Across the universe

I don’t find myself becoming excited for much in the way of media releases these days, be it books or movies or games or albums or what have you. But Star Trek seems to be the exception to the rule. Not that it surprises me — I’ve been waiting for this movie for 20 years or so. I had the poor timing to become a Trek fan right after Star Trek IV, which meant that all my anticipation built up to… Star Trek V. And the first season of The Next Generation. Oy. Nicholas Meyer had the good grace to make sure The Undiscovered Country was a worthy send-off for the classic crew, but then Generations went and crapped that up, too.

I seem to have pretty bad luck with fandom, frequently getting into something just before it goes sour. I turned into a prog rock maniac in the early ’90s, getting into bands like Yes and Genesis and Rush and Emerson Lake & Palmer right before their dire early ’90s “right, let’s bang one out for some easy money” releases. Yes’s Union is definitely the Star Trek V of prog rock. Maybe that’s why I’ve ended up writing most about games — having grown up right alongside the medium, I’ve been able to jump onto great franchises on the ground floor. Like the bands and movies I’ve enjoyed, the likes of Castlevania and Mega Man have seen better days… but I was there for those better days, and as a result I don’t feel like someone who arrived at the party right as the DJ quit playing and the food ran out.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the new film — which I’ll be catching tonight, and probably a few times down the road — because it’s being almost universally hailed for achieving the seemingly impossible task of being a good general-audiences work while working for Trek nerds as well. Crazy, right? It’s like that episode where Captain Kirk brokered peace between the guys who were half-white, half-black and their rivals who were half-black, half-white. Or maybe not. All I know is that I’m ashamed for even writing that.

Which begs the real question: how well does the movie work for people who really love Trek, but have the good grace to be embarrassed about it? I suspect it’s going to make us the happiest of all.

13 thoughts on “Across the universe

  1. Yeah, I was pretty much the same way with Star Trek IV/The Next Generation. I remember going nuts and asking for an Enterprise model for Christmas as soon as my folks and I wandered out of the theatre.

  2. Yup, I had Revell scale models of both the classic Enterprise and the refit, badly assembled and sloppily painted in my haste.

  3. I had those too! Stay out of my childhood! On a less snarky note, I did enjoy TNG – particularly once it found its voice, but only the series… I’ll be seeing the movie next weekend in IMAX, and am looking forward to hearing what you think of it…

  4. I hope you enjoy it. I have quibbles, and there are some moments that seem excessively pandering, but it’s a good film overall.

  5. Oh, The Next Generation was eventually very good, but “eventually” was after season one. Being hit with the double-gut-punch of STV and the first season of TNG all at once was a crippling blow to my enthusiasm.

  6. Am I remembering that episode wrong? I thought at the end the last half black/half white and half white/half black person were still fighting each other showing the follies of race-based prejudice.

  7. There are moments of pandering, but you know what- who gives a shit? The introduction to the characters that you love (Bones, Chekov, Sulu, etc.) were applauded by the nerdiest of audience members, and gave me, a guy who has never enjoyed a single moment of the entire series – be that television or movie – a great big smile. I can’t say enough good things about this film. I’m definitely checking it out again.

  8. It was definitely entertaining, but lacking the intelligence and social commentary that the name sake are known for. Kinda like Starship Troopers, what we get instead is a VERY pretty effects piece about young supermodels, their drama, and lots of explosions. JJ wasn’t kidding when he said that the only point of the new Trek is “to entertain, and nothing more”.

  9. The half-black/half-white episode was “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” the only watchable episode in Season 3 of the Original Series. And, yes, the episode concluded with the two last members of the race escaping to the ruins of the planet below to continue their fight to extinction. A typical example of Star Trek’s subtle, poignant commentary on race relations.

  10. “but lacking the intelligence and social commentary that the name sake are known for.”

    That statement feels wrong to me but I can’t fully explain why without going on and on and on. I’d simply say that while it could have, but lacked the room for social commentary without feeling forced. It was Kirk’s story first and Spocks story second and anything else was just trim.

  11. I have a strong distaste for all things JJ Abrams, and no interest in Star Trek, so I will be passing on the film. But it does look like you Trek fans are in for a good time from everything I hear.

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