I watched Star Trek: Nemesis last night, the last of the Next Generation movies. It wasn’t a great movie (First Contact, however, was), but just before the credits started to roll, that music came on. You know it. Bright, hopeful, adventurous. The classic theme.

The new ones can’t compete. The miss what made the original series and its (best) subsequent movies iconic, as well as the joys of the Next Generation.

I was talking about this with a friend. Or, rather, I was complaining how the reboot’s version of Kirk gaming the Kobayashi Maru scenario missed the point that was made in (the real) Wrath of Khan (which was about fear of failure, but also a refusal to accept a no-win scenario, as well as the conflict between Kirk’s need to save everyone and Spock’s final statement, ‘The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few… or the one;’ in the reboot, it was just about Kirk being a snot nosed brat).

My friend made an excellent point: Chris Pine wasn’t playing Kirk in the two new movies; he was playing late period William Shatner was a young man.

Shatner has aged into a figure of good humored mockery, but as Kirk, he wasn’t that Shatner. You understood why he was the captain and what made him a good commander. When Chris Pine’s Kirk gets Spock riled up to show that he, not Spock, should be the captain, all it really showed (to me) was that sometimes the new Spock could be almost as much of a horse’s ass as the new Kirk was all the time.

Even a flawed film like Nemesis still had Jean-Luc Picard and the smiling, winking gravitas of Patrick Stewart, who understood what it mean to be in the Star Trek universe.

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