Saturday, July 11, 2009

Star Trek XI

I saw the film on the weekend it opened and didn’t quite know whether to like it or not. It was an awesome action movie but with Star Trek you always expect something beyond an action movie. And on the first watch, I didn’t seem to get anything of the beyond.

Then I came back home and read the official back story comic. That gave it some perspective. And I also had the time to mull over the movie itself. I had time to appreciate how cleverly the reboot had been done. How characters had been tweaked to have more depth without moving too far from the original. How the presence of old Spock guaranteed that continuity is maintained in a very strong way.

And then I went and watched the movie again. This time it seemed a lot better. But still not quite there, I’m afraid.

It was only after the discussions on environmental science fiction going on at the IITK SF Workshop mailing list that I realized that Star Trek XI could possibly be seen as having strong environmental undertones. That is, if you look at it in conjunction with the back story.

The central crisis in the movie is an environmental crisis. A star is going nova which is going to destroy an entire world. We have the technology to stop it. However, we’re not doing it because of familiar reasons – apathy, mistrust and politics.

What was most appealing about this reading was the character of Captain Nero. As has been said before, Captain Nero is a strangely troubled man. He is, in some sense, an icon of what will be left behind if indeed an environmental disaster occurs to earth. Captain Nero symbolizes loss and anger and helplessness and that’s what we will be left with if we don’t do something about it soon.

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