Stop crashing the Enterprise


Why do they keep destroying the Enterprise in the Star Trek movies?

The latest entry in the saga, Star Trek Beyond (out on BlueRay and DVD today), is the third film to send the venerable starship to its crashing doom. A guy gets tired of it after a while.

The Enterprise was introduced as humanity’s greatest technological achievement, the flagship of the noble quest to go where no one has gone before. It was an enormous vessel that comfortably transported a small city through the harsh environment of outer space. It’s a treacherous journey, but they made it.

Destroy the Enterprise and you take home away. Destroy the Enterprise and destroy hope. The Enterprise is a character in itself – food, shelter and family are all contained within its sturdy walls.

It’s a disconnect with the essential premise of the series: Let’s take hundreds of souls out to explore the great unknown in an ambitious enterprise – and then crash-land the very symbol of that enterprise? Over and over again?

Joss Whedon wrecked the Serenity, the ship that powered another great science fiction franchise, Firefly. But after the wreck they repaired the ship and flew again. Captain Mal Reynolds’ enterprise was shaken, bruised and battered, but you can’t stop the signal. You can’t destroy the enterprise.

Yes, I know that’s the point – our heroic starship crews escape the crash to live and triumph another day. Home is where the crew is, and all that. But seeing the NCC-1701 burn across the sky in Star Trek III shook me to the bone. When they did it to the 1701-D in Star Trek: Generations, I just got angry. This time, in the third installment of the reboot, I accepted it as mirroring the original third installment – but my shock and disappointment was also mirrored.

Don’t get me wrong, Star Trek Beyond is my favorite voyage with the new crew to date. It’s a terrific two hours of entertainment. I’m just getting tired of mourning the Enterprise.