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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 June 9 2013, 08:20 PM   #1
Lapis Exilis
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Where's the Main Computer in STID?

I don't know if this has been discussed yet - if so, please point me to the thread.

I just saw Into Darkness for the second time and was struck by something that passed me by in the first viewing - Why doesn't the crew ever consult the main computer?

Firstly - the warp core goes out of whack so suddenly that they have to do a full stop from warp and it takes hours to find the problem. OK - I can roll with the idea that Chekov consults the computer or other diagnostic electronic devices even though we never see that happen on screen.

But secondly - Khan announces himself as a 300 year old war criminal and no one (not even Spock!) ever asks the computer what war, what crimes, what genetic engineering, who this Khan was 300 years before.

It's a tad odd. It would have been odd in TOS (after all, in Space Seed, as soon as they have Khan's name they call up the history on the main computer), but it really stands out as weird in the age of Google.

This is the kind of thing I point to about where Abrams misses the boat on creating Star Trek. I was impressed with Into Darkness for managing to really capture the flavor of TOS's relationships (except for the whole Uhura/ Spock thing, which stands out more and more as unbelieveable). But these movies seem to have an information-phobia where one of the things that has always distinguished Star Trek is its reliance on history, science - i.e. KNOWLEDGE.

Did anyone else notice this? What are your thoughts?
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Old June 9 2013, 09:36 PM   #2
Ovation
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Re: Where's the Main Computer in STID?

I didn't give it much thought except to speculate they didn't have the computer speak because Majel Barrett was not able to do the voice. With the major refit at the end, a new voice would be fine?

Also, it allowed for a Nimoy cameo instead (regardless of how one feels about that, consulting the computer would have obviated the need for the cameo).
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Old June 9 2013, 09:37 PM   #3
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: Where's the Main Computer in STID?

Ovation wrote: View Post
I didn't give it much thought except to speculate they didn't have the computer speak because Majel Barrett was not able to do the voice. With the major refit at the end, a new voice would be fine?
That's the most likely explanation. They're probably still looking for a voice to replace Majel. Although I think they should pick Judi Durand just to mess with people's heads.
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Old June 10 2013, 02:39 AM   #4
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Where's the Main Computer in STID?

Ovation wrote: View Post
I didn't give it much thought except to speculate they didn't have the computer speak because Majel Barrett was not able to do the voice.
You really think that they'd have hesitated to recast for a moment, given that the previous actor is dead, if they'd wanted for any reason to have a conversation with the main computer?

No.

It took half of "Space Seed" before they came up with a photograph of Khan Noonian Singh from the library computer, BTW, after he identified himself as "Khan" in Sickbay and Spock began to speculate and discuss the Eugenics Wars. This is because computers on Star Trek have always worked the same way as warp drive - as powerful or limited as the writer that week needed them to be.

They didn't talk to the computer because talking to a computer is a boring and undramatic way to provide information or exposition. They had an opportunity to use it to find out about Khan, and came up with the far superior alternative of featuring Leonard Nimoy in a cameo. These people know what they're doing.

For all the dramatic use it is, the Enterprise computer is welcome to shut the fuck up from here on out.
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Old June 10 2013, 02:49 AM   #5
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Where's the Main Computer in STID?

Science Officer 0718 was sufficiently informative at at least one point.
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Old June 10 2013, 02:57 AM   #6
Ovation
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Re: Where's the Main Computer in STID?

Admiral Buzzkill wrote: View Post
Ovation wrote: View Post
I didn't give it much thought except to speculate they didn't have the computer speak because Majel Barrett was not able to do the voice.
You really think that they'd have hesitated to recast for a moment, given that the previous actor is dead, if they'd wanted for any reason to have a conversation with the main computer?

No.

It took half of "Space Seed" before they came up with a photograph of Khan Noonian Singh from the library computer, BTW, after he identified himself as "Khan" in Sickbay and Spock began to speculate and discuss the Eugenics Wars. This is because computers on Star Trek have always worked the same way as warp drive - as powerful or limited as the writer that week needed them to be.

They didn't talk to the computer because talking to a computer is a boring and undramatic way to provide information or exposition. They had an opportunity to use it to find out about Khan, and came up with the far superior alternative of featuring Leonard Nimoy in a cameo. These people know what they're doing.

For all the dramatic use it is, the Enterprise computer is welcome to shut the fuck up from here on out.
I agree with the points you make. In my defence I did say I didn't give it much thought--perhaps all of three seconds. I certainly would not have been bothered in any way if the voice had been recast.
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Old June 10 2013, 03:03 AM   #7
Nerys Myk
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Re: Where's the Main Computer in STID?

Can't say I missed it.
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Old June 10 2013, 05:11 AM   #8
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Re: Where's the Main Computer in STID?

I have watched Avengers, IM 3, and F6, in which both films have characters actually doing research on computers. We may not have seen the full process, but we know that they did it. It didn't detract from the films.

I noticed this lack of doing research when watching the film, and I have commented on this on this board. For the record, Spock was already researching the computer before Khan revealed his name. The issue was the sparsity of records from that era, and not having a keyword.
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Old June 10 2013, 05:19 AM   #9
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Re: Where's the Main Computer in STID?

^Exactly. It's not as though we need to see some long scene of them consulting the computer, but having the characters not even consider it is a little forced. And even if nuSpock contacting Spock is arguably a more dramatic way of addressing it, it comes across a bit like teens in a modern horror film all trying to find a pay-phone without ever discussing an alternative.
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Old June 10 2013, 05:58 AM   #10
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Re: Where's the Main Computer in STID?

We know that Spock did research Carol Marcus' transfer and Kirk did research on John Harrison, so, we have precedents, so why didn't one or the other or both research Khan? Then, after the research, then have Spock contact Spock Prime.
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Old June 10 2013, 08:44 AM   #11
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Re: Where's the Main Computer in STID?

I'll be controversial here.
I think the problem is in 'Space Seed' not in STID.
Why would you store information about every single event in Earth history in the main computer of a Starship? And why would you have a ship's historian aboard? You have a ship full of explorers, scientists, diplomats - why clog up your main computer with details about things that are irrelevant to your purpose.
I know it was all over TOS.
Do current US warships have pictures of every criminal in history, any pictures?
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Old June 10 2013, 01:13 PM   #12
Ovation
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Re: Where's the Main Computer in STID?

There's actually nothing on screen to suggest the computer was not consulted. It's just that we didn't see it (nor did we need to, really). Nothing in the exchange with Nimoy is inconsistent with doing a prior search. Spock asks Nimoy if they encountered and defeated Khan--something that would NOT be in their computer anyway. Nimoy's brief summary is for the audience not Spock.

Yet another example of not providing explicit explanations that seems to frustrate people (to an alarming degree, IMO--the overall trend, not this specific instance).
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Old June 10 2013, 02:15 PM   #13
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Re: Where's the Main Computer in STID?

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
I'll be controversial here.
I think the problem is in 'Space Seed' not in STID.
Why would you store information about every single event in Earth history in the main computer of a Starship? And why would you have a ship's historian aboard? You have a ship full of explorers, scientists, diplomats - why clog up your main computer with details about things that are irrelevant to your purpose.
I know it was all over TOS.
Do current US warships have pictures of every criminal in history, any pictures?
Even if it wasn't in the computer on the ship, the ship's computer could request the information from Memory Alpha, etc.


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Old June 10 2013, 03:00 PM   #14
B.J.
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Re: Where's the Main Computer in STID?

Could they? Or could Admiral Marcus have been blocking their access to any Starfleet communications lines already?
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Old June 10 2013, 03:09 PM   #15
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Where's the Main Computer in STID?

It doesn't matter. There was no part of the story that would have been better told through a scene involving people talking to a computer.

Computers were kind of a neat skiffy prop back in 1966; they were the future. Now we use them to watch cat videos, so who's interested in watching people play with them in movies?

You know what characters in television shows spend less time doing than almost anything? Watching television.
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