Chris Pine, who plays the young James T. Kirk in the new J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek movie, has some pretty big boots to fill. Captain Kirk is about as much of a cultural icon as Mickey Mouse or Anton Lavey. Obviously, Pine’s aware of this more than anybody, and has no doubt studied hard for the role, but it’s not the motion picture industry he needs approval from. It’s from us, the nerdy, unwashed masses who are bitterly regretting that HD-DVD Star Trek box set purchase. It’s from us that Chris Pine needs to be accepted as Captain Kirk, and here are five pointers, by which we mean “five things he has to do in the new Trek movie or we’ll throw a nerd hissy-fit.”
5) Sleep with Everyone
In the trailer, it clearly indicates new Pine-scent Kirk getting it on with Uhura, but that’s not even close to enough. Kirk doesn’t care if the lady is green, from the distant past, or has a strange shape-shifting ability that can makes her look like your Uncle Dave — Kirk is tappin’ that ass. Kirk doesn’t judge, he just does it. If there’s some sort of universal penicillin for STDs in the 24th century, you can bet Kirk must produce it naturally in his bones. Also, he can’t be in any committed relationships — this starship has to fly free, baby.
4) Have a Self-Assured Smirk
No matter what might happen, whether an old nemesis has stolen a Starfleet vessel and has crippled the Enterprise, or a super-powerful robot picked up in space is threatening to exterminate everyone on the ship, Kirk always has that self-assured smirk in the face of danger. That “yes, we’re in trouble and watch how awesomely I get us out of it” look that makes Kirk so charming. Of course if was anyone else smirking like that, you would find it annoying and think they were a huge dick, but with Kirk the smile is just his way of saying: “It’s going to be all right, because I’m Kirk.”
3) Lose It
Of course, during the few times when Kirk does lose his normal cool, he loses it with an intensity that is both frightening and downright hilarious. From screaming “KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!” to “”I AM KIIIROK! I HAVE COME! I AM KIIIROOOOK!!!” Will we see this moment of overly dramatic emotion from from the new Kirk? We gotta, because it is indeed the only way you know when Kirk is truly angry. The rest of the time he’s calm as a lake, but when he’s mad, the hands tighten, the destructive impulses increase, and his yelling reaches new and exciting hieghts. It’s like watching a man turn into a werewolf, without the actual transformation into a werewolf. Mind you though, if Kirk shouted “KHAAAAAAAAN!!!” and suddenly grew fangs and four inches of fur that would be cool in a whole different way.
2) Kick Some Ass
Kirk, as a tower of testosterone, tends to get into more than a few fistfights despite living in an age where you can stun someone with a phaser. Yet, that is how Kirk likes it, hand-to-hand, because then there’s a chance his shirt will get ripped or possibly torn completely off, something no phaser can do. If a shirtless, smooth-chested Pine doesn’t punch a humanoid alien in the jaw, he’s no Kirk, period.
1) Talk Like Shatner
While Chris Pine may want to do his best to not sound like he’s doing an impression of Shatner as Captain Kirk, but to truly be Kirk, Shatner’s unusual dramatic pauses loaded down with hyperbole is crucial. Sure, it is ridiculous, but then again so is the fact that Scrooge McDuck wears a fancy suit top, eyeglasses, a top hat, but no pants. If Scrooge suddenly had pants on you wouldn’t say “Oh, that’s sensible, ” you would say “What the hell? Why is he wearing pants?” Thus it is the same for Kirk and his Shatner speech pattern. The stilted-over dramatic delivery may sound stupid but it is KIRK’S SOUL.
Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.