A New Star Trek for a New Generation

08-May-09 6:32 PM by
Filed under Reviews, Star Trek; 6 comments.

The earth-shattering ramifications I alluded to above are the result of the destruction of Vulcan. The enormity of this act demonstrated Nero's ruthlessness, making him a villain on par with Darth Vader — but Vulcan is no Alderaan, a planet never seen or heard of before its explosion. Vulcan is core to Star Trek's history; without that planet, First Contact would've been very different. Although I'm comforted to know Enterprise predates this temporal incursion (as demonstrated by Scotty's tale of an admiral's beagle), it still means that TNG, VOY, and DS9 are impossible.

Still, the villain's methods and motives leave me wondering. Where was Nero for the 25 years after he destroyed the U.S.S. Kelvin? Shouldn't Starfleet have investigated whatever destroyed their ship? Did Nero completely escape notice all those years, just so he could wait for Spock — and somehow retain his crew for that purpose as well? How did Nero know when old Spock's ship was going to come through the black hole?

I found it unlikely that young Spock would jettison Kirk, rather than throw him in the brig — and even more unlikely that Kirk would happen upon old Spock. Perhaps some unions are fated, no matter the timeline. I was glad to see Leonard Nimoy in more than the cameo role I expected — his role in the plot proved pivotal, which seemed only fitting.

Why the first black hole sent Nero's ship back in time, whereas the second one destroyed his ship? And why did Nero think that destroying Vulcan would save Romulus? His star will still go nova in less than two centuries. And why did Nero feel it necessary to create black holes in planetary cores? The black hole device was demonstrated to be functional in any environment; a local singularity would've proven just as devastating.

Perhaps the mainstream audiences for which this film was intended won't be thinking too deeply about these aspects.

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6 Responses to “A New Star Trek for a New Generation”

  1. Jake adds:

    My answers: I don't think Nero did know when Spock's ship was coming through. I think he was just waiting, knowing it'd have to show up eventually.

    And I think the answer to Kirk meeting Spock is that in both cases, there was a reason to put them on that planet or moon. It's apparently near Vulcan, so it was a place Nero could put Spock to watch the destruction, and the Enterprise was still near Vulcan when they needed a place to drop him.

    And the first black hole was outside the two ships, so they could pass through it. The second one was created inside Nero's ship itself, so the ship was falling in on itself. Even so, at the time I wondered why they were bothering to waste ammunition on it, and I decided it was to make sure it was destroyed and didn't reappear, damaged but with Nero still alive, somewhere else.

    My question: the drill shaft could be destroyed by a one-man ship's weapon. Doesn't Earth (didn't Vulcan) have any planetary defenses that could have managed that?

  2. Ken Gagne adds:

    Jake, thanks for these potential answers. Some thoughts in response:

    If Nero was just sitting there for 25 years, wouldn't someone have caught and stopped him by now? (And what was he doing attacking all those Klingon ships, anyhow?)

    I understand why Spock and Kirk were on the planet. But still, it's a BIG planet — the odds of them bumping into each other seemed unlikely.

    Your last question is a good one and something that occurred to me when I was watching the movie. Why didn't Earth take a more active role in stopping Nero's attack? Silly humans…

  3. Jake adds:

    At first I thought Nero went back into the black hole after the opening battle, then came back out again. But I'm not sure, and I didn't really follow the whole thing with the Klingon ships.

    And yeah, it was kinda lucky for Kirk to find the same cave Spock was living in. But you know if ST puts two friends on the same planet, they're going to run into each other.

    Speaking of that planet–what do those creatures eat in all that ice and snow when there isn't human prey around?

  4. Dain Neater adds:

    Just got back from seeing the movie. I enjoyed the heck out of it. I really like the old Star Trek and I really appreciate this fresh turn.

    One thing that really impressed me is how the people that put this film together managed to put a film together with all the special effects and somehow still give it a tone and spirit that I've not seen since the likes of Star Trek II and the early 80's Star Wars movies.

    It's an interesting concept… all this time travel has finally resulted in a universe askew. I look forward to this new reality, and will enjoy the old reality just as much.

  5. GeneD adds:

    I also enjoyed the new Star Trek movie, despite a few reservations. While I and some friends would have been happy if Gene Roddenberry's universe had continued moving forward from the point of Deep Space Nine, I understand the reason for going back to the best-know, archetypal characters and trying to open up 40 years of continuity.

    I agree that despite the importance of free will, Kirk and Spock Prime were fated to meet, thanks in part to younger Spock's bouts of illogic.

    After being damaged by the U.S.S. Kelvin, it may have taken a few years for Nero and company to repair their ship while waiting for Spock. They may have decided to avoid the Romulan Empire because then they'd have to answer to someone else, preferring instead to conduct raids in the Neutral Zone and on remote Klingon and Federation outposts, at least at first. I'm sure others will try to fill in the blanks, just as the Trek in-between comics have.

    I agree that the second black hole was created too close for Nero's damaged mining ship to properly pass through it. The problem with many of the Trek movies (vs. the more leisurely pace of the various television series) is that focusing on a villain and action comes at the expense of exposition, especially for newcomers to the long-running space opera franchise.

  6. Ken Gagne adds:

    After seeing this film a year ago today, I asked in my review: "Where was Nero for the 25 years after he destroyed the U.S.S. Kelvin? Shouldn't Starfleet have investigated whatever destroyed their ship? Did Nero completely escape notice all those years, just so he could wait for Spock — and somehow retain his crew for that purpose as well?"

    I finally watched the deleted scenes on the Star Trek DVD, which answer these questions. After the Kelvin crashed into Nero's ship, it was left inoperable, forcing Nero's surrender to the Klingon patrol that arrived shortly thereafter. Nero was a prisoner on Rura Penthe for the next two decades before escaping and reclaiming his ship and crew.

    So that's how it should've begun; see also how Star Trek should have ended.