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Cautiously going where everyone has gone before

I enjoyed watching JJ Abrams' Star Trek. They set out to re-establish the characters, and they did a great job of it. My favorite was the overly exuberant Chekov. :D Most Star Trek fans I know loved the movie.

And yet, characters were only one aspect of the original Star Trek. It was also known for its optimistic Kumbaya worldview. Having the aforementioned Chekov on the bridge crew was a big deal in the 60s. The Uhura-Kirk kiss broke new ground and guaranteed Star Trek a place in history outside of the science fiction world. As much as I loved the relative grittiness of Babylon 5 (which seems sparkling clean now compared to the just-concluded Battlestar Galactica remake), there's always been a place in my heart for the pristine ideals of the Federation. (Perhaps this is why I lost interest in Deep Space Nine after a while. It just didn't seem like Star Trek to me.)

Given the alternate timeline, I think Abrams missed a major opportunity by not adding a Middle Eastern crew member. Hell, even Galaxy Quest had Tony Shaloub, who's Lebanese-American! I'm sure it would've had its detractors who would've denounced the move as "political correctness gone awry", but Star Trek redefined political correctness! Yes, it would be messing with canon, but it would be in the spirit of the original Trek. It would have been a bold move, and it would have made a statement. The movie as it stood made no statements. As much as I loved Chekov, he felt a bit dated. (Even the plot didn't really have a point. I mean, what was it saying? "Don't be a crazy person hellbent on revenge"?)

The new Star Trek's one innovation in the spirit of the old Trek was its use of omnipresent lens flares to give it shininess. I loved that! (And even the old Trek is better with more lens flares! Okay maybe not. :D)

JJ Abrams has said that he was more of a Star Wars fan than a Star Trek fan, and he wanted to bring some of that Star Wars excitement to a Trek movie. But Star Trek is not Star Wars. I did like the actors, and so here's hoping the sequel might have a script that is more thoughtful, and more bold.

Comments (1)

Galaxy Quest was the best Star Trek movie ever made. :)

I agree with you that this one didn't really have much of what makes Trek Trek aside from the characters and the ship - although the movies in general have less of it than the show, by necessity. The movie was enjoyable but it can't have the same depth of development as 178 episode series (much less five series totaling 28 seasons worth of episodes).

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