Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The New Star Trek Movie: Good Time to be a Trekkie?

In it’s 40 years of history of various incarnations of a highly consistent theme; will the latest Star Trek movie attract more fans to the franchise’s ever-growing fan-base?

By: Vanessa Uy

Though I haven’t yet seen the movie despite of my anticipation of it’s purportedly December 25, 2008 release. The latest Star Trek movie really has a lot going for it. Especially in the casting front where they judiciously opted for the “best and brightest” stars currently du jour of the under 25 demographic. Though not everyone agrees that the casting of the latest Star Trek movie has been beyond reproach.

The chatter on the blogosphere throughout 2008 pertaining to the movie suggests that the choice of both Zachary Quinto and John Cho is the one thing that the movie’s casting department had done right. Especially if the aim is to entice a new legion – i.e. ages 25 and younger - of young fans into the wonderful world of Star Trek. Zachary Quinto recently gained fame during the last few years for his role as the villain on the TV series “Heroes” with an infinitely complicated character that would make Friedrich Nietzsche an avid fan. The choice of Zachary Quinto to play the young Spock would not only do wonders for the new Star Trek movie given his under 25 demographic fanbase, But also for his acting career in Hollywood as well. So does the choice of John Cho to reprise the role of the Starship Enterprise’s helmsman Hikaru Sulu after gaining a somewhat fast-tracked worldwide fame – with the help of the Internet - for his roles in the two Harold and Kumar movies.

The casting of Simon Pegg as Montgomery Scott – a.k.a. Scotty – probably raised more eyebrows in the Star Trek’s fanbase since the casting of Jerry Ryan as “that sexy borg drone” named Seven of Nine. Given that Simon Pegg is an Englishman – as opposed to the Scottish Scotty – the howls of protests over the casting decision has since reverberated throughout the “Trekkie Universe” for much of 2008. Like the clamor for the role of Scotty should be reserved for an authentic Scottish actor. But given that the original actor who played the famed Starship Enterprise engineer, James Doohan, in the original Star Trek series in the 1960’s was not even Scottish – he was Canadian by the way – only serves to vindicate the decision of the movie’s casting department.

Given the progress achieved in recent years for the movie-crafter’s ability to create even wonderful whiz-bang special effects, will this make the new Star Trek movie the best one in the franchise’s 40-year history? Even though most women that I know of had always had “lingering” doubts over the movie’s director J.J. Abrams “creative aesthetics”. Citing an example on his TV series opus “Alias” and its ilk, where story-craft and literary plot tend to go to the nearest toilet once you give the “leading lady” superhuman-like powers. Or maybe it’s just Abram’s decision to avoid making “Alias” just another copycat version of “Cold Case” or “The FBI Detective Dana Scully Show”.

Given that America and the rest of the world had already been inspired and “energized” by US President Barack Obama’s inaugural speech, especially the part about “putting science back to it’s rightful place”. Anything that serves to renew the freshness of the 40-year old Star Trek franchise should be embraced with open arms by us unapologetic Trekkies. Especially when it attempts – rather unabashedly – to attract a new legion of younger fans. But for now, see you after the show.