I'm a Trekkie. Not the loser kind of Trekkie who goes to Star Trek conventions wearing rubber Spock ears or a banana clip painted gold over my eyes. Heck, the only time I've ever been to the Vulcan, Alberta Trek Centre (which is about an hour away from where I've lived for most of the last seven years) was to ask directions to a funeral. I could beat up most other Trekkies, and I'm not a fighter. But I am a Trekkie nonetheless. I watched reruns of the original series when I was a kid, and I loved the movies. I was a faithful and devoted fan of The Next Generation, which is my favourite of the five TV series. I had a passing interest in Deep Space Nine. I watched Voyager faithfully even though it paled in comparison to the original series and TNG. And I thought Enterprise was one of the most under-rated TV series of this decade. I own Star Trek I through X, most of them the two-disc collectors editions, and I have numerous DVD fan collections.
This past Saturday, Avril and I went to watch the latest Star Trek movie, the reboot done by J.J. Abrams. The original characters played by a new cast. This movie very easily could have sucked. Thankfully, it didn't.
WARNING: the remainder of this post contains spoilers. If you haven't seen the movie yet, you may want to stop reading here and come back after you've seen the movie. Unless you hate Star Trek and don't care if I ruin the movie for you.
Let me make this perfectly clear right from the start: I love this new Star Trek movie. Chris Pine was a good Kirk (nobody can be Shatner without coming off as silly, and Pine wisely didn't try a Shatner impression. He managed to get the feel of Kirk without aping Shatner. In fact, the more I think about it, the more impressive that seems.) Zachary Quinto did an excellent job portraying Spock. Karl Urban was an amazing Dr. McCoy. Simon Pegg's portrayal of Scotty was one of the highlights of the movie, and I'm sad that he didn't play a larger role. Eric Bana as the bad guy, Nero, did an excellent job. Winona Ryder was an...interesting choice to play Spock's mother. I'm glad I didn't realize it was her until the end credits were rolling.
The writing was top-notch. They captured the essensce of the characters without falling into the rut that has been trapping Trek writers since the mid-'90s. This was the most refreshing Star Trek, on film or on TV, that I've seen in a long time. The direction was also refreshing and excellent. The special effects were great, and even the look of sets were great. The shuttle crafts taking the recruits for training looked well-used and real, something that Star Trek has never really done, and the engineering section of the Enterprise looked like it was the actual functioning engine room of a ship.
The story was engaging and emotionally gripping. The opening scene in which George Kirk sacrifices his life to allow the escape pods to get away while his wife is giving birth to James Kirk caused more than a just a few moist eyes. Leonard Nimoy's cameo as Spock Prime was nice to see, and it played a more important role to the plot than I was expecting. The destruction of Vulcan was a powerful moment, especially for Trekkies. Destroying Vulcan is almost as drastic as destroying Earth to us. Another powerful moment was when Kirk antagonized Spock into losing control of his emotions, which lead to Spock beating the crap out of Kirk.
An awesome movie. I loved it. Loved it!
But there is a small part of me that can't stop thinking about the drastic changes this movie has made to the Star Trek universe. Destroying Vulcan in the prequel to everything else that has happened over the last 40+ years that Star Trek has been around is huge. The planet Vulcan is gone. Only about 10,000 Vulcans out of 6 billion survived. Tuvok, from Voyager, most likely will never be born. The Federation will be fundamentally changed. I actually woke up around 3:00 Sunday morning wandering how the galaxy will be different by the time TNG roles around. The Star Trek universe is changed. My Star Trek universe!
But, like I said, that's just a small part of me. I'm interested and eager to see what the future holds for the Star Trek franchise.