Saturday, March 7, 2015

We’re Sorry, the Final Frontier is Closed | fifteeneightyfour

We’re Sorry, the Final Frontier is Closed | fifteeneightyfour

What I find most interesting about these new imaginative forays into outer space is how the fantasy can’t quite return to the unvarnished optimism of the old “consensus future”; it can’t quite get the bad taste of the 1970s out of its mouth. Firefly has the human race entering outer space, but only after the Earth-That-Was was all-used-up; its take on Star Trek’s benign Federation is the Alliance, a hygienic fascism that experiments on children and mass poisons its population, opposed by bandits and criminals whose political ideology (such as it is) most closely matches the American Confederacy. And the new J.J. Abrams Star Trek is hardly much better: the supposedly peace-loving Federation is (even more) militarized and paranoid in the new timeline than it was in the old one, losing Vulcan to a brutal terrorist attack and nearly losing Earth itself to a botched coup by its black-ops division. After two movies, the Enterprise has barely left spacedock, much less boldly gone where no one has gone before. The trailer for Episode 7 starts off looking more like a slasher movie than a rip-roaring space adventure; though the frenetic appearance of the Millennium Falcon near the end suggests some excitement is on the menu, all indications are that the happy ending of Return of the Jedi is going look a lot less happy to us in retrospect, its fairy-tale promise of restoration and liberation never quite materializing for our heroes.

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