Red-Shirted: Musings on Star Trek

There’s a scene in the new Star Trek movie that has Kirk and Sulu space-jumping from a shuttle onto a drilling platform in an attempt to disable it and save the planet Vulcan. Jumping along with them is a crew member named Olson. Because there are several characters who crop up with names from the old series, Rob wondered who Olson was.

“He’s wearing red, honey,” I whispered, “so it doesn’t matter.”

Aficionados of the original television show can attest to the fact that unidentified crew members wearing red shirts were regularly sacrificed to the harsh realities of space travel in the place of established characters like Kirk and Sulu. Red shirting equaled dead.

It’s interesting how we come to associate certain conditions with predictable outcomes.

We were sitting in a packed theatre in The Park after having braved an overcrowded lobby for tickets and popcorn. Rob and I divided and conquered to achieve our ends as quickly as possible. He hopped into the ticket line and I got in the shortest of the concession lines, which meant nothing. Length of queue is no indication that the person running the till is fast or slow. Canadians just don’t get the whole “service” idea and incompetent workers are aided by the overall Canadian “too polite to complain” thing.

I won. It took twenty minutes for me to achieve Nirvana/service while Rob had only made the middle of his line. As I waited, I noticed that many others used our strategy and the number of people in front of me changed frequently. The young man behind the counter had a deer in the headlight expression but it didn’t keep him from functioning at a level one doesn’t often see – efficient – and this aura of knowing what the fuck he was doing had attracted him some assistance in the form of a more frightened looking young man who scurried around behind him helping to fill orders.

There were a number of families, who I will assume were there to see UP but since Drag Me To Hell seemed to be the movie most people were nattering about, I can’t be sure. One couple nitpicked at the Competent Worker while their two little boys hung on the counter and licked the ice in the container next to the soda dispenser. It should go without saying that we had bottled water for our beverage.

We found seats easily. Annoyed the woman seating on the end as we took turns visiting the washroom before the show began. And I will note here that there were far too many tinkled on toilet seat lids for my liking in the washroom and if toilet seats are great germ transmitters (they are not sinks and door handles are) in public restrooms, it is the fault of idiotic women dangling their bums about toilet seats.

Despite the lack of seating by preview time, Rob and I selfishly maintained a barrier of a vacant seat on either side of us. I really prefer not to literally rub elbows. There was one woman to our left who texted until the film began and some geezers behind us who had to comment on every little homage to the original series the movie paid (I know that Rob and I are old too but we were not teens or even preteens when the show originally aired. In fact, I was in pre-school and didn’t see it until it began its run in syndication when I was about 11.) These minor things aside, it was an enjoyable  outing .

One thing horrified me as we were leaving – the last ones because we watched nearly all the credits – was the fact that no one took their garbage out with them. I looked up and saw that nearly every seat had an abandoned soda cup. Popcorn bags carpeted the floor or were left perched on seats. And there we were, toting our empty bags and water bottles out.

Not that there was a trash can to put things in. The one at the exit was overflowing, but c’mon –  raised in a barn much?

Oh, the movie? The stereo-type thing cropped up in the form of death and widowhood – again. When Kirk’s father dies just seconds after his birth and he and his wife are saying their goodbyes – I was on the verge of tears. But I found the melodrama a bit hackneyed and unrealistic. Death is not normally so poetic and purposeful. George Kirk dies by choice to save his crew, wife and newborn son. If only we all could have such a meaningful end.

Kirk’s “poor me my dad is dead” rebellion rated an eye-roll even though I completely agreed with another character’s dismissal of his behavior as a waste of time that should be put to better use. And Spock’s dramatic break over his mother’s death played into the idea that grief renders people incapable grated a bit. Probably it was the link to temporary insanity. I still don’t believe that the grieving are hothouse vegetation who can’t think clearly enough to take care of business and think about the future. Grief can be allowed a debilitating mis-step here and there, and some people let it swamp them, but most people carry on more or less without any need to abdicate. Grief is not a mental illness. It’s not a breakdown. It’s normal. One deals.

The alternate timeline thing was brilliant though scientifically flawed. I liked Spock and Uhura together. I loved Scotty and Kirk was better than expected although I am not entirely convinced he will grow up to be William Shatner someday.

The best thing about the movie was talking Trek with Rob afterwards. There is nothing like snuggling up and musing on the geekier gulity pleasures in life with one’s life-mate.

7 thoughts on “Red-Shirted: Musings on Star Trek

  1. Ann,
    I am finally catching up on blog reading and writing. Don’s father used to watch Star Trek and we would be forced to endure the episodes. Not being a big Trekie–I went to the movie out of curiosity and really enjoyed it. Besides the fact that Captain Kirk is a “hottie”, I enjoyed the story and found it entertaining. If I were sixteen again Chris Pine’s poster would have definitely been hanging on my wall. I am usually a big fan of JJ Abbrams being a big LOST and FRINGE fan.

  2. Not growing up to be William Shatner is a good thing. Especially if you’ve heard him sing. I always take my trash out, but other people don’t. Our bins are not stuffed, though. I would love to go see the new Star Trek. Maybe I will allot money for it next month. Twenty bucks a head for tickets and popcorn hurts a little. Especially when I remember my mother thought I wasted a lot of money when I spent a dollar to see “A Hard Day’s Night.” Movies were usually only a quarter. Yeah, if you and Rob are old, then I’m really old.

  3. love the review of both the environment and the flick! saw this with a friend last weekend in the theater – and realized that it had been at least a year since i’ve been out to a movie in a theater… routinely appalled at the trash thing, too. will never understand it…

  4. Now, that sounds like a grand outing. It’s been a long time since I went to a movie theater — my love and I don’t like crowds, noise, rude or discourteous people — but this sounds like it was a fun trip.

    1. Every once in a while, you’ve got to see a movie in a theatre although, it is not like it was when I was a kid and teen. So much better back then even if the technology was inferior.

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