Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I finally went to see this latest offering from JJ Abrams in the theatre with my wife. I have been hesitant to view any of the rebooted series since I saw Chris Pine as Kirk in the first movie. It is not that the movies are not entertaining or even visually appealing. There are serious flaws in the way science is done in these new movies and that offends the sci fi writer and reader in me.
Hardcore Trekkies

We are a mature group. Many of us have been fans of STOS since it aired in 1966. Others have been born into the series in the past four decades. Many scientists and engineers joined NASA as a result of watching many hours of episodes growing up. We talked about the show, discussed the ships, politics and personalities at length.
The show is at heart about using science to move people through space and help them accomplish their tasks. People have published serious papers discussing the technology of STAR TREK. Much of our technology in use today was inspired by Kirk flipping open a communicator and Spock wirelessly communicating with the server with his tricorder PDA. Dr. “Bones” McCoy using noninvasive scanners to perform medical diagnoses led to CAT scanners and PET scans.

A Non-Rant

Bloggers love to spend pages bloviating about their pet peeves. I am not going to do that here (or anywhere, that is only interesting to the person ranting). I just want to point out that the new movies have introduced some technical leaps that are going to present problems in the future.

One problem is Warp Speed. The movies make it look great! I get a speed demon’s thrill every time the Big E leaves glowing skid marks across the heavens. The problem is too much speed. If the ship can sail from Earth to Kronos (capital world of the Klingon Empire) and spend hours there and still make it back to Earth in the same day, then that is one fast ship!
What is all this speed going to mean for the series going forward? What is the point of going on a “five-year mission” if you can be back on Earth by tomorrow morning from anywhere in the galaxy? Even in the Next Generation traveling between stars still took a long time and they had moved beyond what was called trans-warp in Kirk’s day. Suffice it to say “they got some ‘splainin’ to do.”

Non Spoiler

They did a good job keeping the identity of the villain of the show a secret before release. And it is a rather good moment in the movie when you find out who he is. I am not going to ruin that here by spoiling the surprise; I’m sure there are plenty of blogs out there shouting it from the title forward, but this isn’t one of them. All I will say is I liked the way the character was portrayed and how he fit into the story. He has almost a Darth Vader quality to him (before Lucas wimped the character out by making him a whining, love-struck teenager).

A point about the Starfleet characters. They are new versions of the old familiars ones. I feel they are sometimes a bit overdone but they are slowly growing on me. Lt. Uhuru is featured more than Nichelle Nichols ever was but this outing is a bit over the top. My favorite is "Bones" McCoy, the cantankerous doctor. He has made every scene memorable with skillful performances instead of obviously "acting the part."

Still waiting for Kirk to man up and stop being a punching bag for the galaxy. Captain Pike even commented on it in the movie.
My Ship

Almost every trekkie feels like a member of the crew. As someone who has actually served in the engineroom of one the real ships named ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) I feel a special kinship with the red shirts.
Abrams does a good job of capturing the industrial, utilitarian feel of a large ship meant to sail in hostile environments. It’s a far cry from the comfortable opulence of the Galaxy-class ENTERPRISE-D for the Next Generation.
My one complaint is: Stop tearing up my ship!” Even Scotty has that complaint after returning to the ship after a brief absence. Please, guys, she cannot take much more of this.

Go or No Go?

Definitely go see it. Some movies work just as well over a tablet or a giant flat screen home theatre system. Unless yours is a monster 60’+ you just won’t capture the scope and feel of the movie. Whether you are an old trekkie like me or just coming around from Harry Potter you’ll have a good time with this movie. Just don’t think too deeply about the science until after the show.

No comments:

Post a Comment