Thursday, 14 May 2009

To Boldly Go

When I was 12 or 13 I remember one particular day when I went into school in a state of nervous excitement. In the playground I found that everyone was the same; anxious, hopping from foot to foot, needing to talk. We had all been part of a shared experience that was far-reaching and important.
The first lesson that day was double games – this is where you have to put on shorts and go out onto the cold, wind-swept playing fields and run up and down in the mud while the other kids kicked a ball around and called you names, like Spaz and Retard.
But this day no one had any interest in football. We had other things to talk about. The previous evening a new series had just appeared on TV. It was special. It came from America, and it was immeasurably better than anything that we had ever seen before.
It was, of course, Star Trek. Forty years later, it’s morning, and I come into work feeling those same butterflies of excitement; the same sense of wonder; the same need to talk about an experience from the previous evening. Because last night I became a child again. I went to the pictures and I saw Star Trek, the new film. There was Captain James T Kirk, young and full of vigour, so too Mr Spock, Bones and Scotty.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no life-long die-hard trekky. I’ve enjoyed Star Trek in it’s various guises over the years, but not in that passionate, dress-up, learn-to-speak-Klingon kind of way that some of my contemporaries seem to favour. But really, last night, I was ready to abandon reason and buy the plastic Spock ears, don the Star Fleet uniform and join the band of the faithful. The new film is superb. In every way. I cannot fault it, and I’m a harsh critic when it comes to SF films. Oh, it’s got all the bad science and the dubious plot lines and the iffy time paradoxes of the original - but so what? It works. My goodness how it works.

And here’s the thing. It’s open-ended. It’s just the beginning. There’s going to be more – got to be.

Live long and prosper.

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