Randy Pausch, the Star Trek Movie, and Getting in Touch with My Inner Fangirl

Well, today the Hubby and I saw the new Star Trek movie again, this time in IMAX.  (Pardon a fangirl moment: SQUEEEEE!!!!!)  I knew that Randy Pausch had a cameo in the new movie, but I didn’t spot him the first time around, and I still didn’t see him the second time.

I should’ve read this New York Times article first!  Sure, he’s an extra, but not in that “can’t see ‘im nameless face in the crowd” extra — he’s actually on the bridge of the U.S.S. Kelvin!  With line, “Captain, we have a visual”!

Now, I’ll have to see it again — maybe I’ll have the patience to wait for it to show up on DVD or the dollar theater.  Maybe????

Yes, my dear readers, my inner Star Trek geek has switched on. 

I haven’t been this excited about a new Star Trek production since my high school days when I followed The Next Generation and even bought the novelization of the first episode, “Encounter at Farpoint” soon after I saw it.  I was such a humongous fangirl back then that I would buy any sci-fi/fantasy/entertainment/movie/whatnot magazine that had Picard or Data on it (two of my favorite characters of that series) and would brainstorm fan-fic in my head as a bedtime ritual, just in order to continue the episode I had just seen to carry me over to the next week’s episode.

FANGIRL.

I’m 37, so I didn’t grow up with the original series.  My first encounter with Shatner, Nimoy, and crew was Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  My entire first grade class went on a “science” field trip to see the movie, during school hours — just how cool was that?   My dad was a big original-series Star Trek fan but also a bit on the cheap side, so he’d always wait for the Star Trek movies to show up on cable or VHS and record them for the family movie library.   He wasn’t a fan of TNG, so he didn’t get copies of those.

And by the time TNG movies came out, I was more a fan of DS9, albeit I was disappointed enough with the series finale that I barely remember it (even though I saw it).  As for the TNG movies — well, I saw First Contact (BORGS!!!).  But that was it. It felt like a longer TNG TV episode, as most reviewers would say for the other TNG movies (which I never felt inspired to see).

By the time DS9 left the air, I pretty much left my Star Trek fan-girl days behind me… that is until this new movie.

The original characters — albeit younger in the Star Trek chronology — are there, with all their odd quirks and characterizations: an homage to the original series.  But [SPOILER ALERT!!!! DO NOT READ IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW A MAJOR PLOT POINT] with the alternative universe/timeline angle, we’re able to see different sides to these characters that were very much under the radar or undeveloped with the original ST universe. 

According to the Hubby, Spock and Uhura pairing up is not surprising as, in the original series — which he saw a lot growing up, thanks to re-runs as well as the movies — he sensed that there was always “something” between the two.  Since I don’t have a great memory for the original series — wow, need to fill up my Netflix queue — I can’t say either way.

What I *can* say is that the script and characterization for this alternate ST universe make Spock and Uhura’s relationship very natural, very… logical?  A young Spock, early in his Starfleet career, faces his identity crisis as an emotional human being much earlier in this alternate timeline that in the original, which opens him to human relationships which the original Spock wouldn’t be ready for until he was much older.

I can say the same things for the other crew members: the storytelling is so well done that, unless one is a die-hard purist, this “rebooted” Star Trek is the return of all that was amazing and wonderful about Star Trek in the first place, by, paradoxically, being totally different.

Thank God for the sci-fi conventions of time travel and multiple universes!   Right now, I can hardly wait for the sequel (and there better be one!!!), so now my 37-year old brain is buzzing with “what may happen next” brainstorming of possible story lines, akin to my 16-year old self.  None of them coherent. 

Egads — I just may buy the novelization!

And, you know what?  If a then-46-year old computer science professor could embrace his inner Star Trek geek child, so much so that it was one of his childhood dreams to be on Star Trek before he died, then so can this 37-year old English professor.

Can you tell that I loved this movie?  :-)

Peace out!

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