Here’s hoping new 'Trek' franchise lives long and prospers

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

For years, we’ve been called geeks, nerds and weirdoes for loving the old fashioned “Star Trek” TV show, the new TV franchises and the big screen adaptations.

We’ve heard the annoying putdowns from non-Trekkies that made little sense, which just infuriated us more. (“You like Star Track? What’s the difference between that and Star Wars? Is Yoda in it?”)

We’ve been told to “get a life” by none other than our hero, William Shatner himself, in a hilarious “Saturday Night Live” sketch.

And as we’ve gotten older, we’ve gotten more and more comfortable with the labels, even as the younger generation continues to deride our fascination, because we know what a great idea “Star Trek” was and why so many people are still attached to it.

Well, if the weekend box office receipts are any indication, the generation raised on computer-generated special effects may finally be ready to boldly go into “Star Trek” geek-hood themselves. Welcome, new Trekkies. We’ve been waiting for you.

The new “Star Trek” movie opened last week, and I am happy to report that it was possibly the best movie I’ve seen all year.

Filled with enough jaw-dropping action to please all ages and enough references and respect for the original series to pacify the die-hard geeks among us, the movie hit all the right buttons. It was like seeing our old friends in a new light.

OK. We still have to suspend disbelief and pretend everyone in the universe speaks English, but that’s what makes it “Star Trek.”

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto lit up the screen as the young Kirk and Spock, their personalities in keeping with what we know about them in their older, crankier days, and their chemistry easily creating a deep but volatile friendship.

We even learn a little more about Lt. Uhura’s background and the fact that she has eyes for one of the main characters (Hint: It’s not Kirk).

We finally learn how the crew came together on the U.S.S. Enterprise (although not without a time-traveling bad guy to explain the lack of continuity between the movie and the TV show).

The action, particularly the fighting scenes, is flawless. Just like in the original show, the guy in the red tunic who beams out with the rest of the crew doesn’t stand a chance, but the death scene is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty, provides great comic relief, although he doesn’t show up until late in the film, to save everyone’s life by “beaming them up” at the right moments.

We even get a satisfying visit from Leonard Nimoy to explain all the insanity going on around the young crew—basically, it’s a Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana) with an ax to grind.

Unfortunately, Bana’s scenes are the least interesting. His character’s main purpose is to provide a vehicle for testing the young crew—including a teenage Ensign Chekov, whose youthful energy and textbook knowledge save the day more than once.

Gene Roddenberry may not be with us any longer, but his vision of navigating “the final frontier” and learning from other cultures lives on thanks to director J.J. Abrams’ wonderful new take on a classic.

Young and old Trekkies alike are ready for this new franchise to take off. Beam us up.