Sunday, May 26, 2013

21(ish) things I learned from Star Trek: Into Darkness

STAR TREK, in its many iterations, has taught us some invaluable lessons about the future. Captains get all the girls (especially the green ones), the Prime Directive is at best a guideline, no crew is complete without a lycra-clad babe, and if you accompany the bridge crew down to a strange planet, you're better off going naked than wearing a red shirt. But what lessons can we glean from the latest excursion? Here are 21(ish) things I learned from watching Star Trek: Into Darkness...

(And I'm sure I don't need to say it, but SPOILERS! Go see the movie first. It's cool, I'll wait.)

1) Robocop is a terrible spaceship captain*. Also he is clearly evil because dark spaceship.
"Your move, creep."

2) You need to line your ship up exactly before you blast two people out the airlock to another ship nearby. Pinpoint accuracy in this liney-uppy step is essential, even though once they’re out there, they can swoop and dive and dodge and crash into debris like deranged pinballs.
"Left a bit...right a bit...nono your other right...oh wait, never mind; this suit's got rockets on it!"

3) You can trot out the same villain three times, but fans will say things like 'homage', respecting the genre' and 'welcome reprise', rather than 'stale', 'derivative', and 'Seriously? THAT guy again?'

"KHAAwait, what?"

4) No matter how many phasers you bring to the fight, you always end up punching a Klingon

5) Leonard Nimoy is still awesome

"So I said, 'Pointy ears or not, you wait. Forty years from now they'll STILL want me in the movies, even when someone else is playing my character!'"
6) Thanks to antimatter, there are no oil refineries in the future. But their designers all got jobs making starship engine rooms.
"Follow me! Past the diesel tanks, between the gas towers and under the distillate condensers and we'll be in the car park! I mean shuttle bay!"

 7) Warp drive means flying down a tube. Made of blue fairy dust. That you can fall out of.

8) Starfleet regulations state that everyone gets a cabin where they can change their uniform. Except hot blondes, who have to get changed in a shuttle on the way to work.

'<sigh> Alright, let's get it over with. "Oh captain, what kind of space bimbo do you think I am? You MUST turn away while I put on my space costume over my space underwear"'

9) Spaceship doctors randomly inject blood samples from supervillains into dead tribbles. Nobody thinks this is weird.

9a) Spaceship doctors always have a couple of dead tribbles in a box under their desk. Just in case they capture a supervillain.
"Aaand we're done. Nurse, fetch my tribbles please?"

10) Space suit visors will develop dramatic cracks over several minutes, without letting any air out.
"Wait, have I already used this picture?"
11) Scotty figured out how to beam people onto spaceships moving at warp speed several light years away. But he can't beam someone out of a volcano half a mile off unless he makes eye contact.
He also can't beam a bomb into a volcano without someone having to go along to turn it on.

12) If you have to go into a volcano to turn a bomb on, protect yourself from lave by standing up, closing your eyes and spreading your arms really wide.

13) Need to kill 72 frozen bad guys? Contrive a plot to assassinate someone on the enemy's home planet by duping a starship captain into firing 72 mysteriously shielded experimental super-torpedoes containing the frozen bad guys. This is a much better way to get rid of 72 frozen bad guys than, say, opening their cryo-tubes and stabbing them with a pen.
"Cap'n, I cannae sign for these new torpedoes! The scanners don't penetrate...wait, can you hear snoring?"

14) New Uhura is hot. But they still can't find anything useful for her to do.
"Quick, lieutenant Uhura! Do that pose where you're looking at them, but they can see your butt!"
"That's it! Now smile and say something sexy in Klingon!"

15) Klingons now look a little bit like Predators. Which is an improvement over the Next Generation lobster hats.
"Over here..."

16) Gigantic spaceships can be prevented from crashing into San Francisco by firing little jets on their undersides. Once the ship stops falling, you can turn the little jets off without falling.
17) It's possible to blow up a deeply buried ultra-high security building using nothing more than a ring and a glass of water. But attacks on unguarded high-rise offices are best carried out by shaky gunfire from vulnerable hovering aircraft. That you can take out with a fire hose.
"I totally wish we could've used the vulnerable hovering aircraft for this job..."

18) Space suits? Dozens of 'em, at every airlock. One radiation suit? Hanging near the warp core hatch? Are you mad??
18a) Warp cores are the pinnacle of humanity's technological achievement, capable of powering enormous starships across the galaxy at unimaginable speeds. Restoring power when they break involves kicking the pointy bit in the middle until it sparkles again.
18b) But only bridge officers know where to kick it.
18c) Scotty could build a radiation-proof warp core-kicking robot out of old shuttle parts and tribble fur in about ten minutes. But nobody thought to ask because dramatic death scene.
19) Earth's gravity doesn't latch on until the supervillain is defeated.
20) Everything crashes into San Francisco.
"Quick! Fire the little jets! OR WE MIGHT MISS SAN FRANCISCO!"
21) It really doesn't matter how crap the movie is.  It doesn't matter how implausible the story might be, how much they overuse lens flare or how rapidly Star Trek is cannibalising its own history. It's still better than anything George Lucas has done since 'Empire'.
"Jarjar who?"
LLAP, baby.

*(This was going to be a Buckaroo Banzai reference. But I think I'm the only person who saw that film.)