Greg Cox wrote:
You may be overthinking it.
I don't think so. There were moments where my suspension of disbelief (even watching a sci-fi film) was overstretched with improbable events that would not have had to happen if the writers had spent a little more time arranging the pieces so that they would naturally fall together. Not the biggest deal in the world, but I do count it as a minor flaw
. It's one of those details that you occasionally notice, and that you only notice because of the incongruity.
Story tellers are liars and good liars tell plausible enough lies that you don't question or notice the little details. I want to be lied to. I want to believe in that ship in space. I don't want my brain alerted and roused to consciousness by details that don't quite fit together.
Of course it was.
Greg Cox wrote:
It was mostly just a plot contrivance to give the audience what it expected: the familiar cast of TOS, back together again.
Better writing, however, puts the band back together in a more plausible fashion. I mean, if the only goal was to show us the team together on the bridge of the Enterprise, then begin the film with team together on the Enterprise. You don't have to write yourself into a corner where you leave it to fans to speculate about the timeline "healing itself." Instead, a producer should have handed the script back to Orci and asked him for a little polishing and tightening up of certain details.
Greg Cox wrote:
I was just pointing out that the time-stream fixing itself is a standard plot device in classic SF, dating back to Amazing and Astounding, probably. It may be a cheat, but it's one time-travel and parallel universe stories have been using for decades. Kind of like "universal translators" or aliens who conveniently speak English.
Sure, plot-spackle has been around for a long time. But I would note that many of those old pulp Sci-Fi stories suffered similar defects. I'm not saying that the film offends any more than many other stories, and I am not protesting that the film is, for this reason, super-bad or something.
And genre-pleading only goes so far.
Sure, we can conventionally accept energy weapons and FTL flight, but the details we're talking about are not really genre details, but simply clunky emplotment. It's sloppy writing to lazily stretch disbelief with the when, where, and how of character intersection and interaction - regardless of the genre in which your writing.
Trek fans take more time, effort, and thought in apologizing and rationalizing these flaws (it's a sort of game we all play) than the writers do in laying out their stories. Honestly, I am more impressed with your defense of Orci's script, than anything else. I really like the river metaphor. It's simple, plausible, and although it is also equivocal and masks the very problem at issue, if someone had something like this in the film, I probably would've kept munching my popcorn
without immediately noticing this detail! Or... Better yet... don't write yourself into narrative corners! We've already got quite a bit of stuff to believe in Sci-Fi, don't abuse us by abusing suspension of disbelief in terms of simple emplotment.
And how optimistic can we be about our future if we believe that we are fated?
Greg Cox wrote:
Plus, as a rule, I don't judge STAR TREK movies on whether they adhere to some abstract, ideological agenda. Telling a good story is at least equally as important as staying true to some sort of high-falutin' "vision." We're talking fiction here, not sermons.
And I will argue to my dying day that TOS was never "utopian." Optimistic, yes, but full of drama and tragedy and conflict as well . . .
In good times, we can feel very good indeed, for it would give us a false sense of security. But what of the times of crisis?
But let's bracket this question. There is a more fundamental detail we should discuss. Fatalism is not only at odds with the optimism of Trek, it is contrary to the ontology of the genre.
In Star Trek there are powerful alien forces which appear God-like, but which humans know are not really Gods, but purposeful agents with superior technologies. The universe itself in Star Trek is one which is comprised of matter and physical laws. Fatalism is contrary to this ontology. In invoking the fates, we take one step further away from science fiction and one more step toward science fantasy.
You can play the Tu Quoque,
if you wish, and protest that Spock's soul getting transferred and his body regenerating was totally implausible, but if you did, I would only agree. Star Trek III was not conceived well with regard to these details. The weaknesses of this or any other sci-fi film, however, do not account or apologize for the weaknesses of any other film.
The most important thing Greg, is that this was not a needful detail (e.g., something which had to be done given the otherwise organically brilliant or fitting development of the plot) or something which simply emerged from the conventions and tropes of sci-fi writing
. It was simply a matter of too loosely conceiving how to get characters A and B together and how to get A to point C.
And again, this did not rape my childhood, and its no worse a flaw than many films suffer. I only maintain that it is a minor flaw. I wish they would have gotten this and a couple of other details worked out better. That's all.