Star Trek Toys Boldly Go Where We've Been Before - But Look Really Cool
Those two words mean a lot to a geek like me. The words "Star Wars" mean more... but still...
Before I go any further, check this out:
Come on. You know it, even if you won't admit it. That looks absolutely rockin'. Even if you were the guy who beat up on the kid who loved Star Trek, you have to admit it. This looks like a great movie.
I can't quite get the concept of people not liking Star Trek. It has broad appeal, for both men (giant adventure, big space battles, exploration) and women (admit it, girls-you all have a thing for Picard) alike. This franchise is broad enough to have spawned five television series, eleven movies, God knows how many novels (in the hundreds, I'm sure), comic books, conventions, video games... And toys. Lots of toys.
With the onset of a new Star Trek movie, we're about to get a whole new round of toys from Playmates. And they look pretty cool.
Since the new film heralds back to before the original series (TOS to us geeks out there), the designs of these toys reflect that late 1960s funky look-but are modified to represent today's modern technology.
For example, here's the old communicator design:
And here is the newly retrofitted communicator for the 2009 motion picture:
It's no secret that certain elements of Star Trek have influenced real technology. Communicator = Cell Phone.
I've always wanted a tricorder. The concept of a portable computer/scanner/research device is really neat.
Here's the design from the original series:
And here's the revamped design for the film:
Tricorder = advanced Palm Pilot/iPhone.
Then you have the phaser. Original design:
I'm not a huge fan of this-it's too shiny or something. And while there's not really a modern equivalent for this weapon, I think it's safe to say that something of this nature isn't too far away.
Then we have the action figures:
Having watched the preview above, you know that we have different actors playing the roles of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the others. They look pretty good to me; but I'm not a purist. I have a friend who is quite disgruntled that new actors have assumed the roles of such classic characters.
Of course there are accessories for the action figures, the most important of which is the new bridge of the Enterprise.
Now, this has come a long way from the bridge that I had as a kid:
While the Mego bridge was cheesy, it sure was fun. Just the memory of the spinning transporter tube makes me chuckle. Yep-it was essentially cardboard coated in vinyl. But it was really a fun toy. The new bridge looks quite spiffy.
Here's where I'm gonna nit-pick a bit. I'm not a huge fan of the re-imagined design of the USS Enterprise. The nacelles (those engine things on the pillars toward the back of the ship) just look... I dunno... fat. Too bloated.
Take a look:
This sort'a brings me to the main idea that I had when I sat down to write this article. Re-designing iconic images for a beloved film/TV franchise is not really a good idea. Many of us grew up on this stuff and have more knowledge of it than we have of American history (sad, but true). So when something looks different, we're gonna notice.
That being said, I can't help but admire the way that these new designs don't (in general) stray too far away from the stuff in the original series. They have a certain 1960s retro aesthetic that recalls those gadgets from the past. Sort of Flash Gordon-ish.
Until the film arrives, I can't say how well it will fit in the canon. I have substantial knowledge of the plot and feel that fans have nothing to worry about.
And besides: without new designs, how would all of us toy fans get new toys?
I'm gonna get a tricorder.
And yes. I'm going to play with it.
Beam me up, Scotty.