Star Trek

Last night we went to see the new Star Trek film with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as Kirk and Spock. It was a good reboot of the Franchise - admittedly there were some problems in internal logic, but I enjoyed the ride and so was happy to over-look these (though they do grate a little). The most important thing for the Franchise is the line which has been drawn between Pine's Universe and Shatner's. They can now diverge without worrying about the chronology already established.

Spoilers follow, so proceed at your peril. The film begins aboard the USS Kelvin, a big and nasty ship appears and destroys it. In the process, Kirk Senior loses his life, and the being-born James T Kirk is evacuated. He grows up as a fatherless and rebellious young man in Ohio.

The big and nasty ship was going after Leonard Nimoy's Spock - as he did not manage to save Romulus and they wanted revenge. Spock wasn't around yet, and he appeared 25 years later - the big and nasty ship and Spock having been caught up in the same event which pushed them back in time - but by different amounts.

Having marooned Spock Senior on a moon orbiting Vulcan, they then proceeded to destroy Vulcan with Spock Senior watching helplessly (Vulcan's are now an endangered species).

Kirk had joined Starfleet, meeting Bones and Uhura in training. Chekov and Sulu were posted on the Enterprise under Captain Pike.

Kirk, recognising the signs from his family history of how his father died, spotted that it wasn't a natural disaster and prepared his ship for battle. At this point, Pike was in command. Pike yielded command to Spock (who at the loss of Vulcan wasn't in total control of his emotion) and named Kirk as first officer. With Kirk being insubordinate, and with a battle to fight, Spock marooned Kirk on a nearby moon - one with a nearby base for his rescue. This was the same moon Spock Senior was on.

Spock Senior met Kirk, and Kirk learned the alternate history. At the base, Scotty (and an annoying-if-overused 'comic relief' character) were found. Scotty got Kirk and himself (not Spock) back onto the ship, where Kirk elicited an emotional response from Spock, who relinquished command under starfleet regulation.

The big n' nasty ship heads to Earth. They save the day. Spock senior meets Spock Junior. The End Sequence happens (with lots of planets being shown way too close to each other!)

There were a few things that grated with me a little. As always with this sort of thing, conceits that are part of the whole concept are forgivven (e.g. Faster than Light and Transporting).

Firstly, the concept of the 'Red Matter'. This was a MacGuffin that turns regular matter into Black Holes. Ridiculous. They could have had the same effect with the only slightly more plausible high energy beam which compresses matter to less than it's Schwarzschild radius - having done this, other matter can fall in and grow the black hole.

Choosing bad science over plausible or good science always annoys me, whatever the film (though I do allow essential rule-breaking).

Then there is the issue of the black hole itself. These were treated like the universal vacuum cleaner. If you could turn an object into a black hole, the mass would not change (except by that required due to energy/mass equivalence). If in orbit, you would not 'be dragged in'. It just wouldn't happen like that.

Despite the cringe that happened whenever the unnecessarily bad Physics happened, it was a film worthy of the franchise; and I look forward to a new future in this alternate chronology.