Saw Star Trek Last Night (DO NOT READ THIS)

Discussion in 'SciFi & Fantasy' started by lixluke, May 8, 2009.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I just got back from the theater and I enjoyed the hell out of the movie. I've read your reams of criticisms and yes yes, the plot was full of holes and the science was reminiscent of the "Lensman" novels, so I would not have wanted to read this as a novel. But as a movie it was great.

    Whenever anyone asks sci-fi (and fantasy) writers and editors what it takes to write a great story, the answer is always "sense of wonder." The first "Star Wars" movie had it. "Lord of the Rings" had it. "The Dark Crystal" had it, and almost every episode of "Farscape"--interesting how Muppetry seems to catalyze it. The original Star Trek movie had it but they quickly lost it. This one had it. The simple technique of showing a shuttle moving past the hull of the Enterprise to slowly let us know just how BIG the thing is--the same kind of shot they used in the original film--that was sense of wonder for me. The impossibly evil looking Romulan ship, that was sense of wonder for me. The Vulcan city. They did it several times. That's what movies are for, to do in visual images what might not be so easy to do in words, since they can't do the things well that words do well.
    This is 200 years from now and as we learned in TNG, WWIII and WWIV have occurred. The world is surely much different from ours. Perhaps Iowa is now the perfect place for a military spaceport with an adjoining shipbuilding facility. It clearly still has a lot of undeveloped space, which would be a requirement. Apparently its topography was changed by the wars, because there are no canyons in Iowa in our century. I don't think you could hurt yourself by tripping and falling off of the highest elevation in the state.
    McCoy isn't a cadet. He's clearly already a ship's surgeon. He's just there because he's been on shore leave and he needs to get back to the ship in the morning like everybody else.
    It's a brand new ship that wasn't supposed to be launched yet. Virtually all of Star Fleet's personnel are off dealing with another disaster so this is all they've got.
    I cheered when I realized that's what they had accomplished. The Star Trek franchise has run out of steam and my wife and I are both starting to miss it. If they tried to launch another series they'd have to set it a long way off in the future to give the galaxy a chance to have evolved new politics and dangers, and it would be hard to create enough continuity for us to connect with it. (Wait, wasn't that "Andromeda"?

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    ) This way we get the familiar Star Trek universe, with even the same old beloved characters, the same old Halloween-costume aliens and the same old forehead-slapping science, but with today's production technology. I'm still cheering.
    Depth? How can any fan of TOS talk about depth with a straight face? I hereby publicly confess that I didn't watch TOS because it was just too hokey and I couldn't stand it. Not in its original run and not in its endless syndication. It had some good episodes and I've seen some of them, and I certainly enjoyed the first movie if only for the cute ending. But we didn't become Star Trek fans until TNG. That was the "depth" we were waiting for. Real philosophy, real drama... by sci-fi standards anyway. Ardra, the time they wanted to dismantle Data, Picard's recovery of his flute from the dead planet... those were good stories, even if the science was still hokey. And of course Patrick Stewart was voted "the sexiest man on TV" in one TV Guide poll and my wife was nodding her head vigorously when she read that.

    DS9 had a lot of serious stories too. Setting Sisko up to dishonor himself as a ploy to win peace, and the cartoonish Ferengi episodes always had a little kicker. Even Voyager had its moments. It was an interesting perspective that the male starship captains were all dads leading their kids off on dangerous adventures, whereas Janeway was a mom, wanting only to bring her kids home safely.
    It certainly looked like he was set up to retain command of the ship once the crisis was over. It's awfully suspicious that he's got exactly the same crew as on TOS.

    Oh come on dude. Considering how the managers of this franchise laugh in the face of implausibility on the average of once every four and a half minutes, I don't think they'll have any trouble at all taking it wherever they want to go next. Besides, it was stressed more than once that Vulcan culture has not been destroyed and that there are more than enough Vulcans left to rebuild a decent-sized civilization around it.
    So am I. But there were almost no decent sci-fi movies in the 1950s and 1960s. "Forbidden Planet," "War of the Worlds"? Certainly "okay," but hardly "great" except in the sense that someone managed to get them made at all. "Barbarella" was about as good as any of them; at least it was amusing. And sci-fi on TV was even worse. "Tom Corbett: Space Cadet," "Space Patrol." I watched them all and got all the collectibles from my cereal boxes, but I can't imagine any adult sitting through an episode.
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  3. Nasor Valued Senior Member

    I assumed he meant that there was no way they could plausibly have events develop the same way. Of course if the writers have no regard for logic or reason, they can just make up whatever ridiculous bullshit they want. Hey, maybe there could be a startrek christmas special where the Enterprise has to rescue Santa Clause from the klingons? Spock would act all stoic up until the end, when Santa is handing out gifts and gives him a set of knit ear warmers, and he would break down a little and smile slightly so that everyone in the audience knows that, hey, he might pretend to be a tough emotionless bastard most of the time, but inside he really has a heart of gold that appreciates the true spirit of christam. Then is closes with an exterior shot of santa in his sleigh zooming away from the enterprise, off to deliver toys to various planets.

    Anyway, why is it just SO difficult for the writers in these sorts of movies to come up with a story that's not riddled with holes? You see roughly 5 billion times more plot holes in scifi movies than you see in any other genera. Why is it that people can write logical scripts for movies about cops or scheming politicians or soliders or virtually any other subject, but as soon as scifi comes up they just switch their brains off? I'm not saying I expect a masterwork of great writing, I'd just like to be able to watch a scifi movie without constantly saying "What? Why would that guy do that? Why wouldn't he just do X???"
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    If you were as knowledgeable about police work, politics or war as you are about science, you'd notice the same flaws in those plots too. Have you ever watched an episode of "24" a second time, when you weren't being dragged breathlessly forward by adrenaline?
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  7. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    I thought of another glaring flaw. If, in the universe we saw, Kirk grew up without his real father, and in the real universe he did, there is no way he would have grown up into the same person. He rebeled against his step-dad by stealing his car, would he have done the same with his real dad? Is his "Kirkness" entirely genetic or what?
  8. Nasor Valued Senior Member

    I don't especially care about them butchering science, or disregarding how things work in the "real world"; I'm usually perfectly willing to suspend disbelief on that, and I'm especially willing in a sci-fi movie where I know going into it that it will be based around fantastical technology. What really bugs me is when characters do inexplicable things for no clear reason. Or at least, no reason other than the writers wanting something to happen and being too lazy or incompetent to come up with a coherent explanation for why things are happening.

    I gave up on 24 as an unwatchable farce when it reached the point in the story where the mother developed amnesia.
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I guess we'll have to wait and find out. That certainly leaves them free to develop the new character any way they want.

    I don't remember that. I can't believe I said that.

    Anyway the mark of a really good A-A (action-adventure) movie or TV show is that you don't start to realize it had holes until it's over. And this was meant to be a breathtaking, jaw-dropping A-A movie, not a DS9 episode full of psychological nuance and exercises in situational ethics.
  10. countezero Registered Senior Member

    McCoy was cadet. He was at the academy, wearing the SAME uniform and participating in the exercises (Kayashi Maru).
  11. NiccolòBrioschi Registered Member


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