Star Trek: The Next Movie

By Shamus
on May 12, 2009
Filed under:
Nerd Culture

Despite my raving about the Star Trek franchise yesterday, I actually liked the latest movie. Or maybe it’s not surprising at all. Perhaps the movie was aimed squarely at fanbase malcontents like me. As others have said, it didn’t actually feel much like a Trek movie. It’s set in the universe of the original series with the original characters and all of the classic plot devices. But despite all of the desperate look-who-it-is-now fanservice mugging, I never felt like I was watching a Trek movie. This bit from The Onion has a lot of truth i it:


Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As ‘Fun, Watchable’

Spoilers from here on:

A bit about the characters:

Did young, hale, pre-academy Kirk just lose a brawl? Given the number of seven-foot aliens he beats Marquess of Queensberry-style [much] later in life, it was kind of hilarious to see him get pummeled in this one. Is this the only fistfight Kirk ever loses? (Er. Not counting his last one. That one never counts.)

All of the characters look admirably like their TOS counterparts, except for Chekov. Aretha Franklin looks as much like Walter Koenig as the guy they picked. He was fun, but didn’t look the part.

Sulu was fine. The sword fight was flagrant fan service pandering, though. I loved it.

I get that they turned Scotty into comic relief. (And well-played.) But was it then necessary to give the goofy comic relief character an even goofier comic-relief sidekick?

Of all the characters, Karl Urban was the one that made the least sense to me when I heard about it, and yet worked the best when I saw him on screen. He looked like him, he acted like him, he was the right age, and he had the right accent.

Contrast with Zachary Quinto, who seemed perfect in the previews but who managed to hit several wrong notes during the movie. Most notably, when he gives his angered sarcastic “live long and prosper” to the Vulcan Council Of Important Dudes, he was more Sylar than Spock, and that was exactly the sort of thing he needed to avoid.

I like that they finally filled in Uhura. It’s a shame they never alluded to her depth or intelligence in the original rendering of the character. Her move on Spock was… unexpected.

Being a Trek film, they were more or less contractually obligated to insert new and even more confounding continuity errors. I will not enumerate them here. I’m just putting this here so nobody thinks they got away with anything. Even allowing for the continuity reset provided by the reset, they still managed to commit some obvious plot blunders.

Who am I kidding? Pointing out errors is 90% of the fun of reviewing a Trek movie. If they ever made an airtight story I’d probably feel let down. Here are my gripes:

Did they warp from Earth to Vulcan in 3 minutes? That’s… crazy. It would have been effortless to insert a time cut of unspecified length. Look, I’m not one of those geeks that can quote you how long it actually takes to get from A to B in the Trek Universe, but three minutes is far too short.

The uniforms were perfect. They looked enough like the original outfits to sell it as “original Trek”, but were modernized enough to avoid the stench of 60’s go-go dance sci-fi. The new bridge was cool, but was really, really far from the original. Just making it black instead of white would have been a good idea. Making the bridge pure white was the equivalent of replacing the communicators with iPhones.

In this whole great big galaxy, Kirk just happened to get booted off the ship and end up on the same planet as Spock? A five minute walk from his location? And then ran the rest of the way by chance? And that both of them were 14km from where Scotty was? This defies the impossible odds even by Trek standards. Perhaps these older ships ran on the Infinite Improbability Drive before they switched to Dilithium Crystals. I can’t really say that one technology is more ridiculous than the other.

Spock lived on the ice world, fighting off T-Rex size ice bugs and eating icicles even though he knew there was an outpost 14km away? Maybe I’m remembering that wrong. I sprained my frontal lobe trying to make sense of that stretch of the movie.

And what was Spock doing on that world anyway? Yeah, the bad guy left him there so he could “watch” Vulcan die. (And Vulcan was really big in the sky. Like, this would have needed to be a moon of Vulcan for that view to make sense.) But Spock acts like he’s been stuck there for a while. But that means the bad guy was right here, and… left? Does he have ADD or something?

The bad guy was a time traveler. He was upset about his homeworld being destroyed. He worked for years getting his revenge, and in all that time it never dawned on him that he could use the tools at his disposal to try and save his planet?

Why did the bad guy need to drill to the core? If “Red Matter” (the Midi-chlorians of the movie) was capable of making a mass into a singularity, then I can’t imagine why it would matter where you put it.

What in the heck was with all the plumbing in engineering? Someone needs to let the writers know that, unlike sailing ships, space faring vessels don’t need bilge pumps. (Or whatever those were supposed to be.) The spinning water blades reminded me of the “what are these things for” stomper-smasher rods in Galaxy Quest. But the stompers were stupid on purpose. And they were making fun of machines like this one.

In contrast to every other incarnation of Trek, this one was filled with anti-transporter malfunctions. Given what a capricious pain in the ass the device is over the next 40 years, it was pretty funny to see it perform so amazingly far beyond specifications here on the maiden voyage of the Enterprise.

Poor Captain Pike. The entire timeline is re-rolled and he still ends up in a wheelchair.

Still, it’s all good. It was a fun movie. The continuity reset effectively means they can go wherever they want with the story without trampling over the previous 40 years of events. I actually wouldn’t mind if they made another one.

The next movie needs to have Harcourt Fenton Mudd, and he needs to be played by Jack Black.

Just kidding.

(Sort of.)

Enjoyed this post? Please share!


202020208Great Scott! 88 comments! If only this post was a DeLorean.

From the Archives:

1 2

  1. Merle says:

    Just for the record: the water pipes were clearly labeled as “inert coolant”. It’s not unusual, as far as I know, to use water as coolant for power systems – look at nuclear reactors, for example.

  2. Mari says:

    OK, I admit that I’m a moderate Trekkie which probably negates anything I say on the subject of this movie. Honestly I knew from the first trailer that it wasn’t a movie for me. As The Onion pointed out, it’s slick and polished, lacking much of the “feel” of the series that I so love. But that’s ok because it’s not like anybody is taking the Star Trek I like away from me with this movie. Since I’d already given up on there being more of that kind of Trek I’m not remotely harmed in any way by the existence of a Trek movie that’s not what I want. I know, I’m blowing all Trekkie stereotypes right out of the water, huh?

    Anyway, I have to say that now that the movie’s out and spoilers are all over the ‘net, one thing I keep hearing kind of bothers me. You mention not seeing Uhura as a deep or intelligent character before. I’ve heard that from other people, too. But she’s been a serious character (as opposed to a token or a minor character) with real depth for a very long time to most Trekkies. Some of the more “cerebral” episodes of TOS gave her some excellent characterization to work with and Nichelle Nichols really went to town with it when they gave it to her. On top of that Uhura was the focus of piles and piles of books from the Star Trek fiction realm. I could probably sit down and compose an entire biography, complete with CV for the character if I tried. It actually makes me a little sad that “casual” fans of the series apparently missed so much of such an enchanting character. And for the record, she made passes at Spock or loved him from afar no fewer than 10 times I can think of off-hand during TOS. I grant that her feelings were displayed more subtly than Nurse Chapel’s but it wasn’t exactly a big secret.

    All that said, I’m glad that more casual fans of Trek and even a new generation of viewers is getting to know the series through this movie. I’m a big believer in “the more the merrier” so I’m thrilled to have more people joining one of my fandoms.

  3. Phil says:

    Given the spoilers in the article, I assume they’re fine here.

    What I want to know is, whose crack-brained idea was it to save a planet from a supernova by turning the sun into a black hole?

    Spock: Well, there you go. All better.
    Romulans: Gee, thanks. Now instead of being blasted apart quickly, everyone gets to slowly freeze to death.
    Spock: Live long and… oh, right.

    Though I SUPPOSE a black hole would give them more time to evacuate the planet. Still.

  4. bbot says:

    Power plants, by volume, are mostly plumbing. Though it seems odd, since Trek ships supposedly don’t run on heat engines.

    I also think it’s amusing that you mocked pretty much the same things as I did in my incomplete abridged script.

  5. SolkaTruesilver says:

    @ Phil

    A supernovae is something that affects all star system within lights years of distance in uber-radiation. So it’s probably another star than Romulus’ that exploded.

    But then again, a Black Hole is probably not the best way of stopping it…

    And then again, why would a Black Hole send you to the past?!?!

  6. Graham says:

    The bad guy was a time traveler. He was upset about his homeworld being destroyed. He worked for years getting his revenge, and in all that time it never dawned on him that he could use the tools at his disposal to try and save his planet?

    For this one, since he blamed the destruction of Romulus on Spock, he probably thought that killing Spock would save the planet.

  7. Gregory Weir says:

    Pike actually ended up ahead. He’s in a nice, lightweight wheelchair instead of a sheet-metal iron lung on wheels, and he can smile and speak instead of buzz a light once for yes and twice for no.

  8. Tango says:

    And then again, why would a Black Hole send you to the past?!?!

    Having used a black hole as a plot device in an RPG, I feel safe reusing my OOC explanation of events there here: “It’s a black hole, it’s weird.”

  9. Ed says:

    per Ken Jennings (of Jeopardy fame):

    So let me get this straight: Jim Kirk’s car plunges off a ravine into a dramatic, Wile E. Coyote-like canyon…in the middle of Iowa? What am I missing here?

  10. Michelle says:

    The bad guy was a time traveler. He was upset about his homeworld being destroyed. He worked for years getting his revenge, and in all that time it never dawned on him that he could use the tools at his disposal to try and save his planet?

    No. The bad guys were miners (as in mining for gold). They just got caught in Spock’s black hole just like he did. The don’t have the tools for time travel, neither did Spock. You must have been stuck on the planet thing cause that’s when he explained it.

    I got the impression Spock hadn’t been there very long but had been walking just like Kirk was.

  11. krellen says:

    I’m hoping to see this movie soon; my parents will be in town in a couple weeks and we’re a huge Trekkie family (my father was one of the crowd that marched on Paramount when TOS was cancelled), so I can’t wait to lay my more-or-less “official” Trekkie judgement upon it.

    Thus far, I’m not expecting much.

  12. I think Kirk got “Hang Off a Cliff by Fingernails” as a daily perk.

  13. Jennifer says:

    @Solka Truesilver: While it’s true that a supernova can affect a large portion of the galaxy, the radiation et al wouldn’t actually GET to neighboring star systems (even close neighbors) for YEARS. Even in an incredibly powerful explosion, the debris doesn’t travel faster than light.

    Yes, the plot justification was hilariously bad, but it’s difficult to say whether it actually made for a bad movie in this case. If you just replace all the instances of ludicrously silly science with “it’s magic” and pretend that this is Future Harry Potter instead of Future Real World, it works out okay. Not great, but okay.

    I’m surprised you didn’t like Zachary Quinto, though, Shamus. I thought he was awesome. I think you reading him as being sarcastic in that scene is more you than the movie–I was expecting him to be sarcastic, too, and was surprised at how very mild he was, but it worked beautifully.

  14. R4byde says:

    Funny, even with a new actor playing him, that Spock guy still looks stupid as all hell. What happened to his eyebrows anyway? Does his race (The Vulcans right? Or are those the guys with the ripply foreheads?) have some sort of adulthood ceremony where you have to lick a power cable?

  15. Zukhramm says:

    I didn’t even know about this movie before your previous post…

  16. Ms.Danson says:

    I was told that the engine room with all the water pipes was actually the Budwiser brewery plant. I have nothing to back up this claim with.

  17. Ozzie says:

    *spoilers and extreme silly fanboy geekiness follow*

    Continuity errors from before the parallel universe branch:

    -Vulcans have immense strength – Kirk is no match even for the half-Vulcan for Spock. See “Amok Time.”

    -The Federation fought against the Romulans before visual subspace technology existed, and so don’t know what the Romulans look like, much less that they are related to Vulcans.

    That being said, McCoy was worth the price of admission.

    Additional issues:

    *Green Orion girls are part of the Orion Syndicate which is nowhere near Federation space – what is one doing at the Academy? I suppose it could be related to Nemo coming back in time somehow, though I can’t think of how.

    Also, I think there’s now a mega-black hole by Saturn…

  18. Mycroft says:

    About Spock being snarky and what have you, I just figured that since the character of detached logician has become so much more pervasive in fiction since TOS they had him show a bit of his human side. People actually have 2 archtypes in mind to put him between instead of him having to establish a whole new one.

  19. Nathon says:

    Michelle: He was a miner with the ability to create black holes. If, instead of making one out of Vulcan, he had gone and made one out of the star that went supernova (I’m making the ridiculous assumption here that Spock was right when he said that his plan would have worked if he hadn’t been too late) instead, *poof* no destroyed Romulus. This solution leaves the science holes in place, but Star Trek is not exactly known for its adherence to reality.

    What bothers me is not that their technobabble plot device was ridiculous, but that the characters had to be idiots to not see the obvious solution to all their problems.

  20. Antwon says:

    I really liked the film on the whole… but the “why didn’t the time traveler just use his foreknowledge to save his home world?” issue was the one too-huge-to-ignore plot chasm for me. I’m willing to sweep a lot of the other shortcomings under the “rule of cool!” and “our phlebotinum doesn’t work that way” rugs… but man, this was just so bone-crushingly dumb. At no point during his decades-long pout-fest did he consider that he could maybe save the day and be a revered champion to his civilization? Or in the interim, maybe parlay his vast technological superiority into outlandish gains of some stripe for either himself or his people? Feh.

    Ah well. Either way, it was nice to see Uhura have some real substance behind her for a change, showing that she’s as multiple-sigmas-out crazy-skilled as the rest of crew in her own capacity. I especially liked that bit.

  21. Ferrous Buller says:

    I thought the plot was nonsensical bunk, but I’ll try playing devil’s advocate on a couple of point:

    He worked for years getting his revenge, and in all that time it never dawned on him that he could use the tools at his disposal to try and save his planet?

    Considering how far back in the past (relative to his own time) Nero had gone, which would be easier: waiting 25 years to take revenge on Spock et al; or waiting 125+ years to save Romulus from the supernova which destroyed it? As Michelle pointed out, Nero & Old Spock time-traveled by accident: it’s not like he could’ve hit the fast-forward button. Plus he’s a miner, not a scientist: would he know what to do with the Red Matter to save Romulus?

    But really, the answer is: he’s crazy and obsessed. Paging Captain Ahab!

    If “Red Matter” (the Midi-chlorians of the movie) was capable of making a mass into a singularity, then I can’t imagine why it would matter where you put it.

    The implication seemed to be that the Red Matter was inert on its own and needed to be “ignited” somehow. I would guess that the heat of the planet’s core was sufficient to do that. Or maybe it formed a very specific-sized singularity which was juuuust big enough to swallow a planet, but only if you put it in the center.

    In short, it’s a plot contrivance masquerading as Future Science thought up by people who heard the word “singularity” somewhere but don’t actually understand how they work.

  22. Robyrt says:

    @Ed: It’s a plot-driven cliff. Just like the one Aragorn drove his horse off of in The Two Towers… on the plains of Rohan. And it introduces the central motif of the story: Kirk pulling himself up from a cliff edge.

    For a less snarky explanation, perhaps he was driving into an aggressive strip mining operation. I’d imagine the Enterprise takes a lot of raw materials to build, and the environmental impact of building such a craft on the Iowa landscape is already huge, so what’s another gaping canyon between friends?

    Also: Did anyone else find it weird that Starfleet Academy has no surface-to-air defenses or shuttlecraft? Spock has to go down from orbit and shoot the mining drill himself!

  23. Malkara says:

    I find it hilarious how some fans are like, “It should be more cerebral like the tv show!” whilst pretty much everyone else is like, “Thank god it wasn’t cerebral like the tv show, that would’ve made a horrible movie!”

  24. Ciennas says:

    Also, I Really wish that Spock had sent the blueprints of his vessel back to the Federation, to benefit from having the blueprints for the fastest ship that the Vulcan Science Academy could construct, as well as its weapon systems, shield specs, etc.

    Because the one recurring thing I noticed during this movie was that the deflector shield couldn’t block anything at all from what appeared to be a conventional explosive missile, even though it split a million times. I’m sure it was a ‘piercing’ round, but really, nobody’s shields ever blocked anything. It sounds like the officers were shouting comforting words to the crew.

  25. Fry Guy says:

    The kirk landing on the same planet as spock thing actually makes sense. Kirk gets ejected from the enterprise about as soon as they get back on it. The romulans left spock on the nearest planet to vulcan so he could watch. If they were both sent via escape pod thingies, it sort of make sense they would have landed close together since they probably scan for buildings and stuff and try to land close to them. This would also explain why the outpost wasn’t that far.

  26. Nalano says:

    Yeah, about that supernova: They get the choice of burning up instantly or freezing to death nigh-instantaneously. Suffice it to say they’re doomed either way.

    Another Fridge Logic moment was the fact that Earth had no National Guard. Nero hadn’t hardly even had time to set up his drill before the Enterprise showed up, yet certainly the Federation would see the point of keeping at least a token level of forces at home?

    I’m not bothered by the Applied Phlebotinum of Red Matter. After all, what, then, are Dilithium Crystals? Or the fact that space vessels with advanced 23rd century targeting computers are within eyesight of one another? Star Trek’s a softcore sci fi universe: They pick apart politics, not scientific theories.

    I’m not bothered, also, by the fact that the Enterprise, the Federation’s newest vessel, is staffed almost entirely by fresh recruits: With the demand for ships (and the rate at which the Federation seems to lose them), maintaining personnel levels would be a massive bottleneck. They’d let anybody on a ship.

    Hell, Kirk was promoted twice in one mission, and pretty much so was every other main character – largely due to loss of life.

    As for the shields, they DID shield against one missile. One.

    On the whole, I loved it tho. I disagree that it didn’t feel like a Star Trek movie. No, I think it got the heart of Star Trek down pat – the Star Trek that was born of the starry 60s idealism put to the screen. This is a Star Trek born of Obamaism as much as the first was born of the Great Society.

  27. Mayhem says:

    Given the commentary about GTA’s railroad missions in previous posts, I’m surprised that you didn’t make the comment that Spock must have worked for Rockstar while at the Academy, given his creation of the “paragon of cheap” Kobyashi Maru test.

    I liked the movie a lot, despite the plot holes. Two things, tho:

    1. The aforementioned Kobyashi Maru being made by Spock made me cringe in that “Vader made C-3P0” manner.

    2. Scotty’s Erock has got to go. (It’s an Ewok with rock skin, therefore, it’s an Erock.)

  28. Magnus says:

    In the future, all women wear miniskirts…

    I almost laughed at the “THREE YEARS LATER” moment, which is something rarely seen these days in film. It did mean we could skip past almost all the Space Cadet parts, although as has already been pointed out, they went from cadets to being on the flagship because of some random emergency, and yet later in the film, the academy has hundreds of students running away from futuristic mining lazer-drill.

    The accents… Chekov, Scotty, Bones… all got a touch hammy there, played for laughs more than once (especially Chekov).

    The fanservice… “Dammit Jim, I’m a Doctor not a !” amongst others.

    Sabotage by the Beastie Boys, no new music in 300 years – now do you see what piracy does to the music industry?

    Uhura in the bar “two budweiser classics please”

    Kirks disappearing mother… or did I miss a bit of the plot?

    Other than that? I thought it was great. Bring on the next one!

  29. Mr K says:

    I have to say that Pegg’s attempt at ‘generic Scottish accent’ was quite terrible rather than hammy. His Southern accent was constantly poking through. He needs to work on it for the next film.
    (edit to save confusion: the Southern refers to Southern England)
    This hardly stands in the way of it being an enjoyable film though. Was a relief to see it do so well after seeing that Wolverine film the week before.

  30. B.J. says:

    You know, I didn’t think I would like it, but I did anyway. Most of my complaints were mere quibbles. I didn’t like how this Kirk cheated the Kobayashi Maru test (in the original he reprogrammed the klingon AI so that they would be intimidated by THE Captain Kirk). And I also thought that this new Spock was way too angry and dramatic. But still, it was a helluva lot better than the last 3 TNG movies.

  31. Nico says:

    “Did they warp from Earth to Vulcan in 3 minutes?”

    I thought Kirk was knocked out for an unspecified period of time – I assumed the warp took longer than that.

    “Spock lived on the ice world, fighting off T-Rex size ice bugs and eating icicles even though he knew there was an outpost 14km away?”

    Well, he could have been dropped off on the ice world shortly before the Romulans began drilling – it doesn’t really solve the odds of Kirk running into Spock, though.

    “What in the heck was with all the plumbing in engineering?”

    Like others said, coolant.

    I still agree with most of the flaws though – it’s more of a sit back and eat popcorn without thinking about it too deeply film. Much better than Wolverine, however.

  32. Veloxyll says:

    As for the canyon in Iowa, can one of the spacenerds who’s seen Enterprise say if the Xindi weapon struck around Iowa? I never saw season 2 so I have no idea where it was aimed (or where it fits in continuity).
    As for the short hop to Earth someone mentioned earlier, recall they’d already been at warp travelling to another system for a bit, and given they’re trying to contact Earth, it’d make sense for them to cut kind of close to Earth.

    As for the home defence fleet, remember they’d had to crew the newest starships that had just been completed with final year cadets to head on a rescue mission to Vulcan. It’s probably safe to say any units defending Earth also jumped to Vulcan.

    And the missiles, well, they’ve had ~100 years to make bigger, meaner weapons, if I’m remembering my timeline correctly, that’s about as long as the Federation has been in existance at TOS time, so it’s more they’re so uber that the missiles just overwhelm or cut through their shields

  33. Rask says:

    I’m getting the feeling from the movie that Kirk and Spock wouldn’t have been friends in this timeline, if it wasn’t for older Spock’s meddling. I kind of like that idea.

  34. Blackbird71 says:

    “The spinning water blades reminded me of the “what are these things for” stomper-smasher rods in Galaxy Quest. But the stompers were stupid on purpose. And they were making fun of machines like this one.”

    Yeah, I had the exact same thought about the periodic flame spurts on the drill platform during Sulu’s fight scene.

  35. ehlijen says:

    Am I the only one who felt like watching episode one all over again?

    Between the dramatic heroism overdose before the title sequence even starts rolling, Simon Pegg as Trek’s JarJar Binks, the painful accent=funny routines from more or less everyone, the badguy’s dumbest revenge plan in the universe, the big red(!) ice monster that was more prone to slipping and falling than Kirk was, laughable plotholes (3 minutes to Vulkan, a few hours for the return trip) and of course the lack of safety railing all over the bad guys ship combined with gratuitous amounts of endless pits I honestly don’t see how this movie was any better than episode 1, apart from the fact that it had no annoying kid if you discount kirk’s superfluous car smashing scene.

    And what’s the deal with ‘red matter’? The one thing that could have done with a little bit of technobabble was left as the explanation-less McGuffin.

    And that’s just assessing the movie on it’s own. If you want to bring the franchise on the whole into this, it get’s worse.

  36. Nick Pitino says:

    For the most part I really enjoyed this movie. All of the Star Trek loony plot points and such I was able to ignore overall because, well, it’s Star Trek.

    Though I have this mental image I can’t shake of the script writer cackling with glee and wringing his hands muttering to himself, “So Trek fans have been putting up with time travel plots for years now with nary a second glance and also like to whine over every detail of continuity eh? I’ll show them, lets see what they think when I use time travel to ERASE THE SHOWS CONTINUITY! That’s what they get! Ha, hahaha, MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”

    …I’m sure that’s not what they really meant to do, but that’s the thought I keep having.

  37. Joshua says:

    Yeah, there were a TON of those “Fridge Logic” moments. (Thank you for reminding me of the term; I didn’t want to search through TV Tropes to remember it).

    Great Summer action movie, but very sloppy writing with a lot of plot-holes.

    1. The first reaction I had when finding out about Nero’s grudge and the time-travel incident was “Not again, ANOTHER person who’s going back into the past to “correct” some future incident?” I was relieved when I found out that he was there accidentally, but then that opens up another whole slew of problems. Why was this one unimportant guy just hanging around at the same spot where Spock just opened a black hole. How, as a common miner, does he even know what Spock’s mission was or who Spock is?

    2. For that matter, why does a mining ship have weapons that can annihilate fleets of starships with ease? Why does this drill have a compartment where guys just hang out in case the drill is attacked? Can’t the drill be operated just fine from the ship?

    3. The Enterprise was delayed maybe 15 seconds because of the “parking brake”. When it arrived, the Romulan vessel had destroyed the ENTIRE Federation fleet. Not only that, but Kirk’s father had been able(with 25 years or so of earlier technology) to hold off the Romulan vessel long enough for the entire rest of the ship to evacuate. Also, at that point when he had no option left but to steer the ship straight into the Romulan vessel, he didn’t choose to take an escape pod?

    4. Nero waits 25 YEARS for Spock to appear, and just apparently sits around doing nothing to attract any attention to his near planetary-sized ship? In that time, he doesn’t think to get an advance start on destroying the star that goes supernova?

    5. When Nero catches Spock, instead of having him in full view when he destroys Vulcan, he just dumps him off on some random moon. I would have thought that watching him watch his own planet be destroyed would be much more satisfying.

    6. Uh oh, Vulcan needs to be evacuated! So, let’s send ships that can evacuate the citizens(knowing they’ll only be able to get a fraction of the percentage of the 6 billion people) and FILL them with tons of fresh recruits who will get in the way of the few seasoned officers since know one knows who is assigned to what position or who their crew even are.

    And lots more plot holes besides.

    The other major issue that I had was with bringing in Leonard Nimoy as older Spock. He was part cameo, part plot exposition, and part Deus Ex Machina. The last part really
    bothered me, as I haven’t seen a character show up in a movie to explain exactly what the main character is supposed to do to get the plot moving since the Sara character from The Crow: City of Angels.

    All that being said, it was an enjoyable Summer popcorn flick to watch, as long as you leave your brain at home.

  38. Lanthanide says:

    @ Joshua #37:

    1. The Vulcans had enough time to design and build a fast scout ship, so evidently they knew about this approaching shockwave for at least a month or two, if not longer. It seems the Federation would have told all other species about the looming doom, but not to worry because they, with Spock, were onto it. This would be fairly major galactic news, so we can assume that even know-nothing miners would find out about it (see: World War 2, Berlin Wall falling and Obama’s election for parallels).

    2. This one is trickier, but why is the mining ship such a weird shape to begin with anyway? Perhaps they were a ship designed to go on deep long range missions with little backup or support, where heavy weaponry would be useful to fend off hostiles. Also note that their technology is some ~150 years more advanced than Starfleet’s in this time period.

    3. Yes, the time lag there to destroy the entire fleet was a bit OTT. Note that George Kirk couldn’t leave the ship because the autopilot was destroyed. He needed to stay on board to continually adjust his course as the mining ship would undoubtedly try to make evasive manoeuvres to escape or minimise the damage.

    4. Yeah, Nero didn’t put his time to good use. Note that they would have had to have made substantial repairs to the ship after George rammed his own ship into it. So that could chew up a good 5-10 years there, or possibly longer. Also he didn’t have any of the ‘red matter’ until he captured Spock’s ship 25 years later, which is why all of the events of the film happened when they did, and not earlier.

    5. Yes, agreed. He seemed to keep Pike around after he was done with him (or perhaps he would ask him about other Federation planet’s defence systems).

    6. They didn’t know Vulcan needed to be evacuated when they left Earth, just that it was under attack by some enemy (a distress signal was received) and they needed reinforcements. I doubt anyone would have presumed that an entire planet could be destroyed at this point – remember ST2 and ST3 were all about the genesis weapon, which wasn’t around until another 20 or 30 years after this.

    Leonard Nimoy coming back was a little convenient in plot exposition, but it was a pretty good way to go about it. Why not compare it to Morpheus in the Matrix?

  39. Psylent1 says:

    There is a Prequel comic that explains Nero’s history.
    He is witness to the Super-Nova that starts everything. He was minng Decalithium, a rare isotope of Dilithium, and the prescence of Dealithium is what causes the super-nova to become a super sun. This causes an imbalance is all surounding suns including the Romulan home system.

    Ambassador Spock, now living openly among Romulans, has a plan to save the Romulan Empire, but mistrust between Vulcans and Romulans delays everything till it is too late for the Romulan homeworld.

    Nero arrives just as the planet is destroyed and he finds the Surving senators in an escape shuttle. They give him access to a Tal’Shiar weapons station and he kills them for failing the Empire. He and his crew Shave their heads and tatoo themselves in a ritual of grief and revenge. The Tal’Shiar station has captured Borg tech and they use it to “assimilate” all their prototype weapondry to the Naranda.

    Ambassador Spock gets the Jellyfish from it’s creator Geordie La Forge and the “Red Matter” and goes to the original Super Sun to “undo” it. The Naranda attacks just after he saves the universe and both ships get pulled into the wormhole.

    The Naranda arrives 25 years before the Jellyfish and at some point Nero gets caught by the Klingons and sent to Rua Penthe. (The scene of him laying the smackdown on some klingons were in the trailers, but cut from the film, but may be back in the DVD). Now what the Naranda was doing for 25 years is a good question, but it destroyed 47 Klingon Warbirds rescuing him.

  40. Marauder says:

    “And then again, why would a Black Hole send you to the past?!?!”

    Because physics is weird. Relativistic and Quantum physics especially so. The hard part would be having the ship survive the journey. :o)

    As we approach and cross the event horizon, everything we know begins to completely break down. The closer you get to the event horizon and approach the singularity, things get stranger and stranger.

    The gravitational pull gets stronger and stronger which pulls speeds faster and faster. As speeds get ever faster (we’re talking fractions of C), mass increases, lengths get shorter, time slows, and basically everything we take for granted about Newtonian physics completely dissolves into Einstein land, and it does not stop there as the Quantum decides it wants a part of the action and get’s involved as well. (And Quantum physics is even STRANGER then it’s Relativistic cousin)

    At the immense gravity and mass of the singularity, it may be such that the very fabric of spacetime is stretched to the point of tearing, though we don’t know for sure. We do know that even though in theory nothing can escape a black hole, that black holes do emit “Hawking radiation”

    As a result some theorize that on the other end of a black hole may be a white hole which could in theory by the output of these stellar vacuum cleaners, spewing out matter in some other point in space and in time. (some suggest that to be the origin of “Big Bangs”, possibly seeding new universes) In addition, white holes may exist in anti-time (the opposite of normal time, where time is traveling in reverse for them where our past is their future and our future is their past).

    While white holes are entirely theory, anti-particles (anti-matter (anti-protons/neutrons/electrons/quarks/muons/etc), long a staple of Star Trek, are not and have been created/observed in the laboratory, and yes matter and anti-matter really do annihilate one another).

    As such anti-time is also extrapolated as a theoretical possibility, to the extent where some theorize that matter and particles might actually bounce back and forth between the “beginnings” and “ends” of time, traversing thousands, millions, billions, of time lines as matter/time, anti-matter/anti-time, back and forth, etc.

    But, as we reach into these far reaches of quantum physics and peer into super string theory where we work to really understand the nature of the “multi-dimensional stuff” that makes up the particles, that make up the particles, that combine to form the atoms that make the molecules and the “matter” that we’re more familiar with, we are really reaching into the furthest limits of our understanding of physics and explore the limits of theories both current and potential (this is the sort of stuff that LHC will be looking at and for).

    Michio Kaku has some interesting books out on such exotic subjects, I recommend “Physics of the Impossible” as a good starting point and then delve in the more “hard core geek” stuff.

    Or… maybe I’m just a tad TOO geeky… ;-)

  41. Lanthanide says:

    Just to quickly clear up some confusion in the above posts, although I believe these have been pointed out earlier also, if sporadically:

    The initial supernova that Spock is trying to stop is *not* Romulus’ sun, so there is no case of “replace the sun with a black hole and kill everything through an endless winter”.

    At the end, the black hole is not created by Saturn or within the solar system. Spock inside the future Vulcan craft warps away, so the Naranda goes to follow it (Nero gets a bit angry at that), and the enterprise then also follows them.

  42. Phil says:

    @Veloxyll

    If I recall correctly, the Xindi weapon hit Florida.

    Ah, here we go, from Wiki: “a wide, deep trench from central Florida to Venezuela”

  43. SteveDJ says:

    Ok, several comments here (including spoilers, if I really have to say it :) )

    First, what happened with that critter they put inside Pike to get him to talk? (And, for the record, I HATED this re-use of an idea from Wrath of Kahn’s earwigs…)

    Second, there was supposed to be a tribble in one of the scenes, but I forgot to watch for it. Did anyone else see it? Which scene? (I’m guessing the bar on Earth, but don’t remember seeing it)

    Finally, responding to comment #36 and taking it further – the Continuity Reset only affects the related things in our own galaxy. There are a few events that come from outside, that should still happen…

    A couple examples: The Doomsday Machine, which comes from outside the galaxy, is still headed this way. Only this time, will the Enterprise be able to stop it?

    And, that probe from movie #4 is still going to come to Earth to find out what happened to the whales. This does not bode well in this new timeline, because I doubt Kirk and crew will repeat movies 2 and 3, hence not be returning to Earth in a ship that can land on the ground, cloaked (so they can retro-fit for whale tanks)… the Earth is DOOMED in this new timeline… :-)

  44. Catbunny says:

    @Ed: Wile E. Coyote-like canyon…in the middle of Iowa?
    Obviously, it’s been dug by Clover.
    Or the smoke monster from the Lost island.
    Were there no Lost in-jokes in the movie? Hmmm….
    (If there were, I certainly missed them.) :(

  45. Alter-Ear says:

    …Jack Black as Mudd?

    Wow. Just… I can’t believe how right that sounds.

  46. Kevin says:

    Hey, at least a red shirt died.

    Oh, and I get the impression that if the crew compartment on the drill were not there to operate it, it may have been used for maintenance. And really, even if you think nobody can stop you from destroying Vulcan, you’d probably still put someone for defense in the drill that you need to complete your mission.

  47. Daniel James says:

    The movie was incredibly fun, but I spent half the movie being amazed, and the other half thinking I was watching a warped version of the Muppet Babies.

    Seriously, the tactical officer on your new flag ship is 17 years old? I get that they used students for emergency staffing, but there wasn’t anyone with a lick of real experience to take the weapon systems?

    As many people have pointed out, Nero had over 150 years to fix the problem with Romulus so he’s not in a hurry. And he couldn’t do anything without Spock’s ship, which he gets only shortly before the Vulcan attack. But how did a simple miner figure out how exactly to calculate the location and time of Spock’s arrival?

    And with a giant ship that can take on pretty much every ship in the universe he managed to remain hidden for 25 years? Where did they get food? Energy? How did they do repairs after Kirk’s dad rammed them?

    The best gap was that Old Spock was willing to risk the entire Federation just because he wanted to ensure that his younger self would become good buddies with Kirk?

    I really enjoyed the movie, but I wonder if all the continuity gaps were there on purpose, to try to obtain the Trek “feel”, or whether they are just the by-product of lazy writing.

  48. joshua says:

    Lanthanide, Psylent makes some pretty good points that explain some of these questions, but it’s odd that you need to read background material for the plotline to make sense.

    I had thought about the point where Spock was kind of a famous figure, but Nero seems to know everything about him just a little too well for an average layman, except of course for the fact that he actually tried to save Romulus.

    I had also considered Morpheus, but his involvement was *slightly* less obvious in telling Neo what to do. Apart from the cloying “you are the One”, he didn’t really tell him anything that he wouldn’t of told any other person rescued from the Matrix. Maybe it just seemed less annoying to me, but I can definitely see why you would see the similarity.

    The part that got me in this movie was the “You must become friends with the younger me because the bond you forge will be strong and important to both of you and galaxies will depend on it…blah,blah,blah”.

  49. Segev says:

    My biggest burr is truly minor, but I can’t help but feel tremendously sorry for Captain Pike. He’s robbed of his 5-year mission aboard the Enterprise, and thus of at least one truly grand adventure. Worse, this grand adventure is the only thing that gives him a retirement that doesn’t eventualy land him in that “iron lung” wheelchair as his health degrades.

    Also, what ever happened to Captain April? Pike inherited the Enterprise from him. …or did April get it from Pike, then Kirk got it? I don’t remember, now… My Trek-fu is weak.

  50. C-Money says:

    I saw the movie last night, and while I agree that there are some holes, I thought it was a lot of fun. However, here are some minor questions that you can go ahead and ponder:

    1) Why are all these cadets hanging out in Iowa? Starfleet Academy is clearly shown to be in San Francisco, and Iowa isn’t exactly the most happenin’ place, ya dig? Are they helping with construction of the Enterprise?

    2) Is there ZERO security at the shipyard where they’re building Starfleet’s most powerful and advanced ship to-date?

    3) Why are they building a “pure” star/spaceship in a very deep gravity well?

    4) Why was Bones hanging around Starfleet Academy for 3 years?

    5) Why was Bones part of bridge crew in the Kobayashi Maru? He’s a doctor, not a sensor operator! (or whatever)

    6) Why would you not poll the ENTIRE ship to find people who have advanced hand-to-hand combat training? Maybe some Marine-types, or security personnel? I’m just sayin’…

    7) For that matter, why doesn’t Starfleet have a Marines-type department/organization? It seems like they keep sending personnel necessary for the continued functionality of the ship into harm’s way.

    8) Forcibly ejecting your first officer off the ship merely for arguing with you seems…illegal.

    9) Why did Spock get there late? It’s not like they couldn’t calculate EXACTLY when the wave would reach Romulus (and why is there no mention of Remus? Weren’t they supposed to be two planets in the same system? Or are they two different systems…? But then, why isn’t Remus destroyed similarly, considering they’re supposed to be close together?).

    10) If there is a Federation research outpost on a moon or planet in the Vulcan system…why are there no Vulcans present? Aren’t they interested in, at least, keeping an eye on that station?

    11) Alright, being able to transport further than 100 miles, sure. Being able to transport onto a ship in warp, fine. Being able to transport onto a ship in warp that is several light years away by that point? Uh…

    12) Did they just hand over the newest, baddest ship in the fleet to…an EARLY 20-something kid? Sure, in the original canon, he’s the youngest full captain ever, but just because someone does well on his driving test doesn’t mean that dad’s just gonna hand him the keys to his brand-new Ferrari. He may get the Ferrari soon…but not right away.

  51. Blackbird71 says:

    @Segev (50)

    Yes! At least someone else remembered Robert April!

    That’s right folks, Kirk was actually the third captain of the Enterprise, not the second. The ship had already been around for a while when Pike took command.

    Also, someone with more geek cred can correct me if I’m wrong, but as I recall, the original Enterprise (NCC-1701) was not the flagship of the fleet – it was just one more exploration vessel. The first Enterprise to carry the title of flagship was D in the ST:TNG series.

  52. Michelle says:

    @Nathon

    He can make black holes but he can’t control them. He’d just end up somewhere else.

    He was also motivated by revenge. He waited 25 years for Spock to make it through the same black hole he went through. His plan isn’t coherent it’s reactionary. Romulus was destroyed by the supernova…Spock wasn’t responsible at all really, he was trying to save them and failed. Nero was lashing out without reason.

  53. Ysabel says:

    In my opinion, the movie was driven by pure plotholium.

    Which felt just like the original series to me.

    I loved it as much because of the plot holes as in spite of them.

  54. Michelle says:

    um a couple of things.

    Nero is insane. Stop trying to reason his motives.

    By changing history everything has changed. April probably never became captain of the Enterprise, shield were not developed the same, from the moment the ship was evacuated EVERYTHING CHANGED…people who did things for those 25 years were dead, and others did things differently because of the tragedy. You can’t have a cannon that no longer exists.

    Folks. McCoy joined starfleet after he became a doctor. Kirk joined later because his father wasn’t there to influence him…they weren’t supposed to be there at the same time. Kirk became a Captain earlier than he would have, other characters just don’t exist in the same capacity.

    deal with it.

    • Shamus says:

      Michelle: Uh. In what way are people not “dealing with it”?

      They’re discussing these things. It’s fun. I’m enjoying this conversation. The “deal with it” comment comes off like a “STOP HAVING THIS CONVERSATION”.

  55. Coffee says:

    Sulu’s Magical Space Sword didn’t really make sense in terms of fencing… Not to mention his apparent Kung Fu.

    In general, the new Enterprise felt far too clean. Remember that episode of TNG where they find Scotty, who has held himself in a transport buffer for years? And how he keeps trying to do things on the new Enterprise like they did on the old Enterprise? This movie felt like they were using a new new Enterprise, where everything can be controlled remotely by the computer.

    It’s not a bad movie, but it doesn’t feel like the original series to me… And the changes to things like age didn’t really feel right. Colour me crazy, but it felt too… Teenage Adventure In Space to really strike home for me.

    As far as Nero’s actions, I don’t really understand why he didn’t just get on over to the Romulan empire, and provide them with 24th century tech…

    really liked Simon Pegg. Bamjacked is a good word used well.

  56. Blackbird71 says:

    @Michelle (55)

    Wow, they must have had half of the known human civilization aboard the Kelvin at the beginning of the movie for that one encounter to shift everything from technology development to rank advancements. Even if you go with the ideas in Shamus’ recent blog on time travel, it would take at least a generation before the major changes started cropping up.

    Losing one ship does not set back the whole of fleet development. Even if the entire design team of the Enterprise had been aboard that ship (assuming Starfleet is in the habit of putting it’s best design engineers on deep space assignments), by that time they would have already drawn up the plans and the Enterprise would already bee on schedule for construction (these things often take decades, look at the design schedule for any military air or seacraft). If Robert April had been a young crewmember on board the Kelvin and died during the encounter and someone else in Starfleet would have had the privilege of becoming the first captain of the Enterprise.

    Anyway, now you’ve got me nitpicking, which is exactly what I’ve been trying not to do with this movie. My one main beef is actually that they didn’t follow your advice and “just deal with it,” but instead made the entire plot a lame excuse for the changes. The plot made no sense, was full of holes, inconsistences, improbabilities and impossibilities, and it’s only reason for existence was to explain why everything was different. Since the explanation was completely unbelieveable, they would have been much better off just leaving the changes, having a real plot, and telling everyone to “just deal with it.”

    After leaving the theater, I honestly wished I had stayed home and spent the morning doing the yard work I’d been putting off (I hate yard work). They really should have learned the lesson from the Enterprise series: you can have good actors, good characters, good effects, a rich setting, a fanbase that will watch almost anything you put out, and a lot of opportunity and potential for something great, but if you don’t have a worthwhile plot, you’ve got junk.

  57. Chip says:

    @SteveDJ (43): I hear the tribble was on Scotty’s desk at the outpost. I didn’t catch it, but will probably watch the film a second time just to look for all the Easter eggs.

    One other plot hole that I haven’t seen mentioned yet is the loyalty of Nero’s crew. Okay, *he’s* crazy and vengeance-driven and whatnot, but what’s motivating everybody else on the ship to hang around for 25 years instead of committing mutiny? Romulus still exists; they could go “home” (in the past, but still their home planet) instead of sitting on an uncomfortable mining ship for a couple decades because their leader has a bug up his butt.

  58. Nalano says:

    I dunno about you, Chip, but I’d be very uncomfortable in New York circa 1884.

    @C-Money (51)

    1) Academy’s in San Fran, but the shipyard’s in Iowa. Certainly if you’re training folks for a particular starship, you’d want them to have some hands-on experience, no?

    2) To be fair, if Kirk was hanging around the area as he grew up, he’d probably be a known entity (the son of a martyred starfleet captain) and thus the rules have probably been bent for him before.

    3) In case the ship ever needs to crash land or drydock in a place without spaceyard facilities. Which, if I recall correctly, it does on multiple occasions.

    4) Just ’cause you’re a doctor doesn’t necessarily mean you’re prepared to be a ship doctor.

    5) To check stress levels of fleet officers?

    6 & 7) You know, you’re right! Where are the Marines?

    8 & 12) His ship, his prerogative. When you have no support, you can countenance no opposition. Conversely, when you have plenty of opposition, you’ll seek all the help you can get.

    10) Who said they had to be in the same facility? Besides, it’s an Antarctic-style outpost. Who wants to be stationed there?

    9 & 11) Haven’t a clue.

  59. Winter says:

    Okay, so first off the time travel: They’re using a “alternate timeline dimensions” approach to time travel here, which they allude to at a couple different points. Nero and Spock coming “back in time” means moving to a new dimension. Even if Nero or Spock stopped Romulus from exploding in the movie-timeline it wouldn’t prevent the explosion of the “TV-timeline” Romulus. This is actually one of the only ways “time travel” could work at all, so i give them credit for doing things that way. (Also, it solves the plot whole where Nero just saves Romulus and everyone is relatively happy.)

    Regarding the ice planet, and to some extent the wobbly plot in general and the kind of anticlimactic ending, i think they probably had a lot more written but ended up being forced to cut it by the executives. A sort of “You’ve already got a doomsday weapon, just blow everyone up!”

  60. Blackbird71 says:

    @Nalano (60)

    1)The fictional Starfleet may run things a little different than modern military, but typically you do not train for a specific individual ship. Rather, you train first, then get your assignment. It’s only near the end of training that you know where you’ll be going.

    Of course, for that matter, you don’t generally staff brand new and untested equipment with brand new and untested crew – just too many opportunities for something to go wrong.

    3) – Actually, I’m pretty sure that you’re thinking of Voyager, it was designed for planetary landings and had retractable landing struts. So far as I know, the original Enterprise was never designed to touch ground. I recall a story of a conversation between Gene Roddenberry and an astronaut (can’t remember who at the moment) during a chance encounter on a plane flight. When asked how he came up with the idea for the transporter, Roddenberry’s response was that he “couldn’t figure out how to land the thing [Enterprise].”

    To my knowledge, the only time any Enterprise has “landed” was when Troi crashed the saucer section of D into a mountain – which is exactly what you’d expect when you put the ship’s psychotherapist at the helm…

  61. Patrick J McGraw says:

    I’m not a Trekkie (I’ve seen maybe two dozen episodes total of the various series), but I enjoyed the film.

    Given my distaste for technobabel, I was pleased to see that the film phlebotinum (the “red matter”) was given no explanation whatsoever. We see that it’s a big ball of red goo that makes black holes, and we move on.

    The plot holes were mostly of the “contrived coincidence” type, which don’t bother me as much as the “idiot plot” type.

    Regarding the “canyon” in Iowa: if you look at the rockface, you’ll see that it isn’t natural, but was clearly excavated. A giant quarry with a fence a mile around it is perfectly plausible.

    The Enterprise being built on Earth, rather than in a spacedock, really bothered me, especially when twenty minutes later we see that Earth has a HUGE space station capable of supporting a dozen or more vessels. There just… no reason to build the ship on Earth, and many, many reasons to build it in space.

  62. Duoae says:

    I just don’t understand how and why they needed to carry around so much red matter when all’s it took was a drop to make a black hole of considerable density to stop ships from escaping….. after all, i thought black holes gravitational forces were proportional to their mass? What the hell was future Spock planning to do with all that stuff? Where’d it come from? How did it react? It seemed to ‘react’ with space-time itself…. but then how could you ever keep it away from space-time?

    Regardless of that brain-f*ck.

    Why would a logical species such as Vulcans demean themselves by teasing or taunting another being. Logic dictates that the path of least resistance and benefit comes from co-operation…. and yet in Enterprise and the new film, Vulcans are portrayed as infantile purists who are xenophobic and arrogant in nature.

    Why didn’t Spock’s ship, a Vulcan technological marvel, not have shields enough to deal with whatever crappy missiles a measly Romulan mining vessel had for its defence?

    Overall this was a fun movie…. it is what The Bourne Identity is to original James Bond.

  63. Corsair says:

    1: Because they didn’t know how much they’d need to stop the Supernova, presumably.

    2: Because they were children, and Vulcans are a highly emotional race that has to control itself rigorously. As for their Xenophobia, that has nothing to do with their logic. Simply their demeanor.

    3: Because Spock’s vessel was not a warship, and was very small.

1 2

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>