A needle drop that drops the
boom on a tidal wave of military drones, pop weaponized against martial might, a ship
surfing a sea fire.
A surrogate family that loves each other and gains a new member.
Those colors; green and blue laser bolts whipping across a dome in the night.
A snowglobe floating in
space, a bauble like the love child of Deep Space Nine and the space colony
from Vanquish .
A film that returns to thematic threads Trek has been mining for decades, not in shallow, incompetent copycatting but in a way that gives us all the old saws about aging and legacy and all that and makes it fucking land without all the ponderous, clumsy grasping for legitimacy, the Shakespeare and Moby Dick sublimated into character action and goddamn visual storytelling and not Christopher Plummer spinning in his swivel chair screaming random bits of Hamlet (fun as that may be).
A film that puts the avatar of blind, resentful, grief-stricken post-9/11 automated warfare in a classic Trek captain’s uniform (and not in the way Into Darkness did), betraying a far more pointed understanding of the actual reality of what The Original Series was on the part of Justin Lin and his co-conspirators (that is to say, a largely reactionary, militant, and often banal tale of a military boat patrolling colonial ports that sometimes, maybe only a handful of times and often in small but very important ways, became something more; but the path of progress is rarely smooth and never straight, in every sense of that term); a movie that brings this new series to a reckoning with the legacy of the old, establishing how it, how franchise genre filmmaking, how we can be, and do, better. Maybe not utopian in the Vaka Rangi sense, but closer than this franchise has come to it in god knows how long.
Just sheer pleasure of a Trek film specifically, and one of these ludicrously expensive summer genre movies generally, being given to an artist who can actually muster even the most base level of competence, to say nothing of one who can work the wonders Justin Lin is capable of (it’s been almost 20 years since we had a Trek film worth shit).
I’m not usually one to get sentimental about nerd shit anymore, but Trek is in my blood, practically. My dad was part of the 2nd generation of fans that caught TOS in reruns and made it a cultural touchstone, went to some of the early conventions, got autographs from most of the original cast, would break out episodes on Laser Disc when I was little and always tune in to the July 4th marathons The SciFi Channel used to run. The Next Generation was the one I watched most, and Deep Space 9 is the one I have the most affection for now, but TOS still feels like coming home, for the good (and the bad/embarrassing too), in the way only something that’s been passed down to you by someone and has been around as long as this has does. This felt like that, but with most of the ugly shit carefully extracted (I mean, making a man of color the militant bogeyman is a lot tone deaf and ugly, but Idris Elba manages to invest a flimsy part with some honest pathos); like The Voyage Home and The Undiscovered Country, both of which it explicitly invokes. Basically, it hit me where I live. But good Pop will do that. The best, even.
@aintgotnoladytronblues I will spot you a copy of the DVD when it comes out for spurring me to go see this, because holy fucking shit you were right (as always). I felt better coming out of this than I have coming out of a movie in sometime.