Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Star Trek

I've been a fan of Star Trek since I was old enough to watch TV. I was basically only allowed to watch Sesame Street and Star Trek. I, in my childish mind, thought what I was watching was in some sense real, that there was a Starfleet. After all, the news was showing me Vietnam and Nixon, and those were real. I wanted to grow up and join Starfleet. Imagine my disappointment (which may have actually been worse than learning about Santa Claus, since I was Jewish).

I remember when Christian Moore, the President of Last Unicorn Games bemoaned the fact that he couldn't find a Star Trek expert to hire. I remember staring blankly at the phone for a second before saying "are you fucking kidding me?!" It was my dream job, because not only did I get all the toys sent to me for free, I also got to visit the sets from time to time. Then there was that time we were invited to a private Star Trek party, only to discover we were the only guests there not affiliated with the shows; only the "big three" (Shatner, Nimoy, and Kelly) were not in attendance. But I digress.

Thus, it was with great joy that I ran out to buy the newest movie on DVD. I come to praise Star Trek, not bury it. There is so much to love about this movie, I'm willing to forgive its shortcomings (of which there are more than a few, I'll admit). And I'm not going to talk about vague generalities (it captured the classic Trek feel) or the casting (we all know Quinto and Urban were awesome). I'm going to list the things to which I twigged, that made the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up:

1) The sound effects. Pike or Kirk push a button on the captain's chair, and it makes the same sound it did on the original TV show. The background noise on the bridge, all the pinging and booping, was also accurate. I felt like I was home again. The communicators also chirped when opened, again with the original sound effect.

2) The tribble. On Scotty's desk on Delta Vega, there's a round cage with a fur ball in it. It's a tribble. And it trills properly, too. Abrams just passes by it. He doesn't say "hey look, Trekkers, it's a tribble!" with his shot. Kudos also for giving it to Mr. Scott (who beams the little buggers away in the original episode). If only they'd put it in Uhura's dorm room, instead!

3) The beauty shots. Let's face it, the Enterprise is an iconic spaceship. It is a character in its own right. They make sure to show it in at least three beautiful scenes (Abrams admits to enjoying the beauty shot from the first movie). Whenever I saw the Enterprise, I whooped with joy.

4) The Klingons. Now we're getting into deleted scenes. Too bad they were, because they really show off the Abram's team's knowledge of Trek. The Klingons capture Nero and send him to Rura Penthe (point for getting the Klingon prison planet right). All the Klingons wear helmets, neatly side-stepping the whole "do Klingons have head bumps" question. If they ever do a Klingon movie, I'd suck Abram's cock if he went back to the non-bumpy, Mongolian-looking Klingons.

5) Kirk's brother. Also among the deleted scenes. Kirk has an older brother. He's the kid young Kirk passes by when he steals the car. This is canon. Kirk had a brother. He died in the episode with the giant, flying, killer amoebas.

6) The uniforms. The movie starts with everyone on the Kelvin wearing the blue jumpsuits of "Enterprise." But then we get back to the good old gold, blue, and red shirts. With the different department arrows, I'll note (stars for command, two interlocking circles for science, crook for the red shirts). That's what really got to me -- those arrowheads.

7) Green blood. Spock's got a split lip. He's bleeding green. Romulan guard gets stabbed. He's bleeding green. Not chartruse. Not red. Green. (I know it's not a big deal, but given Hollywood's proclivity to put its fingerprints all over everything, they might have at least messed up on the Romulans.)

8) Not a single fucking mention of the Prime Directive, that element that always seems to bring the plot to a screeching bore.

The devil is in the details, they say. Star Trek succeeds for me as a movie because this crew (Abrams, Orci, Kurtzman, et al) get the little things right. They could have said "screw it" or "this is our version Trek, so we'll do what we want." But they didn't. They gave me back the Enterprise I knew from my childhood.

Now, where's the nearest Starfleet recruiting station?

No comments:

Post a Comment