The Collectable View
Alright, I guess I have some explaining to do. Yes I wrote47 years. Yes I know that Star Trek: Into Darkness released to video on September 10th. Yes I own it. Yes I have watched it a half dozen times…
...Hello Geekus Extremus remember !
The problem is I could not bring myself to review the film.
Why you ask?
Well I couldn’t figure out why either. Then it struck me. I never reviewed the original film Star Trek from 2009. Which you really can not talk about a sequel without talking about the original. So it only seems fitting to start with the original. Plus it’s another chance to talk TREK.
OK, you got me. So this only applies to Trek films right?
Yes, I reviewed Iron Man 3 and Fast and Furious 6 without reviewing the originals. Or their sequels. Yes, I am reviewing both Trek films because I want to.
Yes, that’s the reason…So there you go.
WARNING- I hate when people tell me things or reveal things about a film before I have had a chance to see it. So be warned from this point forward you read at your own risk. See the Film First…
First lets start with the facts. Star Trek beat the Dark Knights opening Imax record. Its opening weekend numbers alone out-grossed the entire individual runs of The Undiscovered Country, The Final Frontier, Insurrection and Nemesis. The film is the highest-grossing in the entire Star Trek film franchise to date. Adjusted and unadjusted for inflation, it beat Star Trek: First Contact for the largest American opening for a Star Trek film. With a total worldwide box office gross of $385,494,555 Star Trek is the seventh highest-grossing film for 2009. In 2010, it was nominated for four Academy Awards and won for Best makeup making it the first Star Trek film to receive an Academy Award.
So why was it so successful? Are the Trekkies just willing to jump at anything Trek? No the poor box office turns of past films proves that Trekkies will not waste hard earned coin on bad Trek. Look at the box office totals on Nemesis.
The Geekus Extremus View
This film is successful for one reason… Divine providence. In the world of TOS Trek we know these characters. We know their stories. This film changes all of that right from the beginning by changing time. The lives of the entire crew have been altered as a result of Spoke Prime and the Romulan ship.
Kirk is being raised fatherless like so many children. His mother who is apparently more interested in her own pursuits leaves him in another mans care. Kirk is reckless, rebellious and self destructive. We know as result of a conversation with Spoke Prime that Kirks father in the other time frame was there for him and was the reason Kirk joined Starfleet. Who will be that guiding force now? (enter Christopher Pike)
Spock is a child of two worlds. How many children are born of two cultures neither accepting a mixed child ? What we see of his development is that he is an outcast. As a child we see that he is mistreated and abused because of his human mother. On what should be his proudest day those same sentiments are expressed by the Vulcan High Counsel. Was this always Spocks history? Is this why Spock Prime joined Starfleet?
Now here’s the question: are we who we are as a result of our environment or do we realize our destinies as a matter of divine providence? How many people suffer terrible set backs, short comings and life shattering trials then wonder if their life would have always turned out the same way if things had been different?
Quietly and suttelly this film answers that question for us. And the answer is one that gives us hope. Our ultimate destiny is unalterable. In spite of the altered time and the changes in the lives of the characters their destinies have not changed.
Kirk is meant to be the Captain of the Enterprise. Spock is meant to be his friend. His crew is meant to be his family. Not even Romulans, Spock Prime and a jug of red matter can change that.
The Star Trek that J.J. Abrams has presented is not the old Trek filled with intellectual and philosophical challenges. His Trek offers us spiritual questions. Is there a greater guiding force alining the universe to ensure that what is to happen will happen no matter what?
Being a Christian one of the things you hear a lot from people is “how could God allow _______?” The Blank is always something terrible. The answer is not easy for people to understand. The good things and bad things that happen in this world ultimately serve Gods will.
The worst event in human history is the day the world put God to death. Beaten, tortured and crucified Christ died nailed to a cross. The world rejected who he claimed to be.They killed him in the most horrible of ways. Yet God turned this terrible event into something wonderful. The salvation of mankind that Christ came to ensure was going to happen no matter how the world responded to him.
This is divine providence.
This film enforces this idea. It tells us that there is something greater at work in our lives. That we just need to have the faith to live our lives and fulfill our destinies as God intends them to be.
There are people who hate this film. They all have reasons. I am going to attempt to defuse some of these arguments.
1. Bad science- critics have claimed that the film is plagued with bad science. The supernova that destroyed Romulus is Hobus which by the speed of light is 500 years away. 500 years is plenty of time to evacuate a planet.
In the Enemy Within from the TOS Star Trek season 1, episode 5, Kirk comes through the transporter and is split in two. The good and evil Kirk. The problem with the science here is weight, mass and volume. The transporter is a device that moves people or objects from place to place. It is not a cloning machine. It is not a duplicator. So if you put in a block weighing 100 lbs and there is a transporter malfunction that splits the block in two, then each block can not weigh more than 50 lbs. Again the transporter can not create new matter it can only manipulate the object that was transported.
Whats my point ? The original series never had good science. But we loved these episodes just the same. Please note that this The Enemy Within episode was written by Richard Matheson who gave us I am legend, the Shrinking Man and Nightmare at 20,000 Feet which starred William Shatner. How’s that for Divine Providence?
2. Kirks cocky demeanor is an incorrect characterization. There is a fine line between cocky and bravado. In the old series what William Shatner brings is bravado. However he is cocky at times. Chris Pines Kirk is cocky with bravado at times. This can be attributed to youth and Pines Kirk growing into the role of Captain.
The critics point at this and say that we do not see the greatness that is Kirk. Kirk’s greatness is his instincts. Kirk see’s what everyone else misses. Chris Pines Kirk delivers this brilliantly. Kirk’s instincts are displayed again and again throughout the film.
3. The Ship- Critics say that the Nacelles don’t have a clear line of sight over the disc. First… what are Nacelles ? These are the housings for the warp engines. They are attached to the hull of the ship by the V-shape structure. These long tubes with glowing ends are the Nacelles. I am a modeler. I have studied the structural drawings of the ship. They have a clear line of sight over the disk.
All of the Trek films have included the slow visual tour of the outside of the ship. J.J. Abrams did not include a scene that fans look forward to. For this reason they rebelled. I was disappointed especially since the previews show the ship under construction. You should have included the scene J.J. …but we love the film.
However this is not a reason to hate the ship.
J. J. Abrams wanted the Enterprise to have a “hot rod” look while retaining the traditional shape. The team at Industrial Light & Magic did a brilliant job with the design of this ship. For the first time the Enterprise has a stance. If you are not familiar with this term it goes back to the Muscle car era. Car designers wanted the cars to have a stance. They should look as though they were ready to take off. Fast mean ready to move.
This ship has curves, it has attitude and the stance is awesome. It is the only ship other that the TOS original that I have wanted to build. For you modelers Polar Lights released a 1:350 scale of the TOS original with a full lighting rig and Revell Germany has issued the latest Enterprise. Both are on my “things to build before you die” list.
4. Spock- critics claim he is too emotional. First of all in the TOS series Spock grins, smirks and smiles. He is a child of two worlds. The scene where Spock asks his mother- if she would be upset if he undergoes the right of Kolinahr to purge all emotion-is clearly intended to tell the audience that this event has not taken place.
Hello…did you see the film?
Amanda Grayson is played Winona Ryder who does a wonderful job as Spock’s mother. In this small scene she was able to make us lover her enough to feel Spock’s loss at her death.
5. Spock and Uhura- Dorothy C. Fontana has clearly stated that Pon Farr is not the only time that Vulcans feel sexual desire or engage in sexual activity. Who is Dorothy C. Fontana ? A TOS writer and story editor. Pon Farr is an overpowering hormone imbalance Vulcan males experience every seven years. Once triggered, a Vulcan must have sexual contact. Fontana further added the following: “Vulcans mate normally any time they want to. However, every seven years you do the ritual, the ceremony, the whole thing. The biological urge. You must, but any other time is any other emotion — humanoid emotion — when you’re in love. When you want to, you know when the urge is there, you do it. This every-seven-years business was taken too literally by too many people who don’t stop and understand. We didn’t mean it only every seven years. I mean, every seven years would be a little bad, and it would not explain the Vulcans of many different ages which are not seven years apart.“
So Vulcans can have a love life. These critics don’t know TOS Trek. Sarek (played by Ben Cross) explains to his son that he loved his mother. Again this supports Dorothy C. Fontana’s view of Vulcans.
OK in the TOS series, season 1 episode 2, Charlie X Uhura sang to Spock while he played a Vulcan harp. She is flirting with him. A moment when Spock smiles. ( you see that emotion there critics?) But it was Kirk who got to kiss Uhura. You remember the first interracial kiss on television? Did you know it was suppose to be with Spock?
Was this the reason for the relationship in the 2009 film? Doesn’t matter really they are great together aren’t they?
Important to note “Uhura” comes from the Swahili word “uhuru” which means “freedom”. Nichelle Nichols was carrying the book Uhuru on the day she read for the part. It is from here that her character’s name was derived. Uhura’s first name “Nyota” was created by William Rotsler for his 1982 book,Star Trek II Biographies, with the approval of Gene Roddenberry and Nichelle Nichols. Nyota means “star” in Swahili. The first time the name has ever been used is in this film. Another first.
In a 2012 poll conducted by SFX Magazine to find the 100 sexiest female characters in science fiction and fantasy, Uhura, as portrayed by Zoe Saldana in this 2009 film, was voted number one.
Yes that includes Kate Beckinsale…In leather pants…Fascinating !
6. Transwarp beaming-This is new to Trek. So critics are attacking this. To be fair if we are going to talk about transporting shouldn’t we start with receivers. You remember the 1986 version of The Fly starring Jeff Goldblum. Remember how he had two pods. One breaks a object down and one puts it back together. How come in Star Trek we only have a transporter on the ship? How come nothing is required on the receiving end? Shouldn’t there be a receiving platform required? Something to put people back together again? How about the other way. Your on the planet, what sends you back to the ship? what breaks you down the way the ships transporter does?
Again we accept these things because we love Star Trek. Not because of the stellar science. So why not transwarp beaming? I loved the way Kirk meets Scotty. Delta Vega is from season 1 episode 3 Where no man has gone before. This episode also proves that Spock does have the right to maroon Kirk.
7. J.J Abrams- He made the mistake of being honest and saying that he was not a fan of the show growing up. That he was more Star Wars than Star Trek. For this he has been crucified. Remember the Wars vs. Trek rivalry?
This man is a brilliant director.
Have you seen Super 8?
I took my son to see this Star Trek. I expected to hate it. After the movie my son and I were arguing over who was getting the Captain Kirk collectible glass from Burger King. In the end we both got Kirk glasses. We both loved the movie.
And yes I have collected all 4 glasses…
May the Love of Christ be with you always….
…Live long and Prosper
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