Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies XI+' started by startrekrcks, Aug 27, 2009.
It had holes and lacking aspects. Major ones, even. Still a cool movie.
If anything this thread has put a glaring spotlight on the level to which people will sink to trash and nitpick a film they've chosen to see multiple times. Anyone who has that much to say about every little thing that's "wrong" about this movie, has obviously invested a great deal of time and expense to the effort.
This, sir, is why most Hollywood movies and TV shows these days are are complete ass. Realism, common sense and continuity are buried in "what's more fun" until my suspension of disbelief gets up and goes to find the popcorn.
A line or two of dialogue would have solved the problem.
"We'll need volunteers with hand to hand combat training because the energy from the drill is dampening energy weapons."
No, we'll just have the characters forget their sidearms because it will be "cooler!"
You know, this is well said. I've seen it a number of times now (airplanes are very convenient for this) and its a fun ride. Just enjoy it for what it is - a popcorn movie.
It's not the TOS Kirk or Spock. Yes, Kirk is different, no father. Yes, they made the bridge the Apple store, Engineering looks like a brewery and no one even mentions that Communications looks like a series of fermenting tanks covered with little laser spirals. Yes, they didn't need a succession of Russian-doll ice monsters eating each other... and wouldn't they be full and not bother with Kirk? And dammit, Jim, warp in and phaser the drill over earth would have been a pretty successful plan.
But it was successful, popular, and achieved massive growth in the fan base - great! Hopefully the next one will continue that trend. AND be a tighter, more true to the characters, film.
I'm still confused as to why Pike warped into a trap after being told he was warping into a trap and agreeing.
No need to apologize, you are absolutely correct—I am very ignorant of film history.
However, I believe that a movie should stand or fall on its own merits. To personalize that statement, in my case knowing film history is great for context, but the individual work of art needs to appeal to me itself.
An example of that is the "synth bass" sound that pulled me out of the movie. I appreciated learning that in fact it was "the blaster beam" and the instrument does look quite interesting in its own right! However, I still felt that they way it was used in the film was quite overwrought. One shouldn't require foreknowledge of the uniqueness of the instrument to appreciate how the composer uses it. And if I did appreciate how a composer used the sound, it wouldn't matter to my enjoyment if it was the Blaster Beam or a Casio keyboard from a drug store.
I realize this is all taste, so I make no objective judgements. For example, "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys is one of my favorite songs. I loved hearing it in STXI, in the context of the upgraded 20th century car stereo loaded with "period" music. The song gets my blood pumping, certainly the goal of the music in the scene. But I fully understand and appreciate others who have complained it pulls them out of the movie. "Horses for courses" as they say.
Implying a man's opinion about a movie has less value because he is less educated about movie history is... I don't agree with that.
Thank you, BillJ. And thank you to the others who have tended gracious remarks in my direction. I appreciate them all.
However, OneBuckFilms has shown that several of my assertions are, indeed, just that -- off-base. On the other hand, I still feel I have a strong case. I will now deal with his thoughtful comments in turn:
It was well-paced by Abrams and not without a certain deftness of hand (pardon the pun) in execution; I just feel that it's a little too silly and makes the world of Trek look frivolous, and, in a way, dramatically inert. Then again, one could charge that Abrams is using the vessel of comedy to bring Kirk down a peg or two, counter-balancing his cockier moments and encouraging in the viewer a level of sympathy, at least subliminally, because Kirk is placed in a situation that demands he endures these complications in order to do something heroic, rather than simply doing everything in his early Starfleet days effortlessly and painlessly. The sequence has a less obvious "purpose", then, but, aesthetically, I'm still wont to regard it with a measure of disdain. I guess it depends on the wiring of the individual.
Right you are, OBF. I discovered I was also in error regarding my assertion that we must infer Kirk has heard every cadet being assigned; instead, the cadets are assembled in small groups, and Kirk and Uhura are in separate groups, so Kirk would only have only heard a handful of assignments being read, and Uhura's would not have been among them. Your own observations are well considered, too. In short, this isn't an error. Point rescinded.
True, OBF, true. In the grand scheme of things, it's a minor contrivance at best, but I personally find it annoying, so, for me, my point stands. Hot as Zoe Saldana is, her Uhura is also such a drastic departure from Nichelle Nichols' that I find this moment particularly hard to swallow. I know, I know, it sounds like I miss the woods for the trees, but what I also miss is that sense of grace and mystery that Nichelle Nichols had. In a way, this moment rips the heart out of Uhura, not least because of the frantic exchange between her and Kirk, and the way Uhura seems to fight against making sense of Kirk until he gets his articulation tight enough for even an idiot to make sense of the word. In my book, it's pushed too far for the sake of extending an already tedious gag, and the character of Uhura suffers for it.
Right. Technically, there was nothing factually wrong about this moment, according to Trek lore, but it feels egregious when added to the list of things Kirk does with relative ease. In short, it's part of a larger problem, for me, at least, in which everything seems a little too convenient. And since Pike places the ship on Red Alert and raises shields but does little else, it still feels like Kirk's urgency comes to naught, making his frantic trip to the bridge seem a little skittish and overcooked in retrospect; rather than being all that dramatic, it just feels like a cloying way to introduce more movement into an already kinetic film. Just my personal take on matters.
I'm 50/50 on this one. Perhaps, since Pike wasn't aware of the Klingon attack, even though he should have been, I shouldn't hold this against him -- that's the result of another contrivance, I suppose, and perhaps another example of one contrivance spilling over into another and amplifying how objectionable the milder contrivance intrinsically feels, which seems to be a recurring problem in STXI, particularly where its main plot is concerned. Intuitively, it's hard for me to strike this one, but maybe I should. I'm going to leave it standing for now, however; the sense that Pike, the "father" of the cadets and fresh blood of Starfleet, and, by extension, Starfleet itself, needs Kirk is too heavily confected, in my opinion, and many characters and moments seem badly tainted as a result.
This is one I really don't buy. I appreciate your intepretation, but I think an escape of such magnitude, by a shady race in a ship of unknown design, should have been all over Starfleet. I mean, Pike describes Starfleet to Kirk as "an humanitarian and peace-keeping armada" (which I have *major* problems with, but that's another discussion by itself), and if that's true in *this* Trek universe, and if Starfleet is already aware of Klingons and Romulans as major players in the galactic arena, as their inclusion, either peripherally (the Neutral Zone) or directly (war birds as aggressors) in the Kobayashi Maru simulation portends, not to mention the way they are casually name-dropped by others, including Uhura, then Starfleet should be very unsettled by this development and keen to acquire further information. Instead, the attack is treated as a trivial detail, with even Uhura, one of the few aware of it, retelling it in a gossipy way to her sex-obsessed friend, rather than giving it the serious inflection you'd think it would merit. I think my resistance to this aspect is a more fundamental grievance with the picture: it seems to compress and shrink the world of Star Trek down to the level of a TV soap opera; everything happens very quickly, with time and distances massively contracted, and big events are depicted with a casual gait and inevitable, even disaffected, air.
Films naturally contain errors of this fashion. Technically speaking, it is nothing out of the ordinary. Again, this one is no biggie, really, but again, it also seems worse for being surrounded by, and, in some senses, fed into, by other errors and problems. While I think STXI is better edited than it first appears, Abrams' framing and whole stylistic approach is very basic, almost crude. Yes, the cinema verite feel he brings to Star Trek is, to this extent, at least, new, and it *does* give STXI a "freshness" that helps it feel young and effervescent (the style also matching the youthfulness of the characters, then), but this same approach is also cliched, melodramatic and obvious. In my view, there is simply no need for so many close-ups, so many shaky shots, pans and zooms, so many lens flares .... so much TV-ness (this cinema verite style is now a common trope of TV, thanks to shows like "24" as well as Abrams' own "Lost"). And, at times, the style is not just constrictive, but simply overbearing, as in this bridge scene. That's why, when I realised it has no wide shots, I tried to make sense of the space the charactes inhabit, and that's when I discovered that Kirk and Spock's positions are disjointed, changing rapidly just before the Enterprise drops out of warp and arrives at Vulcan. When you see through the simple machinery of Abrams' tricks, the cheapness of the filmmaking becomes apparent, and I come away feeling that I've witnessed the tawdry illusions of a mountebank.
It still seems that Pike had an opportunity to drop out of warp before reaching Vulcan and he didn't take it. He may have been able to brief the rest of the crew, work out a way to maximise shield power and weapons (in lieu of temporarily going back to warp and completing the last step of the journey), and he may even have been able to formulate a plan for surprising or confusing the Romulan ship, rather than simply forsaking all of that and landing smack-dab in the middle of a floating graveyard, making things worse for his pilot who already had an unfortunate moment with the "parking brake", and not really giving the Romulans anything to worry about. The only reason the ship is spared destruction is because the maniac in the Romulan ship somehow feels Pike knows the codes for Earth's defences, although that didn't stop him from wasting all of the other ships (yes, yes, Nero discovers that this straggler is "The Enterprise!", but why should Pike know something the other captains didn't?), nor does wasting ships itself seem much of a problem for Nero and his seemingly invincible mining craft.
You're right here. It is the port nacelle that receives this damage, not the saucer. I was in error. With this in mind, I believe your interpretation is also more sensible than mine: the Enterprise is a beast in this version, and master pilot or not, it's doubtful that anyone could have done a better job when Pike gave the order. But I can't rescind my point. The reason begins with a question: it's a shame that the Enterprise got damaged so quickly, right? I can't help but feel that this is yet another thing that speaks to Abrams' need to mindlessly thrill and titillate, rather than tell a meaningful story where the ship is a character in its own right and you *feel* its every wounding and scar. Visually, the shot conveys a hint of that idea, but it's neither foreshadowed nor mentioned again, stripping it of any right to import (for me, at least).
Yes, but Pike says "port nacelles". Nacelles, plural. That's a mistake. Again, I don't think the Enterprise was treated in a very lady-like way. If you don't even know the basic design and beauty of a lady, how can you hope to faithfully represent her, and why should I care? I'm sorry if that sounds confrontational or belligerent; it's a small matter I find revealing of a bigger issue. I am reminded of a comment by Rutger Hauer, which I sometimes trot out, since I find it so exacting yet poetic: "film is about the small details". STXI isn't particularly mature or believable, let alone beautiful or sublime, for various reasons; an oversight like this is just so ... inelegant, to me, adding insult to injury.
Finally, to deal with some pernicious charges against my character:
Nothing in the universe, let alone human thought, is without flaw, but there are better films than STXI, even in ST's own limited film canon. And I will happily submit that many dramatic presentations can *and do* stand up to my basic level of scrutiny, give or take niggles and eccentricities of one kind or another. STXI's sins are simply too numerous, too great, and of a kind too woeful, for me. The "Get A Life" refrain is so overdone it's untrue. Those in glass houses, my friend. Yes, that analysis of mine is, without wishing to sound self-serving, significantly more detailed than usual, but your comment is just a way of screwing someone over no matter what they do: if I'd said less, I'd just be another "basher" unable to articulate my opinions, or able to articulate them, but poorly; when I provide detail, I am then accused of "nitpicking" or even lacking a life. Honestly, you may want to try and move beyond petulant accusations. This is how good discussions are killed, in all spheres of human discourse, in all places and in all times.
Is that so, guys?
Firstly, what am I to make of your other post, if not to, then certainly about, me, number6?
Seems you wrote that to demean, rather than contribute anything of substance to the discussion -- and to make your superciliousness clear, you helpfully included a laughing emoticon. If you think that that's a healthy way to present yourself, carry on; accordingly, I will see you as an aggressive hypocrite.
Secondly, I didn't necessarily imply that a particular person's subjective opinion on a film has "less value" simply because they're unaware of film history (though, in many senses, I think it does). I charged that PhasersOnStun was ignorant of film history after they made factually incorrect statements about "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" and its relationship with "2001: A Space Odyssey", which they conceded. Anyone can go back through our earlier exchange and see what was said and why it was said.
I don't appreciate my words being twisted. I'm aware it's par for the course on the Internet, but I'd still like to see it happening less than it does. Would you like it if I twisted your words? Probably not. Funnily enough, PhasersOnStun doesn't appear to have had any problems with anything I've said. It seems you have taken undue offense on their behalf, which I find specious in the extreme. You remind me of the paradigm of people people getting angry on behalf of religious adherents; "belief in belief", as Daniel Dennett calls it. That's a very dangerous road to go down, intellectually. Personally, I think you're a wee bit insecure, both of you. PhasersOnStun was man enough to take my remarks head-on, and we had a nice little discussion. If only the Internet always worked that way.
What I read in some script-leak sites is that they cut out an entire portion of Nero's backstory from the movie. It was supposed to be shown right after little Kirk's shouting of his name. It presumably went if I remember correctly: Nero being held in Rura Penthe and tortured sadistically by some interrogators. We learn through dialogue that Nero and his team has not spoken a single word in over a decade. And he isn't even screaming when he's being tortured but rather thinking back into an earlier time.
That's where we learn that Spock Prime was going to save Romulus and Nero actually helped him (much like Countdown stories) get the red matter. But the Vulcan council actually voted to not let Nero deploy the red matter but wait till Vulcan could deploy it on their own. Nero gets furious and leaves, but the star grew unexpectedly, more so than anyone thought and destroyed Romulus whilst they were in mid-evacuation. Nero's anger stems from the fact that he could have deployed the red matter way before, and an actual piece was written where the audience gets to see Romulus' sun actually get consumed by the exploding star before it finally destroys Romulus.
If they added those scenes to the movie, expanding probably by 7-8 minutes, it would have been a tighter fitted story. The flow could have been a little off, but Nero's anger could be justified far better.
The simple fact is, as you've said, that no movie, NO movie, is perfect or without flaw.
There are better films, yes. But this is essentially a popcorn movie, made to thrill and entertain, and no other Trek movie could stand up to this level of examination.
It is not an art film, so let's not treat it as one.
It's primary goal to entertain while remaining, on the whole, true to the source material.
It updated what was necessary so as not to be laughed at by the uninitiated, and it upped the pace in keeping with modern expectations, providing a level of humor and fun that has been missing from Star Trek for a while.
I have seen far more blunders in TOS and the TOS Movies.
Let the movie be what is was meant to be, and acknowledge the overwhelming success it has had in this.
Treat it fairly.
^That won't happen.
Well, given it's an alien creature and we have no clue what it's physiology might be there's no basis for that statement. Whales and dolphins have no fur and they can live in arctic seas...
Agreed, I really didn't like Nero's motivation at all; nor the Romulan "mining vessel" looking like a gigantic spidery thing with the power of the Death Star.
The promotion of Kirk (and apparently all the other cadets) made me wonder if perhaps either Starfleet was dangerously short-staffed or possibly the commissions came out of Crackerjack (tm) boxes.
Neither of those things made me "cringe" though.
Cringeworthy was having any reference to 21st century companies like Nokia and Budweiser -- especially after WWIII!
Think of it this way:
George Kirk's hobby apparently was rebuilding 20th century automobiles to "accurate" specs. The accurate in quotes is because we know he got it wrong. No 60s car would have anything like a 1990s or later style GPS system/stereo on it, but it can be written off as an honest mistake—I know quite a few people (including a close high school friend) who rebuilt cars from the 1930s to include some 1950s parts and styling.
As for the company, that would also be part of the research done. A family friend put together a vintage victorola, complete with pre-WWI brand label, etc. So one can assume that in scouring for parts for his baby, Mr. Kirk was able to find a "Nokia car stereo" to install.
As for Bud, maybe Belgium (Anheiser-Busch is owned by a Belgian company) sat the war out?
Volkswagen is a German company that existed before WW2, and it continues to exist even after the destruction that was leveled upon Germany during and up to the end of the war. A company isn't guaranteed to be destroyed just because of a war.
Star Trek's fictional society uses no money and Federation citizens don't work for their own financial wealth, like it or not. That fictional fact has become essential part of Star Trek like beaming, warp speed, dilithium crystals and phasers. It has been mentioned dozens of times on screen and is part of Roddenberry's vision of our future.
And brand names like Nokia and Budweiser don't make sense in an economy without money. Especially Nokia, because it's a technology company selling computers and mobil phones, technology that dozens of companies sell and that work the same way.
Beer on the other hand... the taste is connected to the specific beer producer. Budweiser, Heinnecken or Miller, Coke or Pepsi, they all taste differently. Hence their names will continue to exist as long as they are produced or found in the database of a replicator.
So Nokia will definately not exist in such a future. Budweiser might still be there, though.
Tom Paris admitted in VOYAGER that Earth completely stopped using conventional money/currency by the late 22nd century...sometime after the period of ENTERPRISE and the birth of the Federation. But that doesn't preclude some old firms surviving WWIII and the social renaissance following warp drive and First Contact and continuing to provide services free of charge or through a barter system of some sort.
Something Pike says while talking to freshly-beaten-up Kirk in the bar suggests a partial answer:
According to his dossier at the official site, Pike is Executive Officer of Starfleet's recruiting division, and it seems he's looking for people who don't fit neatly into that admirable, respectable, competent, but overly-disciplined box. So he recruits Kirk (and other less-conservative, more-inclined-to-leap-without-looking types, presumably.) One might also presume that a number of these were wiped out when the rest of the task force headed for Vulcan was reduced to scrap on arrival, leaving Starfleet with some shortages both of trained and experienced personnel and of new Academy graduates who could replace them.
But what about the credits which are mentioned a number of times in dialogue throughout TOS? To name just two examples:
The expression is clearly derived from the similar "I'll bet you dollars to navy beans/dollars to doughnuts that __________."
How much for a tribble?
("The Trouble with Tribbles")
Credits sure sound a lot like money, don't they?
And outside of the Original Series: what, exactly, do you suppose Beverly Crusher was using to pay for that bolt of cloth at Farpoint Station -- "We're Starfleet -- give it to us for free"? I suspect not. How did the Voyager crew manage to procure their supplies and materials on the various stops they made? By counterfeiting? Not very ethically Starfleet.
Starfleet may not use money for internal transactions, but you can bet that there are means such as credits, gold-pressed latinum, or what-have-you for interacting with other economies both large and small. Earth has also been shown to still have business concerns, Sandrine's Bar and Joe Sisko's restaurant among them; there must be some way of making transactions in those places. The absence of currency may have been part of Gene Roddenberry's vision, but even he wasn't consistent on that point and Star Trek as a whole certainly hasn't been.
Someone else has taken the trouble of addressing the subject of in somewhat greater detail here.
That "Klingon phaser cannon" remark must have been edited out before release. It's not in the existing theatrical cut of the Kirk/Pike bar conversation. Maybe it'll be restored in the DVD this fall or qualify as an extended scene.
Separate names with a comma.