Monday, September 7, 2009

STbtM 041: Kirk's ESP


The mentioning of Chekov's "whiz kid" qualifications is apparently supposed to explain why Captain Pike chose his navigator to provide the informational briefing to the ship's crew, in spite of the fact that his accent is so thick, he is moderately difficult for native English speakers to understand. One might think that the navigator would be better used performing his or her duties, actually navigating the ship while it is hurtling through space at "Maximum Warp" on an emergency rescue mission. One might especially think this when there's an entire communications staff whose linguistic ability better qualifies them, not to mention their training and duty assignments which are dedicated to, well, "communicating". Ridiculous – if one watches the film or read the script with any awareness of operations management.

Chekov's voiceless velar fricative for "H" in "Happy to" is, with the rest of his pronunciation, an attempt at a certain kind of humor I suppose. In case the audience members are too unaware to catch the problems with Pike's selection of Chekov, we are presented with the computer initially unable to register the ensign's verbal authorization code to begin the transmission. We are again asked to believe that the navigator of THE flagship of an interstellar fleet could not, under routine conditions, log onto the computer as well as my 8 year old? What if there were an actual emergency? Ridiculous! Chekov not only doesn't belong on the Bridge, he should be booted out of the emergency exit row on a Cleveland to Detroit commuter flight. Just like the helmsman.

When the code is accepted, Chekov broadcasts: "May I have your attention please. At 2200 hours telemetry detected an anomaly in the Neutral Zone, what appeared to be a lightning storm in space." (Not that again!) "Soon after, Starfleet received a distress signal from the Vulcan High Command that their planet was experiencing seismic activity. Our mission is to assess the condition of Vulcan, and assist in evacuations if necessary. We should be arriving at Vulcan in within 3 minutes. Thank you for your time."

Apparently Vulcan is considered near enough to the Neutral Zone that these 2 incidents are regarded as related somehow. According to Memory Alpha, Vulcan orbits 40 Eridani A, 16.45ly from Earth, and the Enterprise is able to cross this distance in about 3 minutes and 50 sec. This makes their average speed equal to the distance (1.51372*10^14 km) divided by the time (approx. 220 sec), or about 6.88*10^11 km / sec. In other words, fresh out of space dock, this Enterprise can go about 2,295,098 times faster than light, or 359 times faster than Roddenberry had indicated the maximum speed of a starship ought to be, at Warp 9.98 in the Next Generation. Ridiculous – if one watches the film or read the script with any awareness of Roddenberry's vision of the Trek universe, to say nothing of scientific realities.

Back in the medical bay, Kirk bolts upright and repeats "Lightning storm!" I guess we aren't supposed to remember that this was mentioned 30-40 seconds after he had been given a sedative that immediately knocked him unconscious, and completely so, as far as we can tell. Perhaps God sent Kirk's "soul" with ESP or auditory powers to float around the Bridge during the mission briefing, then zip back, magically metabolize the drugs in his system, and manipulate the neurons in his brain so he could recall material that his CNS's acquisition and memory consolidation processes missed. In other words: it's magic! Kirk's awake up segment is ridiculous – if one watches the film or read the script with any awareness of medicine.

Standing by and chatting casually to a female medical staff member, sounding completely unconcerned, and not bothering to look at the patient, McCoy says: "Ah Jim, you're awake." Didn't he just bolt off 60 seconds ago to attend to something critical and now he's acting like he's waiting for a round of mint juleps? Folding his arms and scowling at Kirk (who is writhing in pain), McCoy sneers "How do you feel?" Kirk, dripping with sweat and spasming in pain, groans loudly. "Good God man!" is McCoy's helpful outburst – again referring to deities, ugh. Perhaps the ESP hypothesis isn't that far off from whatever Orci & Kurtzman had in mind when slapping this out on their Macs. I wouldn't let this McCoy guy treat my dog at the local clinic, but Abrams and company expect me to believe this character is CMO on the Federation flagship? Should I not feel insulted by writing with such a low opinion of me and the rest of the audience? I feel that calling it superficial would be an insult to the superficial films out there!

Of the speaking parts in this segment, not a single line is uttered by a female.

4 comments:

Steamblade said...

Boy, it sure was lucky Kirk was there to tell 'em the plot (thanks, Bones). Since Captain Pike wrote that dissertation on the Kelvin and George Kirk he surely wouldn't have any knowledge of such a phenomenon.

BurntSynapse said...

Without a doubt. The whole story is so shamelessly thrown together without rhyme or reason. Not a single major part is written with consistency - and no character's act appropriately for the situations in which they are placed.

BurntSynapse said...

This "reboot" was obviously a ploy to make money off of Trek, without having to learn anything about it. It strikes me as a kind of theft.

R. Anthony Steele said...

My thoughts, exactly. They owe me for my time, at this point. I wonder who I should send a bill to?

-RAnthony