Thursday, December 3, 2009

CI #39 -- Space

The final frontier. More specifically, I mean to investigate Hollywood's version of Future Space, the final frontier.

I started thinking about these matters while watching J.J. Abrams' "reset" of the Stark Trek series, which I found entertaining but also slightly disappointing.

It was a little too wink-wink for me at times (though a lot of it was no doubt intentional). But I tend to compare (unfairly) most sci-fi movies to either "The Empire Strikes Back" or the best episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

That said, Mr. Abrams' concept of Future Space as well as that of George Lucas, and Mel Brooks parodying George Lucas, Gene Roddenberry, and pretty much every other space story ever told have common threads, which raise common questions. For instance, ...

What happened to collars?
Space gear is typically silver, sometimes shiny, and most commonly neoprene (One can assume everything's also Gore Tex, at this point). But where are the collars? Was there some sort of catastrophic event or particularly damaging scientific report about collars that led entire species to abandon them? In Future Space, no one wears traditional collars. Hell, you're just lucky if you get a sorry excuse for a mock turtleneck. And you can forget all about a button-down (even if buttons don't exist anymore, you can give us something that folds at least).

Why are there no railings?
Future Space is filled with perilous ledges from which you can fall to your death. And you don't just fall to the ground. Theoretically, you can fall to anywhere. You can fall to infinity. That's a long way. Yet space stations and space ship designers basically ignore this, preferring increased peril over decreased accidents. I like to assume that they're just too busy creating "black hole devices" to be able to concern themselves with railings. (They're in desperate need of some "little picture" leadership.)

Why is "deep talking" an acceptable alien accent?
For the most part, everyone has to speak English, or these movies would be incredibly exhausting to follow (Cardassian does not easily lend itself to subtitles, so I'm told). In case you're unfamiliar with ST and wondering what Romulans are, it turns out they're a race of assholes who apparently all talk like Christian Bale playing Batman. And their leader is "Nero" (How's that for staying power? People are still naming their evil babies after an evil Roman emperor millennia later). Forget the deep talk, let's just regular talk and get on with the movie.

What about 3-D road rage?
Once, just once, I'd like a movie to show the downside of otherwise awesome space driving -- 3-D road rage. We, as a species, have a hard enough time as it is when we're all on the same plane. Just imagine someone cutting you off from above and/or below you. I imagine space words would be had. There are positives and negatives to this, people. Future Space is not black and white.

I'll finish my investigation with this: I've been working on a hacky Future Space joke whose punchline would be "Sounds like my first stardate." Working on one. I couldn't quite nail it though. Please feel free to show off your superior dorkdom and share one if it hits you.


  1. Alright. I'll be the first to say it. Stars Wars wasn't actually Future Space but rather Far, Far Away Past Space.