Star Trek: the capsule review

I commented with these thoughts over at SF Signal regarding the latest Star Trek movie. They’re the sum total of what I’ve been telling people about it since Thursday, when I saw it with my nearest and dearest:

I really felt that the film was a great intertextual essay about Star Trek. While the other films/series in the franchise tried (and sometimes failed) to make a comment about exploration or the Other, this one confined itself to a comment about the text itself and the relationships between the characters. The plot was specious at best, but that didn’t matter — its sole purpose was to establish an alternate universe wherein we could re-examine Kirk and Spock’s roots. As such, it may be the most expensive piece of fanfiction ever produced.

On another note, this was the first time I actually identified with Uhura. As a child growing up with various iterations of Trek, I always felt that the female characters were just “the girls” who were supposed to appeal to me. But they were almost never women who I wanted to be, or who I could see myself in. (They were all a bit one-note: tough, angry, sexy, empathic, smart, but rarely all of those things at once.) But this Uhura actually had definite personal and professional goals, unique abilities, and likeable traits. She was sexy and smart and driven and compassionate and rebellious in her own way. My compliments to everyone involved.

Also, anything that uses the Beastie Boys so effectively can’t possibly be all bad.

3 thoughts on “Star Trek: the capsule review”

  1. Yeah, this was definitely TV character fanfic writ large with a large dollop of GenX nostalgia thrown in. I don’t think I’ve ever connected with an sf movie so well that had so little regard for neutonian physics, let alone basic plot logic. And I don’t mean that as unkindly as it reads. But after we saw it on Thursday, and certain hard sf writers who shall remain nameless started raising perfectly legitimate, non-fussy-assed, quite, shall we say, logical points, it came to me that none of that mattered. Because by focussing on Kirk and Spock and McCoy and deepening their characters just so, Abrams effectively connected the 10-year-old-kid-digging-I-Mudd-on-the-Black-and-White-Sony-beyond-all-reason part of my brain with the one-more-episode-of-Voyager-and-he’s-going-to-puke-45-year-old part of my brain. And that T1-sized link completely short-circuited any critical thinking I might have otherwise brought to the post-movie beer.session. Particularly after the wonderfully cheesy Alexander Courage reboot in the closing credits.

    Yeah, Abrams co-ordinated.

    1. It’s true; Abrams knew exactly which pressure points to hit so that we’d be disabled. But it worked. I think anything more serious would have failed miserably. Not everybody can be Christopher Nolan, and I don’t think ST has ever had room for chaotic villains with no particular agenda — it’s a commentary that the franchise cannot make, because ST is an ordered universe and it almost *can’t* go that dark.

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