‘Star Trek’ is 50; Bryan Cranston is the infiltrator

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Karen Kunawicz

Karen Kunawicz

To participate in the milestone marking half a century of Star Trek, Seattle’s EMP Museum (which had a much longer name, the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame) is hosting a special exhibition called Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds.

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It celebrates the history of the show—the zeitgeist that inspired and spawned an iconic property, a pop culture landmark and a continuing legacy in the world of science fiction and entertainment. So much of it delved into current issues of the mid sixties—the civil rights movement, the cold war, etc.—but used the setting of The Enterprise and the different worlds and alien races and cultures it encountered to communicate ideas important to creator Gene Rodenberry.

The exhibit has videos, footage, props, costumes from the original show, down to its spin offs and films. There’s even a giant illustrated timeline, designed by students of Cornish College of the Arts, tracing the history of events in the Star Trek universe.

One of my favorite stories about the show is the one of Nichelle Nichols (aka Lt. Uhura) and a conversation she had with Martin Luther King Jr.

At one point, she wanted to quit Star Trek and pursue a singing career on Broadway but, Martin Luther King pleaded her to stay on.

There she was, an African American woman playing the role of an officer. She paraphrased his advice: ‘What you’ve accomplished, for all of us, will only be real if you stay.’

The ‘Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds’ exhibition at Seattle’s EMP Museum PHOTO FROM STARTREK.COM

The ‘Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds’ exhibition at Seattle’s EMP Museum PHOTO FROM STARTREK.COM

Star Trek: Beyond, directed by Justin Lin of Fast and Furious, also opens this week. Will this franchise veer towards heroes and action or will it stay true to challenging the mind, asking questions and presenting relevant ideas?

Fans of the brilliant powerhouse that is Bryan Cranston will enjoy The Infiltrator. It’s based on the story of US Customs agent Robert Mazur who brought down Escobar’s money laundering operation. It may not reach the heights of Trumbo or All the Way and is a bit uneven at the start but it picks up in the second half.

There are many fine supporting performances in the film put in by Diane Kruger, John Leguizamo, Jason Isaacs and Joseph Gilgun (Cassidy in AMC’s Preacher). Benjamin Bratt likewise turns in a notable and a memorable performance as Robert Alcaino. I make a special mention because it’s been a while since I’ve seen him on screen.

Infiltrator also makes a good companion piece to Netflix’s Narcos, which I absolutely loved.

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