So I have seen the new Trek movie. With my flist abounding with spoilers and rave reviews, and me needing to de-friend that I’ve belonged to since I joined LJ, it seemed a good idea.
Plus, yesterday I managed to fiddle with my computer keyboard until I found the culprit causing the typing problem I was having, so I fixed that (for now), and could cancel my Genius Bar appointment allowing me to go to an early morning matinee.
So, to make a long story less long, I liked it. I am, of course, not without my issues. Anyone who’s read much of my personal fan stuff knows I’m not a big fan of AU’s. I’m canon’s original bitch, even when they mind-wipe favorites to the point of unrecognizability or suddenly invent demons even though their mythology never had them before so the lead can cut off my POV’s character’s head for no good reason.
So I went into this movie with a big grain of salt ready. And, of course, I spent the first half hour knit-picking. Although I do have to say, most of my knits were fixed, eventually, and not with a hand-wavy, “well, this is an alternate history, after all.”
The other thing they did that helped was give us a genuine Character of Invitation, someone who could ground us because he comes from our ‘verse/history, not the one we are currently watching. I am, of course, talking about Old!Spock. The question I’m still puzzling over though, is does that original history still exist, or has it been overwritten? I use a video tape analogy for this puzzle on my Buffy website. Star Trek has given us many alternate history episodes, where somebody goes back in time and changes something, and history as we know it is overwritten like when you tape over something on a video tape and what was on there before is just gone. Our intrepid heroes are somehow “protected” from changes in the timeline that have otherwise overwritten their backhistory so they can go back in time as well and “restore” the back-history as they remember it.
Trek has also given us mirror universe episodes, in which we see the same characters living out a different history than the one we know, but both histories exist at the same time, and characters hop back and forth between these universes. That’s like having two different video tapes of the same movie, only the story on one is just a little (or a lot) different from the story on the other.
But I don’t recall any Star Trek episodes/movies in which we see a new mirror universe being created from someone going back in time and changing history, so that now the two histories both exist and are both real as mirror universes. Maybe someone else recalls one*.
So I’m kinda nervous about accepting this new Trek as canon. I think I can accept it if the Trek history we know from oodles of movies and TV shows still exists out there in a mirror universe, one in which Old!Spock mysteriously disappeared through an anomaly never to be seen again, but life goes on. We have evidence that this is the case by the fact that Old!Spock is walking around living his life still, and didn’t disappear from existence or grow a beard and have his memory changed the minute Niro’s ship originally went through the anomaly. The fact that there are two Spocks testifies to a mirror universe split.
I need my original ‘verse in tact and real because it’s the ‘verse with the Movie series, Next Gen, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager we know. I would hate to revisit my shows and think, “OK, this is all changed because now there’s no Vulcan anymore and history went differently after George Kirk died!”
So that’s my take. My other worry was that the movie was going to change the characters too much, and of course, the opposite was true. It was Masturbatory Geek Fest of dialogue references and in-jokes, some of them so subtle only an avid fan would catch them.
And as for the claim this Trek had no “message” like the Treks of old, I don’t think I agree. There was no heavy-handed statement of a grandiose philosophical position (“Slavery is bad, let me speechify on that for ten minutes”), but there was a philosophical position, and it is one every original series fan knows well: only head+heart together can Save the Universe. And it was delivered in the very personal way of “OMG Kirk and Spock must become BFFss!!!” And it was made convincing by making James Kirk a bit of a caricature of the Kirk we know–a little too over-the-top and impulsive and emotional (but that can be wanked as a combo of his natural personality+growing up without his father’s stabilizing influence).
There are other flaws, but none that bother me in particular. So me liked.
ETA: selenak just reminded us that Yesterday’s Enterprise was not so much a write-over history as a history that created a mirror universe, as alt!Tasha Yar went back in time and had a daughter who then existed in our ‘verse. I’m not sure that solves my problem, as she went back to a point in time before the two alternate histories had yet split, and then continued her life in our history, meaning her history could still be erased (as could Old!Spock’s history), but there is some precedent.