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[Comments] (5) Star Trek: Sumana and I went to see it this afternoon. I'm still letting it sit in my consciousness but this definitely sorts with the "good" Trek movies and I might end up thinking it was about as good as First Contact. I'm cautiously optimistic. It had serious problems but almost all of them were problems with Star Trek in general. Every time I try to formulate a complaint I come up with something from preexisting canon that's ten times worse. All in all, it was a fun time, and I'm anxious for the sequels to resolve the plot threads, and hopefully not hit the reset button you just know they're gonna hit.

I am gonna mention two problems that I think are summer movie problems not Star Trek problems, so if you don't like spoilers or complaining, turn back.

Problem #1 has to do with the relationship between Scotty and his alien co-worker on Hoth. Scotty's always yelling at him, shoving him around, generally treating him like Igor. I don't terribly mind that Scotty was made the comic relief (it's Simon Pegg, after all), but this seemed cruel and even kind of racist of Scotty. There's only room for one racist on the Enterprise, and that's McCoy!

After the film I had writing group, and I told Andrew about this. He mentioned an interview he'd read in which Simon Pegg said Scotty and his co-worker had gone stir crazy being assigned to Hoth for so long. Sure, but stir crazy is a double-edged phaser. The alien should have shoved back.

Problem #2 is reliance on ungodly coincidences. I'm sure I'm overlooking something but I can't think of another Trek movie where major plot points just happened by coincidence. This shows up at its worst on Hoth. Kirk gets marooned there, he wanders around for a while and finds Future-Spock. Then the two of them wander a bit more and run into Scotty! If Kirk had found a guy (Scotty) who went on to play an major role in his life, that would be contigency, not coincidence. But Kirk meeting Future-Spock and then Future-Spock meeting Scotty was too much to bear, somehow.

PS: John Cho is terribly miscast as Sulu, but if someone says "We want you to play Sulu in a Star Trek movie" how can you turn them down?

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Posted by Kris Straub at Mon May 11 2009 11:25

I think my only problem with the bad science of this movie is that I've memorized the bad science of the last 30 years of Star Trek and now I have to start over.

Either that, or I could accept it when they said "we came out the other side of an anti-quarkonic de Broglie void" more than if they said "black hole," which is a real thing.

Posted by kirkjerk at Mon May 11 2009 15:11

You're right on on both your points.

The alien thing... it reminds me of when people in Star Wars chuck the mighty warrior and genius technician Chewbacca under the chin and generally treat him like a big overgrown mutt. (Though the Oompa Loompa was a lot like those Cloud City Ugnaughts.)

I don't have much of a head for plot (at least when its spoken) but still it seemed liked there was a crapton of coincidence floating around. Douglas Adams' Improbability Drive was such a brilliant workaround for this!

Speaking of which, I don't quite know how the new Bad Science of Warp works (though I like how the view out the windows was more messed up during warp travel - come to think of it, that plus the seemingly quick Warp times is all very Star Warsy) but "lets go faster by shoving the engine off the ship" seems... implausible, especially when Scotty is not even sure it would work. Also, having quite that much visceral cracking of the Enterprise, but everything is still be ok... I really thought they were going to blow it up again.

And where was it most of the fleet was at again? That was some handwaving, and a big heap of "Enterprise is the only ship near enough to the quadrant" kind of thing.

But in the end, it was a very worthy movie.

Posted by kirkjerk at Mon May 11 2009 15:27

And come to think of it, that whole Kirk running into Spock was also straight out of Luke meeting Obi Wan.

Posted by jacob at Wed May 13 2009 14:10

i put off reading this post until i saw the movie, which i did last night. to your points i say "fair enough" with two caveats:
1. anything dealing with alien races invites a weird "possibly true" style of racism. which is to say, you can just declare "these people are not intelligent" or "these people are money-grubbing schemers" or in the case of the batfaced lackey race, "they respond well to being bossed around". perhaps this is just their way, so let's not be culturally insensitive!
2. i felt that the preposterous coincidences PLUS the "alternate reality" aspect combined to make the enterprise crew into a "destined-to-be" group of superfriends. i was into it, but it speaks volumes about the world they live in, which i'd look up in detail but that i just got rid of my "religions of star trek" book.

Posted by rsbohn at Wed May 13 2009 18:09

They went and forked the universe!
I don't think I would take the whole 'Alternate Reality' thing sitting down if I were in it. I think I would feel somehow marginalized...

Oh, and they spent too much time at the end watching the Romulans. If there was ever a time for a quick exit, that was it.

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