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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies XI+

Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old March 29 2010, 08:38 PM   #256
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

There is nothing to say that JJ and company might not to a reset in a later movie which results in the TOS enterprise we all know and love moving offat the end. Who can say. One thing about the reset. If young Spock mindmelds with Spock Prime (off screen--who might have found a way back to his own timeline), then he would have acess to lots of information that wouldn't have to be explained off screen. Pines' Kirk would not know what a Doomsday Machine it, but Quinto's Spock would--and thus explain it to the audience as Kirk's go-to science guy.
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Old March 31 2010, 07:06 AM   #257
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

stonester1 wrote: View Post
Knowing that such a thing is possible doesn't make it wise. That you can do a thing doesn't mean you should. ...

Again, Spock has experienced time travel, he has seen what can happen. If he has decided not to, it MUST be logical.
You know, that's a fair point. I'm not necessarily arguing that Spock had to go back to correct the divergence (which would certainly have resulted in a rather different movie)... I'm just saying that he could, and had past experience doing so under similar circumstances. Thus my objection is that we didn't get so much as a line of dialogue about him considering it, much less explaining whatever logic might have led him to reject the possibility.

It was all just swept under the rug, instead. That's lazy writing. (Like so much else in this movie: "accept it because this is how we showed it on screen, and never mind if it's plausible!")

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
[Timeline self-correction] really makes no sense science-wise, even in the context of highly speculative theories about How Time Travel Works. It's an invention of sci fi writers because it can make for an interesting story if the characters are struggling against fate, yet the entire universe seems dead set on thwarting them.

Where it doesn't work: as a cheap cop-out to get the writers easily to the Reset Button. The universe should work against the characters, not coddle them!
It also doesn't work when it's a cheap cop-out to get characters into positions familiar to the audience because it's their "destiny." (Even if everything else is different, to the point of entire planets being destroyed.)

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
What happened when you were getting popcorn: the screenwriters interjected a rather glaring and awkward (but necessarily so, since there's no other way to do it) scene where the characters stand around on the bridge and in essence tell the audience that "hey, this isn't the normal time travel thing. This is a new universe, not time travel per se."

How did they know that? Well, they shouldn't. There's no way for them to know something like that. An altered timeline should be indistinguishable from a different universe, for the people inside the timeline and/or universe.* The screenwriters downloaded that info into their brains, because that's the only way to get that information across to the audience within the context of the movie. It was so clumsy that I almost started giggling in the movie theater when it happened, but I immediately understood the intent behind it. To make it any more obvious, Orci and Kurtzman would have had to wander into the scene and directly tell us their intention.
Yeah, I saw that scene, and reacted much like you did to the laughably unsubtle exposition. What's odd was that it failed in two ways at once: first of all, it was obvious from the start that this this film wasn't showing us the familiar Trek timeline, and anyone in the audience who cared about that distinction would have to be an utter moron not to have noticed it. Second (and here I differ with you), despite its bluntness the scene was still not clear about the distinction between an altered timeline and a parallel universe (both of which exist in Trek lore), as evinced by the extensive debate in these forums about the ambiguities of Uhura's phrase "alternate reality."
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Old March 31 2010, 11:53 AM   #258
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

[QUOTE=lawman;3960634]What's odd was that it failed in two ways at once:[quote]

No.

first of all, it was obvious from the start that this this film wasn't showing us the familiar Trek timeline, and anyone in the audience who cared about that distinction would have to be an utter moron not to have noticed it.
There is no "failure" here. So what does that have to do with anything? It's part of the story. The film requires no pre-existing knowledge, so why assume that the audience has to know the difference already?

Second (and here I differ with you), despite its bluntness the scene was still not clear about the distinction between an altered timeline and a parallel universe (both of which exist in Trek lore), as evinced by the extensive debate in these forums about the ambiguities of Uhura's phrase "alternate reality."
That's not even an issue to the audience. What they now know is that things have changed because someone was thrown back into time. The issue if its an alternate timeline, universe, etc., remains an issue with very few people at this point.
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Old March 31 2010, 01:09 PM   #259
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

lawman wrote: View Post
It was all just swept under the rug, instead. That's lazy writing. (Like so much else in this movie: "accept it because this is how we showed it on screen, and never mind if it's plausible!")
It's not lazy writing at all. In real life, we don't always understand everyone's motivations. Sometimes events just happen and there's no time to ponder why or why not things happen.

Why must we always be spoonfed all the answers?

There's nothing wrong with movies that leave certain questions unanswered.
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Old March 31 2010, 08:01 PM   #260
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

^^Yes, it is. Fiction isn't real life, obviously, and one of the things that's made it so appealing to people for so long is that in fiction, things make sense. Ideally, they make sense in a way that actually demonstrates some sort of theme from which one can extract philosophical meaning.

In contrast, stories in which things "just happen" and characters' motivations can't be understood fail to meet that standard. Such stories typically fall into one of three categories:

A) the work of small children who haven't yet internalized cause-and-effect or empathy with other people

B) deliberately avant-garde literary fiction seeking to emulate the ambiguities of modern life as a theme in itself

C) poor writing by authors who just can't (or won't bother to) do any better

Leaving "certain questions unanswered" is a perfectly legitimate thing for a story to do, so long as it serves some thematic point (e.g., the classic "Lady and the Tiger"). Larding a narrative with implausibilities heaped upon contrivances with no larger purpose than to keep things moving to a predetermined endpoint is quite another thing. And that's what I saw in this film.
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Old April 1 2010, 12:07 AM   #261
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

lawman wrote: View Post
That's lazy writing.
The Magic Reset Button is lazy writing. This film establishes that Spock has things to do in the Abrams timeline and thus any further time travel is not within the scope of the story. In terms of what serves the needs of this plot, a dialogue about further time travel would probably be Spock talking to himself. The omission of character internal monologues isn't a basis for substantive criticism here as it is consistent not only with the rest of the film but the rest of the franchise in general.

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Old April 2 2010, 09:23 PM   #262
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

stonester1 wrote: View Post
JBElliott wrote: View Post
stonester1 wrote: View Post
He's participated in time travel and has seen how screwed up it can get. Further, this is not his timeline. He probably didn't believe he had the right. IMO, he felt it would be a better bet to help the Vulcan race and culture survive post this event.
I'm not sure those rules apply when genocide and the lives of six billion (or however many billion) Vulcans are in question. Spock' isn't above "cowboy diplomacy." It's certainly something Kirk' would have done.
Not a question of cowboy diplomacy. This simply isn't his timeline. It would be similar to him using his future knowledge to warn everyone about the potential bad stuff coming down in this alternate timeline. It's up to them to deal with. He'll help the best he can.

It's not about "cowboy diplomacy". It's letting things take their natural course in a timeline not his own.
The actions of Spock' already affected the "natural" course of the timeline in the alternate universe. Thus, Spock' is obligated to deal with those effects. One way would be via time travel and averting the destruction of Vulcan which would not have occurred were it not for his actions.
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Old April 2 2010, 09:30 PM   #263
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
JBElliott wrote: View Post
Dukhat wrote: View Post

Because even if he did, all he'd be doing was creating another timeline where Vulcan wasn't destroyed (and that's if he's even successful...who's to say the Vulcans would even believe him?). But Vulcan will still remain destroyed in the Abramsverse, and Romulus will still be destroyed in the prime universe. Since he's stuck in this timeline and he can't go back to his original timeline, what's the point? He might as well make himself useful where he is, which is exactly what he did.
In all other Star Trek shows and movies, time travel was shown as affecting the universe of the time traveller and not creating a new universe.
True. But MWI does not conflict with what happened there.

- Every Backward trip creates a new reality from that point onwards.
- Every forward trip moves forward within said new reality.
- Most of the Time Travel stories are told from the perspectives of the characters.


That is an assumption. As explained above, the depiction of Time Travel linearly does not actually conflict with each backward trip creating a new reality.
JBElliott wrote: View Post
Perhaps it was the red matter and super nova that shunted Spock' and Nero not just back in time, but to a different universe. Perhaps the red matter and super nova created a new universe when Nero and Spock' finished their time trip.
Given your assumption, this sounds logical.
JBElliott wrote: View Post
In any event, unless the red matter and super nova altered the laws of (Star Trek) physics in the new universe, Spock' could have time travelled in methods used in previous incarnations of Star Trek (sling shot, Guardian) and travelled back in time to save Vulcan and alter the future of the new universe. Apparently Spock' chose not to do that.
If we assume that Spock is aware of the Alternate Reality, regardless of your assumption, Spock's sense of ethics would preclude interfering with the natural course of events.

Even if he found a way to get back in time to the Narada's arrival, he would need untold resources in order to stop the change.

He would also have to ensure that he can stop the Narada from emerging from the "lightning storm in space", which there is likely no physical capability to do.

If he destroys the Narada, the battle would be observed by the Kelvin, and the destruction of the Kelvin is still likely. One missile shot, and things may be even worse, with Kirk not being born at all.

If he tries to find a way to self-destruct the Kelvin, he would still be dealing with the butterfly effect from the anomaly and the Narada appearing, in front of the Kelvin, and exploding, leaving all kinds of advanced technology, which the Klingons would want to use, and would tip the balance of power in unpredictable ways.

Looking at the options, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to actually make such a change.

All of this reasoning and thinking, which Spock likely would have done, is simply too much technobable and explanation for the movie, and would not help the central story, but intsead would simply confuse the audience.

Therefore, the best way forward would be to simply leave it alone, which is what was done.
In "The City on the Edge of Forever" and the other time travel episodes in TOS, time travel into the past did not create new universes but altered the future of the universe in which the characters inhabited. That is the simplest interpretation of the events shown.

One could speculate that after McCoy went into the past and saved Keeler that Kirk and crew (left behind in the future) were shunted into the alternate universe that was created by McCoy's trip through the Guardian and that the crew was shunted back to their universe after Kirk and Spock traveled back in time and let Keeler die. But that wasn't explicitly shown. It was explicitly shown that changing the past (McCoy saving Keeler) changes the future (no Enterprise in orbit) of the universe in which the time travel took place. There was no mention of the many worlds interpretation.

There's no way to get around the fact that the time travel shown in the movie was different than all other time travel shown in previous Star Trek.
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Old April 2 2010, 09:54 PM   #264
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

JBElliott wrote: View Post
The actions of Spock' already affected the "natural" course of the timeline in the alternate universe. Thus, Spock' is obligated to deal with those effects. One way would be via time travel and averting the destruction of Vulcan which would not have occurred were it not for his actions.
That would just create another "alternate universe". In the Abramsverse Vulcan would remain destroyed.
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Old April 2 2010, 11:38 PM   #265
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

JBElliott wrote: View Post
OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
JBElliott wrote: View Post

In all other Star Trek shows and movies, time travel was shown as affecting the universe of the time traveller and not creating a new universe.
True. But MWI does not conflict with what happened there.

- Every Backward trip creates a new reality from that point onwards.
- Every forward trip moves forward within said new reality.
- Most of the Time Travel stories are told from the perspectives of the characters.


That is an assumption. As explained above, the depiction of Time Travel linearly does not actually conflict with each backward trip creating a new reality.

Given your assumption, this sounds logical.
JBElliott wrote: View Post
In any event, unless the red matter and super nova altered the laws of (Star Trek) physics in the new universe, Spock' could have time travelled in methods used in previous incarnations of Star Trek (sling shot, Guardian) and travelled back in time to save Vulcan and alter the future of the new universe. Apparently Spock' chose not to do that.
If we assume that Spock is aware of the Alternate Reality, regardless of your assumption, Spock's sense of ethics would preclude interfering with the natural course of events.

Even if he found a way to get back in time to the Narada's arrival, he would need untold resources in order to stop the change.

He would also have to ensure that he can stop the Narada from emerging from the "lightning storm in space", which there is likely no physical capability to do.

If he destroys the Narada, the battle would be observed by the Kelvin, and the destruction of the Kelvin is still likely. One missile shot, and things may be even worse, with Kirk not being born at all.

If he tries to find a way to self-destruct the Kelvin, he would still be dealing with the butterfly effect from the anomaly and the Narada appearing, in front of the Kelvin, and exploding, leaving all kinds of advanced technology, which the Klingons would want to use, and would tip the balance of power in unpredictable ways.

Looking at the options, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to actually make such a change.

All of this reasoning and thinking, which Spock likely would have done, is simply too much technobable and explanation for the movie, and would not help the central story, but intsead would simply confuse the audience.

Therefore, the best way forward would be to simply leave it alone, which is what was done.
In "The City on the Edge of Forever" and the other time travel episodes in TOS, time travel into the past did not create new universes but altered the future of the universe in which the characters inhabited. That is the simplest interpretation of the events shown.

One could speculate that after McCoy went into the past and saved Keeler that Kirk and crew (left behind in the future) were shunted into the alternate universe that was created by McCoy's trip through the Guardian and that the crew was shunted back to their universe after Kirk and Spock traveled back in time and let Keeler die. But that wasn't explicitly shown. It was explicitly shown that changing the past (McCoy saving Keeler) changes the future (no Enterprise in orbit) of the universe in which the time travel took place. There was no mention of the many worlds interpretation.

There's no way to get around the fact that the time travel shown in the movie was different than all other time travel shown in previous Star Trek.
I'm not getting around it. I'm pointing out that it provides a different light on it.
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Old April 2 2010, 11:39 PM   #266
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

Second (and here I differ with you), despite its bluntness the scene was still not clear about the distinction between an altered timeline and a parallel universe (both of which exist in Trek lore), as evinced by the extensive debate in these forums about the ambiguities of Uhura's phrase "alternate reality."
For the writers to be clearer would mean they would have to be even more comically unsubtle. They couldn't risk stopping the movie dead right at that point. They were about as clear as they could gracefully accomplish.

My understanding of what they intended is based less on the gobbledygook dialogue than it is on the realization that, to clear a path for themselves to do Star Trek stories that aren't burdened by a "predestined future" or unpopular time travel cliches, they have only one option: to establish a new reality in which the future has not "already happened" in any way, shape or form. And that means that all the elements of this new reality have to be different people and things from the elements we've seen before.

The actions of Spock' already affected the "natural" course of the timeline in the alternate universe.
There is no natural timeline. There's nothing the timeline is "supposed to do." The timeline is, whatever happens, however it happens. If time travel is possible in that reality, then time travel is also a natural part of the timeline.

The concept of a timeline needing to do this or that is one of those unpopular time travel cliches that Abrams & crew are trying their best to avoid. Does anyone really want yet another iteration of the dreaded, contrived Restoring the Timeline story?

That would just create another "alternate universe". In the Abramsverse Vulcan would remain destroyed.
If that's true, then a whole lot of Star Trek characters have been made fools of. Every time they tried to restore a timeline, they were simply creating an alternate reality, and the hilarious thing is, they never went back to their own reality! How many times have these characters got lost in the wrong universe and not realized it? They're hopelessly lost by now - there's no retracing their steps!

The only way not to screw with all previous Trek lore is if there's a way to time travel within your own reality, and that's what everyone has been doing up till now. This time, Spock travelled to (or created) a new reality and travelled in time within that new reality (not his own). This is like Mirror, Mirror, combined with City on the Edge of Forever.
There's no way to get around the fact that the time travel shown in the movie was different than all other time travel shown in previous Star Trek.
It wasn't just time travel. It was time and space travel (between the space of two realities). Like Mirror, Mirror, but with a time travel element within the MU universe, not within the original universe. We've seen time travel and we've seen travel between realities, so what's the problem with combining the two?

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Old April 3 2010, 07:51 AM   #267
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
My understanding of what they intended is based less on the gobbledygook dialogue than it is on the realization that, to clear a path for themselves to do Star Trek stories that aren't burdened by a "predestined future" or unpopular time travel cliches, they have only one option: to establish a new reality in which the future has not "already happened" in any way, shape or form. And that means that all the elements of this new reality have to be different people and things from the elements we've seen before.
I understand that was the goal. As I've said elsewhere, though, insofar as that was the goal, to free themselves from the "constraints" of continuity, they'd have done far better by simply making this film a from-scratch, square-one reboot. If they really wanted to have a torch-passing cameo from Nimoy, they could still have established that he was somehow visiting a completely separate reality, not just one that branched off in 2233. That way, they'd not only have sidestepped lots of the arguments we've had on these forums but also avoided the difficulties certain to arise regarding known details of history pre-2233 (including from ENT), as well as alien races unaffected by the timeline shift (Klingons, Tellarites, Organians, Cardassians, Borg, and on and on), among other elements of the Trekverse that logically should still be "the same" in this "alternate reality."

IOW, they could and should have given themselves a genuinely blank slate, creatively... but they didn't.

Temis the Vorta wrote:
The concept of a timeline needing to do this or that is one of those unpopular time travel cliches that Abrams & crew are trying their best to avoid.
They don't actually seem to be trying very hard. Not with all the talk about "destiny," both in the film and in interviews, and all the contrivances they devised just to get these particular characters together in these particular roles on this particular ship. Or to put it another way, the film's commercial agenda and its creative metaphysics seem to be at odds.
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Old April 3 2010, 05:12 PM   #268
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

lawman wrote: View Post
They don't actually seem to be trying very hard. Not with all the talk about "destiny," both in the film and in interviews, and all the contrivances they devised just to get these particular characters together in these particular roles on this particular ship. Or to put it another way, the film's commercial agenda and its creative metaphysics seem to be at odds.
You imply a disparity where none exists. "Destiny" does not equate to "single timeline". The post-Nemesis timeline which Spock Prime left behind continues on in his absence, regardless of the role of so-called "destiny" in the Abrams timeline.

Temis the Vorta wrote:
If that's true, then a whole lot of Star Trek characters have been made fools of.
As a great man once said: Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?

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Old April 3 2010, 11:16 PM   #269
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

As I've said elsewhere, though, insofar as that was the goal, to free themselves from the "constraints" of continuity, they'd have done far better by simply making this film a from-scratch, square-one reboot.
If they disconnected Star Trek from all previous aspects of Star Trek, then that would lose the emotional connection for the audience. If you're going to reboot the franchise that completely, why even bother calling it Star Trek?

Having the "real" Spock, as embodied by Nimoy, in this movie was absolutely essential to hanging onto the emotional connection long enough for the audience to bond with the characters as played by the new actors.

And sure, for some people the emotional connection was severed, anyway. But that was always the risk they were going to take, in exchange for freedom from a preordained future.

Their goal was to do as little damage as possible, and still get the freedom. They wanted to have their cake and eat it too. And that's just what they did.

They don't actually seem to be trying very hard. Not with all the talk about "destiny," both in the film and in interviews,
Blathering about "destiny" is a common cop-out in sci fi, but not so much in Star Trek. The prevailing cliches have been the restore-the-timeline reset button, the character-who-has-to-make-the-tough-sacrifice and even the very idea that it's possible to restore a timeline to just how it used to be. And contrivances aren't cliches - that's a whole different class of bad writing.

The post-Nemesis timeline which Spock Prime left behind continues on in his absence, regardless of the role of so-called "destiny" in the Abrams timeline.
Yeah, but this is a different issue. The characters were talking about the timeline wanting to repair itself, as though the timeline is sentient. That's ludicrous and also contrived, but not something that Star Trek in particular has indulged in so much that it can be called a cliche for Star Trek.

And in general, blather about destiny can be used when writers have gotten themselves into a corner through poor planning, and is used that way too frakkin' much, most recently in BSG and Lost, but again - not really a notable Star Trek flaw.
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Old April 3 2010, 11:29 PM   #270
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
The characters were talking about the timeline wanting to repair itself
I've seen it described elsewhere as a quantum mechanical fate function. Potato, potatto. But my point was that such a thing does not preclude multiple timelines.
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