Phily B wrote:
Kirk's problem is that he promoted an ensign to chief engineer so they're all off doing something else... evacuating the ship maybe? And it really isn't clear why they have magical glass and inspired transporters but no radiation suits or robotic drones - technologies that we have in the 21st century already, along with greater equality of the sexes.
If there were radiation suits, he probably didn't have time to suit up. I doubt a radiation suit would've helped, even in TWOK Spock didn't bother with one did he? Everyone in engineering appeared to have one on, as far as I'm aware there has never been such a suit in Trek.
The Enterprise crew refused to evacuate, this was made clear when Spock gave the order to abandon ship. I'm not sure on your first point either, he had Scotty and the acting engineering officer at his disposal, would he have ordered them into the warp core to die?
I hope you don't take offense but you are making my point for me. Of course I do accept that as shown on screen Kirk's choices were limited and the writers painted him into that corner deliberately. Kirk is within his rights to order all the engineers out and go in himself but that isn't the most logical choice and, once again, he succeeds purely on the basis of luck.
1. When are engineers ever going to have time to suit up in a radiation leak emergency? That's why from TMP they started to put their engineers IN the suits when the staff are on duty (just need to put a helmet on). They stopped doing it in TNG because they sanitised the engineering section but it was an incredibly sensible design choice alongside giving security guards phaser resistance body armour.
2. If TNG is anything to go by, a commander has to be prepared to order somebody more qualified to their death in order to save the ship - and never mind the ship, to protect civilians on the planet they about to crash into. Much like in ST09 when he stayed too long next to an expanding black hole in order to blow up a ship, his decision, while successful, is not well reasoned. If Kirk arrives with no tools, and limited engineering ability and discovers that he can't kick the ship better? He succeed because of luck - thus showing he learned nothing from the dressing down he took earlier in the movie. This isn't Kirk's fault - it's the writers wanted to make him a very traditional hero. imagine how many 12 year olds who would be in tears if he'd ordered Scotty to his death.
In fact, they should both have gone - the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. They aren't just words.
3. I was being a bit facetious about the missing crew. If they were not evacuating then a dozen engineers should have been onsite. The ship has 400+ crew - enough for 3 shifts - and during a red alert they take action stations. showing a deserted engineering. I hate this kind of cheesy plot device where the hero is the only one onsite. The movie 2012 did it worse where an unqualified character ran all the way through the ship past multiple qualified characters despite time being of the essence just so the hero could steal the limelight. It's really poor storytelling.
4. I am also aware that it is traditional Trek to have Kirk Spock and McCoy doing things that they aren't really best qualified to do. It's always annoying.
I am surprised that people are still criticising the movie for Uhura stealing McCoy's screen time. I thought she had less of a screen presence than he did, all her scenes were relevant to her (although they should probably have used a volcanologist or geophysicist on the shuttle - I couldn't see why uhura was there) and McCoy got loads to do.
I would have used Chekov for the missile scene personally - He's a maths genius, has tactical training, has very precise manual dexterity (as shown by his transporter use in the last movie) and he becomes the tactical officer in TMP. I thought the use of Chekov was probably the worst in the film. He just delivered dialogue and his personality didn't come though at all. Assigning him to engineering was a mistake. Making Carol an engineer could have made more sense.