"I could end this debate with one word -- lightsabers."
-Brian Troyan a fan of Star Wars featured in The Guardian, May 17, 2013.
Every so often, a debate between two giant entertainment franchises stirs the passions of each of its most loyal fans. Just what is it about the Star Trek vs Star Wars debate that still continues to this day ad-infinitum? What is it that brings out the passion of fans of each? Or more so the question that should be asked -- can't one like both? This is supposedly a free country.
Well according to one loyal fan of one of the franchises, he doesn't say which, you can't like both. For by his estimation it's like saying you like both the Yankees and the Red Sox. Yet by offering such a comparative example is where he is clearly wrong.
The world of entertainment is far different from the world of sports. Though the world of sports does have moments of entertainment, still there are clear lines of loyalty that is expectedly accepted to raise the excitement level in sports. The do or die semi-finals, the playoffs and the championships, all are meant to bring out en-masse supporting fans of each competing team.
It's the New York Giants vs. the New England Patriots in football. It's the LA Lakers vs. the Boston Celtics in basketball. And the example already been given, it's the New York Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox in baseball. And then there is the most watched sporting event occurring every four years on the face of the earth and it's not the Olympics, but the FIFA World Cup soccer.
For in that sport, it's the five-time World Champion Brazil vs. four-time World Champion Italy. Or put another way, any South American country vs. any other European country. Because in the last World Cup 2010 in South Africa, not one of the five South American countries -- Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile had failed to make it into the second round. They are that good, although Spain won. And it's my wish that former team manager of Germany and now of the United States, Jurgen Klinsmann, will give the U.S. a boost for 2014.
The varied yet hierarchical world of sports, is vastly different from the varied yet theatrical world of entertainment. From the first film Iron Man, billionaire industrialist-inventor Tony Stark asks before giving a presentation to top military brass, "Is it better to be feared, or respected? And I say, is it too much to ask for both?" So put another way for this debate, is it too much to ask for someone to like both Star Trek and Star Wars?
I like Jack Bauer of 24 . And I like James Bond. And from what I've been seeing, Daniel Craig as agent 007 is making it! Yet nevertheless for those devoted fans of either Star Trek or Star Wars, both would have to admit to that there exist those less than stellar films among their favorite entertainment franchise.
Ask any loyal Star Wars fan which of the six is their least favorite, and usually they say it's Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Although in my opinion the film has one memorable scene. It's the dramatic two against one lightsaber fight of Jedi Knight and his apprentice, Qui-Gon Jinn and young Obi Wan Kenobi, against the double beam lightsaber and skill of Darth Maul acted by martial arts expert Ray Park. Then there are those who don't like any of the three prequels, and mind you these are among the devoted Star Wars fans.
For the fans of Star Trek, it is Star Trek V: The Final Frontier as their least favorite film, which the late respected film critic Roger Ebert agrees with. The devoted fans of Star Wars all like episodes four to six as the best, all having Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie. Whereas the devoted fans of Star Trek usually like those first few of even-numbered films, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, IV: The Voyage Home, VI: The Undiscovered Country, and First Contact.
As of today including the last two reboots, there are a total of 12 Star Trek films. So far, the recent two reboots directed by JJ Abrams have both been stellar. The first film he knocks the ball high out of the park. Whereas in the second film, Star Trek: Into Darkness I believe he knocks it so high out of the park that it went into orbit. All of the bridge crew characters aboard the Enterprise are perfectly cast. Simon Pegg makes it as Scotty, as does Zachary Quinto as Spock. I also like that in the film Spock showcases his super Vulcan stamina in a daring chase and scrappy bare-knuckle fight, equally matched, against the super human villain. Spock unloads.
JJ Abrams appears to have succeeded in the Star Trek franchise with his two reboots. And now the question is, will he succeed with Star Wars when he takes the helm of episode seven? Can he be like Neo from The Matrix trilogy, the One to bring equal success between two giant entertainment franchises? That is much like Neo who brought balance between two worlds, the world of humans by ending their enslavement to the world of machines in Matrix Revolutions. We all will just have to wait and see.
But one thing is certain. I do like both Star Trek and Star Wars. Yes Star Trek has that science vernacular that's non-existent in Star Wars films, but regardless, each franchise offers a message of hope. On planet earth in the 23rd Century, there are no internecine global conflicts such as the Sudan-Darfur ethnic cleansing, and there is no 2008 financial societal crises where Wall Street is bailed out by Main Street, so that Wall Street may continue living on easy street.
In Star Trek the message is societal. We have it in us to be better, we can get there. It's the, Live long and prosper. Whereas in Star Wars the message is for the individual, you have it in you to be better, you can get there. It's the, May the Force be with you.
None of this would be at all possible, without Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas whom each had the courage to unleash their bold creative imaginations upon the world. It's the product of two geniuses that appeals to the human condition. And I cannot imagine a reality where neither one of the two giant entertainment franchises exist.
So for those Star Trek and Star Wars fans who say you can't like both, those hardliners as the term is used in politics, I have some closing words. Don't be scared to like both. Don't feel you are being coerced to make a Sophie's Choice! The Cosa Nostra will not one day give an order to abduct you out of bed at night, only to have you sleeping with the fishes! No Gulag Archipelago awaits! Both the moon and the stars will continue to shine at night. And the sun will come out tomorrow.