nesting * geeking * critiquing

Of Sulu and Solo, Organa and Uhura

We’re just a month away from the day that many Trekkers* have awaited and still others no doubt loathe—the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness. The fact that I even know, let alone care, about this stirs more than a little shame in me.

*Note my use of “Trekker” versus”Trekkie.”

R2 got his mitts on my TNG Phaser

Drop the Phaser, R2. This isn’t about TNG!

J.J. Abrams transformed Trek into something sleek and shiny, cool and even compelling. There are plenty of franchise purists who disagree, but the fact that I finally bought into it is evidence enough for me. I guess you could call the 2009 adaptation my ‘gateway drug.’
The morose edge that’s teased in trailers for Into Darkness furthers the appeal—our culture loves when something familiar takes an ominous turn, a la The Walking Dead, The Dark Knight and what I suspect will be a hugely successful rebranding with Man of Steel. Did you see the transmission from General Zod that surfaced the other day?! I got goosebumps, not even kidding.

Anyway, the Abrams factor has me somewhat conflicted about Star Wars Episode VII.
I welcome a darker direction yet I’m concerned about the potential of a slick and sexy, stylized take on it…with lots of lens flares. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If this dude can single-handedly make me like Star Trek, I can’t wait to see what he’ll do with Star Wars.
But I’m not without apprehension.

The original trilogy laid the foundation for everything that I love and associate with the brand to this day. As numerous people have said over the last 36 years, the original Star Wars universe is “lived-in.” Ships are modest at best and aside from a few pretentious settings, most of the surroundings are mundane. The SW of yore feels organic, not overly idealized like most fantasy.
And I think we all remember what unfortunate things happened with the prequel trilogy* when everything took a smooth, digitized turn.

*Granted, I really enjoy most elements of Revenge of the Sith.

It sounds stupid, I know, but Star Wars makes me feel like I could belong there.

Unlike so many hero journeys that ultimately draw every protagonist as a hot shot superstar, SW characters are utterly relatable. Aside from the Jedi, Sith and a few arguable exceptions, you don’t get the impression that anyone has extraordinary powers or talents. {Insert your favorite Stormtrooper missed-target joke here.} In spite of queens and princesses and dignitaries, everything isn’t beautiful and flawless like in fairy tales. Attractive, yes, but not unattainably so*. Average people like me, we could fit in there.

*Okay, except for Natalie Portman who has that ridiculous classic beauty.

Even ‘gritty’ shows like The Walking Dead, which should (theoretically) feel more like the real world, are borderline glamorous. I don’t know how long the zombie apocalypse is supposed to have been going on by this point, but most of those people still look dang good. Muddy and bloody? No problem—they stay generally well-kempt and sport clothes that fit like a glove. So implausible.
I’m gonna keep it real here: in the event of an actual zombie apocalypse, I’m more likely to resemble the Walkers than I am most of the characters on TWD.

I digress.

In spite of the fact that we’re talking about spaceships and aliens and droids and strange planets, Star Wars somehow feels authentic. Like maybe all of that really did happen a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Maybe there was even a dorky chick working in her cube at an undisclosed location writing propaganda pieces for the Empire. For reals, y’all, I could totally belong there!

And that is why I temper my optimism with a generous amount of caution when contemplating the fate of my favorite franchise. I’m all for Star Wars becoming a cool kid with popular, attractive friends, I just hope it maintains its rugged and “real” good looks.

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2 responses

    • I had only seen a couple… They make it hard not to be excited!

      4.26.2013 at 4:50 pm

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