Star Trek: the new cool
Finally got to see the new Star Trek film on Sunday and spent most of Monday reading fanfic because it was just that good 🙂
Seriously, looking at that trailer, you’d want to watch it anyway, even if it wasn’t Star Trek: TOS given new life. It’s got explosions and battles in space and mad baddies with tattoos and police droids on flying motorbikes. This counts as pretty damn cool already in my book.
But then you add the fact that it’s Star Trek – the Original Star Trek that was the only half decent piece of SF on the TV when I was growing up (because seriously, Logan’s Run and Blake’s Seven were never any competition.) And how could you not go to see it?
I fully admit I was a Spock fan, when I was growing up. I identified with him, he was like me – he was the one who never fitted in, the one who didn’t think the same way as everyone else. He was the one that popular, easy going, sociable golden boy Kirk mocked at and prodded and hurt to try and elicit an emotional response from, and I knew how that felt. (Even now, I can find very little to like about Kirk, the smarmy, self-satisfied sniggering git!) But though I didn’t like Kirk in the original series, I liked the way Spock, Kirk and McCoy were a team. I liked their banter and obvious affection. I found it hard to believe that any of them really thought that Spock didn’t feel things, because it seemed blatantly obvious to me that he did, but I agreed to suspend disbelief over that.
And I loved that whole ‘military exploration voyage in space’ thing, all that ‘seeking out strange new worlds’ and going where no man has gone before. You know, I’d been worried recently about whether I was getting too old, because I’d stopped reading SF and started reading historicals. I’d spent three years writing about the 18th Century navy – what was going on there? Was I losing my coolness? Was I becoming middle aged?
Fortunately as I was watching Star Trek 11 on Sunday, I had a revelation. No, actually I still thrilled to exactly the same thing I had thrilled to in my teens. That voyage of exploration: like Captain James Cook… oops, no, I mean like Captain James Kirk and his crew. That military set up with the special relationship between the Captain and his First Lieutenant. That sense of belonging to something greater than yourself; that belief in the importance of honour and of dying for your country/world.
It occurred to me that SF had got so dark and grimy recently that I had gone back and found these things at the source, in the Age of Sail. But the new Star Trek film rubs the grime off and presents us with Gene Roddenbury’s future that is worth believing in – a place where it feels like it might be fun to live.
And the new Spock is almost more ace than the old one. (And every bit as emotionally transparent). Kirk is… well, I don’t go for these macho hero-types and I suspect I never will. But I didn’t hate him, which is about as much as I can expect for that character. Scotty and McCoy are back as if they’d never left. Sulu… never really did have much of a character, but Checkov is an unexpectedly delightful woobie. Bless him!
The only one who’s a real disappointment is Uhura. It’s all very well saying that she’s there because she’s a brilliant xeno-linguist, but every other crew member on the bridge got something heroic to do, and she got… to be someone’s girlfriend. Seriously, couldn’t they think of a storyline that involved her demonstrating how good she was at her job? Translating something? Cracking an encripted message? No – she’s a woman, so she’s all about the relationship 🙁
Having a black female crew member on the bridge was groundbreaking in the sixties. Having only one token woman now, and giving her the ‘love interest’ story is glaringly inadequate. A ratio of six male to one female cast member is no longer acceptable. They could at least have made some of the red-shirts women to compensate!
But really I’m not complaining, because the awesomeness of Spock (new *and* old, and especially together; ‘I may have implied universe ending paradoxes would occur’ Hee!) just blew everything else out of the water.
And also there were beautiful space ships and droids on flying motorbikes and Captains who went down with their ships. And I so want to go and see it again! So when is the new series starting on TV? I want more of this, every week! 🙂