Saturday, May 30, 2009

Star Trek: The ReBoot

My pre-concern with the new Star Trek film was that it seemed as if it was messing with the original series. Thankfully, it messes with the original series.

History: When I first discovered Star Trek, it was the early seventies. In re-runs, the entire three years was being shown episode by episode. It's not as if I could get the DVD's from Netflix and watch Season 3. The fantastic fan had to wait for television programmers to show old movies and re-runs. Legends of celluloid were created simply by lack of viewing availability. There were only a few magazines devoted to science fiction, fantasy and horror movies, namely "Famous Monsters of Filmland". God bless, 4E Ackerman. When I discovered Star Trek, thankfully I also discovered comic conventions and fandom. Before Star Wars popped the entertainment bubble wide open for the fantastic fan, only Star Trek had audience enough to provide the fandom ephemera that is so standard today.

I watched Star Trek every weeknight for four months. My family hated me. And I loved it. But by the time the first movie came out, things had already begun to change. I found that first Star Trek film boring, by the standards of a fourteen year old who was firmly in the Star Wars camp by then. When The Next Generation came around, maybe eight years later, I watched it a little. I liked it. But it just was not the same as those early days. I know there were other shows and other movies, but it seemed like endless Hollywood recycle once again.

So - I was told I should see this new Star Trek. I was wary - I saw the trailer, with Kirk speeding in the old car particularly jarring for me. I was then told again to see it - and everyone else then told me to see it. Everyone that said this was someone whose opinion I trusted. So -

By re-booting the original show, they made a very fun film. I had not seen an episode in many years, but as a formative influence, it all stuck in my head. This film played on many of the lines and dynamics of the original and because of that I found it mighty fun. One of my favorite original episodes is "The Menagerie", a two part episode in which Captain Pike is disfigured and disabled, and Spock is on trial for helping him. In the new film, I thought they honored Pike well, even showing him in the wheelchair again, but this time, still able to talk. Pretty cool.

Mostly, everything was played for a laugh. Which is OK, I guess, as I laughed and enjoyed most everything. But then again, is it really funny to still be making fun of Chekov's accent? The voice recognition gag was funny though...

Mythically speaking, the cosmic birth of Kirk was well-done, though perhaps a bit dramatic. A fellow student wrote this spot-on review, basically speaking to the Spock/Kirk dynamic of the film.

But here's the real problem I had - the original show to which ample homage is being paid was not a duality. Kirk and Spock had a go-between, a heart that was between Spock's mind and Kirk's penis. His name was McCoy - Bones - a huge part of the show that is generally neglected. Just as McCoy is neglected in the new film. When he first shows up on screen, drinking from a flask, I thought he was supposed to be Scotty. He is then played for laughs - cantankerous, giving out his famous "I'm a doctor, not a..." line, but never becoming the third piece to the puzzle that he was in the show. See "The City on the Edge of Forever" and "For the World is Hollow and I have Touched the Sky". Bones was real, and he was needed to mediate at all times. Here's to DeForest Kelley.

I am definitely grateful that William Shatner was not in it, though.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Your Mission: Define Mythology

Really. The problem I am faced with in studying myth has been mentioned here before. Basically, myth has many different definitions. The average person on the street, when confronted by the word, usually has only a few ideas. "A myth is a lie" or "A myth is a story of how the world began" or "A myth is about the Greek gods" are at least better answers than the most common: a snicker. And I'm not talking Peanutalicious here.

Never do I hear: "A myth is a symbolic narrative used to understand human psychology (often employing the use of the dialectic to combine opposites to form a new idea)". That's my latest definition. My problem is that by using Depth Psychology to understand myth, I am entering a world in which understanding myth becomes a very personal journey.

That is not a problem for myself, necessarily, because the frontier of Depth Psychology makes sense to me more and more. Though I fought against some parts of it earlier, the concepts are not so new to my own internal thoughts. I didn't know all the terms and exact ideas of the most astute Dr. C.G. Jung, but feel like I had internalized a lot of his concepts already. However, those snickers re-echo in my mind, hammering home the question that usually follows: "How are you going to make money with a degree in Mythology?"

I always ignored that question, for oh so many reasons. But at the outset of this adventure I assumed I would land the way I always do, at least NEAR a soft bed of flowers. But this personal facet of learning how myth relates to the human psyche, and how it is necessary to bring your brain into a healthy state of co-existence with your unconscious - how can I express it to that every day man in the street? For the most part, they don't care too much. Remember, the first question was about money. The ones that do care are usually my friends, and I expect they care only because they, well, don't want to snicker. For all you west coasters reading this, remember, I'm from the city they used to call "hog-butcher for the world". Poor pigs! For my friends that actually are interested - all three of you I think - THANKS!

I'm not someone who has the patience to teach personal journey stuff (it's personal right?), but it is almost a requirement to be an individuated soul to get this approach to myth. The few friends I mentioned above, as I think about it, are pretty together. So they get it.

I guess I'm just wondering if the world at large has any interest in this stuff. Seems art and the unconscious are the first things to be ignored in the pursuit of more money. I could sure use a Snicker's.