Tag Archives: Star Trek: Into Darkness

Star Trek: Into Darkness — Tons of Fun But Short-Winded

Star Trek: Into Darkness was… fun! The opening night theater was jam-packed with a perfect mix of 40-year-old Trekkies who’d resisted the temptation to dust off their Vulcan ear set,  and 20-something nerds who pirated the entire Star Trek series the minute they heard the 2009 film was coming out.

Half the film was one big shout-out to this geeky mix, with symbolic “winks” at the fanboy audience every few minutes and Wrath of Khan references bordering on parody.  That’s not necessarily a complaint. It’s a fun good time when you laugh along with the other two thirds of the audience that gets the references. And J.J. Abrams did a great job of smoothing most of these geek-targeted moments into the film subtly enough that Trek virgins could laugh along as well. Add in some heavy-duty wallops, impossible acrobatics, and a handful of decent sized explosions… Fun for all! And who can complain about fun?!

Well… Star Trek fans can.

As mentioned in this overly-hopeful pre-premiere post, the Star Trek franchise was built with a long-view in mind. Exploration, imagination, story, daring commentary on the issues of the day. These are the elements that made Star Trek a long-lasting epic.  Certainly a little cheekiness, and lots of beaming, warping, and phasers is what brought most fans to the original show in the first place. But it was the dynamic characters and the literally out-there, boundary-breaking stories that kept them, creating a multi-generational epic.

With Into Darkness, Abrams and crew created an explosive and wildly entertaining homage to this epic legacy, but it lacked anything that will stay with you beyond the theater.

In the film’s opening we get a glimpse of the exploration mission of Starfleet – a frantic view of an encounter with a tribal culture and brief nod to the classic confrontation with the Prime Directive. Before long, things are exploding and emotions are high. Bones (Dr. Leonard McCoy) injects his requisite skepticism and quirky rebuffs to Spock‘s robotically delivered logic. Kirk and Spock firm and reaffirm their bro-love, and Uhura speaks Klingon

There are some original developments, like the Uhura and Spock romance introduced in the 2009 film, but despite the opportunities for originality in this alternate timeline, the film weighed too heavily on nods and winks to the franchise legacy, rather than developing an original story or letting the character’s develop beyond the stock phrases and punchlines of their future selves.

From left, Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, John Cho and Zoe Saldana. (via. LA Times)

The film itself was sort of a punchline.

That said, it was wonderfully shot. The 3D was perfect for this film, especially the warp scenes. Benedict Cumberbatch was a magnificent and nuanced Khan. The musical score was riveting, and if the movie is a punchline then Simon Pegg as Scotty was the one holding the mic.

It’s like telling someone about that great night you had out drinking with a witty group of friends –  it was a really good time…yea…that’s it, just super fun! …So, how was your night?

Highlights: 

Simon Pegg as Scotty  

The beautiful Enterprise poster that was handed out before the show. (waaay better than the usual a giant poster of some actor’s face)

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The upgraded Klingon makeup job

 

via. Screenrant
via. Screenrant

 

Benedict Cumberbatch living up to the riotous love of his international fan cult.

Newer Frontiers: Will The Star Trek Reboot Live Up to Its Social-Frontier-Breaking Legacy?

Star Trek was one of the most forward-thinking TV shows of its era. First airing in 1966, it boldly pushed at the boundaries of the social issues of the day, not shying away from controversial subjects like race and women’s liberation. And you don’t have to be a “Trekkie” to know that Star Trek was also one of the most diverse TV shows of its time, possibly of all time.

The regular cast of the Original series included Black communications officer Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, Japanese senior helmsman Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, and the young Russian ensign Pavel Chekov. In fact, even the iconic Spock was played by actor Leonard Nimoy, who is of Ukranian Jewish heritage. Happily each of these iconic characters made it to the Star Trek reboot, the second installment of which premieres tomorrow!

However, what made Star Trek so universally adored for decades across such a wide array of audiences was its fearless confrontation of many of the most controverial social issues of the day.  While it was thrilling to see characters like Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov return to the big screen for the 2009 reboot, to really capture the Star Trek legacy, this rebooted franchise needs to be much more than the action adventure film of the 2009 film. A Star Trek that fans will recognize would take on the issues of our day… issues like anti-Muslim hate, the rampant manic fear of terrorism, LGBTQ rights (check out Devon Maloney‘s insights on this over at Wired), slut-shaming, abortion, police violence, the achievement gap… Just as The Original Series drew on metaphors to talk about the Vietnam War and dared to air the first interracial kiss on television.

Lieutenant Uhura and Captain Kirk kiss in the “Plato’s Stepchildren” episode of “Star Trek: The Original Series” (1968)

Whether or not audiences always agreed with the social commentary of the original Star Trek series and films, it was notable that a show with such a large following was bold enough to bring these issues to the forefront.  Though today several small screen and big screen features  address many of our society’s issues in interesting ways, the Star Trek franchise, with its status as an iconic science fiction series, could have a large impact on these important conversations. The first Star Trek reboot film in 2009 was more or less solely an action adventure. Here’s hoping tomorrow’s premier shows at least a hint of the franchise returning to its bold roots!

In the meantime, before the movie premieres tomorrow and the critics emerge, let’s get in the celebrating mood…

Aside from the famous Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov, throughout the decades Star Trek featured many other dynamic characters of color, some of them even nabbing prominent or recurring roles in the epic Star Trek story. Here are a few we might look forward to seeing again in the reboot!

Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) was a helmsman and the chief engineer in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He was also born blind and so wore a visor that allowed him non-standard vision.  His father Doctor La Forge also appeared in a few episodes.

Lieutenant Worf (Michael Dorn) was the first Klingon to join the Star Fleet. He first appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation as a tactical officer before being promoted to Chief of Security. Originally not intended to be a regular character, Worf appeared in more episodes than any other character.

Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) was a mysterious recurring character in Star Trek: The Next Generation and also appeared in two Star Trek films. Her race is never mentioned in the TV series, but she is later described as El-Aurian in one of the films. Guinan is a bartender on the ship is believed to have lived for several centuries. She is often depicted listening to members of the fleet and offering advice.

Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) was played by Sudanese-American actor Alexander Siddig (aka Siddig El Fadil). He was the chief medical officer in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) was the first and only Black character to lead as Commander in the Star Trek series. He was the Captain in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. A New Orleans native, he was originally the owner of a restaurant in New Orleans before joining Starfleet and moving swiftly up the ranks.

Tuvok (Tim Russ) was possibly the first Black Vulcan to appear in the franchise, making his first appearance as the chief of security and chief tactical officer in Star Trek: Voyager. His Vulcan wife T’Pel also appears in several episodes.

Chakotay (Robert Beltran) – Played by actor Robert Beltran, who is of Mexican-Native American heritage, Chakotay first appeared as First Officer in Star Trek: Voyager

Hoshi Sato (Linda Park), played by Korean American actress Linda Park, was the communications officer in Star Trek: Enterprise. She was a linguist who could speak 40+ languages

Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban) – So in The Original Series, the iconic villain Khan was played by Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban. The role of Khan is being reprised in Star Trek: Into Darkness by British Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch. We’ll definitely be seeing Khan. While he won’t be portrayed by an actor of color as in the past, the fan favorite Cumberbatch is sure to give an incredible performance.

Mother’s Day Ideas for the Geek Outsider Mom

For the Trekkie Mom: 

Let’s face it, your mom was the first geek you knew.  Before you were uncool, she was well beyond the frontier of geekery. “The Final Frontier”, if you will. And what better way to show you care than a little cross-generational geek appreciation? Not to mention, every geek outsider out there appreciates the social frontiers that Star Trek boldly broke through.  So, celebrate the bada** geeky lady in your life with the boundary-busting women of Star Trek: The Original Series. Throw a geeky slumber party, complete with comfy pj’s and the complete collection of The Original Series to choose from!

Then don your matching insignia pins and take her to see the new Star Trek: Into Darkness movie opening night!

Star Trek: Into Darkness May 17, 2013
Star Trek: Into Darkness May 17, 2013

For the Comics Fan Mom

With a little Mod Podge, some old comics, and a little craftiness, you can make some display-friendly comic book storage:

This Batwoman themed comics box was made out of a magazine holder
This Batwoman themed comics box was made out of a magazine holder

Or dig through the bins at your local comics shop or scour Ebay for older or rare comics featuring strong female characters, like …

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For the Gamer Mom

First things first, your mom is awesome.

For the multi-talented gamer mom, get her a multi-platform gaming headset, like the Astro A30 so she can game in peace on PC, console, or mobile.

ASTRO A30 headset (via Astrogaming.com)
ASTRO A30 headset (via Astrogaming.com)

For the gamer mom with a newborn, pick up a nifty nursing pillow, so baby can munch while mom keeps her hands free to showcase her hardcore Portal skills to her little future geek. Preferably an awesome one like these…gotta geek ’em young.

For the online gamer mom (and the last-minute kid), find out what she plays and buy her either virtual points for her platform or see about buying her in-game currency!

gift card for PlayStation Network
 

For the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Geek Mom

Sign her up for the Science Fiction Book Club or buy her a gift card to your local bookstore and make a day of it — Brunch, and then head to the bookstore to discover new sci-fi and fantasy books you can read together.

Here’s a few new books we’re a fan of here at Geek Outsider:

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For the Cosplay Mom

A cosplay mom does Merida (via. The Mary Sue)

Head to your local crafts store and stock up on sewing materials (needles, thread, fabric markers, fabric) and craft materials (dyes, zippers, wonderflex) and put together a cosplayer care package.

via CreatingKeepsakes.com

Or find out her cosplay plans for the upcoming con and hook her up with some essential costume elements s she’ll need to blow minds at con!

For the Not-So-Geeky Mom

So maybe your mom isn’t so geeky, maybe she never understood what you saw in all those weird fantasy lands, video games, and “cartoons”, but perhaps she supported your geeky ways anyway. Maybe this Mother’s Day is the perfect time to show her just how cool the stuff you’re into really is…

Create a couple new accounts on the MMO you play, or pick a 2-player console game and have a mother-son/daughter gaming session.

Rewatch your favorite sci-fi show with her.

Buy her a copy of your favorite fantasy novel or comic book series and reread it with her.

via SimplyHealth@School