Sunday, 24 January 2016

Alternate Analysis

I've been a fan of Star Trek since I can remember.  I used to watch the original series with my parents when it was in syndication.  I built shuttlecraft from Lego, wrote stories about the quirks of the major characters, and came up with theories about the motivations of the villainous races, like many fans of my generation.  I've seen every episode of every televised Star Trek series since.

Now we have a new Star Trek universe to explore, thanks to J.J. Abrams and a brand new cast.  It's not without its problems, but no series is perfect - writers are human and fallible after all.  Sadly, many people who called themselves Trekkies have bashed the new films, complaining that too many details don't make sense.

This is driving me nuts.

To start, this is NOT the Star Trek we grew up with.  It's an alternate timeline, begun when the rogue Romulan captain Nero appeared.  That event alone spawned a whole different universe unfolding that has affected everyone.

Kirk grew up without a father.  Spock lost his mother and his homeworld.  Starfleet technology has advanced more quickly due to the Romulan ship's interference.  We see Kirk's sacrifice and a Spock that we've never seen before: a grief stricken, enraged Spock out for Khan Noonien Singh's blood as payback for his friend's death.

The differences between the ST: Wrath of Khan and ST: Into Darkness movies are stark.  Star Trek II was a celebration of a friendship that survived nearly a lifetime of danger only to end in the ultimate sacrifice of Spock for the love of Kirk, McCoy, and the entire ship that had been his whole life.

ST: Into Darkness was about a friendship just being born.  Two men who started out hating each other and discovering how much they really cared.  Spock's tears and his scream of agony and rage on watching Kirk die was chilling.  Here we see through Spock's eyes the horror of learning to love and then watching it die without being able to do anything to prevent it.  The turnabout was brilliant.

The looks exchanged between Kirk and Spock at the end of Into Darkness said it all, as if to say, "As long as you have my back and I have yours, nothing else matters."

I find the alternate universe fascinating and I can't wait for the third movie to be released later this year.  It's going to be one crazy ride.

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