Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The new Trek movie was a lot of fun...

...and I only blurted something once.

There is a scene where young Spock, at the moment in command on the bridge, gets up and emos off to the elevator. Then Uhura gets up from her board and goes to see what's wrong with him. At which point I couldn't keep from whispering "Oh, just everybody get up and walk off the bridge. Hello? Who's driving the boat?"

Starfleet always was a heck of a sloppy way to run a navy.

However, as much as the Hard SF/Mil SF fan in me wanted to sulk and hate it, they couldn't keep my inner Space Opera fan and movie buff from having a great time.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whisper? That was a whisper?

Shootin' Buddy

B.S. philosopher said...

Yeah, well I wasn't able to restrain myself either when Captain Pike made Cadet Kirk the acting first officer. *what!*

Didn't he have any bridge officers with the requisite experience?

Seriously, the whole concept of "chain of command" was seriously lacking in the movie.

Can you imagine a US Naval academy cadet bursting onto the bridge of the USS Ronald Reagan and screaming at the Captain?

Hell, he'd never make it past the two Marine LCpls outside the hatch who'd have him face down in a compliance hold grinding his face in the deckplates.

Lorimor said...

The flick was OK. Ohura never came on to Spock in the original series.

I need to learn to set my sights lower for these flicks.

Ken said...

Yeah. I think TOS used to sort of nod at actual naval discipline. At least the writer would occasionally remember to have Kirk or Spock say, "Mr. (Sulu/Stiles/Whomever), you have the conn."

Heck, my parents and I used to do it informally when we were out on the Great Lakes in their old Matthews sedan cruiser. Just because someone is loitering by the helm or up on the flying bridge is no reason to assume he's actually doing something useful.

Tam said...

"Didn't he have any bridge officers with the requisite experience?"

What I didn't get was the whole "Starfleet's off in the Phi Beta Kappa quadrant shooting it out with the Klingons, so we're going to have to empty the Academy to crew these ships, which Starfleet apparently forgot to take with them the the Phi Beta Kappa quadrant..."

Wolfwood said...

I thought the way they rebooted the series while leaving the all the previous series intact was pretty clever.

I was thinking about the whole chain of command thing (it being the chain one gets beaten with until one understands who's in ruttin' command here) may possibly make more sense here than in previous Star Trek. In the past, you had hundreds, even thousands of people aboard a starship and only about a dozen were competent to run the thing (kind of like a Russian nuclear sub, apparently). Also, virtually everyone on board was an officer.

Here, I saw a lot more enlisted. The way I saw it was this: the Enterprise has not only fewer crew than before, but also vastly fewer officers. In this case, most of these few officers were cadets other than Pike, Spock, and possibly Sulu and Chekov. That Kirk would be appointed to his position is unusual, but not fatally so.

Albert A Rasch said...

Fellows,

Having seen the original series as a kid, I found a few holes. But overall, I found it to fit in well with the the original and all the subsequent iterations.

What always has driven me crazy, is how the whole command contingent is always going on "away missions."

But it is cinema right?

Regards,
Albert
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.
The Range Reviews: Tactical.
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit.

PS: I got to the theatre an hour early so I could get a good seat. First in line, or as my wife kept on busting me, "First Trek Geek in line!"

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Star Trek is, I think, the first movie I have ever seen twice in the theater. It's that good.

As far as staffing the ships with cadets, Enterprise, of course, hadn't been officially launched yet, and wouldn't have had a full crew. The easiest explanation for the rest would be that the ships were in spacedock for refitting/prolonged maintenance/etc. The seven that were sent were the ones that could be made ready quickly, but they had likely had a large part of their crews reassigned to other ships while they were out of service. Some also may have been assigned to the academy as "training" ships that would have a solid core of enlisted and NCOs, with cadets and academy instructors expected to fill the officer positions.

There does seem to be a strong acceptance of "battlefield" promotions in Starfleet, along the lines of "if you can do the job, you get the rank to go with it." I think this meshes with the original concept for Starfleet better. Starfleet's rank system and chain of command is really more of a bow to necessity than it is a rigid military system, because Starfleet is supposed to be more of a peacekeeping and exploration/research organization than a real military navy.

Again, a really, really, good movie.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

PS,

The best comment I've seen on the movie so far (I think it was at the PVP Online webcomic):

"Kirk, Sulu, and Officer Neverheardofhimbefore skydive onto the enemy drilling platform. Only one of them is wearing a red spacesuit. Guess what happens next."

Noah D said...

Well, when the fraternization regs are clearly out the window, I'm not so worried about chains of command and ranks and such.

Wait, shiny spaceship battles are on the screen! I'm sorry, I can't hear the staffing arguments over the awesome of the PEW PEW PEW bits. :)

Zendo Deb said...

Star Trek was interesting when I was a kid... but there are few problems...

No chain of command.
The whole bridge team leaves on away missions
Everyone is an officer (must be descended from the Air Force)
The designers had obviously never been on a naval vessel - the interior of the Enterprise looked more like a cruise ship
I could go on...

And as someone said - no security at the bridge, or anywhere except the brig. (and the red-shirts who died on every away mission of course.)

Did anything ever just break down, or need maintenance outside of a battle?

In one set of episodes in the Next Generation, the one officer (Capt. Somebody - while Picard was off being tortured by Cardasians) who insisted on military courtesy was portrayed as an SOB.

Was there an official salute in Star Trek?

Considering the anti-military mindset that was permeating the country in the late 60s I guess I am not surprised they didn't want to be too military, but if you are going to start over, the way it was done with the new Bond films, shouldn't you fix all those problems?

Still can't decide if I think this is worth 12 bucks, plus a few hours of my precious free time.

Dominique said...

I do believe that Noah D said everything that I was going to, and said it better.

D.W. Drang said...

The Geek is strong in this comment thread...I have come to the conclusion that Starfleet is not, and never was intended to be, a military organization. Possibly due to some residual trauma Rodenberry suffered in the Air Farce in WWII. I do recall him saying (I think in Gerrold's World of Star Trek) that "I always hated the way that the military treated enlisted personnel", etc. I believe that Starfleet was intended to be like Heinlein's Space Patrol, in which there were cadets and officers; in Starfeleet, there were enlisted--one rank, adressed as "crewman"--cadets and officers.

One has to be careful about references to The Original Series, let alone the books, as continuity was non-existent anyway, but ti was cerrtainly well-established (as I said in the comments to Roberta's post) that, not only had the Federation not met the Cardassians or Ferrenghi yet, but they didn't even know that Romulans were related to Vulcans yet; was this supposed to be an alternate universe from the start?

OTOH, a certain fanne I know was releived to see that they had gotten away from "FrankenRoms."

WV: hootazi. The person who reviews candidates for waitress positions at a certain resteraunt meet the minimum standards?

Michael said...

In one set of episodes in the Next Generation, the one officer (Capt. Somebody - while Picard was off being tortured by Cardasians) who insisted on military courtesy was portrayed as an SOB.Right. And what's one of the big examples of what a hardassed tyrant he was? He made Troi wear a uniform.

This always pisses my fiancee off to no end, but then she was already pissed off at Troi for not being in uniform on the bridge.

"That's right; he's gonna make you put on your uniform. You should already be wearing your damn uniform!"

Johnnyreb™ said...

I had a good time watching the movie ... and now find myself hoping for a sequel.

B.S. philosopher said...

**Spoilers**


One of the basic requirements for any movie that is not set in a recognizable reality is that it must be able to maintain your willing suspension of disbelief.

This movie was all nice and shiny, but there were some huge gaping plot holes that kicked giant holes in my ability to maintain that suspension of disbelief.

For instance, when Nero tells Kirk as he is choking him, "I'm going to kill you just like I killed your father".

How does he know that the guy in command of a ship that he blew up 25 years before is the father of this random Starfleet guy who beamed in? It's never explained.

Spock was clearly fraternizing with Uhura while he was her instructor. There is a blatant double entendre when Uhura is browbeating Spock into putting her on Enterprise instead of Farragut. That is unethical, and not consistent with behaviour we associate with Spock.

Despite the military ranks, there appears to be no hierarchical command system. It is unlikely than a completely anarchic organization could build a starship.

I am however hoping for a sequel, which would be even numbered and probably skip some of the suckiness associated with this one.

docjim505 said...

I didn't like the movie.

Enterprise, which was always a most unlikely-looking spacecraft to begin with, looked in this iteration like a 2nd grader had drawn it from memory after watching a few episodes of TOS. The Spock / Uhura thing was unnecessary, the Cadet-Kirk-is-the-new-XO thing was ridiculous, the Scotty-in-the-water-pipes was absurd (why does Enterprise's engine room look like the inside of my chemical plant?), etc, etc. Even the basic premise of a crazed Romulun coming back in time to get even with Spock was silly.

My biggest question / complaint, though, is WHY??? Why did the producers see the need to 'reinvent' Star Trek? Why not make a movie about Kirk assuming command of NCC-1701, meeting Spock for the first time, assembling his crew for the five year mission, etc? It's almost like the writers couldn't be bothered to learn much about the TOS universe beyond what is pretty common knowledge, so they just sort of made things up and added the time travel element to cover for their laziness.

Sigh...

On the plus side:

1. Bruce Greenwood was a very good Christopher Pike; he LOOKS like a captain. For my money, they could have made the movie about HIS missions.

2. Zoe Saldana is smokin'.

3. Zachary Quinto did very well as Spock (though with his high, lisping voice, he lacks Nimoy's gravitas), as did Karl Urban as McCoy. The less said about Simon Pegg's Scotty, the better.

4. Zoe Saldana is smokin'. That bears repeating.

Maybe for their next movie, Abrams and Co. can reinvent Batman as one of the Joker's henchmen who gained superpowers and became a crimefighter when Batgirl, who is the last surviving person from Krypton, came back in time to get even with Catwoman, who is actually Commissioner Gordon in disguise.

LabRat said...

It had a whole bunch of plot holes, the most blatant phlebotinum I've ever seen, and fridge logic that was dizzying.

That said, I didn't hold any of it against it because I was having way too much fun to care. The winks and shout-outs to previous bits of Trek were thick on the ground, the action was good, the casting was good, and it was putting being, well, fun ahead of just about everything else- which is not something Trek is always good at, especially when they've got an anvil of a message they'd like to drop on our heads.

Yeah, they kicked hell out of canon and continuity and a lot of the worldbuilding details are iffy. But we're talking about a series where it's also canon that Kirk met freaking Abraham Lincoln floating around in outer space and instead of being assassinated in a theater, he dies in a contrived arena battle by a rock monster's decree. Oh, and then there was that one episode of Voyager where they're attacked by giant floating viruses, and the one of TNG where everyone "de-evolves" into reptiles and monkeys.

If you want tight writing and worldbuilding on a mil-SF show, go watch Babylon 5. (Really, do- best-written single series I can think of.) If you want to watch people fly around in space with more regard to the pew-pew and the good time than the details, go watch the new Trek movie.

LabRat said...

And, because I AM a Trek geek...

Michael- I actually didn't think Jellico was supposed to come off as an asshole in that episode. Everyone gets their back up about what a frothing hardass he supposedly is, but then he comes up with a far cleverer plan than Picard ever has, neatly solves their entire diplomatic/military problem, and Troi stays in uniform for the rest of the series. I always got the impression it was meant as more of a "what if we actually took this mil-SF thing seriously, would that be so bad?" than a "military guys are such jerks!".

TBeck said...

Was I the only one uncomfortable when Sulu was leering at Chekhov? Ah well, they both came through the academy...

I will say that the loose chain of command would never be tolerated in the RMN, or the RCN for that matter.

Buck said...

Wanted to realy like it but I just can't. And not because it did'nt follow cannon, I expect plot holes. Just not super-sized ones. It was like watching a serious version of Galaxy Quest. But my wife enjoyed it so maybe it's just that I'am getting old and I should'nt hold it to the light of Heinlien and other greats of sci-fi.

Wolfwood said...

***SPOILER***

For those who missed it, the new Star Trek is in an alternate reality. If you didn't complain about Bearded Spock or the last episode of TNG, you don't get to complain about this, either.

This means that there is very little "canon" to go from other than that from the Enterprise series. The only things we know about the universe that the rest of Star Trek inhabits is that in 2387 Romulus is destroyed, Spock and his ship and Nero and his disappear, and there exists some kind of substance that can screw with black holes. That's it, and as all that happens after Voyager, Nemesis, and DS9, they remain unaffected.

That's why the "reboot" is so clever. For Batman and many other remakes, the old series has been cast aside. Here, it has been preserved. The difference is that in this new alternate reality, TNG, DS9, VOY, and the movies aren't going to happen.

B.S. philosopher said...

**spoilers**

I didn't miss the alternate reality bit. It was a clever ploy, but apparently the producers assumed that by using it they would be free to completely ignore everything about the original series.

Even taking into account Chaos theory, that's some pretty serious butterfly wing-flapping to have changed the basic organizational structure and culture of a pseudo-military organization.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"That's it, and as all that happens after Voyager, Nemesis, and DS9, they remain unaffected.

That's why the "reboot" is so clever.
"

It's even more clever than that - all the stuff they encountered in the unaffected reality is still out there: Trelayne, the Nomad probe, the First Federation, the Guardian of Forever, etc. - and can be written in whenever it's appropriate.

It's just a question of "are they in the right place at the right time now?"

Christina LMT said...

I dunno. I caught a hint of tension between Spock and Uhura in TOS. I remember one episode where she's singing and he's playing whateverthehell instrument it is he plays, and she's being very flirtatious with him. Maybe they had a "thing" when they were younger in TOS, but it fizzled. Hey, it coulda happened! Annnnnd, I'm thinking about this way too much.