***SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t seen STAR TREK: BEYOND***
(What’ve you been in cryogenic sleep or something? Go see it!)
The super-good thing I enjoyed out of many very good things in STAR TREK: BEYOND was the final starship attack scene featuring the Beastie Boys. Apart from being a fine, genre-elevating twist on the usual starship battle in its own right, it recalled a recurring motif in MACROSS, one of the classic Japanese anime franchises which Americans may be more familiar with as the first third of the series ROBOTECH.
Basically what happens a lot in MACROSS is, the Earthlings are outnumbered and outgunned by the aliens, so they have to use a secret weapon to gain the advantage. That weapon is POP MUSIC. The Macross aliens, like the Borg, are factory-made joyless creatures who have no music culture, so when they are exposed to music, the aroused feelings CONFUSE THE HELL OUT OF THEM. (Their learning to appreciate music is a major theme in the MACROSS series, and a metaphor through which the two warring cultures eventually arrive at a ceasefire.) There are literally dozens of scenes in the Macross Universe where this happens, this one is from the final battle of MACROSS: DO YOU REMEMBER LOVE, which is a particularly good one.
It’s not gone unnoticed by the Macross fan community that in the climactic scene of STAR TREK: BEYOND, where the big Federation ship broadcasts an invigorating pop song at the overwhelming alien fleet, sending them into chaos and disarray, and then the big Federation ship swoops in and gains the upper hand in the battle, well, that’s something that exactly happens in Japanese animated space operas, a lot! Compare:
My burning curious question to Justin Lin and Doug Jung and Simon Pegg would be, “Did you know that there was a similar trope in MACROSS before y’all sculpted the scene, or is it just an accidental homage that happened to bring delight to this lifelong Macross fan? Because I’m totally happy about either thing. #Zeitgeist.”
Granted, there’s a big difference in vibe between the Beastie Boys and the sugary pop stylings of Lynn Minmay, but I think the takeaway here is that we gotta keep our music culture going, in case we need it someday to repel an invasion by a hostile alien armada, amIrite?
HAPPY 50TH ANNIVERSARY TODAY, STAR TREK. BOLDLY GO!