Sunday, July 10, 2011

Geek Porn

At 3:45 this morning I finished watching the director's cut of the first Star Trek movie, from 1979. Not having seen the movie in a few decades, I can't say for sure how different this version is from the original, so I'll write as if this version were the original. After all, it can't be that different, even at 2 hrs 10 minutes....

As I stated, this movie came out in 1979. Star Trek had been off the air for 10 years (the cartoon doesn't count), and Roddenberry had to deliver. Bringing in noted sci-fi author Alan Dean Foster to write the story probably sounded like a good idea.

The movie started with three minutes of star footage and music before we ever even see the Paramount logo. Roddenberry is definitely building up the suspense. And then we get new theme music (later used for Star Trek: The Next Generation), and even better, a new Star Trek font! Oh, this is good.

Now, finally, the movie starts. And what do we see? Slow, close up, stem-to-stern pans of Klingon warships, followed by our first look at "new style" Klingons. Ohmigawd, this is so cool.

If you include the star footage and opening credits, it was over 12 minutes in before we even see Kirk.

Shortly thereafter came the slow, close up, stem-to-stern, up, down, and all-around shots of Enterprise for minutes. Literally, minutes. I was reminded of what Scotty would say in the Star Trek reboot movie made 30 years later: "I'd like to get my hands on her ample nacelles."

Then it hit me: this movie was total geek porn. And Roddenberry was being a tease.

There was a hitch in the system we realize that the new Starfleet uniforms are essentially jammies with vibrators located at the belly. As we would say a few decades later: epic fail.

The special effects were state-of-the-art 1979, which is to say, impressive at the time but not so much now. But Roddenberry had one good one up his sleeve, and by using it shortly after the Enterprise voyeurism we were led on to believe there would be more. That first jump to warp was new, and exciting--and orgasmic. And let's not forget the Ilea-probe's showing up in what amounts to just a shirt that barely covers the hoochy-coo, and no pants. At that point we can almost drop the "geek" from "geek porn".

And sadly, that was about it for the movie. The flight through Vger's cloud took so long as to be tedious. At least the story makes more sense now that it did then--maybe because I'm not 14, and maybe because the Director's Edition clarified things a bit.

It was entertaining to watch, but Roddenberry's tease was so obvious that all it was missing was some "bow-shicka-bow-shicka-bow-wow" music, and maybe a pole dancer.

The one surprise? Commander Decker got the girl, not Kirk. Now that is a tease.

4 comments:

EdD said...

You list several of the special effects, but Persis Khambatta was the most memorable one of all.

MikeAT said...

And hopefully Decker got Ilia to break her oath of celibacy....there is no question Kirk would do it

Steve USMA '85 said...

I admit it, I'm a Trekie. At last count I've watched every episode of the original series at least five times and even attended one Star Trek Convention.

I remember seeing Star Trek: The Motion Picture on opening day and walking out forcing myself not to cry. In my humble opinion it was horrible. Gene Roddenberry made it into a special effects show run by committee. Acting as you noted was limited and canned. More time given to the exterior of the starships then to the individuals inside.

Generally I try to forget the first movie. To me the real movies, based on storyline and not special effects, started with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Darren said...

Can't argue with anything you said.