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Dom-Jot Hustler #1: “Beyond” Boredom

Why Star Trek Matters

Dom-Jot Hustler: Round One – “Beyond” Boredom

“Play Dom-Jot, Human?” said the Nausicaan; it’s the same thing that’s said every time a human walks into one of those bars – sorry, uh, recreation facilities. See, in the future, where they have transporters and star-ships and food replicators, it’s pretty pathetic that anyone would play Dom-Jot, a pretty bad version of bumper pool. What we can hope for is that a good fight might break out around the dom-jot table. That’s why Nausicaans carry knives, after all. Who brings a knife to a recreation facility, anyway? Well, maybe the answers will be found in comicbooked’s new, slapped-together-at-the-last-moment and wholly contrived Star Trek-themed column.

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Does anyone remember that, after upwards of 700 hundred hours of live-action media (movies, episodes and what-not) that Star Trek was recently rebooted? That film was called (get this) Star Trek.  That title was trying to let people know that they could see the film even if they hadn’t seen any of the episodes or films that exist. But anyone who (like myself) plays a calculating game of dom-jot would know that such a viewer would be completely lost if they started with that film and knew nothing else whatsoever about this whole Star Trek thing. The film doesn’t really lay out the ground rules of what Star Trek is.

Don’t worry, I’m good at dom-jot. Waiting, just waiting, to shoot a terik into straight nines!

Kiss me, baby. I'm a Nausicaan!
Kiss me, baby. I’m a Nausicaan!

It was fun, however, to watch the writers smash these characters together, and then shake them up like a jar of dice before rolling them out again. Before the end, things kinda-sorta resembled old Trek. Maybe after that we’d see something less contrived.

By far the best shot in the reboot
By far the best shot in the reboot

Then Star Trek Into Darkness came upon us like.. uh, darkness. Yeah.

Damn, missed that shot!

All the “introductions” (such as they were) out of the way, we got a brand new adventure that promised something.. darker. Yeah. And there was nothing new about it. They used Khan again. And he over-enunciated every line he had. And we realize that we’d seen this film before. It was called Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. The most interesting thing about this movie is..

..that title. No colon. Just Star Trek Into Darkness. So, Star Trek, we learn, was never about space exploration  (who is interested in that, really, when you have recreational facilities, and this fancy new hybrid of pool and pinball we call dom-jot). It was about throwing every type of title at the audience just to see if the phrase Star Trek still means anything after they put stuff after it. They started with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which was possible the last time the phrase “The Motion Picture” was actually used in a title.

“Play Dom-jot, human!”

After that, they just started using numbers, like every other franchise. In some markets, I hear, the numbers – the Roman numerals we see with sequels – were never attached, but in most places that have canned food and Cottonelle-brand toilet paper, they were.  About the time they started using the cast of The Next Generation was when there were just too many numbers.

Star Trek Generations. Is there a colon between Trek and Generations? I don’t know. Five ball in the pocket somewhere near the corner. And a shot of Saurian brandy, please.

“Play Dom-Jot?”

Star Trek: First Contact. The colon doesn’t appear on screen, but it would just be wrong to not include the colon.  It’s a good movie, and it’s also a pretty good title.

Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis. Colons? Certainly asses. And colons, and the need to hit the bathroom. These films – they’re impossible to digest.

But then the reboot came along and the powers that be assumed that all the Next Generation film titles had colons, so they could do something different with their films by “officially” releasing them without colons.

Did you know that dom-jot comes in a video game version. Like Tetris, you can play it while whiling away the time.

Chess: eat your heart out!
Chess: eat your heart out!

But it was just the colon (or any other part of the franchises ill-suited digestive track) that the new reboots could do away with. No, they could change nouns.. into verbs.

Just like that!

Nine ball… in that pocket over there, near the side. Tough to call a shot when this asinine game doesn’t have pockets in the corners.

So “Trek” went from being a noun to being a verb. The “Star” part was just there for.. no real reason. So, Star Trek Into Darkness. Get rid of “Star” in your mind and start trekkin’ into darkness.

Pretty nifty.

And Paramount registered a new title with the folks at MPAA. The Star Trek list of titles the MPAA people have to sort through make them thankful that the Fast and Furious franchise exists…

Star Trek Beyond.

Again, get rid of the “Star” part and “Trek” becomes a verb and you realize that this movie could be about, well, anything. It could actually be about their five-year mission to explore strange new worlds.

But then, they’re probably just going to fight more villains. Those villains are going to have super-huge gargantuan ships. And there’s going to be lots of “kewl” action. And, with Star Wars starting up again, how is Paramount going to generate the buzz for this film?

The only way they can, to be sure, is if they do make it something more than an action picture  (or motion picture – get it?). They have to make it different. They have to explore the human condition somehow. They have to offer our intrepid crew  a challenge that requires them to use their brains, their individual talents, and their quick-thinking. This movie can’t just be about exploding ships and torpedoes. Maybe, just maybe, this movie will actually succeed if they tone down the special effects, kind of like how the Voyage Home (That’s the fourth Star Trek film, folks, and, no, I’m not going to write the whole title, so live with that.) was a successful entry into this franchise and there was nary a phaser battle or maniacal revenge-seeking villain to be found.

We might be to close to hit that little, tiny with our disruptors captain, but we can certainly make them green with envy!
We might be too close to hit that little, tiny boat with our disruptors captain, but we can certainly make them green with envy!

They need to move beyond the action tropes, and beyond the lens flares. They need to embrace what Star Trek is: a pretty boring utopia in the future where you can play dom-jot with aliens that look like Predators in “recreation facilities” and contemplate where we might end up in another 300 years.

At least that’s more interesting then blasting two-dimensional villains to kingdom come.

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