At first glance Zachary Quinto, the actor chosen to play Spock in the new 2009 Trek movie, is perfect . . .

After all the Heroes actor (he played Sylar) is a dead ringer for Spock and the announcement of his casting hardly raised the same eyebrows (er, sorry) that Pine’s did. But while Quinto is a talented and promising young actor, Spock’s character as written by screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman is all wrong. While Nimoy’s Spock may have been as cool as Zaphod Beeblebrox (so cool you could store a steak inside him for a week!) Quinto’s Spock is more like Bruce Banner, ready to Hulk out at the slightest provocation!

(If you’re familiar with Star Trek you might want to skip this paragraph. In Star Trek the Vulcans are an advanced alien race who prides themselves on their lack of emotion and their machine-like “logic” which has saved them from a violent and war-like past. Being half human Spock is caught between these two worlds of cold logic on the one hand and human emotionality on the other. Cold logic usually won out in Spock’s case, much to chagrin of his fellow crewmembers in particular Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the ship doctor.)

[SPOILER ALERT!] When we first meet Spock as a young boy in Abrams’ Trek flick, he is being taunted by two fellow classmates for having a human mother. Instead of shrugging it off, Spock looses his cool and physically attacks his tormenters. Fast forward several years and Spock is now a young adult. However when one of the Vulcan High Council members drops that Spock is at a disadvantage because of his half human heritage, he decides to join Starfleet in a pique instead of the path laid out by his Vulcan elders.

"Quinto’s Spock is more like Bruce Banner, ready to Hulk out at the slightest provocation!"

It gets worse for emo Spock. Later on we see him involved in a relationship with Uhura (!) as played by Zoe Saldana. (Some background: in the Trek series it is always Kirk and Uhura who may or may not have a “thing” going. They in fact made television history when they shared the first interracial kiss shown on American television.) The whole “Spock getting Kirk’s girl instead” thing may have struck the writers as a cool inversion of viewer expectations, but it strays even further away from Spock’s original character.

Later on in the movie, the plot depends on Kirk getting Spock to lose his cool so that he will relinquish command of the Enterprise. Not much of a problem really. It may have taken a lot to get the old Spock to lose his temper, but Quinto’s Spock is shown to be practically a cauldron of seething emotions throughout the entire movie so it doesn’t take more than Kirk making a “your mother wears combat boots” jibe to have Spock frothing at the mouth. [END SPOILERS!]

Spock’s whole “what does it mean to be half human?” spiel seems to be more like Data in the Next Generation series than anything else. This new Spock is simply not, well, logical. The writers probably decided that there wasn’t a lot of, er, “human interest” in a cold and detached Spock – but they wound up missing the point behind Spock’s character and the fascination it holds for long-time trekkies. Which nerdish 11-year-old boy is going to be intrigued by an overemotional dude with pointy ears even if he does have a sexy girlfriend? Ultimately Quinto’s Spock comes across as simply constipated as opposed to Nimoy who oozed self-confidence. (And that, as anyone will tell you, that is what really turns on the chicks!)

There is a lot of deviation from Star Trek canon to irk stuck-up trekkies in Abrams’ reboot. [SPOILER ALERT!] The planet Vulcan – and the handful of people the movie shows to be living there – gets blown up for starters. And Kirk’s dad who lived to see Kirk graduate from the Academy is killed off before he is even born. [END SPOILERS!] But the movie’s biggest lost opportunity is getting Spock’s character wrong and you don’t even need an anal trekkie to tell you that . . .



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