I noted with some amusement the other day that out-of-work Gen Xer’s are feeling the heat of ageism at 42 and are resorting to getting mini-face lifts in order to compete with the younger unemployed. Well, welcome to the world that you created, snookums, and how does it feel since you were the ones, who made sure Baby Boomers were thrown out of work the second you got into positions of management? Been to the Google campus lately? All those H1-bs and L-1 visa-holding in-sourced and outsourced Emerging World workers thank you from the bottom of their pitiless hearts.
Doesn’t feel good, does it? How about “reinventing yourself”? That’s the advice you gave Baby Boomers many of whom have hit bottom through systemic, ageist unemployment thereby losing their homes, medical insurance and pensions as a result. Don’t even ask about their 401Ks either because the Stock Market hasn’t finished tanking yet.
So, if you are reeling from feeling old at 40, the new Star Trek movie should be retitled, The Revenge of the Jones Generation. It will leave you feeling oldie, moldy and rusty-dusty. J.J. Abram’s prequel remake of Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek should have a big sign hanging somewhere on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise saying, “No one over the age of 25 allowed to sit in the Captain’s Chair and that means YOU, Admiral Pike.”
Uh, at least I think 25 is the average age of graduating Star Fleet Academy grads. It’s debatable. Oh, sure the new Star Trek movie has some aged Boomer academics, Starfleet Admirals and Vulcans along with the granddaddy of all Silent Generation Trekkers, Leonard Nimoy, playing what appears to be a mummified version of his original Spock but anyone between the ages of 35 and 45 is pretty much missing.
I won’t go into the plot because it’s really a dog’s breakfast of personality conflicts within an altered historical timeline thanks to a future black hole swallowing up the Romulan home planet and extruding into the present an advanced Romulan mining ship piloted by a crazed, revenge seeking crew and the smaller craft bearing a now self-exiled Ambassador Spock.
The best scene happens very early on when a very young, hot dogging Jim Kirk drives his stepfather's vintage sports car off a cliff, dives out at the last minute, struggles up to his feet, and then coolly asks the motorcycle cop, "What seems to be the trouble, Officer?"
But that happened in the first fifteen minutes of the movie and the rest was pretty much down hill from then on although the Planet Vulcan imploding like they forgot to turn off the Black Hole generating reactor at CERN was exciting.
While we are waiting for the graduating kindergarten class Star Date 2387 in charge of the Enterprise’s maiden voyage to confront the out-of-time, tattooed Romulan miners, we get to meet up with the just-reached-majority Enterprise crew as they watch the now horn dogging James Tiberius Kirk, played by Chris Pine, indulge in a power struggle with the baby-faced, pink and pique lipped Mr. Spock, as portrayed by Zachary Quinto.
You know, when William Shatner was Captain Kirk, we were promised real meat but all we got was ham. With Chris Pine we get Spam. Zachary Quinto’s Mr. Spock so reminded me of my younger brother that I don’t even trust myself to comment other than if he were a zodiacal figure, Mr. Spock would be a Virgo.
The two truly bright spots in this whole film were the actors in the roles of Scotty and Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. They were absolutely brilliant and, more to the point, they were believable as younger versions of the original TV series’ cast. Karl Urban’s manly Dr. McCoy has all the Luddite distaste for space travel like the original but is even more self-assured and driven than DeForest Kelly ever was. Simon Pegg plays his Montgomery “Scotty” Scott with all the bravado, chivalric charm and comic timing of the late James Doohan’s Scotty.
Zoe Saldana plays a shopworn Lt. Nyota Uhuru and John Cho, who gets to do his sword-wielding as Hikaru Sulu, proves that if you get Korean and Japanese ancestry mixed-up liberals will consider you a bigot but it’s just fine when they themselves cast for movies.
Last and certainly least, is Pavel Chekov, all of 17 in this flick with a clichéd Russian accent so thick that he is a walking, talking advertisement for the Elmer Fudd School of Parody Linguistics. Even though he is an actual Russian by birth, I don’t see how Anton Yelchin is ever going to live this role down because Walter Koening never did as Chekov either. The Chekov character was brought in to TV’s Star Trek as a Cold War “heart throb” nod to teeny bopper Baby Boomers but that Beatle haircut and accent of his was, and still is, a joke among that age group. As one older friend of mine told me, “We all cringed every time Chekov opened his mouth.”
When viewing this movie, it’s wise to take your ear plugs because the sound is cranked up really high in order to force an emotional response from the viewer. You'll stagger out of the theater feeling like you've just suffered a minor concussion. That's usually a sign the studios are covering up for a mediocre flick.
Also, the scene where the weird scorpion-like bug is force-fed to Admiral Pike is bogus. The thing looks and wiggles like a gummy bear gone bad. And why are the Romulans sloshing through water in their torture chamber? They specialize in water boarding or something? Or haven’t they figured out that it’s perfectly okay that when you flush, you can dump the effluvia out into deep space?
Finally, a great big, “DUH!” goes out to these same Romulan miners, who sit on their haunches for 25 years in their past now present waiting for revenge on Mr. Spock. I mean, come on! They have a mining craft the size of Rhode Island and know the future. So why didn’t they just go to their home planet and start transporting the Romulan population to a new home planet? Even if there were billions of Romulans that needed transporting, you could move a sizable chunk in 25 years off planet. Add any and all other space ships of Romulan origin and you’ve got a Mayflower flotilla that would go down in Federation history.