Monday, January 28, 2008

Not So Sqeaky Clean Star Trek

Star Trek

The teaser for the new 'Star Trek' movie features the Enterprise being built by sweating construction workers using torches, a voice-over of Apollo countdowns, crackling voices over the radio saying 'God speed John Glenn', and 'the Eagle has landed', and JFK announcing "...the eyes of the world now look into space".

In below excerpt we see a ship that, apparently, is driven by some type of turbine, similar to the ones that power jets today -- look to the left for spinning blades.

(Sorry, I don't know how to insert the Quicktime media here. You can see the excerpt from the teaser at my dot com here).

JJ Abrams, and writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, seem to be striving to create a connection between the world of the new 'Star Trek' and the world we live in today. By doing so he sets the stage for characters we might accept as being our children's children and, as such, he enables us to care about them.

Abrams is going for an Enterprise born of a real technological evolution -- that is, a ship that could be built someday, by us, if we continued to advance technologically. Up to now I've gotten the sense the movie Enterprise(s) were of a future that is not meant to be plausible, totally separated from our reality -- a fake construct that had nothing to do with us and our world, which only served as a stage for fanciful stories that, while entertaining, had little foundation in real human experience and was informed by the thinnest of universal theme.

The teaser for the new 'Star Trek' suggests that the story takes place in a future that has grown out of our reality and is a direct result of our accomplishments (both those of the past and those yet to come), and is populated by characters who live in a real world and are familiar with day-to-day problems the average person grapples with.

I'm calling an audible based on the approach Abrams has selected with the teaser. In the new 'Star Trek' look for anti-Star Trek dialogue and a story that brings out a genuine humanity in the characters. I wouldn't be surprised if this movie has a gritty side -- sort of a 'sci-fi verite' -- that will thrill most of us, and even offend many Trekkies.

I used to love watching Star Trek on TV when I was a kid but the movies have left me cold. The only one I can get into is 'The Wrath of Kahn'. The rest are so superficial and glossy there's no way to feel that the crew is real or that they face any real peril. So far, new 'Star Trek' is looking like something more substantial, like something that won't leave you embarrassed for having paid money to see it.

When I first heard Abrams was cooking up a new 'Star Trek' I couldn't have cared less. But, after seeing this teaser I'm looking forward to it.

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