenix publisher/editor Ernest Hancock and I got to see one of the sneak previews of the new STAR TREK. We both walked into the theater prepared to be insulted, but left seeing a bright new future for the Enterprise.
But how do I tell you about this new version of Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Bones and all the others without spoiling it for you? Damn it Ernie, I’m a political activist, not a movie critic!
Well, if you’ve ever wondered about Kirk’s younger days in Iowa, before Star Fleet, you’ll see where he get’s his reckless and roguish personality from. It seems he has quite a family name he has to live up to; some big shoes to fill. And where exactly did he get his middle name of Tiberius? Ever wonder what it must be like growing up never accepted as either Vulcan nor Human? And exactly how did Dr. McCoy end up as a Star Fleet medical officer, when he chafes under the chain of command so much? And how exactly did Kirk get away with rigging the Kobiashi Maru exam?
I’m sorry, but I just can’t give too much away. If I do, fellow Trekkies for whom I ruin this will hold me down and pour Antarian Chiggers in my underwear. No thanks!!
But I can say that if you thought Kirk was a more confrontational type of Captain than that egg-headed Picard fellow, you’ll not be disappointed. While Star Fleet is still a “peacekeeping” and humanitarian endeavor (something only mentioned briefly in this movie while Capt. Pike attempts to recruit Kirk into Star Fleet), this is still Kirk we’re talking about. He kicks ass first, and apologizes later. That happens a lot in this film; Jim kicking ass,…Jim getting his ass kicked,…by Spock. Ooops. Did I say too much? Damn!
We also get to see Kirk being smooth with the ladies. He was always like that, you know. I mean, anyone who can get excited by green-skinned females has got pent up sexual energy, wouldn’t you say?
It turns out Sulu, in addition to being a spaceship pilot (a very new and inexperienced pilot) is also a student of ancient oriental practices. Uhura was pretty hot and tempting when she was younger. (And you’ll just never expect who she hooks up with.) Scotty is the same under-appreciated techno-weenie, but played with great skill by Simon Pegg (who you’ll fondly remember from SHAUN OF THE DEAD). Leave it to a Scotsman to get a grin from a little scuffle on the bridge between officers. Chekov is still endearing in his heavily accented English. (Apparently there are no Vs in Russian speech.) And Bones, as always, is running around trying to treat everyone’s afflictions, including Kirk’s elephantitus of the,…well,…I better not say.
Spock’s character really gets fleshed out more here than we’ve ever seen. For the most part, he’s still his old unflappable self. Well, it seems not all that unflappable, really. Just don’t insult him. Not a good idea.
While most of the STAR TREK movies have focused on the Klingon menace, this one takes a break from that and reminds us of the Romulan threat to galactic harmony. Foul-tempered lot those guys are.
There’s plenty of laughs, too.
But honestly, I just can’t tell you any more. Not in good conscience, anyway. I enjoy going to these previews because, this way, no one gets to spoil it for me anymore. I used to absolutely HATE getting excited about some new movie coming out, only to have someone give me the whole run-down the day before I’m planning on seeing it. And because I’m certain you’ll enjoy STAR TREK, I’m going to respect you enough to keep it to myself. But trust me on this; you’ll like it. The entire audience agreed with me. Sure they were a bunch of die hard Trekkies, too. But we uber-fans can be the hardest to satisfy. I didn’t encounter one other attendee who wasn’t also happy with the end product.
So cadet, your assignment is to proceed at maximum warp to your earliest local viewing of STAR TREK. Set expression for ‘Stunned’.