There’s nothing quite as fascinating – or as hopeful – as the re-creation of an old movie or, in this case a TV series. But you never experience a good reboot, it seems, or if you do, it’s a man bites dog affair.
The missus and I went to see the ’09 version of this reincarnated series back then, and it mildly interested me – it had the feel of a prequel, what with the bildungsroman versions of James T. Kirk and Spock. This one, though, may be causing me to lose interest, but I’ll get to my ambivalence in a moment.
The ’09 version, if you remember, had Kirk, Spock, Uhuha, Bones, Scotty, Chekov, et al sent on a moment’s notice to put down a Romulan attack. Jim Kirk, nee Chris Pine, became the new version of the famed starship captain without leaning too heavily on William Shatner’s version. And Spock and Uhura became an item. All this is so much blah-blah, but the interesting thing for an old Navy guy was to note how the Federation’s Space Fleet mimicked the training and mindset of 20th century navies.
In this year’s version, an old character is reprised: Khan – played by Benedict Cumberbatch, and the scene-stealer of the movie. But this Khan neither engenders the fear of the original nor projects that elder one’s rage. Instead, this Khan leaves us wondering whether he’s the villain or the hero. As the flick’s name implies, this one urges us toward a noir sensibility, but it’s only present in the cinematography. The movie is replete with the obligatory spectacular crashes, action, fisticuffs, and other such superficial stuff, and expends little of the cerebral fodder the original series was known for. As befits a dumbed-down age, I suppose.
In the end, what? Our intrepid crew takes off on a five-year voyage to boldly go where no one has gone before, with the original series’ theme music blaring. I can only hope that, where the original series asked us in the manner of art to reconsider Vietnam, shallowness, racism, and a number of other 20th century failings, the next movie – and the next – will have us reassess out 21st century culture in the same way.
My rating 14 of 20 stars
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