Friday, September 25, 2009

Star Trek by the Minute 046: With Shields Like These…

Previous: STbtM 045: Shields Up!

This segment opens with the Enterprise zooming through the wreckage of the destroyed fleet, which the Narada has pulverized. The Enterprise crew continues their frantic activity to avoid the structural carnage and detritus as if all this debris was some sort of surprise! It's not like everyone in the theatre didn't know what happened, and what the Enterprise was getting into, yet Pike and all the other flag officers and even Kirk who had been shouting warnings about a trap until a few moments ago, they all act as if this is the biggest surprise of their lives, less expecting what they find than my 8 year old. Might any experienced space combat veteran do better than this?

As the Enterprise rolls to starboard 90 degrees and drifts forward toward a huge disc section of wreckage in front of them that looks large enough to be part of an orbital station, Pike orders "Full reverse, starboard roll 90 degrees, take us underneath…" Editors probably deserve the blame for cutting the roll maneuver footage ahead of the order but the writers get credit for Pike's micromanagement of the worst kind, starting with his issuance of conflicting orders. "Full reverse" would back the ship up pretty fast, whereas taking the ship under the large disc wreckage would mean continuing forward. Again, Pike needs a refresher explaining that his order to the helm should be "Get us clear of the debris field, and avoid the giant Romulan death ship." Then let the helmsman do his job, he presumable does have a specialized station to be able to perform this duty better than can be managed from the Captain's chair.

With no discernable reduction in speed, the Enterprise continues toward the disc, and scapes the port nacelle on the rim. While the CGI is great, it makes no sense if "shields are holding" as was reported. Apparently we are to believe that this starship's shields are unable to handle something no more advanced than a rock floating in space. Perhaps they only "deflect" insults and "shield" the crew from having hurt feelings? The technology seems mysterious.

Once again our superheroes on the Bridge combine their amazing "helpless gaping" powers as the Enterprise exits the debris field to give the Narada a completely unobstructed line of fire, and nice viewscreen image. On that ship, Ayel calls out: "Sir, there's another Federation ship!" "Destroy it too!" is Nero's reply and one of his Aussie officers instantly replies with "Fiya tohpehdoes!"

Spock reports: "Captain, they're locking torpedoes." Pike: "Divert auxiliary power from port nacelles to forward shields!" He seems to have forgotten that the Enterprise only has two nacelles, one port and the other starboard. We may assume this order was carried out, but it works about as well as a jello doorstop and two torpedoes rip through the Enterprise with more explosions. Over the strobes and background French horns, Pike orders "Sulu, status report." Sulu responds with "Shields at 32%. Their weapons are powerful sir, we can't take another hit like that." Years at the academy weren't wasted on Sulu. Like a Sherlock Holmes in space, he notices the little details: a single ship wipes out a Klingon fleet while outnumbered 47 to 1. He insightfully connects the dots that this ship, without stopping, successfully attacked an entire technologically advanced civilization prompting a planetary distress call. In a flash of brilliance, Sulu concludes the ship has powerful weapons. At least he could teach Spock a few lessons on what drawing conclusions is about.

Pike orders: "Get me Starfleet." Ridiculous. Communications are jammed, Einstein – that's why no transmissions were being detected when Uhura checked just a few seconds ago, remember? Spock turns from his station to explain, "The Romulan ship has lowered some sort of high-energy pulse device into the Vulcan atmosphere. Its signal appears to be blocking our communications and transporter abilities."

Of the six speaking roles in this segment, not one female has a single line.

Next on STbtM 047: Psychic Psycho

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