I am not a Trekkie.
There are many characteristics that certain immediate family members and I share, but a nearly-encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek characters and stories and timelines is not among them. However, living in a household with two aficionados (and my nearby uncle, a third) means that I did watch many episodes as I was growing up. I know more about Star Trek than someone who didn’t watch it with any regularity. In fact, I recall more about the original series than I do about ST: Voyager, which I watched, with friends, with a weekly eagerness. I probably saw one or two or three of the first batch of Trek movies. I just didn’t care that much.
I heard the trailer for the new Star Trek movie was amazing, but I didn’t watch it. I didn’t see any television ads. I didn’t recognize any of the actors’ names, and I didn’t look them up. I somehow overheard that this movie was going back to the original characters, the only ones I had any affection for. And my circle of friends is a bit heavy in the sci-fi department, so I had a general interest in going to see it.
Oh, on opening day? In IMAX? Well, okay. That will be fun. We’ll meet first at Megan & Joe’s house, drink some “Romulan ale,” and then carpool over to the theater. It’s a party!
We bought our tickets well in advance. Joe researched and decided on an “appropriate” recipe for Romulan ale. Megan and I both wore Lurex. She in a retro, bare-shouldered gold top, me in a vintage red minidress. Alison chose to not wear her TOS-accurate dress, citing fit issues. Joe brought his communicator. Along with Jay and Rich and Sui and Genevieve, we chatted and laughed and snacked and drank and ’pooled over to the theater and waited in line for our showing. People were walking out of the 7pm showing exclaiming that it was “awesome.” And they looked like normal people. Megan and I were the snazziest folks within view in the 10pm line, although there was a gal not far behind us wearing a red, “EXPENDIBLE” T-shirt. As we piled into the theater, we eventually saw one couple in their TOS outfits. Overall, an understated crowd.
The movie began with a flurry of absolutely no fanfare whatsoever. No theme song, no “Space: The final frontier” speech. No definitive moment that Trekkies could hoot and holler about. But… that ping. That sonar-like ping. That’s lifted from the show! My grin began.
And was glued to my face for the next two hours.
As the movie came to its conclusion, I wanted more! More of these characters, the younger versions of the characters I knew and didn’t realize how much I loved. Played so well that, outside of the visually-obvious Sulu and Uhura, it was clear who was who from the get-go. These actors truly became their characters, without making them into caricatures. The cadences, the attitudes, they had it down. I believed them. And yet, they each added their own personality to the roles. The story line was entertaining. The ship sets and props were fresh and modern, but still nodded at the originals. The visual effects were loads of fun, and I would hazard that nothing like them has been seen in the ST canon until now. That being said, I could have done with a lot less “lens flare.” I wondered for a long time if there was an issue with our print of the film before I realized it was an effect. The closing credits appeared rushed and cheap compared to the rest of the movie. But, it’s the closing credits. It didn’t exactly detract from the plot. And I would like for someone, someday, to explain to me why the Romulan ship was shaped that way (and how would it dock?)… but not today. Today, I’m going to bask in the glory of the film, and continue to wear a smile on my face.
Because it was awesome.