I’m going to keep the review part of this entry short — I enjoyed the movie. It helped put a good spin on a really crappy day and that means at least a full star improvement for any movie (except Prospero’s Books which nothing will ever improve) in my estimation. It included a predictable amount of J.J. Abrams’ penchant for thinly veiled political commentary and not so thinly veiled (or always successful) plot twists. It was an action flick and not an Oscar vehicle.
As far as the plot itself, allow me to introduce you non-liberal arts majors to a new term — deus ex machina. That’s a cool little Latin phrase English teachers like to bandy about that means “god in the machine.” I’ll let you Google up the etymology of the term, but writers use a deus ex machina for one reason — they’ve written themselves into a corner and the characters everyone loves are all going to die, so something intervenes that saves the day. If you think about every time an Eagle shows up in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, you’ll grasp the concept quite well. If you need a “negative example,” think about the entire Song of Fire and Ice series because George Martin not only refuses to use any plot contrivances to rescue a fan favorite character, but actually seems to delight in making sure anyone likeable and “favorite-worthy” gets killed off in some heinous way just as soon as the reader (or viewer for those with HBO) starts to invest a tremendous amount of care and emotion into someone on the page or screen.
But I digress.
The movie was entertaining and I had no idea who the main villain was or where he came from so when we discovered his identity it was a little shocking and quite cool. I like the “kinder, gentler” Spock who is not afraid to love Uhura even though his Vulcan logic and Stoicism presents a few problems for the couple. Christopher Pine has out-Shatner-ed William Shatner in my opinion and the new Scotty is my personal favorite character. He also has what I think are the two best lines in the movie: “You’ll never guess what I found behind Jupiter” and “I’m off the ship ONE BLOODY DAY and look what happens!”
So go see it. It’s worth the money, but if you are a Trekkie, you’ve already been there so this is redundant which means I will now switch to what I REALLY wanted to talk about — will there be another Star Trek movie? Even as we were leaving the theater, people around us were already speculating whether or not a third episode of the retcon would get the green light from Hollywood. To those people I can only reply, “Does a one-legged duck swim in a circle?”
Of course they’ll make another one!
As for why, it’s disgustingly simple — Star Trek is the charter member of the “Pointy Eared Dress Up Movie Club.” Let me elaborate. In Star Trek, Spock and the other Vulcans have pointy ears; in Star Wars, Yoda and his Whill brethren have pointy ears; Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have pointy eared elves; the house elves of Harry Potter are pointy eared; and the Quileute shapeshifters in the Twilight saga possess pointy pinnas.
What do all five of these film franchises have in common? Costumed fanboys (and fangirls). These fans don’t just dress up in the privacy of their own homes. They don’t just bust out Yeoman Rand or Arwen for Halloween either. No, these are grown-assed men and women who will don robes, capes, fake uniforms costing hundreds of dollars, and — most importantly — pointed ear prostheses and go out to a movie theater to stand in line, buy a ticket, and sit through the movie. If you can get grown people who would generally have a little lower embarrassment threshold to go out in public carrying a reproduction lightsaber, phaser rifle, or Elven longsword, you have basically found a legal way to print money As long as the studios will make these movies, they will sell out left and right until these huge fanbases die outright or are too frail to get out of the nursing homes.
The great thing from the studio’s point of view is the movies don’t even have to be GOOD! In fact, I could argue that the movies in these franchises that have the best attendance are some of the worst movies in the series because the fanboys will go see those horrible movies more than once just so they can nit-pick all the “non-canon” scenes and gripe to their friends about how the newest installment of their favorite series has irrevocably RUINED the material because the director had the unmitigated gall to make some obscure character’s hair red when THE BOOK CLEARLY STATES IT WAS BLONDE!!
I remember when Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered and every Trekkie I knew at the time was absolutely apoplectic with rage that the bridge crew wore RED SHIRTS!! Didn’t the morons know in Trek-speak Red Shirt = sudden bloody and violent death? I went to college with two of them and either one would shoot you with his reproduction Stormtrooper laser cannon if you dared speak during an episode on Sunday night even though they would spend the hour afterwards almost in tears at how the evil corporate studios savaged their beloved franchise. I can’t tell you how many Star Wars fans I’ve heard who seem to be on the brink of suicide because Lucas sold his film company for several gajillion dollars to Disney and now Disney is going to, “pump out tons of stupid stand alone movies that don’t respect the canon universe at all!” I bet ever one of those movies will be a sell out though.
So see the movie and wave to everyone dressed up because you just might work with them . . . or for them!
Love y’all and keep those feet clean.