Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is a bit of an oddity. It’s the third film in a trilogy of sorts, one that started with The Wrath of Khan and continued with The Search for Spock. It has none of the hallmarks of any other Star Trek movie: there are no space battles, no action to speak of, no Enterprise, and almost none of the film takes place among the stars at all. The Voyage Home is half fish-out-of-water comedy and half environmental sermon, and it’s the latter half that’s so remarkable. In fact, it can be summed up by just one shot, my favorite in the film:
I’ve documented my dislike for 2009’s Star Trek in a couple of places. But to understand my more in-depth opinions on Star Trek Into Darkness I feel like I should summarize my general feelings about this “reboot;” feelings which carry over into this new film. The gist of it is this: I wish that they had not chosen to use the time travel/alternate universe story telling device.
They really had three options if they wanted to do a story based on a young Kirk and his crew. The first option was to simply do a prequel film, set within the timeline and beholden to everything we’d already seen in the various incarnations of Star Trek. I can completely understand why they chose not to do this. It would be very restrictive, with 10 films and 28 seasons of television that their prequels would have to respect and fit into. It would be a chore simply to ensure accuracy, much less to write an enjoyable film within those rules. And while many fans would surely have loved to see the Kirk that we love in Starfleet Academy, it’s probably for the best that they chose not to go this route.
The best option, in my opinion, would have been to opt for a complete reboot. Continue reading →
In this week’s “Trailer Tuesday” for Star Trek Into Darkness I talked about how, as a Trekkie, I’m not a fan of 2009’s Star Trek. In particular I hated its depiction of Kirk’s Kobayashi Maru test, so today I thought I’d highlight my favorite scene from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, where a middle-aged Kirk describes his solution to the test.
Wrath of Khan opens with Lt Saavik (Kirstie Alley) commanding the Enterprise when it receives a distress call from the Neutral Zone from the stranded freighter, Kobayashi Maru. Saavik violates the Neutral Zone to rescue the ship, but the Enterprise is attacked and defeated by Klingon Battle Cruisers and Admiral Kirk emerges to tell Saavik she is dead. He explains that the test is designed to be unwinnable in order to study how potential captains face death and a no-win scenario.
She repeatedly asks Kirk how he handled the test when he was in Starfleet, and each time he evades the question. Eventually Kirk, McCoy, Saavik, Chekhov, Kirk’s son and his former lover are all trapped in an experimental cave deep within a moon, the Enterprise having abandoned them on Kirk’s orders. Saavik asks Kirk again about his test, and here is his reply: Continue reading →