Saturday, June 13, 2009

Star Trek by the Minute 009


Family Chat of Destruction
Our scene continues the battle, bravely insane Captain George Kirk has stayed at the helm of the miraculously repaired Kelvin, which we are asked to believe can present a threat to a heavily armed Romulan behemoth from 2 centuries in the future when it is unable to keep its own crew from being spaced…OK, we'll just get a ladder to overlook that, and next we're asked to believe that one person can run sensors, navigation, coordinate emergency evacuation, helm, tactical, engineering, and we will just ignore the huge amount of damage control just to keep life support. 
Apparently, the film makers didn't think this was dramatic enough, as they have our hero picking off TORPEDOES with phaser fire. This helmsman would have to be the best than any we've ever seen in 40 years of the Trekverse, but with a crane, we can overlook that. Recall that these torpedoes also split into multiple warheads as I think we first saw in Next Generation, so that makes it even more amazing. Still not fantastic enough? "Perhaps," the writers may have thought, "we should add more – like make his shooting performance absolutely inerrant, perfect accuracy on EVERY shot, yeah, that will really be cool!" and it ended up as what we see. Wouldn't this magical ability to hit torpedos have come in handy when the ship was undamaged, at fully-staffed red-alert battle stations, and able to tap the massive energy available from its ginormous warp engine(s) to AVOID horrible deaths? Now, even overlooking these Himalayan piles of impossibilities and contradictions, wouldn't we still expect better performance when our equipment isn't exploding on, over, and around us? My Wing Commander and FreeSpace results were much improved by the absence of mag flares & extinguisher blasts, Q-Zar arenas notwithstanding.
OK, I just had to find out who put their name on this script! Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman were the writers according to http://www.imdb.com/. They've announced their "working" on the sequel – AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHHH!!!!
Back on the Kelvin Bridge, the weapons show offline, shields at critical, and Kirk sets a collision course with the Romulan, jumps back into the Captain's chair, while the computer reports the course locked and engaged. We see the computer has fired up the big blue thruster nozzle at the stern of the warp engine nacelle. Problem: there is no exhaust on warp nacelles; they generate energy for big stuff like creating a subspace envelope, holding up shields, and powering weapons, don't they? Impulse engines, however, do have exhaust, and we see their red glow increase in the correct location astern the saucer as the ship inches ahead. At this point, there is nothing more for the skipper to actually do on board: he has manually locked on course and the engines are presumably at full for ramming the Romulan. If there was ever a good time to leave, this is it.
Instead, Kirk decides to watch the screen until a one-minute timer counting down the seconds until the Kelvin collides with the Romulan ship, and he dies – unless he does something. The tension is palpable and you could almost hear a lens flare when suddenly, Kirk jumps up and runs to an escape pod! No, just kidding! He sits there and watches the timer run out on his life. Fortunately, his boredom is interrupted by the cry of a baby over the communications channel, which you would think might motivate the new dad to… well, survive or something. Nah! He sits around while the baby is cleaned, wrapped, and we see his wife accept her bundle of joy with wide eyes. Truly, if a med tech was able to hand me a hairy one month old that magically switched to a bald newborn in the next shot, my eyes would be pretty wide as well.
In this scene, I thought surely George Kirk would do something other than waste his subspace minutes in silence, and he relaxes in his suicide seat and asks: "What is it?" The new Mommy should have replied: "I don't know, but it's got a moron for a father." Instead we have learned that this Kirk family exudes the film makers' preference for the nobility of proud ignorance over crass education. Why endure all that hard work to obtain "knowledge" when the "belief" like a child is so much better and easier? And what about the huge Romulan death ship armed to the teeth that had ripped apart the Kelvin in a couple of seconds and threatens annihilation? They all seem to have gone asleep over there. It's a miracle!
Apparently, we are to believe that Nero was so concerned about a medical shuttle escaping that he targeted it as a higher priority that the Kelvin which was firing at him. Now, Nero's opponent is attempting to ram his ship. Did you see that Austin Powers movie where someone was being run over by a really slow steamroller that allowed the person (frozen in fear) to stand directly in its path and scream over and over? This scene was much like that, but I can't really tell which was longer, but I am certain the AP team were aware this plot device was ridiculous. I'm just baffled how the idea made it through production with George Kirk's death serving no purpose and rather than doing ANYTHING, it was considered preferable to have the character merely sit there chatting, while nuking my sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast omelet takes less time! Surely the bridge boat, a space suit, or something could at least have been tried rather than this senseless tragedy. Nero is equally suicidal, insane, and equally unbelievable, taking no action whatsoever to protect himself, his ship, crew, and avenge the loss of his world – given later as the alleged primary motivation for his attack. Apparently not a single member among his officers or crew decided that the collision alarms that had to be going off were worth any attention either, as the Romulan ship held its stationary position directly in the path of the Kelvin with no attempt to prevent being rammed and perhaps, all killed.
Next time: Shuttles' Escape

8 comments:

crone51 said...

my whole thing about Kirk's birth is the same complaint I have about every futuristic birth scene. The parents always seem surprised by the kid's sex. Everyone I know who has had a baby in the last 20 years or so has known the sex of their coming child ( well, I chose not to know but I am weird)....you would think that in the 23rd century folks would know this stuff. But hey, maybe wanting to know goes in and out of fashion- like mini skirts .

Anonymous said...

Crone51 sent me. Fun reading your constant- nitpicking-yet-fascinating-commentary. Just saw ST today. Loved it - in general - with nostalgic tears throughout. But I am appreciating all the glitches you've found. Would battle scenes from TOS or TNG (or any of the good movies) have stood up to your investigations?
--yet older crone

BurntSynapse said...

In truth, the violation of so many fundamentals motivates me to show little or no mercy to the writer/producers. The special effects, music, design, and so much more are absolutely the best yet - but these fantastic talents are used to serve almost willfull ignorance and behind them appears an element of happy-faced, religious facsism popular in early industrialism and rebranded in the modern corporate era by marketing and PR agencies and methods. I may have to reappraise a favorite: "Yesterday's Enterprise" in light of your question and examine my standards. That TNG ep had much in common, although the comparison may have some problems. This project is going to take a while though.

Anonymous said...

I was less impressed with the movie than you. Without a good story to tell, I think you can put everything else about a movie into a thimble and find that thimble half empty.

My favorite Trek movies were the ST:OMP and ST6. My least favorites were ST7, ST9, and this one. ST10 and ST8 were bearable, but not worth adding to my DVD collection.

BurntSynapse said...

Hello Again Anon, I see you are posting several replies today, and glad you felt them sufficiently interesting to comment. I'm going to assume "OMP" is "TMP". If you had detailed reviews of why you liked / hated your selections, I'd be interested to read them.

I really think this film not merely lacks a story to tell, but it has racist/fascist and religious underpinnings that betray Roddenberry's beliefs and the ideals he tried to build into Star Trek.

muser said...

Interesting that you think Roddenberry tried to instill religious underpinnings into Star Trek when most sources claim he was an atheist (although I find religion mentioned too much for my comfort in TOS, and challenged a bit more in TNG, and I won't even try to discuss it in DS9).

muser said...

Hmm after reading your entry for minute 016, I think I must have misunderstood something. Perhaps clarification will come with further re-reading...

BurntSynapse said...

Hi Muser,

I think you misunderstood. I think Abrams is putting religious underpinnings (and violence) into Trek which Roddenberry was generally fighting against.