Star Trek Prequel Movie
The new “Star Trek” prequel is out. The reviews are mixed but Jar-Jar Binks is not featured, guaranteeing that it’ll be better than the first “Star Wars” prequel.
What’s interesting is how well the franchise has endured and how wide-ranging its appeal remains. The show (since dubbed “The Original Series” or “TOS” by the fanbase) debuted when I was in diapers and went off the air three years later owing to low ratings but never went away. There were spin-off books, merchandise, conventions and whatnot in the intervening years and then “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” in 1979. This was followed by a goodly number of movies, mostly good, and several series, two of which were arguably better than the original, one of which was mediocre but watchable, and one of which lasted seven years for reasons unknown.
Scanning my Google Reader feeds, just about everybody loves Trek. Liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. Polibloggers, tech bloggers, and foreign policy wonks. People old enough to remember TOS from when it originally aired to those who know of Jean Luc Picard only through reruns and think “Voyager” is Old School.
Thomas P.M. Barnett is splurging for IMAX tix. Glenn Reynolds has mentioned it a dozen times. Gabriel Malor thought it was great except for the soundtrack. Thoreau makes joke predictions about the plot. Jason Kottke loves Trek food. Matt Yglesias wants to know what’s so “weird” about Gene Roddenberry’s utopian fantasies. Alex Tabarrok thinks the movie revived the franchise despite weak action scenes and an effortless plot. Even Rick Moran, who notes that TOS wasn’t exactly great sci-fi (a view shared by Orson Scott Card and others), considers himself a fan.
Peter Suderman notes several problems with TOS: “The acting was hammy. The stories were often contrived, metaphorically heavy-handed, and downright bizarre. The special effects looked cheap; the sets seemed to have been constructed from Styrofoam blocks and cardboard boxes. The fight scenes often appeared to have been specially choreographed for geriatric stuntmen.” Still, he argues, it connected with viewers with its bold vision for the future of humanity.
Meanwhile, my sometimes colleague Alex Knapp has rated “The Top Twenty Star Trek Episodes. Period.” while curiously omitting “The Trouble With Tribbles,” one of the most memorable.