Timelines in Star Trek

I have many thoughts about the various timelines in Star Trek. Really, if you know me, I have many thoughts about Star Trek in general but let’s stick to the topic at hand.

There is a lot to be said for the new timeline that was created by J. J. Abrams. It is a fresh new look at Star Trek that allows new actors to play the parts of our beloved characters. And that can be a really good thing. Not only that, but the new, young actors, and fresh stories allows a new younger generation of viewers to enjoy Star Trek without having to watch the hundreds and hundreds of hours of shows, and 10 previous movies, just know what is going on.

Having said that, I think one of the problems with this new timeline and the new movies, thus far, is that they live in a universe where great things have happened. In another timeline. For other people. With other histories. So while there are a lot things that are similar and there probably is a rich history behind it. We don’t really know what it is.

In a very similar way to the sets in TOS (The Original Series) the new movies feel like a movie set. Everything looks great, it looks all futuristic and fancy, so fancy that it hurts your eyes to look at it. But you know that if you look behind that rock, If you lift up that PADD, or open that door, what you are going to find is an empty parking lot, a painted cereal box, or the outside of the set. TOS_2x10_MirrorMirror0002-Trekpulse[1]

While when we watched TOS, we were willing to forgive the sets and props, these new stories feel artificial. Yes, I have seen the articles that say, if you are going to complain about the new movies, go watch TOS and then come back. And I hear that. I understand what they are saying. I really do. There were many episodes of TOS / TNG / DS9 / Voyager and Enterprise that were very rough. That is true of pretty much any series. I want to make it clear that I am not saying that the new movies were terrible, or that they should not be watched, or even that they were not really Star Trek. (I have other comments about their of story telling choices but that is another discussion) What I am saying is simply this. Right now they feel hollow.

USS_Enterprise-B_in_drydock

USS_Enterprise-C

Enterprise_NX-01

They feel hollow because, while there are in the Star Trek universe, they also aren’t in Star Trek Universe, and because of that, they don’t have all the history built through the previous series. The fans who have spent the time watching all the original timeline series and movies are expecting that fullness, that history and it isn’t there. Right now, that makes them feel hollow.

There is hope for the future. The new Star Trek series is supposed to be set in this, new timeline, and that should help with some of the hollowness. The hope is, just like every successive Star Trek series and movie looked and felt more put together, more full and ultimately more like a full universe, that as this new series and the new movie come out, they will add the the richness of this new time line. That once that have started to fill in this new timeline with new stories, we won’t all be looking for the timeline restoration device. AT least not as much any more.

images from Trekcore.com and Memory Alpha

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12 Christmas Movie Spoilers

Everyone likes a good Christmas movie, but everyone loves to hate spoilers, so I thought I would put them together and we would come up with something that everyone could agree to disagree on.

Here are my top 12 Christmas Movie Spoilers. Why twelve you ask, because of the twelve days of Christmas of course.

And I guess I probably need to say it, because if I don’t someone will say that I didn’t.

Spoilers Ahead!

  • 12. Home AloneAn 8-year-old boy who is accidentally left behind while his family flies to France for Christmas must defend his home against idiotic burglars.MV5BMTUzMzg4MTg2M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNDM4OTk4._V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_[1]
  • The Spoiler Kevin, is able to hold off the burglars long enough to get the cops there, he is rescued by the “grumpy old man” next door and his parents get home just in time to Celebrate Christmas with him.

  • 11. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (The original) A grumpy hermit hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville. MV5BMTY0MTIwMjQzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzk3MTgxMQ@@._V1_SX214_[1]
  • The Spoiler The Hermit (aka The Grinch) after stealing all the toys discovers that maybe there is more to Christmas than just toys. HOpe swells his heart and he returns the toys and joins in the festivities.

  • 10. Frosty the Snowman A living snowman and a little girl struggle to elude a greedy magician who is after the snowman’s magic hat. MV5BMjI1ODg4OTExOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjI2MTIwMw@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_[1]
  • The Spoiler Frosty is trapped in a green house where he melts. But Santa appears and opens the door, takes the hat back from the nasty magician and Frosty is saved. He spends the rest of the winter tromping around town with the kids and surprising traffic cops.

  • 9. The Santa Clause When a man inadvertently kills Santa on Christmas Eve, MV5BNDY4MjgyNTk3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTg1NTUxMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_[1]
  • he finds himself magically recruited to take his place.

    The SpoilerThe new Santa is able to convince his Ex wife that he is really Santa and, despite a court, order he is allowed to spend Christmas with his son, even some time delivering toys, and Christmas is saved.

  • 8. Scrooged A cynically selfish TV executive gets haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve. MV5BMjA5NzE4NTE4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTI1NDIyMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_[1]
  • The Spoiler “Scrooge” is visited by three ghosts. He realizes what a mess he has made of his life and how miserable he is making everyone around him. He changes is ways, reunites with his girl friend and the little boy who has not spoken through out the movies gets the Christmas Spirit and says, “God bless us everyone.”

  • 7. The Island Of Misfit Toys When the Evil Toy Taker takes all of Santa’s toys, it’s upMV5BMTMxNDIxOTIwM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMDUzMzU5._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_[1] to Rudolph and his friends Hermey, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snowman “Bumbles” to stop him and bring Christmas to the children of the world.
  • The Spoiler – Rudolf and his friends use his shiny nose to stop the villain and get back to the North Pole on time so that they can save Christmas.

  • 6. The Polar Express On Christmas Eve, a doubting boy boards a magical train that’s headed to the North Pole and Santa Claus’ home. MV5BMTM1NTU0NTE4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTQ0MjEzMw@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_[1]
  • The Spoiler The Train brings him back home just in time for Christmas and his faith in the magic of Christmas is maintained.

  • 5. A Christmas Story Ralphie has to convince his parents, his teacher, and Santa that a Red Ryder B.B. gun really is the perfect gift for the 1940s.
  • The Spoiler Ralphie gets his red rider B.B. gun and he shoots himself in the eye.

  • 4. The Muppet’s Christmas Carol The Muppet characters tell their version MV5BMjE0Nzk1MDE3NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTU0MzkzMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_[1] of the classic tale of an old and bitter miser’s redemption on Christmas Eve.
  • The Spoiler Scrooge, played by Michael Caine, has a conversion experience after seeing the three ghosts of Christmas, and becomes the person he always could have been.

  • 3. The Charlie Brown Christmas SpecialRepelled by the commercialism he sees around him, Charlie Brown MV5BMjE3NTA5MDc1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzkxNTcxMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_[1]tries to find the true meaning of Christmas.
  • The Spoiler After sinking to the depths of despair Charlie’s Friends take his poor pathetic tree and make it look great, and sing Christmas Carols around it, renewing Charlie’s faith in Christmas.

  • 2. It’s a Wonderful Life An angel helps a compassionate but MV5BMTMzMzY5NDc4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzc4NjIxNw@@._V1_SX214_[1] despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.
  • The Spoiler After the Angel shows him what life would be like without him, he decides not to kill himself, and instead takes life by the horns and really enjoys it.

  • 1. White ChristmasA successful song-and-dance team become romantically MV5BMjA0Mzg0OTU0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTM4MjY5._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_[1] involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general.
  • The Spoiler After days of it not snowing it finally snows during the performer’s final act, and they inn is saved.

So there you have it. 12 Christmas movies and spoilers for all of them.

In the interest of full disclosure all movie synopsis and artwork are right from IMDB

Interesting Thoughts About A Kids Movie

MV5BNzMxNTExOTkyMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzEyNDc0OA@@._V1_SX214_[1] This weekend for movie night, we watched Wreck-It Ralph. the kids and I had seen the movie several times, but this was the first time my wife had seen it. The kids and I really liked the movie. My wife said it wasn’t bad, but that it didn’t seem to be about anything.

That got me thinking, what was it really about? Was there really a message and what could that be? Now understand that we had this conversation late at night, and that we were already in bed when I started thinking about this. I say this because I am going to propose something that I don’t think was intentional, but it would be pretty interesting if that is what they meant.

Warning Spoilers Ahead

The story of Wreck-It Ralph is the story of “A video game villain who wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfill his dream, but his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives.” (Note that is right from IMDB.) he wreaks havoc in the arcade around him. There is a historical precedence within this world for not doing exactly what he is trying to do, and represented by the question, “Your not going Turbo are you?”

I think the story was intended to convey the message, happiness is about what you make of what you have, and not what you don’t have. However, what also comes across sounds more like, “You will stay in your place and be happy about it. Because if you don’t you will ruin it for all of us.” Turbo is set up as the example and (here are the spoilers that I was talking about) and in the end, it is him who is causing the unhappiness and problems in yet another world.

Turbo is portrayed as the bad guy here, but he had been the hero of his own game. When he was replaced, and wanted to better himself (not be replaced) he screwed it up for another game world as well.

So yes, he made a mistake. His mistake, in the most basic sense, was trying to better himself. It was seen as dangerous. It was seen as harmful. And so rules were made and a taboo was created that had neighbor spying on neighbor so that no one would ever try something like that again. And so when he tried to do it again, the only way that he could make it work was to silence everyone around him. He had to make sure that no one knew who he was.

Yes, he did go too far. Because the society around him said that if he tried to better himself, to remain relevant that he would destroy everything. The character had to go so far just to “stay in the game,” that he became obsessed with his own delusion, that he was willing to sacrifice others to “stay in the game.”

Ralph’s purpose is much the same, he wants a better station in life, and yet he is treated with the same contempt and mistrust as Turbo. Even in the end, he tells the support group, I am back where I started, but that is ok, because that is where I belong.

So what is the message here? “This is your place, you stay in it and don’t try to better yourself or you will ruin it for everyone.”

Let’s take this one step further. If that is the message that the entertainment industry is sending out, what is that saying about our society? Is it telling us that we should stay where we are, that our stations in life is all there is? That if you are poor, you should just stay poor and just be happy with it? That if you try to change your station in life, that you will wreck the status-quo? Isn’t that exactly the opposite of what the American dream says? That anyone from any background can rise up to become anything they want to be. That we are no longer held in place by class and social systems?

Look at the two main characters. They are both portrayed as poor, but not just poor but homeless poor.

“I live in a dump,” -Ralph.
“Like a little bag lady,” -Penelope.

Furthermore Penelope is portrayed as not only being poor but someone with a disability.

“She is a glitch.”
“It is the Glitch.”

The message from the leadership, and the fear of everyone else is that, this person should not be allowed in normal society because she will ruin it for everyone else. She will “Wreck-It.” It is not until she is shown to have power over them that they even “allow” her to be part of regular society. Let me say that again. Only when she gains enough power that they can no longer protest, she even has the power of life and death over them, that she is allowed to be part of, “the game.”

I want to make it clear. I really don’t think this is the message that the writers intended. I suspect, like I said before, that their message was much more about being happy with what you have and not being unhappy because you don’t have what others have. Which is really a pretty good message. I really hope that is the case. But that message is still there, and it kind of makes you wonder what other kids movies have these unintended, or maybe intended messages. And better yet, if they are intended who is it that is saying them?