Thursday, May 28, 2009

Time traveling with Star Trek

I saw Star Trek last night and saw my life pass before my eyes. I went to places never gone to before....For instance, before my very eyes young James T. Kirk turned into my son Stevie (!) Then there was Spock, and he turned into Stevie's younger brother and arch enemy Joey (!) My son Johnny was right next to me watching the movie with me, so I whispered these things in his ear when they occurred to me. He must know what I meant I thought, having been regularly placed between his two big brothers in the back seat of the car whenever we went anywhere to keep them from killing each other, but he only nodded knowingly. Maybe he didn't want to be interrupted by major flash backs going on in my head while I was watching the movie? I fell quiet.

It was the preview that had started the time travel for me-- Angels and Demons, directed by Ron Howard. I didn't care about the angels and demons part (ho-hum) but Ron Howard sure got my attention! Suddenly I was remembering watching Ron Howard as a young mother of two young children way back in the Sixties. Ron Howard was then just a small boy on The Andy Griffeth Show named "Opie"--who would have dreamed that this Opie would someday grow up and direct a movie?? Next thing I knew my mind took a quantum leap (warp speed) forward, and I remembered seeing Caccoon in the Eighties, and thinking Oh! ...he's all grown up now, and is a great director! I leaned over to tell Johnny all this stuff and then changed my mind. We wouldn't see Star Trek at all if I kept reminiscing.

But anyway, Star Trek was another series I loved to watch back then about the same time as I was watching The Andy Griffeth Show, and I was so disappointed when I heard they were going to cancel it after only three seasons. Nothing could possibly have made me realize then that it would not be cancelled, but instead recalled by popular acclaim and more amazingly, go on decade after decade to spawn many, many movies in its wake while actors aged and grew paunchy and finally had to be replaced, while Trekkies multiplied faster than Tribbles. Who would have guessed?

It was more than half the joy of the movie! I began to remember all the Star Treks going back forty years and more, and when I saw Leonard Nimoy's Old Spock confronting his Young Spock self it might as well have been me confronting my own young self when we all were so young and so unknowing of the future. The unknowingness of the future is what makes it later so astounding when the past is looked back upon from it, you see. No one knows now what is going to make a splash in the world in the future at all! Example--looking back you know Elvis Presley made a big splash--his fame is utterly universal. But I remember when Pat Boone and Elvis Presley were absolutely tied as to who was best in the private polls of me and my friends, and we were the ones deciding. Fats Domino was pretty good too--how could you decide? Of course now Pat Boone is best remembered for his white bucks (I had some), and Fats Domino is revered as he should be for his wonderful irreverent piano-playing and lyrics--but Elvis has evolved into this great mythical cult hero god who has been spotted hundreds of times walking the earth--just like the Greek heroes and gods of old did--decades after his death, still wooing women and giving little private showings to the Chosen few lucky enough to have run into him. Who would have guessed?

When you see something over and over again for hundreds of episodes (which you don't realize are going to be famous some day) the way I saw Star Trek in its original setting, the moves all become familiar. The way Captain Kirk sits in the captain's chair defines him; the way Spock and Kirk sort of stand there leaning toward each other facing you, having a little conference deciding what to do next--that's just what they do. As I was going into this movie (Star Trek 2009) I was thinking there was something that was just a little staged about the original they could never capture today in the age of specially effected realism, and something a little like Saturday Night Live about the way Spock and Kirk and the others--Scottie, Bones, Chekov, Sulu, Uhura--were with each other. They were clearly having fun--poking fun at themselves and getting into their characters in a wonderfully funny way.

But I was wrong to think they wouldn't, couldn't capture that! Star Trek 2009 does poke fun at Star Trek 1966! Young Kirk sits in the captain's chair, posed just as he did all those hundreds of times forty years ago, thinking, posturing, looking captainly...along comes young Spock (now he's the captain in this movie!) and says "Outta the chair!" It is hilarious! And at the end, the two together facing the movie audience, conferring with each other about what to do.....they captured it perfectly!

And another thing. They were the original Crew Diversity before it was a concept--this was the world of the future and we knew it had no money in it and was totally integrated as to both race and intergalactic species--which was the way we envisioned a new enlightened world being. The only thing I didn't like was the outfits the girls had to wear--they reminded me too much of Play Boy Club outfits I had seen in magazines! Oh well, you can't have everything, and Captain Kirk had to hit on someone, and girls in feministic outfits (whatever they were--braless maybe) wouldn't have fit the bill. They were still in the future, feminists were, you see. Uhura was the first maybe; she was strong and part of the crew. But she still had the old made-for-men-to-look-at outfit.

Oh Star Trek! What times revisited! What time travel!! I must see it again!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic, Mary! I had sort of dreaded this movie - now I think I'll go see it!