Sunday, June 2, 2013

W.B. at the Movies: Star Trek Into Darkness

The first Star Trek movie in the new series established that the early death of James T. Kirk’s father (who in Shatner-Trek lived to see his son become a Starfleet officer) sent the proverbial time-space continuum off in a different direction – essentially restarting the story with Kirk in need of a father figure and Spock’s eternal struggle between Vulcan logic and human emotion complicated by his rage over a madman destroying his home planet and killing his mother along the way.

The second Star Trek movie further explores the possibilities of this alternate universe, replaying familiar scenes with roles reversed (or not) from the first go-round. For someone fortunate enough to have been sitting in front of a television set the night of Sept. 8, 1966, when “Man Trap” launched this 47-year mission to seek out strange new life, there are plenty of fun little nods to what went before as the new crew makes its own way.

Infuriatingly (although I am NOT a Trek geek) I found myself struggling to accept the very first sequence of events, which finds the starship Enterprise parked in a place where starships were just not designed to park. It says right here on Page 171 of my treasured first printing of The Making of Star Trek that I bought for 95 cents in 1968: “The Enterprise is not designed to enter the atmosphere of a planet and never lands on a planet surface.” When you learn how much care went into the design of these mythical space vessels, it’s kind of dumb to violate the principles behind that design. (I am NOT a Trek geek!) But once that opening sequence was over (with a hint we may revisit this planet someday), we were in for a satisfying ride.

Having encountered the “spoiler” behind the actual identity of the mysterious villain named John Harrison (I put “spoiler” in quotes because rumors this villain would appear in the second movie began flying shortly after the end of the closing credits of Pine-Trek I), I was able to watch for and enjoy the various similarities and divergences from the original Trek canon.

The torch has been passed to a new generation: The actors have done a wonderful job of inhabiting iconic characters while making their own identifiable contribution to the legend. The filmmakers have accomplished something the old crew was not able to do – created two consecutive very good Star Trek movies.

I did not walk out of Star Trek (2009) or Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) with the same OMG-that-was-great feeling that I had when I walked out of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, but I do find myself hoping it won’t be another four years before we revisit this story. And now that we’ve really established the new cast and laid down how the new Trek is different from the old, I hope next time they really do go where no one has gone before.

Cross-posted at Uncle Warren's Attic

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mind numbing.