Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Star Trek by the Minute 077: When the Unthinkable Happened

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 In a nice, special effects zoom typical of the excellent external space shots in the film, we pass through bands of rock debris and dust to approach the soon to explode star.  Spock’s narration of the mind meld continues “The star went supernova destroying everything in its path.”

Here again the science is pretty far off: shock waves from supernova only travel at about 10% of the speed of light, meaning it would take hours for such a shock wave to travel from our own star to the earth.  If we sent something to our nearest stellar neighbor at .1c, today’s babies could easily be having great-grandchildren by the time it arrived, 42 years later.  Further, we might reasonably suspect that any red matter would need to be delivered at or near the center of the nova, (we will ignore problems of travelling into the supernova remnant and across a “galaxy threatening” shockwave), thus: travelling at the speed of light, the effect would need 4.6 more years to effect the shock wave, depending on the wave’s thickness.

As we see a shot of Spock apparently talking to Romulans he says “I promised the Romulans I would save their planet.”
 
 “We outfitted our fastest ship,” with some nice CGI of the Jellyfish construction, “Using red matter I would create a black hole which would absorb the exploding star.”

“I was on route when the unthinkable happened: the supernova destroyed Romulus.”  Which is yet more nonsensical dialog.  The most plausible justification for this line, which has drawn fans’ attention, is that Spock made an error of timing – however even this tortuous addition to information not in the film can hardly be described as “unthinkable” unless making a mistake forecasting is impossible, and would have to change the normal meaning of words like “unthinkable” to make sense of the line.

Spock claims: “I had little time.  I had to extract the red matter and shoot it into the supernova. “  Actually, he was shooting it into the shock wave remnant of the supernova which occurred many years ago.  Hideously bad writing in my opinion, yet Orson Scott Card wonders on his blog “…if this might not be the best space-adventure movie ever made.”  I’m dying to see some justification for that in light of the multitude of profound defects in the film.

No women appear or speak in this segment.

Spock claims another impossibility in our next episode, Star Trek by the Minute 078: I Went Through the Black Hole

5 comments:

BurntSynapse said...

Posted for JDG:

Loving the blogs. I have a bit of catching up to do because I wasn't aware of this blog until two days ago. I don't seem to be able to post comments (the POST link is inactive) so I am going to just send a few comments by email if that is alright with you.

First of all, I though the movie was a complete piece of shit. The story made no sense. It also completely thumbs its nose at all of trekdom by basically saying "we've altered the space-time continuum so that all of the stories you have come to know and love (OK - except for a few which were pretty bad) no longer happened. The bridge of the Enterprise looked like the inside of a videogame arcade designed by someone on crystal meth. Who could work in that environment.

But I digress. My actual first specific comment is this. What is the reason that so many people are upset with "Faith of the Heart"? I have seen several posts by people who absolutely loathe this theme. Is it because they believe it to be a religious based composition? If so then they have absolutely not listened to the lyrics. It was written as a closing piece for the movie Patch Adams and was meant to reflect the mood of a person who believes he has lived through the worst that life can throw at him and has come out the other side stronger and can now face whatever else life throws his way. It is not about having faith in God but about having faith in one's own strength and ability. Taken as a Star Trek theme it speaks to humankind's faith in itself as a whole to be all it can be. Seems highly appropriate to me.

Now a lesser comment. I can't bring myself to actually watch the movie again to verify, but if the movie has Enterprise being constructed at a facility on the ground then it is wrong wrong wrong. In the canon, all starships were constructed in orbital facilities. Enterprise was constructed at Utopia Planetia (literally translated - no planet) in Mars orbit. In fact, starships were not constructed to even enter the atmosphere - at least not the larger ones. In one episode of Voyager, the ship actually landed on a planet's surface.

That's all for just now. I'm only up to minute 25 and lamenting the hatchet job that was done turning a young Jim Kirk into a JD.

BurntSynapse said...

The nuTrek bridge is designed for an iStore aesthetic, and is very impractical - yet I do see what they are trying to do, and acknowledge the huge amount of effort they put into the set.

OK, "Faith of the Heart" DID drive me berserk! Yes it was used for Patch Adams, but I don't know of any evidence to suggest that the fairly religious writer (Diane Warren) had an opportunity to learn of the existence of the film project Robin Williams would eventually star in. That would seem highly unusual...I'm not saying it didn't happen that way, but I would want to see that scenario supported.

Although it does not falsify your theory, many of her songs (including FotH) have been interpreted by believers in the supernatural as supporting both entities in that realm and magical interactions with humans, usually some kind of emotional telepathy.

I thought the surface shipyard was far outside canon, but it did look good and there are reasons why it would be easier. It was even suggested that the giant Corvette-devouring pit in Iowa was where the minerals for the Enterprise were quarried.

R. Anthony Steele said...

The problem with "Faith of the Heart" is that it was a pop song instead of the traditional classical music (or 'space music') that themed all the previous versions of Trek.
...and it's sappy drek, to boot. Fitting, considering how intolerably bad the show was.

Yeah, the shipyard. That was the trailer scene that decided my wife (tkhula) on not seeing the film. "Utopia Planitia is in orbit around Mars" was her dismissive statement, if I remember correctly. =D

-RAnthony

BurntSynapse said...

Wow, you married someone really "in" the Trek universe - the way good fiction should draw you in and feel real.

R. Anthony Steele said...

She hasn't been happy with much that's been done since TOS. She went to enough conventions and met the original cast enough times that some of them knew her on sight.

Sometimes I wish I'd followed her lead and not watched the film. On the other hand, the actor's truism "they only remember what you did last" applies here too. The only film fans talk about now is this one. I don't see how you can associate with other fans and not address the insult that this film conveys.

..and you can't do that without watching it. Oh well.

-RAnthony