[[image:090428_star.jpg::right:0]]Being a cinephile, particularly when it comes to genre films, I usually catch people by surprise when I admit that I’ve never seen even a single episode of Star Trek: The Original Series (whose first season arrives on Blu-ray this week), let alone any of the Trek films. I’ve seen bits and pieces of the films: I remember seeing Leonard Nimoy attacking a punk rocker with a boom box on a bus, but I don’t really have a sense of what Captain Kirk’s Enterprise is about. Perhaps I absorbed some of the old “Star Wars vs. Star Trek” fanboy prejudices by osmosis, but honestly — I think the reason I never became a fan of Trek is because I was born in 1979, after the show’s heyday, and never came across the syndicated reruns. The only William Shatner I know is Shatner-as-parody. His acting and his singing are both common targets of jest. The commercials and contemporary shows I’ve seen him act in feature completely overblown performances. Shatner has seemingly accepted that self-parody is what people want from him these days and strives to fill that expectation.
Is it any wonder that I never sought out original Trek? This was the show where people yelled “He’s dead, Jim!” and “The engines can’t take it, Cap’n! She’ll break apart!” Where Captain Kirk laid every femme alien he came across, and where the aliens are mostly humanoids with slightly different facial and cranial features. When I was old enough to choose what I watched, rather than whatever happened to be on after He-Man, I didn’t the need to go back and watch Trek when I was already completely enamored by Star Wars. After all, I’m a bigger fan of fantasy than I ever was of science fiction. Asimov and Clarke never made my heart race the way J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Ray Bradbury (among others) can, and Trek is much more a sci-fi franchise than Star Wars ever was.
Eventually I came to realize that there was a Star Trek-sized void in my knowledge of genre entertainment. I’ve been meaning to rectify that for a while, but I’m always so behind on games, television, film and books that I never made the time to catch up. Now, with the upcoming Trek film by J.J. Abrams due out in just over a week, I feel like failing to catch up on Trek was actually a lucky break. Unlike the vast majority of the people excited for Star Trek, I’ll be going in as a clean slate. I won’t be comparing the new actors to the previous actors who held those roles. I won’t be distracted by Trek canon or beholden to what has come before. I’ve often wondered how the Star Wars prequels would have affected me if they were my first exposure to that Galaxy Far Far Away. Now I can watch the prequel of Star Trek before I watch the events that occur chronologically later but were written and filmed decades earlier. After I watch the new Trek movie, I’ll add the newly released Blu-ray edition of the original Trek series to my Netflix queue and watch it with the new perspective (if any) the prequel film gives me.
Maybe I’ll even write something about it.
I worked in a bookstore when The Da Vinci Code mania was at its peak. I had heard that it was a fast-paced thriller that perhaps wasn’t the greatest bit of literature yet managed to be exciting enough to hook millions of readers and fill the shelves of the New Age section I was in charge of with an excess of books purporting to tell the story of the “Real” Da Vinci code. I mentally filed The Da Vinci Code conspiracy theorists along with all the other New Age/occult systems and secrets I disdain. Imagine my surprise when I saw the film and found that the film version of the fictional story that inspired shelves and shelves of schizophrenic rantings was so… boring. Not even the accomplished actors Tom Hanks and Ian McKellen could make the events even the slightest bit interesting. Now that a prequel is being released to theaters, the original movie is hitting BD in an extended version. If there’s one thing that make an overlong and boring movie better, it’s an extended running time! Great idea, guys.
I’m pretty curious to see JCVD, a fictionalized biopic of Jean Claude Van Damme. It got a lot of buzz on the festival circuit and is apparently a pretty clever reimagining of the the man behind Van Damme’s legacy. I’m not at all curious about Bride Wars or Hotel for Dogs, and perhaps that makes me close-minded. Still, I’d ratfher be close-minded and miss out on Bride Wars, as the alternative is too horrifying to even imagine.
Thanks for reading Add to Queue, GameSpite’s weekly round-up of US Blu-ray release highlights. Sorry, rest of the world; region locks are the industry’s way of saying they still don’t understand the Internet. I placed my apostrophe ironically, but no one understood. Cover art courtesy of Amazon. Follow Levi Tinney on Twitter, or add him to your PSN or XBL friends list: VsRobot. You can also contact him via e-mail via levivsrobot [at] gmail [dot] com.