May 13, 2009 How Star Trekkie is it?
With everyone out there all agaga over the new Star Trek movie I thought I’d take the time to point out that the Emperor, while not naked, isn’t dressed as well as he could be. Because Star Trek is what it is for three reasons:
Action the TV show’s broadest point of appeal and the movie’s strongest point. The characters were strong and moved the plot forward and tension stayed high despite a weak villain and at least two gaping plot holes that I won’t spoil in case someone out there hasn’t seen it.
Social Commentary was the TV show’s strongest redeeming quality. Roddenberry used aliens and spaceships to address contemporary social issues that would otherwise never have been allowed on uptight 60s TV networks. And this is where the movie falls flat because Star Trek’s strongest quality is completely missing, unless the message was “Don’t travel back in time out of revenge because it’s not nice”. And there was room. Nero’s story was flat and could have been fleshed out to be more relevant to the human condition.
Maybe in the squeal, that is if they start making Star Trek sequels…
Science Fiction has always been the show’s weak point. Science Fiction doesn’t age within a few short years visions of the future become dated at best. Yes, some cell phones look like communicators but that doesn’t make Roddenberry a predictive genius like Verne or Clark.
The movie doesn’t try to correct the assumptions the show was based on and Star Trek continues to drift from science fiction into space opera. Except on one point. It was subtle and probably unintended but there’s one little vision of the future that the movie probably has right; 100 plus years in the future commercial radio will still be shoving the Beastie Boys in our ears.