Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

May 22, 2013

ROOT: Live long and may the Force be with you

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — OK, I am allowed one week a year where I get all nerded out. This year, it is Star Trek. Next year, it will be Godzilla and the release of the new movie. I get all tingly just thinking about it.

I have already seen the new Star Trek movie twice and I will see it a third time if that is what I have to do. A man is always prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice and see a Star Trek movie three times in its first week of release. If I am called on, I will answer that call.

I grew up watching Star Trek on WUTV, channel 29 when I was a kid. Anyone who grew up in the 1970’s remembers channel 29. All of the good stuff was on channel 29. When it became a Fox network, that is when I lost interest in it. But while it was in its glory days, I enjoyed that network immensely.

Even though I grew up watching Star Trek, I had myself convinced that I was a Star Wars person. To me, the idea that you are either a Star Trek or a Star Wars person seems a little limiting. But my mom took me to the mall to see Star Wars: Episode IV and I loved it. I remember coming out of the mall cinemas and seeing a sign in the pet store across from the mall that said “we sell jawas.” I was all about the force and I thought Darth Vader was cool. I still think Darth Vader is cool, despite what George Lucas did to Vader in Episode III.

I stopped counting the number of times I saw Episode IV at 75. This was in the days before DVDs and streaming movies. This was back when you had to actually go to a movie or wait five years for it to get onto one of the major television networks. I had all of the Star Wars toys and I even won a Star Wars Christmas album from WKBW radio that I listened to. I thought I was all about Star Wars. Then the Star Trek movie came out and everything changed.

When the first Star Trek movie came out, I loved it. I saw it repeatedly. I went back to channel 29 to watch all of the old Star Trek episodes. I suddenly realized that I was an Episode IV Star Wars person, but I was all about everything to do with Star Trek. I would choose Captain Kirk over Han Solo any day of the week, and I still would.

I am one of those people who believes that Jedis and Vulcans can live together in peace and harmony. I was also one of the throngs of people who were anxious to see the new Star Trek movie when it came out in 2009. It was what movie people call a re-boot. It created an entirely new Star Trek universe, but it was a parallel universe with characters we could identify like Spock, Kirk and Bones.

J.J. Abrams created a completely new path with familiar characters. He could go in any direction he wanted. One of the things that we Trekkies have always loved about Star Trek is that it is an exploration show that was wide open to the imagination of creator Gene Roddenberry. When we saw the new villain Nero in the 2009 movie, we were excited because it was a great movie with something new.

I am not going to give away the new Star Trek movie. Let’s just say that it is a fine Star Trek movie, but it does not leave a whole lot of hope for the future movies. I love the new Star Trek movie, but it offers nothing new. In J.J. Abrams’ parallel universe, originality has been lost.

The fact that J.J. Abrams is directing the new Star Wars, Episode VII, scares me. George Lucas was terrible at writing dialogue, but he was a genius at developing a mythology to support his story. George Lucas did not write Episode VII and he will not be directing it. It is rumored that Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia will be in the new movie. In other words, J.J. Abrams will once again be using the Hollywood formula for re-tread sequels to try and make a buck off of a popular movie franchise.

I am begging J.J. Abrams to step away from Star Trek and let someone with an imagination take over the franchise. The new cast is awesome and the special effects capabilities we have these days could make any Star Trek movie epic.

I am also begging J.J. Abrams to step away from Star Wars. He is already on the verge of ruining one great space story. He has no right to destroy the other.

This is the nerd side of me signing off until next year.

George N Root III is a Lockport resident and he often boldly goes where no man has gone before. His column appears every Wednesday and is part of an ongoing mission. He can be reached at georgeroot@verizon.net, but not if you are a Klingon. Live long, and prosper.