My parents are Trekkies. They don’t attend conventions or anything like that, but they loved the Original Series, and my dad taught a science fiction class at the University of Maryland that only discussed Star Trek, week after week. (This was before I was born, and supposedly the class was packed!) I became a fan on my own – I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation; Picard and Data were my Kirk and Spock, and Wesley Crusher was my obligatory nerdy crush. I watched all the TNG movies and could recite the opening spiel by heart, and was so loyal to this particular crew that I didn’t watch any of the succeeding series (Voyager, etc), considering them spin-offs of “my Star Trek”.
When J.J. Abrams‘ Star Trek came along, I was at once excited and detached. I had no expectations, not being a particular fan of Abrams (I followed some of Alias, never watched Lost, liked Mission: Impossible III – basically I knew he was good, but for the most part kept him out of my life). But my excitement caused me to purchase premiere tickets so I could watch it two nights before anyone else. (Anyone except my Trekkie friends, who of course had seen it first, and were there at the premiere in full costume.)
When I came out of the theater, I was, as described by one of the Trekkies, “bouncy”. I thought the film was awesome. It would have been so easy for me to get disappointed – I mean, really, Star Wars: Episodes 1 to 3 (plus the 3D Clone Wars) and The X-Files 2 showed me how you can never go home again. And yet, even if Abrams could have easily screwed this up, he didn’t. At first, I thought it was just me and my zero expectations – and the fact that I wasn’t a fan of the original series anyway. But I found out later that the die-hard fans were just as pleased and bouncy as well.
To be sure, I went and saw it again today – with my parents this time, who were giggling over inside fan jokes that I couldn’t get. They liked it – and I found myself liking it just as much the second time around. I even got teary-eyed during the spiel – what a geek.
I’m not entirely sure how Abrams got it right. It’s not the smartest film in the world, or the wittiest, or the most well-shot. But everything feels “just right” and everything seems to work together. Maybe it’s because of the cast, which I thought was perfect – nobody was over the top, I was already a fan of Karl Urban and he was great, and even Sylar and Harold weren’t Sylar-y and Harold-y at all. And my obligatory nerdy crush is now Chris Pine, which just shows you how effective he was as a charming, swaggering Kirk.
This film means more than just a homage for the older fans – it’s a reset for the new. “This could be the Star Wars of this generation,” said a Trekkie friend, and I agree. If this new cast can bring the young ones into science fiction, the way TNG did for me, I will feel more secure about our children’s future. Less Hannah Montana and more Star Trek. That’s my motto.