Jim C. Hines (jimhines) wrote,
Jim C. Hines
jimhines

Star Trek: The Writers' Dialogues

Let me make this clear up front: I enjoyed the latest Trek movie. It was a fun little SF romp. I didn't love it the way a lot of folks seem to, but I did like it. Karl Urban as McCoy was my favorite, but I found myself liking most of the newly reinvented characters. I'm also impressed at how well the movie accomplishes precisely what it's supposed to: rebooting the series and clearing the way for new stories. A parallel universe storyline allows all of the old Trek histories and movies to stand unchanged while our young actors go forth to tell the Trek stories of this universe.

With that said, can we please get an actual writer to help with the next one? Maybe a scientist too, while we're at it. I know Star Trek has not been known for its rigorous adherence to scientific fact, and some of the stories get a little silly in terms of plotting. People are already telling me "Just ignore the silliness and enjoy it!" But there's just too much. It got me thinking about what must have gone on during the writing and rewriting process....

Warning: there be spoilers ahead.


I have no idea who was actually helping with the writing and revisions. Therefore all writers shall be referred to as Bob.

#


JJ: I think we need more action in this scene. Bring out the Wheel of Plot Twists!

Bob (sheepish): We still haven't recovered the Wheel of Plot Twists. We're pretty sure Rick Berman swiped it. We've got people searching, but--

JJ: So what do we have?

Bob: I'm afraid we're stuck with the Coin of Plot Twists. Heads, Kirk gets his ass kicked. Tails, someone falls off a random ledge and dangles by his fingertips.

#


JJ: We need a way for people to create random black holes.

Bob: I've got a phone call in with several leading astrophysicists, and--

JJ: Forget them! I've got a better idea. What if Spock comes back in time with Happy Fun Ball?

Bob: ...

JJ: It's perfect! Every time someone pokes Happy Fun Ball, it creates a little black hole.

Bob: ...

JJ: Just remember to give it a fancy scientific name so the Saturday Night Live people don't sue us.

#


JJ: So in this scene, Kirk's running away from a random snow monster. Kirk's unarmed, and he can't make it back to his escape pod. Then, just when he's about to be gobbled up, an even bigger and uglier monster bursts from the snow and eats the first one. Kirk gives us his trademark grin, then says "There's always a bigger--"

Bob: Dude, you totally stole that from Star Wars.

JJ: Did not!

Bob: For God's sake man, you're ripping off The Phantom Menace! Can't you at least steal from one of the good Star Wars films?

JJ: How dare you! You're fired! Send in another Bob. Waits while the next Bob enters. All right, now in this scene, Sulu whips out the hilt of a sword and presses a button, and then the blade magically springs to life!

#


Bob: I'm confused. Spock Prime is on this snow planet that isn't Hoth, within walking distance of a Starfleet outpost. He knows Nero is going to destroy Vulcan. Why doesn't he do anything?

JJ: Don't worry, the audience will be too swept up in the action to think about it. If you don't think that's enough, we can always do another hilarious shot where Kirk's hands swell up again.

Bob: I swear to Roddenberry, I'll use the Vulcan death grip on you.

#


Bob: So exactly how long does it take to get from Earth to Vulcan?

JJ: Less than twelve parsecs!

Bob: Right. We'll ... we'll just wing it.

#


Bob: So Scotty's equation for transwarp beaming lets them beam from not-Hoth directly to the Enterprise.

JJ: Exactly! It solves a knotty plot problem while demonstrating Scotty's engineering brilliance at the same time.

Bob: How do they know where the Enterprise actually is?

JJ: Question not the equation. It's space that moves!

Bob: I'm pretty sure the Enterprise is moving too.

JJ: It's Scotty's equation!

Bob: So why don't they just transwarp beam a couple of snow monsters onto Nero's ship?

JJ: Heretic! Thou hast questioned the equation! As punishment, thou shalt be banished to the gladiatorial pits of Triskelion!

#


JJ: So we'll have Kirk hit on Uhura here in the beginning--

Bob: Spock will kill him if he tries anything.



In the end, I liked the movie, but I really wanted to love it. I just wish I didn't have to lobotomize myself to get past all the gaping cracks in the story. It was fun SF action, but it didn't really feel like Star Trek to me. It's not just the different actors, either. World Enough and Time felt like Trek, despite the new cast. This didn't.

But I'll definitely go see the next one.
Tags: review
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