Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Star Trek, Terminator, and Liberal Fantasies

Robert Schlesinger of US News & World Report had a rooting interest in this weekend's box office, as he expected the returns to fit his preconceived political viewpoint:

When Star Trek came out I blogged that it could represent (or be a leading indicator of) a change in the national mood...The post-9/11 era movies were traumatic and stressful but occasionally relieved by success or fleeting happiness. One could describe Star Trek as a Barack Obama movie and the others as Dick Cheney flicks, tonally speaking.

I haven't yet seen Terminator: Salvation, but judging by the reviews, it strikes me as a throwback movie—a relic from the post-9/11 films. The bad guys are winning; the hero is dour and angry (is literally Batman, in fact); everything is destruction and decay..

I'll be curious to see what kind of business Terminator does both this weekend and going forward, especially as compared to Star Trek. I'm not sure the film will suit the country's mood, but we'll see.....

Schlesinger is not the only one to call Star Trek a "Barack Obama" movie; the cult of "Obama as the cool, collected, logical Spock" has been circulating within the media elite (exclusively) for a while now. The New York Times review contains this leap of political faith:

Mr. Abrams doesn’t venture into politics as boldly as Mr. Roddenberry sometimes did, though it’s worth noting he does equate torture with barbarism.

Yeah, OK. [SPOILER!!] The torture inflicted by the Romulans on their one captive consists of putting a insect in the captain's mouth (OK, gross). What our faithful reviewer doesn't speculate on is what would have happened if the Enterprise crew had gotten hold of a Romulan who had the capability to give them information regarding the device that was about to destroy Vulcan. Play nice and allow six billion to die, or put a bug in his mouth and save a civilization? This possibility is never raised, of course, doesn't fit the reviewer's narrative....

Anyway, the results are in, and Mr. Schlesinger is bound to be a bit disappointed:

#1 - Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian $70,000,000
Terminator Salvation $53,825,000
Star Trek $29,400,000

Sorry, guys. Guess people still want to see cyborgs ravaging a war-torn earth as opposed to seeing "Spockbama" a second or third time.

Read the comments - "Political diatribe masquerading as a movie review " , for instance - to get an idea of how the average American citizen's perception of the world around them differs from that of their self-annointed cultural elites..

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