So I saw the "Star Trek" reboot this weekend, as did many others, bringing the film's weekend gross to roughly $75M. Not too shabby and easily on course to overtake the Trek franchise's highest grossing film up to this point, "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home."
I don't believe I had as many mixed feelings as other hard core Trekkies, and here's why: It's a damn good movie. Trek cannon aside, the film is fast-paced, action-packed, with great action sequences and comedic moments that keep you riveted and having a good time. The 2+ hour movie flew by, leaving me wanting more from this new crew of Abercrombie and Fitch models.
The film is not without its flaws, however, but for some reason, I'm willing to overlook most of them. Is it because my expectations were so low? Maybe. Is it possibly because the highlights certainly wash out the lowlights? Probably. Is it because I found myself distracted by the vast use of lens flares in the future?? Does anyone know how to use a sun screen on cameras in the future?!
But the question is always asked: Is it a good Star Trek film? And inevitably, the answer is Yes. JJ Abrams and team have not only taken the qualities which have made Trek thrive in the past and fleshed them out as fresh again, or at least, in a way that was never conceived on the big screen. But they've also expanded it to mean so much more. The Original Series (or TOS as it is sometimes referred), like the first six movies featuring the original cast, centered on the humanity of the crew to overcome obstacles. Faced with countless dangers in space, the crew of the Enterprise always managed a solution, even if it may have danced in a grey area a little bit.
Of course, the new film didn't really dance in the grey area as it simply wanted to create a kickass sci-fi movie with a great cast of characters that also find a way to overcome obstacles. And just like TOS, the fact that the crew is made up of an Asian, a Russian, an African American, and a Vulcan doesn't seem to matter, nor should it. The fact that they work together well (or don't work together well, as sometimes is the case) doesn't depend on their respective cultures or skin color. They work together well because they all have a desire to do their best. They have committed themselves to the cause of space exploration, to boldy go where no one has gone before. Gene Roddenberry would have been proud, I do believe.
And that's what's really important. It shouldn't matter that the cannon was affected, because I don't believe Roddenberry was concentrating on making sure that the way the warp drive worked was consistant (the Enterprise did once achieve going over Warp 10, which as we all know nowadays, is quite impossible) or figuring out exactly what klingons should and should not look like.
But don't get me wrong. This film sort of feels like a cop out. It's a Postmodern Star Trek, taking elements we all know and love and re-positioning them to create something completely new. But, at least they had the decency to make sure to tie it back into the original rather than simply "rebooting" it as has been done with so many franchises already. I appreciate the respect they gave to us, the Trekkies.
So what can we expect from the next two films that will inevitably get made? Well, with the Trek cannon more or less up for grabs, I wouldnt' be surprised to see every fan boy already sitting in front of his computer, writing up every idea from bringing back the infamous Harry Mudd to Trelane, the Squire of Gothos, but doing it differently than TOS. And why not? You've got every liberty in the world. My thoughts? There will be more than enough time for upcoming Trek references, but they need to forge ahead with new missions of the USS Enterprise. Don't dwell on what's already been done, deconstructing and reconstructing a past which is already so rich. Do new things with these new charcters. Let's explore strange new worlds and seek out new life and new civilzations. Let's not simply whitewash the past just because we can.
END OF SPOILERS
So if some of you are not as familiar with TOS, but are looking for a primer, here's a few of my favorite episodes in no particular order:
1) Balance of Terror - Technically, one of Starfleet's earliest encounters with Romulans. Great back and forth between Kirk and the Captain of the Romulan Vessel.
2) The Doomsday Machine - Fantastic episode showcasing one of my favorite Kirk lines, "Not with my ship you don't!"
3) Amok Time - This episode explores the relationship between Spock and his home planet Vulcan, and subsequently, Spock and Kirk as well.
4) The Corbomite Maneuver - Fantastic episode with a great ending. What do you do when you run out of options?
5) A Taste of Armageddon - Two worlds are raging an intergalactic war ... waged by computers?! An episode with an idea that still scares me.
6) The City on the Edge of Forever - Time Travel? Star Trek? NEVER. Probably known as one of the most famous episodes, The City on the Edge of Forever takes Kirk, Spock, and McCoy back to Nazi Germany...
7) The Trouble with Tribbles - Even though the Tribbles are considered lighter fare, this episodes deals with an incident from our favorite baddies, the Klingons! (who just so happen to look like humans with goatees)
8) Arena - This episode pits Kirk one on one with a Gorn, a terrifying lizard-life humanoid with a taste for human blood - but all is not what it seems.
9) The Naked Time - Featuring some great performances, the crew lets out their inner inhibitions!
10) A Piece of the Action - You've always wanted to see Kirk and Spock dressed as gangsters, right? Well, then this is the episode for you!
So that about does it! I promise you that not every post will be about Trek, though if "Terminator: Salvation" sucks, I may go back to it. Can't promise anything.