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Star Trek And The Conservation Of Dialogue Principle

thank you for smokingThere was a movie called Thank You For Smoking, and it had Robe Lowe in it as a Hollywood movie executive, and Aaron Eckhart as a lobbyist for the tobacco industry. In one scene, Eckhart’s character is trying to work a deal with Lowe’s character to get cigarettes placed more prominently and positively in upcoming blockbusters, and Lowe describes a scene he has in mind.

It’s set in space, and the idea is that two superhot A-List actors like say Johnny Depp and Scarlett Johansson have sex in a room with zero gravity, and it’s all sexy and graphic, and then they’re floating there afterward smoking cigarettes, and the smoke is spiraling around them and that’s exactly what Eckhart’s talking about.

“But,” he asks. “Wouldn’t the whole thing blow up, lighting up in an oxygen rich environment like that?”

“Well, yeah,” says the movie producer. “But that’s just like, one line of dialogue. ‘I’m so glad we got the whatever installed so we can smoke in space.'”

Very matter-of-fact, because it’s often that simple, and as far as watching the new Star Trek movie goes, don’t go complaining that they didn’t add the extra lines of dialogue for you. They’re already talking plenty. Some things just aren’t going to make sense, and they’re going to spare us the token explanations as to why.

Like you might be wondering why the Enterprise, which can teleport a grown Vulcan male out of the center of the volcano, can’t remotely operate whatever device he’s got down there with him. I think they may have even muttered something about how they can’t be seen by the natives – but you know, they’re usually teleporting from orbit, where the natives wouldn’t see them.

Well, the crust is rich in radioactive isotopes, and they’re screwing with the sensor array, and the device Spock has is too sensitive – the interference could reverse the polarity and then it wouldn’t work. Only way to do it is by hand.

Star Trek 1Or something like that. On the television show, they get pretty bogged down explaining stuff all the time, acting like this is science and not silliness with science stickers on it. I think the new Star Trek movie makes a pretty good decision realizing that it doesn’t need to explain everything.

Like why they could stun Khan briefly on the Bridge, but Uhura unloaded on him about eight times and he supershrugged it off, even with one Metric Vulcan Asskicking in him. That’s how the action needed to flow, don’t make them explain that. Maybe he took a bite out of a tribble before he left, who knows?

We could quibble about how they were beaming folks out of midair in the last one, and this time they can’t get a lock during the final fight scene because “they’re moving around too much!”

It was already awkward enough when Bones is suddenly had a dead tribble next to him and sort of stretched and said, “Yep. Better inject some of Khan’s weird ass blood into this dead tribble while you guys proceed with your action movie. See what happens.”

Everybody even sort of turns to look at him. Sure, Bones. You do that. Right here, why the hell not?

And of course a little dialogue tap dance regarding the need for an extraneous bra-and-panty shot for Dr. Marcus. Because she’s hot, and her agent said so, that’s why.

The problem always comes in when there’s no line of dialogue that could save them from the problem – like when Iron Man doesn’t have any extra suits. That’s dumb, Iron Man. You’re not dumb. Last time you had an extra suit in your car. Keep extra suits somewhere, you big ding dong.

A fine line I’m drawing there, I guess. Star Trek silliness is cool and you shouldn’t ask questions, Iron Man silliness is questionable but still cool, just not as cool as Star Trek. Also, did you notice that Star Trek wouldn’t even have happened if everyone would have just listened to Scotty with regards to seventy-ish torpedos which no one can see inside, and with regards to taking said torpedos on board?

ScottyHe basically had the whole movie beat if everyone had just said, “Hey, Scotty’s right, like he usually is about engineering and missiles. We usually do all right without mystery torpedos, anyway – right?”

All right, well, that’s my advice, and I’ve thought it through carefully for well over twenty-six minutes, so I can’t imagine there is anything inconsistent or hypocritical about it. I was going to bag on the Pope for a little bit, but I was too tired, and he really does seem nice. I guess just being a Pope freaks me out, that’s all.

Cool, now I’m going to use the gravitational pull of the Sun as a sling shot and go land on my couch. You have a nice evening, blogosphere.

 

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Your Own Personal Trekkie

I mean, I guess that’s what I am. I know a lot of Star Trek stuff off the top of my head, and I do have a Starfleet shirt. I once bartended an entre shift on Halloween dressed like this:

Vulcan Bartender 2So yes, I’m a Trekkie so you don’t have to be, because these days, you could be a perfectly normal person who loves the Star Trek movies for non-dorky reasons. You might just like action movies starring hot people, for example.

I love the new Star Trek movies for both kinds of reasons. Sometimes you hear Trekkies bitching because these last two movies deviate in tone and depth and philosophical ambition from the rest of the franchise, but the way I see it, there’s plenty of old Star Trek out there. Just put a bucket outside before you go to sleep tonight, and by the time you wake up, it will be full of old Star Trek. There’s plenty of that.

But this time around, there’s a lot more for us dorks sprinkled in with all the awesomeness, so just in case you have an actual social life and haven’t seen every episode ever made several times apiece, let me take you on a little tour of the Trekkie stuff from Star Trek Into Darkness.

Khan, for example. Khan Noonien Singh. You might notice that his name sounds a lot like Noonian Soong, the guy who created Data from The Next Generation. It turns out that both characters were named after the same pal of series creator Gene Roddenberry, but then on the most recent series, Star Trek: Enterprise, Noonian Soong’s grandfather Arik showed up (played by Brent Spiner, who also played Data and Noonian Soong) and turned out to be messing around with Augments like Khan.

KHANSo maybe Arik Soong interacted with a later-awakened Khan Noonien Singh, and then told his son about him, and then that guy named one of his kids Noonian. Even the spelling in the credits changes on some of the episodes, sometimes it’s spelled like Khan’s name.

See, in the original Star Trek, Kirk and his crew come across the USS Botany Bay with frozen Augmented Khan and his frozen, Augmented pals in it. This was after the Eugenics Wars, which took place in the 1990s, when superhumans like Khan occupied and ruled one quarter of the world. After that, I think we kicked their asses, but killed a lot of people – that’s why in Star Trek: First Contact, civilization had backslid a little.

So in the movie, it’s Admiral Alexander Marcus (played by Robocop!) who finds the USS Botany Bay, long before Kirk did in the original series. That’s because in the two most recent movies, we’re in an alternate universe created by a time travel paradox, in which the planet Vulcan was destroyed. As Starfleet moved more toward a military mindset similar to America post-9/11, they must have altered their missions to more aggressively chart the area, and so that’s why they found Khan sooner.

Also, when Noonian Soong was screwing around, experimenting with Augments he unleashed some kind of virus on the Klingons,altering their physical appearance, which is why Klingons from the old show appear to be smooth-skinned, while the rest of them – even those in Star Trek: Enterprise, which takes place before the original series – have ridges on their faces and generally more complicated makeup. Yes, they bothered to explain that for us.

Doctor MarcusThe hot, blonde scientist chickaroo? That’s not just the Admiral’s daughter, that’s Dr. Marcus from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. She’s the one who has a kid with him and then doesn’t tell him for twenty-odd years. Then she calls him up because mind-controlled Chekhov shows up ordering her to hand over the Genesis device.

Also, did you notice that tribble was pregnant? Do you know how I can tell?

Because all tribbles are pregnant. They’re born pregnant. Dr. McCoy explained that to us way back in “The Trouble With Tribbles.” Member? That’s why they were all over the place.

Whale ProbeAlso, there’s a giant, hollow tree-type of probe on the way to Earth still. It’s the one from Star Trek IV, which showed up because it turned out that humpback whales had been communicating with it for centuries, and then they went extinct so it showed up and went all apeshit on Starfleet, like “Where are the whales, guys? Where are the cockadoody whales?!” Except blowing stuff up, too.

So someone’s going to need to go back in time and get some humpback whales. Doesn’t have to be our guys, but since Old Parallel Universe Spock is here, he might want to give someone the old Heads Up-A-Roo. Just two whales are apparently fine. All you gotta do is use the Sun’s gravitational pull as a slingshot, scootch back to the eighties, right before the Eugenics War, which apparently took its toll on the whale population for some reason.

Khan2As for all this talk about who the real bad guy is – the real bad guy is Khan. If you thought Khan wasn’t pure evil at any point, it was because he’s so fucking smart he can reach right out of the fictional world into this one and control your brain. Sure, the Admiral was a jerk and a bad guy. Getting temporarily enslaved by Admiral Marcus doesn’t make Khan a nice guy. Also, he’s Young Khan. Give him about twenty or thirty years. Maroon him on a barely habitable planet for a few years. See what happens.

Also, a Pro Tip for anyone out there with a beautiful and brilliant daughter – she is NOT going to choose your evil plans over the hot, dangerous guy you hate, just because you raised her. Especially if you told her you hate him and he’s off limits. That’s not how it works.

Okay, cool. This Trekkie lesson is over. Go on upstairs and see if your mom will make you a quesadilla.

Just be all like, “MOM! MOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!!”

KIRK 3

 

 

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