"It's not STAR TREK"

I saw the movie with an avowed Trek fanatic. When the lights went up, I asked her what she thought. Her response was that it was good, but it “wasn’t Trek.” Not having paid much attention to the Roddenberryverse since “TNG,” I didn’t have much of a response. But then as I left the theater I thought: “Not Trek? The movie has gaping plotholes, a skirt-chasing Kirk, time travel, and a bullshit pseudo-scientific resolution to a life-threatening situation...who are you kidding? It’s totally fucking Trek!"

Thus spaketh Pete Vonder Haar, in his review of the recent STAR TREK movie.

I haven't seen the movie, so I can't speak in any way to its actual content. Nonetheless, I will say a couple of things:

'Avowed Trek fanatics' are not good people to go to movies with. Or spend any kind of time with. They're not as bad as avowed Warren Ellis fanatics, but neither are suicide bombers. For whatever that's worth.

And, I'm pretty sure Pete is missing the point here.

The definition of STAR TREK is not, unfortunately, anything to do with sensible story structure, a sexually predatory Kirk, moronic time travel, or insanely egregious abuses of anything and everything remotely resembling science in the name of plot convenience. Now, it's true, if one were to do a STAR TREK movie or TV show that didn't have these things, the average Trek fan would be enraged, baffled, and perplexed all at once, but, still, it's possible, if only in the most extremely theoretical sense, to do a STAR TREK dealio that makes coherent sense and that doesn't scoff at all accepted laws of physics. It's so unlikely as to qualify for Dr. Manhattan's 'thermodynamic miracle' tag, but, still, it's possible. You could do a good SF movie and it could be STAR TREK.

But you'd need William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk.

Unfortunately, when Pete's movie date said it 'wasn't TREK', whether she was aware of it or not, that's what she meant. This is the first time we've seen anyone try to make anything called STAR TREK that had a character in it named James T. Kirk who wasn't portrayed by William Shatner. And like it or not, this is the crux of the issue of the movie's acceptability as 'real' STAR TREK: will fans accept a non-Shatner Kirk... or won't they?

Obviously, it's going to depend on the age of the fan, and how much of the 'real' STAR TREK they've actually seen, and/or enjoyed. But it's important to note that this movie was not made for Classic Trek fans, nor was it made BY Classic Trek fans. This movie was made by young punks who don't give a shit about STAR TREK for other young punks who don't give a shit about STAR TREK.

So the answer to the 'is this real STAR TREK' question will largely depend on what marketing demographic you fall into. If you're a geezer, like me, and you have very fond memories of watching the original STAR TREK when it was actually broadcast, and you still get a nostalgic tingle when you catch the occasional old ep on G4, and you loved WRATH OF KHAN and pretty much hated every STAR TREK movie since WRATH because they all sucked, but you went to see them anyway, right up until they started making STAR TREK JR movies instead of actual STAR TREK movies, well, this will never be 'real' STAR TREK for you.

But nobody on corporate Earth gives a shit about you; you are, like me, not in a desirable target demo. And as far as everyone who makes any kind of decisions about entertainment gives a shit, nobody gives a shit. We can go fuck ourselves.

So this movie will never be STAR TREK to those of us who actually know what STAR TREK is, but it will become STAR TREK to all the young dickweeds who have no idea what STAR TREK actually is. And that would aggravate me, but, well, long ago, STAR TREK became 'science fiction' to everybody in my generation, and succeeding generations, that did not know what 'science fiction' actually was, and that was REALLY aggravating, so I have no aggravation left for this nonsense.

But let's be clear: William Shatner is James T. Kirk. Nobody else can do it. If you want to reboot the franchise in an alternate universe where you can do all new stories and completely ignore everything that is established as real, actual STAR TREK, well, do it with a new goddam Captain.


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