Monday, February 1, 2010

Star Trek by the Minute 072: Glacier Trek

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Getting his bearings, Kirk taps the interface next to his couch and asks: "Computer, where am I?"

"Location: Delta Vega, Class M planet – unsafe. There is a Starfleet outpost 14km to the northwest. Remain in your pod until while I summon the authorities." I have to wonder if anyone else was concerned by a presumably non-sentient computer using the first person to express what she was planning to do. A re-entry within 14km would almost certainly be visible to anyone who was looking up, unless they had really bad eyesight, but this Federation outpost must not have much in the way of sensors.

"Oh, you gotta be kidding me," Kirk whines as he removes the bandages from his hands. Why he is removing this potential insulation from his hands after just waking up with his pod embedded in ice is unclear, but it doesn't seem very smart. He opens the hatch and exits the pod, climbing out of a deep ice hole with his bare hands. Anyone who lives in or near mountains can probably tell you how likely this is… Nevertheless Kirk is shown not only climbing a vertical wall of ice by his fingertips, but doing so with a gear bag slung over his shoulder.

Mantling the rim of the hole to the surface, Kirk emerges onto some very artificial-looking snow in a computer generated background copied from Hoth or Rura Pente. Panting heavily, he looks around as CGI breath steam reminds us that this ice world is, well, cold. Even though Kirk (or anyone) would not be able to climb ice in their bare hands, he is shown doing so, immediately followed by him wearing gloves to hold a recorder. After clawing through ice and snow with his bare hands, Kirk stands up to take a look around perfectly normally, again convincing us he is not cold and not touching snow or ice which you or I would be frantically removing from our hands if we had just been pawing around in them.

Next, in a long sweeping CGI shot, we see Kirk walking on a seemingly endless glacier broken into large chunks that are separated by huge, nearly impassable crevasses. With minimal experience climbing bare ice and crossing crevasses on snow-covered glaciers in the Andes, I was left wondering how many days it would take to me cover the distance described if I had good experience and how much equipment I would need. Here again, this film continues to show elements that would preclude the actions we are supposed to accept as moving the plot forward. In this case, Kirk would not be able to traverse the landscape we are shown without a huge amount of ice climbing gear that he does not seem to have or know how to use if he did, and without great deal of effort which he does not seem to exert. The so-called "plot" or "story" does not match what is shown on the screen again and again. One of the first rules of writing: "Write what you know."

Orci & Kurtzman not only don't seem to know anything about alpine or glacial trekking, they don't seem to have any interest in talking with someone who does.

Ostensibly clothed in the gear from his nearly weightless duffle and stumbling through a blizzard, our hero records "Stardate twenty-two-fifty-eight-point-four-two, uh, four, uh, whatever."

No women appear in this segment.

In our next segment, the film switches gears from making contradictory blunders, to copying them directly from the Phantom Menace in Star Trek by the Minute 073: Only the Delicious Run.

1 comment:

muser said...

"I have to wonder if anyone else was concerned by a presumably non-sentient computer using the first person to express what she was planning to do."

You must have been fortunate there in Patagonia not to have had to call any companies that use "voice recognition" technology (it doesn't). "Please tell me what you want," it says, and then later, after much frustration, "I'm sorry, I can't understand you. Please hold while I connect you to a customer service representative." Kirk's pod must have been programmed by the same idiots who set up Comcast's phone system.