Last night, Andy and I went to the EW CapeFest screening of the 2009 Star Trek followed by a Q&A with Leonard Nimoy.
Even though I saw the movie six times in theaters and have seen it many since then, I had forgotten how much I love it. A lot of Trek fans hate it for one reason or another—it’s obviously different than the previous motion pictures, but many of those are different from one another as well. But whatever, people can like or dislike whatever the want.
This movie was my introduction to Star Trek as a whole. I’d never seen an episode before; the closest I’d come watching it was seeing The Voyage Home on TV as a kid. The only thing I remember is my mom covering my eyes at the point when Spock goes into the whale tank because I had a phobia of water and she didn’t want me to freak out. I asked her why the guy had funny ears. I like to think she said something about a mechanical rice picker.
Last night, it struck me again as to why this movie was the perfect introduction to the universe, even if it’s set in a parallel one. The first ten minutes of the movie is one of the most flawless moments of cinema I’ve ever seen. The script is tight, seemingly-extraneous details still move the plot forward or given necessary character information. The characters feel immediately familiar and accurate despite their existence in another universe. It’s never too dark, never too silly. The sound design makes me want to keyboard smash an entire essay in adoration. (Sound design was my sub-concentration at school and I did get to write a paper or two about the sound in this movie, so thank goodness for that.)
And then there was Leonard Nimoy. His inclusion in the movie is largely the reason why I pursued episodes of The Original Series. His performance felt so real that it was hard to imagine that he wasn’t Spock (something that seems to have been a common problem for him, as mentioned in the Q&A). I found myself not only loving the character, but identifying with him: the duality, the war between thought and feeling, the misunderstanding from those around you. My love the character led me to follow Nimoy as an actor in other pieces, and as a photographer, which especially spoke to me. Listening to him speak was absolutely delightful—just purely delightful.
There’s something about science fiction that makes enthusiasm acceptable. Where in other arenas there seems to be a requirement for politely reserved interest when you listen to a hero speak, in science fiction, the communal happiness is palpable. The Egyptian Theatre was filled with people whose lives have been touched by a genre listening to a guy who not just through his portrayal but understanding of a character, has transformed people. That was part of the excitement of hearing him speak: not just him, but the reactions. That sense of that we don’t know each other, but we are friends.
Listening to him was even more than I had imagined—especially since he sang a rushed, somewhat embarrassed rendition of the Bilbo Baggins Song. If anybody has the chance to listen to him speak, I certainly recommend it.