A Guilty Pleasure


The best way to describe Saturday was ‘long’.  It was cold out and I didn’t feel like getting up in the morning.  I had a late night Friday and I wasn’t feeling all that great.  However, I needed to drive into Loves Park and actually go to the office.  I got cleaned up and then got Daniel cleaned up and we jumped in the car.  Daniel was actually very good, considering he basically had to sit for five hours while Dad quietly cursed at the computers in the back of the building.  Around 5:00, we packed up and drove down to Rockford.  We met Meka at Target and took a family picture for the hallway and to put in all our Christmas cards.  Sadly, it was the only time all day the three of us were together in one place.  Meka went off with a friend and Daniel and I went home and ate leftover pizza for dinner and day old donuts for dessert.  We watched some television together while Akane, our parrot on loan, screeched in the other room.

Eventually, Daniel petered out and even Akane called it a night.  Meka wasn’t back yet and the house was dark and quiet.  It’s a rare event when I get the TV to myself, so I popped some kettle corn in the microwave, poured myself a Diet Pepsi and put on Star Trek – The Motion Picture.  The first Star Trek movie is definitely falls under the definition of guilty pleasure; I feel a little guilty for liking it!  My favorite part of the movie is when the Starship Enterprise finally confronts the gigantic alien probe that is heading towards Earth.  The scene consists of approximately forty-seven minutes of special effects intercut with brief shots of the crew of the Enterprise staring at forty-seven minutes of special effects.  I believe the point of the scene is to show that the alien – V’GER – is really big and the Enterprise is really small in comparison.

The special effects are actually special.  There is a ridiculous level of detail on all the models, and the energy cloud surrounding V’GER is a marvel to watch.  It’s a scene that allows the audience to kick back and watch as if it’s all real.  It reminds me of the elegant space docking sequence in 2001 – A Space Odyssey and the landing of the mothership in Close Encounters of the Third Kind; pretty good company.  Second, the music is terrific.  People (even Trekkies) can be forgiven if they can’t remember the plot of Star Trek – The Motion Picture, but the music is unforgettable.  The arrival of V’GER is accompanied by the low bang from a musical instrument called The Blaster Beam (essentially a flagpole wired for sound).  The more traditional theme ended up as the main title for Star Trek – The Next Generation.  As the Enterprise glides through wave after wave of cloud energy and encounters the gigantic probe inside, Jerry Goldsmith’s music is unchallenged.  There is maybe thirty seconds of dialogue, none of which is important.  Essentially the movie becomes visual accompaniment to his tremendous symphonic score.

I can’t watch Star Trek – The Motion Picture with Meka.  She likes Star Trek… to a point.  And Daniel forced to sit still through the three hours of plodding high ideals of late seventies sci-fi would be akin to child abuse.  While I watched the movie alone, I did see it with two sets of eyes: my current ones and the ones that went to see the movie with his parents on Woodfield One in Schaumburg when he was nine years old.  I can remember being in awe as Captain Kirk and Mister Scott did a once-around the Enterprise.  There it was, big as life.  I remember people standing up and applauding.  It was an amazing moment and I smile when I think back to it.  That’s the nicest thing about Star Trek – The Motion Picture.  I had plenty of time to meditate and ruminate because nothing much happens in the film for quite awhile!

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