Beach Cinemas: Star Trek (Abrams, 2009)

I’d never seen anything Star Trek related before this film, not one episode, and not one movie. I was familiar with it enough, though. I knew about Spock and Captain Kirk and the guys with the strange foreheads and the space ship. I even think I tried to get into it at one point when i was little but got bored and turned it off. Born in the mid-80s, I just assumed it was too late to get into it, it would require too much back-tracking and education of the Star Trek principles and all that. And frankly I just don’t have an interest in science fiction fantasy. So, J. J. Abrams seems to have set out to make the Star Trek film exactly for someone like me; someone that really doesn’t give a damn about the frontier and its sci-fi fantasy genre. Abrams has made, with his Star Trek vision, an action film with Star Trek names and costumes and lingo. Out with one unappealing, nerdy – yet stylized and original – aesthetic and tone, and in with an even more rancid, blockbuster facelift. How every self-proclaimed Trekkie in the world isn’t burning crosses on Abrams’ lawn after this film is beyond me, let alone that so many are clamoring for a sequel. This film’s quality is on par with every single Star Wars ‘update,’ another franchise I never cared for but still had enough knowledge of to be offended by the inanity of George Lucas’ pathetic grasps at duplicating a nostalgia that cannot die peacefully, or soon enough.

Fanboys might wet their pants when the original Spock shows up in an elaborate plot twist, and they’ll probably shed a tear and applaud as he says that “Live long and prosper” line (which is obviously the raison d‘être of his presence in the film, and thus his entire subplot), but one wonders why a fan would be proud instead of angry at this exploitation, getting poor old Spock to eke out the line with his raspy voice, no doubt a whimper of what he used to be. Imagine if Mohammad Ali were brought in to fight a climatic match in Mann’s Ali for an idea of the embarrassment. Just watch Spock say it on the DVD if the slogan empowers you so much. I suppose the idea behind a project like this is that Trekkies watch modern action films and enjoy them well enough, but occasionally will catch a scene and think ‘man, imagine how awesome/hilarious that would have been if Spock/Kirk/whoever else had done/said that!’ And then we have it realized here. And then there will be more, and it will be the same film again and again, same explosions, same empty nostalgic references, and no invention or development or progression of any kind; just more bastardization of the past.