Jeff on J.J. Abrams's Star Trek: Spoiler Edition

Like Dave, I must admit that the reboot of the Star Trek franchise was a real breath of fresh air.  The characters were craftily re-developed and engaging.  There were, of course, some things that put me a little… off.

But don’t let’s start with the downers. One of the most refreshing clingers from the 60’s science fiction serial was the camp. I’ve had my fair share of exposure to television and movies–a fact that more than explains my social bereavement–and while ST2009 employed a great deal of heart-pounding suspense (something the OS lacked) and special effects that filled the screen like so many tribbles, it never really took itself too seriously. The cast and the crew knew what they were doing: they were taking a cast of characters that changed a generation, and making them accessible to a new breed of high-octane losers. They were hitting a Class H franchise with a Genesis device, but they never took their tongues out of their cheeks.

In the same vein, they never strayed too far from the original idea. They may have turned Kirk into a rebellious youth, the daring heartthrob born of a single-parent household, but his aim was the same: go forth, boldly, and construct a menagerie of strange and exotic women. It was a little touchy, at first, thinking of them manhandling my Kirk (who, as far as I can recall, never threw a double-fisted Haymaker), but I can’t say I was disappointed. And to see Captain Pike out of a wheelchair, and really making himself a part of it all! Warm and fuzzy, friends. I was warm and fuzzy.

But, there were some things that left me cold and clammy. Spock and Uhura, for example. I understand: Spock is neither human nor vulcan. How does it make sense to say that he is a slave to his emotionless mind when, lo and behold, he’s covertly exploring the ship’s communications officer? Nothing could make me rationalize it, short of Zachary Quinto turning to Bones and saying “Even Vulcans have needs, Doctor.”

Speaking of the good doctor, I’m still on the fence regarding Karl Urban. It wasn’t quite Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy as played by Karl Urban! It was more like, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy as played by Karl Urban as played by DeForest Kelley! This is not a complaint, by any means. He was spot on, down to the facial ticks and down-home accent. His performance was borderline homage, rather than re-invention. The more I think about it, though, the more pleased I am. You win this round, Urban…

There’s really only one major complaint I can muster about the new Star Trek movie:

Eric Bana.

No, no, I’m kidding, of course (am I?). The complaint I’m referring to is the intent of the film to revive the original crew of the Enterprise, in a way that didn’t preclude and nullify the first 3 years of their 5 (3, sir) year mission. To me, presenting an “alternate reality” (and to have the realization delivered by the communications officer!) seems to me a cheat. Call me old fashioned, but I like my time lines to be self-consistent.

The worst part is that I’m okay with the red matter. Like I said, I’ve seen a lot of cinema, and camp is okay with me. It’s the scientist in me that’s screaming about twisted time lines and crossed chrono-streams. Green women, upbeat and slightly-dim Scotty, and a Class-M near catastrophe all point to one thing: occasional bad science or not, the new Star Trek movie made me happy in a way I haven’t been since I watched the original series in college.

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