Tuesday, May 12, 2009

To Boldly Go

Okay, so I'm going to see the new Star Trek movie this evening, and before I truck back here for a review, a bit about why the original series had legs, and what the movie has to do to work.

The original -- and all that followed -- certainly weren't about the science. Nobody in his right mind ever tuned into the show to upgrade his lessons from Mr. Wizard. 

Science? I would not have been surprised in the least if, when nobody was looking, Mr. Scott opened a secret door in the matter-anti-matter chamber and tossed in a couple of cheeseburgers to feed Merlin the Magician, who was how the ship really ran. Or seen somebody sacrificing goats and chickens and summoning the loa, which was how people were actually beamed to and fro.  

Don't even get me started on the fact that everybody in the galaxy spoke English -- or better, that there was a universal translator that really worked -- input and output, instantly, in real time, upon a language it had never heard before -- and was small enough to carry unseen in a pocket. Newton, Einstein, and Googlefish all wept.

No science. Don't go there.

Plots? Save for a few -- Harlan's The City on the Edge of Forever, a couple others -- no. Many of the stories were great fun -- Sturgeon's Amok Time, Gerrold's The Trouble with Tribbles  -- but that wasn't it, either. Some of them were so unbelievable as to boggle one's mind. An alternate Rome -- and second version of Jesus? Chicago gangsters with tommyguns? Hippies in space? O story-editor, O producer, where were thy stings?

No, the reason fans tuned in was to see the three main characters, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy,  do their larry-moe-curly routine. How was Spock going to pull McCoy's chain this week? Could Kirk make Spock show emotion? What unfortunate woman would fall for Kirk and thus doom herself to a quick death? 

And let's not forget poor Ricky Redshirt, who, knowing how away- teams always roasted, broiled, or evaporated the security guy within seconds of beaming down every damn time, had to get up dreading each and every day: 

"Hey, Ricky, 'sup?"

"I'm beaming down to the hostile planet with the Captain, First Officer, and only doctor for a trillion light years today."

"Aw, gee. Sorry, man. I enjoyed working with you. You want me to deliver a letter to your mother?"

So there they were, the archetypes: McCoy, the man driven completely by emotion; Spock, the creature of logic; and Kirk, who was supposedly the best synthesis of the two, feeling and intellect. He could reason, but was quick to toss that out and go with his gut, and whichever way he leaped, he was never wrong, which continually pissed Spock off, even though he was forbidden to show it. You could almost read the half-Vulcan, half-human's mind: Fuck. I work it out, everything is reasonable, by the numbers, but, no,  Jim pulls some insane, illogical notion out of his ass and saves the day every fucking time. What do I have to do to get a break around here? 

 It was a buddy movie, a series about guys in the trenches, and even given that it was network television, amazingly, character-driven. 

So, how will the new movie compare to where so many men have gone before? Tune in again tomorrow for my review and see what I think ...


Jay said...

I enjoyed Karl Urban a lot. I had some minor quibbles overall, and had given up on the series a while back, but left the theater giddy. I look forward to your thoughts on it as I am merely an viewer.

Jay said...

"an viewer" ugh!

Steve Perry said...

No net-nannies here, Jay. We know what you meant.

(Except if you are Bobbe, in which case you aren't allowed any lapses in grammar or spelling. Just because ...)

Mar said...

This was fun.
Couldn't agree more with you about the buddy movie in space. I saw the series for the first time when I was around seven or eight (in the eighties re-run they did in Catalonia) and I totally believed every single 'science' sentence any of them pulled out of nowhere or rather didn't really cared if their constant lack of dilithium crystal made any sense. And plot's sake, well...
'It's worth than dead, Jim... his brain is missing!!'

So basically I loved the series for Spock and MkCoy's bickering... that is, Bones bickering and Spock's eyebrow raising. Kirk's constant I'm so awesome I'm the awsomest ever and Spock's... well, just Spock (first tv crush ever).

Hope you liked the movie. I did.