Re: Star Trek

@Dorkman: Alright I get what you are trying to say. I do. Call me the devils advocate, whatever.

And I'm just going to drop this, I was just pointing out something I found kind of interesting...

Blame it on not having slept for 4 days...

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Re: Star Trek

maul2 wrote:

I find it interesting that one of the original cast members and someone who has seen and had a large part in the formation of this franchise, seems to like the movie, yet the fanboys can't seem to get to get it together.

This is why I wish in retrospect that I'd been in the room after all.   'Cause I was a Trek Fanboy before any of y'all and I agree with Nimoy that Abrams' Trek put the franchise back on course after a regrettable (and lengthy) detour.

So Brian - it's not that the movie itself is perfect.  Oh no no, it's absolutely full of plotholes and inexplicable character motivations  (I'm looking at YOU, Nero).   

Brief aside:  My personal fave is when Old Spock finally emerges from the wormhole and Nero tells Lackey #1 "Oh, we're not going to KILL him" and Lackey seems surprised.  Really?  In 25 years the topic of "what are we gonna do when Spock gets here" just never came up?

It also cracks me up that apparently nobody wants to command a starship - how many times does somebody get handed command and then toss it to someone else as fast as possible - ten, fifteen times?   It could be a drinking game.   

Tho I do wonder if  that was deliberate.  It might have been an intentional setup  so when Kirk finally says (in essence) "Geez, you pansies - I'm practically an Academy washout but if none of you want the job then I'll frickin' do it" and takes the chair, it makes us in the audience think, "finally, somebody who'll DO the job for a change".

Aside over.

No, the argument I would have made - and will make here in truncated form - is that all your complaints that "this isn't Star Trek" are invalid.    Because it actually IS Star Trek, and what YOU think is Star Trek, isn't. 

The simplest and clearest analogy is Star Wars, and really, it's exactly the same scenario.    There was a franchise that I loved, and decades later there was joyous news that it was going to be revived.  And then when I saw what they had done to it, I was appalled.     They threw out everything fun about the original, kept all the lame boring parts and made them the focus of the whole thing.

That's right, you heard me.  Star Trek: Next Generation is The Phantom Menace.   

And just like Phantom Menace, we original fans complained like holy hell - but you goddam kids just ate that crap right up and insisted it was good.

So lemme tell YOU what Star Trek is.   Star Trek is about a crew of folks exploring parts of the galaxy where no man has gone before.   They're so far out there on their own that they're pretty much winging it every day, in a ship that's part battleship and part exploration/flagship.  Which is why it's okay to have some non-essential doodads hanging off it to make it look cool.     

The Enterprise's original mission was to park over a new planet and check out the natives and - if they were advanced enough to make contact - say "Hi, we're from the Federation of Planets which is totally badass.   Seriously, look at our ship, it's frickin' sweet!   You should join up!   (PS We're also heavily armed, fyi.)

And if the planet wasn't advanced enough, they had this thing called the Prime Directive which said they should stay hidden and not interfere... but if you're running a Nazi planet then screw the Prime Directive, we're coming down to  fix THAT shit right now.   And then just to be dicks we're also gonna punch you in the head and sleep with your girlfriend, the greener the better.   And then... we're gonna move the hell on,  lol, cya!   

That, son, is what Star Trek is.  It just hasn't been that in your lifetime, you can't be faulted for not knowing that.

So it's fine by me if you or anyone else didn't care for Abrams Trek, and it's even fine if you think that Next Generation was good.  I just object to the idea that Abrams' version "isn't Star Trek".    It may not be YOUR Trek, but I had it before you did and I says it IS.   

It ain't a perfect movie, but at least Abrams got back to what I liked about Star Trek - traveling in a sweet spaceship, punching dudes, seducing chicks and breakin' rules whenever possible.   All I know is that I enjoyed the time I spent watching that movie, and I haven't enjoyed much of anything with a Star Trek label on it for over forty years.  So you can imagine my relief.

Re: Star Trek

If you look carefully, you will see that nowhere have I made the argument that this "isn't Star Trek."

Re: Star Trek

Trey wrote:

'Cause I was a Trek Fanboy before any of y'all

Appeal to my authority!

Re: Star Trek

Thank you Trey for saying what i couldn't!! That was absolutely beautiful.

And Brian, you may not have typed it, but I could have sworn it at least a couple times during the commentary...although I'd have to listen to it again to check.

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Re: Star Trek

BrianFinifter wrote:

If you look carefully, you will see that nowhere have I made the argument that this "isn't Star Trek."

Maybe not in this thread Brian, but I do remember watching the DVD at the labs with you and specifically remember hearing you say at one point, "This isn't Star Trek."

So while you didn't say it here, I feel this is at the heart of your critique and it comes through wether you intend it to or not.

Eddie Doty

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Re: Star Trek

I don't like this Trek because it's stupid. That's not to say that I think Trek hasn't been tremendously stupid at times throughout its history, both in TNG and the original series (and elsewhere).

But Trek, at its best, is both smart AND fun (including the original series).

My problem with this movie is the same as my problem with Transformers 2 and 2012 - there's a movie ABOUT something in there that's ALSO a "ride." The two are not mutually exclusive. I just happen to be more invested in Star Trek than Transformers or 2012.

Me being a fanboy has nothing to do with the nature of my criticism of this movie. It merely increases the depth of the same feelings engendered by its brethren - namely 2012, Transformers, and all the rest.

Re: Star Trek

Astroninja Studios wrote:

Maybe not in this thread Brian, but I do remember watching the DVD at the labs with you and specifically remember hearing you say at one point, "This isn't Star Trek."

So while you didn't say it here, I feel this is at the heart of your critique and it comes through wether you intend it to or not.

Even if I do feel that way and I haven't said under oath that I do, it's not a debatable issue. For me, the "heart" of Star Trek is one thing and for Trey, it's another.

I will submit that I don't think Trey ever gave TNG a chance. Lots of original fans hated TNG when it first came out. And with good reason, TNG was fucking STUPID when it first came out. But it got better. But I don't think Trey ever got that far. I recall on some commentary, though I forget which, Trey mentioning he watched the first few episodes of TNG when it came out, stopping, and never going back.

Which makes him only slightly better than one of those people who claim to know what's in the Constitution without ever actually reading it.

That's right, Trey! I called you a Teabagger!

*grumble*Don't talk to me about defending the prequels...*grumble*

Ultimately, I can rail about the ship, or the bridge, or the lens flares, or whatever. But those are issues of personal taste, and not really debatable. The only worthwhile point to make there is that I think there exists an aesthetic that could please me and the general audience. But that's still not really a debatable point. What isn't simply a matter of taste is the story, which is pretty shit.

And you can be okay with a mindless sequence of flashes for two hours, but I'm not okay with that for any movie. And emphatically so for Star Trek.

HITLER!

Last edited by Brian (2010-04-20 21:29:54)

Re: Star Trek

Bear in mind this movie introduced like forty new characters to us in addition to having Nero in it.

Just saying, I loved this, didn't really like the episodes of TNG you hand picked for me, and I'm waiting for a sequel to knock it out of the park or bunt to first.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: Star Trek

We never really got to handpicked episodes of TNG, only TOS. You've only watched pieces of a couple that I randomly wanted to watch on a given day. If you want me to show you the TNG-select, we can do that, but we haven't done it yet.

EDIT: Also, I'm not sure there are a ton of new characters besides Nero. There's Uhura's roommate, the crew of the Kelvin, and Chief Engineer Redshirt. Anybody else, at least anybody that's more substantial than those?

Last edited by Brian (2010-04-20 21:46:44)

Re: Star Trek

I said show me a good one, and you showed me two: one where Data has a twin and there's a scientist played by Spiner as well, and one where Data was in space-court for robot rights.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: Star Trek

I don't remember that. Well, those ARE good episodes. True, not much blows up in them, a lack which IS the hallmark of bad drama.

Re: Star Trek

Brian, thank you for being in that room. Represent. I happen to think this film was shades of The Phantom Menace ten years later, and I feel ironically like Simon Pegg telling Jar Jar fans that they're watching "a jumped-up fireworks display of a toy advert."

Star Trek was created to be the opposite of Flash Gordon, which is specifically why they chose not to have rocket exhaust come out the back of the ship. It was an attempt to bring hard sci-fi to prime time television, stories that probed the limits of what science could imagine while simultaneously being metaphors about our own world. It was a show about exploring the frontiers of space, of our knowledge and of our beliefs, and if that didn't fill the seats, there were usually hot girls in loose outfits that needed rescuing.

The three main characters represented different basic viewpoints, so each situation would challenge at least one of those. They'd make fun of that guy the whole time, so at the end he could get one good one in before the credits.

Here, nobody seems to believe anything. We have a villain who's irredeemably bad for reasons they had to come up with in post, a story that seemed to have no point except to set up a franchise and a series of action scenes for the mere sake of action. "Nothing's blown up for a few minutes. Let's have Scotty get stuck in some tubes or people are gonna fall asleep." Where were the oompa loompas in that scene?

I heard there used to be an edict from Roddenberry in the writers room, that the Enterprise would never succeed by sheer strength or violence. Kirk ran around punching guys all the time, but in the end, he saved the day by understanding something about his adversary, or by learning the rules of the situation and figuring out how to manipulate them to the best result. When he fought the Gorn on Vasquez rocks and built a cannon out of bamboo, that wasn't the victory of the story. He could have killed the Gorn captain, but he didn't. He overcame his violent instincts, impressing the god-like race that had forced them to fight for some reason… Whatever. Say what you want about that cheesiness, but old Star Trek seemed to be about something.

This movie hired the guys who had two movies to explain what the evil transformers were even mad about, and they never even tried.

True, with the hundreds if not thousands of writers who've worked on the franchise over the years, the continuity has gotten so complicated, they should have thrown all that out, but the whole alternate timeline thing is like asking for fanboys to find the inconstancies. They should have started over like Battlestar Galactica, not some bizarre "crisis of infinite Earths" that makes things even more confusing than they were before.

The original concept is simple. Every week, Kirk gave it to us in about 45 seconds. They should have cast new actors in the parts, put them in the Enterprise deep in space and given them compelling conflict to resolve in ways that reveal and develop character. For bonus points, they might uphold ANY philosophical ideals. Once they have that, with all their money, they could still include all the striking visuals they had here and have ILM throw in a bunch of explosions to bring in that Transformers bank. There's your appealing to both demographics.

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Re: Star Trek

Show Teague "Family" as soon as you can. He may not get it, 'cause it's really sorta predicated on the Picard character and what's come before, but seriously, man. It's the episode that transcended the premise.

Anyway.

My feelings about this movie have been well documented here. (Thanks for mentioning it, guys. Thanks in particular for pronouncing my name right. Hardly anybody ever does.) So I won't repeat myself here.

I do wanna touch on one thing, though. I get why both Brian and Trey didn't dig on Nero. I think you both make valid points, and I won't presume to defend the film as executed here.

But his motivation totally worked for me. I don't remember the precise line, but it was in reference to Romulus' destruction. Something like, "It did happen! I saw it happen!"

There's a lot in those seven words, guys. Remember that Nero's subjective reality is purely linear. The destruction of Romulus is in the past for him. It's in his backwards light cone, shut up, I'm a nerd. Nothing can ever change that, no matter what.

But ruminations on the arrow of time aside, think about it from his point of view for a minute. Say you've got a girlfriend or something, maybe a wife. Things are good for you. Suddenly something awful happens, and your home town is destroyed, and your woman and your dog are both killed before your eyes. Then you get flung back in time a hundred years. It's 1910. Topeka is still there … but it's not the Topeka you know. Your chick? She hasn't even been born yet, and you'll be long dead by the time she's out of diapers. Despite your little jaunt through time, everything you ever cared about is gone, just as surely as if you'd stayed put.

Is Nero insane? I dunno, maybe. Depends on how you define the term. He's certainly consumed by his desire for revenge. And not revenge for something that, as you guys said, hasn't happened yet. Revenge for something that did happen, that he witnessed. It's as valid a motive for all-consuming revenge as any I can think of.

"Oh, but why not just prevent the destruction?" Setting aside for the moment the fact that he can't — it was a natural disaster, not an accident or act of war — what difference would it make? He'd still have lost his planet, his wife, his child. Even assuming his wife still ends up being born — which isn't guaranteed — his child will never be. Getting all clever-time-traveler and trying to change the future won't get Nero anything he wants. What he wants is revenge, and that's what drives him.

Maybe you guys would have liked it more if the movie had brought this up in dialogue. Maybe not, I dunno. But in either case, it wasn't a problem for me.

I was too busy demanding to know why McCoy and Kirk weren't in irons, and what Starfleet was doing about this apparently galaxy-threatening epidemic of lungworms that had apparently disabled virtually their entire officer corps.

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Re: Star Trek

Hey, I brought it up then and it works for me now - "It did happen, I saw it happen" got me over Nero's motivation and back into the movie.

Good post.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: Star Trek

Oh, you did? Whoops. I listened really late last night, and must have fuzzed out when you said that.

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Re: Star Trek

But he can prevent it. He has the tool to prevent it - the red matter. Spock only failed to deliver that tool because he ran out of time - something which Nero now has an abundance of. He could easily go back to Romulus and fix it. Of course, that's neglecting the fact that turning a planet's sun into a black hole is still basically fucking that planet over good and hard. But NOOO, let's not yell at this Trek for fucking up basic science in such a cringe worthy way. That would be far too nerdy. And nerdy isn't cool. And we have to make sure the jocks like us.

Had there been a scene where he talks out his rationale, yes, it would've been better. It still wouldn't have been great per se, since it still doesn't make much sense. But at least that would've demonstrated some awareness on the part of the filmmakers.

But if that's the way we're looking at it, then when Spock shows up, Nero should be ecstatic. Not only does Spock bring the means to save his world, he also likely has the ability to get Nero and company back to the future. The movie basically says that Nero has a full on meltdown, resulting in his deranged obsession with hurting Spock. A deranged obsession that doesn't have Nero kill Spock when he has the chance. Or take any steps towards preventing the disaster he is now capable of preventing. But a derangement that is not so bad that he can't orchestrate some stunning scheme to destroy the Federation. Or bust out of a Klingon prison. Or lead a ship and crew at all without having a mutiny.

But he's deranged. Alright. You like your villains crazy, that's fine. Personally, I prefer my villains crazy smart.

Re: Star Trek

I like both.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: Star Trek

Wait, you showed Fig DATALORE? Seriously? Ugh.

And Measure Of A Man? Geeze.

Last edited by Gregory Harbin (2010-04-20 22:56:23)

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Re: Star Trek

Okay, let's run through that. Nero has enough red matter to choke a sperm whale. He knows the date and time of the supernova as well as you or I know "9 a.m. September 11, 2001."

Let's assume he can live that long. Vulcans are longer-lived than humans; Romulans presumably are as well. He'd be old when that date comes around again, but let's just assume he's got a reasonable chance of still being alive.

If he does just hide out for a hundred years or however long, then manages to stop the supernova, what will he have achieved? He'll have saved another planet. One very similar to his, to be sure, but it won't be his. It's not like he'll be hitting the cosmic rewind button and undoing his own personal subjective history; what happened to him happened, and is totally irrevocable.

Even if the guy wasn't thinking clearly, which would be reasonable given what he'd just been through, it'd only take him about twenty seconds to work that through in his head. "Fuck this," he could very plausibly say. "I'ma get me some revenge."

In fact, I'd find it a real stretch to imagine that that character, in that situation, would do anything else. Except possibly steer his ship into the first sun he comes to. Rage or despair, those are the only options that make sense there.

Nero is not Khan. He was never going to be Khan. Dude's basically one of those guys from "The Deadliest Catch."

As for the science … meh. No, black holes certainly don't work like that. But if you ignore tidal forces, which is asking a lot but go with me here for a second, then they could work in a way that's not entirely dissimilar. Certain exact solutions in general relativity imply that closed time-like loops can exist around sufficiently massive rotating objects, as a consequence of the frame-dragging effect that was measured by Gravity Probe B. A guy named Tipler published a paper in 74 called "Rotating Cylinders and the Possibility of Global Causality Violation," which is basically the best name for a scientific paper ever, and he went into all the math.

In the real world, a black hole on the scale of the one depicted in the movie would have to be spinning much, much faster than the speed of light in order to create closed time-like curves in spacetime. And plus anything that got close enough to move along one of those curves would be torn apart by tidal forces immediately. And plus-plus, closed time-like curves don't work that way; you can't move along a closed time-like curve to a point earlier in spacetime than when the curve came into existence. And plus-plus-plus, the math of closed time-like curves is really, really iffy anyway. But if you ignore all that, then the science isn't the worst ever.

Course, even then it wouldn't look anything like that.

But dude. Kirk got promoted from midshipman cadet to captain in one go. There are bigger issues with the movie than a shallow villain, space-fins on the nacelles or a callous mishandling of the general theory of relativity.

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Re: Star Trek

DorkmanScott wrote:
maul2 wrote:

So I guess in the end, I can ask, what makes you think you know what makes Trek, Trek, than a man who has had a key role in making Trek, Trek?

...If you understand why this is a bad argument for SW, you understand why this is a bad argument for ST. If you think this is a valid argument for SW, then I have nothing to say to you.

Actually, it's not quite the same, and in fact the analogy between the decline of SW and ST is pretty darn valid, because it's the same reason.

Original Trek and Wars both were created by guys who had enjoyed some success but were still struggling to make a buck in showbiz.  They both acquired just barely enough clout to get to make a project that they really wanted to make, and lo and behold, both projects became This Huge Thing.

Cut to: decades later and both Huge Things got rebooted, with the original guys still in charge.   Which sounds great, except both those guys had become wealthy and complacent and both of those Huge Things had acquired decades of baggage from all the movies and books and merchandise that had been spawned.   

So now neither of those guys were trying to craft a piece of entertainment - they had become the caretakers of The Huge Thing That Was Beloved By Millions And Was Really Important And Meaningful And Stuff.

I've never been in that position, but I can see how that could really screw up a person's judgment.

Star Trek soldiered on for years with Roddenberry at the helm of all the various permutations, and then after his death it was continued further by People Who Had Known Roddenberry And Would Continue His Vision Faithfully.   

By the time it finally died a merciful death with Enterprise, the darn thing had simply grown too big and complicated and beholden to its own history to actually DO anything.

But then, after a suitable period of mourning, somebody else got handed the Star Trek franchise and did exactly the right thing - cherrypicked the tastiest bits from its corpse and set up a new version that quite literally said "All that stuff you're clinging to from all those old versions, the stuff that's stopped Star Trek from trying anything new for decades?  Well, it's a new timeline now, so THAT STUFF NEVER HAPPENED."   

Which, I gotta say, was pretty much a genius idea.    Otherwise Star Trek would still be a grey whale laying on a beach, feebly waving its flippers because that's all it can do.

Now, I'm not saying that George Lucas has to die...

but...

... wouldn't it be kinda awesome if somebody else got a shot at doing the same for Star Wars?     What if somebody (not just anybody, it'd have to be somebody talented, obviously) got to grab hold of Star Wars and shake the dust off it,  strip it back down to what made it successful in the first place, and then send it off in a new direction, freed of all that baggage it's dragging now...

well...

I think that might be pretty keen.

Re: Star Trek

Oh shut up, Greg.

I'm not entirely sure you're not making that up, Jeffrey. But...okay.

But you're right, that's another HUGE problem with this movie. Like in the TFN post, Kirk goes from washout to stowaway to captain in the span of a day.

I just don't know what to critically say about that other than NO. NOOOOO. That's ludicrous on its face.

Re: Star Trek

Unnecessary, too. I get that the goal of the film was to end with Kirk as captain, but that point could've been dropped with no other changes to the story at all.

On the other hand, "And then he rose through the ranks for ten years" seems a bit anticlimactic.

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Re: Star Trek

Bear in mind that we know that Kirk can be a captain.

And people get things they don't deserve all the time.

1 + 1 = Captain Kirk.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: Star Trek

Well, it's a meaningless point to debate. There is no set of circumstances short of the totally collapse of the entire structure of Starfleet that would have let that make sense. But it was dramatically necessary, so it got written in.

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