Monday, June 01, 2009

A few lingering Star Trek complaints

I spoke to some friends who had some complaints about Star Trek that I had not thought of, and -- though I have not looked around that hard -- did not come across on the internet either. They are barely budging my high opinion of the movie but I think it is worth giving them some space.

Why didn't Eric Bana, after traveling back in time 139 years, go back to Romulus and

a) Warn the planet that this star is going to go supernova as whatever he changed about this timeline should not change that and

b) hang out with his wife and child, depending on how long Romulans live (Vulcans seem to live a long time)

Also: Leonard Nimoy's plan was to use the red matter to keep this star from exploding and destroying Romulus, but it accidentally sent them back in time. Was it going to send the exploding supernova back in time as well, destroying Romulus back then? (this one is maybe less of a complaint that something I am just sort of unclear about).


ba said...

telosandcontext and I have been debating this frequently -

To perhaps clear up your last question: It is my theory that both spock and bana's ships had some sort of device that would allow them to pass through a black hole unscathed, where as the supernova would be spaghettified, and ejected as a stream of Hawking radiation from the exit point.

I posited both your A and B questions - Telosandcontext thinks that the trip through the black hole resulted in an alternate timeline (e.g. kirk and spock were not immediately friends in this one), and since supernovas are unpredictable, there is certainly a possibility that it would not explode this time. However, logically, Bana should have warned them anyway, to come up with some better strategies.

That said - dude should have gone back to his wife, rather than angrily accept death.

And we both agree that creating a black hole in the middle of the solar system (presumably sucking up Saturn in the process) should not have garnered Kirk a promotion.

othermarlo said...

IIRC, the first complaint is addressed in the movie: Nero says they're not his version. And he does say he's gonna save Romulus by taking out the Federation. It seems that he first wants to punish Spock, destroy the Federation and then go to the Empire.

Jason said...

Just because Romulans live a long time is no reason to assume that Nero and his wife are not young. If anything, his fairly irrational behavior would tend to support the idea that he is very young. I don't see any reason to think that he or his wife were over 140 years old in his time.

Also, he says his plan is to destroy the Federation so that Romulus can pretty much be top dog in the galaxy. There is nothing to say that he couldn't warn Romulus after his revenge scheme was in place. (The supernova was still 100 years away.)

There is also a 25-year-gap during which we do not know what Nero was doing. For all we know, he did warn Romulus, or at least try to.

Finally, at the end he says he would rather "experience the death of Romulus a thousand times" than accept aid from Kirk. So his priorities are just generally speaking a bit out of wack.

He is not some ingenious supervillain mastermind. That's one reason I liked him. He's just a pissed off guy who happens to have a ton of technology at his disposal through which to vent his rage.

Todd C. Murry said...

I wrote off a) because I thought the movie basically stated that Nero was crazy and thought Spock was responsible for the supernova. If he killed Spock, in his mind, the star would not blow. b) (and to a certain extent a as well) is just a sub-issue of the bigger "are we supposed to believe that they just sat around for 30 years" narrative issue.

Maybe Nero respected the time stream insofar as Romulus was concerned (i.e. didn't mind screwing with the feds, but wanted to not molest the isolationist Romulan time stream - which fits in with the "he'll save them later" theory). There are many bigger problems with the movie than these.

Andy said...

I believe the prequel comic, Star Trek: Countdown provides some background material

Also I believe Nero's time after his time travel was quite occupied. From images in the trailer and not in the film and scraps of info I've read online, it appears Nero and his crew were jailed for a considerable amount of time. For more info:

finsof72 said...

My 10-year-old brother asked the same thing about Nero's lack of priorities, and in the spirit of using the information provided in the movie, he came to what I believe was a very good, and satisfying conclusion on par wih the psyche of the Joker in 'The Dark Knight'...he said, "Maybe the point is that he's just crazy."

I kind of like that answer the best.

Jason said...

"He is a particularly troubled Romulan."

Gordon Harries said...

As to the first question, the screenwriters spoke to that in a podcast I heard: essentially Bana knows he's become a monster and dosen't want to expose wife and kid to him.

Matthew J. Brady said...

Not that it's really worthwhile to debate pseudoscience, but I think all the time travel was an accidental side effect; the idea was that the gravity of the black hole would consume the supernova and keep it from expanding and destroying Romulus. But whatever, it's all pretty much just plot mechanisms anyway.

I actually found this essay by sci-fi author Wil McCarthy pretty fascinating; he examines the physics of destroying a planet, and looks at what would actually happen if you managed to situate a black hole within one. Neat.

j.b. atwood said...

Spock warped out of the solar system making Nero follow out of rage. Saturn was in no danger.