…well, “new” in my books.
I FINALLY got around to watching last year’s Star Trek (dir. JJ Abrams). Just finished watching it and it’s 4:30 AM at the moment, and I felt the need to blog about it, because that’s how much I loved it! I feel like a total fangirl* now.
As a product of an immigration wave into Canada during the era of the Liberal party (and Trudeau’s open policies), my family was never interested in popular culture. It was all about working hard and honouring God, while establishing our family in this xenophobic region (I lived in Burlington, ON for a good chunk of my childhood. If you’re from the GTA, you know what I mean). Growing up (and almost to this day) I couldn’t distinguish the Wars from the Trek, mostly because I just didn’t care enough to. I can still (proudly?) claim that I’ve yet to fully watch a Star Wars film or an episode of any of the Star Trek TV shows.
However, when the promotional circuit for last year’s hit film began, I kept hearing that this was written as a prequel to the entire franchise, explaining a lot of the complex relationships, characters, wars, enemies, etc. I was intrigued…mostly for John Cho and Chris Pine (I can pretty much say without hesitation that I have a total fangirl-level crush on Cho…too bad he’s taken). I kept putting off watching the film because I didn’t want to pay to watch it, and then my interest just waned off as I waited for the DVD release. But goddam am I glad I remembered to watch it.
My eyes have been opened to a brand new realm of understanding cultural references, especially jokes made in one of my new favourite TV shoes, The Big Bang Theory. I totally get where “Beam me up, Scotty” comes from now! Awesome! I also always thought that “Romulan” was some type of noodle dish (it sounds similar to the Korean word for instant noodles). I stand severely corrected.
So now I know who the Vulcans are, the backgrounds of both Spock and Kirk, and why Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory is often associated with Spock. I have yet to figure out what Storm Troopers are, but I’m safely going to assume that I’m thinking about the wrong franchise.
The film in itself had great action sequences – I LOVE action. Despite my film studies pedigree, I am not a snobby film consumer. I just love cinema. So when I say that one of my fave films is Mission: Impossible, I’m not kidding around. Anyway, the relationship between Quinto and Saldana’s characters was really interesting, and of course it goes without saying that the CGI was indeed “out of this world” (I haven’t seen Avatar yet, so this for was truly impressive for me).
I also liked how I couldn’t recognize Winona Ryder as Spock’s mother until the credits, because if I did recognize her, I would have spent the entire time wondering about the age difference between Ryder and Quinto. This is also one of the first feature length SciFi films where I truly followed and understood what all the motivations for the characters’ actions were – I usually get all confused with the jargon and I stop caring. I really can see the work the screenwriters put in to ensure that new fans would be cultivated with this film.
One thing I didn’t like was how freaking often Kirk precariously hangs off of a ledge. I get that it was probably used as a narrative device to show how carefree and ballsy the dude is and how he never “matured” from his younger days, but it gets pretty unbelievable by the final time (as if the whole situation was totally believable!!)
I’m left wondering why Kirk was promoted to Captain, and not Spock. Does one insanely impressive time-space continuum crossing, warp-speed defying, galaxy saving mission merit a captaincy? Some would argue “yes”, but I think Spock would make a great Captain as well. Perhaps he knows this, but his logic tells him that he needs to stay by Kirk’s side to tame his beastliness (his logic also probably tells him that there would be no franchise without the pairing).
The question remains: Will I venture out into the world of the Star Fleet, watching how they evolve and grow as characters by going through the TV archives? Probably not, because loving a film and loving a franchise is a different thing. However, IMDb tells me that there is an unnamed sequel to this film planned for a 2012 release, and I will most likely watch that.
So I leave you with that. And of course, “Live Long and Prosper” (but come back to visit my blog once in a while).
*Disclaimer: I do not mean to offend real, committed fans of the franchise by calling myself a “fangirl” undeservedly. I am just that excited about enjoying something I didn’t think I would. I also just want to be accepted into the cool kids club. That’s right – the definition of “cool” has just now been severely altered.