An old Trekkie on the new 'Star Trek': Spoilers and discussion open thread
The Florida Panthers made it through two days without letting go of anyone, so this apparent calm signals a perfect break in the "action" for my take on Star Trek, which has now occupied way too many hours of my life (don't read into that statement) over the past day.
Yes, this is a hockey-centric site, but from time to time items of my interest will be spoken of. Given my love of all-things Old Trek, this is indeed one of those times. Sorry, non-believers.
Not going to spend all night on this - thankfully - so there's no need to haul the Laz-E-Boy in front of your desktop (yes, I still have one...complements my "Original Series" line of thought).
THIS WILL BE THE ONE AND ONLY SPOILER WARNING. And there WILL be major spoilers. Moving past this signpost signifies that you have either seen the picture or may be curious about what takes place without regard to potentially ruining any surprises. You've been warned.
Dr. McCoy (in blue) questions the Panthers organization on their eagerness in showing longtime broadcaster Denis Potvin the door.
I grew up on the original series, er, "TOS". Ate up the first six movies. Watched (some of) The Next Generation. Lost it after that. Trek became exactly what its first pilot in 1965 had been accused of: far too cerebral. Read: boring. My apologies to the three or four of you DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise fans, but it's true. You may have had wonderful and far-spanning versions of General Hospital at the Neutral Zone, but it wasn't my gig. On that note, the new movie is everything those other iterations of the famed franchise are not: funny, action-packed, full of twists, and simply entertaining to watch.
I'll continue updating the bullet points as new easter eggs are revealed, so check back often if you're into it, and please contribute your own in the comments; I'll post 'em up.
Once more, I said this won't be long (I lied), just wanted to get a few things off my chest. This is not a review, just some random thoughts on a film which turns the Star Trek universe on it's head (but it can be explained away...).
SPOILERS!!! DAMMIT JIM, I MEAN IT!!!
- Spock and Uhura. Considering everything else that goes on here, this is not a huge revelation. Who else would she shack up with? Chekov? Not a surprise, though going the distance with this relationship will surely make for fancy tap-dancing on the keyboard for writers during the next two screenplays.
- Enterprise built at Riverside Shipyards in Ohio as opposed to an orbital dock high above San Francisco. Again, keeping the alternate timeline in mind, I had no problem with this. Besides, it looked great on-screen. Seeing the familiar starhip in unfamiliar territory is always a good choice. Brings it home.
- The destruction of Vulcan. This one was tough. I had assumed during the black hole sequence toward the end that "history" would somehow repair itself. Didn't happen. Ten thousand Vulcans remain in the galaxy. The one planetary body, other than Earth, which contributed the most to Trek since Day One. Think Alderaan, only you cared for it. A lot.
- Amanda's death. As above, this still - after multiple screenings - hasn't sunk in. Spock's mother played such an integral role through the run of the franchise (though mentions were mostly offscreen) that considering her out of her son's life, actively, is unimaginable.
- Plumbing and conventional valves in engineering. It all looked functional, so no arguments. Titanic in Space? Perhaps, but the entire system appeared real. As long as Scotty knows the schematics (and proper dialog) we'll believe in it.
- Sooo. Many. Shuttles. Only makes sense on motherships of this size, though sadly Copernicus and Galileo most certainly were undergoing 100-hour maintenance. New filters and plugs. Moving on.
- Nero arrived in the 23rd century by accident. Okay, but what'd he do for the 25 years he hung out waiting for Spock? Fishing, maybe? It's unspoken, but what slips away in the dialog (beyond Uhura and Kirk's throwaway lines which really do go unnoticed) is Nero and the Narada's destruction of the Klingon fleet in a scene unwisely cut from the final version of the movie. So short story even shorter: he hung around the Klingon neutral zone. I think.
- The Beastie Boys - er, a single anyway - in a Star Trek movie. Blasphemy? Nope. Works beautifully. If you'd seen the trailer with the Corvette, the entire scene has context now. Got chills watching it. Call it the narrative for that moment. "No Sleep Till...Regulus?"
- Kirk in command in his twenties instead of thirties. Once more, alternative timeline, and it is believeable here. On the same note...
- Where were the U.S.S. Farragut and other ships Kirk served on before Enterprise? Doesn't matter now, does it? All out the
windowporthole, though in this flick Uhura was assigned to Farragut before suggesting her boyfriend alter the assignment. Gotta hand it to Spock, he looks after his lady (but he obviously pulled a very Human move by not wanting her on Big E).
- The Kobayashi Maru test sequence. Simplistic? Yes. Was Kirk a bit too cocky? Probably. Did the scene work, movie-wise? Absolutely; witness the apple. A lack of realism was trumped by guffaws in the audience, no question. Hey...we got to see the no-win scenario, right? On the third try, no less. And the "commendation" for original thinking eventually did arrive.
- Why was George Kirk's wife aboard a military vessel, i.e. the U.S.S. Kelvin? Because she was. Period. Don't read too much into this, kids. Yes, starships of the "Next Generation" period of the 24th century welcomed families (smart idea...imagine today's U.S.S. Ronald Reagan with toddlers on the flight deck), but even this latter-day Roddenberry Utopian vision probably won't stick with the current film makers. Let's consider her appearance to be a transportation issue; she flew Non-Rev to an OB-GYN on the outer rim. Whatev.
- McCoy had a divorce which drove him to Star Fleet. This is one of those items that is no-question canon, and kudos to the writers for including it. As long as we're on the subject, how about that Dorothy Fontana un-produced storyline about Bones' daughter and Captain Kirk? Need tension on the bridge? You got it, albeit from a forty-plus year-old script.
- Chekov's accent. As long as he's kept in the
restroombackground, this character tick which happens to be associated with the most "brilliant" member of the bridge crew should not be all that intrusive. Any questions about Khan recognizing Pavel Andreivich now? Oh yeah...didn't happen. Well, yes it did...
- All of this Alternate Timeline stuff: is this the Trek we grew up with? Did it all actually happen? Yes. And no. The appearance (and existence of) "Spock Prime" proves all of the past which we know actually did occur. This film does not wipe clean any of the 45 years of tele- and screen-plays. Chris Pike still suffers terrible wounds while rescuing cadets after turning over the Enterprise to a young Jim Kirk. Despite Scotty's pet-in-a-cake-display in this film, tribbles remain unknown by the crew until their famous meeting in David Gerrold's classic episode. McCoy, Leonard H. still needs his pain. Nothing previously explored has changed, due to the Alternate Timeline. So fear not...your DVD collections won't be re-done for at least another 3 months.
- The nacelles are waaaay too big. So what. The leading edges rotate so all's cool. Remember the pre-internet outcry over sharp-edged engines? Of course not, but it happened. Go to bed.
- Pike in a wheelchair at the end. Fine, but does it beep? No, and it shouldn't as it's presented.
- Canon: Kirk received the Enterprise from Pike. Yes, and that's how it goes down here, as well. Different circumstances than some of us are brought up on (none of which were broadcast), but it works nonetheless.
- What about past villains? Might they crop up? They might, no question. And why not? They're presumably still out there. Imagine Harry Mudd against this bunch. Or the clowns from "Eden"? The timeline alteration only immediately and directly affected Star Fleet AT THAT MOMENT. Everything which followed was trickled down less and less throughout the galaxy.
- Scotty's got a Jar Jar? Why not, as long as it doesn't speak? The Scott character seems a natural to be yelling at someone. And with zero dialog it wins the battle against it's CGI brethren from 1999.
- A Nokia media system in the Corvette. Commercial pandering? Certainly, but from a future standpoint? The companies we currently see as background noise will morph into something we may rightly recognize at the time. And the ring-tone was spectacular.
- "Budweiser Classic". Once more, why not? As we inch closer to these crazy star dates, why would Anheiser-Busch not exist? Is there a reason to believe beer manufacturers won't be plying their trade in the mid-23rd century? Barring a second prohibition, of course. Write your senator.
- Slusho. Way kewl nod to the Cloverfield crowd.
- The Narada. Does it make any sense whatsoever as an operative mining vessel? With all those tentacles? Beyond the "drill"? No. At least considering what's shown.
- Kirk's escape from creatures on Delta-Vega. A Phantom Menace
rip-offhomage, though a far superior effort. Actual fear was involved in this application. And no one said anything along the lines of "there's always a bigger fish". Props.
- Weren't we all awaiting a mammoth Texas-style old-line plot point reference? I was, to a degree. Did I wish for Khan, or Sybok, or the Borg, or Trelaine, or Q, or etc etc...? Yeah. But I like where it went without them. For too long this franchise has recycled well-worn protagonists. This was a fresh start.
- "Spock Prime" is getting up there. Many thanks to Leonard Nimoy for performing again as his alter ego; he remains the bad-ass dood we grew up with.
- Big criticism: coincidences. Do they occur? Yep. Are they huge? Unquestionably. Is there a way around them when working within a two-hour span? Nah, but that's the essence of Trek.
- Kirk eats an apple during the Kobayashi Maru test. What's the significance? Travel back (forward?) to The Wrath of Khan, when (Shatner) Kirk reveals his solution to the no-win scenario: he's eating an apple.
- Best line of dialog? Kirk: "Who was that pointy-eared son of a bitch?" McCoy: "I dunno. But I like him!"
I'll mention here that I completely enjoyed the soundtrack, as well. And this
summary dissertation has gone on a bit long. It's that sort of motion picture... the interest never ceases.
Here's a quickie spoiler (do not blink) in the introduction of Montgomery Scott...look for the tribble (original sound effect included!). Pretty sweet.
Brandon at Defending Big D has a fine review of the film and it's place in the Star Trek pantheon. Well worth a read.
Got some other ideas? Let's have em in the comments. Thanks for your non-hockey patience.
New (old) 'Star Trek':
|Seen it...love it!||24|
|Seen it...it's ok; good summer flick||6|
|Seen it...way to rape the childhood, Abrams. WTF is this supposed to be?||1|
|Not seen it, but will||5|
|Not seen it, no plans to no matter what the world says||4|