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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

May 8, 2009 at 9:11 AM

A “Star Trek” novice gets the “full geek” experience

OK, that novice would be me. I came out on this blog, a couple of weeks ago, as somebody who has completely missed the starship, so to speak, on the “Star Trek” franchise — never seen the show, only seen one movie (the one with the whales), occasionally mixes up Kirk and Scotty when trying to keep up with casual “Star Trek” conversation. (Sorry.) So, I handed off reviewing duties to my able colleague and “Star Trek” expert Jeff Shannon, and you can read his review here. But I wanted to see the movie anyway, and now I’ve seen it twice: in a press screening with five other people, and last night at Cinerama. The latter was due to a kind invitation from a friendly local “Star Trek” fan (OK, he’s such a big fan that he knows the guy who invented Klingon, and showed up last night in a Spock tunic), who thought it might be fun for me to get the “full geek” experience, as he described it, and invited me to join his group. My verdict on the film? I loved it — and it’s even better with a crowd.
If you were at Cinerama last night, you saw people in Spock ears, at least one Uhura minidress, a couple of people with faces made up half-white/half-black, a guy with a phaser (type 2, if you care — I learned this last night) and a couple of Vulcan haircuts which may or may not have been intentional. And you heard a lot of enthusiasm. The crowd roared with the introduction of every familiar character, laughed when young Spock ordered young Kirk out of the captain’s chair, whimpered a bit (yes, I heard it) when something bad happens to somebody’s mom, and applauded loud and long at the end, having been taken on a zippy adventure “where no one [yes, they changed it from “man”] has gone before.”
I still have a few questions, all having to do with utter cluelessness about the franchise. Why doesn’t Spock have a chair? What is Uhura’s first name? What is the point of the mind-meld, since they have to speak their thoughts aloud anyway because otherwise the audience wouldn’t know what the hell was going on? What’s the deal with women’s foundation garments on the planet Vulcan? (Check out Winona Ryder’s very strange bosom; it seems to be coming out of her shoulders.) Was it intentional that all the Vulcan kids sound like little Kevin Spaceys? If you make a prequel featuring a romance between two characters that wasn’t even hinted at in all the subsequent episodes (as I’ve been assured by those in the know), do you then have to remake all the rest of it so we can see where the relationship goes? And how hot is the phrase “I’ll be monitoring your frequency?”
Anyway, I had a lot of fun with it, and want to thank Phil and the gang at NBBJ for letting me join them. Have you seen “Star Trek” yet? Are you going this weekend? Share your thoughts here, and may the Force . . . . oops, wrong franchise . . . live long and prosper.

OK, how cute are they? (Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures)

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