Sunday, May 17, 2009

Live Long and Prosper

Nearly two years ago, in the early days of Rocketpunk Manifesto, I had this to say about the original Star Trek:

The Trek universe may be a mass of inconsistencies stitched together by unconvincing retcons, and the Enterprise may look like a 1950s automobile hood ornament. (Why were Klingon battlecruisers so much cooler?) Those are not what we remember: We remember Scotty and Bones, Sulu and Uhura, each bringing not just specialized skills but a distinct perspective. "I'm a doctor, Jim, not a scriptwriter!"
I saw the new movie yesterday, and the quoted passage turns out to work nicely as a thumnail review. The plot is unmemorable, the effects generic CGI, the bad guy a pale shadow of Khan - who cares? Those are all incidentals. What the film gets right, splendidly right, are the characters. The actors - as scads of reviewers have already noted - don't try to imitate their predecessors. They inhabit their roles, and make them their own.

It works. If you haven't seen it, do so.


Anonymous said...

I, too, enjoyed the new Trek movie. I liked the fresh take on the characters; the same people, but different circumstances. A new starting point, a new set of stories...or even a new take on old stories...the possiblities are boundless at this point. This was a great way to bring a new beginning to an old story.

Rick said...

I wonder if the cast knows what they have gotten themselves into. Surely they must. Star Trek, after all, is the original Hollywood Borg!

Anita said...

Yes it does work and if the cast is up for some more, Trek has a new lease on life. They clearly were enjoying themselves, always a pleasure to watch.

And my, how delightful to see mega nerd Spock, president of the Chess Club, kick Jim, captain of the football team, Kirk's butt all over the bridge.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that was fun. Star Trek hasn't been fun in a long time.

The new cast has signed on for two sequels. Here's hoping they don't go the same route as the Superman sequels...


Rick said...

Anita - Not to mention that Kirk can't even get Uhura to tell him her first name.

Ian - Usually sequels go to hell in a handbasket. But if whoever writes them also catches on that the soul of Star Trek is the characters, there is hope!

Anita said...

Yeah, on that sortie he crashed in a big ball of flames.

Nerds: 2

Jocks: Zip

Re sequels. The second ones out the gate are usually as good, if not often better, than the first. Seems to be the third when everything starts going to hell. Number Four, when there is one, make you weep. Retro Trek excepted -- the curse of odd numbers. We can hope ST: Reboot breaks the curses.

Rick said...

Yeah, you're right - the second film in a franchise often is better - 'Empire Strikes Back' and 'Wrath of Khan' both being examples.

For what it's worth, Trek 2.0 at least avoided the Curse of the Odd Numbers. A big change from the original Star Trek movie, that famously hurtled along at Warp Speed 0.0000001.

'Wrath of Khan,' by the way, is another example that character roolz. If I were doing a Trek movie, I'd be way tempted to bring in good old Harcourt Fenton Mudd.

Nothing to do with Trek, but in the class of movie series that could use a reboot: I've thought for a long time that the the only really good way to do Bond, James Bond, would be as a period piece. Cuba Missile Crisis, maybe?