Monday, November 4, 2013

In Defense of the Reboot - or - Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto Will Save the World.

I keep forgetting to write about this.

Every Friday morning I go shopping for the clinic. Cat litter, cat food, bleach - that kind of stuff. Usually I do all *my* shopping at the same time because frankly I'm already there and I hate Wal-Mart with the passion of a thousand burning hearts, so the less I have to go there, the better.


A couple Fridays ago, I'm strolling down the Christmas ornament aisle (don't judge my ornament addiction) and there's this little boy staring up at the "toy" ornaments. You know the ones - My Little Pony, Star Wars, that kind of thing. He tugs on my hand and asks me if I can see if there are any Star Trek ones up there.

Generally I avoid children, refuse to  make eye contact, and oh-hell-no I never speak to them, but this kid said the magic words, so I was intrigued. I looked through the ornaments, and this happened:

Me: "Hmm...nope. I don't see any. Not surprising, really. Ask your adult to take you to Hallmark in the mall - they'll have some there."

Little Boy: "Do you think they would have Mr. Spock?"

Me: "Possibly. Are you a Mr. Spock fan?"

Little Boy (nodding very, very seriously): "Yes. He's my hero."

Me (eyebrow raise): "Really? Why's that?"

Little Boy: "Because, in the movie, you see that he got bullied when he was a kid. And I get bullied. But he grows up and he's the First Officer. So maybe I can grow up to be important like him."

Now, two things went through my head here. One -  What in God's name does this perfect little specimen of junior adulthood get bullied for?? and Two - he's talking about the reboot Spock.

Me: "Why do you get bullied?"

Little Boy: "Oh, because I'm smarter than the other kids. And I wear these glasses."

Me (finally realizing the kid has coke-bottle thick glasses): "You realize those bullies are just jealous, right?"

Little Boy: "I know. Its okay - I like being smarter than them. Do you think Mr. Spock would ever wear glasses?

Me (thinking): "Yes, I think Mr. Spock would wear glasses. If he had trouble with his eyesight, and Dr. McCoy couldn't fix it, then glasses would be the logical option, don't you think?"

Little Boy (nodding furiously): "I think so!"

Me: "Well then. There's your answer. You shouldn't worry about the grumblings of a bunch of illogical um... (herein I searched for a kid-friendly synonym for 'fucktwats') er...meanies."

At which point his female adult (mother? sister? meh.) arrived and asked him if he found the ornament he was looking for. He said no, and I explained she'd have to look at Hallmark. She got that embarrassed 'I-can't-afford-that-place' look on her face, so I pulled out a $10 bill and gave it to her, and told her to use it for an ornament. She asked why, and I said her son had restored my faith in several things, and I walked away.

First of all - here's this adorable kid - and I mean, I don't like kids, and even *I* thought he was adorable, so he *must* be - who gets picked on, but has found a way to look for a brighter horizon. His hero used to get picked on, and is now amazing, therefore he himself can also be amazing. If Spock can do it, he can do it. Fearless childhood logic - we all need more of it.

But second of all - and this will seem very shallow to those of you non Trekkers, but I'm just going to say it - my beloved franchise has found a new home - a new fanbase. And standing there, looking at that kid, every ounce of animosity I felt toward JJ Abrams just washed away.

Every obsessive fanboy or fangirl wants one thing for the object of their obsession - that it be loved by everyone. A world full of Trekkers? I can't even imagine the joy. But every one of us knows how hard it is to keep these things in the limelight. Things my husband loved as a child are distant memories now, brought up only between people his age, and with that far away look of longing for the familiar things they remember. The message of Trek is so timeless - I don't want it to fade away. And the only way to keep it relevant was a reboot.

And yeah, I know "it's just a show." But anyone who has read my blog knows it's NOT just a show to me.

I think I've said it before, but you have to realize, I went to see the first reboot movie not realizing it would be a reboot. I expected a remake. Younger actors, of course, but the same characters. Instead, I sat there watching as JJ Abrams took my childhood, my cozy home and the family I loved, ripped it open, tore its guts out, mangled it until it was no longer recognizable, and then handed it back to me on a gleaming silver platter and demanded that I love it. The only bright spot in the first reboot movie, for me, was that they'd done a stellar casting job with Quinto. I remember just being in awe of this guy and his Spock. I hated Chris Pine's Kirk, and I hated Chris Pine for playing him. I hated all of them, even Quinto. How dare they? How dare they?

I narrowly avoided falling to my knees in the theater aisle and screaming "ABRAAAAAMS!!!" in my best imitation of a "KHAAANNN!" scream on the way out.

I was slightly more calm for the second reboot movie. I still hated them all. And as I watched I tried to hold onto that. I wanted to hate them. I really, really did. But...the ship...she was so very shiny, and the crew...they were so very familiar and so almost-there when it came to the characters I'd grown up with.

::sigh:: I love Pine's Kirk. He's not my Kirk, but he's a good man, a well done character, and yeah... I love them all. Though the moment I admitted it, I felt like a traitor. (And don't give me that "the TOS actors are all on board/like these guys" mantra 'cause I don't care. Treason is treason.)

Yes, the reboot has some issues. Yes, the movies had some plot flaws. And there may or may not be too many camera flares.

But standing there with that kid, I realized... Abrams had done it. He'd done it! He'd made my beloved family relevant again. He'd made them heroes again.

And the only thing any fan can ask for.

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