Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Memo to Vince Horiuchi: New Star Trek is a Good Thing

To: Vince Horiuchi, Salt Lake Tribune’s Resident “Village Vidiot”

From: Andy Morgan, Inventor of Awesome

Subject: Set Phasers to Dumb for Trek

Vince, Vince, Vince. Sigh. Remember when you wrote this in the Salt Lake Tribune last Monday, November 16th?

Director J.J. Abrams goes where no Trekkie has gone before by “re-imagining” the classic 1960s series Star Trek as a bombastic, action-packed, Star Wars-esque — and ultimately dumbed-down — movie that is anything but true Trek. The original crew of the Enterprise is re-cast with Melrose Place-like young hunks and hotties, and the action is ramped up for new audiences. What it lacks is the flavor, spirit, intelligence and character bonding of the original series. Newcomers will appreciate the glossy style, but diehard original series fans will cringe at the deliberate breakaway from the classic canon to create the movie’s own set of rules (through a time-travel storyline that obliterates the original series’ timeline). Beam me up Scotty, there’s no intelligent life here.

We need to have a chat, Vince. See, I watched J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek again over the weekend and you’re dead wrong with your assessment of the film as “dumbed-down.” From the first to the last frame, Abrams has fashioned a sleek, stylized, up-tempo Trek that is far and above the best thing Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and The Enterprise have seen since The Wrath of Khan in 1982. I mean, let’s be frank – are you telling me the The Undiscovered Country is an edge-of-your-seat, smart space epic? I don’t think so, unless you’re wearing a pocket protector and got married while dressed as a Klingon.

You see, Vince, it seems to me the only people with ruffled feathers over Abrams’ “re-imagining” are the Trek nerds. And you know what? I don’t get it. I can count on one hand Trek films that didn’t put me to sleep: the aforementioned Khan, The Voyage Home and First Contact, which is when Picard and his jazzed up crew took over for the decrepit Shatner and Co. And don’t talk to me about canon and pull out some Star Trek bible. Guess what? The series was canceled after the third season, and for good reason – it was boring.

Thank the Lord J.J. Abrams didn’t go with “true Trek” for this splendid restart of a boring franchise that had, for some befuddling reason, survived three decades of second-class motion pictures. If anything, the $257 million Star Trek raked in at the domestic box office can’t be wrong, especially when the closest any of the other Trek films has come to the century mark in millions isThe Voyage Home with $109 million.

Bottom line, Vince: Star Trek has jettisoned its nerdness and is now smart, sexy and robust. I can’t wait for the sequel.