I’m waxing Trekkie: SPOILERS ahead if you haven’t seen Star Trek: Into Darkness yet.
It is incredible to think about, but the original Star Trek series had already been off the air for 2 years by the time I was born – it had lasted only 3 years (of its 5 year mission). As a kid in the 70’s, I watched what must have been reruns of it… though in my kid mind it was a regular show.
Then the first movie came out when I was 8 years old, and The Wrath of Khan when I was 11. We had to wait two entire years after that to find out what happened to Spock (Khaaaaaannn!!!!).
I have heard and read all the naysayers about the new Trek film generation, but I just don’t buy any of it. I don’t judge what makes a Trekkie a Trekkie, but one reason I am one is because I absolutely love EVERY incarnation of Trek. Each one is true to the vision of the original Trek, and yet each one is unique and awesome.
I think the reason I love these NEW Trek movies is because there is such a clear choice (and it was the case from the beginning) that this series is not meant to relive those original adventures or decisions – but rather, because the timeline got shifted, in this new universe we can explore the characters knowing that they are not repeating but rather re-encountering all the wonders of the first time around, but in a new, unique way. So we don’t have to compare them, just appreciate the homage. By giving them this new timeline, nothing is taken from the original, but the same amazing characters can now be explored in new ways… which is why Into Darkness does such a great job of combining elements of the Khan legacy with the new timeline.
I actually think the actors chosen for the roles are fantastic for them. Karl Urban seemed to be channeling Deforest Kelly, and Simon Pegg is irrationally perfect for Scotty. But I also like Chris Pine’s version of Kirk: a rash, emotion-based being, but one who is clearly in the process of maturing. For me, the uncanny ability Zach Quinto has to morph into Spock made this movie for me — especially because of the way the entire film built on the last film in terms of Spock’s willingness to also learn and grow. I like the bolder role for Uhura, and I loved the alien diversity on the bridge. All of this combined to make a great ride on the Enterprise for me, including the way the Khan story was reworked for this new timeline.
I never thought there could be a way to top what I have always considered the most poignant, wonderful scene in all of Star Trek. It was dreadful and terrible and beautiful all at once – and, of course we all memorized it. Because who wouldn’t want Spock to tell you that YOU have been, and always shall be, his friend?
But, incredibly, Star Trek: Into Darkness did it. And in an entirely new way that made the scene just as meaningful, but gave it new life.
THIS scene is the evidence of what really makes this particular Trek crew (the characters, not the actors) from the original incarnation so unique amidst all the universes that I love: there is not one hero, but rather a complete and total dependency on a deep and abiding friendship between two very different men. There can never be victory without both of them. Star Wars, Marvel, any of those (and I love them all) – they do not have this incredibly righteous dynamic that makes the re-imagination of the best scene in the entirety of the Star Trek expanded universe so amazing (and, yes, I think even better than the first version). It is the one scene that depicts the true genius of Gene Roddenberry: it is not technology, or weapons, or even ingenuity, but rather, an unlikely but supremely powerful friendship that will always save the universe.
THAT is why I’m a Trekkie.
….and yes, I’ve already seen it twice.