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Why Star Trek Decided To Go Sexy

Why Star Trek Decided To Go Sexy
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The new <em>Star Trek</em> looks quite sexy. But is that a good thing?

"They're doing a Star Trek remake" is right up there with "They're giving Howie Mandel another show" in terms of something that you have to see to believe. But, I had to set my expression to stunned after seen the first trailers of the JJ Abrams prequel. It looks pretty sexy, action, cool. And I was even further relieved that they weren't pressured to let William Shatner bullrush his way into the picture (I have nothing against Bill Shatner, but it's a role that he would be silly to reprise, especially with a generation who knows him as James Spader's best bud on Boston Legal). 

But not everyone thinks that the reimaging is hunky dory. According to the Telegraph, some folks don't care for the sexed up version of the Starship Enterprise. The stripping and the fondling have some fans on edge. And have you seen the stars? There's not a bad-looker among them. If the original series was known for its over-acting, the new tale will be known for its over-manicuring. There is not a single errant hair or flaw in the lot of them. I've never seen 2 spacemen as purty as Chris Pine's Captain Kirk and Zachary Quinto's Spock. Even the new Scotty (Shaun Of The Dead's Simon Pegg) is downright winsome in comparison to his predecessor. So the question is, who the hey-hey did they make this thing for?

JJ Abrams says that he made the film for the fans despite not being a fan of the original series. That kind of double-speak may cut it when negotiating with Lost's The Others but not the fair Trekkies. They're a good-hearted folk who, though largely male, sometimes get married in full battle regalia from a man speaking Klingon. Abrams decided to crank up the sexy factor to appeal to a larger audience. After seeing the FX-heavy but emotionally-stunted Star Wars films, he chose a new tack: be like Battle Star Galactica (which is a bit of a reversal from the 70s when BSG was a Star Trek ripoff).

Most of us grew up thinking certain things were for fellas and other for dames (I, as you can tell, grew up in the Roaring 20's). I once had to punish my girlfriend for going to the opera with a viewing of Pathfinder*. Surprisingly, neither of us hated the other’s choice despite the opera lasting for 3 hours in Italian and Pathfinder's (as far as I could tell) was an orphan Viking adopted by Native Americans having to slaughter Viking hordes, but it may have been an allegory about global warming and the exploitation of indigenous peoples.

The point is that while movies don't have to be siloed, sometimes it's better if they are. I know it's a lot to ask for a $150 million movie to reduce its target. The nerd herd, though largely male anyway, will support this film, if it doesn't suck. They'll see it 5 times, largely in costume, and, yeah, they'll store parts of the film in the spank bank. Big whoop, wanna fight about it? The Star Wars prequels tried to be all things to all people and Jar-Jar wasn't funny, the child Anakin Skywalker wasn't particularly adorable, no NASCAR fans orgasmed during the pod racing scene and no woman alive bought into the romance between Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen. The Lord Of The Rings trilogy** did an impressive job of inclusiveness but stuck to the core message that this f*ckin' ring was gonna doom mankind if it didn't get flung into a lava pit on the other side of the tracks. I appear to have digressed.

The fat and skinny of the message is this: chicks like some stuff, dudes like some stuff and some stuff they naturally both like (like Friday Night Lights). It's bad form to just go forcing something if it's just not right***. Movies are a social affair, anyway. She can promise to see Star Trek with him if he sees My Life In Ruins (Nia Vardalos' follow up to My Big Fat Greek Wedding) with her without watering down the content or departing from canon. I could be off-base here, apparently the original Star Trek was considered sexy for its time and did feature the first inter-racial kiss on American TV.

*Karl Urban stars in Pathfinder and appears as the ship's doctor in the new Star Trek.

**The Lord Of The Rings books never really had a love story. Good work by Peter Jackson throwing in a subtle love-triangle without beating us over the head with it.

***Billy Joe of Green Day should be considered for Poet Laureate status.

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