Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Star Trek Babies

You've seen it a bunch of times in the movies and on TV, the nerd that gets a montage makeover and suddenly becomes a hottie. You could tell all along though that under those thick black frame glasses, under that purposely goofy slicked hairstyle, and behind that cluster of books held tightly against the chest, that person was really good looking all along. It was a common theme in '80s movies.

JJ Abrams decided to give our nerdy friend Star Trek a make-over, and just like what happens in those '80s movies, we now all stare with our mouths open in a collective "wow" as it walks into the cafeteria.

Star Trek has been given a new slick image, young, good looking, and full of the action that modern movie audiences must have to keep their attention in a world of video games and special effects. It's a prequel re-boot of what some would call a tired franchise, but I'd say it really just brings the mythos up to current standards. Of course, when you mess with canon, you might get blasted in the face (bad, I know).

Everyone can rest easy though, Star Trek satisfies the purists and makes new fans in a masterful way.

Time travel has always been a theme in science fiction and Trek has used it many times, but that has always made contextual sense with Einstein and the connection of space/time. So time travel as a story vehicle in Star Trek isn't a cheat, and JJ uses this to his advantage. He wipes the slate clean, gives us a connection to the original, and sets us up for a whole news series by twisting the whole time line. We accept the new Captain, the new Spock, Scotty, Bones...they are who they should be and they're ready for new Star Trek Babies adventures. JJ has made it so even the most rampant Trek purist has no argument, "but but but..." Sorry Nerdlinger, time travel (tap tap on wristwatch).

A person could go on and on about the fitting young actors they picked to play the iconic roles, the retro yet functional style of the new Enterprise, the realistic frantic battle scenes, and the glimpses of the original series coming through. It's all handled like you want it to be, or should I say, like it needs to be in 2009. Audiences expect a certain level when they see a movie now, and when you're given Trek to re-mold. You better do a good job, or else all fandemonium breaks out.

My hat's off to JJ Abrams, he entered the den of geeks and came out intact. It would have been safer to put on a red shirt and volunteer for an away party, but he did it anyway. Raise a glass of Romulan Ale, success!

Star Trek is fun stuff, for everyone. That's the review, seven words.

One subtle example of a nod to the original series is the updated version of Spock's home planet, Vulcan. It has angled rock formations that are reminiscent of the Vasquez Rocks outside of Los Angeles. The Vasquez rock is that photogenic angled rock you've seen in tons of movies and television shows, including the original Trek "Arena" episode where Kirk fights the Gorn. That rock formation makes an appearance on the new Vulcan, in fact Vulcan is made up of "Vasquez rocks". Trek is full of these JJ Easter Eggs, you have to watch closely.

Time travel can change more than a fictional history though. Remember that '80s movie? The make-over looked good at the time, but 20 years later...ehh not so much. We'll see what the future holds for this new JJ Abrams Trek. Maybe it was easy to make a great movie because, in reality, the nerd was always good looking underneath.

Here, look at this crap:

video

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