Trek No Further: Why We Don’t Just Need Sweet CGI to Keep Us Happy

So, I just saw “Star Trek” on IMAX for the first time. Chills.

I’ve seen a total of maybe three episodes of the show over my lifetime so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was literally on the edge of my seat the whole time.

Clutching the armrests for assurance, I was completely engaged in the film on a level that I never have been before. You know how there are always those movies that just really blow you away the first time you see them? Like “Slumdog Millionaire” or “Kill Bill Vol. 1” or the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie? “Star Trek” was like that. In fact, it may have actually set the bar for me for movies to come. Maybe it was the fact that the IMAX screen is five stories tall. It could also have been the really, really, ridiculously good-looking cast.

At any rate, those visuals were unreal. It really gives you a new appreciation for why popcorn is such an important movie staple, as it can be eaten without looking away from the screen, which I didn’t do once during “Star Trek.” (In truth, there may have been one or two times that I did but it was only to exchange an awe-struck look with my friends.)

Anyway. Visuals: incredible. I’m such a big fan of movies with a ton of computer-generated visuals and detail. Even if the movie isn’t that good, (cough, ‘X-Men Origins,’ cough), it’s always nice to see the new levels to which technology can take the moviegoer.

That being said, I find that my life has a very interesting dichotomy in it. On the one hand, I can pay $16 to see the stunning visuals from movies like “Star Trek.” On the other hand, if I’m feeling thrifty, and let’s be honest, this recession isn’t looking up anytime soon, I can hop on my computer and read some of my favorite blogs for what can end up being hours and hours of scroll-down entertainment and fun.

Web sites like the recently popular “FMyLife.com” (FML) are pretty simple, in terms of the Web design. As far as the visuals go, there’s really nothing special. Plenty of other Web sites have far more interesting interfaces, but at the end of the day, none seem to attract the amount of visitors that “FML” and others have.

The homepage of “FML” features a basic header followed by a succession of user-generated posts, each one offering up a 200-character statement about something unfortunate that has happened to them. Once the statement has been posted, other users are then able to vote on the severity of said misfortunes. An example, and one of my personal favorites, is as follows:

“Today, I received my passport in the mail. They got my birth date wrong. Then I picked up my birth certificate that I had sent in with my application. Turns out my parents have been celebrating my birthday on the wrong day for 16 years. FML.”

You might think I’m comparing apples to oranges here, and in a way, that’s my point. Blockbusters and blogs rarely have much in common, but don’t you think it’s sort of interesting that for being so different, each is able to hold our attention so well?

On blogs like “FML” or my newest favorite, “Texts From Last Night,” where the user uploads strange or funny texts they have received from their friends, there are no stunning visuals. No spaceships zoom in and out of light speed or dodge laser beams from enemy aliens. Yet, as I said, hours of would-be study time have been lost in the depths of these blogs, which are often quirky, vulgar or unbelievably inappropriate, but always delightful.

Think about the amount of time it took to create “Star Trek,” from concept to execution. For someone to upload something on “FML” or “Texts From Last Night” takes about 20 seconds. I know. I’ve done it. So what does this mean? Are we collectively running low on creative juice? Becoming lazy(er)? Or is America just growing increasingly easier to please?

Time will tell, but for now, I am both keeping “Texts From Last Night” as my homepage and hoping that a “Star Trek” sequel is in store for us. So with that, I’ll leave you with a “Text From Last Night” from our very own 949 area code:

(949): youre so sexy i want your bod

(410): dude, did you turn gay?

(949): heather?

(410): this is jacob