Star Trek Into Darkness (and the Era of Reboots)

I finally made it to a showing of the new Star Trek flick this past weekend. It was not without its eyeroll moments, but even then, JJ Abrams was obviously having so much fun with his reboot of the Trek universe that it would have seemed mean-spirited to complain.

I suppose I should explain that I have a certain fondness for Chris Pine’s Kirk that I never had for Shatner’s. No, I am not a Chris Pine fangirl. Besides the whole issue of crushing on somebody with the same first name and the fact that he is far too young for me, he just doesn’t appeal to me in that way. But when I was much, much younger, I had a college friend whose favorite Trek character was Kirk. He was also an actor, and he had just the right looks and attitude that I always thought he should head to Hollywood to see if he could get cast as the bastard son of Kirk and some alien chick. So when Chris Pine turned up on the screen in 2009, looking and acting so eerily like my old friend, I knew Abrams was heading the right direction, no matter what all those stick-in-the-mud purists had to say.

And now I suppose I have to make a confession that will probably lose me what little geek cred I may have had. Confessions, actually. 1. I’ve watched only a handful of TOS episodes. I’m pretty sure “Space Seed” was not one of them. 2. I’ve never seen more than snippets of the first three Star Trek movies. So the whole Khan/Marcus storyline was lost on me. But I decided to read up on those plot lines, and now that I know just what Abrams was messing about with, I have to say I like his take on Trek all the better. He took known elements from the canon, he brought them together at a very different point in the larger story arc, and he toyed with how things would happen in his Trek world, which is so deliciously not canon. 

Piece of cake, right? Heh. I wish. I realized that my current project is, at its core, a reboot of Mark Twain. Sheesh. I’m resurrecting Sam’s dead older brother as his treasured baby sister. And she’s worried that she might be a zombie. If JJ Abrams is taking heat for time travel in Star Trek, what am I letting myself in for? Maybe I’ll find myself wishing for blessed obscurity when I finally get my work out there.

So what does make or break a reboot? There are so many now! If you don’t like how RDJ portrays Sherlock Holmes, wait five minutes, and you can give Benedict Cumberbatch’s version a whirl. I happen to like both. I firmly believe, especially after reading some Baring-Gould and watching Doyle’s own Bohemia/Reichenbach mashup, that Doyle had rather a cavalier attitude towards Holmes and his world. Which is good, considering the sheer numbers of Holmes pastiches that have been unleashed on the world. But where some of the recent superhero reboots have been deemed huge successes (e.g., Iron Man), others are considered but pale green imitations. And now they’ve started rebooting the reboots to the point that I just don’t think I can be bothered to care about the new Spiderman, Superman, and Batman offerings.

So as I embark on my steampunkification of Samuel L Clemens (and the zombification of one of his siblings), I ask you to tell me what you love and hate in a reboot. What can I do to win you over to my vision of the 19th century on the Missouri River?