When I was in ninth grade, my mom bought me two advance tickets as an early Christmas gift to the premiere of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.”
The idea of actually viewing a big-budget blockbuster of the beloved series was almost too good to be true. It was a full decade since the TV show had left the airwaves, and though it lived long and prospered in syndication, it existed like something from a time capsule that could never be added to or altered.
So as I took my seat at the Ranchmart Theater in Leawood, I was ready to be blown away — just as I’d been with “Star Wars” two years previously.
Instead what I experienced was a bloated, humorless, interminable ride through space with a cast that already seemed too old to be starring in an action movie. It was a crushing disappointment.
Sure, better movies followed (“Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan,” “Star Trek: First Contact”). But far worse ones came along, also (“Star Trek V: “The Final Frontier”). So to this day, I enjoy a love/hate relationship with the Trek universe.
Despite or because of that, I am absolutely thrilled at the prospect of the new J.J. Abrams project “Star Trek,” which opens nationwide Friday. The idea of a complete reboot and/or overhaul of the franchise is appealing on a number of levels, especially after watching the undeniably awesome trailers.
Now, for the hardcore Trekkies (or Trekkers) there are some murmurs of dissent.
Perhaps this is best typified by a parody story from the Onion News Network titled: “Trekkies bash new Star Trek film as ‘fun, watchable.’”
In all its CNN-style glory, the report interviews faux Trek geeks as they emerge from a theater after screening the film.
“I’m just really, really disappointed that the storyline made sense,” says one fan.
“If I wanted to see young, attractive people doing cool, exciting things, I’d go watch sports.”
Back on the desk, ONN entertainment reporter Bree Lindsay complains, “Apparently, there wasn’t even one scene set at a long table where interstellar diplomacy is debated in endless detail.”
Are the Trek minions really this pathetic and humorless when it comes to their beloved show? Are they really just costume-wearing, convention-going, grown men living in their mom’s basement whose only purpose is to be derided by those with actual lives?
A quick cruise around the Web reveals some answers to that thorny question.
For instance, a site called All the Star Trek Jokes You May Have Never Wanted offers dozens of jokes, riddles and lists.
Question: Where do Star Trek fans go to lift weights?
Answer: The “He’s dead, Gym!”
Not laughing? Then how about:
Question: How many ears does Picard have?
Answer: Three. A right ear. A left ear. And a final front ear.
Moving along past the myriad Klingon language pages, I came across a disturbingly detailed “Trek Chronology” site created by über-fan James Dixon. While you have to marvel at the work that went into scrutinizing where every episode and event in the Trek cosmos has been placed in logical order, there is an addendum to the list that is perhaps the most telling.
Dixon writes, “One More thing (II), if there are any ‘Trekkesses’ reading this. I’m 100% single and would certainly appreciate meeting a female Trek fan who might be interested in a potential relationship. ... Female Trek fans are rare in this neck of the woods for some reason, and what’s a Trekker in ‘pon farr’ to do? I can only bond with members of my own species ...”
I’ll give the final word to an awesome piece called “10 Things I Hate About Star Trek.” It’s a masterful dissection of all things annoying about Trek fundamentals ranging from the Prime Directive to the Holodeck.
My favorite on the roster is number four, which is a simple quiz:
“Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and ‘Ensign Gomez’ beam down to a planet. Which one isn’t coming back?”
— Entertainment editor Jon Niccum explores facets of pop culture that have established a unique niche on the Internet in Net Worth. He can be reached at 832-7178.