Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek: Inappropriate Contact


I think J.J. Abrams has done a fine job, much like the makers of the most recent Batman, James Bond, and Wolverine movies (and perhaps we’ll soon be saying Terminator as well), of breathing new life into a franchise while remaining true to its past (Kyle Smith, who didn’t do a full-length review of it, does not [CORRECTION: full-length Kyle review here, with many angry dissents from Trekkies]). I have less to say about the Star Trek-themed porn explicitly advertised (I’M WARNING YOU) at this link, which Reid Mihalko, a known member of the prevert community, pointed out to his friends. One friend of mine predicted the porn would be closer to the original series in spirit than the J.J. Abrams movie is.

On a slightly more respectable note, Jacob Levy points out some ludicrous Star Trek novelty merchandising now on sale, including red-shirted-ensign-themed cologne. (There was a red-shirted-ensign homage in the Abrams film, incidentally, handled with a weird sort of big-thrills subtlety.)

Much as I hate to continue the nerd/erotica theme, I cannot resist noting that in the same 60s episode in which Kirk is entranced by a primitive Kahn-ut-tu healer-woman (explicitly likened to an inhabitant of Eden), “A Private Little War,” we find this memorable sequence (as described by the Trek site Memory-Alpha):

In sickbay, Spock partially arises from his hypnosis. He calls to nurse Chapel and asks her to strike him. At first she refuses, but does so to appease his request. Her first strokes are barely felt by Spock, forcing him to ask her to hit him harder. He explains that the pain will help him return to consciousness. She begins to hit him quite hard.

Scotty enters the room and, noticing that Spock is under attack, restrains nurse Chapel. Dr. M’Benga runs into the room pulling Spock into the seated position. With great swings he slaps him in the face. After several strikes, Spock catches his hand and explains that he is sufficiently revived.

Witnessing this bizarre ritual, Scotty questions the practice. Spock and M’Benga tell him that it is a natural Vulcan response to self-healing.

Compared to that, the hint of Vulcan sexual activity in the new film is tame indeed.

On a more serious note: I was a bit nervous about whether the new Trek movie would be good, but I’m now inclined to feel enough time has passed since the last iteration of Trek that we can have this new version without necessarily “doing harm” to the original. Hollywood’s current push to remake everything the moment it turns twenty years old, by contrast, is annoying. We don’t need a new RoboCop, Total Recall, or Hellraiser (to take just three examples reportedly in the works, all arriving like clockwork two decades after the originals now, it seems). But future generations should have their own Star Trek, and the Abrams movie is good enough to make it likely they will.

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