4thofeleven: (Default)

Actual thoughts: I'm interested, but extremely wary. I can see this series going two ways, one could be good, one could be extremely awful, and at this point, I'm not sure which it's going to be. The perils of highly-serialised stories – they're hard to rate until they've built up a lot of steam. There's a lot of bits in part one I liked – and man, but it's nice to see a professional, experienced Starfleet crew on screen again! - but then part two seems to be edging dangerously close to 'Hard men making hard choices' mil-SF nonsense, and I don't know if it's going to fall over that edge or if it's setting up a serious redemption arc for the main character.

Spoilers Inside: )

4thofeleven: (Default)
I am considering boycotting the show until they give the Klingons back their hair.
4thofeleven: (Default)
This is the official twitter account of Ukraine responding to Russia with an appropriate Simpsons gif.

You know, humans turned into Star Trek's Tamarians so gradually, I didn't even notice.

And yes, I'm aware of the irony of misquoting the Simpsons to decry the overuse of-

4thofeleven: (Default)
So, the alternating pattern continues, as the abysmal “Into Darkness” is followed up by... hell, probably the best Trek film since Undiscovered Country? The reboot finally steps out of the shadow of the original series, and is all the better for it, finally feeling fresh and exciting. Hell, that's practically one of the movie's themes, letting go of the past, and I can only hope that carries through from now on.

Spoilers and specific comments below:
Read more... )

The title is still terrible and means nothing, though.
4thofeleven: (Default)
Huh. My flight to Namibia is flight number 1701.

I've got a good feeling about this holiday. :)
4thofeleven: (Default)
Alright, so this has literally bugged me for years. In the TNG episode, “Best of Both Worlds”, Picard has this line, the night before the battle, wondering if the last Roman emperor had realised the empire was going to fall ‘when he saw the Visigoths come over the seventh hill’.

And for years, it’s annoyed me that the line references Romulus Augustus, because while he was technically the last Roman Emperor, Rome had long since fallen, he was half-German himself, reigned for less than a year and was little more than a puppet for his father. And normally I’d accept historical errors in TV shows as errors on the part of the character (Captain Sheridan, I’m looking at you…), PICARD SHOULD AND WOULD KNOW BETTER!

And then the other day, I watched the episode again. Picard doesn’t say Romulus Augustus, he says Honorius. Flavius Honorius, emperor during the sack of Rome of 410. Whose name doesn’t sound anything like Romulus Augustus. I don’t know how the hell I misheard it.

I am sorry I ever doubted you, Jean-Luc.

(Though, technically, Honorius would have been in Ravenna when the Visigoths came over the seventh hill, but I’ll allow Picard the poetic license…)
4thofeleven: (Default)
Was thinking about Star Trek 5 – because somebody has to, right? And it occurred to me – why is it a terrible Star Trek movie? Because it’s actually a Star Wars movie!

Think about it. Who’s the villain? Well, he’s a renegade from the group of powerful psychics who repress their emotions and avoid strong attachments. He’s been cast out because he delved into ancient forbidden philosophies, and decided to follow a different path, one all about gaining strength through embracing pain and revelling in emotions. Using this power, he gains power over the minds of the weak-willed and forms an army to carry out his monomaniacal obsession.

The plot draws everyone inexorably to the desert planet with the city full of scum and villainy that is somehow both a total backwater and also the most important location in the galaxy. Everything’s sort of worn out looking and broken down – even the good guy’s ship is a malfunctioning, unreliable hunk of junk.

There’s a lot of weird mystical babble going on as our heroes fly across the galaxy. The villain tries to tempt the good guy psychic into joining him, but fails, even after a contrived family relationship is revealed. Eventually, however, the villain sees the light and sacrifices himself to save the heroes from the real evil, who at the time was busy shooting lightning at everyone.

The movie ends with our heroes celebrating as night falls over a Californian national park, and a childish song wraps up the adventure!
4thofeleven: (Default)
So, you, like probably all right-thinking people have to have wondered at some point if Star Trek characters could travel to the Star Wars galaxy or vice versa. Bafflingly, neither franchise has directly answered that question directly – but, if you try had enough, it seems it is possible.

How? Well, you can’t get there directly, but if you’re willing to take the scenic route…

Start in the Star Wars Galaxy. Tag along with Yoda or Vader when they visit the Soul Calibur universe (Soul Calibur IV). From there, you should be able to visit the home dimension of Spawn (Soul Calibur II). It’s possible to travel from Spawn’s world to Batman’s, which gets you into the DC comics multiverse. From there, you’ve got two options – if you’re in a hurry, you can time travel to the future of the Legion of Superheroes, and take advantage of their 2011 crossover with the original Star Trek. Alternatively, you can finish up your journey by traveling through one of the various connections between the DC and Marvel comics universes, where you’ll find the X-Men have run into both the original and Next Generation Enterprise crews during a series of crossovers in the 1990s.

Incidentally, while you’re in the Marvel universe, you’ve got the option of stopping by the Doctor Who universe, as they’ve crossed over too, and go on to the Star Trek universe from there, via a recent comic series.

So there you have it! A completely plausible and canonically justified explanation for how a Jedi knight could end up commanding a Federation starship!
4thofeleven: (Default)
A minor bit of head-canon inspired by being reminded that Quark’s cousin shares a name with Uhura’s Orion room-mate in the reboot-verse.

With no Battle of Vulcan in the Prime timeline, Gaila’s counterpart there survived to graduation, and eventually became an officer on one of the Constitution-class starships. Her status as one of the highest ranking Orions in Starfleet gave her some degree of fame among the Orion diaspora, and the name Gaila went from relative obscurity to become one of the more popular choices for naming baby Orions by the late 23rd century.

A generation of Gailas had reached adulthood when the Orions made first contact with the Ferengi. The two peoples, both with a history of being traders and merchants, got on famously, and Orion culture and fashions were briefly extremely fashionable on the Ferengi homeworld. For Ferengi, ‘Gaila’ was one of the stereotypical Orion names, as almost every Orion trading vessel they encountered had at least one crewmember with that name.

As a result, the name became moderately popular among middle-class Ferengi wanting to give their child an exotic sounding name; ‘Gaila’ called to mind the wealth of the Orion trading families, the power of the Orion syndicate, and the mysterious ‘Federation’ that lay beyond their space.

Nog once tried to bring this history up to his uncle, pointing out that even one of their own family was indirectly named after a Starfleet officer, as proof that a career in Starfleet could bring a person immense respect, but all Quark said was “You can’t sell respect.”
4thofeleven: (Default)
The biggest addition was Benedict Cumberbatch… so the big debate was: should he or shouldn't he be Khan?... Once we had that standalone story, we wondered: are there details from Khan's history that fit?
- 'Star Trek' Writers On Planting Easter Eggs With Tribbles and Khans

So that’s an interesting revelation – Cumberbatch wasn’t specifically cast as Khan in Into Darkness. Rather, it seems the part of the villain was adapted to be Khan after he’d been cast.

I’m not entirely convinced these people know what an ‘Easter egg’ is. The Mudd reference, one blink-and-you’ll-miss-it line, yeah, that’s an Easter egg. The models on Admiral Marcus’s desk, yeah, they’re eggs. The main villain of your film? No, not so much. The camera zooming in dramatically on him as he gives his name, not really. A whole scene of new Spock calling up old Spock to find out who this guy is… At this point, you may as well try and claim that having a character called “Captain Kirk” is a subtle Easter egg for the fans.

This does explain a lot about the movie, though – not just how the whitest man in existence got cast as Khan – but also why it feels so much like a perfectly decent movie that’s had chunks of the Wrath of Khan crudely inserted in random. Because, it seems, essentially that’s what happened.

(It does give the amusing mental image of the writers sitting there, going through a list of Trek villains they could include as ‘Easter eggs’. “Hey, Bob – what about the Gorn? Would Cumberbatch work as a Gorn? No? What about a Horta? We could make it that there’s Horta eggs in the torpedoes, and he’s the mother Horta trying to get them back…)
4thofeleven: (Default)
(Spoilers for Into Darkness, obviously...)

1. Another of Khan’s crew. Simple. Explains why he doesn’t look or act anything like Khan, while still keeping pretty much everything else the same. Adds a bit more tension – if this guy’s just one of Khan’s lieutenants, how much damage could the real Khan do if he wakes him up? Also could provide a nice parallel with Kirk – Harrison wants revenge for Khan in the same way Kirk wants revenge for Pike.

2. Gary Mitchel. Was rumoured, could have been interesting. Maybe Adm. Marcus learned about the Galactic Barrier from old Spock, and ran some more controlled experiments. Mitchel’s stronger and smarter than ordinary humans, but doesn’t quite have the god-like abilities of the original version.

The Mitchel story also works well with the reboot crew dynamic – Kirk wants to trust his old friend, but over time, realises whatever Mitchel’s become, he’s no longer entirely human, and he comes to trust his new friend Spock’s judgement.

3. Someone from the Mirror Universe. The mirror universe is a bit too goofy to support a full movie, but could be neat to get a reference to it. We’ve already had alternate universes brought up in the first reboot; maybe Adm. Marcus was trying to get in contact with the Prime reality and didn’t realise he’d contacted the wrong one. Harrison plays to his fears, telling him how in his reality, Earth was conquered by the Klingons. The twist, of course, is that the Klingons were only responding to an invasion from the Human Empire.

It would also make perfect sense that a mirror universe person would design an evil black dreadnought of black evilness.

4. Klingon defector. Would make the side-trip to Kronos tie into things a bit better, and give the film a bit more of a cold-war espionage feel. ‘Harrison’s a double agent, playing both sides against each other, hoping he’ll end up on top. Puts the focus a bit more on Adm. Marcus, as a man who’s looked too far into the abyss, spent too much time guarding the Federation against the Klingons that he’s come to believe the Klingon way is the only way humanity can survive…

5. Pretty much anyone other than Khan. I mean, the guy’s name is “Khan Singh”. It’s like, how much more Indian could that be? None, none more Indian!

More seriously, it’s only the second movie of the reboot and already you’re stealing ideas from the original movies? Come on, you’ve got so many possibilities to play with, come up with something new! Winking references like the one to Mudd are fun; reshooting large chunks of an old movie just invites comparisons you can’t live up to. And casting the whitest man on the planet as the genetically superior human is problematic on so many levels and could so easily have been avoided if you hadn't been fixated on remaking Wrath of Khan...
4thofeleven: (Default)
An oddity of the Star Trek reboot timeline:

Reboot Kirk seems to have no knowledge of Khan or the Eugenic Wars.

This is despite his apparent fondness for Beastie Boys songs from the same decade.

(Yes, there's no reason why knowledge of a period's music would mean knowledge of that period's political events... still, it's an amusing coincidence...)
4thofeleven: (Default)
One thing I did appreciate in Into Darkness was that the Klingon homeworld’s name was written as “Kronos” rather than the “Qo’noS” spelling used in practically every other source.

I mean, yes, the Qo’noS spelling is more accurate to Okrand’s Klingon language – but then, in Klingonese, “Klingon” is more properly “TlhIngan”, due to Okrand’s rather odd decision that the Klingon language would lack a hard K sound… never mind that the name of the species as well as Kang, Koloth, Kor, Kraas and Kahless had all been already established as Klingon names…

And considering it’s always been pronounced as “Kronos” onscreen, it’s always seemed a little silly to pretend the anglisisation of the name wouldn’t be written that way. The Qo’noS spelling does help to obscure that it’s yet another alien world with an inexplicably classical name, but after Vulcan, Romulus, Talos and who knows how many others, it’s a bit late for that now, yes?
4thofeleven: (denny crane)
Everyone knows the old thing about the even-numbered Star Trek movies being better than the odd-numbered ones. Some people might think this pattern was broken when the forgettable Insurrection was followed by the dreadful Nemesis.

I would argue, though, that the pattern holds – provided you count Galaxy Quest as the ‘good’ movie between those two. And really, why wouldn’t you?!

And, unfortunately, with that addition, the sequence continues perfectly, as 2009’s rather good, if flawed reboot is followed up by Into Darkness, a film that manages to make all the mistakes the reboot avoided. I really can’t recommend it.

[Spoilers follow] )

4thofeleven: (Default)
A quick comment on getting back from Into Darkness: Can someone please, PLEASE, turn off the recording of Wrath of Khan that seems to have been stuck on loop at the Paramount writer's studio for the last decade or so? Why not rehash Undiscovered Country or the Voyage Home for once? Or try doing the Motion Picture or Final Frontier properly?

You're never going to top the original Wrath of Khan, please stop trying...
4thofeleven: (Default)
Had the urge to watch the Wrath of Khan last night (New movie? What the hell are you talking about?!), and I think I’ve got a new contender for my least favourite Star Trek character:

David Marcus.

I mean, what is he even doing in the film? Alright, there’s the themes of death, resurrection, growing old – but you’ve already got Genesis, Kirk’s birthday, the Enterprise being literally crewed by cadets to illustrate those themes, having Kirk’s literal son pop up seems to be just an overly literal way of handling that.

Then there’s his characterisation. He fears Starfleet – “Scientists have always been pawns of the military” – but I have no idea where he gets that from; Carol Marcus basically rolls her eyes at that, so he’s not getting it from his mother, and considering how much his project relies on Starfleet to do the grunt work, it’s more than a little hypocritical. But then, at the end of the film, after watching Kirk risk his life, save the day, and lose his best friend, he decides to magnanimously admit that hey, his dad’s not such a bad guy after all. That’s not a character arc; that’s being a dick for 90% of the movie then at the end being slightly less of one!

And all of his dialogue feels like it should belong to other characters – hell, in his last scene, he’s literally quoting Saavak! The scene would have been so much stronger if it had actually been her talking to Kirk; Spock’s protégé and friend mourning his loss together. He has no reason to be in the movie. He has no arc, no motivation, and steals time from better characters.

Alright, maybe I’m just overly harsh because the rest of the film is so close to perfect; David feels so much like an afterthought, he sticks out like a sore thumb…

An unrelated quibble: When, exactly, could Khan have possibly learned a Klingon proverb?!
4thofeleven: (Default)
I’ve mentioned before that Star Trek Online seems to attract a lot of German players, and you can tell just by looking at their choice of ship names. I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so obvious among those playing Romulans though… yet, just on the beta test server, I’ve already seen warbirds named Anhalt, Stuttgart, and Hamburg.

Come on, people! Try to put a little thought into your names! Surely one of the defining characteristics of the German nation is that it was never subjugated by the heirs of Romulus?!
4thofeleven: (Default)
Guess who got a beta invite to Star Trek Online's new Romulan expansion? :)

Read more... )
4thofeleven: (Default)
I just realised Whoopi Goldberg doesn’t have eyebrows normally, and it wasn’t just a thing to make Guinan look ‘alien’.

In hindsight, I guess it wouldn’t make much sense that they’d make a big star shave her eyebrows for a minor recurring role...

I suppose it can stop bugging me now that other El-Aurians did have eyebrows...
4thofeleven: (Default)
Las Vegas almost built a full-size starship Enterprise.

I’m not surprised the project was scrapped – it would have been expensive, take a long time to build, be almost impossible to convert into anything else should it fail as an attraction, and it’s not entirely clear what the designers planned on doing with most of the interior space – one gets the impression they were actually set on a full recreation of the ship, presumably including hundreds of unremarkable corridors and rooms.

The weird thing is that it was Paramount that scrapped it, not the Vegas businesspeople who would have been stuck with building, maintaining and paying for this thing.

I will admit, while I suspect it would have been a commercial fiasco, I’m disappointed this never got started, though. Wonder if the designers have considered approaching Dubai for a second crack at it?


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David Newgreen

September 2017

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