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Star Trek: Into Insipidity

Published Sunday, May 19, 2013 @ 12:14 PM EDT
May 19 2013

(A curmudgeon's review of "Star Trek: Into Darkness")

Star Trek: Into Darkness is aggressively, egregiously, purposefully, intentionally, maliciously stupid.

A certain suspension of disbelief is necessary in order to watch science fiction of any kind, and Star Trek is no exception. But Star Trek generally limited itself to extrapolations of existing technology and scientific theory, and the techno-babble whatsits still had to function within a known universe with well-defined laws of physics.

(Warning: there are spoilers ahead.)

One wonders if those responsible for this abomination took a copy of the script from Star Trek II, a script rejected from Lost in Space, shuffled them together, and filmed the result.

J.J. Abrams' original 2009 reboot also contained major errors, but that film was entertaining enough that the gaffes didn't come to mind until you were in your car, on your way home from the theater.

The plot holes is this stinker dragged me out of the movie in the very opening scene, and from that point on, things just got worse.

The movie starts on the planet Nibiru, which is also the name of the fictional planet that was supposed to kill us all during the Mayan Apocalypse.

"Hi, I'm J.J. Abrams, and we're starting off by naming this planet 'Nibiru' just to let you know we're deliberately thumbing our nose at science in general and Star Trek in particular, which we never liked. The whole movie is like this. This is one colossal in-joke. Don't forget to visit the concession stand."

They have to lower a guy on a rope into a volcano because some kind of magnetic interference from the volcano messes with the transporter. The rope breaks, and the guy and the doohickey that's going to turn off the volcano fall into the crater. The guy and the doohickey survive. Why not just drop the doohickey into the volcano in the first place and be done with it?

In the 23rd century, humans apparently have developed the ability to jump and/or fall 50-100 foot distances without sustaining injuries. They are also all long-distance runners.

The Enterprise is a space ship. Roddenberry's explicit design requirements were "no fins or rockets."

This Enterprise has more flaming ports than a busload of tourists eating at a Taco Bell.

It's probably safe to assume Roddenberry didn't envision starships and shuttlecraft would be interchangeable with submarines, either.

In the future, military experts charged with the safety of the planet will meet, unarmed, in buildings with no security, in rooms with large picture windows.

The bad guy may be superhuman and have lots of guns, but he can't hit the side of a Nibiruian barn. Too bad he didn't have another one of those magic fizzy explosive class rings.

Despite other advances in technology, firefighting still relies on hoses, strategically placed so they can be hurled into the turbine intakes of 23rd century shuttles.

Question: if you can use a super-duper transwarp transporter to beam yourself from earth to a planet light years away, isn't it kind of dumb to waste all that money building a star fleet? And lucky for him there were no magnetic volcanoes in the way?

We need to wake up this guy who's been in suspended animation for 300 years so he can design advanced weapons for us. Just imagine if we could somehow bring Thomas Newcomen from 1712 to the present. He could show us how to build a steam engine!

I swear that was a red-skinned Admiral Ackbar sitting at the station in the brig. Another Abrams joke? ("It's a trap. Also, wait until you see what I do to Star Wars.")

I'm a doctor and a scientist, which is why I injected blood from a 300 year old mutated human into a dead tribble for absolutely no reason, a species from a totally different planet with totally dissimilar biology and by the way, did I mention it was already dead? And why did we bring the movie to a freaking stop to point this out to you? It's a little thing we learned in writing school called "foreshadowing." Aren't we clever?

When Scotty disabled the weapon systems on the bad guy's ship he could have also disabled their shields, so Kirk and whatshisname could have just beamed on over instead of doing that dangerous space-suited jump between the vessels. Well yeah, but then we couldn't put in our homage to the asteroid scene in The Empire Strikes Back. And also, Mr. Smart Guy, the bad starship was powered by a cold fusion magnetic volcano that would have blocked the transporter anyway. Pbpbpbpbt.

"To really piss off the science nerds, we're going to make a reference about being 238,000 kilometers from earth and then place the ships next to the moon, which is 238,000 *miles* from earth. Later we'll make some clever joke about even NASA getting the two confused. Oh, and screw you, science fans."

Those 72 super-duper torpedoes which blew up simultaneously inside the bad starship were neither super nor duper, because not only did they not destroy the bad guys, they allowed the ship to make it through earth's atmosphere without burning up, take out Alcatraz, and mess up all those nice Bay-view apartment buildings. Yeah, the same folks in charge of Starfleet security also run Earth's planetary defense system.

Even assuming the ships were caught by Earth's gravity, one expects it would take slightly more than ten minutes for them to cover the distance between the moon and the earth. That would make their velocity 1.5 million miles per hour or over 400 miles per second. Objects entering the atmosphere at that speed explode and/or incinerate.

This Enterprise is designed like an 80s Hyatt hotel, with a big atrium and, one presumes, a food court that didn't appear because Orange Julius wouldn't sign the contract.

23rd century starships have engineering sections which apparently also have the ability to brew large quantities of beer in massive tanks.

Speaking of tanks, when the guys are hanging from one of the ubiquitous engineering catwalks and a big one goes whizzing past, my wife noted they had not only lost warp drive, but also had no hot water.

In the first movie, they were able to beam two people falling at escape velocity from the surface of a planet being imploded by the massive, constantly-changing gravitational field of a red-matter generated black hole. This time around, they couldn't differentiate between Dr. McCoy and a torpedo (both are blunt and explosive?) or pull Spock and the bad guy from a flying vehicle. Wait- is there a magnetic volcano near here?

23rd century matter/anti-matter warp drive engine design is a lot like that of 70s Volkswagen Beetle engines, in that you can get both to function optimally by repeatedly kicking them.

Hey, remember that we discovered there was something in this guy's blood that can cure incurable illnesses and bring people back from the dead? Shouldn't we be working on this? Or do magnetic volcano-resistant transporters get higher priority?

Note I haven't said anything about the lifted dialogue or the stolen and abused plot lines from previous movies.

One can only hope that some persons who see this film will decide to take a look at Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and realize Star Trek was intended to be entertainment for thinking grown-ups, not the burlesque Abrams perpetrated in what is hopefully his last dubious contribution to a once dignified franchise.

Categories: Movies, Star Trek


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It's madness...

Published Sunday, May 19, 2013 @ 6:09 AM EDT
May 19 2013

A long time ago being crazy meant something. Nowadays everybody's crazy.
-Charles Manson

All things considered, insanity is the only alternative.

Almost nobody dances sober, unless they happen to be insane.
-H.P. Lovecraft

America's always been a great place to be crazy. It just used to be harder to make a living that way.
-Charles Pierce

Being crazy isn't enough.
-Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel)

Don't call me irrational. It makes me crazy when you do that.
-Unattributed (From the TV series Frasier)

Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives.
-William Dement

Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defense.
-Steve Landesberg

I am not insane, you just have no context.
-Velut Luna

I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.

I guess I'm just an old mad scientist at bottom. Give me an underground laboratory, half a dozen atom-smashers, and a beautiful girl in a diaphanous veil waiting to be turned into a chimpanzee, and I care not who writes the nation's laws.
-S.J. Perelman

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.
-Hunter S. Thompson

I plead contemporary insanity. (T-shirt)

I sent my desk calendar to a psychiatrist. The schedule was insane.
-Carol Simpson

I'll take crazy over stupid any day.
-Joss Whedon

It's been my policy to view the Internet not as an "information highway," but as an electronic asylum filled with babbling loonies.
-Mike Royko

I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.
-John Steinbeck

If you spend all of your time arguing with people who are nuts, you'll be exhausted and the nuts will still be nuts.
-Scott Adam

If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up.
-Hunter S. Thompson

Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers, but creative artists very seldom.
-G.K. Chesterton

In a completely sane world, madness is the only freedom.
-J.G. Ballard

In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.
-Oscar Wilde

In Hollywood if you don't have a shrink, people think you're crazy.
-Johnny Carson

Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.
-Nora Ephron

Insanity in the individual is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
-Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Insanity is contagious.
-Joseph Heller

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.
-Rita Mae Brown

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a raise.
-Robert Brault

Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind over-taxed.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage.
-Ray Bradbury

It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.
-Philip K. Dick

Madness may be a sane response to an insane world, and insanity breeds special perceptions.
-R.D. Laing

Madness takes it toll. Please have exact change.

Memory is a crazy woman who hoards colored rags and throws away food.
-Austin O'Malley

Men will always be mad, and those who think they can cure them are the maddest of all.
-Voltaire (François Marie Arouet)

Most people in this society who aren't actively mad are, at best, reformed or potential lunatics.
-Susan Sontag

Mothers are all slightly insane.
-J.D. Salinger

My father had a profound influence on me. He was a lunatic.
-Spike Milligan

My grandmother was insane. She had pierced hearing aids.
-Steven Wright

Never tell a crazy person he's crazy.
-Tina Fey

No man is sane who does not know how to be insane on the proper occasions.
-Henry Ward Beecher

No sane man will dance.
-Marcus Tullius Cicero

Of a sane man there is only one safe definition. He is a man who can have tragedy in his heart and comedy in his head.
-G.K. Chesterton

Of course I'm crazy, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.
-Robert Anton Wilson

Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid.
-Heinrich Heine

Reality is always controlled by the people who are most insane.
-Scott Adams

Sanity is a cozy lie.
-Susan Sontag

Sanity is an illusion caused by alcohol deficiency.
-N.F. Simpson

Sanity is not truth. Sanity is conformity to what is socially expected.
-Robert Pirsig

Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.
-Carl Jung

Some are born mad. Some remain so.
-Samuel Beckett

Some may never live, but the crazy never die.
-Hunter S. Thompson

Stupidity often saves a man from going mad.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

Sunday is the day people go quietly mad, one way or another.
-William Saroyan

The final test of fame is to have a crazy person imagine he is you.

The mass of mankind is divided into two classes- the Sancho Panzas who have a sense for reality, but no ideals; and, the Don Quixotes, with a sense for ideals, but mad.
-George Santayana

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to be insane in such a useful way that they can't commit you.
-Mark Edwards

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you.
-Rita Mae Brown

There are worse things than being mad.
-Jack Kerouac

There is a pleasure sure,
In being mad, which none
but madmen know!
-John Dryden

There is a thin line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.
-Oscar Levant

This country was founded by religious nuts with guns.
-P.J. O'Rourke

This is a mournful discovery.
1) Those who agree with you are insane
2) Those who do not agree with you are in power.
-Philip K. Dick

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who did not hear the music.
-Angela Monet

To be crazy is not necessarily to writhe in snake pits or converse with imaginary gods. It can sometimes be not knowing what to do in the morning.
-Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

Truly great madness cannot be achieved without significant intelligence.
-Henrik Tikkanen

Warning: the Internet may contain traces of nuts.

We take our bearings, daily, from others. To be sane is, to a great extent, to be sociable.
-John Updike

When dealing with the insane, the best method is to pretend to be sane.
-Hermann Hesse

When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
-Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy.
-Dave Barry

When you find yourself locked onto an unpleasant train of thought, heading for the places in your past where the screaming is unbearable, remember there's always madness. Madness is the emergency exit.
-Alan Moore

Would it not be more economical for the governments to build asylums for the sane instead of the demented?
-Kahlil Gibran

You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the Swiss hold the America's Cup, France is accusing the United States of arrogance, and Germany doesn't want to go to war.

You're only given a little spark of madness; you mustn't lose it.
-Robin Williams

Categories: Quotes of the day


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