Thursday, May 21, 2009


I haven't seen a big budget, modern-day Hollywood flick in the theaters in a few months. Yes, I've been to theater, but I'm surrounded by a bunch of art-house cathedrals here in The Mission, and if I have a choice I'd rather be watching bizarre French films in The Castro, then The Punisher in AMC Downtown 900 or whatever they're being called these days. Thus, a lot of the big name flicks that have been marching in and out of the theater have gone directly over my head.

But for a few reasons, Star Trek wasn't going to be one of them. I grew up on Star Trek. I remember watching reruns, my legs splayed on the cold linoleum of my TV room, my dad on the couch behind me. I remember sitting in my friend Tim's room beneath a mobile of the Star Trek Enterprise, chatting about Klingons, Romulans and the whole slew of races that populated the Federation. Most of all I remember the Star Trek Episode guide my mom bought me for my birthday one year. Even before I'd seen every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation I'd read a synopsis in that beautiful book. I'd sit for hours on top of my bed, perusing the episodes I hadn't seen yet, mouth wide in anticipation.

And then, then I got older and started to realize that the culture that surrounded my beloved Star Trek wasn't a culture I was fond of. These were hardcore, oft-times mean, nit-picky dorks that shunned those who sat on the edge of their tight knit groups. I worked at a comic book store in high school, and the Star Trek geeks were always the most belligerent, the most locked on to their continuities and their knowledge. Any wrong aimed at their universe was tantamount to a photon torpedo to their hull-covered hearts.

So, I stopped caring. I only really liked Star Trek: The Next Generation, and as new series after new series hit the boobtube, I just couldn't muster myself to care. I think I watched my last episode of Star Trek ten, eleven years ago and haven't thought to watch another since. That is until J.J. Abrams got involved in the new Star Trek prequel. Abrams is Lost, Abrams is Fringe, Abrams is the frontrunner for a huge amount of the most popular shows out there right now. Sure, his Mission Impossible III wasn't amazing, but his light genre touch had the makings to change Star Trek as we know it.

And he has.

Very succinctly, J.J. Abrams has done what's always been needed, he's wrestled the Star Trek universe out of the hands of the obsessed and placed it back where it needed to be, where everyone can enjoy it. Sure, this film has the geeky aspects to the nine (it's a film about space travel involving a character named Spock and green-skinned alien women) but due to a delightful plot twist and a really on-point cast, Star Trek shines like a brand new sort of gem. Abrams has in effect, excised the ability of nerds the world round to crap on this movie for a host of continuity issues. Nope, those are gone, and with them Abrams has not only opened up a new Star Trek universe, but opened up a new platform for a new generation of fans to stand upon. It's a beautiful trick and I left, sigh, The Metreon on Monday with a gigantic smile plastered on my face.

This a great action flick. A beautiful, wonderful, well-done movie that even if you've spent the last few years of your life hiding in fear of the Trekkies waiting in line at the theater, you'll enjoy. I promise.

Thanks J.J. Abrams, you've given me back a little piece of my childhood I thought I'd left to the wolves.

Friday: Pygmalion (85)

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