Monday, December 15, 2014

Blah Blah Star Trek Blah Blah Movie

Found myself musing a bit on some things in Star Trek after randomly watching this clip the other day:

1. I know that ST:TMP is generally far inferior to Star Trek IV, regardless of similarities in their overarching plots, or rather, in the Big Dumb Objects that get their plots started. But I've always thought that "V'ger" is far more interesting* and even far more sensical than the "Whale Probe" on basically every level. Why, exactly, would some people who used to talk to the whales send a thing that would destroy the whales' home if it wasn't stopped?** You'd better hope that the thing's receivers never malfunctioned. Also, why did the thing need to be larger than Phobos, exactly? (Picture courtesy of Jeff Russell's Starship Dimensions, which is an excellent website.)

2. Boy, do I dislike the Klingon appearance retcon.*** It's not that I object to the use of enhanced makeup, but the appearance retcon brought so much bizarre and terrible baggage with it. Suddenly, the Klingons weren't metaphorically linked to Cold War tensions anymore, they were space savages, and shortly became the dumbest guys in space (look how dumb their tactics for investigating the BDO are here-"One of our ships will fire a few torpedoes, and then we'll sit and watch for a few minutes!"). Nearly gone are the clever political wranglers of the original series,**** replaced by the kind of guys that they would have been using as dupes.

And I can't help but look at the Klingon guys in that clip and think "oh gosh that looks disturbingly like some kind of racial caricature."

3. Star Trek weaponry doesn't make any sense. Yes, this is an independent point.

4. Admittedly, I like the Klingon cruiser design, and it's kind of neat seeing a higher-detail version of it than the one from the original series. (Actually, I'd say that Klingon ships in general are among the few Star Trek ship designs I don't violently object to if I start thinking about ship design seriously. The Enterprise is way too darned fragile to exist. The Defiant-class ships from Deep Space Nine are actually what all the Federation ships should more or less look like.)

*The idea that an alien civilization rebuilt a Voyager probe (whoops, spoilers!), turning it into something far more advanced than the civilization descended from the civilization that created the Voyager probes, allowing it to actually return, and be so powerful that it somewhat unintentionally threatens the civilization (descended from the civilization) of its birth? That's frankly amazing. Cartoonish, perhaps, but when has Star Trek not been? Also, it looks a heck of a lot cooler.

**Beyond the obvious "Star Trek civilizations are incredibly dumb" answer. I'm sorry if you're a Star Trek fan, it's just kind of true that the Star Trek setting is crammed with monumentally stupid ideas (exploding consoles, for instance). I'm often entertained by Star Trek, but I frequently feel obligated to knock it off the pedestal a lot of people put it on, because not many people who don't hate it do so.

***Gosh, I'm a curmudgeon about Star Trek. This movie is nearly half a decade older than me!

****They do, of course, make a brief comeback during the sixth movie, which has a couple of my favorite Star Trek moments in it, but of course by the time of TNG they're gone forever and ever. ...I should mention that I've never watched much of the Star Trek series other than the original series and the cartoon, so it's possible I'm wrong, but I have my doubts.

-Signing off.

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