Monday, 11 May 2009

Seven Observations...

...Regarding J.J. Abram's take on the Trek universe.

1) Starting the film with a time traveller changing history is massively clever, because now no-one can complain about future films messing with the time line.

2) That still doesn't mean you can get away with having people order Cardassian cocktails in a bar, but even I recognise how pointless a nit-pick that is.

3) I'm also somewhat displeased that the only remaining stories that actually "happened" belong to Enterprise (better than Voyager, admittedly), and everything else is gone. I can't entirely articulate why I'm pissed that a bunch of fictional events now aren't recognised within the same fictional world, but Dr L tells me my reaction is consistent with literary theory, so I guess I'm OK with it.

4) Abrams continues to indulge in his twin obsessions with father issues and big red shiny balls, and has now apparently added "falling off of things" into the mix.

5) The new cast works pretty well in general, though Pegg is only required to play Scott as a comic character, so I remain unconvinced he's going to work over the long term. Assuming that's an issue, of course.

6) The future is now undergoing a retro revival, which includes swanky cars, Nokia sound systems, the Beastie Boys, and padded bras.

7) If I had a tiny man-bat to keep me company for the cost of one bean a day, I would renounce Lord Mothington completely.

Update: C has e-mailed me to point out there was at least one Cardassian exiled on Vulcan before Kirk meets Uhura in the bar. He quotes Memory Alpha:
Iloja of Prim was a Cardassian serialist poet who lived during the First Republic. Jadzia Dax regarded Iloja of Prim as her favorite Cardassian author. One of her symbiont's previous hosts, Tobin Dax, met Iloja when he was in exile on Vulcan. He noted that Iloja had "quite a temper". (DS9: "Destiny")

Iloja of Prim's exact time period has not been established. He had to be alive sometime before 2245 by which time Emony Dax carried the Dax symbiont. As both were on Vulcan during this time period this indicates that both Trilland Cardassians were known to the Federation before 2245.

Thus Cardassians were in fact known to the Federation on an individual level; one assumes that official first contact with the Union came much later, and led to the war described in "The Enemy".

C also points out I could double the number of comments above entirely by listing the ways in which the film pisses all over the laws of physics, but given my shaky grasp of even the most basic physical laws, I'll leave that to those better trained in it.

Update II: Apparently the links in the above quote didn't work ( I copied straight from C's email), so I've removed them.


jamie said...

I saw it on Saturday and hugely enjoyed it. I agree with your first point; the second I noticed but equally recognised that it would be fruitless to object; your third point I would argue with. To me the other series aren't 'gone'; obviously in physical terms they're all still here for us to watch, but in terms of the show I think that the timeline has split, and we're just seeing an alternative reality caused by Spock's devilry.

I was impressed with all of the crew, even Pegg, which surprised me. Loved the tiny man-bat too. And I think my favourite scene was the introduction of Bones. Hoorah for elephantine hands as well!

The section that most annoyed me began with Spock firing Kirk from the Enterprise whilst unconscious, for the following reasons:

1) OK, it's in character that this is an irrational action whilst Spock is in deeply emotional turmoil due to the loss of his homeworld; but come on, would nobody object to this? And could they not just have put him in the brig?

2) The monster chase; fun, but utterly ridiculous. Why would monster 2 chase after a tiny humanoid once it had slain monster 1, clearly a far more substantial meal? And why, if it has presumably evolved on this icy world, is it so rubbish that it ends up falling down a cliff so easily?

3) The annoyingly convenient and unlikely coincidence that Kirk ends up in the same cave as alternate Spock.

Apart from these crimes against storytelling logic, it was mostly an enjoyable ride; I look forward to the inevitable Klingon-fest to come...

SpaceSquid said...

I guess your opinion on whether the other series have 'gone' depends on your own interpretation of fictional applications of time travel.

1) Agreed. That was unbelievably stupid.

2) Maybe it wasn't looking for a meal, but defending its tiny monster babies. I'd also point out that we evolved in Africa, but people still end up dying in deserts.

3) Also agreed; this sort of lazy bullshit pisses me off immensely.

jamie said...

2) Good point wrt monster babies. Not really a fair comparison with Africa though; most of us don't live in deserts any more. How many camels die for stupid reasons in deserts I don't know, but I suspect proportionally fewer than people.

SpaceSquid said...

Yeah, but those of us who do live in deserts still sometimes die. Your argument that a species that evolves in a harsh landscape will necessarily not screw up whilst in that landscape seems very strange. Evolution improves the odds of surviving in a given environment, it does not render one immune to it.

Plus, the fact that people fall off cliffs does not reflect the fact that we didn't evolve on cliffs, it reflects the fact that people fuck up from time to time.

jamie said...

I don't mean that it won't necessarily fuck up in its home environment, just that it would be far less likely to.

I just think that a spindly multiple-legged beasty would probably have better grip on icy surfaces if it was to have a chance of survival in such an environment.

But anyway, it's a minor point; it just felt, well, silly to me on top of everything else included in the sequence. If it had jumped nimbly down the slope you wouldn't have heard a peep out of me.

Chemie said...

I liked it, it amused me. The science/plot was a somewhat dodgy, but so what? It was a blockbuster designed to take the franchise away from it's present location. I have a huge crush on Karl Urban so I liked Bones the best and didn't actually find Scotty very funny. I also felt the addition of retro or recognisable items (sandwiches, push up bras etc) was a very wise idea and allowed a 'new' audience to enjoy star trek.

However, I hated Uhura. Yes, she was granted some form of technical competence, but once again her purpose is still to look pretty/be a love interest for the male leads and answer the phone. I was not impressed. Sulu fought, Chekov had good ideas and did his job, Scotty saved the day and engineering, McCoy gave opinions and saved lives and Uhura? Overheard a conversation and flirted.

jamie said...

When was Uhura a love interest for male leads before?

The other points, fair enough.

Chemie said...

Every time anyone's brain got addled by the alien-of-the-week. That random Scotty thingumy in one of the films. ...

Well alright maybe she wasn't always totty for the leads, but she was totty dammit. Short skirted, breathy, totty.

Gooder said...

Uhura did get to replace the other guy becuase she was better at the job than he was.

I wouldn't worry it's JJ Abrams, by the end of the next film she be a super spy with a killer dad.