I just came back from watching the new star trek movie, so like all other nerds, I must get on the internet and share my opinions about it immediately. It was awesome. I really have nothing bad to say about it.1 Simply a great movie. That’s really all I can say without getting into spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it yet, skip the rest of this post.
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I’ve spent a lot of time watching star trek in my life. A quick back of the envelope calculation shows that I’ve probably spent about 2000 hours on trek related activities. (703 episodes2, 11 movies, DVD extras, perhaps a costume or two…) At the risk of sounding like the onion come true, there was a problem with the movie and how it treated all the rest of the star trek timeline. This movie essentially trashed it. All those thousands of hours I’ve spent watching Riker, Picard, Data, Janeway, 7 of 9, Sisko, Dax, Worf and Bashir have all been for naught because J.J. Abrams just made them all vanish.
I know why Paramount decided to go the way they did. It’s because they realized the next generation characters weren’t getting any traction in the theaters, and Voyager and DS9 didn’t really lend themselves to followup movies. (They both ended with some finality). After all these years, the characters that resonated most deeply with the American people were still Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, even to the under 40 set that wasn’t alive when they were on TV. Their last attempt at a prequel failed (Star Trek Enterprise), in part because it was constrained by continuity. So they decided to basically hit the big red button and reset the whole series, sort of like when a Dr. Who dies and they bring in a new actor to play his next incarnation. Now they can continue with the established characters, new actors, and no continuity worries. The problem is that I feel that they didn’t have to do it that way. They had no need to go back in time again and made a prequel (hasn’t George Lucas’ example taught people anything?) Why couldn’t they have just continued forward in time? Enterprise bombed because it went back – so go forward! There’s no reason they couldn’t have copied the formula that worked in the next gen- new crew, a few generations later, with newer and cooler technology, facing new enemies. They could have even used Nero – he was a good villain, and his particular brand of stateless terrorism seems to fit the current age. Now I have to go to sleep tonight, knowing that I spent 2000 hours watching something that didn’t happen. Oh. Wait a second.3
1 – That, if you didn’t get it, was sarcasm. I’m a nerd, of course I complain about movies. One of the only reasons nerds watch movies is so that we have something to complain about later so that we can feel superior to the pleebs who don’t know enough to complain. How I pity them – they are so ignorant. And yet, so blissful. (I’d better stop now before I realize the error of my ways – being a nerd also requires that I see no fault in my own life choices).
2 – 703 episodes because I count the pilot episode of TOS as an episode, but don’t count The Animated Series. (Nitpicking – another nerd hobby that we enjoy. See footnote 1).
3 – Don’t worry, lack of self awareness is another nerd trait, I won’t actually take even a minute to pause and reflect on my life and its priorities.a
a -Except to note that when I was in college if I had spent all that time studying instead of watching Star Trek, I probably would have made honor roll a lot more often. Incidentally, a footnote on a footnote is called a superfootnote, and it’s the kind of thing only a nerd does.