Saturday, May 30, 2009

Boldly Going

I am not a Trekkie. I’m really not. I don’t go to conventions, I have never dressed up like a character and I don’t know the first thing about Klingon grammar theory. I’ve never even seen the complete original series, just random episodes here and there. Same thing with Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and well, I try to pretend that Enterprise doesn’t exist. It is easy to identify with the shows because as with all good (and, well, bad) sci-fi, it isn’t just about the future and technology, it is about teaching us about the human condition, helping us understand ourselves and our world, and most importantly it is about the effects of modern society and where we might “go” if as a people we make the incorrect choice.

Now I will admit that though I have not watched all episodes of Next Generation, it is by far my favorite, simply because 1) Patrick Stewart and 2) Brent Spinner. Picard is all that a Captain should be: bold, decisive, unafraid of making the hard choice. He is rigid in his expectations of his crew but he is also understanding and compassionate. He is defined by his adherence to principles-not just Star Fleet’s, but his own inner moral code of right and wrong. He does what is right because it is right, not because some rulebook told him to. As for Patrick Stewart himself, never have I been enthralled with an actor like I am with him. Maybe it is the accent, or his classical Shakespearean training, or maybe his bald head, but whatever the reason, I just find him pleasant to look at and watch.

Now, Brent Spinner, as far as the actor goes, I’m not really interested. But as Data, his character, I am fascinated. The concept of Data a machine trying to be hum is both endearing and frightening. Seven-of-Nine does the same on Voyager, but Spinner is more believable. His quest is more “human,” more touching, more vulnerable, than a Borg removed from the Collective, because he has more to overcome. He is not built to handle the human condition so when he does finally grasp a concept, like humor, it is all the more poignant and funny; whereas for Seven-of-Nine, her actions and development are more a remembrance. The audience knows she will “find” her humanity because she is human. With Data, although ultimately the audience knows that he will succeed, we have our doubts. However, Data firmly commits to being human in Star Trek Nemesis when he sacrifices himself for Picard.

I do love Voyager, though, don’t get me wrong, I NetFlixed every season about two years ago and made a marathon of each disk. The Doctor really made the show. He, too, searched for humanity, but his quest was more for freedom.

The movies fall into the same categories. I love the Next Generation movies. I wish they would make a Voyager movie. I’ve not watched all of the original movies. Where is this leading up to? The new Star Trek movie.

HOLY MOLY! WOW! Now to clarify, I’m not putting this in the same category as The Dark Night, but WHOA!! This movie was awesome!! The characters were believable. Each of the actors put their own stamp on their character and made them their own. Now, I’m not good at writing movie reviews. I never have been. But in brief I wanted to give some impressions.

Zachary Quinto, amazingly creepy as Syler in Heroes, steels the show as Spock. He was Spock. There was no doubt. In doing some research on the movie, I learned that Leonard Nimoy had casting approval over the Spock character. Quinto made Spock believable, attainable, and understandable. The cold exterior was softened a bit by the added twist of Spock and Uhura’s relationship.

Chris Pine is an equally believable Kirk. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first as I had only ever seen Pine in The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement. And while he was pleasant to look at, the movie itself was unimpressive. But as Kirk, Pine blew me away. Angsty, drama-ridden and the ultimate bad boy, the movie releases Kirk from his stereotypical captain with a girl in every port, and paints him in a new coat. He is dark, moody, drifting man with a nonchalant attitude toward life. It isn’t until he is approached by a Star Fleet commander who knew his father that he makes a decision to be something.

Overall, this movie was great; better than expected and one that I would gladly go back to see in the theater (and that hasn’t happened since The Dark Night). I was nervous about seeing Star Trek, as many true Trekkies were, not that I’m a Trekkie. What I loved best of this movie? The alternate timeline it has now created whereby the development of other movies and shows may occur without fear of ruining the continuity of the canon series. Time-Space continuum being what it is I wonder if this means we can expect a new Next Generation in the future.

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