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Friday, 8 May 2009

To Boldly Go...

I'm obscenely excited. The last time I saw a Star Trek movie in the cinema was First Contact, at the Guildford Odeon many moons ago. I still remember watching the opening credits and hearing the entire cinema go 'Who?!' when helmsman Ensign Expendable's credit appeared. Sure enough, he was expended.

Tomorrow is going to top all that. My mate Tom and I are making a day of it and leaving the craggy glamour of Edinburgh to journey to Glasgow, there to experience the new Trek movie at the Glasgow IMAX. I'm not sure if it's the IMAX or Star Trek part that thrills me more. I haven't been in one before, so either way it will be an experience.

Following Trek lore, this film should be one of the 'disappointing' ones. It follows as an odd-numbered movie in the pantheon, even if it is a 'prequel'. The odd-numbers have historically been the 'less good' films, where the even ones have been the really good ones. Take Wrath of Khan against Search for Spock. Khan good, Spock bad. Generations vs. First Contact; Generations is viewed as being a bit iffy, First Contact is viewed as being a bit awesome. I happen to disagree on Insurrection and Nemesis, as I think they were both good, but the Trek community at large thought both were the series equivalent of a cinematic warp core breach.

There are a number of signs that this will buck the trend. Primarily because it is being directed by J.J Abrahms, creator of Lost and Fringe. With that pedigree, the only person who could possibly do it any better would be Joss Whedon or possibly Bryan Singer, and I think Whedon is better suited to comic-book style shows than Star Trek, but I'd gladly be proven wrong. To be fair, a screenplay written by Whedon and directed by Singer would pretty much be the equivalent of a cinematic orgasm for me, but I digress.

I have very deliberately avoided all mention of the story and possible spoilers. In fact, I've watched the trailers, and that's about it. When Phantom Menace came out I bought the graphic novel and kept it in a box, looking only at the front cover and resolutely refusing to read it until I had seen the movie. With an extraordinary, superhuman and some would say Jedi-like force of will, I succeeded and refrained from devouring it until after I'd seen the film. At which point I ran right back to the cinema to see it again, because I didn't remember Darth Maul getting cut in two and falling in pieces down the shaft. I even spotted a little mist of red bloody haze, cauterised on the Lightsaber's blade. How I missed that the first time I'll never know.

So, I go tomorrow blissfully unaware of the plot and knowing only that it's going to have some awesome special effects and the guy playing Kirk is clearly going for an 'I am James (Dean) Tiberius Kirk' look. And it has Romulans in it. We may get to see Romulans in a vicious 'what Vulcans would be like without restraint' light, which has always been sorely missing from the series. Any time Spock or Tuvok went a little schitzo, we got an insight into the mind of a being with terrible power, a rage incandescent the restraint of which showed the strength of their character. Romulans were supposed to be Vulcans who embraced their emotions, yet we never saw that rage, passion or fury, just another humanoid race with pointy ears who didn't like the Federation much.

Still, I remain convinced that I'll be screaming at Kirk to watch out, it's Sylar and he wants your brains.

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