Thursday, June 04, 2009


Ever since my friends dragged me (and by "dragged," I mean "invited me to go along and offered to pay") to the Star Trek movie on Memorial Day, I've been entrenched in a state of what some people would call "fangirling," but because I am actually remarkably self-aware, I am choosing to call "channeling my affection," about the film itself and also about a specific character. (When this sort of, ahem, reaction happens to you roughly 116 times over a span of oh, say, a quarter of a century, you tend to get pretty good at, ahem, pinpointing the emotion.)

And which character has captured my attention, you ask? Is it the dashing, brazen hero Kirk? The gruff but ruggedly handsome "Bones" McCoy? The impish and appropriately-accented Scotty? Heh, no. Instead, I have become totally intrigued by the smart, serious, withdrawn, dutiful, emotionally repressed yet somehow still intensely mysterious...Spock. Spock, the victim and yet victor of his Vulcan heritage, softened by his human mother, passionate in his quest for excellence, with flashes of depth that most people only pretend to fake, and my gosh what I wouldn't give to see him to smile just once...Spock.

Anyone who knows me at all will be totally unsurprised by this.

The only problem I had with the film was Spock's relationship with Uhura. It just seemed competely improbable to me that it would happen that easily. I mean, how did they even meet? Spock walks up to Uhura and goes, "Hi, I'm Spock. I'm Vulcan. Vulcans repress their emotions, so I have no idea how to express anything I'm feeling, ever. WANNA MAKE OUT?"

Pft. Right. Why don't we all just hop on a spaceship and fly to...oh wait.

What are they going to do for the next movie - get married and have a bunch of Vulcan-human kids running around Kirk's chair playing lasertag with the phasers?

I know, I know, I'm poking holes in the otherwise airtight logic of the Star Trek universe, but I'm just saying.

Plus, honestly, it's just (lest I offend my die-hard Trek-loving friends)...not-quite-stellar storytelling. It's instant gratification. We never see Spock struggle with realizing his feelings for Uhura, or her struggle with his inability to return her feelings for him as soon as she'd like. We don't get the thrilling sensation of longing glances or barely-missed opportunities or gazes held a little too long but then dropped in pitiable shyness or a sudden surge of stupidly stubborn pride. We don't get to yell "WHY CAN'T YOU SEE IT?!" at the screen and wait with baited breath until the day when these two characters, after months or years of drawn-out expectation, finally have a life-changing experience either together or separately and realize they can't live without each other and go running into each other's arms - walls broken down and hearts - even Vulcan - exposed at long last.

Perhaps I should remind myself that Star Trek is science fiction and not, in fact, a romantic comedy. It was not written by Jane Austen, nor is it a sitcom set in late 1990's Manhattan where the characters all hang out at Central Perk. Also, apparently, the central theme of Star Trek does not totally revolve around Spock learning how to understand and express his emotions. I mean, it's there, but there's, like, other stuff too.

But I bet it would reach a whole new audience of 21st-century Elizabeth Bennets if it was.


Gregorette said...

I finally saw Star Trek! You're right--Spock was pretty cute, though I'm always partial to Simon Pegg. (I think I read somewhere--The Park Bench, perhaps?--that Spock and Data were like Trek's eye candy for the thinking girl... so.... brain candy? Is that too zombie?)

Anyway, my impression was that Spock and Uhura had already started their affair before they got on the Enterprise. I think they're trying to set up a love triangle between Uhura, Spock, and Kirk.