Friday, May 17, 2013

Star Trek Into Greatness

I grew up loyal to the Star Wars franchise. Somehow, I also determined that was pretty much all the Sci-fi wasn’t for me. And Star Trek? It just looked weird. What was up with those ridiculous shirts everyone wore? Hans Solo didn’t wear some weird uniform.

In fact, and this is embarrassing, I was so anti-Trek that it has, potentially, had a negative impact on my bank account. A few years ago, a couple friends and I went to Austin to audition for a VH1 show, “The World Series of Pop Culture.” The three of us are all pretty well versed in movies, television and music. We, also, each have our areas of strength and some weaknesses. Turns out, Star Trek was my Achilles. The first question was: “Who played Khan?”

Now, somehow, I know ridiculous amounts (sometimes embarrassing) of useless movie trivia. Often about movies I haven’t seen.  But I had refused entry, to any Trek knowledge, into my brain. So I missed that question. Did it cost us a chance at making it to the next round, and ultimately from appearing (and winning) the $250,000? Well, it just may have. Based on how often I hear about it, my illogical gap in knowledge probably cost us each $83,333.33 (before taxes).

For a midget with glasses who collected baseball cards, Star Wars, GI Joe and Transformers figures, somehow I never found my way to comic books. I watched , and loved Superman in the 80’s. Soaked up Batman in the 90’s, but that was pretty much it. In 2005, I was sure this new Batman was going to be silly. I was annoyed that Hollywood was just rehashing old movies, and by old I mean, not very old at all. But I learned that this was the right time. The story telling was darker, more serious and very light on the cheese. The same cheese I loved as a kid, but I no longer wanted it draped all over my movies. The character development was fantastic, and the bad guy was more in the grey. Since being a kid, I learned that there wasn't as much good and evil, that life wasn’t that black and white. It’s mostly shades of grey. Batman Begins was all about the grey. My hopes and expectations for these reboots completely changed. Then in 2008, Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr gave the world Iron Man, and my eyes were wide open. Although it was so different from Batman, what it lacked in darkness, it made up with charm.

So when 2009 came around, and JJ Abrams gave us Star Trek, I was ready. I saw the movie and loved the movie. I was, and continue to be, completely oblivious to every reference to the originals. And that’s fine with me. Although, I do plan to someday go back and watch the previous 10 movies. I was eagerly awaiting Star Trek Into Darkness. I was ready for it as soon as I finished the 2009 incarnation.

This morning I heard a local morning DJ say that he considered staying and watching the movie again, after he saw it last night. He was absolutely right. I’m ready to watch it again. I’m looking forward to the day I buy the Blu-ray, and I’m already excited to see the third installment, which is scheduled for a 2016 release.

Star Trek Into Darkness is the perfect summer blockbuster and JJ Abrams is, without question, this generations Steven Speilberg. It’s big and bold. The sound engulfs you, the visuals are stunning. And the special effects are so perfect, and so realistic, that you only notice the effects because you know there’s no aircraft like that. Well, not on this planet. Yet. Chris Pine has every ounce of charisma that Harrison Ford’s Hans Solo had. Abrams was recently given the keys to reboot Star Wars, which I rolled my eyes at to begin with. Now I’m just annoyed that he can’t use Pine. Every role is so well casted, I really hope they put together a run of four or five. I completely trust that Abrams could make each subsequent movie the highlight of each summer.

But, I don’t want to raise anyone’s expectations too high. See it. See it soon. 

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