Tea, Earl Grey, Hot

I like Star Trek. Like there’s a surprise there. In the past I never really got into it because it never airs on TV anymore, at least my TV because I don’t have cable. But I love the concept, a future society where humanity is spread out throughout the galaxy, and allied with many other races and societies, with advanced technology to facilitate that. It’s quite interesting, and it seems plausible. The world of Star Trek feels like it takes place in reality, something Star Wars can’t really claim.

Not that I’m saying Star Wars is bad, but when you have things like the Force, an inexplicable energy field that encompasses the galaxy and gives certain people supernatural powers, it gets a little hard to take. I mean it’s cool and all, but…does it make sense? And don’t get me started on the concept of Lightsabers! How exactly can a blade made of light stop another blade made of light when the blade made of light is controlled by the hilt made of not light, and not the other way around? It’s like being physically incapable of pointing a gun at something.

Anyway, I’m not here to bash Star Wars, I’m here to talk about Star Trek. My favourite series would have to be Voyager primarily because of the desperate situation they find themselves in. Cut off and isolated. Kinda like Battlestar Galactica, only, you know, with replicators and not being hunted by evil robots who look human. Actually, wait…there’s the Borg…and Seven of Nine allies herself with the good guys, kinda like Sharon from BSG. Wow, I just realized how uncreative Ronald D. Moore is.

DAMN MY DIGRESSIONS! Okay! Star Trek! Not Star Wars, not Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek! So I love Voyager, but The Next Generation would have to be my next choice followed by Deep Space Nine and The Original Series last. I’ve never seen Enterprise so I don’t know where to place that one. Now, many may be wondering why I place The Original Series at the bottom. Well, because it makes no sense. We’ve already passed them in terms of technological development, and social development. They use tapes and the women wear gogo boots and mini skirts, as part of a military uniform. In the original pilot Captain Pike says, “I’m not used to women on the bridge.” Really? It’s the 23rd fucking century, you’d think you’d be used to them after having them there for over 100 years. Does any of that make sense?

Then there’s the fact that Kirk keeps going on away missions, along with his first officer and chief medical officer. Really? It’s typically stated these away missions are dangerous. So what would happen if all three ended up dead? The bridge crew would be like: “…Well shit. Now what? Who’s in charge? …Chekov? We can’t understand a word the man says! Scotty? He’s too busy in engineering! Uhura? Too female because as he’s already established, we’re sexist bastards! Sulu? Sorry, we still don’t allow gays in the military! Damn it, we’re out of main characters!”

Of course the reason Kirk was always on the away team was because he was the main character, he needs to be on the front lines and look good while doing it. It’s the same reason Jack Bauer was always in the field despite the fact that he was supposed to be in charge of CTU in the early seasons, and why he was one of the few field agents who didn’t wear some level of body armour, like a helmet. Now, Star Trek was made in the 1950s so what can you expect? I just wish it didn’t feel so dated. Now, the 24th century series (turns out that word is both plural and singular) dealt with these problems by having men and women both have the same uniform, including having a skirt-like variant available for both sexes, and having Riker telling Picard he won’t let him go on away missions. Like: “Bitch! Stay on the bridge, I’ll handle this shit,” and then he goes off to kick some Romulan ass! Awesome! Then he grew a beard…jackass goes and ruins his image.

So, anyway, I recently got a chance to watch the last four Star Trek movies staring the TNG cast. Picard, Riker, Data, all of ’em! All I got to say is…why do people hate Insurrection? But let’s deal with these one at a time.

First is Star Trek Generations. It opens with us getting a good look at the USS Enterprise-B, where Kirk has been relegated to one of those assholes who gives speeches and shit but doesn’t actually do anything, I want to use the term figurehead but that doesn’t sound right, and he fucking hates it. Plus the new captain of the Enterprise is revealed to be an incompetent twat. Once a crisis hits he relegates virtually all his authority to Kirk, and is about to leave the bridge to reconfigure the deflector when Kirk tells him what’s what and reminds him he’s the captain before going off himself and getting himself killed, and by killed I mean stuck in a time-space anomaly for 78 years. Though no one knows that.

Fast forward to the Enterprise-D 78 years later. The crew goes to rescue the inhabitants of a stellar observatory, investigate why it was attacked, then need to get the hell out of there because one of the inhabitants decide to blow up a nearby star with a specially designed missile. They discover his plan is to blow up another star to redirect an energy ribbon to pick him up and send him into the time space anomaly that once picked up Kirk. He ends up succedding, killing millions on a nearby planet, so Picard, who was picked up with him, uses this anomaly to go back in time and prevent his entry into the anomaly. Yes my brain hurts too. Only this time, he brings Kirk with him to shift the odds in his favour. Good idea.

What I like the most about this movie is Data. He spends most of this movie reacting to events which are new to him because of his newly installed emotion chip which ends up fused to his brain. All his reactions are priceless, like when the saucer of the Enterprise crashes into the planet and he goes “oh shit!” It’s awesome. Though what I hate is the death of Kirk. I understand everyone dies eventually, and killing him off isn’t really the worst idea. It’s just the death he got felt cheap. He fell off a scaffold after deactivating the missile’s cloak. He was found buried under a pile of rocks somehow and Picard buried him in a grave on the top of a mountain. Not really a traditional Starfleet funeral is it? I guess that’s why William Shatner wrote a book where Kirk is resurrected by Romulans, so Kirk can die in a not cheap way.

Not much else to say about it.

Following this outing is First Contact. Borg attack earth and Picard is a little late to the battle because Starfleet originally didn’t want him there, but he said, fuck it, and went in anyway. As Data, who, as I mentioned before, I like better with his emotion chip, puts it: “I believe I speak for everyone here, sir, when I say: ‘To hell with our orders.'” Yeah bitch! So Picard arrives, notices the Admiral’s flagship is down so he takes command and leads the fleet to victory. Then, they notice a Borg sphere, which opens some time of temporal wormhole into Earth’s past. The Enterprise sees the after effects of the incursion, complete Borg domination of Earth, so they follow the sphere through and they discover they are days away from Earth’s first warp flight, and the resulting first contact with the Vulcans.

It’s a hell of a premise. Let’s face it, storylines involving the Borg are the most interesting in the series. Primarily because they are the most formidable and that creates the most suspense. Combine that with time travel and that is a winning formula, time travel is always awesome, so time travel on Star Trek with the Borg should be more so, and it is. I don’t know what to really say about it, other than it’s good, no, great!

Next is Star Trek Insurrection. Now, for those of you who don’t know it’s tradition for the odd numbered Star Trek films to suck and the even numbered Star Trek films to be awesome, and since Insurrection is the ninth Star Trek film it is generally considered to suck. Which is proof that most people are stupid. Star Trek Insurrection is actually a pretty good flick. It has it’s own flair, it’s definitely not as good as First Contact, but it doesn’t need to be.

Quick synopsis, Insurrection is about the homeworld of the Ba’ku, a relatively primative society, who are being monitored by Federation anthropologists with the assistance of the Son’a. The Enterprise gets involved because Data, who is with the team, goes bat-shit insane and exposes the anthropologists to the Ba’ku, something which he is not supposed to do. It’s not due to his emotion chip malfunctioning, because apparently he had that removed…SON OF A BITCH!!! So, one thing leads to another and the crew of the Enterprise discovers the Ba’ku are really a very advanced race who willingly gave up their technology to live a simpler life and the Federation is planning on covertly relocating the Ba’ku to another planet so they can harvest the radiation from the planet’s rings, radiation that somehow has amazing healing abilities, the harvesting of which will make the planet uninhabitable. Picard decides to violate orders and leads the Ba’ku to the mountains to avoid transporter beams. Eventually the Son’a are discovered to be related to the Ba’ku, being their children who left the planet because they were sick of being farmers, and they decide to harvest the radiation anyway, killing all those on the planet. They are stopped, naturally, and the Enterprise wins. WOOT!

I honestly can’t find any complaints about this film. Some may argue they would have been better off having an enemy we’ve encountered before, but I don’t buy that. The story is a classic Star Trek story. We are dealing with a moral dilemma that we can see occur in our own history. The relocation of a minority for the benefit of the majority. Look at the Native Americans. Can someone explain why we shove them all on to reserves? Anyway, is it right or wrong? Well I think we can agree it’s wrong, especially in this case.

Moral dilemmas have always been a part of Star Trek, and there is this feeling that you can take the situation the characters find themselves in and realize if you change just a few things you can apply it to a modern situation or idea. Like the episode where aliens kidnap Geordi and request the Enterprise computer core in exchange for their chief engineer. These aliens are portrayed as very slow, and all their technological development is based on stealing from other races. How can that be applied to us? Think of the entire Stargate franchise, where all human tech is stolen, borrowed or donated from other races, or the Area 51 conspiracy theories that say a good chunk of our technology, like Velcro, is adapted from the alien ship that crashed in Roswell 60 years ago. If that’s true, wouldn’t we have blown ourselves up by now? Think what would have happened if the Ancient Romans had nuclear weapons. Yeah, that wouldn’t have ended well.

Anyway, the final Star Trek film I’d like to talk about is Star Trek Nemesis. Once again this film receives a lot of ire. I’m not sure why. True it’s not that cerebral. It feels like more of a romp. It opens with Riker and Troi’s wedding, and the announcement that Riker is being transferred to the Titan as captain. After the wedding the Enterprise is on it’s way to Betazed for a second wedding ceremony in the nude. It’s a traditional Betazoid ceremony. However on the way they are diverted to planet Kolarus where Picard, Worf and Data land in a shuttlecraft, which for some reason has a dune buggy in it, and find parts to a Soong-type android scattered on the surface. The android is named B-4 and it is determined he is an idiot. Literally, he is dumber than most humans, nowhere near as advanced as Data. Then they are diverted to Romulus because the new Romulan Praetor, Shinzon, wants to negotiate a peace with the Federation and the Enterprise just happens to be closest. Turns out this Shinzon is a clone of Picard that was created by the Romulans with the hope of one day replacing the real Picard with the clone. The project was abandoned and Shinzon forsaken on the dark wasteland of Remus to work in the dilithium mines. He eventually staged a coup d’état and took over.

Anyway, more things happen, we discover Shinzon is planning on using a super-weapon to destroy all life on Earth. The whole thing about peace was a ruse to lead Picard to Romulus because, you see, Shinzon is dying and needs a complete transfusion of Picard’s blood to live. So they use the captain as bait with the intention of leading Shinzon into a trap before he enacts his master plan. But Shinzon stages an ambush while the Enterprise is in a nebula that somehow blocks all sub-space communication, effectively cutting the Enterprise off and preventing them from sending out a distress call, which leads to an epic battle that dominates the final third of the film.

Two Romulan ships join in, Remans board the Enterprise, Worf and Riker track the motherfuckers down and kick their ass, the viewscreen is blown out and we get to see what the viewscreen really is.

The Enterprise viewscreen gets blown out.

A fucking TV. Compare this to the new Star Trek movie.

The new viewscreen from the new movie.

It’s a window. See that makes much more sense. But that’s not what they use in the 24th century? I don’t know what’s real anymore.

What was I talking about? Ah, yes, the battle, so the best part is when Picard decides to ram the Enterprise into Shinzon’s ship.

Holy shit does he have some balls.

the result is both ships are heavily damaged. Shinzon decides to activate the super-weapon and aim it at the Enterprise, however it takes a few minutes to power up. So, Picard beams over to Shinzon’s ship and decides to kick his ass. Data then runs over through a hole in the Enterprise, and arrives just in time to send Picard back to the Enterprise and destroy the ship and it’s super-weapon, saving both his captain and the crew of the Enterprise.

It is an epic tale, but for some reason people hate it. Too much action I guess. It’s not as cerebral as the others but it is still a great movie.

Well, I guess that’s all. Oh, and if you want to know why I chose that particular title, well, I suggest you start watching Star Trek.

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