Friday, May 08, 2009
Today I Was the Hooky Monster
Covered Andrew's Pop Music class this morning, where a doughty youth talked about the Clash's "London Calling" during which disquisition he asserted (to which I said: maybe?) and then illustrated (well why didn't you say so?!) that the eponymous album cover is a conscious ripoff of Elvis Presley's first album.
Pink and green lettering? Same layout? A-plus, little brother, and adequate compensation for having to admit, if only to myself (oh; and to you, dear reader) that I know eff-all about The Clash other than that there was -- and for all I know still is, in some obscure Vegas lounge -- such a thing.
And there was a video! I do love a video.
This selfless act of inter-generational cooperation did not take too long, and I hit the neighborhood around a quarter to one and thought, in the spirit of inquiry, to see how long the lines were at Grand Lake Theater for the first showing of the new Star Trek movie.
There were no lines.
I stopped and checked with the box office to discover the movie had only been going for five minutes, and as the nice lady said, "It starts off slow."
And two hours later here I am. I had a good time. Having enjoyed the original series -- which I now find unwatchable, except as camp -- and many hours of the many subsequent series and movies, and always finding them an easy diversion from the pain of thinking, I am pretty much an easy mark for the brand.
I had read that the new movie used the old time-travel gimmick to reset the premise, to fudge the back story of Kirk and Spock so that we can start anew -- more movies, more series, more lunch boxes, more doctoral dissertations.
I, for one, didn't think the evolved premise -- which if we imagine it as a companion animal would be warty, hairy, somewhat cockeyed and certainly walking with a limp -- had enough of an explicit back story to need fudging.
Is it the fanboys and all those Star Trek novelizations, which have created a detailed history of people and times, any violence to which would cause a psychic tremor in all the basement and garage apartments of America where lurk the Nation of Trek?
I don't care enough to find out. Make it so Number One. Heh heh.
Turns out I liked the movie just fine. Boy Kirk may be Kirk Lite, but William Shatner was Kirk Marbled, as in pass the ham. This new captain is energetic and engaging, and not some big mope like whatsisname in the first-shall-be-last Star Wars trilogy.
New Spock just loves his mom and will bop you if you diss her. (It's a plot point.) Okay I like that. What would have been weird in Nimoy Spock -- too much mother lovin' past a certain age, and you're suddenly in Anthony Perkins territory -- does no violence to my notion of how Spock developed emotionally.
Here's a spoiler. Stop stop stop. New Spock and New Uhuru get busy, which works for several reasons, not the least of which is my hitherto unsuspected satisfaction at seeing New Kirk not get the girl.
New Bones is an actor I must put a name to, Karl Urban, the New Zealander of LOR fame. He can do nervous, testy and mildly comic. Who knew? Who knew he would settle for so subordinate a gig?
New Scotty I'll also put a name to: Simon Pegg of That Zombie Comedy. (Which wasn't the name. But close enough for zombie work.) I'm not quite sure how to put this. Pegg is genuinely funny, as in droll, understated when appropriate. I think maybe there's some *acting going on,* not enough to set a cast precedent, happily.
Much noisy and occasionally confusing hurtling through space and blowing up of things -- including the planet Vulcan, giving Spock an edgy kind of "Last of the Mohicans" vibe. (But nothing homoerotic. No none of that; cf. Spock and Uhuru getting busy.)
Some plot nonsense as the mechanisms and motives of the vengeful time traveler -- the deux ex machina, the mcguffin -- emerge, though that's the kind of analysis one does not pursue. If you are lucky enough not to see the holes in such popular entertainments, what a blissful myopia it is. Don't open the drawer and drag out the magnifying glass.
Oh. Old Spock shows up, although looking somewhat dessicated, and I swear his false teeth click. I took pleasure in his presence not for reasons of continuity or nostalgia but just because at 78 he's still coherent and continent enough to get through 45 seconds of dialogue without calling for a potty break. He's a ruin but a noble ruin, lean and vaguely Roman, suggesting in some sense I can't quite put into words that seriousness is afoot or perhaps merely underfoot, rubbing against our ankles.
I shudder to think of them dragging Shatner back on screen to bless his earlier self, Shatner, who at this stage of his life looks like an unholy amalgam of himself and the Pillsbury Doughboy.
You can't go home again, not if you can't fit through the door.