16 May 2001

Star Trek XI Review with SPOILERS

Reboot. They keep saying that it's a reboot. What does that even mean?

It seems to mean they want to bring the main characters together onto the Enterprise but while they're still young. They've got to be young and foolhardy enough to have adventures in the new movies. Maybe they have to be the sort of characters that players will want to assume in the course of a computer game. So far, though, there is only one computer game based on the movie, and that is an arcade game described as a downloadable space shooter, which makes me wonder if it's basically like Space Invaders. However, I am not enough of a fan of computer games to download it and find out.

On the other hand, I gather that the new look of the Enterprise is giving hope of a new experience to those who do like computer games, and although the link above says that the game makers consciously chose not to retell the movie, I would guess that the characters as they are now teamed together will be used in RPGs.

These days, we're told, the money is in computer games. The movies are just part of the publicity. Indeed, back in 2003, Activision was suing Viacom because Viacom was not doing enough through Star Trek movies and TV series to promote the computer games. A lot has changed in those companies since then, but I'm guessing that the main point of the new movie is to promote the games which will be where the real money is to be made. Don't quote me, though. As I've already said, computer games are not my field.

Otherwise, what would be the point of reassembling the classic Trek characters without their back stories?

So we get a new-look Enterprise and a fresh young team without actually discarding anything that has gone before. Now we are looking at characters who do not have the histories that we know about.

The reboot changes the histories of the characters. Kirk once had another best friend, Gary Mitchell, who had aimed a little lab technician at Kirk in an effort to distract him from his studies. We assume, of course, that the lab technician was Carol Marcus.

So, without Mitchell, perhaps Kirk either never met, or never noticed, Carol Marcus and therefore never fathered David. Without David, there would be no Genesis device, because it was David who cheated and used proto-matter, and the proto-matter proved unstable and so, what with one thing and another, Spock was killed, came back to life on a new planet, and then the new planet turned back into a nebula. Wouldn't you hate to be a navigator in that sector.

That change is just through the absence of Gary Mitchell. What a lot of us are wondering is what happened to Kirk's brother? I thought Sam was supposed to be the elder brother, but he's nowhere in sight in this movie, even before Nero appears and alters everything.

It looks like Pike got rebooted, too. At the end of ST XI he was in a wheelchair, still recovering from his torture at Nero's hands. This is nothing like the injuries he suffered during the original series that reduced him to living inside a box through which he could only communicate 'yes' or 'no' by using brainwaves to control a flashing light. Once upon a time that seemed like amazing technology. These days, though, amputees can be fitted with limbs which they can control to some extent.

Even Kirk's friendship with Spock got rebooted. In TOS Kirk had to earn the friendship, and Spock had to get used to the idea of having a friend. In the new universe, they are friends essentially because old Spock told them to.

At times, watching the movie, it seemed that the characters were being set up for a game. Kirk would have barroom brawling skills, Sulu has fencing with special leaping ninja bonuses, and McCoy could be very dangerous with a hypo. Presumably the rest of the characters are going to be handy with the techno-babble and they won't need a universal translator with Uhura around.

Morva Shepley

No comments:

Post a Comment