Thursday, May 14, 2009

Back by popular demand

"Second star to the right, and straight on 'till morning"

I don't want to come back to earth, to concentrate on what I've got to concentrate on in order to get my work done, I want to keep my head in that Star Trek space-place and carry on thinking about what happened and what might happen, and what I think about what happened and what might happen.

I don't want to have to write about oil and gas production and exploration in the Middle East, which, when you're sat in an office in Norwich, typing on an iMac, is not nearly as exotic as it might sound. I want to read up and learn about spaceships and new technology, and start planning how I might be able to join Starfleet, when it is formed in the early part of the 23rd century.

Fears that Abrams casting might be more Dawson's Creek-soft that science fiction-hard prove unfounded. The actors hit all of the right notes, playing young, ultra-smart, boundlessly energetic versions of the characters we have all grown to know and love, excited by the possibilities of time and space and adventure and themselves. There are a lot of exclamations in this movie: “I can do that!” “I've never done that before!” Hinting at the characters that they might one day grow into, without ever resorting to parody or pastiche.

The series is so written in pop culture folklore, it seems almost like sacrilidge to start praising individual actors when none of the them (Leonard Nimoy excepted - he is Spock) are played by the original cast members - but praise I must. *SPOILERS AHEAD* Kirk is strapping himself into a seat on a shuttle ready to blast him and the rest of the new Starfleet recruits out of the atmosphere. A less than sane sounding man is kicking and making his voice heard somewhere off screen; a crew member asks the crank to take a seat. You see the vacant space next to Kirk and immediately start thinking about Jasper Carrot and the nutter on the bus. When he sits you don't recognise him, of course, until he announces, "All I've got left are these bones." Dr Leonard McCoy has arrived.

This movie is that thing that the earlier Star Trek movies never were, young and vibrant. The TV show sets the positive future template for this throughly entertaining movie, which re-writes the past, and as a consequence, the future we thought we already knew. Thanks to a rip in the time-space continuam exploited by a Romulan miner out for revenge, Star Trek reality has been re-written. Chris Pine might not necessarily grow up to be William Shatner, Spock might not learn to keep his human side under control - all bets are off, and I for one can't wait to see what happens next in the continuing voyage of the Starship Enterprise.