Saturday, May 9, 2009

STAR TREK, a review by Kirkslashspock

In high school, if you knew me then, you'll probably remember that I was a bit of a science geek. Not just a science fiction geek, but a science geek. In fact, bathroom reading material right now includes physicist Michio Kaku's last book about impossible (and possible) science fiction concepts, and astronomer Phil Plait's book about how our planet is a fragile little thing in this cosmos that could succumb to everything from gamma ray bursts following a local supernova to comets smashing into the earth to unlikely events like alien invasions and the like.

So naturally the only thing that really bothers me is the science. Oh ho, you're bothered by the science in Star Trek NOW? Well, I was then, but I didn't think JJ Abrahms was going to play so loose with concepts and terminology. For example, to try not to spoil anything, there was a part where a character was describing a supernova (exploding star) that was 'a threat to the galaxy...'

Here, we tread into the dangerous mistake of confusing what a galaxy is and what it isn't. For example, our sun and the planets around it aren't a galaxy. They are a solar system. A system with two suns is a binary system, and one with three is a trinary. But they aren't galaxies.

Let's quote Monty Python here to describe the Milky Way Galaxy that our planet resides in:

"The galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars; it's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, fifteen thousand light years thick, but out by us it's just three thousand light years wide.
We're thirty thousand light years from Galactic Central Point, we go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions and billions in this amazing and expanding universe..."

So, basically, one sun exploding isn't going to take out the galaxy. The galaxy is big. Really big. Now, a supernova can theoretically kill a lot of life in a wide area thanks to the Gamma Ray Burst it generates, but the whole galaxy? Not even remotely impossible.

There were all sorts of little science facts like this, avoidable ones that could have easily used the conceit of science fiction to get away with a lot of this, but they didn't seem to even try it as much as they are trying to do it on Lost. Frankly, I thought Scotty would pull out a fairy wand at one point when teleporting people onto ships going at warp drive or the main villain using Magic Ragu Sauce to destroy a planet.

But, I liked it.

It did seem a little too much like STAR TREK: THE WRATH OF SHAKEY-CAM at some points, or STAR TREK: THE SEARCH FOR LENS FLARES, but even once you get past the prettiness of the new ship and the awfulness of Chekov's voice, and the plot holes you could drive a Klingon Bird-of-Prey through, it was a really fun film. I've always felt that the film version of these characters from the Original Series were New Takes on those characters. Sure, they had the same flavor as The Original Series, but they felt different. More adult for their time, perhaps.

In much the same way, Zachary Quinto's take on Spock is much the same, as are most of the rest of the cast's performances. I wish we'd seen more of Simon Pegg's take on Scotty, but in the movies Scotty really only had one or two good scenes per movie.

Still, it's an interesting thing, this reboot. What will the sequel be? The Wrath of Khan? How can we have TWOK without having Space Seed first? It'll be interesting to see if they screw this up further or if they keep it alive.

But I'm not buying any toys.

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