Thread: After Romulus
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Old January 10 2013, 12:33 AM   #94
Christopher
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Re: After Romulus

^I see that as just a matter of style. "Lightning storm in space" worked from a story standpoint; it was a significant plot point that the description of the distortion be distinctive and evocative enough that Kirk would recognize it upon hearing it. Of course it was meant metaphorically, as the observers' impression of the event rather than a technical analysis; the film never claimed otherwise, so it's not fair to criticize the description on technical grounds. You might as well complain about the names of the Crab and Horsehead Nebulae.

As for "red matter," sure, it's meaningless, but at least it's more honest about its meaninglessness than Andre Bormanis-style technobabble from VGR and ENT like "isolytic shock." ("Isolytic" would literally mean "dissolving equally." It doesn't mean a damn thing. It's just Bormanis's two most overused technobabble roots stuck randomly together.) Abrams is rather honest in how he treats McGuffins; like the coiner of the word, Alfred Hitchcock, he doesn't bother to try to explain them because he knows the explanation doesn't matter, only the characters' reactions do. He did the same thing in Mission: Impossible III with the "Rabbit's Foot" McGuffin, whose actual nature or purpose was never explained. It's not about insulting the audience's intelligence; I think it has more to do with the fact that Abrams is very fond of mystery and puzzles in his work, and has a habit of leaving things deliberately vague. That's just a stylistic choice.

To be honest, I think Abrams's approach of using lay terms for the technobabble is more plausible than Berman-Trek's approach of making everything sound as complicated as possible. Look at science news today, and you see a lot of lay terminology like dark matter, nuclear winter, dwarf planets -- simple, comprehensible language. You might see more technical terminology exchanged among experts or written in papers, but there are usually more informal names for casual or lay discourse.

As for the supernova... yes, the specifics there were quite nonsensical, though not half as bad as the added details in Countdown. But the difference from Genesis is that it wasn't really all that important to the story. It was a McGuffin as well, the reason that Nero and Spock Prime were back in the past and the thing that motivated Nero. But all that really mattered was that Romulus had been destroyed; the how was a secondary concern. The details of what happened in the 24th century didn't really matter to the story being told about the 23rd, so it's not that big a problem for me that they were handled cavalierly. I wish they hadn't been, but it's not as bad for me as something like Genesis, where the impossibilities and logical absurdities are critical to the plots of two movies, rather than just a background detail that's disposed of in a minute or less.
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