Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Boldly Going Where Shatner And Nimoy Have Gone Before

So, the latest trailer for the new Star Trek movie is now available online. General consensus seems to be that it looks really cool, but... Aargh, it makes me wince. I can't help it.

To begin with, the gratuitous, testosterone-soaked car chase scene and the Heroes-esque talk of Destiny really aren't doing much for me, although maybe those say more about the editing of the trailer than they do about the movie itself. But mostly, it's the Star Trek purist in me that's flailing about and shouting things like, "No, Enterprise proved that prequels are a bad idea!" and "There is no way this fits into established continuity!" and, most of all, "These are NOT the Star Trek characters, goddamn it!" And, yeah, yeah, I know that characters are played by different actors all the time. More than that, it's the characters who are the most iconic, the most embedded in the popular consciousness who are most likely to be re-visited and re-interpreted and to outlive those who first brought them to life, and it was probably inevitable that it would happen with Star Trek eventually. But, as I put it to someone recently: I imprinted on these characters when I was ten. Seeing them played by new people is a bit like having members of your family show up with new faces, voices, and mannerisms. And since my parents don't happen to be Time Lords, it's just... weird. Uncomfortable and wrong and weird.

Although, OK, I will say... Zachary Quinto as Spock? Actually seems to work for me. I think I might be able to look at him and just see Spock for an entire movie. Kirk on the other hand? Just... no. And I love Simon Pegg, I really do, but he is not Scotty.

I'm gonna have to go and see this thing, anyway, though. I'm just going to have to. I think I'm going to pretend to myself that its actual role in the Star Trek universe is as a piece of historical fiction filmed sometime in the 25th century. That sort of thing has worked reasonably well for me before...


  1. "...as a piece of historical fiction"! I like your coping mechanism. :)

    What do you make of the sex stuff? A friend of mine is arguing, elsewhere, that this could limit the movie's appeal to family audiences, and I have suggested that this movie doesn't seem to be doing anything that hasn't already been done in the TNG movies (the bubble-bath scene in ST:I, the psychic rape scene in ST:N, etc.) and perhaps in the various TV shows as well. Your thoughts? Are there other, more "typical", precedents for this sort of visual emphasis on the seemingly more grown-up stuff? (Note: my friend does not consider ENT to be a "typical" series.)

  2. It probably shows you how little concern that is to me that my first reaction to this was, "There was sex stuff in the trailer?" I had to go back and watch it again to figure out what you were talking about. :) So, big deal, there's a sex scene. Trek has never been aimed at tiny children, and I doubt it'll get much more explicit than the pretty tame-looking stuff in the trailer.

    Anyway, never mind your TNG examples... Star Trek has always dealt with some fairly adult subject matter, even back in the 60s when they had difficulty getting away with it. "Amok Time," f'rinstance, was all about sex and violence, and was very envelope-pushing for its time.

    Which, admittedly, doesn't constitute a "visual emphasis," but I fail to see why that should be the deciding factor as to how "adult" something is.

  3. You know how I feel about sex, scenes that is, but you see that on the 8pm primetime family shows. I go see it.

  4. Im not really anonmyous, Im Your Pop

  5. That's because you're an old fogey, Anonymous. ;)

    Seriously, though I will add that I do find sex scenes annoying when they're completely gratuitous and might as well be accompanied by a sign that says, "HEY, YOUNG MALE DEMOGRAPHIC! LOOK OVER HERE!" That does offend me; I have nothing whatsoever against sex, but I'm dead set against bad or intelligence-insulting storytelling. That kind of thing definitely was a problem with Enterprise, at least at the beginning, and it way well be for this movie, too, especially as the trailer seems squarely aimed at aforementioned young male demographic.

  6. One would think that, being sci-fi, the movie is already oriented toward the young male demographic and doesn't need any oomph to push it more in that direction.

  7. I get the distinct impression that, as far as studio executives are concerned, one can never push too hard towards the young male demographic.

    What's funny, though, is that if you go to a Star Trek convention, you're actually quite likely to find that it's full of middle-aged women...

  8. Yeah and some old fogies have been known to attend, huh?

  9. Betty, re: "visual emphasis", I think my friend was referring to stuff like the scene of Kirk getting horizontal with somebody, or ogling Uhura as she takes off her top, stuff like that. And for whatever it's worth, rumour has it that, in one scene that has been shown to some preview audiences recently, Kirk accidentally grabs Uhura's breasts during a bar brawl. Previous incarnations of TOS, at least, never quite went that far, right?

    In other news, a blogger has alerted me to the fact that Kirk isn't supposed to know how to drive a car, at least not when he's an adult. Remember that scene with him and Spock trying to figure out where the clutch is, in 'A Piece of the Action'? Maybe this is one more thing we'll have to chalk up to a flux in the timestream. :)

  10. Well, I don't know... It's a bit more overtly sexual, I suppose, and if the criterion is whether or not it has a chance of going over a five-year-old's head that OMG, this has something to do with sex!, then maybe you're right. But I can't help thinking back on, oh, Ilia, say, with her teeny tiny bathrobe and her Deltan pheromones. Even when I first saw that movie as a kid, I think I recognized the sexual vibes just fine.

    And you are quite right about "A Piece of the Action"! That's it. Clearly I am quite correct in simply declaring the whole thing utterly non-canonical. :)