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March 2017

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sf star trek horta/spock

hush, hush, i dreamed i was happy

I watched the Star Trek reboot with friends tonight. I didn't see it in the theatre, and I'm s ort of sad about that now because it was very pretty and I imagine it would have been improved by being very big.

...It's really not a very good movie. The plot makes not a lick of sense even by Star Trek standards, and it has about as much internal consistency as a bowl of goulash.

Bits of it were fun (I tweeted while watching it that I now knew that "live long and prosper" is Vulcan for "fuck you.") and the actors in general did a wonderful job playing 1960s TV characters as if they were playing real researched people in a biopic.

It would have been nice if Uhura and Chappel got a moment of glory apiece, as everyone else did. It would have been nice if the movie had a fragment of the generousity of spirit of Roddenberry's original. It would have been nice if the dialogue weren't so awful even Leonard Nimoy couldn't sell it.

But I think from a narrative standpoint, for me, what was most interesting is how much this felt like any other retelling of a cultural legend. It could have been Robin Hood or Sherlock Holmes; this is a story we all know in our bones, because it's integrated into our cultural background noise. We know the characters as archetypes; we know their broad traits and their incantatory phrases. They are mythic beings, and the narrative relies almost completely on that mythic status for its emotional impact and character arcs.

Kirk, Spock, Uhura, McCoy, Scotty, Chekov, and Sulu are among the legends now. We're expected to care about these people not because the movie works to make us care, but because we are presumed to already know them. We grew up with them, and now we're listening to stories that are already in our bones. Which is why the payoff is Kirk in the mustard-colored command uniform.

It is peculiar and wonderful to watch that happen to the nerdy space story I loved when I was six.

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Aaamen.
But I think from a narrative standpoint, for me, what was most interesting is how much this felt like any other retelling of a cultural legend. It could have been Robin Hood or Sherlock Holmes; this is a story we all know in our bones, because it's integrated into our cultural background noise. We know the characters as archetypes; we know their broad traits and their incantaory phrases. They are mythic beings, and the narrative relies almost completely on that mythic status for its emotional impact and character arcs.

Kirk, Spock, Uhura, McCoy, Scotty, Chekov, and Sulu are among the legends now. We're expected to care about these people not because the movie works to make us care, but because we are presumed to already know them. We grew up with them, and now we're listening to stories that are already in our bones. Which is why the payoff is Kirk in the mustard-colored command uniform.


I hadn't really thought of it in those terms before, but I agree. They don't have the depth of history of Robin Hood and the like, but the feeling is right. And, just like those stories, any retelling could be bad or good (I loathe the recent BBC Robin Hood series, but love the Merlin).

Yes, the film is flawed, but somehow it felt right. The echoes of the original series at the end brought a lump to my throat.

I really, really hope that they can fathom a way of spinning it off into a TV series. Even with all the flaws, I would still watch it.
Myffic! Oh, very good--that explains why I loathe the idea of the latest movie, with the visceral disgust reserved for the very worst manglings of Arthur. (Such as that one with Keira Knightley, even though Ioan Gruffudd is my boyfriend.)
I think that's why my favorite Star Trek novel is "The Wounded Sky" which, among its many virtues, takes the whole archetypal apotheosis thing quite literally.

And I find it strange that the question never occurred to me before: could this work, in several decades time, with The Next Generation? Or is the mythic magic reserved for the Original Crew alone?
What you said--all over.
I think the repositioning of Live Long and Prosper for a generation was glorious.

I also think of some of this as an effect of fandom: I've read/viewed exponentially more variants of the archtypical Star Trek characters than I ever have of Robin Hood.

I mean, I read plenty of Robin Hood stories. But I have read Star Trek as interpreted by easily 300 people. I've probably read Robin Hood via 30.

This also ties in with the other big fannish movie of the year: Sherlock Holmes. Doyle died in 1930, but the rights to the characters are still owned by some one, 80 years later. At what point does the copyright go public? Because the mass media of the 20th century created whole casts of iconic characters and stories, and they may never be available for 'authorized' remixing and reworking.

And now I want a Sherlock Holmes/Star Trek crossover. Bet I can find it in less than six googled keywords.
A) I'm pretty sure Holmes is public record at this point...otherwise we wouldn't have "Study in Emerald" and all of Laurie Kings' novels...among many others. There was controversy surrounding "The Seven Percent Solution" because the author of a scientific/literary paper thought they ripped off her ideas, not because Holmes was copywrighted.

B) There is a cannon Holmes/Trek cross-over of sorts. Data (as Holmes) versus Holodeck Moriarty (who manages to take control of the ship). Can't remember the episode title but there were amusing bits.
I was more concerned by the very interesting way that people were promoted from within. It seemed like the last</> thing anyone would want to do would be to become Captain, because you had such a short life expectancy. Reminded me a bit of Star Wars, and the way that Darth Vader single-handedly took down the Empire from within (Kill off senior officers, promote inexperienced junior officer on the spot). Kirk started off as a Cadet, and by the end of the film, not only was he promoted to Captain in the largest leap in military rank that was not part of a military coup in a third-world nation, but he was also given the keys to the FLAGSHIP of the fleet! That would be akin to me picking up my pilot's license tomorrow, and then becoming the Captain of Air Force One!
That would be part of the OMG this movie is dumb thing. *g*
Well I can certainly see it from that cultural stand point. Every few years someone tries out making a King Arthur or Robin Hood tale. Some are better than others. Thones that tend to impress me is the ones that try to tell the same story from a different point of view which is why the story in the new Trek left me feeling a bit blah.

I can forgive bad dialog if it is a good actor and I can tell they are trying to do something. This one was more of hear they are kind of story rather than a good story on its own merit.

That said I liked the movie. It was very very pretty. I liked the new Spock surprisingly and I loved the new McCoy. That guy was so note perfect I practically cheered in the theater at one point.
Reminds me of something in OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET. After they became friends, the hross said something like, "Our first meeting meant nothing at the time, it's only our history since that made it important."
Bingo. This movie actually means almost nothing--but its context makes it interesting.

And really, all things considered, the cast did the best they could with one of the worst scripts I've ever seen.
LOL, we watched it last night, too. And I felt pretty much the same way. It kept moving, it was funny, but in the end I'm like "They left this brand-spanking new, umpteen jillion dollar spaceship in the hands of kids fresh out of the academy?" Including putting a 17 year old in command at one point? Sheez. I know they offered up a pale justification for this, but it shriveled up and turned to dust when it was exposed to light.

Edited at 2010-01-30 12:09 pm (UTC)
You're absolutely right. And what's really weird is that it worked on that basis for me even though I've seen about half an episode of TOS in my life.
It's in the zeitgeist, man.

Warp speed now.

(The warp effect, the first time we saw it, was *wonderful*)
Was I the only one who thought some of Kirk's story in this movie was eerily reminiscent of Anakin's in the more recent Star Wars movies?


It did benefit from being large; I saw it on the big screen a while back and it was exactly the giddy cinematic experience I was looking for.

You raise good points here; I think you're right that this story has become a legend of our times.

Mostly I just love the characters and the myth so much -- and I felt that these actors did a bang-up job of inhabiting those characters in a respectful way. TNG was "my" Trek, the one I really imprinted on, but as a geek I can't help loving classic Trek, and this film gave me what I wanted: an opportunity for joy.

(I'm not saying it's "good," mind. Just that I had a lot of fun watching it. :-)
Hey! Goulash does have internal consistency! *grin*
Like many of these "reboots" nowadays, it had the notes but not the music.
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