I’m trying to figure out the color-coding system of Star Trek. Kirk wears a gold shirt, as does Sulu and Chekov. Both Spock and McCoy wear blue. And Scottie and Uhura wear red, which as everyone knows, is the symbolic color of a random crewmember that is about to be killed.
Kirk is in charge, and Sulu is the “helmsman,” whatever that is. Chekov is the navigator… and they all wear the same color shirt. I was always under the impression that the color of your shirt indicated rank. Back when I was in summer camp, rank was designated by the color of the neckerchief you wore. The ultimate goal there was to reach the final “level,” where you would achieve transcendence and spiritual enlightenment through something called “Nanny Bazoo.” I could be getting some of that wrong, because I didn’t make it to that level. I am still trying to find my way, while those that reached Nanny Bazoo are at peace with their lives.
I digress. I was glad to see the cast of JJ Abram’s new Star Trek wearing their classic uniforms, rather than the maroon “concierge at an Embassy Suites” outfits of the original cast movies.
In fact, I was glad to see the Star Trek franchise not just get back on its feet, but do so in a way that was awesome in just about every way possible.
I liked the way this movie was able to recast every single iconic role in a way that allowed the filmmakers to have their cake and eat it too. I won’t get into how they do it, but just know that everything that happened in the original series and films still happened. But just because, say, Spock died in Part II, or the lack of whales in the future cause a giant cigar to lay waste to planet Earth in Part IV, doesn’t mean it will happen again. No, a new future awaits the new Kirk, Spock, etc. And that allows a new series of movies to be made, and on the basis of quality that this one possesses, that is a very good thing.
So what did they do right? Firstly, they got a great new Kirk and Spock. I saw this on IMAX, and aside from some skin problems, Chris Pine gives good JT Kirk. He spends a lot of time in this movie hanging by his fingernails from high perches- I think I counted at least five different instances where they have him in this scenario.
A metaphor for the adventures to come? Hopefully.
The relationship between Spock and Kirk is the basis of the entire “ongoing mission,” and this movie cements that better than anything we have previously seen in the franchise. To paraphrase Monty Burns, Kirk is the “Raging Id” to Spock’s “Sober Yang.” When Nimoy’s Spock tells Kirk that he has to be the captain of the Enterprise to fulfill some unknown destiny, it gave me some nerd chills.
Is it the best Star Trek movie yet? No, but it is probably the second best. It is going to be hard to top Khan, mainly because that movie felt like a reinvention that nobody expected or believed could happen. In 1982, did anyone expect a Star Trek movie that pushed the boundaries of science fiction (the concept of the Genesis Device was an idea that provided the fuel for the three best original Star Trek movies), furthered the mythology of the television series (the movie was sequel to “Space Seed” episode), and added emotional heft to the relationships that everyone thought that they had a handle on? To put in another way, did anyone ever expect a Star Trek that could make him or her cry? Watch the Spock sacrifice again, and revel in the performances of Shatner and Nimoy. I love it when I am surprised at what a movie can deliver, and Star Trek II was a surprise.
The new one? Not so much, mainly because I was expecting it to be pretty great. Still, to not be let down is one thing, but to have your expectations exceeded was even better. And that is what you get from this new Star Trek.
And since I usually end with some sort of list, here you go.
The Best Star Trek Movies Featuring Original Characters:
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
- Star Trek (2009)
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home– the one with the whales is pretty awesome, too.
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock– Christopher Lloyd was a badass Klingon.
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier– probably worse than the first one on many levels, but at least it isn’t as boring.
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture