Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Star Trek" starts over, with a yin-yang "friendship" and a call for universal existential integrity


Okay, we get to start over with "Star Trek", as J. J. Abrams directs the ultimate prequel for Spyglass Entertainment and Paramount.

The concept seems almost like a series of Bible stories, starting with the birth of James Kirk in a pre-history battle, and then his boyhood and adolescent recklessness on the now desolate plains of Iowa (a warning about global warming). I didn’t know that Iowa has any such quarries. So, the solution: not join the Navy and see the world, but join the Enterprise and see the Universe. He (played by Chris Pine once he reaches college age) has passed what amounts to a service academy’s battery of aptitude tests with the highest scores ever, and his “Plebe Day” is rather blasé. The Academy is located in San Francisco, again rather iron\ic.

Then the movie becomes the story of his antipathy for and ultimate friendship with the ultimate “intellectual” Spock, played by Zachary Quinto. (Leonard Nimoy appears as his dad.) Their relationship is one of yin and yang, the polarities, and – with some metaphor – diversity in the military. Okay, they both have the mandatory girl friends to keep up appearances (you can see where Randy Shilts would have taken this.)

The young Spock, given a “choice” as to how to run his life (again, we can read something into that), picks to base it on Truth rather than implementing Right (the latter is up to Kirk), but Spock takes “Truth” to the point of demanding existential integrity in everything. That’s necessary because the Romulan culture (with the captain Nero – pun – played by Eric Bana) will exploit the existential paradoxes to destroy planets – first Vulcan and eventually Earth. They do have a technology of launching a drill and placing what seems like red kryptonite in the core of a planet to create a black hole, causing to implode as if gutted by a supervolcano from a History Channel mega-disasters episode (Yellowstone will do). The Romulan spaceship, looking like a space squid, is rather interesting.

The original 1979 Star Trek film takes place much later, with an encounter with a supership which Kirk’s ship has to enter and explore.

Attribution link for NASA (Wikimedia) picture of Europa:

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