Now that the new Star Trek trailer is out, it’s not surprising that the haters are out as well. And their numbers include not just sci-fi fans, but mainstream columnists like conservative Atlantic scribe Ross Douthat. And, sure, there’s plenty to dislike, from young Kirk’s opening joyride (come on, a mid-20th century ‘vette in the 23rd century? That would be like a kid of today taking a spin in a stagecoach) to the gratuitous flash of Zoe Soldana’s bra. And canon purists can find even more to hate, including the Pike-Kirk teamup, Chekov’s early arrival on the Enterprise and, of course, the appearance of Romulans several years before they’re meant to show their pointy ears. And, sure, some of those things bother me, too. But they don’t bother me nearly as much as Q, the holodeck, Sybok, the Nexus, and the entirety of Voyager (except for the Doctor, of course). I grew up on Trek, and have enjoyed many of the movies and latter-day series as well. But there’s also been a lot of dross over the years, and in the end, I’m willing to cut the new Trek a lot of slack. As TOS purist James Cawley says:
Right now as I write this there are no less than 4 different versions of Batman available to the mainstream viewing audience. ... They are all wildly different interpretations of the character, and no one confuses one with the other, they are all Batman! … So, why can’t Star Trek do the same? No one will confuse this new feature with The Original, or vice versa. This new feature will hopefully be a slam-bang adventure with some of Gene’s morals thrown in for good measure. This is simply another take on Trek. No one will punish the die hard fans, if in the end they enjoy it. This New Trek, will hopefully serve to remind people why they Loved Star Trek so much to begin with. I believe it will re-awaken people to the fact that The Original Series was so good … It will also, more importantly, introduce those legendary characters to a new generation of kids who have no idea who Kirk and Spock are, and what the heck is Star Trek.
Based on the trailer, there’s plenty to like about the new Trek, including the cast, which looks perfect (well, I’ll reserve judgment on Winona for now); the CGI, which looks hot; and the uniforms, which look enough like the originals to fill in for them, without being dorky (and they’re light years better than the TMP jammies!). Oh, and the bridge is way cool. I’ve heard that wags are comparing it to an Apple store, but they’re about two generations removed from the reality. It’s Saarinen! Even the Captain’s Chair. It takes the best mid-century modern design elements from the original sets (which included some Saarinen pieces) and blows it out across the board. Another nice touch: the goose-neck reading lamps as a subtle homage to Pike’s bridge. So, yes, beam me up, J.J. I’ll forgive almost any canon-busting loopiness if you stay true to the spirit of Trek. And if you don’t, there may just be some room for you on Rura Penthe.