Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

Star Trek - "Her first name is Nyota??"

Since I've written up all the films I've been watching in bed this week, I'll also say something about the one we actually saw in the cinema last week. As it happens, the only Trek novel I have read in the last twenty years is a Vonda McIntyre story about how Kirk and Spock got together, so I had already been exposed to one origin tale. (Her recent account of her involvement with the Trek franchise is also entertaining.)

I am sure Vonda McIntyre, who I know reads this lj occasionally, won't object to my conclusion that the film is much more memorable. Films generally are more memorable, because they are more of a social experience: it's not just you communicating with the author via a hunk of dead tree, it's your imagined interaction with the characters on screen; and your shared reactions with the person you're seeing it with, plus all your friends and acquaintances who have seen it, in a group experience that only books about Harry Potter can achieve. (All of which is muted but still not entirely absent if you're watching the film a year later on a crappy MP4 player while in bed dosed up on painkillers; cf my write-ups of Hellboy II, Iron Man and Dark Knight.)

The decision to set the new Star Trek in a parallel timetrack, where Kirk's father died, Vulcan is destroyed and Spock is in love with Uhura, also of course liberated JJ Abrams from many of the constraints that McIntyre's novel had; she had to end up with the Enterprise as we know it, Abrams theoretically didn't but we cheer because he did anyway. We cheer at a lot of places in the film, in roughly this order: Uhura, Captain Pike, the hungover McCoy, the green-skinned girl, the first appearance of Spock, the Enterprise including Chekov and Sulu, the appearance of Old Spock, Scotty (and his sandwiches and sidekick), and Leonard Nimoy's closing monologue. It looks fantastic, spaceships, monsters, dying planets and all. The supporting characters - Chekov, Sulu, McCoy, Uhura, Scotty and even Captain Pike - get a lot of very pleasing development. There are some cracking lines of dialogue, even if some of the references to Trek history may pass you by as they did me. There were of course a number of Things Which Don't Make Sense (another area where films often seem to have more liberty of manœuvre than books) but it would be unkind to list them. (Just one example, though: McCoy smuggling Kirk on board the Enterprise would surely have resulted in court-martial and expulsion from the service for both of them!)

This was really good fun, and I venture to predict that it will win next year's Hugo, and other awards, by a country mile.
Tags: films, tv: star trek
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