'Star Trek': Old Fans May Not be so ImpressedWednesday, May 20, 2009 By Lauren Faw, Class of 2009
Star Trek hit movie theaters across the country, making the famous Trek fanbase hold its breath. Would the movie remain canon to the original series upon which it was based? How would the new Kirk (played by Chris Pine) and Spock (played by Zachary Quinto) fare against their older, authentic counterparts? As a fan of the original series, I believe the new movie was an excellent introduction to the world of Star Trek for new viewers, although it strayed significantly from canon, perhaps a bit too far for fans of old. Star Trek tries, though half-heartedly, to remain as close to the original series as possible, but it seems exploring the personalities of the main characters beyond canon was necessary for a modern take on the Star Trek universe. As the story begins, we are introduced to James Tiberius Kirk and the alternate universe of the movie through a devastating attack by the Romulan leader Nero (played by a shaved Eric Bana). During the attack, young Kirk is born. From there, the audience actually gets a glimpse into the childhoods of Kirk and even the normally enigmatic Spock, who early on strays from his original design (a calm and collected being) to get into one of two physical fights during the course of the film. One aspect of the film I did really not appreciate as a fan of the original series was the enhancement of the minor character Uhura (played by Zoe Saldana). Uhura was originally an important member of the Enterprise crew, but in the new film she is stretched the furthest from canon as a genius linguist and the love interest of Kirk and later (prepare yourself) Spock. The characters of Uhura, Kirk, and Spock are definitely more 21st (or should I say 23rd) century than the originals. Kirk's arrogance, a trademark in TOS, is enhanced thrice-fold for the new film to make him appear as more of a younger "bad boy." Spock's personality, to the justified rage of Nimoy fans, is sacrificed for an equally violent, arrogant character who serves as Kirk's adversary instead of his best friend. The important Kirk and Spock friendship that was a trademark of the series is tossed aside completely for a more edgy "I hate you but I can’t save the universe without you." Perhaps the only character that old Trekkies will nod their head to in approval is "Bones" McCoy. The paranoid, caustic doctor is depicted very close to the original, and he is definitely the most similar to the authentic in appearance (something which the new Kirk lacks entirely). If you couldn't give a flying flip whether or not the new Star Trek stays close to the canon (which inevitably teens who find the show's 40-plus-year existence archaic will not), I shall say this - this is not a thinking movie. If you're one of billions who likes to see things blow up, there are explosions and phasers galore. If you want a little hand-to-hand combat in there as well, there is a scene in which the literal bloody pulp is beaten from Pine. If you're a Star Wars fan, you'll be happily surprised at how similar the new movie is to the Star Wars series, as if it leeched from the recent films many mindless battle scenes to morph itself into a near rip-off. Action fans should enjoy this film, though the supreme sadist's thirst for violence may not be quenched within the film's two-hour length. Young people who are completely unaware of the original series' "canon" won't nitpick throughout the film (and visibly cringe as the film ends on a sickeningly politically correct note that slaughters the series' catchphrase) and will enjoy the new "edgy" relationships established between the main characters. Highlights of the new film include the in-joke of the red parachutist ’s fate, the appearance of the original Spock (obviously a ploy to draw in old fans who will pursue the original actors no matter what quality of film they appear in), the similarity of Quinto to his predecessor and the likelihood he will inspire a whole new generation of female xenophiles, and the knowledge that William Shatner was denied a role in this movie and is limited to Priceline commercials in his final years.