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The Wrath Of Han

December 10th, 2008 11:45am EST
Mike RyanTruth, Justice And Gordon Shumway: (weekly column) - My favorite movie of all time is The Empire Strikes Back; also, it happens to be the first movie I ever saw in a theater. Countless hours and money could have been spared in my relentless, yet futile, quest for a better movie. It seems, at least in my opinion, I got it right the first time. So, it should go without saying, I am a bit of an unabashed Star Wars nerd.

There is an unwritten rule that a person cannot be both a Star Wars fan and, at the same time, a Star Trek fan (I'm not going to get into the whole Trekkie versus Trekker designation, for the purposes of this column, they will be referred to as "Star Trek fan"). It just doesn't work that way. It's like someone waking up in Dr. Pepper pajamas -- I know someone who, in fact, owns a pair -- yet slamming a Mr. Pibb for that early morning shot of caffeine. The two fan bases do co-exist, but there is a snide superiority felt by each group that swings on a pendulum propelled by the awfulness of such Star Trek and Star Wars entries as Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Ewoks: The Battle For Endor, respectively.

I admit, I always felt superior to a Star Trek fan. Now, in full disclosure, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn is in my top ten list of favorite movies. But, considering how much Trek canon there actually is, well, they were bound to get something right. I took pride that Star Wars was a three film saga, that's it. No multiple television series -- not counting the ill fated Holiday Special and the two Ewok made-for-TV movies -- and no unnecessary bad films. Star Trek had the nerdy television shows and Star Wars had the cool movies. Those days are over.

Star Wars in now the franchise that is out of control. In the last ten years we have been subject to two bad films (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones); one serviceable (at best) film (Revenge of the Sith); plus one pretty bad cartoon (The Clone Wars, a movie that I found the thought of so vile, my frustrations were quoted in The New York Times as an anonymous blogger). There has been two Clone Wars cartoon television series and the upcoming, long discussed, live action-series. Enough.

Clone Wars



There are so many sub par projects now it is starting to remind me off, well, Star Trek. Let me rephrase that sentence: There are so many sub par projects it is starting to remind me of Star Trek circa five years ago; certainly not the Star Trek that is premiering next May whose trailer has me more giddy than I have been for a movie in ten years. Remember, I am a Star Wars fan that is making this admission. Trek realized it had over saturated its market and decided to reign everything back in and start over with its most iconic of characters.

Watch "George Takei's working vacation"




J.J. AbramsFor all intents and purposes, Star Trek is starting over and it is a brilliant move. The new trailer is the talk of the Internet ... when was the last time anything Star Trek related was the talk of the Internet? Has it ever happened? Another move was hiring J.J. Abrams as director, a man who admits he was never even a fan of Star Trek. Again, brilliant. The only caveat I have for the new Star Trek film is this: why bring Leonard Nimoy back as the older Spock? This seemed like a perfect opportunity to start completely over. I understand the desire to create a tie to the original series, but at the cost of possibly convoluting the plot with a time travel storyline? It seems unnecessary, but, of course, I will withhold judgement.

Star Trek 2009



Star Trek has learned, as Star Wars is now learning, that sometimes, less really is more. Over saturating the market really is, to borrow a term from Wrath of Kahn, a Kobayashi Maru scenario. I can only hope that my beloved Star Wars can ultimately hire some creative talent that can steer Star Wars back on course (asteroids do not concern me) -- such as Trek did with Abrams or even as George Lucas himself did when he hired Irvin Kirschner to direct Empire. Unfortunately, over the course of the last few short years, now, Star Wars is the franchise with the nerdy television show and Star Trek has the cool movie; so, please excuse me while I ignite a lightsaber into my chest.


Mike Ryan
"Truth, Justice and Gordon Shumway" (yes, that is ALF) is a weekly column written by Mike Ryan which appears Wednesdays, focusing on pop-culture current events. For any comments or complaints, you may contact Mike directly at miker@starpulse.com.