Yes, it’s that age old question, of which one is best. A discussion that has raged for centuries… well maybe not raged, and it can only have been going since about 1977, but that’s not the point.
You may wonder why I have decided to open this galactic wound at this point in time, well with Disney purchasing Star Wars, and Star Trek having been rebooted to appeal to the masses, I thought we (yeah I know, I’m probably on my own here) should look at the old, the new, the good, the bad and of course Jar Jar Binks.
A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far Far Away…
So let’s begin with Mr Lucas’ little Lightsaber infested creation.
There is no better place to begin than with that archaic yet futuristic weapon, ye olde Lightsaber. In the old days there were blue ones, red ones and green ones, then Mace Windu popped up with his large purple one… er… never mind.
The inclusion of a semi religious order using magic and a light sword is where most Star Wars fans will begin and end their argument. To quote Darth Vader “I find your lack of faith disturbing”, Star Wars is more than technically advanced ninja’s. Yes it’s the classic good versus evil, and there’s a chosen one, but look past that. Here we have the overbearing Empire, trying to rule the cosmos, and standing in their way? Well, everyone. The rebellion has humans, Wookiee’s, Ewoks, Mon Calamari, Gungans, Marialans, Iktochi, Bothans and many others. Yes, up until The Return of the Jedi it was the Anakin Skywalker story, but the way in which so many species came together and sacrificed so much is a situation we can only perhaps ever dream of on our green and blue marble.
The Struggle Is Real
Obi Wan, trained Luke and then let Vader “strike him down”, as we see in Rogue One, many rebels gave their lives so the Death Star plans could be obtained. Lucas even had time to create a cosmic version of Laurel and Hardy in R2D2 and C3PO. The scruffy looking Nerfherder that is Han Solo gets drawn into the fray, though his first instinct is to get the hell out of Dodge.
The first trilogy was a triumph, as probably everyone will tell you, and the second trilogy, which was the first three episodes (are you keeping up) was, well, less of a triumph. Not for me. I love a good sci-fi flick, and no long eared, strangely spoken frog (yep, I’m talking about Jar Jar) was going to spoil that for me. Let’s stop being pessimistic now. We had Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor (as Obi Wan), a double ended Lightsaber, Natalie Portman and of course we have to mention Samuel L. Jackson and his purple weapon again. And now we are slap bang in the middle of the final trilogy (of this story anyway), and I’m really enjoying it. The original cast have all but been killed off, and the shackles are off. So far we have had Rogue One and Solo as spin offs to pad out some of that galactic history, and hopefully Disney will see fit to make origin stories for Yoda, Boba Fett, Lando, Leia and anyone else that is deemed worthy.
Do Or Do Not, There Is No Try
The Star Wars universe is vast, colourful and highly entertaining. Although the preserve of the strange geeky type who likes dressing up as aliens a little too much, now Disney and JJ Abrahams has had their mitts all over it, it’s time to re-evaluate where Star Wars sits within the world of the silver screen.
Watch one, watch them all if you like it, no-one should have to hide their fondness of a Star Wars film any longer. I don’t expect everyone to embrace it, but try it, you may just enjoy it. Of course don’t get carried away, turning up to work in your dressing gown with a broom handle painted blue because you identify with Obi Wan is just going to get you sent home with a verbal warning.
May The Force Be With You.
Boldly Going Where No Man Has Gone Before…
Sorry, but it was either a split infinitive or a Jean-Luc Picard based ‘Engage’.
Where do we start with Gene Roddenberry’s universe? Vulcans? Klingons? Nope. In order to understand Star Trek you have to look at the underlying paradigm. This isn’t another good versus evil, there is no chosen one… so what’s the point? The journeys of ‘ole NCC-1701 (that’s the registration of the Enterprise FYI) were about the human (and subsequently others) race’s desire to explore, learn and improve. Earth has achieved Utopia, there is no money, no poverty, no buying the latest iPhone on EE because Kevin Bacon says so.
Imagine it, do the job you want, have what you want, eat what you want.
So we join Captain Kirk, a ‘Green Blooded Hobgoblin’ (Dr McCoy’s insult to Spock), Checkov, Sulu, Uhura and the rest on their ‘continuing voyages’. I watched the original series as a child, and I enjoyed it, looking back on it now, compared with the new effects, it was a bit rubbish, but that’s progress. Some of the movies were fantastic, The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock were 2 of the best for me. Although The Journey Home with all that crap about whales, was, well, awful. But lets move on, the original series should simply be used to illustrate the ethos behind the franchise.
Divide And Conquer
Whilst Star Wars stayed with films, Star Trek released several more series for us to digest, with differing levels of success. The first simply rebooted the original, and this time around we had Jean-Luc, Will Riker, Dr Beverly Crusher, Data and Geordi La Forge. It was very much par for the course, better special effects (ironically done by Industrial Light and Magic which was responsible for Star Wars, and many, many other films), new bad guys and a new respect for The Prime Directive. Let’s face it, James T. Kirk shatnered [sic] it on a few occasions. Then we had Deep Space Nine with the Dominion and The Bajoran/Cardassian civil war, which could be fun at times. It also showed that whilst humans had risen above financial gain, a species known as the Ferengi were all about greed. They even had ‘The Rules of Acquisition’, which basically let them know just how despicable they could be in order to gain profit, gold pressed latinum was a particular favourite.
The other series include Voyager, Enterprise and right now the second season of Discovery is a couple of months away. I shan’t bore you with the specifics of each of these, but let’s just highlight a couple of things. In Voyager Captain Kathryn Janeway was the first female captain, 7 of 9 was a female human rescued from The Borg and the Doctor was a hologram. Enterprise was set in the early days of the Enterprise, and never really caught the imagination I’m afraid. Finally, in Discovery we have woman called Michael… there that’s enough for now.
Resistance Is Futile
Now whilst Star Trek may not have had laser swords, it does provide us with technology that we use today. When was the last time you had to push a door to get into a supermarket? But Star Wars had automatic doors I hear you cry… yes it did, but Star Trek started in 1966, the first Star Wars film didn’t premiere until 1977, hence my reasoning for when this argument could have first surfaced. Star Trek also had Communicators that allowed them to talk to anyone else on a planet, pretty sure most of us own one of those… mind you Jim Kirk couldn’t play Scrabble with his mates on his. Imagine that ‘Jim Kirk checked in on Vulcan – with Spock and Leonard McCoy’. Then there’s that silver thing Uhura stuck in her ear to listen to transmissions, that’s Bluetooth right there. Some mad individuals have even spent their weekends in the shed trying to create a Warp Drive… and no, pretty sure no one has managed that little nugget yet.
Just like Star Wars, Star Trek recently got a reboot by… well… it was JJ Abrahms again, fingers and pies and all that. So the same applies to the embarrassment factor here too. The latest installment has Chris Pine, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin (RIP) and Zoe Saldana tripping the light fantastic across the bridge of the Enterprise. I’d skip the series and most of the films, they’re only for the hardcore amongst you, but the latest movies are fair film fodder for any sci-fi fan.
Other than that, Live Long and Prosper.
So what have we learnt?
Both involve many species coming together to serve the same cause
Both have special effects from Industrial Light & Magic
Both have been rebooted by JJ Abrahams
And yet this isn’t a fair comparison, you must always compare apples with apples. Star Wars is that classic tale of good versus evil, and Star Trek is a voyage of discovery in search of betterment.
So Star Wars or Star Trek?
Glad that’s settled, I’m off to the Cantina Bar for some Romulan Ale.