In the game of strip-mining your nostalgia for fancy cash dollars, Star Wars came first, Star Trek is happening now, and Star Wars comes next. JJ Abrams: what are you doing to us? Read on…
“All field units. Intercept the android.”
There’s a new Star Trek movie in theatres, and I’ve got pretty serious problems with it; which makes this a perfect time to continue my backwards troll through the endlessly problematic Star Trek: The Next Generation feature films, bringing me to Star Trek: Insurrection, a.k.a. Star Trek 9, and – arguably – the origin of whatever problem in the franchise grew so massive that it compelled Paramount to hit the reboot switch, wiping out 40 years of Star Trek continuity. Something about the mood in the room changes with Star Trek 9, and the franchise crosses the border from mainstream fare to fan service, even though the fans didn’t like it much either. This was 1998 – Deep Space Nine was wrapping up (Worf’s presence on the Enterprise explained in a line which is, delightfully, interrupted before finishing, as though to assure the audience that no one cares), Voyager was in the middle of its lackluster run, and Enterprise was imminent. Less than half a decade later, Star Trek would be a dead duck. The tide turned here.Read more
The first prequel-sequel in the Star Trek reborquel lands with a wet thud and Team Mamo assembles to discuss what went wrong with Star Trek Into Darkness…
In 2009 I wrote a non-review of the first Abrams film by way of sidestepping the excruciating scope of having to respond to this newfangled property directly; the guy who’s Blogging the Next Generation every week, I’m far too close to the material to do anything but repeat the trick. So, with apologies again, let’s (boldly) go:
Spock vs. Spock in the greatest car commercial in human history.
HE SINGS THE BILBO SONG.
I didn’t think much about the Spock/Uhura romantic matchup in the 2009 Star Trek film when I first saw it. I took it for what it was - a cheeky wink at the series’ established continuity by the people who were in the process of completely renovating that continuity. (On that subject, however: given that Nero’s time traveling misadventures cause no direct change to Spock’s life until about halfway through the film, we can presume that the Spock/Uhura liaison must have occurred in the original timeline as well! Now go watch “Charlie X” again.)
In the years since, though, few collateral pairings in all of SF have fascinated me to quite the degree of Spock/Uhura, or to be more specific, Spock(Quinto)/Uhura(Saldana). (I mean, there’s always Dany/Drogo, but that’s a conversation for another time.) For one thing, pushing Spock and Uhura together is just good old-fashioned shipping of the highest order, cementing Star Trek ‘09’s place as terrific fan fiction, among other things. In addition to all the self-referential massaging of Star Trek’s long and illustrious history by a team of geeks who love Star Trek (there’s even a one-off reference to the fate of that awful beagle from Enterprise, fer cryin’ out loud), Star Trek ‘09 boldly gives us two fantastically hot fantasy characters making fantastically hot whoopie with one another, spiced up with that exogamic tang that, according to some, made Spock such an avatar of SF fetishization to begin with. (Theoretically, we can thank Spock - ahem, and Kirk - for the whole notion of shipping in the first place. Well, thanks boys.) And regarding Kirk: it should not go unmentioned that Spock/Uhura represents the long-awaited usurping of Star Trek’s ostensible romantic/sexual lead by the character who, some fans would argue, was always the more alluring fantasy on the original show: the cold, logical, secretly-burning-with-passion Mr. Spock. When Kirk and Spock are heading off on their suicide mission to Nero’s ship and Kirk realizes he is standing alone on the transporter pad while Spock - cold, logical Spock - is holding up the mission by making out with his girlfriend, the white heterodox sexual paradigm of Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek finally splits open like a piñata. In my review of Star Trek back in 2009, I lamented its whitebread approach to sex; in this regard, I was dead wrong.Read more
Holy fuck that’s good.
How they resist the temptation to include a card that says “FROM THE DIRECTOR OF STAR WARS EPISODE 7 WHICH HASN’T COME OUT YET,” though, I’ll never know.
“What a perfectly vicious little circle.”
“Pen Pals” has its heart in the right place but is a fairly boring affair; both of its plotlines are competent but uninteresting. In the A-plot, Data makes contact with a little girl on a dying planet, and drags the Enterprise into a debate about the Prime Directive when trying to determine whether they should intervene to save her. In the B-plot, Wesley is given his first taste of command, leading a team that is studying the geological instability of Sarjenka’s world. I should, at least, eat the B-plot up like candy, but it’s weakly done, and gets dropped halfway through the episode anyway. And meanwhile – there’s no point denying it – Sarjenka just creeps me out. She’s one of the less successful makeup designs on the show (bright orange, with overlong fingers and sunken, skull-like eyes), and one does well not to think too deeply about the modern-day equivalent of adult Data trolling the universe for little girls to cyber-chat with. That dog don’t hunt.Read more