You’re not alone.
I saw Star Trek: Into the Darkness last week. It was a deflating experience.
As movies go, it’s a competent celluloid distraction. I know many people appreciate its warp speed action, witty dialogue, high-tech starships, and ridiculously gorgeous cast.
And what’s wrong with that?
Here’s what’s wrong with it:
- Everyone yells at each other.
- Explosions erupt every five minutes.
- Phasers are not set to stun.
- A Star Fleet admiral kidnaps a mega-starship and tries to blow up the Enterprise. With everyone on it. Because he wants to start a war.
- There is so much running and screaming and fighting that at one point I thought I was watching Die Harder than Ever: The Director’s Cut.
- The Prime Directive is treated like a Give Way sign on a wilderness road. We know it’s there but no one cares.
- Most disturbing of all, Mr Spock loses his cool and morphs into a pointy-eared version of James Bond. Live long and prosper, Mr Spock? Not if you start fist-fights with a psychotic evildoer from a 20th century genetic experiment gone wrong.
Star Trek once went where no one has gone before. I have no idea where it’s going now.
At one time it gave me hope. Three hundred years from now we’re finally a respectable bunch of hominids. We’ve stopped using money and killing each other and wrecking the planet. We survive a nuclear war and invent warp drive.
Aliens are impressed with our evolution and invite us to join the United Federation of Planets. We build starships and solve problems rather than creating them. We adhere to the Prime Directive of non-interference in the affairs of developing alien civilisations.
Star Trek was also my antidote to the Charlton Heston movies of the late 60s and early 70s where future humans are made into soy burgers or enslaved by chimpanzees or holed-up in a sewer while plague or zombies or radioactive rubble lurk outside.
Perhaps I’m over-reacting. I email my daughter:
“There’s something wrong with Star Trek. I think it’s trying too hard to be James Bond. All those fist fights and all that running and screaming and yelling at each other.”
“I really liked it. I don’t mind if it’s trying to be James Bond – that’s tons of fun too.”
But I do mind.
This is because we already have a James Bond, and if I want running and screaming and shouting I know where to go.
Star Trek is the only benign human future I trust and it’s in serious orbital decay.
I watch a montage of 1960s episodes for comfort and validation.
This is what I find:
- No one yells at each other.
- No one swears.
- Mr Spock is not James Bond.
- The Prime Directive may be stirred at times, but not shaken.
- There is only one explosion and this happens when Captain Kirk is fending off a space lizard and improvises an incendiary device that looks like a firecracker.
- Phasers are always set to stun.
- Star Fleet admirals are gentlemen and do not start wars or attempt to murder their colleagues.
Unless we resume Star Trek’s original course, I fear we’ll end up as soy burgers on sesame seed buns. Served by chimpanzees. “Would you like fries with that, human?”
Beam me up Scotty?
Not into your nutty future.