homeaboutarchives + tagsshopmembership!
aboutarchivesshopmembership!
aboutarchivesmembers!

kottke.org posts about Star Trek

Potter, Stars Trek and Wars, Matrix all the same movie

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 26, 2009

You’ve likely seen this comparison of Harry Potter and the first Star Wars movie but that comparison has recently been expanded to include not only Potter and Star Wars but also The Matrix and Abrams’ Star Trek.

Once upon a time, Luke | Kirk | Neo | Harry was living a miserable life. Feeling disconnected from his friends and family, he dreams about how his life could be different. One day, he is greeted by Obi Wan | Captain Pike | Trinity | Hagrid and told that his life is not what it seems, and that due to some circumstances surrounding his birth | birth | birth | infancy he was meant for something greater.

Update: The connecting theme is the monomyth. (via @adamlgerber)

Update: Or perhaps Potter is really Young Sherlock Holmes? (thx, stephen)

Khaaan! Agaiiin!

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 02, 2009

While discussing this morning’s post about Khaaan! at the breakfast table with us, Ollie showed his growing dramatic range as an actor by reenacting the scene.

It’s no chicken dance, but it’s not bad.

Khaaan!

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 02, 2009

Artist Daniel Martinico took William Shatner’s finest moment as an actor and stretched it out into a 15-minute video.

You’ll notice the crowd gets quiet after the first few seconds. It draws you in, forces you to pay attention, even if it’s just staring at the back and forth eye tics on Shatner’s face for a minute at a time. “In that moment everyone responds to it,” Martinico says. There’s laughing at first, but then people get into the rhythm of it and study the various little muscles as they pull and twitch on Kirk’s face. “It’s a phenomenal range in just a few seconds.”

Here’s the first two minutes of the video.

It’s pretty mesmerizing, even small and at poor quality. (via greg)

On rebooting Star Trek

posted by Jason Kottke   May 28, 2009

This post by Greg Hatcher contains two equally interesting parts:

1. A detailed examination of the Star Trek franchise which shows that the film by JJ Abrams is merely the latest in a long series of successful reboots.

2. A list of rules to follow to successfully reboot a franchise, whether it’s Star Trek or Bond or Batman.

Don’t abuse the audience goodwill. Remember, you sell the audience on your story based on certain expectations. Break that unspoken contract and you’re in trouble. No one bought a ticket for Spider-Man 3 thinking they were going to get a romance with musical comedy interludes, yet that’s what it felt like we got.

If you’re doing a new version of a beloved old property, that means you need to figure out what it was people liked and make damn sure it’s in there. That doesn’t mean you have to do it the same way every time, you just have to do it. James Bond movies have been retooled a number of times, but we never lose the license to kill, the exquisite stunt work, the Bond theme music, or the cool cars and hot girls. There’s about a million miles of difference between Moonraker and Casino Royale, but they’re both recognizably Bond movies and they were both successful, because they met the baseline audience expectation of what a James Bond movie would give them.

(via rebecca blood)

Star Trek lens flares

posted by Jason Kottke   May 13, 2009

Did you notice all the lens flares in Star Trek? JJ Abrams’ rationale for them — he refers to them as “another actor” in the movie — is pretty interesting.

I love the idea that the future was so bright it couldn’t be contained in the frame. The flares weren’t just happening from on-camera light sources, they were happening off camera, and that was really the key to it. I want [to create] the sense that, just off camera, something spectacular is happening. There was always a sense of something, and also there is a really cool organic layer thats a quality of it.

Someone clever took some footage from the old series and added a bunch of lens flaring to make it look like the new film.

The result is supposed to be funny but I thought it also somewhat validated Abrams’ remarks above. (via snarkmarket & waxy)

Henry Jenkins and Snarkmarket also address my biggest problem with the movie, that the cadet-to-captain thing happened way too quickly to Kirk and his crew. Jenkins’ contention is that the new movie treats the Enterprise as a start-up company; Tim adds this gem of a line:

But it’s not academia; it’s the NBA. You give these kids the ball.

So, which NBA player is Kirk supposed to be? While not an exact comparison, I’m going to say that Kirk is Tony Parker to Spock’s Tim Duncan. And Scotty = Manu Ginobli?

Star Trek

posted by Jason Kottke   May 11, 2009

[Note: spoilers.] Bones did it for me. As soon as he sat down next to Kirk on the shuttle, I was hooked. Loved Star Trek, wanted to go again as soon we got out.

J.J. Abrams did something kinda crazy with the film though. He took the entire Star Trek canon and tossed it out the window. Because of the whole time travel thing, the events that occurred in The Original Series, The Next Generation, Voyager, DS9, and the previous 10 movies will not happen. Which means that in terms of sequels to this film, the slate is pretty much clean for Abrams or whomever he passes it off to.

Well. Almost. Events in this alternate timeline unfold differently but the same. Even though the USS Kelvin was destroyed with Kirk’s father aboard, Kirk and the rest of the gang somehow all still end up on the Enterprise. But the destruction of an entire planet and 6 billion people should have a somewhat larger effect going forward.

Also worth noting is how the time travel in Trek compares with that on Lost, a show Abrams co-created and currently executive produces. On Lost (so far), the universe is deterministic: no matter who travels when, not much changes. Time travel can affect little details here and there, but the big events unfold the same way each time and every character remembers events unfolding in the same way, no matter when they are on the timeline. Star Trek’s universe is not that way; characters before time travel events remember events unfolding differently. According to the older Spock, the Romulan ship going back in time changed things. Kirk knew his dad, Vulcan wasn’t sucked into a black hole, etc.

On the excellent Bad Astronomy blog, Phil Plait doesn’t cover the time travel aspect of the film but reviews the rest of the science in the film.

And yeah, we do hear ships whoosh as they go to warp and all that, but that’s what we expect to hear, having evolved in an atmosphere which whooshes when things fly past us. I’d prefer that we hear nothing, but I accept that as a filmmaker’s prerogative to make the audience comfortable.

But I’ll add that for years I have complained about sounds in space, saying that done correctly, making things silent can add drama. That sentiment was proven here; the sudden silence as we leave the ship and fly into space with the doomed crewmember is really eerie and unsettling.

In the NY Times, David Hajdu tackles time travel of a different kind, arguing that the original Star Trek was not about science or the future; it was a nostalgic lens through which to view pop culture.

“Star Trek” was an early manifestation of our contemporary absorption with the pop culture of the past. The show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, was a gifted hack writer for TV Westerns like “Have Gun, Will Travel” and cop shows like “Highway Patrol,” and “Star Trek,” though set in a nominally stylized future, was essentially a Western cop show. In fact, Roddenberry pitched the series to NBC as “Wagon Train” to the stars; and, as Captain Kirk noted in his log, the ship would venture out on “patrol,” cruising the galaxy like a city beat.

The food of Star Trek

posted by Jason Kottke   May 08, 2009

In celebration of Star Trek opening today, Adam Kuban goes long on a piece about food in Star Trek movies and TV shows.

Science fiction often holds a mirror up to contemporary culture, critiquing its practices, politics, and mores. So, too, with Romulan ale. Because of the United Federation of Planets’ standoff with the Romulan Empire, the drink is illegal within the Federation — much like Cuban cigars are in the U.S. But like the captains of industry of today, captains of starships indulge in this vice.

Oddly, my only complaint is that (somehow) his piece isn’t long enough. Adam, you didn’t even get in to “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” (thx, alaina)

Twittering Star Trek folks

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 22, 2009

Geordi La Forge, Data, and Wesley Crusher are all on Twitter. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, WORF?

Trailer for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 17, 2008

You might have seen the grainy cockeyed bootleg trailer over the weekend but now the real deal is up on Apple’s site in various HD-grade qualities: the second trailer for J.J. Abrams’ new Star Trek movie. From Wikipedia:

It is the eleventh Star Trek film and features the main characters of the original Star Trek series, who are portrayed by a new cast. It follows James T. Kirk enrolling at Starfleet Academy, his first meeting with Spock, and their battles with Romulans from the future, who are interfering with history.

I’m not a proponent of the idea that any Trek is good Trek so I really want to hate this movie but it looks kind of awesome. At least f’ing McG didn’t direct.

Trek cosplay

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 11, 2008

Photos of Star Trek fans (and other sci-fi enthusiasts) dressed up as their favorite characters in their otherwise non-Trek homes.

Cutaway drawings of the interiors of various

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 14, 2008

Cutaway drawings of the interiors of various Star Trek starship bridges. (via ffffound)

Star Trek statistics: just how likely are

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 10, 2008

Star Trek statistics: just how likely are you to die if you beam down to the planet’s surface wearing a red shirt?

You don’t know about the Red Shirt Phenomenon? Well, as any die-hard Trekkie knows, if you are wearing a red shirt and beam to the planet with Captain Kirk, you’re gonna die. That’s the common thinking, but I decided to put this to the test. After all, I hadn’t seen any definitive proof; it’s just what people said.

An appreciation of Star Trek II: The

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 22, 2007

An appreciation of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and William Shatner.

This Kirk is a melancholy man who feels older than he looks. “Gallavanting around the galaxy is a game for the young, Doctor,” he tells McCoy. His voice and gait confirm that his best days are behind him. En route to the Enterprise to conduct a training mission, he can hardly contain his disdain for his new job. “I hate inspections,” he tells his helmsman. He steps aboard his old starship a shadow of his warrior self, a sad figurehead trapped in a small world of his own making. Redemption is coming, but it will cost him.

A blog of bad drawings of Star

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 14, 2007

A blog of bad drawings of Star Trek’s Mr. Spock. Khaaan! (thx, david)

Video of the last 10 seconds of every

posted by Jason Kottke   May 17, 2007

Video of the last 10 seconds of every season 1 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Chart of the geek hierarchy. For example,

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 28, 2007

Chart of the geek hierarchy. For example, Trekkies who get married in Klingon garb are geekier than Trekkies who speak Klingon who are in turn geekier than normal Trekkies.

Clay Davis: Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeit. This is right up

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 17, 2006

Clay Davis: Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeit. This is right up there with Khaaan! (thx, david)

Captain Picard’s blog. With guestbloggers Seven of

posted by Jason Kottke   May 31, 2006

Captain Picard’s blog. With guestbloggers Seven of Nine, Will Riker, Worf, and Data.

Speaking pretty

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 19, 2005

When you only know a few words of a language, it’s easy to get confused when speaking. Somehow the phrase “tod mon pla” is one of the few Thai phrases that has stuck fast in my head, so much so that I’m afraid I’ll get flustered when somebody greets me with “sa-wat dee kha” that I will answer with “tod mon pla”:

Them: “Hello!”
Me: “Fish cakes.”

Thai also sounds a bit like Klingon to me; it’s all the short one-syllable letter combinations strung together. Any day now, instead of “khawp khun khrap” (which means “thank you”), I’m going to reply with qapla’ (roughly pronounced “kah-pla”, it’s the Klingon word for “success” or “good luck”[1]).

Meanwhile, my fast and loose eating on the streets of Bangkok has finally caught up with me as I’ve been spending a little more time in the bathroom than usual for the past day. I flew too close to the sun on bags of soda, my friends. It’s not bad, but I think I’ll lay off getting ice from places on the street.

[1] qapla’ is the only Klingon word that I know, gleaned from hours of watching ST:TNG on TV in high school and college. I’m a big dork, but not the kind that’s anything approaching fluent in Klingon.

Star Trek’s Sulu, George Takei, comes out.

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 28, 2005

Star Trek’s Sulu, George Takei, comes out. First Swoopes and now this…the self esteem of young, gay, basketball-playing Trekkies must be skyrocketing. (I keed, but seriously, pro sports and sci-fi geeks could benefit from more confident & successful gay role models for young people who’re feeling less than confident with their sexuality.)

Klingon fairy tales, including “The Hare Foolishly

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 22, 2005

Klingon fairy tales, including “The Hare Foolishly Lowers His Guard and Is Devastated by the Tortoise, Whose Prowess in Battle Attracts Many Desirable Mates” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb. It Was Delicious”. These are best when you think of them as spoken by Worf from ST:TNG.

When I saw these Star Trek business

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 12, 2005

When I saw these Star Trek business cards the other day, I knew that Star Wars ones had to exist. Novelty business cards must have been a popular thing back in the day. Anyone up for making Matrix and LOTR cards?

Odd set of Star Trek business cards. (via torrez)

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 11, 2005

Odd set of Star Trek business cards. (via torrez)

James Doohan, who played Scotty on Star

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 20, 2005

James Doohan, who played Scotty on Star Trek, passed away today aged 85.

Slashdot interview with Wil Wheaton

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 01, 2005

Slashdot interview with Wil Wheaton.

Leonard Nimoy’s photography of heavy women

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 20, 2005

Leonard Nimoy’s photography of heavy women.