Friday, May 08, 2009

The family that nerds together, stays together.

The lights were dimming, the trailers were starting, and all of a sudden, I had to call my brother.

“The movie is starting!” I whispered into my cell phone.

“We decided to go see it tonight too!” my brother replied.

“Call me as soon as you get out!” I told him.

Why the fuss? The newest Star Trek movie is finally out, and my brother and I both went to advance screenings on Thursday night.

I really liked the movie, but what made it special was all the little nods to the old school fans that were included. Sulu knowing how to fence, Uhura’s eyeliner, Bones with his eyebrow raise…every time I spotted some little homage, it made a big grin spread across my space.

But I was surprised by how emotional I got. Due to a nifty time-travelling plot device, Leonard Nimoy showed up as old Spock and when he comes face to face with young Kirk he tells him, “I have been and always will be your friend.” It made me tear up a little.

But why? I mean, I’m not a die-hard Trek fan. I’ve seen every episode of the original series and TNG (Picard is my favorite captain), and I know a good deal of the mythology and stories behind the show, but I don’t dress up, I don’t own any of the DVDs, I haven’t even watched anything Star Trek-related in probably 5 years. So why was watching this movie making me so emotional?

And then I figured it out.

Growing up, my brother and I couldn’t have been more different. I was a ditzy chatterbox who was constantly singing and dreaming of one day appearing on the Broadway stage; extrovert = me. My brother was three years older, quiet, bookish, a guy who preferred to stay in his room and work on his computer or design a hovercraft than interact with his little sister.

But the one thing we had in common was Star Trek. I can’t remember when I started watching it; it was probably out of some typical little sister impulse to emulate my older brother, to like something because he liked it, to get him to pay attention to me. The result was family evenings spent watching marathons of classic Trek on television. Of weekly viewings with my mom and bro to watch the new episodes of TNG. Having my Dad take me to my first ever fan convention: a Star Trek convention at a hotel in Maryland. At holidays, when the new Trek movies would come out, my brother, Aunt, and Dad would go see them. And it also meant I would borrow my brother’s Star Trek paperback novels as soon as he was done reading them, paying heed to his threats of what would happen if I dared open the book wide enough to break the spine.

So when it comes down to it, Star Trek was pretty much the first thing my brother and I had in common. When we were as different as night and day, it was the one thing we could share. So when he called me at 10:30 last night after having seen the movie and we kept interrupting each other to mention one other cool thing about the movie, it just made me really really happy.

“It had the creepy bug things from Khan!”
“When he came onto the bridge and said, ‘Bones,’ it was just like William Shatner!”
“Did you see how he sat in the Captain’s chair with his legs crossed?!”
“The uniforms were perfect; like more believably futuristic version of the classic ones.”
“Captain Pike was perfect”
“And they had him in the wheelchair!”
“I know, the wheelchair was awesome!”

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