Subspace Noise

You know what's pissing me off about this new Star Trek movie? It's nothing about the movie itself, 'cause with all the positive things I've heard about it from both professional critics/journalists as well as friends and acquaintances -- not to mention the totally bitchin' trailers I've been grooving on -- I'm maintaining a healthy (but cautious) optimism in preparation for seeing the film on Wednesday. No, what's pissing me off are all these Trekkies (not "Trekkers", and I'll proceed on the assumption that I don't need to explain the distinction I'm making) who chose to slam this movie, before they even saw it, based on only two post-production trailers and the small trickle of information that the official sources have released. I expected all the snarking and sniping from the revelation that the characters would be played by new actors, and I figured there'd be some noise because its nature as a "reboot" means that the original sequence of events would be tinkered with. But I finallly saw, just in the last few days, a couple of examples of how the "get-a-lifers" (as I quasi-affectionately refer to them) have gone a bit overboard.

I'll start out with Confused Matthew who, after seeing just a couple of his YouTube videos, I get the impression is extremely difficult to please about anything. Here he proceeds to assume that a two-minute trailer is completely representative of the other 118 (give-or-take) minutes of the movie's content, and whines (quite literally "whines" ... just listen to it) about how Star Trek isn't supposed to be an action movie. While it's true that this trailer is far more action-packed than any other Trek trailer of the past, it's also true that a trailer's job is to get people to see the movie, and what draws the most people in on a primarily visceral level these days is two minutes packed with as much rollicking, hold-onto-your-seat action as possible. If there's one thing that any of us who have been paying a decent amount of attention have learned in the last several years, it's that you can't judge a movie by its trailer. If they can pack all the funny scenes of a mediocre comedy into a 90-second trailer (and lord knows, they're absolute masters at doing that ... look no further than "Baby Mama" for proof), who's to say they haven't packed most every frame of action in an otherwise dramatic talky-talky-moral-implications-prime-directive-yadda-yadda movie into a two-minute ad? It might suck, but it's the nature of advertising. Oh, and besides, this guy hated First Contact, so how reliable can his opinion be anyway?

Going from there, we have some guy in a USA Today article who not only calls J. J. Abrams' movie a "travesty" sight unseen, but goes so far as to say that it has "gone back in time and wiped out 700 years of Trek history." (I could only count about 400 years by my math ... Trekkies aren't that bad with numbers, so he's probably just being a drama queen.) And then there's this blogger -- a nice enough guy in real-life, I'd assume -- who appears to have entered into a state of out-and-out mourning over the Shatner/Nimoy era of Star Trek and has remarked that the new film will "cannibalize" and even "destroy" the Trek we have known and loved up to this point. Uh ... am I missing something? Unless Paramount has demanded that all Trek fans out there either shred or return to the studio all copies of their Trek DVDs, books, and comics, the Star Trek of the past is not going anywhere. Those 600+ TV episodes and ten movies, from the sublime "Far Beyond The Stars" and The Wrath of Khan to the ridiculous "Sub Rosa" and The Final Frontier, exist forever as canon and won't be undone ... unless someone actually does figure out a way to come back into our real-life past and change our real-life timeline. And we all know that hasn't happened, because you're sitting here reading these words and you wouldn't be if they did. (Okay ... minor geek-out ... sorry.)

I'm starting to think that maybe the writers should have left Leonard Nimoy's Spock and his time-travel-induced (from what I understand) appearance out of the picture, which would have untethered this film from "our" Star Trek and thus (presumably) put a stop to all this alternate-timeline-destroying-everything-we-love-about-Star-Trek jabberwocky. My point is: this is only a movie. It's another person's vision of the Star Trek universe. Simply seeing different actors in the classic roles should have been enough to clue you in on that. I for one am going into this theatre with no expectations (or at least I'm trying to ... gotta dig those trailers!), no demands that it live up to a "Star Trek standard", because when this is, in a sense, the first Star Trek movie, there are no standards, or at least none that we can justifiably hold it up to. (Would we go into a Michael Bublé concert demanding that he be as entertaining and captivating as Frank Sinatra? No, and we shouldn't.) Abrams said somewhere that he just wants the movie to entertain us, and that's the one expectation I'm carrying with me into the auditorium. Hey, maybe Chekov's hair is a little goofy, and maybe Kirk ends up tapping Uhura for real instead of in the context of telepathic playthings for aliens' amusement, but we can't charge Abrams with destroying Star Trek ... the last few years of the Rick Berman regime did that just fine on its own (or have you not seen Star Trek: Nemesis?).

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