Monday, November 17, 2008

My Childhood. . . Gone.

The cultural atmosphere of my childhood can be boiled down to a few simple, distinct elements.

Some of these elements are computer games, particularly those made for the Commodore 64 (Screw Nintendo. Jumpman Forever!).

Cartoons, of course, constitute another set. I came a but too late for things like Transformers and Ninja Turtles (that's my excuse and I 'm sticking to it!), and I quickly grew out of things likes Power Rangers. Looney Toons/Merrie Melodies shorts were a big influence on me, but everyone loves those, kid and adult alike. The two "kids" cartoons that strongly resonate with me today are ReBoot and Sailor Moon the anime. Sailor Moon, of course, led to me to the awesomely campy live action series, which has in turn come to form a large, unhealthy part of my adult psyche (I love PGSM. . . It's so bad.) And I still consider ReBoot to be a classic of television animation. It's one of the few Canadian shows that doesn't fill me with a deep sense of shame over my nationality.

But in the end, if I had to one thing that truly defined my childhood, the one thing that forged my political and ethical philosophy and made me who I am today (aside from genetics, parental upbringing, yadda yadda), it would be absolutely no contest.

Star Trek.

As a child of the nineties, I was raised by Star Trek: The Next Generation, a show that, warts and all, I love even to this day (hell, I'll even tolerate the movies). TNG eventually led me to Deep Space Nine, which started as a pretty good Next Gen clone before growing into something bigger and more epic (Screw Babylon 5-- DS9 forever!). These two shows, in turn, led to a greater appreciation of the 1960's original. Indeed, as tame and campy as it may seem now, the original Star Trek had some pretty big balls for it's day. When they said "risk is our business," they weren't kidding.

But as the years passed, my trekkiness began to fade. It began with Voyager. I loved it at first, but the feeling quickly died, and eventually I found myself watching it simply because it was a Trek show. But silver bullet, though, was Enterprise. If believed the hype, as I foolishly did, then this was the show that was supposed to save Star Trek by taking it back to the beginning -- and in the process, cleverly avoiding some of the less well thought out dramatic restrictions imposed on the franchise by Gene Roddenberry (In the future, you see, we humans will be the bestest buddies in the whole wide world and will never have any kind of dramatic conflict with one another because we'll all be just too busy telling the rest of the universe how fucking awesome we are -- riveting, no?).

But of course, Enterprise ended up being the final nail in Star Trek's coffin. There are many reasons why it failed. For me, personally, what killed Enterprise was the bizarre willingness of the show's creators to go along with the Bush administration's War On Terror agenda, but that's just me being a liberal ass. If you want less polemic, YouTube critic sfdebris has done a damn fine job of explaining why both Voyager and Enterprise were pretty much really bad shows.

The end result of all this was that when Enterprise aired its terrible final episode, and the curtain dropped on Star Trek: Nemesis. . . that was it. It was over for me. Sure, I'd more than enjoy the occasional TNG or DS9 rerun, but as a continuing, evolving story, it was done. If they never made another Star Trek movie of TV show, I would not lose a wink of sleep.

But then it happened: J.J. Abrahms, co-creator of Lost, announced that he would be directing the next Star Trek film. This intrigued me, to say the least. Lost, while not nearly as good as it used to be, is still the only ongoing TV show other than The Daily Show/Colbert Report that I still bother to watch regularly. I actually found myself looking forward to the prospect of Abrahms making a new Star Trek movie and, just maybe, revitalizing the series.

But I didn't count on it. The plot leaks that had been released-- something about Spock travelling back in time to save a young James Kirk from the T-1000. . . um, I mean, the Romulans-- didn't exactly seem like the kind of inspired premise you'd expect from the creator of Alias and Lost.

What finally convinced me, though, was a bootlegged leak of the trailer, which was supposed to be shown before Quantum of Solace, but was for whatever reason not shown in Prince George theatres. (Quantum of Solace, by the way, was pretty underwhelming).

Here it is:

UPDATE: This is a higher quality version of the trailer. Of, course, by "higher quality" I mean only in the technical sense.

You may think, like many YouTube commenters, that this movie looks awesome. If you do, please leave a comment so that I may put your name on a list of Stalinists, because that's what you are! Stalinists!

Incidentally, if you do happen to be a Stalinist who, like me, is severely appalled by this trailer, please accept me sincerest apologies.

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

-Alfred Tennyson.

UPDATE #2: The Cast.

Kirk: Chris Pine. I don't know him, but Naomi does-- she described him, quite succinctly, as "That Douchebag."

Spock: Zachary Quinto. Fucking Sylar. Hell, maybe they cast Masi Oka as Sulu.

McCoy: Karl Urban. It's funny, 'cause in photos he really looks more like James Doohan, ie Scotty.

Scotty: A.J., cover your eyes. Simon Pegg. Shaun of the Dead is playing Scotty. Maybe that will be a plus for some, but I just feel bad for Pegg.

Sulu: Masi Oka?! No, that would actually be cool. Korean-American actor John Cho, aka "Harold" from Harold and Kumar. Just ask any Korean how thrilled they would be to play a Japanese person. I mean, ever since the Japan annexed Korea in 1910, they've been pretty much the same people, right?

(Note: Apparently, this was a concern for J.J. Abrahms, but Cho, desperate for work one assumes, rationalized it by saying that Sulu, a Japanese man, respresents all of Asia. I'm not even going to go there.)

Uhura: Zoe Saldana. Don't know her.

Chekov: A Lady with a Dog.

1 comment:

A.J. said...

Okay, that looks downright hilarious. Can you believe they're trying to hit a TV show from the sixties filled with cardboard sets and plastic ears with an adrenaline jolt? Was that a fucking dragon? Did Kirk almost fall off of a cliff when he was eight? Was that Spock dressed up as a robot in the beginning? Was that a fucking dragon? For the love of god guys, it was an okay show, but it wasn't good enough for it to STILL BE GOING.

I agree Jeremy, they should really let it go. It looks like they got George Lucas to co-direct this one. You might laugh now, but when you hear "Meesa Mr. Sulu!" don't come crying to me.

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