Going to see the new Trek movie doesn’t make me a Trekkie

I have a great liking for Trek. The old series particularly – you know, the one with Spock, Kirk and McCoy.

You never see the model from this angle in the series.
Made with my trusty Celestia installation – a brilliantly cool science package. You never see the model from this angle in the series.

I liked it for a lot of reasons. I liked it because of its optimism; its vision of a caring and genuinely hopeful future. I liked it for the comedy. Spock was the straight man, McCoy and Kirk the comedians.

Actually, Spock – as realised by Leonard Nimoy – was pretty funny too. (Lest anybody doubt Nimoy’s brilliance all round – and humour – here’s Nimoy singing the Bilbo Baggins song. And have you seen the Audi advert?)

The new Trek re-boot captures that lightness pretty well – especially Karl Urban, who comes from my city – Wellington New Zealand – and does an exceptional McCoy.

That’s why I’m going to see the new movie.

But it doesn’t make me a Trekkie.

I don’t collect memorabilia, don’t go out of my way to experience anything Trek – I haven’t even seen most of the series, apart from the original one. I watched the early episodes of The New Generation, but it got ponderous. It got pretentious, postured, stilted  – the death that happens when a genre is canonised, when it ceases to be entertainment for all and are written instead to avoid offending an audience that is increasingly precious, increasingly intolerant of anything other than what they define as ‘canon’.

To me that wasn’t surprising.  Thirty years ago the hardest core Trekkies were categorised as dysfunctional nerds – maladjusted youth unable to cope with the realities of life, seeking refuge in a pre-packaged fantasy world that had gained aspects of a religion for them. Some even believed they were Starfleet officers – something that made them genuinely delusional in a psychological sense. Trek provided them – something – that was missing from their lives. And it was disturbing, in many ways.

Today? I think scfi – and Trek – has been mainstreamed. Geeks won the war for cool – and I think Trek, as entertainment, has a good deal to do with facilitating the transformation. But that doesn’t make geeks into Trekkies of the old school variety. Or people who go to see the Trek movie into Trekkies…does it?

What do you figure on this one?

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013


10 thoughts on “Going to see the new Trek movie doesn’t make me a Trekkie

  1. Just yesterday I read a freshly pressed post holding the opposite opinion to yours. For that author, the value of Star Trek lay in the intelligence behind the story, the philosophy it conveys. He believes that the new movies have thrown away the true value of the franchise by making it into empty entertainment and turning the iconic characters of Kirk, Spock and Scotty into caricatures of their former selves.

    I watched Next Generation, Voyager and Deep Space Nine (the original series was a bit before my time) and several of the films and never noticed any philosophy. It was a cool sci-fi show. I enjoyed the last movie as well and am quite looking forward to the new one (though, as my nearest cinema is 150km away I’ll probably have to wait for the DVD).

    I guess that’s the difference between a Trekkie and simply a fan.

    1. I liked the original series (also before my time, effectively, though I saw it on later re-runs). It was extremely well written – and they had some top notch writers to do it, including Harlan Ellison. But as I say, I went off the later incarnations. All a matter of personal taste, of course.

      Being that far from a cinema’s a bit rough! Hope you do catch the movie sooner or later!

  2. I’m more of a Star Wars fan than Star Trek. You should’ve seen my face when the kind folks at the Ephemera Collection Room of the British Film Institute let me thumb through the original Star Wars (from when it was called THE Star Wars) continuity script! Lets just say that I’m pleased they kept the precious manuscript in drool-proof covers.

    That said, I do enjoy Star Trek films and like you am intending to go along. I feel in this age of re-inventing movie franchises Star Trek is one that has stayed true to its roots, doesn’t try to be something it isn’t and the result is usually a pretty good couple of hours of entertainment. That is what cinema is supposed to be about, but it seems some studios forget that or spoil things with an overuse of cheap CGI.

    I’m also particularly keen to see Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance. I’m a fan of his acting and am looking forward to seeing him in the Star Trek universe. I look forward to hearing what you think of it!

    1. Pretty cool that you got to see the continuity script! Excellent.

      I liked the first two Star Wars movies but thought the third deteriorated pretty badly. Curiously, I was just up in Hawke’s Bay where I re-visited the cinema I first saw Star Wars in. Took a photo of the place along the wall outside where I was in the queue when they sold out, the first time I tried to see it… Years ago, but it’s stuck in my memory – probably indicative of the extent to which the movie made an impression on my 15-year old self. I’m not sure what I’d think if I saw it now though.

  3. I’m with you on this. I love films… and I love the possibilities in sci-fi films, although not always the execution! But it does sometimes seem difficult to express any positivity for Star Trek without being labelled a Trekkie. I have liked some of the ST films and thought others are awful. I also liked a lot of the first two iterations of the TV series but haven’t seen any of the others. It still haven’t seen the new movie, even tough it’s been out here a couple of weeks – but I will. People love to pigeon-hole. Not our fault!

  4. I recently went to see the new Star Trek movie and loved it. There was humor and action and plenty of special effects. Leonard Nimoy even makes an appearance. I agree with you about the original movies being the best. But I think you will enjoy this one and be pleasantly surprised by the actors’ excellent performances. I look forward to another edition into the unknown.

  5. This newest one I liked, but did not think it was the best one. It seemed a bit disjointed, and, frankly, I’m not sure why. It was the first movie I’ve watched in 3-D since I was a little girl and wore those cardboard glasses. The balls they showed on intro had a better 3-D effect than the whole movie. There was a lot of action, but some of it seemed thrown in simply for the sake of having some action. The humor was good; the acting fair.

    1. I have to admit I tend to avoid 3D where I can – it tends to end up with a forced perspective effect, like those old Viewmaster slides, and it doesn’t actually replicate the way we see things normally. As I write this I have yet to see the new Trek movie, it’s certainly on the agenda but time is against me.

Comments are closed.