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Watching the Money Brought to You by Nokia™

It’s Friday evening, and you have arrived at your local multiplex with your ten- and twelve-year-old boys and two of their very closest friends.  You’ve come to see the best movie $150 million can make.  You cannot remember just when, but it seems you idly mentioned to your wife earlier in the week that you might take the boys to the 11th coming of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock.  The boys, of course, understood this casual aside to be a solemn promise—a contract tighter than Mr. Spock’s paralyzing trapezius pinch.  When you reach the ticket counter, you pay the $38 for admission with your Visa card.  Distressing, yes, but not as much as that pg-13 rating you belatedly noticed just inside the theater.  Now that it’s too late, you recall the small print in the newspaper ad: “some science fiction violence” and “brief sexual content.”  But the die is irretrievably cast, so you resignedly go where most dads have gone before and will go again.

What are you getting for your money?  Not art, certainly.  Like other movies of its kind, Star Trek is a cleverly packaged commodity.  Director J.J. Abrams’ real mission was not to tell a story but to manage the consistency of the Star Trek product.  He didn’t direct the movie; he took charge of quality control.  Paramount wanted to ensure the franchise’s profitability. ...

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