Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Bry_Sinclair, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's a lot of questions. :lol:

    I wouldn't dare question your knowledge because your job to know everything about how the Trek universe works.

    But (you saw that coming, right?) ...

    The Ceti Alpha system was apparently remote maybe not well charted. Wasn't that why Kirk left Khan and Co. there? I don't spend a lot of time dissecting these things, but it makes sense to me. I'd think that the Khan incident was not "required reading" so I'm not surprised that the Reliant captain wasn't familiar with it. Add to that, it was 15 years earlier so it probably wasn't at the front of Chekov's mind. Not until he saw the "Botany Bay" thing anyway.

    As I said in an earlier post, if CA5 was near where CA6 was supposed to be, why look any further? Planets don't just line up for roll call when a ship approaches, so if there's a planet where you're looking you might assume that it's the right one.

    I can't address costume or makeup design or casting, because I don't know enough about it.

    The Genesis device, as we found out later, used protomatter (whatever that is) for the terraforming process. We don't know what scientific advancements will be made in the next 300 years, so I just accept that as a neccessary suspension of disbelief.

    Spock's code: maybe Khan was preoccupied or gloating or who knows what, but he didn't get it.

    Chekov was apparently strong enough to resist the eel's influence and "sour the milk." Why? No idea. But it's there.

    Why did Scotty haul his dead nephew to the bridge? Dramatic effect. No other reason I can see.

    Kirk "never faced death" himself. Sure, he's seen it plenty but it was always someone else. He had never faced a situation that he couldn't BS his way out of. I'm pretty sure that's what he means.

    I probably missed a few, but these are what I'm thinking after seeing the movie dozens of times over the last 30 years.

    Again, I have a ton of respect for what you do and I'd like to know how you might have written it differently.
     
  2. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Who says they didn't? I agree that Kirk wouldn't have avoided sharing the incident with Starfleet, but it's possible Khan's whereabouts were limited to the senior staff and select admirals at Starfleet Command. Lower-ranking personnel may not have been privy to where the Enterprise was going once Kirk decided what to do with Khan and his people.

    Chekov does make a statement suggesting he knew where Khan's people were located. He says, "On Ceti Alpha V, there was life, a fair chance..." He says nothing about anyone else who was aboard the ship, however. I don't know that Kyle would've been told anything. He could certainly have operated the transporter without knowing the name of the planet onto which he was beaming Khan. As for why Chekov forgot, who knows? It's Chekov.

    --Sran
     
  3. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Or they just weren't thinking.

    --Sran
     
  4. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Maybe the Reliant is the key. Khan was on the Reliant. Chekov and crew were on the Reliant. All of them show two-dimensional thinking. Maybe Reliant is just a two-dimensional ship that gets crewed by two-dimensional brains? :)
     
  5. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Then perhaps the key is not to be too reliant on Reliant.

    --Sran
     
  6. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't want to go off on this too much, because it's not really relevant to the thread, but that's not what I meant.


    The most common criticism of "Generations" I see is that it has so many plot flaws-from why Picard chooses that moment to go back, to the mistake that you can't get to the Nexus in a ship, etc.


    My point was that, as Christopher showed, TWOK is chock full of plot holes, and yet people overlook them because they like the movie. Plot holes are not usually the real reason people dislike a movie.(unless they're truly glaring ones)


    the plot hole of the thread is kind of a big one, as well as pretty silly. I guess Starfleet just keeps bad records.:confused:
     
  7. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    I understand. I still don't see how that makes anyone a hypocrite.

    --Sran
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That is complete and utter rubbish. Like I said, we have already discovered planets in hundreds of distant star systems, and we're finding more all the time. To date we know of over 700 confirmed extrasolar planets, and the Kepler telescope turned up over 3000 additional candidates.

    So no, our working knowledge of space is not that limited, because for Pete's sake you can just look up and see it, and astronomers spend their whole careers doing just that. We can see galaxies that are billions of light-years away, because there is nothing in the way to block our view. One of the fundamental defining properties of outer space is that it's really, really empty.


    We do, in fact, know enough about Alpha Ceti (as it's more correctly called) to know it isn't surrounded by a nebula -- although we also know it's a post-main-sequence red giant, a dying star that couldn't support a habitable planet to begin with. And no real asteroid field is remotely as dense as the portrayals thereof in fiction; it couldn't hide a planet, or obscure the number of planets observed.

    Besides, you don't have to see a planet to know it's there; you can detect it by its gravitational influence. Neptune and Pluto were predicted to exist based on their gravitational effect on other planetary orbits, which let astronomers calculate where to look for them. And many or most of those 700-plus exoplanets were detected by the wobble their gravity induced in their primary stars' motion -- which is why most of the planets we've found so far are really big and/or really close to their stars, thus exerting more gravitational effect on them.


    It's still a ridiculously simplistic code. I can't believe Starfleet doesn't have more sophisticated, less improvisational code protocols for communication on open channels. Come on, a fourth-grader could see through that one.


    That's actually a decent retcon. But the real-world truth is that it was just sloppy writing, or at least writing with little regard for past continuity.



    See, this is one of the fundamentally dated things about the Trek universe -- this idea that you can't chart a system unless you go there directly. Right now, today, in real life, we're charting planetary systems around stars dozens or hundreds of light-years away, and we don't even have to leave the vicinity of Earth to do it. (We've mostly relied on space telescopes like Kepler, but there's a lot we can do from the ground, and we'll be able to do even more in the not-too-distant future.) If we ever travel to the stars in real life, then we will have their planets charted well before we actually get there.


    As much as Nicholas Meyer may have wanted to pretend that these were 18th-century mariners in wooden sailing ships, they did actually have access to computers. It stands to reason that there would've been some alert that popped up when they looked up the Ceti Alpha system, something saying "Caution: Beware of the Exiled Augment War Criminals." You'd think that's an important enough caveat that there'd be a notation in the file.


    Like I said, planets don't just sit still. Right now, this planet you and I are sitting on is hurtling through space at nearly 70,000 miles per hour. To get into orbit of a planet, you have to catch up with it. You have to match its velocity, meaning the speed and direction of its motion. And that means you have to measure that velocity very carefully. That's not optional. Just being "in the general vicinity" doesn't cut it. Astrophysics is not a matter of rough estimates.


    Ummm... it was someone else this time too. How is this different? And how did he "BS his way out of" losing his own brother and sister-in-law, both loves of his life, and his unborn child? How was he any less helpless in those situations than he was with Spock here?


    Ohh, that would take hours....
     
  9. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    I'm sorry if I wasn't clear on this point. What I meant is that even though we've learned a great deal about outer space, there are many things we still don't know. For all the planets- be they actual or theoretical- that have been charted, we still don't know if any of them support life of a sophistication comparable to our own. That's what I meant in stating that our knowledge is limited.

    Who says they don't? That doesn't mean simpler codes can't be used. And Khan was hardly the only person fooled. Saavik realized Kirk and Spock were speaking in code only after Kirk cited the regulation pertaining to open-channel communication, the same Saavik who made a point to quote every rule in the book earlier in the film. If a Starfleet cadet can miss the obvious, why not a deranged psychopath?

    I agree, Christopher. And I think it's unfortunate that Nick Meyer ignored a number of things in Trek continuity when he put TWOK together. I'd be interested in knowing how you'd have written TWOK differently. I don't mind setting aside a few hours to read your explanation. I've read a few of your books and plan to read more of them. Why should this be any different?

    --Sran
     
  10. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

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    Remember the ENT episode Twilight. Where NX-01 and over 6000 humans settled on Ceti Alpha V. So even 100 years before "Space Seed". Earth Starfleet knew of the Ceti Alpha system.

    While in a real world context. This is addition of an event into a gray area because it's a prequel series decades after Space Seed and TWOK. However in the context of the Star Trek Universe, Starfleet always knew about the Ceti Alpha system.
     
  11. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And how in hell does a planet just blow up, anyway? :confused: :wtf:

    Which makes both Khan and Saavik seem incredibly stupid.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2013
  12. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Those events also happened in an alternate timeline in which Earth was destroyed. Don't assume they would apply in the primary universe.

    --Sran
     
  13. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ok. I'll be right here. :lol:
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Which has nothing to do with the point actually under discussion, which was whether it would be possible simply to detect how many planets there were in a star system. We absolutely do know enough to assess the likelihood of that, because it's something we can already do right now.



    The problem with that argument is that you're talking as though it's something that really happened and needs to be rationalized. But it didn't really happen. It's a scenario that Harve Bennett, Nicholas Meyer, and/or Jack B. Sowards made up when they were writing a movie script. And it wasn't a very good or plausible scenario. The writers could've done better, come up with something less lame. That's what I'm saying -- about this and quite a few other things.


    But I can't spare those hours to figure it out, since I'm busy writing something else that I'm actually getting paid for. In fact, I'm wasting too much time on this discussion as it is.
     
  15. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    ^Fair enough, Christopher. I won't keep you from your work.

    --Sran
     
  16. Shazam!

    Shazam! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Where they? I haven't seen the episode in some time but screenshots seem to show a bunch of white dudes but like I said I haven't seen it in ages...

    Regarding the Ceti Alpha V / VI debate, my view is that Starfleet saw a big bang and assumed that Ceti Alpha V had blown up which is why no-one checked on Khan in X number of years and why Chekov had no problem hanging around in that system.

    There WAS life... past tense. He thought it had blown up.
     
  17. Amasov

    Amasov Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I have something about the movie I want to bring up.

    Why does Khan want revenge? It's said he wants revenge for Kirk marooning him/death of his wife, but Kirk marooned him there because of Khan's attempts to take over his ship.

    It's Khan's fault he was left there. He started the whole thing. He has no right to seek revenge when it's his fault in the first place!
     
  18. YJAGG

    YJAGG Commander Red Shirt

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    As my Dad used to say - cause it's in the script
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Khan was vengeful because, as he said, "Admiral Kirk never bothered to check on our progress." If Kirk, or Starfleet, had monitored the colony, then they would've detected the disaster, provided aid, and maybe been able to prevent Marlena's later death.

    Besides, Khan had been living in hellish conditions for years, enduring the grief of losing his wife and nineteen others of his people. That's plenty of time to nurture a grudge into an obsession, to get fixated on an idea even if it isn't objectively reasonable. He wanted someone to take out his rage on, someone to punish, and Kirk was the most convenient target.
     
  20. dub

    dub Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Location? What is this?
    By the way, TWOK is still awesome! It's my favorite Trek movie to this day. I think it's easier for me to overlook some of the plot holes in this movie because the dialogue, the character and relationship moments, the acting, the score, directing, all of it made me actually care about these characters, care about what happens and actually made me interested in watching every moment of this film in comparison to some other Trek films. They reused footage and found ways around their budget, but they still made a film that's wonderful, left me on the edge of my seat, and in the end sobbing like a baby.

    This never bothered me. It's a simple concept and yes it's far-fetched, but this is sci-fi (in some cases fantasy). A transporter scattering your molecules across the universe and bringing them back together is equally far-fetched in my mind. I'm just glad they explained the idea without excessive technobabble.

    This one has mildly bothered me over the years. Especially when you see Khan's reaction to Spock saying "by the book" in a strange way. His eyebrow kind of goes up, as if he's catching on to the fact that what Spock's saying is code for something else. But, it leads to some great fun later in the movie, so it's completely forgivable to me.

    Now my thought on this was it had something to do with the Reliant Captain killing himself (and the eel inside of him). Some kind of instinct was triggered and the eel escaped Checkov. That's my guess anyway.

    I agree with another person here that it was purely for dramatic effect. In this case, it wasn't a mistake or lazy writing. The scene could have easily been omitted and the story would still make sense. But this scene was intentionally added for the sole purpose of dramatic effect.

    I believe Kirk said "I've never faced death. Not like this." In a sense, every death we face is different. Spock was very special to Kirk, so he hadn't faced death "like this" before. Not to say that the other people you mentioned weren't special to Kirk. But I think he was saying this death hit him especially hard and in a unique way unlike other countless deaths he had experienced before. Also, since this was a reaction to his son's assessment of Kirk's obvious lingering shock and pain, Kirk was speaking emotionally here. Instead of saying, "No son, you're wrong. I've faced death throughout my life and career...just not like this," he said it a different way: "no [in a sense you're actually right], I haven't faced death. Not like this." And then it all sort of ties back nicely to the Kobayashi Maru. So to me, that was a lovely bit of writing.