This post is not as vague as the title suggests. In fact, I am following on from the current Star Trek remembrance I have going on my blog (recent reviews of Avatar books 1 and 2, and I’m currently working on several other ST themed posts that I’ll be putting up over the coming weeks).
That said, I am going to first mention Star Wars.
This post came about from a conversation I had over the weekend with a friend about how he’s excited about watching Star Wars with his son for the first time now that the boy is old enough to really get it. And how we all envy those who get to watch it for the first time again. Because we, like many others, are of a generation that grew up with Star Wars.
My family had fuzzy, slightly worn VHS copies that we had recorded from the television, complete with now vintage adverts! I watched them to death as a child, and even remember the moment that I became consciously that there in fact three films rather than the one long sequence of events that my child’s mind had imagined. By this time I was able to quote them verbatim and knew them completely back to front. Although I have always loved this relationship I have with the movies, and the childhood memories they bring back, I was always sad to never really remember seeing them for the first time.
This brings me to Star Trek, because the same was true of the original cast movies. Again I grew up with off the telly VHS recordings and remember hours of sitting watching the likes of Wrath of Khan and Voyage Home with my dad. As I grew I also became aware of the fact that I had never seen any of them new. For me this all changed with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
Released in 1991 in the cinemas, I was 11 and back then we didn’t really have the money for things like that. So I waited. I waited the year or more that it took for the film to become available in my local video store (can you imagine that these days! It would have been at least another year before it was released for sale). And when it finally arrived I grabbed it, ran home and settled in. I had laid out some snacks, called for hush from my siblings, drew the curtains to stop the sunshine on the telly screen, and then I sat there and watched it. I pretty much repeated this most weekends for weeks. All my pocket money went on renting this movie. And I loved it.
I studied every moment of it, and savoured being able to see it for the first time, to have that memory. To this day it is still my favourite Star Trek movie, perhaps partly for that reason. Perhaps because at the time I was starting to watch TOS reruns on the telly and I loved the change in relationship the story brought for the Federation and Klingons. I had watched from their comical annoyance in TOS, to the death of Kirk’s son in Star Trek III, and now we can see a future taking shape. It represented to me on many levels what Star Trek was all about. Never too late to forgive your enemy, never too late to confront your own prejudices. And I got to see all that for the very first time and remember it.