Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Yay! Star Trek is sexy again!

One happy thought (with a little pixie dust) which perks me up when my daily existence seems kind of drab is that every day that passes brings me closer to the premiere of Star Trek. Yes, some of you are now groaning and clutching your stomachs. Others are giving me the Vulcan sign, but I have to admit it, Star Trek at the moment is giving me love tingles – giant love tingles.

So ring the bells and bang the drums, but before I go too far, I have a confession to make -shields up- I'm actually a Star Wars chick. Yes register your shock now. I mean I like Star Trek, and as you read on you'll see why. Star Wars inspires stronger devotion in me because it's based on mythology, on archetypes and redemption and the sins of the father and other wonderful things. It's harder for me to accept the faults of the movies (and yes I know they are there), and they connect with me in a deeper way. With that said, Star Trek is still cool!!!!!!* And the new movie, yeah, let's get back to that....

Sensible people will be pointing out to me that the movie has not yet become available to most critics or the general viewing public. They will forecast doom on my happy thoughts by suggesting that this movie could just plain suck, and I would agree that this could happen, but the giant love tingles refuse to diffuse.

One early review perhaps covers the reason for my happiness. According to The Australian "Star Trek is sexy again" http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,25310150-15803,00.html, and for that I am willing to bow down and praise the movie gods. One in particular.....would be J.J. Abrams, a person who I do not know well, but who I would like to get to know over smoothies and cinnamon rolls because I like the cut of his jib. Who the heck is he you ask? Well maybe you've heard of "Felicity", "Alias" and "Lost". If you've never watched any of these shows, do not feel too badly because I only watch "Lost". However from all that I have seen and heard J.J. is a potential kindred spirit. While I didn't watch his earlier shows, I heard lots of good things about them. He's creative, and goes about his projects differently (a huge plus for me). He's clearly intelligent and loving of his craft, and of course he created Lost – a deep, complicated, aggravating, fascinating odyssey of a show which has been holding me riveted over the past few years. So of course, J.J. Abrams was perfect for making Star Trek cool again. Duh!

But you've got to give props to the original material. J.J. couldn't do his work without strong base material to start with. I cannot remember the time or the place where I first became acquainted with Star Trek. But I have the distinct impression that I was not impressed with it – not like the time I saw my first Star Wars movie: Return of the Jedi which left me thrilled. I think I really got into Star Trek the way everyone gets into illicit things: everyone else was doing it.

Within the walls of my convent school where so much of my character and opinions were formed, I was exposed to several adolescents and budding superwomen like myself who were all reading Star Trek books, and I mean devouring them, so of course, I had to read them too. I was one of the gang wasn't I? And guess what the novels were fabulous, and it was an easy step from there to start watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and arguing hotly over who was cuter Kirk or Spock. (The answer to this is obvious of course. Read on.) Afterward I began to fully appreciate the greatness of The Original Series; the novels helped; my imagination did the rest.

Even without the influence of convent peer pressure, I find that I still have a place in my heart for Trek, and for me it's not just nostalgia. I don't need it as I still have those awesome characters. Lots of good people here and some absolutely brilliant ones.

Don't have the time or the space to go very far in depth, but my heart is with the stellar guys above. Of course, my very favourite – Spock – goes first. This half Vulcan, half human defies the usual hero dynamic by being logical and by keeping his head, even when he was pushed to the edge. Spock used intelligence to get by; he knew no other way to do it, but yet he was still passionate (though not overtly so), so, so brave and loyal. (Remember "The Wrath of Khan" and "The Search for Spock"). He made me love the whole entire Vulcan race –arguably the best alien species in the whole Trek universe. Their way of dealing with life in a purely logical manner is in Spock's words "fascinating", even if it is not ideal. I like the idea that different life philosophies are explored in the series. Spock very often proves that his way of thinking aint too shabby. Our everyday humanness usually wins out in the show's viewpoint, but consideration is given to others' as well. Besides of course, Spock's devotion to his values leads to many wonderful, fierce and delicious debates with McCoy (one of my honourable mentions for awesome character by the way).

Data was just a sweetie and dang funny too. He wasn't as worldly as Spock – truly an android trying to be a "real boy". He was another character that provided great story potential – some of the best books were about him. Who didn't like Data a little or a lot, seriously?

Captain Jean Luc Picard is the greatest Starship character in the history of Trek in-my-not-so-humble opinion. Forget Kirk. (Well no don't forget him, he's cool and all too.) But Picard was classic. He was assured. (After all, he was himself and always himself in the most dramatic/stressful/ridiculous situations.) He was professional. He was a real gentleman, and he could say "Make it so" in a voice that made you want to jump to it and get things done! It helped a lot that Patrick Stewart is an exceptional actor, and it's no surprise to me that he became a sex symbol among Trek fans.

Besides the wonderful characterizations, Star Trek excels at presenting plotlines which make you think, and raise all sorts of ethical questions. I like it that there were sometimes no easy answers to things (though you knew that the Entreprise crew could always figure it out under pressure). Their encounters with various alien races were a great setting for this, especially when it came to the Klingons, the Vulcans and the creepy, unassailable Borg. Without a doubt, Star Trek could make you tense and excited, and I like tense and excited. But you were tense and excited while your mind was thinking furiously (hey kinda like Lost) which brings me to the new movie again.

I admit that for some time, my love for Star Trek has remained dormant; this is because that nothing was really around to shake up the old fun, but this movie gave me a nice little jolt. I mean look at it.....

This Trek has characters we've met before, but in new incarnations which I love like Zachary Quinto AKA Sylar as Spock.

Cutie and crazy man Simon Pegg as Scotty (special mention to Keith Urban (remember Eomer from Lord of the Rings?) as McCoy)

A Captain Kirk who looks devilish and knowing and fun

And a cast that just looks cool. What can I say!

Finally the trailers all leave you with an impression of dazzling special effects and action which is anything but run of the mill. (That's my main issue with some action sequences these days. You feel as if you could have seen the same thing happening in dozens of other movies. There's nothing about them which grounds what happens in the particular movie you are watching, but I digress.)


(I like Kirk and all, but does anyone else want to see Spock pound on him? You know he was tempted sometimes in the original series.)

If despite all this, you are not interested I understand, and you must forgive me for getting so excited and antsy about a mere movie, but have no fear I'm not a marketing assistant in secret, just a sometimes geek shivering with anticipation.

*Warning. For me Star Trek is the Original Series, The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and most of the related movies. I never got into the other shows. No offence meant to fans of these series.

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