Producer and director J.J. Abrams makes an attempt to revive, or at least cash in on, the venerable Star Trek franchise.
This was once a proud, insightful science fiction series, from the mind of Gene Roddenberry, about an idealized future culture stemming from Earth and reaching out into the galaxy. The focus was on one starship – the famous Enterprise. The show was a vehicle for interesting, thought-provoking science fiction stories and social commentary, and it was groundbreaking in its day. It spawned many successful series and movies, merchandising, and a cult following.
So, it makes fiscal sense for Abrams to take a crack at it. He had fanboy cred with his series Lost, and to a lesser extent Alias, so his legion of fans was avidly awaiting this “restart” of the series. I will not mince words; I am a fan of the original Star Trek. As such, I am probably already pre-disposed to dislike the very fact that Abrams made this movie with the original characters – well, not exactly with the original characters, but with their names. The characters in this movie have similarities to the original series’ main characters, but they are certainly not the same. I find it disingenuous to call a movie “Star Trek” and to use all the history and lore of the preceding Star Treks to lure in the audience, and then essentially rid the movie of all said history and lore in order to create what ends up being a bland, stupid, action movie.
The production value is top notch with good actors, excellent special effects, and cinematography. This is to be expected. I’m sure Mr. Abrams wasn’t going to skimp on any of the bells and whistles. The problem is it’s all bells and whistles. The plot is so insanely ludicrous that it stupefies. This movie was a success and I’m sure they’ll bring out more films as they try to cash in on the young audience that all Hollywood types crave. (Note: the second installment Star Trek: Into Darkness is actually good) But damn this film is asinine.
Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18 | Chapter 19 | Chapter 20 | Chapter 21 | Chapter 22 | Chapter 23 | Comments
Chapter 1: 0:01-4:05
The opening credits move to a view of the exterior of the USS Kelvin, a Federation starship out in deep space. The ship is relaying information to Star Fleet about an anomaly in their sector. It looks like a lightning storm, a crew member says, but then a portal opens and an enormous ship emerges and immediately opens fire on the Kelvin with torpedoes. As the captain of the Kelvin begins to order an evacuation via shuttlecraft, the crew of the enemy ship contacts the Kelvin and demands that the captain of the Kelvin come aboard their ship to negotiate a cease fire. The captain walks with his 1st officer, who is named Kirk, and tells Kirk that Kirk is in command and to abandon ship if he does not return in 15 minutes.
This opening sequence sets the tone for the movie and introduces the main villain. It’s a giant spaceship with a crew of Romulans from the future. It’s easily 50 times the size of the Kelvin, which admittedly can’t be very big since apparently its entire crew can be evacuated via shuttlecraft. Of course, it doesn’t make much sense to evacuate via shuttlecraft. Wouldn’t the shuttlecraft be even easier for the enemy to destroy than the main ship? What is the Kelvin’s captain’s plan here, to launch so many shuttles that the giant space enemy (who conveniently speaks English) can’t keep track of them all? The Kelvin didn’t hit an iceberg; it’s being shot to pieces by a technologically advanced enemy.
Also, I’m not Carl Sagan, but a lightning storm in space? Seriously?
Chapter 2: 04:06-07:10
The captain of the Kelvin walks to a shuttlecraft and flies to the enemy ship. He is met by the crew of the alien vessel, and they take him to their leader. The leader’s aide shows the captain of the Kelvin a hologram of a ship and asks him what he knows about it. The Kelvin’s captain has no idea what the ship is. They then show him a hologram of Ambassador Spock, and the captain has no idea who that is. They ask him what the current stardate is. The captain asks the aliens where they are from. The leader leaps out of his chair and thrusts a spear through the captain’s chest, killing him. The enemy ship immediately resumes its attack on the Kelvin. Kirk tries to fight back but quickly calls for a full evacuation.
This scene is just more visual effects for the opening action sequence, but a couple of bizarre things happen. While the captain of the Kelvin is walking to the shuttle, you can see officers bracing the walls to allow him to pass. Is that really necessary while the ship is exploding around them?
Captain Nero, of the enemy vessel, is a terrible negotiator/interrogator. He has his first officer ask three questions and doesn’t even have the officer repeat them. The first time he receives an honest answer, he kills the man being questioned and opens fire on the ship again. What information did he really hope to find?
Chapter 3: 07:10-11:32
Kirk orders the evacuation and the crew rushes to their shuttles. Kirk’s wife is escorted to medical shuttle 37 and we see that she is in labor with a child. As Kirk prepares to set the autopilot he sees that it is malfunctioning. He has to stay on the bridge to fight off the attackers and to buy time for the fleeing shuttles. He orders the shuttle to leave without him and sets the Kelvin on a collision course with the enemy. While the ship is set to collide with the enemy, Kirk’s wife gives birth to their son. He hears his son’s cries and he and his wife discuss what to name the child, deciding against the name of his father, Tiberius, in favor the name of her father, Jim. The Kelvin rams the enemy ship and we see the shuttles fleeing safely.
This is a science fiction convention, but why is it when there is an “abandon ship” order everyone runs in opposite directions? Are the shuttles scattered about the ship and everyone has to go to a different one, far from where they are working? Kirk’s wife was in labor while all this was going on. Why was Kirk on the bridge? It isn’t like there was a red alert and he was called back to duty. They’re investigating a lightning storm in space (I know, rare enough), so why does that necessitate him missing the birth of his child? It seems awfully irresponsible of the former captain to place Kirk in charge of the entire ship while his wife is in labor. Clearly, Kirk’s focus is on the wrong place as he spends all of his communication time making sure she is off the ship instead of worrying about the rest of the crew.
A word on the shuttles. Kirk’s wife is on medical shuttle 37. Does that mean there are at least 36 other medical shuttles on that ship? Or are there at least 36 other shuttles, and number 37 is of the medical variety? That is a lot of shuttles. Is the Kelvin the Star Fleet version of a car carrier, especially designed and equipped to ferry shuttles around?
Why isn’t the enemy ship firing at the Kelvin as it starts to ram it? You can clearly see the Kelvin coasting towards the hull of the mammoth ship but there is nothing going on. The Kelvin was shooting down the torpedoes (which I might add, have canards and tail fins, apparently to help them navigate with no atmosphere!) but its weapon systems were off line. So the bad guys could mop up the shuttles (or capture them to interrogate/stab more prisoners – maybe one of them knows about that ship or Spock), or they could destroy the Kelvin then go after the shuttles. Nope, instead they just watch the Kelvin steer right into them.
The Star Trek logo gives way to Iowa. We see a vintage red Chevrolet Corvette speeding down a rural road. The camera zooms in and an adolescent boy is driving the car. There is a ringing noise and he presses a button. We hear the voice of a man scolding the boy for stealing his car and the voice demands its return. The boy hangs up and plays loud music. He continues to speed down the road until a police android rides up tells him to pull over. The boy turns onto a side road, blasts through a gate, and speeds towards a canyon. Just before the car flies off the edge, the child jumps out. The police android asks the child’s name and he says “James Tiberius Kirk.”
I guess we’re supposed to root for Kirk, but I’m sorry, he’s a jerk. He stole a car and took it for a joy-ride. Then, to spite his guardian, he drives it off a cliff. That car was around 275 years old! He shows absolutely no remorse about doing it. That, my friends, is what we call a sociopath.
Also, how does he not fall over the edge? He puts the car into a slide, because he’s an excellent driver as an early teen, then bails out. He wouldn’t lose any of his momentum until he hit the ground and friction slowed him down. Until then, he would be travelling as fast as the car was – which looked to be about 20-30 miles an hour. He comes to a complete stop just in time to grab onto the ledge. This stop takes place in no more than 15 feet. The coefficient of friction that would be necessary for him to stop that quickly would be insane, yet all he has to grab onto is loose gravel. Also, he’d suffer serious internal injuries from stopping that quickly, not to mention burns on the skin. Yet, he pulls himself up and dusts himself off, no worse for the wear, just in time to be insolent with the police android.
Where in Iowa is that enormous cliff?
So this entire farcical scene that defies logic and physics is here just to show us that James Tiberius Kirk needs some psychological help and may be murdering small animals around the farm.
Chapter 5: 14:24-19:45
The scene shifts to Vulcan where we see a young Spock in school. Students are being quizzed in small chambers in the floor. Spock is approached by three other Vulcan children who tease him, trying to make him show an emotional response. He remains calm until they insult his mother, whereupon he attacks and beats one of them. Later, Spock’s father tells him that he married his mother because it was logical as he was the ambassador to Earth.
Next, Spock is shown fully grown, speaking with his mother. He asks if she will be offended if he chooses to be fully Vulcan. She says she will be proud of him regardless. He is accepted to the Vulcan Science Academy but turns the invitation down when they remark that his half-human side is a disability.
Nothing really to discuss here. This is one of the best parts of the movie. In contrast to the sociopathic Kirk, Spock is a dedicated student who excels at his studies and loves his mother, who loves him back. All-American boy, stuck on Vulcan. One thing of interest, however, is that the word “Vulcan” is not considered a misspelling in Microsoft Word.
I do wonder, however, why the Vulcan youths thought it was logical to tease Spock.
Chapter 6: 19:45-24:56
Back in Iowa, Cadet Uhura is in a bar near a Star Fleet facility. She orders some drinks and is blatantly hit on by an adult James Kirk. She refuses his advances, telling him only her last name. Some other Star Fleet cadets take umbrage with Kirk’s smart talking and deliver to him a sound beating. The fight is broken up by Captain Pike.
Pike tells Kirk that he is wasting his time being drunk and committing petty crimes, and that he should join Star Fleet. Kirk’s aptitude tests place him at a genius level. Pike recounts the heroics of Kirk’s father and dares him to be a better captain.
Again we see that James T. Kirk is really just a loser. According to Pike, he is a repeat offender, which clearly shows that he frequently behaves recklessly and criminally. He is prone to violence and a bit misogynistic. Why isn’t anyone sending this guy to a therapist before he kills someone? In the year 2250ish Star Fleet has managed to keep gender roles alive be making the men wear a rather non-descript uniform while placing the women in skirts with knee high leather boots.
The talk between Kirk and Pike is really well done and the line, “Your father was Captain of a starship for 12 minutes and he saved 800 lives. I dare you to do better” is a real winner. Unfortunately, it raises a concern. How many shuttles did the Kelvin have that it could evacuate 800 people? It looked like about 20 departing, so that means about 43 people each, assuming none of them were medical shuttles which appeared to have room for about 6 people. Also, they couldn’t have been shuttles of the kind that the Kelvin’s captain used to go to Nero’s ship, as that looked even smaller. A shuttle with 43 people in it? There are actual ships with names that have a crew of fewer than 43 people.
Pike tells Kirk to enlist in Star Fleet and offers some staggering statistics. He could be an officer in four years and have his own ship in eight. That is some rapid promotion! He also says the shuttle is leaving tomorrow. So apparently, Star Fleet accepts cadets who apply the night before the shuttle leaves. Background checks, anyone? I guess they knew all they needed about Kirk. Maybe they were saving a spot for him at the academy, or the academy can accept any number of applicants regardless of when they apply. It’s Star Fleet Academy, just show up and we’ll have a spot for you, walk-ins welcome. Perhaps Star Fleet is the Ivy League of the future with legacy appointments that ignore criminal recidivism.
Chapter 7: 24:57-28:06
Kirk drives up to the Star Fleet shipyard where he sees a ship being constructed. He continues on to the facility, where he gives his motorcycle to a worker and boards the shuttle for Star Fleet Academy. While on the shuttle he meets Dr. McCoy, who has a fear of being in space, but is joining Star Fleet because he had a bad divorce.
Captain Pike was true to his word. Kirk was allowed to drive his motorcycle onto a facility where they were building a giant spacecraft without even showing ID. He then was allowed to drive right up to a shuttle that was full of Star Fleet cadets just as it was about to take off and jump on board. Where is their security? I would think that building a starship would be a security concern; there would be munitions, power supplies, medical supplies, etc.. These would need to be guarded especially from someone like Jim Kirk, who already has a criminal record. I bet he stole that motorcycle he so cavalierly gave away.
Why would Star Fleet construct their ships on earth, and not in space? Doesn’t this seem backwards? How do they put that ship into orbit? It sure doesn’t look like it was made for atmospheric travel, it’s not very aerodynamic. Wouldn’t it be easier to beam people to the Academy than to make them take a shuttle? Why are they going into Space when Star Fleet Academy appears to be near San Francisco? Don’t they even have buses?
Chapter 8: 28:07- 31:08
Three years have passed and we see Nero’s ship from the opening sequence. It crosses along the camera view and then we see Nero being called to the bridge. The ship has arrived at some coordinates and the crew awaits the command of Captain Nero. He says they will wait, as they have been doing the last 25 years, for the man who let their planet die. The first officer asks what they’ll do after they kill him, and Nero says he won’t kill him, “he will make him watch”. Almost immediately after this statement (six seconds or so) a portal opens in space and another ship comes out. Nero commands his crew to capture the ship.
The scene shifts to Star Fleet Academy where McCoy and Kirk are talking about Kirk attempting the Kobayashi Maru for the third time. McCoy and Kirk part and next Kirk is seen making out with a humanoid with green skin. She is worried about her entering roommate and has Kirk hide under the bed. Her roommate is Uhura who mentions that she overhead a distress signal from a Klingon outpost. Soon, Uhura realizes Kirk is there. She tells him to leave.
This is the first time we see the enemy ship in its entirety and it appears to be designed to do nothing productive. It looks like a blooming onion that has been partially eaten. There are all manner of protrusions and prongs that have no possible use. There are these long chains that just float off the ship like baby hairs. They’re impossibly long. They are about 10-20 times the length of the Kelvin, as we saw in the first scene, and yet the mass of these chains doesn’t overcome the shear strength of the metal as they float about in space. This must be some miraculous metal.
One of the biggest problems with the movie’s plot comes next. That massive ship has been looking for the coordinates it calculated for 25 years. 25 YEARS! How bad are they at math? Do their computers not calculate? Have they no science officer? More importantly, what the hell have they been doing for the last 25 years, besides wandering through space looking for these coordinates? How did they eat? Why has no one seen them? They destroyed a Federation starship after firing on it without provocation. Didn’t Star Fleet even look for them? I know space is vast but how could that behemoth hide for 25 damn years? It must have gone near population centers to find food somehow. Or did the ship come stocked with at least 25 years of provisions? And how boring must it be for them to have been stuck on the same ship for 25 years? Didn’t they ever go for shore leave? Oh, and I don’t know how long-lived these creatures are but they didn’t age a day in those 25 years. Finally, where did they effect repairs after being rammed by the Kelvin?
Then, they manage to finally find the location they’re seeking – somehow knowing when a time portal is going to open up. I take back my previous comments about math. They must be the best…mathematicians…ever. Not only did they manage to figure out where in infinite space something was going to open up based merely on calculations, they were also able to determine when. Or, apparently, they were just lucky. Either way, this mysterious ship they had been seeking hadn’t passed through the portal in the 25 years prior to them arriving at those coordinates, and they only had to wait a mere 20 seconds for it to show up once they arrived.
Back at Star Fleet, we see Kirk and McCoy are good friends now. Apparently, McCoy is going through the officer training program, even though he’s already a doctor. He sure dresses like everyone else but I guess he doesn’t take the same classes. Let me correct that. McCoy dresses like all the other men. In the new Star Fleet, all the female cadets have to dress like they’re Nancy Sinatra. Those boots are made for space walking, I guess. Kirk manages to make time with the obligatory green-skinned hottie and then Uhura comes in and ruins the fun.
Chapter 9: 31:09-35:34
Kirk is in a starship simulator, playing the role of captain. He is in the Kobayashi Maru scenario with McCoy and Uhura. Kirk is flippant and seems unconcerned, as every obstacle the test is supposed to create is easily overcome. The Star Fleet personnel watching are amazed at how this happens. Spock, who is monitoring the scenario, states he does not know how Kirk is doing it.
The scene cuts to a gathering of Star Fleet cadets in front of a council. The council calls Kirk up and accuses him of cheating on the Kobayashi Maru test. It turns out Commander Spock was the one who leveled the charges stating that Kirk entered a subroutine that allowed him to defeat the scenario. Kirk says the test is a cheat and that he doesn’t believe in no-win scenarios, while Spock says it is designed to create a sense of fear so captains can continue to operate while under threat of imminent death. He invokes the name of Kirk’s father. The trial is stopped when a distress call from Vulcan is received and all the cadets are ordered to the docks.
This is one of the best scenes in the entire movie. Smug Captain Kirk is terrific, along with Uhura’s initial smugness. It’s too bad the rest of the film is so bad.
Chapter 10: 35:34-41:33
In the docks, all the cadets except Kirk are being assigned to various Federation starships. Uhura is upset with her assignment, and she tells Spock that she wants to be on the Enterprise. He said he did not assign her there to prevent the impression of favoritism but changes her assignment. Kirk is not assigned because he is on academic probation. McCoy gives him a shot to simulate an illness and then claims a medical privilege to take Kirk with him on the Enterprise.
Everyone is onboard the Enterprise, and Kirk and McCoy avoid Spock. All of the ships are departing the space dock for Vulcan but the helmsman, Lt. Sulu, who is at the helm for missing officer, forgets to remove external inertial dampeners and the Enterprise takes off late.
Why does Star Fleet even bother with things like course loads and graduations when they can apparently just throw the entire student body into space aboard various ships when they receive one distress call from Vulcan? I mean, they’re sending EVERY ship there. No scouts, no information about what awaits them, nothing. “What? A distress call from Vulcan? Oh no, send all the ships and all the cadets!”.
Why send cadets? Are the ships undermanned? Why would Star Fleet have more ships than crew members? Are they on leave or something? How could the flagship, of all vessels, not have enough people? Spock has been at Star Fleet Academy for four years and suddenly he’s a bridge officer on the flagship? Aren’t there any more…seasoned officers available? Why is Sulu so stupid? Is it some sort of Asian driver joke on the sly?
What is McCoy’s position and rank in Star Fleet? He seems to be a mere cadet, running weapons and shields for some reason in the Kobayashi Maru scenario, but then he’s assigned to the Enterprise as a doctor. He claims to be a senior medical officer on the Enterprise when trying to bring the sick Kirk onto the shuttle. How does the security officer not realize that McCoy is wearing a cadet’s uniform?
“I’m a doctor.”
“No, I’m sorry, you’re clearly just a cadet and you don’t get to boss me around.”
What kind of idiotic regulation says that a doctor can just bring anyone on a ship because he says the person is ill? What a terrible doctor. Who would decide to take a sick man and throw him into a shuttle going into orbit and then on a ship that is about to take off on a mission so important that all of Starfleet’s horses and all of its men had to go put Vulcan back together again? That guard should have just told him “No, you’re not bringing that sick cadet, who is on academic probation, up into orbit. Let him stay here and receive medical attention.” How overarching is that regulation? Could McCoy bring on a bunch of strippers saying they’re all sick and he’s taking care of them? “Out of my way security, I’m bringing Destiny and Amber here on the Enterprise because I’m their doctor and I say they can come aboard.”
Chapter 11: 41:33-46:58
McCoy takes Kirk to sickbay and administers a sedative. On the bridge, Captain Pike has Ensign Pavel Chekov inform the crew of what has happened. At first Chekov has trouble with the computer as he cannot pronounce the “V” and replaces it with a “W” sound. The Federation fleet is going to Vulcan to aid due to seismic activity they think was brought on by a lightning storm in space. Kirk hears this and recalls the events his birth. He finds Uhura while McCoy continues to give him medicinal shots to the neck for various symptoms. He asks Uhura if the ship that attacked the Klingons was Romulan and she says it was.
There is also a scene from Vulcan in which the Romulan ship is in orbit and has a large chain going down into the atmosphere with some sort of flame drill. Spock’s mother sees it. The crew alerts Captain Nero that the Federation fleet is approaching. Kirk, McCoy, and Uhura then rush to the bridge where Kirk tells Pike to drop out of warp – it’s a trap! He reminds Pike of the lightning storm and the Kelvin and explains about the Klingons Uhura heard about earlier, and Spock reluctantly agrees that Kirk’s logic is sound. They scan for communications but there are none. Pike replaces the communications officer with Uhura because she speaks Romulan. They drop out of warp near Vulcan.
The people of Vulcan are terrible at sending information. They make no mention of a giant spaceship attacking their planet, when it’s visible in its orbit to the naked eye. All they mentioned to Starfleet is the lightning storm. You would think that would be important information. I guess it wasn’t logical to provide Starfleet with that tidbit.
Why can’t Pavlov Chekov pronounce the “V” in “vessel” when he can easily pronounce both “V”’s in his first name?
Kirk also appears to be the only one who remembers the destruction of the Kelvin. Perhaps Starfleet loses starships so often that the Kelvin is just one of many in the past 25 years to have been obliterated by a giant spaceship with advanced weaponry. Shouldn’t everyone on the Enterprise know about that and make the connection? At least Captain Pike, who apparently wrote his thesis on the Kelvin event, should be able to connect the dots.
Kirk asks Uhura if the ship that destroyed the Klingons was Romulan. That would imply he knew the ship that destroyed the Kelvin was Romulan as well. That ship’s crew never said they were Romulan. The ship apparently disappeared for 25 years. If Starfleet knew 25 years ago that the Kelvin-destroying ship was Romulan, did they ask the Romulans why they attacked a Starfleet vessel? The Romulans must have practiced some serious diplomacy to prevent a Starfleet/Romulan war.
How does the destruction of 47 Klingon ships go unnoticed by the command structure of Starfleet? Uhura is the only one who knew about this? It seems like big news. Perhaps they were all just too consumed with Kirk cheating.
About Uhura. I understand that she is a savant with listening. Spock tells us as much when talking to Pike. But why does Pike remove his Communications Officer to put a cadet in that place? Don’t they have some spare earphones where she can listen in and assist? Pike had to fire the guy? Where does that guy go now and what is he supposed to do? Is Uhura good with the rest of the job?
Is there a reason that Uhura’s skirt is shrinking? It’s good to see that Starfleet’s practice of making women into sexual objects isn’t just in the Academy. All the women on the Enterprise dress like they charge by the hour.
Why does Kirk have to run all over the Enterprise? He uses the computer to locate Uhura but he can’t send her a message? Don’t they have communicators or at least e-mail he can send to her computer? No, he has to run. After he and McCoy reach her, they all have to physically run to the bridge, where no one stops them from barging into the most sensitive area of the ship, in order to have an argument with the command staff.
On to the Romulan ship! What is the deal with that drill? It’s a hodgepodge collection of chain links that appears to be miles long. How is it not broken by its own enormous mass being pulled by Vulcan’s gravity? What is the tensile strength of this metal? And the drill itself is just suspended at the end of this long ass chain and shooting a stream of fire into the ground with no visible fuel source. The end is a little saucer at the end of a chain shooting a solid column of fire through miles of atmosphere into the ground. Where is the fuel for this stored? What are they using to propel the fire in that direction, and how do they keep it in a focused beam? Where do they store this impossibly long chain when it’s not drilling into a planet? The ship is also so humongous that they can see it from the ground while it’s in orbit. That thing should be affecting the tides it’s so large. And how is it staying in orbit? Part of the ship is in Vulcan’s atmosphere, so the planet would be tugging it down via the drill. Given that the drill isn’t snapping off and tumbling towards Vulcan due to its incredible tensile strength, the drill should allow Vulcan’s gravity to use it to pull the ship down until the ship can’t escape the gravity of the planet. That would require the ship to use some reverse thrust to maintain its current altitude, as well as lateral thrust to maintain a geosynchronous orbit to prevent the drill from drawing a line instead of boring into one location. All of this would put even more stress on this enormous drill as it’s now being pulled in several directions simultaneously.
Finally, Microsoft Word recognizes “Vulcan” but not “Romulan”. Take that Nero!
Chapter 12: 46:57-52:00
The Enterprise drops out of warp near Vulcan. The space around Vulcan is full of debris from destroyed Federation ships and the Enterprise has several near collisions. The Enterprise sees the Romulan ship, which opens fire on the Enterprise. Nero tells his crew to destroy the Federation vessel but when he sees it’s the Enterprise he holds off. Spock says the device in the planet’s atmosphere is disrupting their communications and transportation. Nero contacts the Enterprise and says he has something he wants Spock to see. He also demands that Captain Pike board a shuttle and come aboard the Narada, the Romulan ship.
Great special effects when the Enterprise is in the debris field. The randomness of objects floating in space wherever their inertia took them is a nice touch. Nero makes the same demand he did 25 years ago and the Enterprise bridge crew doesn’t want to lose Captain Pike. This is understandable but do they really think they have an option? The Enterprise clearly can’t beat the Narada. The Enterprise’s shields seem to have no effect on the torpedoes which are impacting right on the hull of the Federation ship. The Narada seems to have a limitless supply of torpedoes, as it has wiped out the Kelvin, 47 Klingon ships, and six Federation ships, with apparently the only weapon system it possesses.
Captain Pike seems woefully unaware of his crew and their abilities. He needs people with hand-to-hand abilities. Isn’t there a roster with that information? Wouldn’t the security personnel be trained in that? Why would he only ask the bridge crew? The best part is that he promotes Kirk to First Officer. Kirk and Spock both have the appropriate response of “What?” This is maybe the most reckless thing Pike can do. Kirk isn’t an officer; he isn’t even a viable cadet. From what we’ve seen so far, he’s not even a good person. How many other, experienced, officers are there on that ship who should be acting First Officer? Does Starfleet not have an established chain of command for their ships? Could Pike place his pet cat as First Officer? Kirk to this point has zero experience in combat, or in actual stressful situations. There’s no way of knowing how he’ll perform. Usually it takes time to earn the position because people want to know how you’ll react before being placed in command. Not Pike, he just puts the absolutely least qualified person on the entire ship in the number two spot, without even consulting the man he left in charge! Spock smartly objects. So when Pike tells Spock that he’s the Captain, why doesn’t Spock immediately demote Kirk? Also, how does Spock have the position of First Officer of the Enterprise as well as an instructor at the academy? Is the instructor position a collateral duty?
How is that drill, which is in the atmosphere of Vulcan, affecting communications from a ship in space? And if it is, how does Nero send a message to the Enterprise?
Chapter 13: 52:00-58:00
A brief exchange between Spock and McCoy shows that McCoy is now the chief medical officer because the previous one is dead. Sulu, Kirk, Pike, and Engineer Olson board a shuttle and head towards the Narada. Once the shuttle is over the “ionic drill” device, Sulu, Kirk, and Olson jump out and freefall to the platform. Olson deploys his parachute too late and is drawn into the ionic drill and dies. Sulu and Kirk land on the platform and are able to fight off the Romulans who come out to defend it, but they have no explosives as Olson was carrying them.
More physics idiocy. The shuttle is coming from the Enterprise (which is, at a minimum, in orbit around Vulcan) to the Narada (which is also, at a minimum, in orbit around Vulcan). The Narada must be in geosynchronous orbit because it is dangling a miles-long chain (composed of what looks like giant barbed wire – why is it so spikey?) into the atmosphere of the planet and the drill’s fire is only hitting one area of the planet. So unless the shuttle dipped into the atmosphere – and it sure doesn’t look like it does – how are the three freefallers supposed to fall to the planet? They should remain in orbit just like the spaceships. That is, until their centripetal velocity is reduced enough to pull them out of orbit and then into the planet.
Second, how is there gravity on the shuttle? They’re in space. The trio of officers should be floating around in the back because they’re in zero G. Once the trapdoor in the bottom of the shuttle is opened, they wouldn’t fall out. They would be carried out by the air in the shuttle moving into the vacuum of space. But they wouldn’t fall straight down. They would still have inertia and be travelling at the same speed as the shuttle, in the direction the shuttle was going when they were released from it. Instead, they somehow ignore all physics and drop straight down, while the shuttle autopilots on its merry way.
We can assume that there is something odd about the atmosphere of Vulcan that prevents freefalling Starfleet officers from being incinerated by atmospheric resistance. Also, we can assume that there is no wind to blow them off course as they plummet towards the planet within mere feet of one another and the ridiculously spiked chain that holds the ionic drill to the Narada.
Maybe it’s a function of those wonderful suits they are wearing that allows Sulu to survive while within one metal panel of a 10-foot diameter pillar of ionic flame so powerful it can maintain its heat as it travels miles to the planet’s surface and still burn a hole to the ground. (Yeah that’s right, it’s not digging, it’s BURNING its way through dirt.) These wonderful suits can also send communications even though they are right next to the source of the energy that is blocking the Enterprise’s communications. Of course Olson dies; some “redshirt” had to go. And lo and behold, the Asian guy has a samurai sword. I guess Sulu takes that with him wherever he goes.
“Helmsman Sulu, we’re going to Vulcan to help them with a natural disaster and we need you to steer the ship.”
“Right, sir, let me grab my sword!”
They land and the Romulans come out of the platform. The platform appears to be about 10 feet thick at its thickest but these guys come out like they’re exiting a submarine. Where were they in there? Were they lying down? More importantly, why are they in there? The Romulans put personnel at the tip of an ionic fire drill? You’d think that space would be needed to house the machinery required to generate this stream of ionic fire – or maybe fuel. Also, how hot must it be there?
I’ll give Kirk credit. He goes for his phaser, but it’s knocked away. While Kirk’s battling one Romulan with his helmet, Sulu strikes a heroic pose and the other Romulan looks at him, sees his sword, and decides to draw his own sword from his back. Why are the Romulan drill operators equipped with swords? Don’t they have disruptors or whatever? If you look at the image from 56:48, you can see the sword- wielding Romulan with what appears to be a sidearm right near the hand that is holding his sword. He obviously never saw Raiders of the Lost Ark. Gun > Sword.
The last problem with this scene is the selection of personnel for this mission. That Pike would entrust this to three people who seem incredibly unqualified for this mission is mind-boggling. Does Starfleet not have marines or anything like that? Pike sent: a guy whose specialty is piloting starships (which I assume requires specialized training), a cadet who is about to be dismissed for cheating, and an engineer. Maybe Olson had some experience destroying ionic drills and that was why he was selected, although from his lack of parachuting skills I’m guessing not. How could Kirk or Sulu possibly have experience with impossible freefalls from orbit? Do cadets routinely do a lot of jumps like that in the academy?
Does Vulcan not have an Air Force? Really, don’t they have any terrestrial military or atmospheric aircraft that could have assaulted that drill? Or did the Narada destroy the entire planetary defense force? If so, add to the number of torpedoes the Narada has fired.
Chapter 14: 58:00 – 1:04:12
Kirk and Sulu take the Romulans’ weapons and fire at the drill, disabling it. The Romulans send the red matter down into the planet’s core, creating a singularity at the center of the planet and sucking Vulcan into a black hole. They retract the drill and Sulu falls. Kirk dives after him, catches him, and they deploy Kirk’s parachute. Unfortunately, it does not work. The Enterprise crew can’t lock onto them while they are falling but Chekov runs to the transporter room and is able to beam them up.
Spock has the Enterprise tell Vulcan to evacuate the planet as it will become a black hole in minutes. He beams down to the planet to save the Vulcan High Council but his mother falls from a ledge as she is being beamed up to the Enterprise, and she dies. The entire planet falls in on itself and becomes a black hole.
Kirk and Sulu use the Romulan rifles to disable the drill. If the Romulans had rifles, why didn’t they use them to kill Sulu and Kirk?
You probably expect me to make fun of the red matter. I won’t. I can suspend my disbelief and assume that it exists and that’s what it does. I’m not sure why the Romulans went to the trouble of drilling a hole into Vulcan when they could just shoot the red matter into Vulcan’s sun without all the mess of having to drill through Vulcan’s crust. Perhaps it was just a stylistic choice by Nero.
It is laughable but laudable of Spock to try to evacuate an entire planet in a few minutes. I’m guessing the only people who made it off the planet were the ones the Enterprise beamed up. That would be the High Council, which was, for some reason, in a cave where no one could contact them. I’m not sure why the movie shows Chekov as such a whiz with the transporter, only to have him unable to save Spock’s mom. Let’s face it, if he’s so good with the transporter, then why is he piloting the ship? I guess he’s a savant with a lot of things, which is why he is a full-fledged ensign at 17.
Again, there are some inexplicable chain of command issues on the Enterprise. Spock heads down to the planet’s surface but apparently leaves no one in charge, unless leaving Chekov in charge of the Comm means Chekov’s now the acting Captain. That would mean Spock put a 17 year old ensign in charge of the Enterprise while he went down to Vulcan, and then Chekov put nobody in charge while he raced down to the transporter room.
Chapter 15: 1:04:13 – 1:09:04
Spock’s captain’s log relates the carnage of losing Vulcan: roughly 6 billion dead, only 10,000 Vulcans left in the universe. Uhura joins Spock in the turbolift, kisses him, and asks him what he needs. He says he needs everyone to continue to serve admirably.
The scene shifts to the Narada where Captain Pike is strapped to a table. Nero asks him for defense to Earth and Pike refuses, citing the genocide Nero just perpetrated. Nero says he is preventing genocide as Romulus was destroyed, the Federation did nothing, and Spock betrayed them. He says that in his time, the Narada was a mining ship, and that he is going to destroy all the Federation planets. Pike refuses and Nero puts a creature into his mouth that will make him talk.
Interesting byplay between Uhura and Spock. Good character interaction and development. This is what is most depressing about the movie: it has high production value, the characters are generally likeable, and the actors do a good job. Unfortunately, they’re all trapped in this insipid story.
That leads me to Nero’s monologue. He is apparently from the future and the Narada is a mining vessel. Wow, he must be from WAAAAY in the future for a mining vessel to be able to dismantle 47 Klingon vessels, seven Federation starships, and whatever Vulcan had in the way of defense. The Narada must have a huge technological advantage for a ship theoretically not made for combat to beat odds of 47 to 1. This would be like the Maersk Alabama, which in 2009 was taken over by pirates in a speed boat with assault rifles, defeating 47 naval warships from the 19th century.
Also, Nero blames the Federation for Romulus breaking in half, even though he clearly states that the Federation did nothing. Nero is absolutely insane.
It’s equally amazing that Nero has been able to wait around for 25 years and do nothing but plan. That is some serious grudge carrying. Is his entire crew on board with this? Are they all as equally homicidal and insane as Nero that they think it’s okay to kill trillions of beings? The Narada is supposed to be a mining vessel; was it crewed with the worst, criminally insane people of that era? Didn’t any of them want to use their technological advantages to live a life of luxury? How did Nero convince them to skulk around and live on that dreary mining ship for 25 years? Is there a holodeck on there or at least a decently stocked library? What have they been doing for 25 years?
Did it never occur to any of the Romulans that a planet splitting in half was probably caused by some catastrophic natural or celestial disaster and that they should fucking warn Romulus? Maybe they should leave alive anyone who might be able to prevent their planet from being rent asunder. No, instead they want to wipe out the Federation so that Romulus will finally be free. That assumes the Klingons won’t be upset at the loss of 47 of their ships and will leave the Romulans alone. Klingons are very a forgiving people, after all. Is Nero going to wipe them out also?
I guess Romulus will enjoy its “freedom” for a century or two until the planet splits in two. And what could make a planet split into two, and only two, pieces? This would have to be an external force that would slice an orb into two pieces rather than shatter it. Is it a giant cosmic pair of scissors with the equatorial line being a “cut here” mark, thus splitting the planet into two equal, uninhabitable hemispheres? Or are the pieces different sizes, with one piece really small, as if the scissors cut off just the top but left the majority of the planet intact yet still somehow uninhabitable, as Nero claims.
Maybe Nero plans to warn Romulus after he has killed trillions of Federation citizens in order to “prevent” genocide. I’m sure the Romulans would receive him with open arms. Who doesn’t like a guy who can destroy every ship in the galaxy and has shown the mental stability of an angry infant? I’m sure Nero would just turn his vessel over to the Romulan government and live a quiet life as a hero to all Romulans because he murdered everyone he could find in their names.
And why does Nero need the codes? He’s been waltzing through every challenge he’s come against. Remember, he tore apart 47 Klingon ships at once. He can’t handle a few satellites? What kind of defense system does Earth have that can protect it from all three dimensions and the 360 x 360 degree threat that a space invasion poses?
And how the hell does that little beetle make it to the brain stem through Pike’s mouth? Does it bore through his larynx? Wouldn’t that impair Pike’s ability to tell Nero the codes?
Chapter 16: 1:09:04 – 1:15:20
Back on the Enterprise, the crew discuss why Nero was going to destroy Earth and why he destroyed Vulcan. Spock theorizes that he is from the future and returned through a wormhole. Spock also surmises that events that unfolded in Nero’s time have been altered by Nero appearing in the past, which created an alternate universe where no one knowx what would happen. Kirk and Spock argue heatedly about their next step, which leads to Spock having Kirk removed from the ship by security.
Kirk is sent to a nearby ice planet with a Federation outpost. Rather than wait for someone to pick him up, he decides to walk the 14 km to the outpost. Along the way, he is chased by one creature which is eaten by another. The second creature chases him until he runs into a cave and is saved by a much older Spock who scares the monster off with a torch.
The very first thing an astute watcher will notice is that Spock calls Uhura “Lieutenant”. I guess that means that he just promoted his girlfriend from Cadet to Lieutenant. She hasn’t even graduated from the academy and she has received her very first promotion, past Ensign, all the way up to Lieutenant. Congratulations to Uhura. I can’t imagine that will sit well with the rest of the crew which, hasn’t performed the masterful task of overhearing something and being able to speak Romulan. Or, the filmmakers made a careless error.
This promotion is followed by Kirk somehow being on the bridge and being allowed to participate in command decisions. I suppose it makes some sense, as Spock has seen fit to surround himself with the crew members with the least experience. Spock shows amazing restraint as Kirk bombards him with ideas, instead of plans and tactics, and he finally has Kirk ejected from the ship. I’m not sure why Kirk was put in an escape pod instead of the brig, but maybe the brig was destroyed. I feel compelled to say that I think Chris Pine does an excellent job acting flustered and upset. Generally, all the actors are good with the exception of Anton Yelchin (Chekov), but what can you do when forced to speak in that terrible accent?
Nestled in the conversation about Nero though the wormhole is J.J. Abrams’s excuse for ignoring everything that Star Trek fans loved about the original television series. Nero and his crew made an alternate universe, in which these movies take place. All those great intellectually driven stories, ground-breaking concepts, all the social commentary, etc. are gone as far as the movies are concerned. They never happened. In their place we can now expect to see the current drivel with great special effects and lots of bang-bang explosions. Sigh.
The first creature looks like something you would expect to see in a cold environment. It’s white and grey, allowing it to blend into the background. It has a furry coat, so if it’s warm-blooded (which it would have to be to survive in such a climate) it can trap heat. Unfortunately, it cannot stand up to the other beast inhabiting this planet – a red, insect/crustacean creature with legs ending in spikes and little T-rex arms. This creature erupts from snow and kills the first beast but decides rather than eat it, it’ll just throw it away and go after the much smaller human. How is this thing able to burrow through ice? None of its appendages look like they would help with digging. Why is it red? That would just allow its prey or predators to easily see it as it is contrasted against the white background. Why is it apparently equipped with an armored carapace? Wouldn’t a creature’s first and foremost concern on that planet be keeping warm? It would lose heat so quickly it would die in a day.
Kirk manages to make it to a cave – very serendipitous, but it’s a movie and coincidental things happen all the time. In the cave he is saved by Spock, who somehow was able to find a stick of flammable material, ignite it, and then use it to scare the comically-out-of-place creature. I don’t know where Spock found this wood-like torch, or how he started the fire – advanced technology! – but why is the comically-out-of-place creature afraid of fire? When was the last time it was confronted with fire? It lives on an ice planet. And the fire wasn’t even that big. Just bite right through it. Maybe it’s really flammable and that’s why it chooses to live under ice.
What good are the comically-out-of-place creature’s little arms when it uses its tongue to pull in prey?
Chapter 17: 1:15:21 – 1:20:38
In the cave, Spock addresses Kirk by name, and Kirk is confused. Spock explains that he is from 129 years in the future and that he and Kirk are friends in his time. He uses the Vulcan mind meld to show Kirk events from his timeline. A star went supernova and was threatening to destroy Romulus. Spock promised to save Romulus by using red matter to create a black hole which would absorb the supernova. Before Spock can enact his plan, the supernova destroyed Romulus. Spock fired the red matter into the supernova turning it into a black hole. Spock and Nero were pulled into the black hole and sent back into the past. Nero captured Spock when he arrived, took the red matter, and marooned Spock on the ice planet Delta Vega to watch Vulcan be destroyed. Spock says he has to return Kirk to the Enterprise.
Whoa Nelly there is a lot in that flash back! Let’s start with the supernova and Romulus. If a star was going supernova, there would be signs well before the explosion – a change in the star’s composition, temperature, radiation, etc. Those signs would be showing as Spock and Kirk spoke in the cave, as 129 years in the life of a star is an infinitesimally short duration. You would assume that a technologically advanced society like the Romulans would be aware of these fluctuations in stars in their solar system. They should have known in Spock’s timeline and they should know now. They should be taking steps to save themselves right now!
In the future, Romulus will rely on Spock, who has the worst plan I can imagine. He is going to create a black hole that will absorb the supernova. Sure it will absorb the supernova and EVERYTHING else near it. The black hole is going to destroy the gravitational relationships in the nearby galaxy, which will disrupt orbits, as well as gobble up everything near it. Also, how can a black hole absorb a supernova unless it turns the supernova into said black hole? The supernova is going to explode in every direction, and a black hole can only absorb the energy that is directed towards it. That would mean the black hole has to be between Romulus and the supernova for this to work. So, there will be a shorter distance from the black hole to Romulus than from the supernova to Romulus. Spock wants to put a black hole close to Romulus, by astronomical scale. How could anyone think that creating a black hole in their galaxy, is a good idea?
If Spock plans on turning the supernova into a black hole, using the red matter, that would make some sense. It would negate the supernova explosion, although you’d still have the problem of a black hole in your solar system.
Why were there people still on Romulus? Did they have so much faith in Spock’s monumentally stupid plan that they just left everyone on the planet? Get off the planet! Put as many people on as many ships as possible! This is not an earthquake; they knew they were in trouble. They asked Spock to save them, which means they knew they were in danger and needed saving. They should have been evacuating for hundreds of years, moving to different colonies. But no, they just say “No worries, Spock’s got this.” He’s going to save us ALL BY HIMSELF!
Spock does not make it in time. How is that possible? How could he or someone else not calculate the time it would take for the energy from the supernova to reach Romulus? The energy has a fixed starting point and the destination is fixed. The distance is known and so is the velocity. That’s an easy calculation. Yet Spock says that “the unthinkable happened. The supernova destroyed Romulus.” How is that unthinkable? That is the whole reason that he was doing what he was doing in the first place. He was trying to save Romulus, from a supernova, how could he be surprised when the supernova did just want he thought it would do? And since Romulus was destroyed, why was he in such a hurry to create a black hole? What’s the rush?
How does Spock survive being in the path of a supernova wave so powerful that it can destroy a planet? Perhaps his ship was specially outfitted to withstand the forces that were able to create such a cataclysm. Fine. Then how is the Narada not destroyed? Are all Romulan mining vessels able to withstand a supernova blast? Why was the Narada on hand to watch everything happen? Did no one tell the Narada to steer clear of the impending supernova, or were they just curious? Given how enormous the Narada is, why not evacuate some of the populous there?
A few words about black holes. We initially assumed Spock and the Narada had come back in time through a worm hole, which is a theoretical conduit between two areas of space-time. However, Spock clearly says they were pulled into the black hole he created. A black hole is an ultra-dense bunch of matter that has such a high mass that its gravitational pull is so strong not even light can escape. So, the ships would be utterly destroyed and compacted into the black hole – not sent back in time. This is like saying that if you had a heavy enough piano and you dropped it on a man’s head with enough force, it could crush him back in time without damaging him.
We have further proof that Nero is entirely out of his mind. How can he blame Spock for what happened? Spock appears to be the only one who even tried to save the planet. Sure, his plan was never going to work and if it had it would have created an even greater threat. But the Romulans signed off on it. What were they doing? Why does Nero hate the Federation? The Federation was not involved in Romulus’ destruction at all. You know who really dropped the ball on this? The Romulans.
If Nero wanted Spock to witness the destruction of Vulcan, why bother putting him on Delta Vega – a planet with a lot of clouds? Just keep him on your ship so you can observe him while you force him to watch his planet die. If Spock is on that planet, there’s no guarantee he’ll watch, or if he even wants to watch that he’ll have a good view.
Delta Vega is so close to Vulcan that Spock can see it with naked eye, in daylight. That is really close by astronomical measure. Vulcan is now a black hole. That black hole should be ripping Delta Vega apart. Removing that planet from the area, creating a singularity, changing the gravitational aspects of those planets’ orbits around their sun, would be a cataclysm for Delta Vega. The Spock in charge of the Enterprise sentenced Kirk to death by putting him on that planet. He also sentenced that Federation outpost to death by not evacuating it. And why didn’t Future Spock head to that outpost? Was he more comfortable in that cave?
Chapter 18: 1:20:38 – 1:28:55
The Enterprise is travelling at warp speed to rendezvous with the rest of the Federation fleet. Spock discusses with McCoy his decision to eject Kirk. McCoy agrees it was a logical decision but he thinks that it was maybe not the right decision.
On Delta Vega, Kirk and Future Spock walk to the Federation outpost where they meet Montgomery Scott, an engineer who was sent to the outpost after a transporter accident lost the dog of an admiral. Spock tells Scotty that Scotty’s theory about possible transporter technology is correct, and he shows him the formula he would have discovered later. Spock sends Kirk and Scotty to the Enterprise via transporter but says he cannot accompany them and that Kirk must convince the other Spock to change his mind without letting him know about Future Spock. Kirk and Scotty beam onto the Enterprise, although Scotty ends up in the water turbines.
The discussion between Spock and McCoy about Kirk is some heavy foreshadowing that seems unnecessary. There appears to be no reason for Spock to ask McCoy about the Kirk, as even though McCoy disagrees with him Spock feels no remorse. Maybe Spock needed validation. I understand that McCoy and Kirk are friends, but how can he in good conscience say that they NEED Kirk? There are hundreds of more experienced officers aboard the Enterprise who have been in stressful situations before – real situations. They attended the Academy, just like Kirk – only, they actually graduated. All Kirk has done so far is complete three years, be almost kicked out for cheating, and attack a platform. He also has a noted criminal history, has shown obvious insubordination, is supposed to be violently ill, and has stowed away aboard the ship. What in that resume makes Kirk even remotely useful aside, from his ability to shoot machinery? And doesn’t Spock have more important things to consider?
Scotty is at an outpost on a planet close enough to Vulcan that the Vulcan is visible to the naked eye. However, he is unaware that it has been turned into a black hole and that several ships have been destroyed. That is one remote outpost. What is the point of it, I wonder? Scotty also readily accepts Spock being from the future even before Spock shows him the formula to transport onto a ship that is travelling at warp speed. Spock changes history again since Scotty does not invent that formula; he receives it from the future.
While we’re talking about beaming aboard a ship travelling at warp speed let me take the opportunity to call bullshit. For his part, Scotty claims beaming aboard a ship travelling at warp speed is really difficult, and yet apparently all one has to do is “consider space moving”.
This infantile explanation of how Kirk and Scotty make it onto the Enterprise leaves out some rather prickly details:
- What beam is used to send the incorporeal form of a person faster than the speed of light?
- How are Spock and Scotty able to pinpoint where in space the Enterprise will be? They would have to know the course, the speed of travel, and the time and location of departure. They could surmise the first two but would have absolutely no way of knowing the other two. Remember, Scotty wasn’t even aware that Vulcan collapsed in on itself. At best, Scotty would have to guess where in the enormity of Space the Enterprise was and at what time it would be there. It’s possible that the outpost isn’t even facing the right direction, so it wouldn’t have a straight line towards the Enterprise.
- There has to be a transporter powerful enough to send a signal a literally astronomical distance without degradation. Having this technology would mean that Starfleet could easily transport people from planet to planet and no longer need shuttles. There’s no way that desolate outpost has such a powerful transporter when the rest of the Federation doesn’t.
Despite all those I’m possibilities, Kirk and Scotty make it aboard the Enterprise. Although Scotty ends up in the plumbing. Why did Spock send Kirk back to the Enterprise other than to make his younger self angry so he be won’t be in command? I guess they had some conversation off-camera in which Spock explains himself and gives Kirk advice other than “don’t tell me about me.”
Chapter 19: 1:28:56 – 1:33:40
Spock notices the intrusion and has security bring Kirk and Scotty up to the bridge. He asks how they were able to beam aboard the ship during warp. Kirk refuses to answer as does Scotty. Kirk begins to berate Spock about Vulcan and ends with death of Spock’s mother. Spock is finally enraged and attacks Kirk, almost choking him, but stops when Sarek calls his name. Spock steps down as Captain and leaves the bridge. Kirk assumes command.
Very straightforward and actually an excellent scene. It’s the confrontation that has been brewing for about an hour between Kirk and Spock. It’s an excellent callback to the initial scenes with Spock, bringing up his mother as the trigger that sets him off. It’s also very satisfying to See Spock beat the hell out of Kirk, using a distinctly different form of self-defense. This shows how the movie could have been good if these good scenes weren’t followed up by things like…
Kirk assumes command and no one has an issue with it. Again, there HAS to be a chain of command on a Federation ship more robust than just two guys. There are plenty of people who outrank Kirk, for example: Uhura, who was recently promoted to Lieutenant; Montgomery Scott; McCoy; Sulu; Chekov; or basically EVERYONE ON THE SHIP! They all outrank him. Who cares what Pike said before he was captured by the Romulans? Is there some Starfleet regulation that goes:
“In the event that the Captain of the ship decides to delineate a new chain of command, tick tock, the chain is locked.”
The crew just goes along with it. Kirk addresses the crew and identifies himself using his name, as if they know who he is. Maybe they had heard that he picked a fight with the acting-Captain Spock and was kicked off the ship, or that he was up for academic dismissal. Maybe they heard he was part of the away team that blew up the drill. Either way, they have to know he is in no way qualified for command. This is like a junior at the Naval Academy stowing away aboard a brand new battleship or aircraft carrier whose captain has been captured and whose first officer has just stepped down in the middle of the greatest crisis ever to face the planet. The midshipman then just decides “I’ll take over!” and everyone goes along with it. It’s insane. If the captain’s chair were empty would the crew just stare at it and wait for instructions? Not only is Kirk the last person on the ship who should be in command, he gives the crew orders to attack a ship that:
- Destroyed the Kelvin
- Destroyed 47 Klingon ships
- Destroyed six Federation vessels
- Destroyed Vulcan
- Almost destroyed the Enterprise
Why would the crew rush headlong towards an inevitable defeat? Kirk didn’t even give them a plan of action for when they arrive, and he just mocked a man whose mother and entire planet are now both part of the galaxy’s newest black hole . Kirk is a monumental dick. I also thought it was out of character for Spock to quit. Kirk made him angry, he made fun of his momma and so Spock took his ball and went home.
Chapter 20: 1:33:41 – 1:39:02
Spock confesses to his father that he is angry at Nero because Nero killed his mother. Sarek confides in his son that he married his wife because he loved her. Spock returns to the bridge as the crew is coming up with a plan to catch the Narada. They will come out of warp near Saturn and hide behind a moon and its rings, which will create magnetic interference that will make them invisible to the Narada’s sensors. McCoy has reservations but Spock confirms it will work. Spock volunteers to go aboard the Narada, because he will be more familiar with their systems but Kirk says he will go with him.
On Earth, Nero is deploying the drill while the Enterprise is in warp. The Enterprise comes out of warp near Saturn in perfect position. Spock and Kirk prepare to beam aboard the Narada and Uhura kisses Spock, who calls her by her first name. They beam out.
Spock’s heart-to-heart with his father shows us that Sarek is, or at least was, a liar. He lied to his son about why he married his mother. Small fib, that probably had no effect on the child’s life. Logical decision, I guess. Spock then returns triumphantly to the bridge and immediately submits himself to Kirk’s authority. Why would he do this? He just kicked Kirk’s ass because Kirk intentionally provoked him to try to swindle him out of his command. Then he talks to his father, realizes his feelings were actually founded and comes back and is all “Aye, sir, whatever you want!” Shouldn’t he resume command since he is now obviously stable? Why would he let this neophyte continue to run the Enterprise? Does Vulcan logic tell him that since Kirk was sort of right about him being upset that his mother died he must therefore be right about EVERYTHING else?
Somehow it’s up to Mr. Scott to boost the Enterprise’s warp capabilities. He’s been on the ship for about 20 minutes or so and they turn to him to improve the warp engines? How about the ship’s engineer who has been on it and knows it the best?
Spock says that Vulcans and Romulans have a shared cultural heritage so he’ll be more than anyone else on the ship able to operate their computer systems. This is more absurd writing. He could have said he has studied the Romulans, or he’s excellent with computers, or he examined the scans of the Narada, or anything believable. No, the writers went for culture. Somehow, all the Romulan computer systems are based on the cultural past they share from thousands of years ago with Vulcan, and they really haven’t changed that much in 129 years. Think about how similar our modern day computers are to the ones 129 years ago. If someone from the Rutherford B. Hayes administration had to work on a modern U.S. computer system, he’d be much more likely to succeed than a Prussian because he has a shared cultural background?
OK, so Spock is the best choice so he’s in on the away mission. Why is Kirk going? Hey, Kirk, you cheated, lied, and connived your way to somehow becoming captain and your first move is to leave and let Sulu run things? And you’re only going to take two people on a strike mission? What about all those red-shirted security goons? What about Sulu? I’m sure he still has that sword. Nope, just two guys. That’ll be enough against an entire humongous ship with people who have advanced weapons, even if they’re just miners.
If you can, take another look at how inane that drill is. Where does that long chain originate? Is it wound up like a garden hose inside the Narada? All those spikes seem like they would be in the way. Since Starfleet was contacted by Spock, and they know what’s going on, why wouldn’t they try to beam some people aboard the ship? Or better yet, beam a bomb on board. Why doesn’t Kirk do this? Go for the guaranteed plan, nuke it from orbit, and don’t rely on a two-person strike force. Hell, beam EVERYONE over. The Enterprise is clearly outclassed. Or, if you can get a transporter beam on that ship, beam Nero and his crew into the brig or the nearest ice planet.
Just before they do beam over, though, Spock makes out with Uhura. This is shortly after he has promoted her to Lieutenant. If anyone finds out, there’s going to be a grievance.
Chapter 21: 1:39:03 – 1:45:03
Kirk and Spock beam into the midst of a number of Romulans. A phaser fight erupts and Kirk and Spock subdue all the Romulans. Spock mind melds with a Romulan and is able to glean the location of the black hole device and Captain Pike. Spock and Kirk find the Vulcan ship that future Spock was piloting when he was captured, and Spock realizes there might be more to what’s happening than he knows. Spock talks about the odds and tells Kirk to pass a message to Uhura if things go poorly. Kirk leaves as Spock starts the ship, blasts his way out, and destroys the drill. While Spock is in the ship, Nero confronts Kirk and they fight.
We’ve already established that the Romulans are stupid, insane, ignorant, or some combination of these attributes. They have ignored the obvious Romulus-saving-solutions of warning Romulus, taking over the galaxy with their superior technology, or becoming a boon to all living creatures by giving new technology to people, and instead have followed the demented and monstrous path of destroying the Federation and killing trillions of creatures. So, the fact that none of them can shoot, that the Vulcan ship is somehow unguarded, that Nero throws Kirk onto the thin panels of the catwalk inside the ship instead of over the edge to his death, makes perfect sense. As does Nero feeling the need to drill when he can just turn the Sun into a black hole. That would be very effective at destroying all life on Earth.
As a result, Kirk and Spock have an easy time finding the Vulcan ship and the red matter, and Spock can blast the drill. I’ll buy it. Kirk and Spock are trained officers and the Romulans are just miners. They’re probably unionized too, so they’re lazy. Here’s where Starfleet should beam hundreds of people onto the Narada. Or, this is where Spock takes the red matter and absconds with it so Nero cannot use it again. Or both. Let’s see what happens.
Chapter 22: 1:45:03 – 1:53:12
Nero finds out the drill has been destroyed and that the Vulcan ship has been stolen. He leaves Kirk and demands that they destroy Spock and the ship. Spock goes to warp speed and leaves the solar system. Nero orders his crew to follow. Kirk fights the Narada’s first officer in the meantime, being defeated physically but managing to take the Romulan’s weapon and shoot him with it. Kirk is then able to find Pike and remove him from the table to which he was strapped.
Spock comes out of warp and steers his ship towards the Narada. The Romulans launch all their weapons at Spock but the Enterprise comes out of warp and shoots them down. Scotty beams Kirk, Pike, and Spock to the Enterprise as the Vulcan ship collides with the Narada. The red matter is ignited and it creates a singularity in the Narada. Kirk offers assistance to Nero who turns it down and the Enterprise fires all of its weapons at the Narada. The Romulan ship is consumed in the gravity of the singularity.
The Enterprise tries to leave the area but is caught in the gravitational pull of the singularity. They try going maximum warp but are unable to escape the gravity well. Scotty ejects the warp core, creating an explosive wave that pushes the Enterprise to safety.
Spock finally does something logical by removing the red matter from the area. Bravo, Spock. He then sacrifices himself by steering the ship into the Narada. This is both brave and logical – it takes care of both the threats in one fell swoop and doesn’t put the galaxy in danger. Did someone sneak in a real script here, even though Spock’s ship for some reason has a contrail in space? Sure the Enterprise coming in at the last second is kind of hokey but it’s OK. Did the Enterprise need to fire at the Narada when it was already being turned into a black hole? Probably not, but we’ve already determined that Kirk is a dick.
Kirk also is incorrect in his speech to Nero. He says “Your ship is too close to the singularity.” No, Jim, Nero’s ship IS the singularity. Also, Nero says he’d “…rather suffer the death of Romulus a thousand times. I’d rather die in agony than accept assistance from you.” What the fuck?
The only thing that could ruin this part of the movie is some unnecessary and unnecessarily stupid escape scene. Check and check. The only reason for this entire scene is to have Scotty say “I’m giving her all she’s got Captain” so that older Trek fans will have something recognizable besides the names of the characters. They make an explosion, the blast wave of which does absolutely no damage to the Enterprise and pushes it outward at a rate faster than the blast wave. Impossible. This scene didn’t need to be in there at all. Why did they feel they needed to throw in more bad science?
Chapter 23: 1:53:13 – 1:58:24 (the End, mercifully)
Back on Earth, Spock mistakes the older Spock for his father. The older Spock tells him who he is, and that he tricked Kirk into keeping the secret of his existence because he wanted them to have a chance to be friends. He also convinces Spock to stay in Starfleet. Kirk is promoted to Captain in front of a gathering of Starfleet officers, and is granted command of the Enterprise. The crew is gathered on the bridge and they set off to more adventures.
Ah, the final conceit. Spock finally meets himself and apparently no one had bothered to tell him in the interim that there was an alternate universe version of him walking around. And by walking around, I mean walking around. Spock, the man from the future – the man who knows so much about what is going to happen in terms of natural disasters, technology, cosmological events, etc. is just wandering around a shuttle bay. He’s not being debriefed by Starfleet, he’s not giving lectures, he’s not advising people, and most importantly he’s not trying to actually save Romulus this time. No, he’s just taking a walk in a garage. Strangely enough, so is the hero of the fight against the Romulans, younger Spock. They meet in the most unceremonious way possible and younger Spock does a fantastic job of not freaking out when he meets himself.
Spock asks the obvious question of why his future self sent Kirk to the Enterprise when he could have shown up himself and streamlined the process. Older Spock’s response – he wanted to give Spock and Kirk the chance to be friends. Huh? He risked the lives of trillions of beings on the off-chance that Kirk and Spock will be friends? Does going through that wormhole make everyone insane? That’s about as crazy as Nero. Why didn’t he just go save the universe, then make Kirk and Spock sit down over some Earl Grey tea, hot? That is the most reckless thing Spock could have done. It’s mind-boggling. He should be tried for a crime. And the other Spock just accepts it. “Oh you wanted us to be friends so you risked the lives of everyone. OK, that seems logical!”
By the way, how did Spock survive on Delta Vega, when it was so close to a black hole?
Then we see Kirk being promoted to Captain. I can’t stress this enough, he hasn’t even graduated from the Academy yet: and he is being promoted to Captain. This would incite a mutiny by every Starfleet officer between the rank of Ensign and Captain. Sure, he performed admirably so you give him a medal. You don’t promote him to the second highest rank in your structure. And then they give him the flagship and staff it with junior officers? This is beyond fast-tracking someone. Did everyone else ahead of him in rank die in the conflict? I can’t take anymore, fuck this, it’s just stupid.