The great Star Wars versus Star Trek debate.
I recently came across a list of the 10 greatest geek debates and this one was number one (oddly enough, the whole Kirk/Picard debate didn’t make the list, although the Joel/Mike one (MST3K) did. I’m a Joel guy) and since I am a loss to do anything else today I thought I would chime in.
The fact is I am a fan of both and prior to 2002 would have said comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. Star Wars was a swashbuckling space opera of a story with roots well grounding in classic mythology and heroes, whereas Star Trek was a epic exploration of both the universe and the positive aspects of character interaction and teamwork. When I was in the mood to see cool aliens, guns, and awesome costumes I would watch Star Wars and when I was in the mood for more intellectual pursuits, with complicated stories and character development I would watch Star Trek. Sure, the swimming pool of Star Wars had been tainted by the giant turd known as the Phantom Menace, but I think every franchise is allowed one or two big blunders. Star Trek is no exception. Just look at the Motion Picture, most of TOS Season 3, Wesley Crusher, and Enterprise.
Things changed badly in 2002. Attack of the Clones was released, and with that note I knew that one of my greatest childhood memories (seriously, I have more positive memories of Star Wars than all my birthdays put together) had been fatally betrayed in the interest of money and bad movie making. Lucas had pulled his franchise out of a comfortable retirement, euthanized it, and stuffed its corpse full of gears and mice on wheels to create an animatronic Frankenstein monster which he then milked dry. At that point my needle shifted heartily towards my other warm childhood refuge, Star Trek.
That safe zone was not to be long lived, however, Six months later Star Trek Nemesis came out and at that point I realized that Trek and Wars were doing some kind of weird role reversal. Instead of being a decent story and character study that had been the staple of the Star Trek story lines we had a badly done space opera action adventure very much like a mutant clone of one of the first Star Wars. Meanwhile Lucas was having long, boring political debates and overly complicated assassination plots in Star Wars.
Basically the two movies had switched roles, and in both cases done it badly. The needle shifted back towards Star Wars but stopped about halfway. Since then my focus shifts based on who had the most recent movie come out. The weird thing is it tends to shift away from the movie in question. Revenge of the Sith got me firmly back into the Star Trek zone, but then the Star Trek reboot (even seeing those three words together makes me want to punch someone) shifted things back to neutral.
Bottom line is, after 35 years of debate and debasement of two of the most brilliant franchises in entertainment history, thanks to incompetent bungling by guys who should have had a better grasp of the material I still can’t decide which is the better of the two. However, instead of comparing apples to oranges the two series have mixed together to form a murky, muddy composite whose sum is less than the value of the two separate parts. Yes I am bitter.
The Nemesis image comes to us from the Star Trek T Shirt category.
Thanks for reading. I actively request comments on this subject, so if you have an opinion by all means chime in here. If you have off topic questions or suggestions feel free to email me at email@example.com or follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. I am seeing a bad chick flick tomorrow night so look forward to a funny review Wednesday. Not sure what I will write tomorrow. Have a great day.