Perhaps today IS a good day to talk about Star Trek!

Ok, enough waiting — if The Avocado thinks it’s time to jaw about Star Trek, by gum, it’s time.

  • Agreed with Timothy Burke, the movie was pretty goddamn excellent. Consistently exciting and usually very funny.
  • I was surprised and delighted that they left Old Spock alive at the end instead of killing him off. As Burke points out, having Old Spock in the universe creates all sorts of problems: he has foreknowledge of all kinds of threatening species and problems that the folks in the 23rd century didn’t know about, plus he’s a brilliant scientist from 130 years in the future. Frankly, I think these are excellent problems for a science fiction saga to have, and I only hope they don’t forget about these problems around the time movie #3 or #4 is ready to go.
  • Also, a big thank-you to the Star Trek scriptwriters for not destroying the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • The scene in the elevator between Spock and Uhura was excellent. I want to know more about Uhura, and why she would want to deal with the reality of dating Spock — as opposed to the abstract appeal of dating Spock that fandom has been chewing over for forty years.
  • Bad biology: The giant red worm/insect is awesome looking, but why is it red? And wouldn’t it freeze to death? And why go after Kirk, when it already has a substantial meal?
  • Bad engineering: What’s with the crazy system of pipes and water in the engineering room? Is this a shout-out to Galaxy Quest? “Why are there chompy-crushy things in here! There’s no reason we should have to run through chompy-crushy things! Who designed this? It makes no sense!”
  • Bad physics: I’m actually not too offended by the ridiculous black hole physics. Star Trek has consistently treated black holes as magical plot devices, so this is okay. (Though if the black hole was powerful enough to collapse a planet, why did they have to bother drilling to the core?)
  • Worse physics: A supernova that “threatened the galaxy?” Oo-kay. And did the supernova happen to Romulus’s star or a neighboring star? If the former, there would be no time to evacuate the planet. If the latter, you would have a few years to evacuate everybody. And what exactly a black hole would do to reverse / disperse a supernova?
  • Eye-gougingly bad physics: Look, transverse velocity exists, even when you are jumping from a magical flying dragon 23rd century shuttlecraft.
  • Loved the TOS sound effects.
  • It seems that modern SF franchises subscribe to the “the timeline wants to heal itself” philosophy of time travel. You can make massive changes — kill people, blow up Vulcan, even! — but incredibly unlikely events will conspire to land the entire TOS crew together anyway, in nearly the same state they were in the other timeline. See also the Terminator franchise, where you can’t kill John Connor’s mom because you’ll just end up spawning John Connor, and you can’t avert the apocalypse, you can only move it around in time.
  • Despite screaming “FIRE EVERYTHING!!!” with gusto, Nero was not, shall we say, the most interesting villain Star Trek has ever seen. I’m not sure we needed a great villain for a movie that’s basically about getting the band back together.
  • On the other hand: “Hi Christopher. I’m Nero.” Hehe!
  • If you can get Kirk and Spock on the Narada, why not transport a bunch of armed & armored Starfleet security guards as well? I’m pretty sure “Cupcake” and his buddies could have helped, at least. (In the Star Trek universe, if your enemy is able to transport soldiers over to your ship, you are usually in deep doo-doo.)
  • It’s interesting to compare the edited trailer dialogue to the lines in the full movie — usually the trailer’s dialogue wins. For example, Nero’s line in the trailer is, “James T. Kirk was a great man… but that was another life.” The full quote in the movie is wordier and not nearly as punchy.
  • Also, the trailers’ music is better than the movie’s music. Unfortunately, the trailer music is not for sale to the public at any price (I checked).
  • The final shot before opening credits (Nero’s ship crippled, a little trail of hopeful little shuttlecraft creeping away) is brilliant.
  • I want to know more about Future Iowa. What are those giant looming barely-visible buildings? What is that giant artificial gouge all about?

8 thoughts on “Perhaps today IS a good day to talk about Star Trek!

  1. Ah, you saw it! I was wondering :)

    I agree with you on Nero. Those lines were great. Also SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCK! And his ship was so badass. I was okay with him not being the best villain ever.

    The pipe scene is the one scene I would’ve cut, without a doubt. It would’ve been better if Scotty had beamed up into that tank, then Kirk released him straight from there. But instead it got all Willy Wonka.

    All in all, I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do next. And I’m excited to watch this movie again and again.

  2. Apparently there is a comic-book prequel to the…whatever the movie is (sidequel?) that explains the supernova-threatens-the-galaxy and some other crazy stuff.

    But:

    Totally with you on why not send Cupcake Squad of Death along with Kirk and Spock. This is an old problem in TOS/TNG, though: rarely does anyone engage in boarding actions when they quite reasonably could do so.

    I think Old Spock (or apparently, as the script calls him, Spock Prime) could be a totally excellent plot device in a later movie. for example, what if Old Spock succumbs to hubris and starts trying to manipulate events even further to the advantage of his people or his own sensibilities? Or gets obsessed if Young Spock deviates from Old Spock’s history of enlightenment. Suppose you thought of yourself as an enlightened person who’d largely done the right thing by happy accident, and then watched a young version of yourself succumb to less-happy accidents and move in another direction…it would be hard to resist interfering, wouldn’t it? Old Spock could be Young Spock’s Sarek: the invisible father constantly meddling…

  3. Willy Wonka… the Cupcake Squad of Death… I think we’re on to something here.

    Yes, it would be very hard to avoid meddling with your younger self. But while the thought of Old Spock as a meddling father figure or accidental villain sounds like a really excellent plotline to me, it’s probably a nonstarter. Fandom would go *insane* with rage. Plus, Young Spock seems to be doing alright so far on his life choices: Uhura is a much better call than, say, T’Pring.

  4. “Though if the black hole was powerful enough to collapse a planet, why did they have to bother drilling to the core?”

    I’ve never read a good description of what red matter is supposed to be or how it’s supposed to function, but:

    * It could be that it takes a large amount of mass to trigger the chain reaction – the center of the planet is the only spot they can use with the small red matter containers they have (as opposed to throwing the whole ship full of the stuff, which doesn’t leave them any spares).
    * Or it could be that tossing it at the planet will work but doesn’t give their ship enough time or room to get away. Letting it get half a world away makes for an awful lot of room to maneuver. Especially if the event horizon has to do with the amount of mass in the resulting black hole.
    * It could also be that the drilling was mostly a diversionary tactic to stall and isolate the area while waiting for Young Spock to show up.

    It’s also important to note that this was a crew full of miners making do with what they had, not a bunch of weapons researchers or theoretical physicists. Any goofy idea we come up with could be the same one they had.

    And as noted elsewhere: it doesn’t matter if Nero is a good villain: Spock is the real antagonist for Kirk.

  5. Oops — I forgot to add that link about
    [Spock being the real antagonist](http://demiurgent.dreamwidth.org/252601.html).

    I’m not too bothered by Red Matter. Red Matter, Dilithium Crystals, Adamantium, Residuum, Arcanite Bars — it’s all what my friend Sam B. cheerfully refers to as Bullshittium. That stuff is all fine. The bad Newtonian physics though… ugh.

  6. The plot hole that bothers me: I am willing to bet that a late 19th century battleship would outgun an early 21st century freighter, oil tanker, or drilling platform. I get why Nero’s mining ship has a bad-ass nuclear drill. But why does it have huge batteries of torpedoes and phasers? Are the Romulans seriously THAT paranoid, that they arm commercial/industrial vessels like that?

    I’m wondering if there will be some kind of complication with folks trying to use further time travel to prevent the destruction of Vulcan…

  7. I think that’s one of those things that does get explained if you read the prequel comic books, but makes no sense if you stick to the “primary text” of the movie. (I have not read the comic books.)

  8. “Is this a shout-out to Galaxy Quest?”

    How dare you sir! Star Trek has defined the genre so well it gives shout outs to itself. I feel like I should fit in something about Chuck Norris in there.

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