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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ultimate Geek Fu

Rebooting Star Trek

I had a topic planned for this week—actually, I had several competing possible topics and hadn't quite decided between them—but then I saw the new Star Trek movie, and pushed them all back on the stack.

If you haven't seen this one yet, it's good. It's really good. It's Casino Royale or Batman Begins good. This movie takes a concept that, frankly, was so used up, played out, and decayed into self-parody that I could have gotten a year's worth of Ultimate Geek Fu topics out of it, and wipes the chalkboard clean and starts over. And yet, this being Star Trek, they don't even have to do the usual "retcon" business (Henry can probably explain it) of destroying their own continuity, revising the canon, and simply pretending that that which went before never happened and you were mistaken if you thought it had.

Instead, take one Vulcan experimental ship, one vengeful Romulan, one planetary disaster, and one accidentally created time-warp, and voila! As Leonard Nimoy conveniently appears to explain, "The fabric of space-time is irrevocably altered." And The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine, and all those previous movies are wiped right off the books, and we get to start it all over again, right down to junking all those clunky Jerry Goldsmith orchestral pomposities and reverting to Alexander Courage's lean and jazzy themes.

Whoa. Gave me goosebumps. I half-expected to see the movie end with the Desilu credit.

There are so many things I like about this movie that I don't have time this morning to catalog them all. At the same time, there are a few things that really bother me; for example, in this new Enterprise, is the engineering section supposed to be a brewery or a sewage treatment plant? What are all those pipes and vats doing inside all that cavernous empty interior space inside a ship? (Aside from giving Kirk and Scotty the opportunity to deliver a chase scene and some patented Trek pratfall humor?) There were moments when I feared this movie was about to turn into Galaxy Quest, and someone was going to have to run through the chompers.

But those moment were few and far between, and all the way around, I give this one two thumbs way up, six stars out of a possible five, etc., etc.

Let the arguments begin.

ULTIMAGE GEEK FU runs every Wednesday. Have a question that's just bugging the heck out of you about Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, Battlestar Gallactica, Farscape, Firefly, Fringe, Heroes, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Smallville, The X-Files, X-Men, The Man From Atlantis, or pretty much any other SF-flavored media property? Send it to slushpile@thefridaychallenge.com with the subject line, "Geek Fu," and we'll stuff it in the queue.
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