Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases think for yourself. – Doris Lessing

Go forth into the unknown, explore the caves of your unconscious, fear not your “dark side,” find the gold.

— Robin Hoffman (@AuthorAlchemy)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Character Development in 2009's Star Trek

I WILL DEFEND this movie to anyone who didn't like it.

It's not that I'm a huge Star Trek fan who just has to get my fix. Like most human beings on Planet Earth, I'm quite familiar with the main characters . . . but I'm certainly not the kind of loyal fan who could reach back in my memory to identify a character from one of the early episodes in the 60s.

For instance, my husband immediately recognized Captain Christopher Pike (played by Bruce Greenwood in the 2009 movie) as being the Captain Pike—just prior to Capt. James T. Kirk—who ended up in a wheelchair operated by brainwaves.

I wasn't expecting to become so entranced with this movie. My fear beforehand was that

(a) the special effects would zap me in my sound and light sensitivities (which many big-production movies do these days)

- OR -

(b) I would not be able to relate to the characters (because I've barely watched the Second Generation and whatever else has come after that).

Neither of these fears proved true. The movie relied on strong storytelling, drama, suspense and a cohesive team of actors, rather than flooding your senses with special effects. And the character development across the generations was extremely satisfying—even for a naïf like me who has been out of touch with the way Star Trek has developed over the years.

I'm sure many Star Trek scholars could write about this with the right historical details and penetration. I just want to state how impressed I am with how skillfully this movie tied together so many threads of character development, with its theme of generations mirroring one another across the light years.

I felt awe for the massive story legacy created by the original TV series and everything that came after. It looks to me like these characters have been developed possibly more than any other characters in the history of the TV/silver screen.

And they’ve stood the test of time. Not only was I entertained throughout the movie, but I cared what happened to Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Chekhov, Sulu and Uhura, even though they were played by actors I had not seen in those roles before.

I still don't understand the bit about the middle initial “S.” for James T. Kirk (and even my husband wasn't sure about that one). But if you haven't seen this movie yet, try to see it while it's still in the cinema. This is a big story and it deserves the big screen.


MILLI THORNTON is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She blogs about writing and creativity at


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