Star Trek and the New NCC-90210

A fair crit­i­cism of Star Trek the Motion Pic­ture (or Star Trek 1) is that it feels more like an over­long episode than a fea­ture movie.  The vis­tas are epic enough, but the plot is only deserv­ing of an episode.

I would apply the same crit­i­cism to the new reboot of Star Trek.  It deals heav­i­ly with the back sto­ry of the new cast, but as plots go, it is not epic.  It is not even grand — it main­ly occurs in the last thir­ty min­utes of the movie. But for new reboot of Star Trek, I would not stop the crit­i­cism there.

Giv­en the appar­ent age of the actors and the gist of the plot, the Enter­prise should bear the ser­i­al num­ber NCC-90210.  It’s a lit­tle beyond the pale (and labelled as absurd by oth­er review­ers) that 20-some­thing young adults would be giv­en com­mand of a star­ship for any rea­son, let alone the razor thin jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of the first movie.  Even giv­en that gift, the nar­ra­tive for the sec­ond movie fails because Kirk is still cap­tain — with any small amount of sober thought, a too-young field-pro­mot­ed cap­tain would be replaced by a more appro­pri­ate can­di­date at the ear­li­est opportunity.

The sto­ry sur­round­ing the orig­i­nal series Kirk was that at 30, he was the fleet’s youngest cap­tain after a series of unbe­liev­able acts.  Still to com­mand the flag­ship is some­what of a stretch, but some dra­mat­ic license is in order.  There is a cer­tain amount of matu­ri­ty, expe­ri­ence and author­i­ty required in a cap­tain, and these qual­i­ties are all at odds with youth.

I remem­ber sin­cere­ly believ­ing that I could com­mand the enter­prise when I was 20.  I real­ize now, at 40, how sil­ly that notion was.  Just the sim­ple skill of diplo­ma­cy, which is emi­nent­ly required of an Enter­prise cap­tain, is the only exam­ple need­ed to show this.

I’m not a fan of the NCC-90210.  I tol­er­ate it because it’s Star Trek, but I nei­ther look for­ward to it nor give it con­sid­er­a­tion between installments.

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