Beam me up, Buttercup

When I read that J.J. Abrams was rebooting the Star Trek franchise, the first thought to rush through my mind was “Oh God”. Now this doesn’t mean much. I know. In fact, I didn’t know myself what I meant with it. On the one hand, I was psyched to have another Abrams movie coming. On the other hand though, Star Trek brought back memories of static acting, bad backdrops and overweight people in wheelchairs pressed into insufficient amounts of spandex spouting Klingon insults (yes, I have been to a con or two in my life).

After a while, however, and after having seen the magnificent trailers, the idea grew on me, and I realized that I actually didn’t know as much about the Star Trek universe as I thought I did. Star Trek (2009) could be my way in – I could sneak in through the back door and ignore the history the house-in-renovation had. And I’m glad I did.

Kirk and the Battle of the Bar Brawlers

In typical Abrams fashion, the bottom layer of this movie (the part of the cake that then gets topped with cream and all that good stuff) are the characters. There’s Kirk, your typical wild boy bar brawler, and on the other side of the spectrum, Spock, the condensed smart-ass with a temper perfectly hidden inside of him. These two characters alone could have their own movie, but instead they are supported by a whole bunch of underused characters (sequel! sequel!): a black chick, a chinese dude, a russian guy, a scotish lad… The list goes on. And screams SEVENTIES in my ears at a deafening volume.

Just like a lot of J.J. Abrams productions, the two main characters would get along fine if it weren’t for this one little hick-up. In the case of Star Trek, we’re talking control: should you follow your gut or think things through before going for it? Obviously, the answer is somewhere in the middle – and that’s the moral of our story. No biggie.

You’re gullible, McFly!

If you go watch this, do not expect to be blown away by the depth of the story. In fact, if you expect any kind of earnest story at all, you risk being disappointed. Star Trek seems to wander the path of Back to the Future and Indiana Jones by mocking the very thing they’re trying to convince you of. Star Trek, whilst being an awesome movie, gets quite absurd at times, uses every cliche in the book, but it’s all done with such
air and a tongue-in-cheeck attitude that you let things slide. Even if they seem to make certain errors in their own mythology. It’s all in the paradoxes.

So for those expecting to have a deep experience, you’re out of luck. The space theme is kind of passé now compared to the seventies (I groaned when I first saw a space ship in this movie), so I guess this is one of the more interesting way to still tell these kind of stories. You just need to make sure the characters are fresh and interesting… and mildly funny (even if unintended).

In all…

If you’re going to reboot a franchise, you gotta do it right. You need a careful mix of things that aged well (from which you stay far, far away) and new things to replace those that haven’t aged well. Oh, and in the case of Star Trek, you apparently also need to set up an alternate universe.

Awesome little movie. Can’t wait for the sequels.


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