Friday, May 29, 2009

Vulcan gets sucked down the hole -- Star Trek, the 2009 version

OK, so I finally got to see the latest Star Trek installment. One of my daughters went to see it with me, and we sat there, and it was like like a discovery-fest. "I wonder what Uhura is like." "Ohh, Chekov is so cute!" "Hey, checkout Sulu!" "Ah, there comes Scotty!" You get the idea.

We have some friends who definitely aren't Trekkers. They like Westerns even less, and fantasy by and large leaves them cold. They even almost didn't like Transformers—#2 coming soon; joy!—because of the politics. All of which would have implied, one would have thought, and especially because this isn't peacenik or greenie-pooh Star Trek, what with having fist-swinging, womanizing Kirk in the center, that they couldn't have liked the movie much. Besides, there was no way they could have gotten the cult/genre references and homages, of which there were aplenty, despite the whimsically willful changes in the characters—some of which were outright outrageous, but very cool anyway. Still, our friends liked it; which says a lot about the movie and its potential appeal across the resistance-boundaries of many unaficionados. And, let's face it, there are a lot of poor, benighted unaficionados out there that require conversion to the genre and its traditions.

Did we love it? Of course. Dumb-ass question.

One detail I liked was an enhanced realism in terms of 'grubbiness'. Star Trek was always associated with almost septic cleanliness, which arose in the original series from the props and the limited budget. Besides, people were much more tolerant of lack of environmental realism. But these days... Well, there were parts of the movie where I thought I had been dropped into one of those movie styles pioneered by the likes of Ridley Scott. Dirty exhaust ports. Worn seats. Scuff marks on the walls. Mind you, the lecture/assembly hall at Starfleet was spick and span, and the bridge of the new NCC 1701 on her maiden voyage into hell was very clean indeed. Not that it lasted long. A very messy, chaotic and definitely grubby spaceship with a demented Romulan, played with gusto by Eric Bana, saw to that pretty damn quick.

And, of course, Vuclan got sucked down a black hole and Earth was under threat of following after. I wonder if anybody thought 'LHC' at that time. I know I did.

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