The problem, of course, is this…
What am I supposed to think?
A friend of mine sent me this link about a week ago, saying, “Just saw it again online. As someone commented, ‘Looks sucktacular’. Couldn't have said it better myself.”
I know that as a card-carrying movie cynic I should feel the same. But I don’t.
I found it…erm…fascinating, reading in a recent article in the Hollywood Reporter, “Despite ‘Trek's’ indisputable cultural brand and avid fan base, the filmmakers and the studio hope to bypass two potential obstacles on the way to blockbuster box office returns: the MySpace generation's unfamiliarity with the series and genre and the franchise's typically anemic performance in the global market.”
That struck a chord with me. Then I realized they’re right. My kids grew up with “Star Trek” meaning Captain Picard and then meaning that kinda lame series of shows and movies, most of which were over-fixated on this “Borg” thing or time dilation. And it was never really a factor in their lives, save for the fact their dad was kinda kooky over it. They liked it because I liked it and because they enjoyed enjoying things with me.
But that’s not what “Star Trek” means to me. I was born into it. The real thing—the universe of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock—was high drama of Shakespearean proportions as far as I was concerned, and it was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. It felt real and a little scary, and, by god, it was, wasn’t it? It was the future!
For me, “Star Wars” was the upstart usurper. Yep, it captured my attention. Yep, it eclipsed “Star Trek”. Yet, its eclipse was of the “second love” variety. Bigger, better, but always second.
You never forget your first love they say, and the 79 episodes of the original “Star Trek” series were that for me. Pretty much everything else, save for “The Wrath of Kahn” movie, felt a little like a white lie. We nodded and called it “Star Trek" because we wanted more, but we knew…
Then I caught a glimpse of these photos on IMDb, and something stirred inside me.
I looked at them, and I felt it…”Star Trek”.
Then I watched the trailer, and I felt it again. Yep, updated. Yep, slicker. Yep, bigger. But there was something there.
Funny…I didn’t even completely process until my second watching that the actors in the trailer were different than those I remember from TV. I got it. I bought it. Done deal.
My friend, Mike, says that this new “Star Trek” looks like a community theatre production. To which I say, “I know. That’s part of what I like about it.”
It’s all the things I mentioned above and just hokey looking enough to feel familiar. To feel real. To wake up my inner eleven year-old and let him take a turn at the controls for a change. And, of course, to believe.
But here's the rub: I don’t trust it.
By the way, the answer is "Yes": I know that I investing far too much energy and thought into all this. Yet, I am not only familiar with the “Star Trek” universe, it is part of what defines me. It’s important in the way that all cultural icons are important and more. I was not only raised on “Star Trek”, but because of the nature of what it was—the morality play nature of it all—I was also raised by it.
If it’s true you can’t go home again, I am setting myself up for a fall. Then these pictures and this trailer are like memory ghosts, idealized visions of the way things were and might have been.
If Mr. Abrams and co. aren’t as good as everyone claims they are, and the 43 year-old isn’t entertained alongside the eleven year-old… Because that’s Abrams' challenge here, isn’t it? It isn’t just connecting with the MySpace generation, which isn’t the real target audience (save for opening up opportunities for sequels) anyway. It’s two audiences—eleven year-olds and 43 year-olds—caught in a situation of “Star Trek” proportions themselves…they occupy the same body. And if this production can’t adequately deliver to those two audiences…
I don’t even wanna think about it. Thank heavens it’s still six months away. I can hide my head in the sand till then.