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Showing posts from June, 2010

Star Trek by the Minute 117: My Honor, Commander

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"Bones!" says Kirk, slapping his Chief Medical Officer: "Buckle up!"  McCoy rolls his eyes.  Kirk sits in the Captain's chair and calls engineering, "Scotty, How we doin?"  Does ANY ship actually require verbally checking with personnel in engineering in to determine operational status?  Would the Flight Director at NASA actually need to contact a launchpad engineer to make certain the rocket was fueled, or would fuel status be automatically visible in Mission Control?
"Dilithium chambers at maximum, Captain," replies the Chief Engineer, who then turns to Deep Roy and yells "Get down!"  The obvious question regarding Scott's report is: how does a "chamber" vary from maximum to minimum?  I suppose if one knows very little of "Treknology", one might think dilithium is a fuel, like diesel or gasoline, in which case this report would make sense, like saying (of a car) "The tank is full."  Although trekn…

Star Trek by the Minute 116: Sitreps to the Absent Captain

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"I am relieved," smiles Pike.  
"Thank you, Sir" says Kirk.  
"Congratulations, your father would be proud of you..."  and for some unknown reason, the entire crowd goes wild with applause at this point.  Is it because they think the ceremony is about to be over?  Is it because they can get out of their cadet uniforms? By the way, why is the new Captain and everyone but the Admiralty wearing cadet uniforms?  What the MC should have said prior to the applause was something like: "We would like express our gratitude for saving our lives with a round of applause."
The camera pulls up and back from the ceremony to show Spock Prime observing the whistles, clapping, and fist-pumping from an upper balcony, before he inexplicably says "Thrusters on full."  One can only surmise this was an attempt to imitate, but not directly rip off "The word is given: warp speed" from TWOK.
We next cut to the Enterprise Bridge with a whip pan, where Hel…

Star Trek by the Minute 115: Commendation Ceremony

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"Since my customary farewell would seem oddly self-serving, I shall simply say: Good Luck."  Yet another stupid line, but it does provide another opportunity to trash the secular, Stoic ethics Vulcans were meant to represent and replace them with mystical, destiny-like religious concepts.  While I might agree that "luck" is less rational, less measurable, and more superstitious that "life" and "prosperity", the question remains: In what possible way could this be interpreted as less self-serving, especially when coming from one's own, subjective framework rather than a more generally accepted framework such as science?  We might defend the position that Spock Prime is trying to radically change nuSpock's approach to life, but since nuSpock has only rarely (and it seems, accidentally) exhibited the ability to produce logically connected statements, in this best case scenario, Old Spock's efforts seem to be redundant.  The more likely …

Star Trek by the Minute Episode 114: Put Aside Logic

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"Because you need each other." Spock Prime responds.  There are two problems with this quasi-answer which anyone with a minimal knowledge of logic and philosophy would recognize instantly: First, "need" is meaningless without some goal or object driving the need, like a requirement.  In the great film "Out of Africa" Denys Finch Hatten replied to Karen Blixen's claim of "I need you!" with the sensible but because of their obviousness and insensitivity not stupendously brilliant questions: "Why?  If I die will you die?"  The second problem is one that keeps cropping up with these characters over and over, in fact the entire plot seems to advance on revisiting differing sides of an inconsistent setting: whether the prime and alternate timelines are separate universes, parallel analogs, or something else.  If conditions are substantially different in this universe with, for example, major players like the Vulcans nearly extinct and a …

Star Trek by the Minute 113: I Am Not Our Father

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Spock nods approvingly to Kirk and there are smiles all around the Bridge from Kirk, Sulu, Chekov, and Kirk again but no women.  We cut to Earth, and a happy Starfleet Academy.
NuSpock, strolling toward a shuttle, sees an old Vulcan and calls out "Father..."
Spock Prime slowly turns and replies: "I am not our father...  There are so few Vulcans left.  We cannot afford to ignore each other."  Spock Prime's statement indicates he considers them different people, recognizing the alternate universe interpretation that nuSpock explained back on the Enterprise Bridge.
NuSpock asks "Then why did you send Kirk aboard when you alone could have explained the truth?"  This appears to be an excellent question, one which instantly came forward during the ridiculous Delta Vega outpost discussion.  As if Abrams' advocacy of faith and hatred of intelligent logic were not sufficiently apparent from completely destroying Vulcan and repeated divine interventions on beh…

Star Trek by the Minute 112: Project Orion

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Is this scene, Scotty may look like he's trying to turn off that light with his mental powers, or firing a ball of plasma from his eyes, but actually he's warning his crew to "Clear the area!" for some reason, since he's magically become Chief Engineer.  Apparently, accidentally getting trapped in the pipes of the Enterprise and nearly dying is sufficient to warrant promotion to Commander of a staff you've never met, on a ship you've never seen, with equipment you've never looked at, on a critical mission, in the middle of a war, after months of isolation on a remote planet.  Rules of rationality disappear, Scotty is the Chief, (hand wave) and well...it's a miracle!
Here we see a bunch of pods being ejected into space, with the exterior nacelles and the singularity visible in the background 4 seconds after Scotty ordered his crew to leave the area.  These ejection ports are open to space, i.e.: a vacuum.  According to what we've been shown befo…

Star Trek by the Minute 111: Gravity Well

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Under the negligent, incompetent, and genocidal command of its acting captain, the Enterprise has exhausted its phaser power and wasted all torpedoes in its inventory on a senseless attack against the doomed Narada and as we see above, the ship now holds station next to the accreting singularity – apparently to enjoy the final annihilation of the enemy crew.  The colossal black hole nuSpock created a few seconds warp from Earth, which is certain to destroy everything in the area apparently is of no concern to “Acting Captain” James T. Kirk.  He, his entire bridge crew, and even his science officer make no mention that they are going to die if they don’t leave immediately.  Since this was reported with great urgency when the threat came from a much smaller singularity, and since this danger is apparently much closer, one would expect someone to turn off the damn nitrous oxide to the Bridge ventilation and get them the hell out of there…  Nope.  Precious seconds just tick by, in the mid…

Star Trek by the Minute 110: No Mercy

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Spock turns and asks: “Captain, what are you doing?”
Kirk responds, “Showing compassion, it may be the only way to earn peace with Romulus; It’s logic Spock.”  I would agree it is logic of a sort, but not one with which I would agree because of its unstated premises, in other words: somewhat fallacious logic.
Although virtues like “compassion” have been recognized as intrinsic goods for thousands of years, this film can’t even meet good ethical standards of virtue from thousands of years ago.  Instead, Kirk, (and one may assume Abrams & Co.), actually feel the need to JUSTIFY a virtuous action by explaining that an act of compassion and mercy cost nothing and actually could be profitable in the future.  Under Roddenberry, what was once a defining vice of the Next Generation’s capitalist foil: the Ferengi and their profit motive, a type of stunted utilitarianism has now become the moral pinnacle of the hero of nuTrek.  This actually would seem to provide almost a gauge we might use t…

Star Trek by the Minute 109: This is Captain James T. Kirk

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McCoy runs in yelling "Jim!" with Uhura and some medical personnel following.  The medical people swarm around Pike and take him away as Scotty says "That was pretty good," gesturing back to the transporter pad.  More like inexplicably miraculous, I'd say...
Cutting to the bridge, Chekov announces as Kirk and Spock enter: "Captain, the enemy ship is losing power.  Their shields are down, sir."  SHIELDS?!?  Does he refer to the Narada shields that have consistently failed, in every opportunity to do anything at all to stop weapons, energy bolts, particle beams, collisions, or even the Enterprise transporters delivering hostile enemies and then safely retrieving them?   This brings up a good point: if the Enterprise can beam anyone on or off the Narada, why not simply beam Pike, Nero, his crew, and anyone else around into a cargo bay, take over the Narada, and zip off to Risa for a round of Samarian Sunsets and perhaps seeking jamaharon? Nope...that woul…

Star Trek by the Minute 108: Pike’s Rescue

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Yes, here is Captain Pike lounging comfortably on the interrogation table.  Why is he still alive and taking up ship resources, requiring crew to guard him, etc.?  Nero’s crew is supposed to be on an extermination mission.  The scene we see here is like showing a pest control company devoting their time and money toward making nice nests for cockroaches, even at the expense of their own lives.  Despite the obvious ridiculousness of it, we are shown this kind of thing over and over on screen.  These Romulans just keep saving their sworn enemies and taking actions without getting any closer to their stated goals for the action.  This “narrative” tells us the characters have motivation X, and yet their actions commonly contradict these claims regarding major plot elements. 
Like his miraculous survival against and then killing of Ayel, Kirk, having randomly found exactly who he was looking for in 2 seconds, murders another Romulan crewman with another perfect shot to the chest,…

Star Trek by the Minute 107: Alphabet of Torpedoes

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After a few seconds at warp, Spock drops the Jellyfish to sublight speed, turns her about, and heads toward the approaching Narada in an apparent collision course. 
Nero, upon seeing the ship trying to ram him stares at the screen and asks (I’m not making this up) “What is he doing?”  Well gee whiz skipper, I dunno.  Maybe he’s trying to destroy you, just like EVERY ONE of the last hundred ships you’ve encountered?  Abram’s arch-villain is truly a mental midget with a chloroformed brain – and yet there were a vocal group who described Star Trek’s failure to win Oscars for “Best Picture” and “Best Writing” as an “insult” and a “snub”.

Assuming the audience is as ignorant and clueless as Nero, the film provides narration in the form of the Jellyfish computer, which interrupts cockpit operations during this combat emergency with “Ambassador Spock, you are on a collision course.”  First of all, in an emergency where a collision is imminent, do we really want to invest our brief remaining m…