I Don’t Plan On Seeing Star Trek. At least not in the theater, and no, it’s not because Benedict Cumberbatch is in it. I don’t watch a lot of TV or movies, so I know him as my third favorite iteration of Sherlock Holmes and precious little else. I’m told that a lot of people are “getting sick of seeing him everywhere”. Screw you guys, this is the man’s job. If he wanted to play three different Sparks at the same time in a hypothetical Girl Genius movie, I’d be all over that and I’ll bet he’d do a great job.
No, I’m giving this thing a pass because I bother to read reviews, and everybody says that it may be a slam–bang action movie in space, but it isn’t really Star Trek, which is supposed to be all optimistic and outward looking and such. So you know what? I don’t have to go, so I’m not going.
This was actually a difficult decision to make. I’m old enough that I vividly remember when science fiction was rare enough that if there was a science fiction movie or TV show, by golly you watched it, because the opportunities to support our maligned genre were all too rare. Christ, I watched Lost in Space because of that. I mean, I’m in what, the fifth grade? and I remember yelling at the people on the screen because they were being such morons (I was too young to know I should have been yelling at the writers, which would, no doubt, have been much more effective), and yet, there I was next week– ready for more. Pathetic. Anyway, I liked the last movie, aside from a few nit picky things that I will not bore my readers with, since by law I would then be required to hear your opinions and I don’t really care that much.
Star Trek is supposed to be like the original Magnus, Robot Fighter comics ( I mean the really original stuff, junior, Gold Key Comics 1963-1977). In both of these 1960’s inspired futures, humanity had persevered and somehow, gotten it right. Things were looking pretty good. There wasn’t any war, or disease, or overtly stupid people, and all our challenges came from annoying aliens or bad robots. It wasn’t our fault. We were over that shit. However, once we were mired in what Gary Trudeau called “A kidney–stone of a decade”, this simple optimism became passé, and “realists”, who could not figure out how to solve the problems of the world today, blithely assumed that we’d never be able to solve them ever, and that the future would be just as craptastic as the present, except we’d be hitting each other with flying cars and the murderer would turn out to be the robot butler.
This is a failure of the imagination that has only become more widespread as the production and marketing of science fiction has been taken up by people who are totally unable to imagine that the world, and the people in it, could fundamentally change. And that was why the original Star Trek was amazing, because it showed us a future where people were– and there really is no other way to say it– Better People. Yet it was still able to present them as people we could relate to. That we could root for, and want to know and emulate.
You want a story about terrorists in the future blowing up San Francisco? Knock yourself out. But don’t tell me it’s Star Trek.