OMFG MASSIVE SPOLIERS: NeoTrek Engine Musings

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Plecostomus, May 9, 2009.

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  1. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    To be fair, I tend to LIKE the "this symbol means this" universal concept. The "box with arrows in all directions" seems to be a universally-understandable concept for a turbolift. I don't see any reason why you need to omit an arrow if you're on the top floor, bottom floor, or have an inpenetrable wall to one side or another... or, for that matter, why there doesn't seem to be a "depth arrow" in the diagram (surely lift cars occasionally travel normal to the door opening, don't they?)

    Certain symbols are well-understood, just by virtue of the symbol. The intention, as I understand it, with TMP's graphics (which I DO think were overdone a bit) was to create a 23rd-century version of the "Drivers manual" symbol recognition chart.

    The "lift car with arrows in horizontal and vertical directions" strikes me as very much that sort of thing.
     
  2. Good

    Good Commander Red Shirt

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    I find it hilarious that after years of making up treknical stuff based on random pieces of plastic glued to a model or pencil cases turned into prop molds, we now find ourselves defining the inner workings of an FTL starship engine in such a way that it stays consistent to the internal layout of a brewery.


    Still, it's fun!
     
  3. Gagarin

    Gagarin Commander Red Shirt

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    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
     
  4. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    It's cause we like beer. :D
     
  5. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Not having read the comic or seen the movie, my op may well be valueless, but that sounds like a great damn ending to me.

    Also alarmingly close to my old concept for a MAJOR MATT MASON movie ... here's hoping Tom Hanks somehow taps into the collective consciousness and uses something like it for his MMM flick.
     
  6. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No, but you have to deal with being outnumbered twenty to one by folks who disagree with you. :)
     
  7. DaveyNY

    DaveyNY Commodore Commodore



    Hence the reason I've pretty much gone back to being a Lurker around here...
    (..that, and the fact that there's a frackin' new thread opened by some johnny-cum-lately-cadet, just about every two seconds now-a-days...)

    After having seen this new movie only twice...

    It's my Not-So-Humble-Opinion, that the bowels of this new JJprise need to be cleaned out with a massive dose of M.O.M mixed with a gallon of Citrus Of Magnesium...

    Hopefully, by the time the next Trek Flick hits the theaters, more Trek-Tech minded production designers will have taken over the reigns...
     
  8. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I hope not. The problem with tech-minded people is that they have a truly GHASTLY sense of character development. There's really a direct correlation there... I mean, arguably the most tech-heavy show in the franchise (sometimes explicitly and proudly so) involved gratuitous use of the reset button and a shameful amount of "That was a profound life changing event that will forever alter our relationship... let's just forget this ever happened and do something else."

    I'm really loving this idea if the engineering section being so vastly different from the saucer section. That kind of modularity has a very appealing logic to it that "trek-tech minded" producers never much aspired to. I could see a little more dressing up of those engineering spaces--more blinking lights, more consoles, and Scotty needs a big distinct workstation so he'll have something to look at whenever he needs to say "She's can't take much more, Captain!" but other than that, the general pattern works. Like the difference between the space shuttle's flight deck and the crawlspace in and around its engine compartment; even if the latter is pressurized, its an equipment bay, not a motel.
     
  9. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'd think it's nearly certain that Abrams will stick with the folks who did this one. And once Paramount backs the money truck into his driveway he'll be directing it, too...
     
  10. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I'm sure tech-minded folks as different as Fincher and Cameron aren't the top of your list, but are they even on it at all?
     
  11. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    The real trick here is to realize that it's not a "this, or that, mutually exclusive" issue we're discussing.

    The best Trek stories, IMHO, were told by people who were storytellers and who wanted to stir things up... who didn't care about the backstory, or the technology, or any of that. A good Trek story NEEDS that.

    But those people were not given free reign to do whatever they wanted to. They were counterbalanced by people who cared about those other issues... history, characterization, etc, etc.

    The best stories, like the best designs or the best... well... the best ANYTHING... comes out of conflict. You NEED conflict.

    I think that if Abrams had been the director, but someone else (someone who loved Trek) had been the producer, we'd have gotten a much better end product.

    There's nothing that Abrams did in this film that really wouldn't have been just as effective (maybe MORE effective) if done in more "Trek-classic" style. Just as one small example... is there anyone who seriously thinks that the scene on Narada would have been less effective if they'd used, unaltered, the classic TOS phasers instead of the "nuPhasers?" Honestly, except for the one "marketing requires it, so show the phaser barrel flip!" scene, you'd never have noticed ANYTHING about those... or the communicators.

    There is literally nothing in this film that would have been HARMED by keeping the exact, unaltered TOS design. There was barely a scene when we got a close look at any set on the ship, except for the Busch-inspection-tubes scene.

    So... have an executive producer who is the "caretaker" for the history... and a producer/director who doesn't care a whit about any of that, but really, really wants to tell a good story at any cost. These two guys (non-gender-specific meaning there) are in conflict, but the end result is something better than you get with just one perspective being forced.

    The good things in this film would have won any arguments in a case like that... we'd have all of that. The bad things, on the other hand, would have lost their arguments, and we'd have a lot less of those.
    Well, I think that everyone would agree that "living room spaces" throughout the ship, dressed up with plexiglass "circuit traces" and lots of bright, primary color lights, don't make for a convincing "high-technology" presentation... nor did they ever, honestly. (Shame that this seemed to get adopted in lots of places in this film ... sigh).

    There are big design-issues with that set, though, and I'm sure you've seen them repeatedly. Not just the obviously concrete floor, the fact that the Anheuser Busch signage was hastily covered up with "starfleet livery" or whatever... but safety-related issues associated with huge, uncompartmentalized spaces. It was a bad design.

    Still... the idea of working spaces in the ship having a different style than the control-room spaces or the living spaces... provided that they seem to be the same CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY... is perfectly reasonable. Having the "engineering spaces" seem like clean, living-room environments (per TNG/VOY/DS9, and to a lesser extent, ENT) is just sort of... silly.
    My single biggest issue was that it was so blazingly obvious as a brewery. I kept expecting to see Laverne and Shirley just around the corner! The only worse decision for a location they could have made might have been doing at the Jack Daniels Distillery... though the oak casts would be only slightly more jarring than what we saw there. ;)

    "Next time," I'd like to see something patterned on the TOS engineering set, but perhaps a bit more expansive. Have the "tubes" section be full-size rather than "forced perspective." Have the floor be perf'ed metal and have equipment visible underneath it. Have the consoles be free-standing rather than built into the walls, with the "ladder" going up to a catwalk leading into the "tubes bay" (what I call the energizer). Replace "blinky light" panels with actual large-format displays, of approximately the same size and arrangement.

    I actually can't imagine the brewery being used if there's a sequel... it's the single most mocked aspect of this film. But then again, I'm not directly involved in the making of this film or any potential sequel, so I don't get to make that decision.

    But... if another film IS made, I really hope that they don't just say "JJ, you can do whatever you want without any checks or balances." The problems in this film... and there are plenty of them... come from the fact that this guy had full control, rather than having to argue points and defend his positions.

    That sort of discussion... yes, that sort of argument... leads to a better final product, every single time.
     
  12. Gep Malakai

    Gep Malakai Vice Admiral Admiral

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    *raises hand* I don't.

    And we got to see the stand-up plexi screens in action, and they were some sort of interactive data overlay screen that Chekov was using for work. Seemed pretty practical to me.
     
  13. ST-One

    ST-One Vice Admiral

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    Ah, yes. The Reset Button.
    A shot in the mirror.
    It was just a dream.
     
  14. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    No, something that proved these alt-characters were worth a movie and could live up to the standards established and carried through by the 'first' team. If you want to dismiss Yesterday'sE. as a rest/mirror/dream and only that, you're doing a huge disservice to the episode and the army of creatives that pulled it together very quickly.

    If you realized this reality was a faux one, and pulled it down in favor of one in which you don't even know what your status is (and wouldn't ever know) but become convinced that one is the correct one ... that takes courage, and makes for real drama.

    Shoot, LA CONFIDENTIAL has a character whose career is made on what he realizes is a set of lies, and he consciously works to expose all that because it is the right thing to do. It may 'reset' his career and destroy his 'dream' of succeeding as a police officer (it doesn't, but the possibility certainly is thee), but he is bound by an ethical committment.

    Stick with your cheapjack condemnations; real drama often has to transcend convention and sometimes sails right over conventional thinkers. If you're not on board when such a ship sails, I don't think the ship will ride any rougher in the waters, no loss at all.

    EDIT ADD-ON: Dochterman finally posted his first thoughts on the movie, with I guess more to come later.
     
  15. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    Waitaminute...

    (recapturing "full quote")...
    Okay, then...

    His point was about "different areas of the ship should look different" because they serve different functions.

    My point was that I was agreeing with him, and used the "TNG-era style engineering room" (which was what was being referred to as a "living room space" by me and which, I believe, was the sort of thing he was referring to) as a touchstone as for what DOESN'T work as a fully-believable engineering space - too clean, too "liveable," not evidently functional enough, but lit up with lots and lots of primary-color lighting to make it seem "techy" (supposedly). The "plexiglass" comment was primarily focused on the inexpensive "isolinear optical chip" concept for circuitry we got in TNG, by the way.

    I pointed out that this movie did end up keeping that "TNG-era style" in some places, notably the bridge set, which I think wasn't the best choice.
    I get it that we saw, briefly, a "demonstration" of Yelchin using one of these. That doesn't change the fact that it's a very "TNG-ish" concept, just given a bit more "polish." In fact, that particular scene, more than anything else, felt like a "forced justification" of that particular design-style choice, to me. (I mean... if we're talking "ergonomic design" here... is there any practical reason that Chekov had to get up from his workstation and walk over to another location to do this calculation? Shouldn't he have been able to do that at his duty station just as easily, if not more so?)

    But seriously.. before arguing... make sure you're arguing against the point being made. The point being made by the guy I was responding to, and to which I was agreeing, AND to which I was saying I thought everyone could probably agree, is that "engineering sets shouldn't look exactly like the rest of the ship, except for more plexiglass chips laying around and a few more primary color light sources."

    Do you agree, or disagree, with that point?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2009
  16. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    The idea of people giving up everything... to achieve a greater goal... that's far more noble than "saving our own skin."

    The idea of saving YOUR ENEMY in the process is more noble yet.

    The idea that "blowing up the bad guy" is remotely inspirational is... well, it's not something we saw much of in classic Trek.

    Do you honestly think that the "mustache-twirling baddie (and let's be clear... though he may have a terrific UNTOLD backstory, as far as this movie is concerned, Nero is nothing more than that) try to destroy the universe, and having the hero save the universe by turning the bad guy's weapon on himself, is either (1) particularly original, (2) particularly inspirational, or (3) in keeping with the philosophies that made "classic Trek" stand out from other entertainment?

    Again... compare that to "Errand of Mercy." Compare it to "Arena." Compare it to "Balance of Terror" (Kirk defeated his enemy, sure, but the enemy in that show was far more sympathetic and far more noble... and Kirk DID try to save that enemy, after all). Compare it to ANY "classic trek" episode. Compare it to any of the really great "TNG" episodes. The message was always there... "We're able to be more than that. We can be better than that."

    This movie was a fine "popcorn movie." But the storyline was far more cliched than the "reset button" you seem to disdain so much. Just another over-the-top psychotic villain out to destroy the universe with an ultimate weapon, and with no real emotional connection drawn between that character (and his motivations) and the audience.

    I find "baddie of the week tries to blow up the universe" pretty non-Trekkian, personally.

    (Of course, Nero had 25 years to figure out that all he had to do was go to Hobus and drop in a bit of red-matter there, in his past, and Romulus would survive. Odd that they never even thought of THAT while writing this movie!)
     
  17. ST-One

    ST-One Vice Admiral

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    This is all very nice and dandy... for a movie-/TV-series that hasn't already shown what is to become of the characters.

    We, the audience, know how these characters end up in the original universe.
    In this new universe everything is possible.

    That drama aspect would be totally lost for the audience if everything would revert back to the status quo at the end.

    BTW: 'Yesterday's Enterprise' only works because the story is told from the audience's perspective (represented by Guinan - Spock has that part in Star Trek).
     
  18. ST-One

    ST-One Vice Admiral

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    You know very well that a large part of Nero's story was cut from the theatrical release of the movie. You know were he spent those 25 years.

    Besides, destroying Hobus now rather than later would change nothing in this universe/timeline.
     
  19. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    Yes, you, and I... both being huge Trek-geeks as we are... know that. But remember what I said (emphasis added here by BOLD
    The average moviegoer doesn't know what's going to be in the "deleted scenes" and hasn't read the comic "prequel." So they don't have that info. And that's the MAIN audience of this movie, isn't it?
    That may be the concept that the screenwriters latched onto... but that's far from a universal concept within Trek.

    If that's the case... "City on the Edge of Forever" was meaningless, and Edith Keeler didn't need to die.

    If that's the case... "Star Trek IV" was meaningless, because all they did was create a new "alternative reality" while the one they came from was destroyed in any case.

    If that's the case... virtually every "time travel" story in Trek is rendered utterly pointless, because the "original universe" was never altered.

    But that's not how it was generally portrayed in Trek, was it? When McCoy went back in time... the "Star Trek" reality was destroyed. Kirk and Spock had to travel back in time to set things right. The ultimate drama in that story came from making a terrible sacrifice in order to do so.

    According to the "Abrams-trek" time travel concept... all McCoy would have done, by traveling back, would be to create an alternative reality. The "original reality" would remain, safe. The only impact on the "original reality" would be that McCoy was gone, and the only drama in that story would have been "how do we get McCoy back."

    But that... the single most effective "time travel" story Trek has ever done, IMHO... established that all time was one "river."

    If you accept "City on the Edge of Forever," AND you accept "Star Trek '09"... you have to accept that "the original timeline is gone, except in the memory of Nimoy's Spock."
     
  20. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly my point. Those people need to be ADVISORS, not producers, or even writers. The balance of creativity and consistency needs to err on the side of creativity, because the satisfaction of nitpickers will NOT sustain the franchise over the long term and a drop in public interest will mean no more Star Trek. I'm all for keeping a story within established limits of the series, IF those limits are recognized for what they are and writers are given the option to expand beyond them in pursuit of a good idea. Abrams Orci and Kruzman did this for ST-XI, deviating substantially from TOS conventions in the process, the result of which was a good story that evolved into a good movie.

    At the risk of coming off a little too Shatner/dickish... it is just a show. If you want it to continue to exist as a show, from time to time you have to expand beyond the established horizons and try something new, and not really care how it stacks up against what you've done before.

    Possibly, but the producers need to not have the final say in the finished product, at least as far as the creative elements are concerned. Star Trek has been handicapped enough "no you can't do that because it'll insult the fans" and is not better off for it.

    And what--other than charitable consideration for the existing fan base--would that have accomplished? More to the point: if a director wants to change the look of the phasers for whatever reason, what solid argument could a producer use to justify making him change it back to a 1960s prop design? It's a mere stylistic issue that doesn't add or subtract anything to the story; it adds something for dorks like me who like to see new gadgets and it subtracts something for dorks like you, who don't. But since the ultimate strength of the story doesn't come from historical or technical consistency, the "caretaker" position is that of an advisor or a consultant, NOT an executive producer.

    Surely not, but they've been a staple of sci-fi and even Trek so long that we pretty much expect it anyway.

    [/quote]My single biggest issue was that it was so blazingly obvious as a brewery. I kept expecting to see Laverne and Shirley just around the corner![/quote]
    Since I've never spent much time in or around a brewry, I wouldn't know. Of course, I've spent even less time in or around the Enterprise' engineering bay so it doesn't take me much to imagine that they might look similar.

    On the other hand, the set did sort of remind me of the hood space of my car expanded up a couple of hundred times; if that's the aesthetic Abrams was going for, mission accomplished.

    Somehow I sort of expect Abrams is enough of a creative type to build on his past work and make improvements. I doubt he would even use the same set design for engineering, though the overall aesthetics would remain. In the second film, Scotty's a main character, so they'd require a more permanent set for his domain methinks.
     
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