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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 May 19 2009, 03:48 AM   #61
DFScott
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Re: Could we Trekkers have saved the Trek XI script? [SPOILERS]

Good to see you again, Ptrope my friend. As I predicted, we're of like mind on this topic. To be frightfully honest, I've never laid eyes on these "graphic novel" prequels, and if what you're saying is correct -- that I was expected to read these comics before entering the theater in order for me to make sense of the plot -- then that's pretty appalling. They should've passed out the comics to the audience in little shrink-wrapped packages, like 3D glasses.

But I think I'm done bashing this poor movie, and it's time that I did some of what I said I was going to do in the lead-in.

Assume for the sake of argument that we were signed under NDA, and we were given advance copies of the script to Trek XI. What we see in the script is, for the sake of this exercise, equal to what we now see in the film. We're given an opportunity to advise for a "script treatment," where our objective is to take the same basic story (we cannot change it fundamentally), but advise how it can be improved for the sake of continuity -- just to make the script a better script. And we want to sacrifice as few elements as possible, partly because we've been through a time machine and we've seen into the future and we know this script will become a popular film the way it is already.

And to tell you the truth, I'm reading this script, and I'm coming up to the opening title, and it's actually pretty strong. If at all possible, I want to keep everything about the opening act -- Capt. Robau, Mr. G. Kirk, and our introduction to Nero.

But it would be a mistake to try to fix the script the way you close a Ziploc bag, from one side to the other. Instead, you have to rework this like reassembling an onion -- replace the biggest layer first, and work smaller. The biggest problem with this script is that the series of events that leads our characters to be imperiled, that causes our nemesis to be evil, and that triggers the alternate timeline and sequence of events, is implausible.

We can't procrastinate; we have to solve the big problem first.

* However the science ends up working out, we should still have a cataclysmic event that sends Nero 25 years or so into the past, and into the meeting with the Kelvin where George Kirk meets his fate. It sets up one of the strongest character situations of the film (which could be made stronger), where we evaluate the kind of person James Kirk is without the influence of his father.

* But the 25-year span between Nero's arrival in our new timeline and Old Spock's doesn't make sense if we explain it away by saying nothing happened. The only realistic alternative is that something happens, but the amount of time we spend explaining what happened is time spent away from our main characters -- so it's better that we learn what really happened through implication.

> So how about if Nero's existence in our timeline has changed the state of affairs between Romulus and the Federation, and we learn this because our characters are clearly in more of a state of war? Or at least perpetually vigilant readiness, a very, very not-so-cold cold war? Nero has built up a following with his old-found countrymen -- after all, he has a really cool ship from a century and a half in the future. He's helped make Romulus stronger than it should have been, preparing it for the coming calamity which threatens to destroy its home star system, and perhaps to avert it by fortifying itself for the threat he says is coming from the wormhole. When Old Spock arrives, there's a whole armada there, led by the Narada, and that explains why and how he could surrender without much of a fight.

Starfleet Intelligence has been monitoring and preparing this event (and here's where we build the intrigue), but it's thrown for a loop when Old Spock sends a cryptic distress call. Maybe it's Uhura who intercepts it. Perhaps that's how we send the Enterprise to investigate, how we get Capt. Pike and his crew into the action, and maybe we can come up with a respectable device for getting Mr. Kirk on board as well.

I'll stop here for now. What do you think, folks, is this workable? Or does this have some holes I'm not seeing yet?

DF "Attention All Starfleet Vessels, This Is Ambassador Sp...Sp...Spackle. Yea, That's the Ticket. Ambassador Spackle of...Lesser Outer Vulcan." Scott
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Old May 19 2009, 10:58 AM   #62
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Re: Could we Trekkers have saved the Trek XI script? [SPOILERS]

DFScott wrote: View Post
> So how about if Nero's existence in our timeline has changed the state of affairs between Romulus and the Federation, and we learn this because our characters are clearly in more of a state of war? Or at least perpetually vigilant readiness, a very, very not-so-cold cold war?
This already sounds much more interesting than the movie script, and offers more exciting possibilities than battling against a renegade miner. It could also make Spock Prime's role in the story more interesting, as he was trying to achieve peace & unification with the Romulans in the original timeline.
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Old May 19 2009, 12:14 PM   #63
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Re: Could we Trekkers have saved the Trek XI script? [SPOILERS]

No, Trek fans couldn't have saved it.

We'd never had reached any kind of agreement. Someone would have hated it, someone. Dreaming if you think we would.

I'm ESPECIALLY referring to the people who pick and pick and pick and pick and pick at it, Case in point.
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Old May 19 2009, 01:13 PM   #64
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Re: Could we Trekkers have saved the Trek XI script? [SPOILERS]

Australis wrote: View Post
No, Trek fans couldn't have saved it.

We'd never had reached any kind of agreement. Someone would have hated it, someone. Dreaming if you think we would.

I'm ESPECIALLY referring to the people who pick and pick and pick and pick and pick at it, Case in point.
The movie, while entertaining (I'm seeing it again, tomorrow), has weaknesses that go beyond any nit-picking about canon violations and straight to basic elements of storytelling and characterization. I see nothing wrong with critiquing the movie at that level. That's the difference between constructive critical analysis and nit-picking over uniform colors and where the ships are being built.

I wouldn't presuppose I could do what Orci and Kurtzman did, but did they do a good job compared to those who do practice their craft of screenwriting? The premise and bare bones of the story are good, in my opinion. But, could they have done a better job than they did in conveying it? Could the movie have had more depth? Nothing wrong with debating that. And, at least in my case, it doesn't convey total dissatisfaction with the product I was given.
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Old May 19 2009, 02:47 PM   #65
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Re: Could we Trekkers have saved the Trek XI script? [SPOILERS]

Oh, I don't disagree with you, I really liked he movie but it was a long way from a great through plot. Nonetheless it's strong, colourful and filled with great characters and moments, and with a bit of luck it'll be better next time around. Whoever said it needed another 20 minutes, well, you're right, but I would have said 30, and hopefully we'll get those deleted scenes put back in on the DVD.
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Old May 19 2009, 03:36 PM   #66
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Re: Could we Trekkers have saved the Trek XI script? [SPOILERS]

Australis wrote: View Post
Oh, I don't disagree with you, I really liked he movie but it was a long way from a great through plot. Nonetheless it's strong, colourful and filled with great characters and moments, and with a bit of luck it'll be better next time around. Whoever said it needed another 20 minutes, well, you're right, but I would have said 30, and hopefully we'll get those deleted scenes put back in on the DVD.
Well, you're right, too. There have been some very nit-picky criticisms. The science is iffy and convenient, but that's almost always Star Trek. If an entire world could be created by a Genesis Device that was basically the size of a person, then why can't there be a substance like Red Matter, small amounts of which can destroy planets?

I did post earlier that I think this movie could've been better if it were actually longer. Not to put more into it, but the same story spread out over 20 or 30 more minutes to give it more depth. If there's any consensus at all about where some extra time would've improved the movie, I'd say that was fleshing out Nero and his motives a little better. And, hey, as entertaining as the movie was anyway, who would've complained about it being a bit longer?

My criticisms are mostly frustrations about how close they came to actually nailing a 10 out of 10. So damn close. If at had stunk, I'd have just walked away shaking my head and remained silent.
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Old May 19 2009, 03:44 PM   #67
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Re: Could we Trekkers have saved the Trek XI script? [SPOILERS]

flemm wrote: View Post
Peter the Younger wrote: View Post
The box office receipts would suggest they were right.
They suggest the movie got a lot of things right, which I believe it did. They don't, however, suggest the film is above criticism or that it could not be improved upon.

Peter the Younger wrote: View Post
Yeah, none of them are dummies, I'm sure they probably did sit down and say, "well some people won't like this at all." But it those people represent less than 10% of the core fanbase, and you bring in more than enough new fans to compensate, well, that's business.
I think it is difficult to argue that having Nimoy in the film was an important draw for new fans. Since much of the plot is contrived in order to have his character around, I think it is quite possible that the film would have been even more successful as a straight-forward reboot with no time-travel and a more elegant plot.
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Old May 20 2009, 04:19 AM   #68
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Re: Could we Trekkers have saved the Trek XI script? [SPOILERS]

Moving forward with the re-composition idea: Rather than have Nero and his crew wait around and do nothing for a quarter-century (something I've never known a bad guy to do before), he makes it his mission to build up Romulus so that it can overcome the cataclysm that awaits it in the future. In events we don't have to see in the film to know or to infer they've taken place, we learn that Nero blames the Federation for the events of the future, equates the Federation's rise to power with the supernova that absorbs Romulus, and is dead certain it's all a conspiracy. As someone who has the most powerful dark matter mining device anyone's ever seen (and that's how I'd recast the Narada), he amasses somewhat of a following among his people.

But in keeping with the idea that no Federation member has ever seen a Romulan yet (are you out there, Anticitizen?), Nero's strategy is to maintain stealth -- to attack the Federation in bits and pieces and never to reveal the Romulan identity, in order to instill and maintain maximum fear.

So when Old Spock finally makes it through the wormhole, there's an entire armada waiting for him. He doesn't have much of a chance, but he also surmises that if he identifies himself specifically in his distress signal, he could place the entire timeline of history in jeopardy -- since his younger self still exists.

Now, the part I'm debating at this point is how Old Spock reacts. In the current film, only the Narada is present to welcome Old Spock, and we don't know what actually happens to Old Spock until we run into him again on Delta Vega. If we continue to have Old Spock just surrender, then it might still make sense to leave that fact unstated until later, just as the film did. But I just can't imagine Old Spock just giving in; if he's thinking logically, he'd surmise (for the nonce) that any direct contact he makes with people in this timeline might jeopardize everything and everyone. He might even try self-destruct to avoid that possibility, thinking of "the needs of the many." Of course, if Old Spock does something heroic, we'd want to see it, which might keep us trapped in this scene longer than we have time and celluloid for. So what would he do? I'm still playing with this.

DF "I Don't Believe in a No-win Scenario" Scott
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