Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Two Cents (Thoughts on Star Trek as Originally Posted to Film Score Monthly)

So, rather surprisingly, I got out of the house and made it to a movie theater. On an opening weekend. It’s harder than you think with my two kids. They’re high energy, they’re fun and they like to do everything together as a family and by the end of a day it’s all I can do to drag myself into bed.

But I wanted to see Star Trek. I’d hoped to see it sooner rather than later, but it was proving tricky. I didn’t really want to go by myself (although I was ready to resort to that). My wife decided from the promos that the film was aimed at 18 year old boys and would be “too much” for her. The friend I have in town who’s closest to a Trek fan already had plans to go see it with his girlfriend. I figured I’d get to see it at some point with another friend – and, frankly, I had no idea of his history with or opinion of the Trek franchise. But then he called Friday evening. “You want to go see it tonight?”

The kids tucked into bed, I ate a bowl of ice cream to help guard against sleepiness and headed to the theater. I think I was expecting to see at least a few people dressed up in Starfleet uniforms of some vintage or other, but there was nary a comm badge in sight. And I left my Spock ears at home (in the package where they’ve always been, to be fair).

Like Mark Ford and Jeff Bond and, I’m sure, many others around here, I grew up on the reruns. I discovered the show circa 1970, around second grade, and it quickly became a staple. The first books I ever bought with my own money were some of the Blish novelizations and David Gerrold’s making of books, The World of Star Trek and The Trouble With Tribbles. I searched in vain for toys that bore any real resemblance to the actual series props. But in the hinterlands of Iowa, there were no conventions – at least none of which I was ever aware – and it remained only a beloved show and, later, a beloved series of films, but I never became a raving “We’re not Trekkies, We’re Trekkers!” kind of guy. I finally allowed myself to enjoy the Next Generation, but I only caught one or two episodes of Deep Space Nine (yes, the Tribbles episode was one) and gave up on Voyager after the pick up truck in space episode (although I did begin watching again when Seven of Nine showed up. Yeah, I know, so sue me.) It took me a couple of weeks to finally catch Insurrection and I almost didn’t bother to see Nemesis in a theater at all (but the hype about Jerry’s score finally sold me a ticket).

I tried not to find out much about this new installment. The whole idea seemed a little, well, lame. Why do they keep trying to do prequels? Who cares already? And as for JJ Abrams, I know nothing. Haven't seen lost or anything else he's done. I don't even really know what else he's done right off the top of my head.

So now that I’ve seen it, I thought I should blog some thoughts about it here. But with a coupla message board threads and blog posts already bursting forth with opinions, it seems sort of anticlimactic to add my tiny opinion to the fray. But I loved it. I had a great time. I don’t care that it killed old Trek continuity. I mean, come on, one of the first episodes of the original series called him James R. Kirk and the term Federation didn’t even show up until, I don’t know, late in the first season. So let’s not kid ourselves. It’s just a show. We should really just relax.

And, in it’s latest form, it’s a rousing good time. Sure, the fights and editing are a little Bourne-ish at times (cut so quickly it’s hard to follow what the hell’s going on) and the plot’s not going to withstand a whole lot of critical explication, but it hit the right buttons and never had me glancing at my watch. The character introductions were spot on, the little nods here and there to the big nerds (like seeing an Admiral Komack) were sprinkled in nicely and it was just a lot of fun,. I haven’t had this much fun seeing a movie since, well, I don’t really know. Granted, I don’t really get to see movies anymore, but still…

As to the score, well, since the days of Goldsmithian Hornerosity are long gone and never to return, I thought it worked well. I’m eager to hear it on cd. I was never a big fan of Courage’s theme apart from the justly iconic opening fanfare, but it really made me smile to hear it again in this new setting. Everything old is new again.

Now if I could only justify buying the amazingly awesome prop toys that are being made these days.

1 comment:

TNG Fan said...

You'd probably be representative of the people Trek's aimed at these days. If you knew more about it, you'd probably have recognised it for a bunch of special effects no-one would have bothered to see were it not for their association with hard-won quality. Star Trek was thoughtful, provocative, while this was eye-candy.