Astral Week


DVD packaging of 2009 'Star Trek' with the face of Chris Pine as Kirk seen through the dark letters of the title on a white background

J.J. Abrams' Star Trek was released on DVD this past Tuesday, just before the annual Leonid meteor shower began its display in earnest.

Coincidence? Uh, yeah, probably.

The Leonids' discovery in 1833 "marks the actual birth of meteor astronomy" according to the webpage linked above. Scroll about halfway down for history on the phenomenon.

As for what my friend Rafael geekily dubbed NCC-4715-2009, I look forward to sitting down on a cold, dark night during the post-sweeps/holiday lull in new television and digging into its special features. The Abrams commentaries on the pilot episodes of Lost and Fringe — the latter with Trek writers Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci — were top-notch, which bodes well. I'm almost glad that I don't have a Blu-Ray player since the regular 2-disc edition looks just right in terms of my level of interest in extras.

While I can't report on those extras yet, only point you towards my initial quickie review (free of spoilers) and further thoughts on the film as seen in theaters, here are some other links of possible interest for folks revisiting the new Trek. Most of them discuss plot points; if you haven't seen the movie yet, but care, then stop reading.

• The official movie website still offers trailers, dossiers on the characters, images to download, and lots of other stuff. I didn't link to it straightaway above in my usual fashion because a warning is in order for how long it may take to load.

• One eyebrow-raising article that came to my attention after Trek's May premiere, written by Larry Carroll for MTV, found Orci & Kurtzman revealing possible plans for how to incorporate William Shatner's Kirk [dead link] into the film. I'm sure there are other interviews that covered similar ground, as well as Shatner's video reply to J.J. Abrams' decision not to use or apparently even approach him (it's true that Shatner, with writers Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, produced a novel called The Ashes of Eden that brought back Kirk after the movie Star Trek: Generations, but I haven't read it and I don't know if its events were even reflected in the wider canon of prose and comics projects). I found the meeting between Spock and Spock Prime at the film's end unnecessary, to be honest — even, for lack of a better word, improper; a simple recognition between them from across the hangar would have been more appropriate and more moving — but this memory hologram of Kirk Prime would've justified their interaction spectacularly if Shatner's ego could've been reconciled with such a presentation. Then again, Zachary Quinto's Spock is pretty hot-blooded, and I can see him consciously or otherwise doing everything he can to break free of anything that he feels resembles preordination.

• Readers who enjoyed my prior musings on whether Spock Prime traveled back to his own past or into an alternate dimension, and whether if it was his own past his own future timeline thus still existed or was entirely overwritten by the events of the film from the point that Nero's ship appeared, might be interested in Anthony Pascale's wonky conversation with Roberto Orci at the TrekMovie website.

• Pascale also conducted video interviews with Abrams and, separately, with Orci and producer Damon Lindelof at the DVD's launch party on Wednesday, posted at TrekMovie with text summaries. Lindelof will be writing the next film with Kurtzman & Orci, and very general teasers about that film's as-yet-unwritten script are discussed; there are tidbits about Lost and Fringe too. Another post from Pascale refutes the rumor that Nestor Carbonell, who plays Lost's mysterious Richard Alpert, is an inside favorite to fill Ricardo Montalban's shoes as Khan in the sequel to this year's relaunch, although the character of Khan is still being considered for the film. I think that, superficially at least, he'd be a brilliant choice, although the studio and filmmakers alike may want someone better known. Using Khan in the very next film strikes me as a terrible idea, however, as it would beg even more direct comparison to The Wrath of Khan than this year's revamp did to the beloved, long-lived original cast overall; every similarity and difference would be scrutinized by fans, and the general public may feel that there's no point in seeing a remake, so going with an entirely original adventure seems like the easiest decision the creative team could make. Deciding what that adventure will be is the hard part, but heeding the classic opening voiceover by boldly exploring new life and new civilizations would be a step in the right direction.





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