Thursday, January 28, 2016

This or That: Star Trek vs. Star Wars

Pennsylvania DeMolay's State Sweetheart, Miss Sarah Sellers, has put together a program that puts two forms of pop culture reference in a competition against one another. This competition is to help raise money for the Children's Dyslexia Centers, which is PA DeMolay's State Charity. The current competition is Star Trek vs. Star Wars. “Dad” Alex Swift, Chapter Advisor of Northeast Chapter has provided this article to help compare the two franchises.

In the genre of American Science Fiction, there are no two more recognizable brands than Star Wars and Star Trek. Over the last fifty years since Star Trek first debuted in the 1960’s, they have captured the imagination of young and old viewers alike. Even now, almost fifty years later they are still at the forefront of American Cinema and remain in the spotlight of our interest. There are no signs of either of them disappearing into the realms of memory.

Just this past year, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" broke almost every known box office record known to man, and seemed to resurrect the good reputation of a franchise that had gone astray. Later this year, in 2016, the third Star Trek film in the JJ Abrams series, and twelfth over all, is set to debut. Both franchises seem to be flourishing in ways that even their original creators might not have predicted, and it’s hard to imagine a world in which neither of them exist.

But, as they can both be categorized as Science Fiction, their similarities are few and far between. 
They are fundamentally different: A fact that has seen a proverbial line drawn in the sand between fans of one, or the other. It’s a silly culture war when you really look at it from any objective viewpoint, especially if you’re a fan of both the way I am. But still, it doesn’t stop it from being waged on the internet, at fan conventions, or even on late night TV where, on his show, Conan O’Brien asked Astrophysicist Neil deDrasse Tyson: “Who would win in a fight, the Millennium Falcon or the USS Enterprise?”

Star Trek, the first of the two brands to appear in front of audiences has traditionally focused on the eventual exploration of space. It’s a look into the future, or more appropriately an idea of what the future could look like. The series shows a world devoid of poverty, crime, and greed. It shows a world in which science and technology have allowed humanity to overcome its faults, and ascend out into the greater universe beyond our own sky.

Star Wars, the more financially successful of the two, has always been a modern homage to the old spaghetti westerns, and adventure films of the 1930’s. Instead of our heroes chasing each other on horseback, we see TIE Fighters and X-Wings dueling each other ala the great air battles waged in World War II. These are tales of great evils, and the forces of good standing against them. They are stories of massive battles waged in far off lands, and worlds that are so incredibly foreign to us. It’s more of a recollection of our past than our future, told from a modern and futuristic perspective.

So, now its up to you, do you side with Star Trek or with Star Wars?

As far as which one is better, that is only a matter of personal preference. Both franchises remain strong, so you decide which one you prefer.  

Thank you "Dad" Swift for your contribution to the blog. Which franchise do you prefer: Star Trek or Star Wars? Voting ends February 1st so act quickly. 

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