Star Trek Reaction (spoilers!!)

"It was ... fun."

Yes, that's true. But dear sweet heaven the main plot was full of holes and silliness. I mean, I like it as just a fun film . . . it had that fun fluffy romp feel of, say, the Lost in Space movie. Suspend disbelief and lose a couple of hours for eye candy, and you're done.

But I don't want to be completely unfair. The first few minutes set in 2233 are excellent, in my opinion, and if you're not careful they could be tear-jerking (for anyone, not just Trek people). The segments regarding Spock's youth are virtually flawless, soon turning a simple talking moment with a no-thank-you into a moment you almost want to cheer.

Frankly, that was all wonderful stuff.

But after such a great start, we quickly slip toward meaningless-but-fun action-adventure, without depth, and contrivances begin to multiply.

Let's be clear, here . . . I want to like it. And besides, after the Onion so deftly poisoned the well, there's almost pressure to. I'm just not sure I honestly can.

That said, you can't fault any of the people involved in the technical aspects of making the film. The effects were flawlessly professional, the actors were all very good in their roles, and the pacing was effectively frenetic. Whoever did the sound mixing threw in lots of old 60's Trek noises for buttons, beaming, et cetera, and I appreciated them.
(( However, the excessive lens flares were distracting
and annoying, and the music rather surprisingly sucked. ))
Alas, there are (1) gaping plot holes, (2) Trek and real science butchery, and . . . well, frankly, (3) I'm not even sure this has any relation to TOS, over and above its acknowledged splits.


Let's consider some of the plot holes.
1. In 2387 a "supernova" threatens to "destroy the galaxy", and threatens Romulus specifically or first with its blast wave. Spock is late to save the planet with some black-hole-making magic red stuff. Romulus goes boom. Then Spock stops the supernova.
Seriously? How could Spock be late to something with a predictable arrival time? He might as well have overslept.
2. An angry Romulan space trucker (Nero, flying around in his big rig the Narada) concludes that the Federation stood by and watched his planet burn, and that Spock was personally responsible and must be punished. He attacks Spock's ship and both of them fall into the new black hole Spock made, naturally going backwards in time and popping out at random places in Federation space.

Nero emerges in 2233, incidentally destroying Jim Kirk's father and his ship, then he hides out for 25 years. He is waiting for Spock's arrival in 2258 to continue his quest for revenge and hurt Spock, intending on using the red matter on Spock's vessel to create black holes and destroy every planet in the Federation.
Frankly, I think Nero was right to want to punish Spock, given the goofy idea that he was just running late that day. I mean, I'm not the most timely individual in the world, but I'm pretty damn sure I could wake up on time to save billions of people in a pre-planned event. I'm just sayin'.

But the rest of what happens doesn't make sense to me at all. Captain Space Trucker just watched his planet burn with his wife and child on it. And now he just realized that he is in the past.

I'm sorry, but I don't think I'm interested in revenge when I am in the frickin' past. I am interested in fixing the thing I got pissed about, if possible . . . saving the wife and child, in this case, or even the whole planet of Romulus.

(And y'know, it's really, really simple on this one, if you're Nero. Take the red matter from Spock, go to the star that went supernova, and nip that little sumbitch in the bud. Or, if you want to make sure that doesn't screw with the timeline, you do it in the 24th Century shortly before it goes boom (getting there either via time travel, hanging out near a black hole, suspended animation, or just plain boredom waiting).

Instead, he decides to engage in the costly and troublesome maneuver of taking his 24th Century garbage scow into assorted battles with 23rd Century frontline military starships. Even the 2233 ship had kicked his ass with a ram, apparently even causing a head injury to Nero that left him scarred, so you would think he might reconsider this idea. Maybe the head injury is supposed to explain his stupidity.

. . . no, sorry. I still can't get over the fact that he had 25 years to come up with a good idea. I mean, even if there were complications (given that as soon as he got there he shot up a 2233 starship, thus changing history), there would still be ways to make it work. And even if you're pissed at Spock, the not-even-all-that-smart idea at this point in the reasoning is to seek his assistance, even as your prisoner. After all, he does know a thing or two about time travel, and he is involved with the Vulcan Science Academy, which by this point does acknowledge the idea.)

And incidentally, if Spock's ship was so damned important to the whole galaxy, and carrying a weapon of mass destruction no less, how is it that the stupid thing had no escort at all, so a random guy in a mining scow could know of it and challenge it?
3. Spock apparently surrenders to Nero, who spares his life and maroons him on planet Delta Vega where he is to watch the destruction of Vulcan.
Spock surrenders? Okay, whatever. Not really seein' it, but he's old.

But why maroon him anywhere? Could he not watch from the Narada bridge or even a special room with a window, a room where you could taunt him at your leisure? I mean if you really want to emotionally torture Spock and make him watch helplessly as his homeworld is destroyed, isn't part of the fun being there to enjoy his pained reaction?
4. Later, Spock assists the 2258 Kirk in getting back to the Enterprise, feeling he must be there along with 2258 Spock because they have to become friends so they can beat Nero. Old Spock even refuses to come along with Kirk to the Monsterprise to assist because Kirk had to get the ship on his own or something, along with the implication that it would weird out the timeline or something. I lost track, really.
I lost track, really, because this whole concept was retarded. Old Spock seemed to be of the opinion that Nero's ass could be kicked so long as people named Kirk and Spock were friends on the Enterprise, with Kirk as captain. He even says he didn't come back to the ship because he couldn't withhold from young Kirk and Spock the friendship and understanding of their potential or something.

Basically this is all the most retarded Trek-wank bullshit I've ever seen. Trekkies love the whole idea of their favorite characters always kicking badguy ass, and we've had the deep bond scenes of their friendship always coming in above all (The Search for Spock being the prime example), but now all of the sudden we're supposed to believe in some Care Bears crap wherein so long as alt-Kirk and alt-Spock like each other they can defeat a huge ship with technology that is 100 years more advanced.

That's . . . that's . . . just wow, man.

What should've happened is that old Spock should've been like "yeah, I've gotta come with you, 'cause I know how 24th Century shit works and maybe I can hook you up with some tricks." He could've even caused Kirk and Spock to be friends by mind-melding with both to show them the friendship that he'd had with his Kirk, in the process showing young Spock what an awesome Captain Kirk could be, at which point he steps aside graciously.

Except that last bit shouldn't happen either, because young Spock could go "so what? That's an alternate Kirk, whereas this one is an asshole." And he would be right to point that sort of thing out. It's strange that old Spock decides this universe should be like his, with Kirk as the captain. He doesn't even know this Kirk.
5. Spock adapts himself completely to the new timeline, becoming emotionally invested in the destruction of Vulcan and resigning himself to his fate as dictated by Nero.
This is the biggest leap for me of anything, and frankly this is where I call bullshit against the movie.

Let's imagine, for a moment, a different film. This one starts in 2387 and follows the chain of events from the star going supernova to Spock promising to help the Romulans to Spock failing to wake up on time that day to Spock fighting Nero and ending up in the past.

With that chain of events by itself, you have to know the next step for Spock . . . he's going to fix the timeline, the universe be damned. That's what every Trek character has ever done, even when they shouldn't have.

When a drug-addled McCoy went through the Guardian of Forever and changed the past, did Kirk and the gang just start building shelters from the ruins and start populating the planet? No, although Kirk probably did feed Uhura that line for a minute just to shag her rotten. But after that, he immediately went back in time to bone Joan Collins, potentially causing even more of a temporal incursion, just to try to fix whatever McCoy did.

When the Borg went playing in the past in First Contact, Picard's first reaction was to follow them back and "repair whatever damage they've done". He didn't say "aw, man, Earth vacations are gonna suck now."

When Archer's condition due to an anomaly resulted in the failure of his mission and the destruction of Earth, and when it was suddenly realized that a treatment for his condition could change the timeline, the Enterprise people didn't play around . . . they fixed it via suicide in a warp core breach.

Then you have the shouldn't-have. For instance, the humpback whales had died out when Earth was threatened in Star Trek IV . . . Kirk told the entire universe to suck it, went back in time, showed a chick his "humpback whale", and brought some whales forward to end the threat.

And hell, remember Annorax and the Year of Hell? That guy spent 200 years trying to fix his temporal mistake. Even in the Lost in Space movie they were trying to fix stuff.

But instead, in this movie, Spock surrenders completely to whatever happens to him.

The hell you say.

6. Planets are defenseless.
Why the brainbug about naked worlds with not even a frickin' F-14 Tomcat to defend against a frickin' drill on a long cable dipped into the atmosphere?


And now for some of the astrophysical silliness and odd Treknology changes. Skip these if you don't care. Most people probably would or should not.

1. Supernovas do not threaten to destroy galaxies and do not blow apart planets light-years away. This is the cause of the 2387 events but it is silly. (And Spock being late to meet the shockwave thingy is even sillier, because it isn't like it would've been accelerating even if we accept the stupid idea of it.)

2. Black holes are not two-dimensional, "Yesterday's Enterprise"-esque doorways to yesteryear, and if you are falling into one with your megaship you cannot be half-in and half-out of it like it's a stargate.

3. Vulcan had a blue sky. It has never had a blue sky, T'Pol be damned.

4. Delta Vega is a cold planet and apparently a moon of Vulcan now instead of a remote lithium cracking station site, because you can see Vulcan with the naked eye. Except they act like Delta Vega is still remote. But Spock was left there to watch Vulcan's destruction with his naked eyes.

5. Starships are now huge. Whereas before the round bit atop the teardrop bit on the top of the saucer was the bridge, now the bridge is just a little round room taking up a tiny portion of the teardrop bit. In the image below (from a TrekBBS poster), note the little black horizontal line where the superstructure atop the saucer begins . . . that is the bridge window/viewscreen, and it is far too big for the actual one in the film.

The hugeness is also confirmed by various other scenes like shuttles flying over, people working on the hull, and so on, not to mention the fact that even a ship like the Kelvin from 2233 had 15-20 shuttles escaping from it.

But the Enterprise seems to be about largest. You'll hear a lot of people talk about a huge half-saucer from a destroyed ship that the Enterprise almost runs into, but in a wide shot it is clear that this saucer is no larger than the one on the Enterprise herself. Most people seem to miss that.

Some have referred to the new Enterprise as the Monsterprise, and I rather like that. Not only is she big, but she's ugly, too.

5. Normal transporter range is now just 100 miles, unless you have an equation. Plug that into the computer and it's like a cheat code allowing transporter ranges measured in light-years. Titan to Earth beaming is no problem.

6. Warp factors seem to be redone, again. The ship leaves Vulcan at warp factor three, then later Chekov hopes Scotty can get the ship to warp factor four. Unless the scraping of the port nacelle caused way more damage than it appeared, I don't see what the deal is unless the scale's been redone again.

7. Stardates are boned now. It is currently stardate 2009.05 or something retarded like that.

8. Warp speed looks different, again. Instead of even being unique like it used to be, now it just looks like everyone else's FTL.

9. Thrust seemed to come out of the Kelvin's warp engine instead of its impulse drive when a collision course was set.

10. Shields don't seem to do anything anymore. Sure, a Kelvin officer asks if they're even up, but they do decline as the attacks go on, even though the ship is getting punctured anyway.

11. What the hell is up with starships, now? The bridge looks like an Apple Store, while the new Monsterprise engineering section has frickin' analog dials and single-gang electrical knockout boxes everywhere. And shuttles were mixing high-tech touchscreens with old metal toggle switches. Even the bridge had sporadic LED-clock-type number displays, which was just weird. Might as well have had Nixie tubes in random spots.

12. And back to real science for the big finish, it is unnecessary to drill to the center of the planet to drop a black hole there. Per the fears of the LHC, small black holes are more than happy to make their own way to the center of the planet, and would consume mass as they went.

Certainly that is more like how the special effect of Vulcan looked, given that it seemed to collapse into a gravitational crater at the front instead of just smush in on itself.

Finally, why the hell would you have to lower a beam emitter capable of drilling to the center of the planet into the atmosphere? Could this drilling beam not make it through the wisps of air at higher altitudes?

Just a silly excuse for the base . . . er, space jump, I guess.


So does this movie relate in any way to the old Trek? Has the 2233 incursion, as the Monsterprise characters suggest, deleted the old timeline?

The answers, in my opinion, are "no" and "yes".

First the "yes" . . .

As I noted last time, Star Trek has been surprisingly consistent in that "time travel stories have suggested a single timeline which, when altered, reshapes the Trek fictional universe." Therefore, despite the production staff attempting to say that this is a parallel timeline, I think the Black Hole timeline (e.g. Nero in 2233, destruction of Vulcan, et cetera) represents a replacement of the Supernova timeline (e.g. the one old Spock came from).

This is proven by the fact that the Narada left 2387 first, arrived in 2233, and changed history. Meanwhile the Supernova timeline's Spock left a few seconds later and arrived in 2258 right in the middle of the changed history.

However, the Supernova timeline is not what others have called the "prime" timeline of Trek. That is to say, old Spock comes from (and, really, arrives in) a different universe than the Prime timeline anyway.

How do we know this?

1. Romulans from the Prime timeline have had ridges since at least the 2100s. And tattoos have never been observed as a Romulan normal trait, even among the civilians. Nero and the gang do not have ridges but do wear tatts and shave their heads. Ergo they are not our Romulans.

2. Even in the Supernova timeline, they give stardates just like they do in BH 2233, a modified timeline.

3. Supernova Spock is a pussy.

4. Supernova Spock's apparently now part of the Vulcan Science Academy (where was Starfleet when help was needed?!?!) with the rank of Ambassador (like Black Hole-Spock's father in this film, presumably) instead of hanging out with the reunification crowd. Sure, there's no telling what happened after Nemesis, but none of that makes much sense in the Prime timeline.

5. Supernova Spock says Scotty discovered transwarp beaming. Our Scotty never did that.

6. Supernova Spock had no apparent interest in McCoy's friendship, though his ought to have mattered as much as Kirk's.

7. We never saw any of Supernova Spock's past with Kirk via the mind meld, thus we have no way to know what the events were.

I could say that Spock recognizing people who look nothing like the TOS cast was proof, but I'm letting that slide.

There's also one other aspect.

Nero and the Narada go through the black hole first and the Narada arrives in 2233 in a revised Black Hole timeline.

Supernova Spock goes through the black hole last and arrives in the Black Hole timeline's BH 2258, meeting Nero.

But that doesn't make sense in a single-timeline universe. How could they be the same guys meeting in BH 2258?

After all, as soon as Nero fell in, the timeline ought to have changed. Thus the 2387 that existed after Nero's departure should've been one in which Nero arrived in 2233, fought the Kelvin, and then waited in vain for Spock, because there might not've been any black hole to fall into at that time. This is the Nero-Only Black Hole timeline.

Any Spock that arrived in BH 2258 thus ought to have appeared from the Nero-Only Black Hole timeline. Vulcan would have survived in this timeline because the red matter never arrived, and perhaps enough other details remained the same (e.g. Nero disappears somehow or other) to allow for Spock to be an Ambassador and with the Vulcan Science Academy in 2387, trying to save Romulus but pissing off a space trucker, and both wind up caught in the black hole.

You see the problem, though. Anytime Nero goes in first, we wind up with a NOBH-style timeline. So we somehow need Spock to be wrong about Nero going in first, because otherwise we never get Spock in the black hole. Otherwise it's like trying to go somewhere by traveling half the distance with each step.

We can presume that at some point Nero's ship goes in the black hole but is destroyed prior to time travel, or perhaps it arrives in NOBH on top of Nero's first ship (or vice versa), producing no other changes, and so bingo, no changes occur. We thus have a Nero and Spock from a NOBH, a timeline pre-modified for our convenience.

The alternative is that, instead, the movie's original 2387 timeline apparently persists for some number of seconds at minimum, at which point Spock falls in to the black hole and arrives in Nero's 2258.

But a timeline that persists after a timeline change without outside influence (the pocket of the Borg time vortex in First Contact, or the Guardian in City...) is no timeline at all, in the Trek rationale . . . that is a parallel universe. Certainly arrival from a mirror universe would explain things a bit better, such as why the Kelvin is such an odd vessel. It would also allow for the persistence of the Prime universe.

Either idea would allow for the stardate variation from the Supernova timeline.

Anyway, I'll ponder these issues more later, but for now it is making my brain hurt. Suffice it to say that they could've severely improved things by being more clear on that point . . . but given that they were making such a nonsensical universe anyway, I suppose they decided not to bother.

Perhaps I shouldn't either.


Anonymous said...

Star Trek has been on life support for years and this movie actually has people excited to see it again. So, shut up nerd, and just enjoy the movie.

Anonymous said...

I have been waiting to see what your reaction would be to this movie. I'm glad someone else saw the nonsense of drilling to the core of a planet to drop a black hole in it. Also is transporter tech in this movie just plain awful? You mentioned the magic equation to extend range but what about the horrible you must stay perfectly still or we have a terrible time trying to lock on you problem.

Sandyin said...

"It was... fun."

Yeah, that pretty much sums up my feelings a well.

After the opening if you want to enjoy it you kind of have to let you brain check out. Which is pretty sad for Star Trek.

Anonymous said...

On the issue of shields, shouldn't we have at least seen evidence of them when the ship was getting scraped up by the debris field? I can't remember exactly but I could have sworn they were up. Also since when were Trek sensors so horribly awful as to not detect those debris before they dropped out of warp?

Anonymous said...

First off, you got the location of the bridge on the "Monsterprise" wrong. It's in/around the lip under the blue dome.

Second, maybe Spock was late because he made a mistake calculating the time before the star went nova and/or the Vulcans took too long to outfit his ship and he couldn't cover the distance between Vulcan and Romulus before it nova.

Third, a galaxy threatening supernova isn't that unrealistic considering the Excelsior got hammered by a subspace shockwave from Praxis blowing up.

Author said...

Star Trek has been on life support for years and this movie actually has people excited to see it again. So, shut up nerd, and just enjoy the movie.Dude, you're so right! It'll be just like how that Lost in Space movie revitalized the franchise!

Oh wait ...

Anyway, fellow nerd (for you did just argue against a blog post on a Trek vs. Wars website, did you not?) . . . I hope they make the sure-to-follow second one more solid, lest these flashy fluff pieces become the final nail in the coffin.

Author said...

"Also is transporter tech in this movie just plain awful? You mentioned the magic equation to extend range but what about the horrible you must stay perfectly still or we have a terrible time trying to lock on you problem."

Well, beaming of a target not stationary relative to its surroundings was always the exception, not the rule, simply because of the holdout mattes and whatnot involved in the beaming effect.

For it to now be codified when there's no good SFX reason for it is a bit silly, made worse by the fact that Chekov can do it but the computers can't.

"First off, you got the location of the bridge on the "Monsterprise" wrong. It's in/around the lip under the blue dome."

No I didn't. Go see it again or wait for the DVD.

As for your second point, the meld suggests the star had already gone nova when his ship was outfitted and launched. At what point did they not know they were late, and besides all that . . . why would they need to wait for Spock's jellyfish ship if all that was needed was red matter? Just send a fast ship with it and don't wait for a special hero ship to get built. That's dumb.

As to your third point, a subspace shockwave that can give a ship turbulence is a long way from a galactic-scale blast. Even in Generations supernovae didn't do any retarded stuff like that.

PSH said...

Rob, I'm surprised you never mentioned the horrible plot hole of how Kirk became captain of the Flagship of the Federation.

We're supposed to believe that, in this crisis situation, Captain Pike is going to promote a cadet who is on academic suspention; a cadet who also stowed away on his ship and has been a trouble-maker all of his life to FIRST OFFICER of the Federation flagship!! How many other experienced officers were on board the Enterprise who would be far more qualified to be the XO of a starship than a cadet who's never served any actual duty?? And Pike promotes this young punk to first officer because he thought his father was cool??

This was one of those obvious contrivances to make sure that Kirk ended up being captain after Spock become "emotionally compromised". And then, after being acting captain for about an hour, Starfleet thinks it's a good idea to permanently promote a cadet to captain of the flagship.

Whether or not you are a fan of the old Trek; this film had plot holes big enough to fly the Enterprise through!

Oh, and to the guy who thinks that a galaxy-threatening supernova is realistic: on average, there is one supernova in our galaxy every 100 years. How long do you think this galaxy (or any galaxy) would survive after say 10 million supernovas over the period of billions of years? The galaxy would have been long gone if there was any chance that a supernova could destroy it. Galaxies are immense! In our galaxy alone there are some 200 BILLION stars. You think one of these blowing up is even going to cause an itch? You might as well say that a stick of dynamite has a chance of blowing up the earth. Trust me; a galaxy-threatening supernova is as realistic as the tooth-fairy.

Sandyin said...

The only way "galaxy-threatening supernova" can make since is if it is meant metaphorically.

But even in that context it doesn't make much since either. The destruction of Romulus and most of the Romulans wouldn't cause much - if any - problems for the galaxy as a whole.

Anonymous said...

More to the point, if they knew well in advance what was going to happen, why weren't Romulus and Remus evacuated? Planetary exacuations are not a new concept (Star Trek VI) and even if the Romulans refused outside help (which seems unlikely, given that they allowed Spock to attempt to save them with his red matter), it seems unlikely than an evacuation would be unaccomplishable...

PSH said...

Also, did anyone else have a problem with the fact that, despite not being able to escape the black hole at maximum warp, exploding the ejected warp core (thereby eliminating their warp drive in that instant) created a blast strong enough to knock them free?? That was a severe scientific faux pas. The instant they lost warp drive, they would have been sucked into the event horizon of the singularity, never to be seen or heard from again. And a normal, regular ole matter/anti-matter explosion sure as hell wouldn't have blasted them free when not even light can escape the gravitational field of a black hole!

Anonymous said...

"Well, beaming of a target not stationary relative to its surroundings was always the exception, not the rule, simply because of the holdout mattes and whatnot involved in the beaming effect."

Sorry I should have clarified, I didn't mean the part where Kirk and Sulu were falling, but the part where Spock was evacuating people from Vulcan and it appeared that the motion of Spock's mother turning to look at Spock caused a delay in the ability to lock on. (I think I remember Chekov shouting "hold still!" or something similar. I might be digging it to much I didn't actually time how long it took them to lock on but it seemed long.

Sandyin said...

“Also, did anyone else have a problem with [how they escaped the black hole].”

YES!! I completely agree.

The only way it could make since is if they said the black hole was disrupting sub-space and preventing them from going to warp and that by dumping the warp core they could Trekno-babble their way out.

Regarding the transporters I don’t recall what the “hold still” line was referring to. It was before she fell right? (Not that it should matter if the targeting scanners are locked on her.) But they were glowie for a really long time. I specifically remember thinking that in the theater.

Did they give a reason for why Spock had to beam down? If he knew were in the cave shouldn’t they have been able to beam them up directly?

PSH said...

"Did they give a reason for why Spock had to beam down?"

I thought it was implied or stated that the couldn't beam the council out of the cave for some reason, and that he had to lead them out first. I'm not 100% on that, as I've only seen the movie once, but I thought something was stated to that effect.

Sandyin said...

Well that's something I guess. Of course a normal cave has never been much of a problem in the past.

Ilithi Dragon said...

On the size of the Abrams Enterprise (note, not all of this is my work):

Actually, the Abrams Enterprise is probably about 310 - 370 meters long, not 700 - 900+ meters. Take a look at this image, with the Abrams Enterprise scaled so the saucer matches the TMP Enterprise (to which the saucer is nearly identical):


That puts the size at 311 meters. Comparison to the height of the viewscreen (which is something less than 6.5 feet or ~2 metters) and the size of the ship puts an upper limit on the ship's size at 370 meters. Further, the 311-meter size fits with the size of the airlock on the neck, from which Kirk's pod is jettisoned. Based on the size of the pod, a grown man would have to step through it, ducking a bit and stepping over the bottom edge, just like Kirk does in TMP when boarding the refit Enterprise through a nearly-identical airlock after taking a shuttle to the refit Enterprise. At 311 meters, the two airlocks are about the same size, which they appear to be on-screen. Even assuming a full two meters for the airlock itself (the area inside the red ring), that puts the Abrams Enterprise at 366.4 meters long. At 311 meters long, that airlock (the part that the pod would fit through, or that you would step through) would be about 1.7 meters in diameter, or about 5.5 feet, which roughly fits with the size we see on-screen.

So, Abrams' Enterprise isn't huge, it's about the same size, in length, as the refit Constitution. In terms of overall volume, it's probably also about the same size as well, though much more of the volume would be in the nacelles, with less usable internal volume in the engineering hull. The actual usable internal volume is also probably about the same as the original Constitution class.

There is also this pic that is great for measuring the height of the Abrams Enterprise compared to the viewscreen (not mine): http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa302/RogueVulcan/Special/Image2.jpg

And this pic shows that the viewscreen IS under the bridge dome, about the same location as the bridge on the original Enterprise/refit (and also further demonstrates the absurdity of the huge Abrams Enterprise - the airlock they jettisoned Kirk's pod out of most certainly was NOT 23 feet tall): http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa302/RogueVulcan/Special/Image1.jpg

So, at least we don't have to deal with an absurdly large Monsterprise (also, the guy who did most of the above work, Rogue Vulcan, also got the ridiculous size figures pulled from M/A - just check the talk pages for the Constitution Class and Enterprise pages).

That said, I pretty much agree with most everything else presented. As far as I'm concerned, this is an alternate universe/timeline. I personally think it's close enough to use for basic tech reference, though, as far as general performance and output ranges, etc.

Chris M. said...

Wonderful, wonderful post.

You do a terrific job of itemizing many of the myriad flaws in the film's story—violations of both 8th-grade scientific knowledge and its own internal plot logic—while maintaining a cheerful demeanor and never becoming a "nitpicking geek" as so many of the film's defenders seem determined to caricature all its critics.

I blogged in a similar vein myself, and it's heartening to find others who agree that this movie isn't the greatest thing since sliced bread. Good cast? Yes. Nice visuals? Okay (some of the design work notwithstanding). But the story just keeps making you want to keep slapping your forehead, scene after scene.

(What really amazes me is how many people are willing to acknowledge this—"yes, the story was lame"—but then dismiss it as if it doesn't matter. "So what? It was exciting! And isn't it just great to have Trek back?")

A couple of your points are addressed by the Countdown lead-in comic, though not well. The writing there's at about the same level.

FWIW, though, I do have to take issue with your final complaint... i.e., that since Nero and oldSpock didn't enter and leave the black hole simultaneously, they can't have arrived in the same timeline. IMHO if we can accept story kludges like the "Borg time vortex" from ST:FC that you mention, we can as easily swallow that both were inside the event horizon before the timeline change propagated, and thus "insulated" from its effects... especially given the leeway of the fact that the black holes in this movie (like its supernova) behave absolutely nothing like the ones known to science.

Of course, I noticed the wrong-format stardate on oldSpock's ship, too, so there's still an argument that he didn't come from the familiar ClassicTrek future regardless...

Anonymous said...

G2K, am surprised by your responce, in one sense it pretty much wraps up the whole ST vs SW debate really, the firepower and what the enterprise took simply says it all so in that regard I thought you would be pleased over that.

Let's face it if we were after a show that respected science, babylon 5 or battlestar galactica remake would have been the big sales. The whole point of this scfi series (and star wars as well) is to open new ventures to our characters and imagination. You tourself have criticsed the star destroyer design, nothing in star wars makes sense. why build a giant moon base that outputs more energy then the sun yet has a one kill opening point? Or that it could turn that base into six trillion star destroyers!

Would you trust a goverment that employess emtionally risk senstive people called jedi or name your base 'death star' am sure the public will love the idea of having a planet destroying base near their orbit!

In reality the galactic empire would crumble with its own projects. In reality in star trek is that warp speed is impractical let alone a hazardous nightmare. Replication for clones won't be a problem as transporters should be perfect. Anti matter energy is impractical. Should we care? If were entertained and given a good story then no. And you shouldn't. You should rejoice in the fact the federation has ships that can withstand black holes and that they have ships that have more guns then a star destroyer. Rejoice and enjoy the series as it is. Fun and a homage to the characters we first knew.

In some ways this was film actually was more loyal to key facts (Pike being the captain before kirk, more story shown on spock's half human side. Or that romulans should be as strong as a vulcan)

If I had a pick on this it would be the romulans were so tough that it makes the jem'hada look puny. Further to add, it was damm more creative then nemesis, no more reams 'space orcs' yes they deserve to be called that. A species so ugly i hate to think what their female counterparts look like.

What mattered was the film had a good story and back story. The spirit of kirk was captured perfectly, bones even more so. Spock's past was better explored. it wasn't changed but explored better.

I think also they did a better job on the whole time travel and alt universe affair then the series, because end of the day, time travel is more likely to create an alt branch stemming from the orignal universe. It was a consequence that was long waiting to come and should have happened then the 'fixed and never happened scenario'

I thought this was a brilliant addition to the star trek series, you should enjoy it for what is, fun!


PSH said...

"G2K, am surprised by your responce, in one sense it pretty much wraps up the whole ST vs SW debate really, the firepower and what the enterprise took simply says it all so in that regard I thought you would be pleased over that."I don't know about all that. I just think that Abrhams was far less concerned with scientific accuracy and consistency than the original show. Somehow, I doubt this completely wraps up the whole st vs sw debate.

"...nothing in star wars makes sense."From a scientific standpoint there are a lot of issues with Star Wars. However, the point of Star Wars really had nothing to do with science; and it never did. Star Wars never was really classic "sci-fi." It would, more accurately, be described as sci-fantasy.

However, in Star Trek, one of the appeals has always been the attempt to be scientifically, accurate or, in the case where the real technology or scientific aspect doesn't exist in real life, attempt to make the pseudo-science seem plausible. This latest movie threw all of that out of the window all of a sudden.

And even with all that being said, even in Star Wars, I do not recall scientific blunders like supernovas destroying galaxies. For the most part, the science is simply not addressed in Star Wars.

"In some ways this was film actually was more loyal to key facts (Pike being the captain before kirk, more story shown on spock's half human side. Or that romulans should be as strong as a vulcan)"I'd agree with you there that these factors were the few good aspects of the film. But, not that the film was "more loyal" than the previous films or series. Pike had been addressed a few times in TOS. Spock's human side came out more than once as well.

I have to give them credit though, on making Romulans as strong as Vulcans. That one was always a puzzler for me as to why, when Romulans broke away from Vulcans, they suddenly became weaker. There are a few possible explanations but none have ever (to my knowledge) been put forth in canon.

"In reality in star trek is that warp speed is impractical let alone a hazardous nightmare."I'm not sure what you're basing this on. The way the pseudo-science is explained in Star Trek, warp drive is extremely practical assuming it can be achieved the way it is. Also, theoretically, warp drive could work in real life if there were some known way to create the exotic energies necessary to warp space. This would, in fact, be one of the most practical ways to travel faster than light based on how we understand time and space currently.

"Anti matter energy is impractical."Ok, I'm really not getting where you're coming from here. There are scientists currently researching this possibility. If we found a convenient way to create lots of anti-matter (which is explained in the Star Trek tech manual) matter/anti-matter annihilation would be the most practical energy source every conceived. One kg of the stuff being used to annihilate one kg of matter can generate 8,990,000,000,000,000 joules of usable energy. Tell me about anything else that can generate that kind of energy with such a small volume of fuel.

The thing that makes using such an energy source impractical in present day is the fact that we know of no significant source of anti-matter existing and, it takes more energy to create than can be released.

"I think also they did a better job on the whole time travel and alt universe affair then the series, because end of the day, time travel is more likely to create an alt branch stemming from the orignal universe."Alternate realities and changing timelines has been addressed many times before this movie in Star Trek and in this way. In TNG episode "Parallels" Data specifically states that the theory is that all things that can happen do happen. And when they do, they each create an alternate reality.

Overall, the latest Star Trek movie was fun to watch and, for the most part, cast very well (I still couldn't buy Chris Pine as Kirk...and I really tried to). But the writing left much to be desired. Star Wars, at least had a good story with solid internal continuity...so the science wasn't as important. I think this movie could have been a whole lot better if more effort was made in creating a feasible, logical, plot.

SS13 said...

As One creviewer said "This is Star Trek, Star Wars style". Exactly to the point.

Author said...

And this pic shows that the viewscreen IS under the bridge dome, about the same location as the bridge on the original Enterprise/refitWhy are you so on about the bridge? Especially when you just said what I said?

"Whereas before the round bit atop the teardrop bit on the top of the saucer was the bridge, now the bridge is just a little round room taking up a tiny portion of the teardrop bit."


That's the round bit and the teardrop bit. It is a bit different on the TMP ship:


On the TMP ship the saucer top is the base for a teardrop superstructure which then has the teardrop-ish bridge module sitting atop it. The bridge module has the illuminating headlight for the registry.

Now check this:


That's the Monsterprise. The round bridge-y part up top is some weird glowy thing similar to the top of the TOS bridge dome:


But for the Monsterprise the glowy thing is the whole dome. Then there's a teardrop thing with a docking port on the rear and an extension back to the impulse engines, like a glorified version of the TOS impulse rail. The bridge is a tiny room in the front of that. That's now where the bridge is.

There's also a third distinct area, actually, not really apparent in the pullback shot (but visible on the trailer image) which is a little hump atop the saucer with the other two parts on top of it. Whatever it is, it's not relevant to me in this context.

I suppose if you wanted to, you could claim that the hump was a smushed version of the old TMP-style superstructure, with the teardrop section playing the part of the TMP-style bridge, even though that's more of a fusion of the TOS and TMP parts. If that's how you're viewing it, that is likely the source of your confusion.

In any case, my point remains . . . whereas before the bridge filled out a significant hull detail, now it's just a little room in the front of a much-larger-than-the-bridge-is significant hull detail.

Anonymous said...

Since when has Star Trek been a scientificaly accurate show? I watched some TNG the other day and it has dated worse than the original series, this film is exactly what we needed after the Berman/Braga dross saga...

S_1 said...

As a note. A number of the poor plot elements are 'explained' by the related comic that was released. I believe summaries may be found on Memory-Alpha or Memory Beta.

Suffice it to say - there's a lot of silliness required to explain the plot contrivances. I believe the only thing I liked was the their story that the tattoos are a Romulan mourning ritual in which the mourning period is determined by the ink fading over time. Of course this crazy bunch use permanent ink to match their level of emo :)

Anonymous said...

>>1. In 2387 a "supernova" threatens to "destroy the galaxy"

Go with a funky soliton warp creation. How it starts? That's fun to speculate on, either natural or artificial.

>>2. An angry Romulan space trucker

Without the background info of Nero and crew stuck in a klingon prison and busting out, it's weird. The prison could have gotten a few word mention with Pike or from Spock to Kirk via the mind meld.

>>Old Spock even refuses to come along with Kirk

Maybe to force Kirk to be the guy he's supposed to be, so he could command the enterprise? It's throwing Kirk to the wolves, but I'd wager it's Spock letting him use what he thought was inside Kirk. That when the time was right, he would 'be Kirk'. Very stupid, I agree, but it would fit.

>>Basically this is all the most retarded Trek-wank bullshit I've ever seen.

Trek has had a history of messiah-ing particular people: TOS Kirk, Picard (and Enterprise-D crew), not so much Janeway, but oh, god Sisko was the ultimate messiah, especially when it came to Nog. Forget about the bajorans, Nog would suck Ben's dick and like it a lot if he thought it'd bring Sisko to the forefront of every battle on land, sea, air, in space, subspace, wormholes, the shower.

>>"yeah, I've gotta come with you, 'cause I know how 24th Century shit works and maybe I can hook you up with some tricks."

It's a massive mining ship against a military ship, as you said earlier. And not just that, he probably thought that more than one would come up against it in Federation space, so it wouldn't be able to last forever. Even with a century weaker equipment that he knew of, eventually a single 24th century mining ship would get fucked up. This isn't too bad with me.

>>5. Spock adapts himself completely to the new timeline, becoming emotionally invested in the destruction of Vulcan and resigning himself to his fate as dictated by Nero.

I feel that when it came to the point where he sees vulcan get sucked worse than a 10 cent whore, he resigned himself to really the fate of helping the vulcan people survive. But, that wouldn't stop him from using his know how to then do some more time travel, like TI, to fix things and try to get back to his own time. However, it gets complicated when you don't have a temporal transporter. And remember, as much as everyone else tried to fix things, he doesn't have a temporal ship, a temporal transporter and he's old. He might have decided it'd be easier on his old brain to just stay in the past. And since he had no problem with meeting his past self, he could have figured some physics things out with time travel (he's wicked smart or even the federation science council or a similar organization) and thought that his time would be relatively the same as he left it, while the major stuff is changed in the past, like the background info they were using when they came up with the movie. I'd give old Spock the benefit of the doubt that he's smart at figuring all this stuff out more than the other Trek leaders who just try to get it to be exactly as it was before. The only one that might be able to know something of what Spock knows is O'Brien, but he's more about the mechanics of it than anything more advanced as applied time travel extrapolation.

>>12. And back to real science for the big finish, it is unnecessary to drill to the center of the planet to drop a black hole there.

This might be to make sure they kept a safe distance, since these not normal black holes are like sucking imploding bombs.


Anonymous said...

PSH: "If we found a convenient way to create lots of anti-matter (which is explained in the Star Trek tech manual) matter/anti-matter annihilation would be the most practical energy source every conceived. One kg of the stuff being used to annihilate one kg of matter can generate 8,990,000,000,000,000 joules of usable energy."

So that's 8.99 E+15 joules/kg.

But no, no, NOOOOOOO.... the anti-matter in Star Trek produces WAYYY more than that. WAYYYYY more.
In "Obsession," a single OUNCE of anti-matter is enough to rip away half the atmosphere of an Earth-sized planet.
This would require 1.92696E+22joules-- for a single OUNCE.
What's more, Star Trek science operates under the ability to produce GRAVITATIONAL energy, which is the only kind of energy we can't control now. Gravitational energy is the type which influences the shape of time and space-- thus creating the ability to reverse the relativistic effects of space-travel, and allow the ship to travel faster in space than would otherwise be possible, but STRETCHING the ship-- rather than "compressing" it via Lorentzian shift, while also moving faster in time.

As for drilling down to the planet's core: yes, they DID have to do that; if they simply dropped the red matter, then it would simply go tunnelling right through the planet, pop up back into space from momentum, and then fall through again, creating a tunnel each time; this would take forever to consume the entire planet, or at least a few years. In contrast, by inserting the red matter at the planet's core, it would remain stationary, and the planet's mass would all fall into it-- in 22 minutes, to be exact.

As for Pike putting Kirk in charge after Spock: well, Pike had his eye on Kirk from Day 1, talked him into entering the Academy-- and then, Kirk risked his career to sneak onboard and save the ship from falling into Nemo's trap. Clearly, Pike realized that his earlier instincts about Kirk's abilities were correct.

Regarding the supernova endangering the galaxy: this IS possible if it was a "Gamma Burst" supernova, which is a very rare-- but possible-- type of supernova which CAN endanger the galaxy, by sending out massive amounts of gamma radiation, and wipe out most life within 100,000 years.

Likewise, regarding the black hole sucking the Enterprise into it:
a black hole's event-horizon can enganger a warp-driven ship IF it's strong enough.

The Enterprise's engines were running the warp-engines at full-power, which was only enough to keep the ship from falling INTO the black hole.
Ejecting and detonating the warp-core, meanwhile, COULD propel the Enteprise to its escape-velocity.

As for Scotty disovering the trans-warp equation-- how do we KNOW that our Scotty didn't? He was still alive and well in the 24th century, after all-- as was Spock. And transporters DID operate at the range of light-years: at least the Cardassians' did; perhaps they used Scotty's equation.

As for Spock being "late:" I'm sure he got there as fast as possible-- it simply wasn't fast enough, and Nemo went into a "blame game--" just like Khan did.

Anonymous said...

Several problems with your scenario on the GRB. One, GRB's aren't a spherical explosion. They are two jets and it would be vanishingly unlikely such an event could scour a galaxy or even a significant portion of one, even as deadly as it is. Second as you mentioned, it would take tens of thousands of years to do that. Unless this was Romulus' star itself, they would have had YEARS to evacuate the planet. Lastly, these are incredibly rare phenomena. A few every million years. Seems a LITTLE coincidental even in Trek space.

Which ignores the comic that was even MORE ridiculous in its explanation of a wave that was warp capable and was GROWING in power by converting matter into energy...even supposing all this was possible (and in Trek space maybe it is, just insanely rare), there shouldn't be a universe anymore as SOMEWHERE, SOMEWHEN, it ought to have happened already, and someone would have dropped the ball.

Anonymous said...

Oh, regarding the black hole...you mean close enough not strong enough, an event horizon is an event horizon, it's just bigger with a bigger more massive blackhole.

The point was...once you eject the core, your warp engines should stop and you've then already lost the battle to escape...though this blackhole sorta "stops" itself it seems. Unless exploding the warp core provides massive FTL escape velocity (while in normal space, mind you, it's simply a matter/antimatter explosion and not a subspace field like it would be while hooked up to the Enterprise) I don't see how it could be superior to the Warp drive running into the red.

I suppose there is some precedent with the Ent-E closing the Son'a subspace rift.

And I DO believe you (because I have no faith in the writers thinking though what they lazily come up with) but when did Cards come up with multi light year transporters? Why have civilian ships then?

Anonymous said...

"You'll hear a lot of people talk about a huge half-saucer from a destroyed ship that the Enterprise almost runs into, but in a wide shot it is clear that this saucer is no larger than the one on the Enterprise herself. Most people seem to miss that."

picture available here:


It looks bigger... lol

Unknown said...

About the new trek film: it is an alternate universe that Nero and Spock arrive in. Hence why no technology or uniforms changed when the Narada crosses into 2233 (unlike Yesterday's Enterprise.) Also nero mentions that Spock miscalculated and the supernova went early. But still failed to help them. (still a sily reason for genocide but meh.)

It is incredible luck that Nero and Spock wind up in the same universe at all acording to the uncertainy princible they could have both wound up any where any time. But they anage to arrive 25 years apart in the alternate universe.

I agree no more lens flares please. but the movie was great. though i refuse to belive that the new enterprise is the size of the Galatica. No way. I think maybe excelsior sized at most.( i know ilm and the tech guys say way way bigger, but i ignor them.)

Picard578 said...

Well, I was thinking about watching that movie. Thanks God I read this... it probably saved me from few hours of headache.

But what seems clear is that writers were going for empty-headed Star Wars ripoff... maybe beacouse they thought Revenge of the Sith looked cool? It would be better to make a movie or mini-series about Dominion War, and center it around Sovereign or Galaxy class starship. That way at least there would not be too much technobabble (hopefully) nor (again, hopefully) possibilities to f*** up story and everything else so royally. My best guess from what I have read would be that this movie was intended for pre-teen / young teen audience with mental problems...

Anonymous said...

$tar Trek 2009 sucked more than any other Star Trek or Star Wars" movie before. My favorite plot holes:
- when Vulcan is attacked, Vulcans send a message to Starfleet asking them for help, but they don't actually mention that they are under attack. WTF???
- people with potentially dangerous and infectious diseases - look Jerk's balloon hands - are let on board the Starship even though Starfleet Medical Command is located on Earth. And how Vulcans would helped Jerk anyway if they need to be evacuated?
- space drill - they could shoot it any time they wanted, instead they send guy with a sword to fight members of civilisation that is more advanced than the Federation. Great strategy dude! LOL
- Did you know that you can breathe in stratosphere? Apparently pseudo-Sulu and James T. Jerk can do that..And they have stupid sword fight with Romulans who apparently never even thought that you can just shoot a guy with a sword. There was no "Riders of the lost ark" on Romuls? ;)
- When black hole devour Vulcan, Vulcans have hidden... in a cave. Because that's gonna help, right?
- Pseudo-Spock abandoned James T. Jerk on ice planet - there is no brig? And on this same planet, Jerk find an old Spock and pseudo-Scotty. How convenient! That must be smallest planet in existence!
- why mining ship have weapons in the first place?
- everyone said something about Nero's motivation - or lack there of - about stupid supernova that can destroy the galaxy, and about from cadet to captain, so I will not repeat this. I will only say that this movie is made out of stupidity.