Sunday, June 7, 2009

Star Trek by the Minute 003

For the previous, see STbtM 002.
The Kelvin is under attack by the evil ship, and is being blown to bits. Shields are dropping when the Captain orders "All remaining power to forward shields". I'm not sure what the canon is on this, perhaps someone will give me an update, but seriously this "All remaining power" is really a terrible command - nothing for life support? What about communications? Sensors? Lights? Do the escape shuttles or other evacuation ops need anything? Apparently, the order is not carried out because of a transmission from the evil ship that magically comes up on the viewscreen. Apparently some disaster in the future will forever obscure the mysteries of answering machine technology for screening calls from future generations. Enemies can now just pop in on Starfleet flag crews, interrupt anything the bridge officers are doing and begin ominous monologues without opening a com channel. In this case, the monologue demands the Kelvin's captain take a shuttle over to the evil ship.

If I'd just blown the hell out of a ship, I might want to check on whether a particular person with whom I wanted to speak was still alive to speak with me, that their com system still worked, or better yet, perhaps I might have more luck in conversations if I didn't start them by gruesomely murdering a bunch of my new acquaintances' colleagues, friends, families and trashing their ship? I'm guessing these evil green aliens had a hard time picking up girls. You know, they never really mastered the technique of making friends, who like to do things with you because you share things in common, have trust, rapport and simply like each other. I suppose life on an evil ship just sort of has a way of doing that to an innocent, just-hatched alien.

Still, the Kelvin bridge looks absolutely gorgeous and the musical score is great. The bridge alien from the Star Wars bar scene is a silly ripoff / possible "homage" (as was pointed out to me), and the rest of this segment features the skipper ordering his helmsman: "Walk with me" and to "continue the evacuation" if 15 minutes pass without a report back from the captain, as the pair head to a lift. This makes no sense, the ship is already lost and they know it.  Every second of delay means more people being burned up, blown apart, and sucked out into't emergency evacuation continue regardless?  That seems kind of a no brainer, doesn't it?  

Loss of the ship could be caused by previous damage that puts it beyond saving, or if there is an intent to deliberately scuttle, such as with a ram/self-destruct tactic.

He next orders the helmsman to "Use autopilot, then get off the ship." Presumably, this is for a distraction, not ramming the evil ship, as would require a direct order, but this order is difficult to understand given any believable rules of engagement. We really have no idea what the other ship represents, nor why it attacked. What we do know is that it far outclasses any vessel we know or have seen reported, it is represented by a humanoid, it has attacked in some mistaken belief, and now they have offered talks.  Neither distraction nor ramming is plausible, given the inability of the helplessness of the Kelvin even when it was fully crewed and in one piece.

The 3rd order to get off the ship sounds good, especially if one knows how new captains might be tempted to "Go down with the ship." His final words to his crewman: "You're captain now, Mr. Kirk".  In a minor quibble, he really should have used "Mr. Kirk's" proper rank…
Next: STbtM 004


crone51 said...

I chose to think of the Star Wars alien as an homage rather than a rip off ....

BurntSynapse said...

Good point. Perhaps I was hoping for more of an homage to Star Trek from a Star Trek movie... After crying during this movie, I've probably got a chip on my shoulder about the movie...and ready to over-react.

Anonymous said...

I believe it's traditional trek to refer to a ship's commanding officer as Captain, regardless of rank. Which is confusing, since there is also the rank of Captain, but there we are.

Anonymous said...

Two minor points:

(1) As another pointed out, in Naval traditions, a ship's commanding officer is called a "Captain" whether or not he holds that rank. (i.e.: John Kennedy is sometimes called the captain of PT-109. In the Navy, the captains of many small ships such as frigates are of a Commander's rank or lower.)

(2) Refering to an officer as "Mr." rather than by exact rank is also consistent with Naval tradition. (i.e.: See "Mister Roberts" (1955).)

BurntSynapse said...

Thanks for the feedback!

There seems to be some way to read this that indicates I disagree with the idea that the person in command of a ship may be called "Captain", but I'm not finding what I wrote that is conveys that meaning. Would anyone help me find the section that needs rewording and on which 2 people have now commented? It would be appreciated!

I well recall from TNG "Captain Dirgo" of the mining shuttle in Final Mission, and "Remember Enterprise, Captain Riker has never lost" from Peak Performance.

muser said...

Kind of late to reply but people were misinterpreting what you meant by "In a minor quibble, he really should have used "Mr. Kirk's" proper rank…" I took that to mean he shouldn't have called him "Mister" (but there's no reason why he shouldn't). Others took it to mean Robau should not call Kirk "captain". I don't agree with your quibble, though. It would make Robau's line something like "You're the captain now, lieutenant commander Kirk." Sounds awful. Military officers do often refer to their juniors as "mister" so I don't see the problem with the line as written. Love the minute by minute account and do agree with 99.9% (so far...)

BurntSynapse said...

Yes, you're right about that line. I envisioned a more standard target-source callout, like "Commander Kirk, you're Captain now," similar to "USS Kelvin, go for Starfleet base" or "Kelvin, have you checked those readings?" which would seem more appropriate for a formal order of that magnitude but again, it's a really minor quibble that I don't think harms the scene much.

Clinton said...

Hello there, BurntSynapse:

I was linked here from another blog. I am a longtime Star Trek fan, and I must admit I did enjoy this movie. However, I am greatly enjoying your minute-by-minute review of the film and I am definitely open to being proven wrong. I look forward to reading more entries.

BurntSynapse said...

Hi Clinton,

I'm unsure it's possible to prove what people should or shouldn't enjoy in an absolute sense, but I do believe that the film embodies attitudes which are dangerous, violent, racist, and sexist. I believe that as much fun as it might be to indulge in fantasies of power and domination, there are real risks. I also believe that generally accepted standards for story-telling exist, and that this film violates them egregiously. Still, there's lots about it that I, my opinion on, and appreciation of this 117 minute film appears similar to my opinion on most complex things: it's complicated.

Thanks for the feedback - I appreciate it!

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