Long Time No Blog/Job Search Blues II/WTF JJ Abrams??

Publicity photo of Leonard Nimoy and William S...

Publicity photo of Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner as Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk from the television program Star Trek. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Originally I thought I’d be doing this on a fairly regular basis, but as with so many things in my life, a lack of commitment to anything that takes up time that could be spent playing Lord of the Rings Online simply does not hold my interest.  So today I force myself to put something up, only to let anyone interested know that nothing much has changed.

I’m still unemployed, though I did have what I thought was a very good interview last week with an organization I’d be very happy to work for.  I was told they had other interview to conduct and would move forward with a second round of interviews in a couple weeks.  (So mid August before I’ll know anything.)  To that end, I keep scanning the job postings, submitting resumes and dutifully informing the Virginia Department of Unemployment about those so I can get my UI checks deposited each week.  As that runs out as of November 1, I can’t afford to not be employed for too much longer.  Not that the checks are all that much.  I can’t truly afford to not be employed now!

So outside of my lack of employment and that this, among most other things in my life, remain unchanged, there is one thing I can now add to my list of things done, or more accurately, seen.  I saw the first JJ Abrams “Star Trek” movie this weekend.  I know people who loved it, were not disappointed by it, and truly were disgusted by it.  I need to create a fourth category so that I can add myself to the mix: I liked it, but it wasn’t Star Trek, and I don’t care if Spock WAS in it!

So here’s the thing:  I’ve been a Star Trek fan since I was a little kid.  (Not exactly new and different to any sci-fi fan.)  And Spock was always, ALWAYS, my favorite character.  McCoy was second.  I could take or leave Kirk, and not because of William Shatner’s portrayal of the character.  I think Shatner’s an absolute hoot!  I was just never totally into the character, though any different personality behind the captain of the original Starship Enterprise would have been wrong.  But Spock was smart, and tall and alien and not totally understood.  Things that I always felt about myself as a kid, and still do today in many ways.  I identified with his character above all the others.  And while Kirk didn’t register with me at the same level, all of the other characters did in one way or the other.  Not to beat a dead horse, I loved, and love, the show.

When anyone does a reboot or re-imagining of a beloved character or franchise, there is going to be push-back.  So for those people who were totally disgusted by what they say, I have to say I get it.  McCoy was a jerk.  Spock was way too emotional.  Kirk was even MORE reckless than normal (though he did still get to make out with a lovely green woman, so that was in character).  And Uhura and Spock are lovers.  WHAT???  Okay, so that was an ironic and actually really cool/fabulously funny twist.  But it’s not Star Trek.

This Romulan ship shows up, destroys the ship that Kirk’s dad is on (no), leaving poor James T. to grow up without his father and be a reckless brat (n0), who has no idea of his potential.  And this one single difference in the Star Trek universe ends up putting Spock at odds with the Vulcan leaders, Scotty banished to the Ice Planet Hoth, Sulu to be a bumbling, nervous newb of a pilot, and Bones to be some kind of hypochondriac conspiracy theorist that doesn’t understand how drugs interact with each other.  I think the only one JJ got right was Checkov, but that’s only because they didn’t develop the character at all!

Cover of "Star Trek V - The Final Frontie...

Cover via Amazon

Okay, so yes, it’s a reboot.  I’ve seen it so many times in comics that this isn’t exactly new.  I’m wondering when the next Superman reboot is going to be now that this very dark version is out there (though I still haven’t seen it!).  But you have to be careful with how you handle it all.  And making Spock a blithering idiot, and I mean the Leonard Nimoy Spock, is not the way to do it.  Yes, stars go nova.  Yes, they will take out entire solar systems with them when they do.  Our own sun will likely take out everything out to the asteroid belt when it goes in ten billion years or so.  But that’s part of the point.  Even our own scientists today can figure out how fast the fuel at the core of our sun will burn out before the integrity of its own gravitational force will collapse, allowing all of the fire and gas of the outer envelope of the star to be set free and explode, incinerating everything it its path as it goes nova.

And you’re telling me Spock, super-scientist and all-around interstellar genius, wouldn’t have thought to tell the Romulans to evacuate their planet while he does what he can to prevent their sun from destroying it?  Really??  “No, really.  There is only a small chance I will be able to save your world, but that doesn’t mean you should evacuate just to be safe.”  Riiiiight!!!  Where the hell is Data when you need him?  Nimoy allegedly had to come in and do some fancy footwork to help Shatner not totally destroy “The Final Frontier,” and even that didn’t really help.  It was a horrible movie!  But with his insight into the franchise, what it takes to make a good Star Trek movie, how the characters act and react… how did he not start crying bullshit with this??  Nevermind that all of the characters are now lesser agents of themselves (though Sulu does end up being pretty bad-ass, Scotty is still a freaking genius and Checkov remained totally unscathed), and that Paramount has seemingly given JJ Abrams carte blanche to do as he sees fit with it all.  If that’s what they want to do with it, it’s theirs to do such.  But Nimoy has a much greater investment here with an iconic character of science fiction, television and movies.  Didn’t he even have a bit of concern with how this would look?  Has the good ambassador gone totally thick in the head that he can’t figure out that the logical course of action would be to get all of the inhabitants off of the planet in case his plan didn’t work?

So you’re probably now saying “I thought you said you liked the movie!”  I did!  I liked it just fine.  If you changed all of the characters names and made a few small alterations to backgrounds, this would have been a wonderful movie to start a whole new, totally separate franchise from Star Trek.  And it would have been a lot of fun besides.  Dragging iconic, loved and venerated characters into it, though, was not, in my opinion, a good idea.  And that one of my all-time favorite writers/actors/directors/producers somehow, some way, didn’t catch it and allowed it to happen obviously rubs me the wrong way.  But I’m glad I saw it, because I can now have that discussion with all of my friends that have seen it, too.  And I can go in to “Into Darkness,” when it comes out on DVD, understanding that these are not the Star Trek characters from my childhood.  These are the versions of someone else’s mind and imagination, and I don’t think this someone else ever actually watched the original TV show.  At lest, not with any kind of appreciation for the universe as Gene Roddenberry wanted it to be.

Vulcan (Star Trek)

Vulcan (Star Trek) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Long Time No Blog/Job Search Blues II/WTF JJ Abrams??

  1. Atticus

    Don’t leave out the part where the entire Star Trek universe as we know it is now invalidated. What am I going to do with my two copies of the Star Trek Encyclopedia? They are now worthless for any sort of research into the minutiae of the universe. Of course, this means that Seven of Nine might never be born…

    • The Borg don’t appear for a long time between when Kirk gets command of the Enterprise and when Picard does. It’s Picard’s future that I worry about. (And I never got into any of the other series after ST:TNG, so unfortunately I can only look at her picture and go wow… but not really know anything about who she is or how she came to be in the series.) But what say you to the notion that Spock simply wouldn’t have been that irresponsible to allow all of those Romulans to die when it was totally, 100% preventable?

  2. There was a 4 issue comic book series that was a prequel to the 2009 movie. Despite them saying you didn’t have to read it to enjoy the movie, you actually did to understand a few things. In that prequel Spock did discuss evacuation with the Romulans, they declined.

    I so agree with the rest of your assessment on the movie though. It was a good sci/fi film, it just wasn’t a Star Trek film.

    I have to disagree with Atticus though. The JJ film is in an alternate universe, much like the mirror universe, therefore the original Trek still stands. Personally, I’m ignoring the new films and what not. This universe is not for me, so I’m gonna act as if it doesn’t exist. If and when the original universe is used for movies or television, I’ll be there.

    • Thanks, Mr. Shock! Good to know that MY own understanding and appreciation for Spock was accounted for pre-movie release. I unfortunately stopped reading comics back in 1996 when I moved to DC and no longer had any place to store them (and too many writers were ruining my favorite characters!). But this is good info to have.

      I read a couple of your posts, too. Thanks for following along.

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