Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies XI+' started by EJA, Mar 3, 2010.

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  1. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Magic Reset Button is lazy writing. This film establishes that Spock has things to do in the Abrams timeline and thus any further time travel is not within the scope of the story. In terms of what serves the needs of this plot, a dialogue about further time travel would probably be Spock talking to himself. The omission of character internal monologues isn't a basis for substantive criticism here as it is consistent not only with the rest of the film but the rest of the franchise in general.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
  2. JBElliott

    JBElliott Commander Red Shirt

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    The actions of Spock' already affected the "natural" course of the timeline in the alternate universe. Thus, Spock' is obligated to deal with those effects. One way would be via time travel and averting the destruction of Vulcan which would not have occurred were it not for his actions.
     
  3. JBElliott

    JBElliott Commander Red Shirt

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    In "The City on the Edge of Forever" and the other time travel episodes in TOS, time travel into the past did not create new universes but altered the future of the universe in which the characters inhabited. That is the simplest interpretation of the events shown.

    One could speculate that after McCoy went into the past and saved Keeler that Kirk and crew (left behind in the future) were shunted into the alternate universe that was created by McCoy's trip through the Guardian and that the crew was shunted back to their universe after Kirk and Spock traveled back in time and let Keeler die. But that wasn't explicitly shown. It was explicitly shown that changing the past (McCoy saving Keeler) changes the future (no Enterprise in orbit) of the universe in which the time travel took place. There was no mention of the many worlds interpretation.

    There's no way to get around the fact that the time travel shown in the movie was different than all other time travel shown in previous Star Trek.
     
  4. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That would just create another "alternate universe". In the Abramsverse Vulcan would remain destroyed.
     
  5. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm not getting around it. I'm pointing out that it provides a different light on it.
     
  6. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    For the writers to be clearer would mean they would have to be even more comically unsubtle. They couldn't risk stopping the movie dead right at that point. They were about as clear as they could gracefully accomplish.

    My understanding of what they intended is based less on the gobbledygook dialogue than it is on the realization that, to clear a path for themselves to do Star Trek stories that aren't burdened by a "predestined future" or unpopular time travel cliches, they have only one option: to establish a new reality in which the future has not "already happened" in any way, shape or form. And that means that all the elements of this new reality have to be different people and things from the elements we've seen before.

    There is no natural timeline. There's nothing the timeline is "supposed to do." The timeline is, whatever happens, however it happens. If time travel is possible in that reality, then time travel is also a natural part of the timeline.

    The concept of a timeline needing to do this or that is one of those unpopular time travel cliches that Abrams & crew are trying their best to avoid. Does anyone really want yet another iteration of the dreaded, contrived Restoring the Timeline story?

    If that's true, then a whole lot of Star Trek characters have been made fools of. Every time they tried to restore a timeline, they were simply creating an alternate reality, and the hilarious thing is, they never went back to their own reality! How many times have these characters got lost in the wrong universe and not realized it? They're hopelessly lost by now - there's no retracing their steps!

    The only way not to screw with all previous Trek lore is if there's a way to time travel within your own reality, and that's what everyone has been doing up till now. This time, Spock travelled to (or created) a new reality and travelled in time within that new reality (not his own). This is like Mirror, Mirror, combined with City on the Edge of Forever.
    It wasn't just time travel. It was time and space travel (between the space of two realities). Like Mirror, Mirror, but with a time travel element within the MU universe, not within the original universe. We've seen time travel and we've seen travel between realities, so what's the problem with combining the two?
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  7. lawman

    lawman Commander Red Shirt

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    I understand that was the goal. As I've said elsewhere, though, insofar as that was the goal, to free themselves from the "constraints" of continuity, they'd have done far better by simply making this film a from-scratch, square-one reboot. If they really wanted to have a torch-passing cameo from Nimoy, they could still have established that he was somehow visiting a completely separate reality, not just one that branched off in 2233. That way, they'd not only have sidestepped lots of the arguments we've had on these forums but also avoided the difficulties certain to arise regarding known details of history pre-2233 (including from ENT), as well as alien races unaffected by the timeline shift (Klingons, Tellarites, Organians, Cardassians, Borg, and on and on), among other elements of the Trekverse that logically should still be "the same" in this "alternate reality."

    IOW, they could and should have given themselves a genuinely blank slate, creatively... but they didn't.

    They don't actually seem to be trying very hard. Not with all the talk about "destiny," both in the film and in interviews, and all the contrivances they devised just to get these particular characters together in these particular roles on this particular ship. Or to put it another way, the film's commercial agenda and its creative metaphysics seem to be at odds.
     
  8. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You imply a disparity where none exists. "Destiny" does not equate to "single timeline". The post-Nemesis timeline which Spock Prime left behind continues on in his absence, regardless of the role of so-called "destiny" in the Abrams timeline.

    As a great man once said: Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  9. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If they disconnected Star Trek from all previous aspects of Star Trek, then that would lose the emotional connection for the audience. If you're going to reboot the franchise that completely, why even bother calling it Star Trek?

    Having the "real" Spock, as embodied by Nimoy, in this movie was absolutely essential to hanging onto the emotional connection long enough for the audience to bond with the characters as played by the new actors.

    And sure, for some people the emotional connection was severed, anyway. But that was always the risk they were going to take, in exchange for freedom from a preordained future.

    Their goal was to do as little damage as possible, and still get the freedom. They wanted to have their cake and eat it too. And that's just what they did.

    Blathering about "destiny" is a common cop-out in sci fi, but not so much in Star Trek. The prevailing cliches have been the restore-the-timeline reset button, the character-who-has-to-make-the-tough-sacrifice and even the very idea that it's possible to restore a timeline to just how it used to be. And contrivances aren't cliches - that's a whole different class of bad writing.

    Yeah, but this is a different issue. The characters were talking about the timeline wanting to repair itself, as though the timeline is sentient. That's ludicrous and also contrived, but not something that Star Trek in particular has indulged in so much that it can be called a cliche for Star Trek.

    And in general, blather about destiny can be used when writers have gotten themselves into a corner through poor planning, and is used that way too frakkin' much, most recently in BSG and Lost, but again - not really a notable Star Trek flaw.
     
  10. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've seen it described elsewhere as a quantum mechanical fate function. Potato, potatto. But my point was that such a thing does not preclude multiple timelines.
     
  11. lawman

    lawman Commander Red Shirt

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    Sure, I agree that was what they wanted. But you can't actually do that (that's why it's an aphorism, you know?), so it's no surprise to me that they fell short.

    I honestly think they could have attracted just as many new ticket-buyers, and offended far fewer existing fans, if they'd just opted for a clean reboot. Could've still said sub rosa that it was a "parallel universe," but they wouldn't have had any stray continuity issues to navigate around.

    Pseudoscientific lipstick on a pig. I agree with Temis that it's ludicrous blather, of a sort that Trek has mostly avoided in the past.
     
  12. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    While wallowing in ludicrous time travel.

    It's the "will of the Force" from Star Wars.

    It's not in the film. It was left out. Where that word appears in the script it's used in an entirely different context which merely expresses that the timeline has changed from what would have happened without Nero's influence.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Is it? Many years ago, I heard (or read) a SF writer saying that "time is a river" and, just as a river may try to recreate its original path if blocked, then so may a timeline try to correct itself as best it can. I even used it in a ST fanfic way back in the mid 80s, based on that line.

    Seems to me they offended very few fans as it was.

    I'm still surprised that the film is celebrated by as many as it is. A wonderful thrill for me, since I naively expected the same universal reaction for ST:TMP, but for me, as a newbie fan in 1980, I felt as if I was surrounded by hostiles for many, many months. They began to calm down around the time of ST II's premiere.
     
  14. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    How bad was it around the time of TMP's premiere? Given how the film is perceived by the general public these days, I could imagine an almost palpable sense of "That's it???"

    I was very scared that Trek '09 would engender the same reaction, and frankly have been floored and gratified to see Trek become popular again, enough so that I will forgive some of the film's shortcomings (provided the sequel doesn't exacerbate them). I'm not particularly sure that the movie deserves all of the praise it's received, but the alternative, a real franchise-killer, is just depressing to consider.
     
  15. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Mmmmm, okay. Like every other fictional element, the "timeline wants to follow a certain path" could be used well or poorly. But it's in that class of plot devices like "destiny" and "the One who will do blah blah and make all things right again" that I find is far more often used badly than well, because such things are too tempting as a means for getting a writer out of a plotline jam or making an otherwise pedestrian story seem "profound."
    Star Wars mysticism is not something I want to see creeping into Star Trek. :eek: Not that the Force was touted too heavily as having a will of its own - in the OT, you could interpret it as a neutral force of nature or a diety or somewhere inbetween. As for the PT, I just tuned out of most of what they were babbling.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  16. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's no more ridiculous than any other religious or quasi-religious belief, but at least we can say that it was left out of the film.
     
  17. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I seem to recall a snippet of dialogue talking about the timeline wanting to repair itself...did I imagine it? Maybe influenced by the discussions here?

    Anyway, I think those guys managed to have their cake and eat it, too, because they made enough money that they'll get to do more movies however they like, and that's the only definition of success that matters in Hollywood or even in real life. :D
     
  18. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It was apparently discarded material intended by the writers as one way of looking at the situation with the seeming coincidences/contrivances in the film.

     
  19. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    It has been discussed here before. IIRC, the line was filmed as part of the ice cave scene (significantly longer, as originally written) but does not appear in the finished movie.

    http://www.trektoday.com/content/2009/10/abrams-deleted-scenes-clarify/
     
  20. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Essentially.

    Imagine how dire it was for fans like me, attracted to the cinema by a huge-budget reunion show of a TV series I'd only really ever heard about, and seen a few cartoon episodes of? I stumbled across organised ST fandom a few weeks after being blown away by the movie, and immediately found about 200 kindred spirits, but most of them angry/disappointed/betrayed by ST:TMP - and some even telling me that I'll never be a "true Star Trek fan" because I wasn't there in the 60s.

    I hve fanzines and letterzines here, from 1980, where people plotted angrily how they could shunt TMP (and its ugly Klingon "munchkins") into an alternate timeline where it could be forgotten. How dare Kirk leave his ship for the Admiralty? How dare Spock try to purge his human half? How dare McCoy leave kirk's side for all those years? How dare the SPFX guys change the Enterprise and the transporter effect? Those uniforms! Where were the Tellarites? And so on!

    There were two camps re Gene Roddenberry though: "Fire him and let someone else do another film!" and "I refuse to see a sequel unless GR is exec producer". Controversy and polarized opinions over a ST movie are certainly nothing new.

    However, there were plenty fans who embraced TMP - and their frequent returns to the big screen no doubt helped to improve the box office take. Even many of the detractors saw the movie lots of times.

    TMP and JJ's film are still my favourite movies of all time.
     
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