11 May 2009

Star Trek

Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Written by: Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
Full credits from IMDb

I think we may have gotten our first Obama-era blockbuster! Sort of, anyway. J.J. Abrams' Star Trek prequel tracks the lives and initial adventures of the series' iconic characters, specifically Captain-to-be James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Lieutenant-to-be Spock (Zachary Quinto). Abrams, with screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, sketches them as foils. A central conflict on Abrams' TV series Lost, embodied by two of its main characters, has been between faith and reason; a similar conflict emerges here, between emotion and reason, embodied by Kirk and Spock, respectively. Kirk is a hard-drinking, womanizing party boy who likes to crash fast cars and act from his gut; Spock is a cold intellectual type, devoted to study and academic experiments. In short, Kirk and Spock look a lot like the pop culture caricatures of Bush and Obama; coincidentally, their names even share the same number of letters! Is Vulcan the new black? Anyway, in the film, it's only by teaming up that they are able to defeat their common enemy, Nero (a hammy Eric Bana): "together," future Spock (Leonard Nimony) says — more on the time travel stuff later — they are able to do "great things." Obama's election was initially heralded as the dawn of a new era of bipartisanship; if that hasn't quite worked out, it looks like at least some Hollywood producers paid attention. And thus, an Obama-minded blockbuster! But the problem with such (arguably naive) political "centrism" and "moderation" is that it's still based upon a belief in violence as a panacea.

Read my discussion with Benjamin Sutton at The L Magazine

Watch the trailer:

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