Problems with the New Star Trek Movie Reboot

Before I get into this, let me just warn that this post contains spoilers.  Don’t read any further if you haven’t seen the new Star Trek movie.  Or at least, don’t read any further and then complain to me.

First off, I know that the movie is doing really well.  I also know that almost everyone seems to really like it.  So I don’t expect this post to be popular.  Still, there were a few small things (and one large thing) that bothered me about it, and it seemed blog worthy.

The big issue is the premise of the “reboot” logic.  This movie was explicitly designed to appeal to a whole new audience, and as a result, it deviates in many ways from the previous “canon”, ie, the character & future history established by the other movies and TV Series.

Unlike Superman Returns, or The Dark Knight, however, this movie tries to explain away the differences with a plot device.

The plot device is as follows:

A Romulan captain of a mining ship, in the late 24th century, witnesses the destruction of Romulus.  Infuriated, he blames Spock for failing to save the planet (and his wife and child).  He attacks (old) Spock, falls through a black hole and ends up in the early 23rd century.  As a result, the timeline is forever changed, because the first thing he does (almost) is kill George Kirk, James T. Kirk’s father, putting him (and Starfleet) on a different path.

Ugh, it sounds worse when I write it.  It felt pretty par-for-the-course in theater for a Star Trek time-travel plot.

Here’s the big problem. The last two years of the Star Trek series Enterprise were literally based on the Temporal Cold War.  (In fact, this was an extension in some ways of the “Relativity” episode in Star Trek Voyager and the “Trials and Tribble-ations” episode of Deep Space Nine.)  Without descending into a geek singularity, the basis premise is that in the future, time travel technology is mastered, leading to a set of accords among governments to “protect” the timeline.  Some people violate those accords (“The Temporal Accords“), and thus there are future Federation people and ships whose purpose is to help apprehend these criminals and restore the original timeline.

I’m not talking about one or two flaky episodes here with a minor inconsistency.  I’m talking about dozens of episodes and a major timeline of future history with key events between the 20th century all the way to the 31st century.

In any case, in order to believe this plot reboot, you have to believe that somehow with all those time ships and policing, Agent Daniels, the USS Relativity, and all those others just let a random mining captain from Romulus rewrite the history of the Federation without correction.  They go to huge lengths to save Captain Archer, but not Captain Kirk?

Sorry.  That doesn’t work.

I think what I’m more disappointed about is that the movie didn’t even try to explain it away.  For example:

Old Spock from the future, for example, could have added 30 seconds to his explanation to either New Kirk or New Spock to say that this timeline is permanent, or why it won’t be fixed.

Spock: “In general, major timeline changes in the past have been corrected by the Federation in future centuries.  However, we had been warned that the use of “red matter” could leave us vulnerable to untrackable temporal events.  In my rush to save Romulus, I have put the entire future at risk.”

This really wouldn’t bother me if the movie was a clean reboot of the series, like Battlestar Galactica.  But J.J. Abrams is trying to have his cake and eat it too.  He clumsily and awkwardly brings everyone together for the new Enterprise crew (exactly how unlikely was it that Scotty would be on that one base on that one moon…)  In some ways, the half-hearted attempt to maintain continuity with the time travel device is worse than just doing a straight reboot, no questions asked.

Now I realize I fall into a very tiny minority of people who even watched Star Trek Enterprise (or Voyager for that matter).  And I realize I fall in an even smaller fraction who liked Enterprise.  (1 in a million?)

Still, if they wanted to hardball ignore the series, they could have just asserted something early that made it clear that the series Star Trek Enterprise didn’t exist in this universe (ala Superman III/IV being axed in Superman Returns).  For example, they could have just asserted that this was the first human starship with the name Enterprise.

The most ironic element to the reboot plot device is that the one series it doesn’t change is Star Trek Enterprise, because that series takes place before the federation was founded!  So in this timeline, we don’t know whether there will be a Captain Picard, a Deep Space Nine, or a Captain Janeway.

But we do know, of course, that Scott Bakula was captain of the NX-01 Enterprise.  Rich, rich irony for fans who hated that series.

Don’t get me wrong – I liked the movie enough to see it again, and I think it achieved its goal of reaching out to people who have never seen Star Trek before (or didn’t watch much of it.)  I was actually surprised to see so many “wink wink, nudge nudge” moments in the film – references to other characters, catch phrases, moments, etc.  When Spock gives the transwarp transport formula to Scotty, I half-way expected some reference to transparent aluminum (Star Trek IV).

Maybe that’s what bothered me the most – they clearly put some effort into lining this up with canon in minor ways that didn’t really matter, but then ignored the big gaping hole around time travel.

Anyway, just for fun, here are some other small nits that bugged me:

  • There is a canyon in Iowa?
  • Was the Nokia placement really necessary?  Did it even make sense?  There are still private companies in the future?  They still operate?
  • Wow!  The Enterprise is really big now.  Huge.  How big is the crew?  That Romulan ship must be immense.  Kirk can just run around and find his way?  It must be miles long!
  • Captain Pike decides to make a not-quite-graduate with 3 years in the academy First Officer.  Really?  Maybe they know more about nature vs. nurture in the future.
  • Sulu carries a sword around with him?
  • Movie jumps the shark when Kirk crash lands on the ice planet/moon.
    • First, he plays Empire Strikes Back with the native wildlife (unnecessary).
    • Second, he just happens to crash within a few miles of Spock?
    • Exactly how close is this moon/planet to Vulcan, so that it appears huge in the sky of this world?
    • Spock is placed within walking distance of a Federation outpost, and is waiting for… ?
    • Scotty just happens to be stationed at this outpost?
    • Spock doesn’t go with Kirk because he doesn’t want to hurt the bonding experience for Kirk & Spock?  Seriously?  He’s really taking this new timeline thing in stride.
  • “Red” matter?  That’s what they went with?  “Red” matter?  Was this sponsored by Bono or something?
  • Flagship of the fleet goes to new graduate.  I know there isn’t supposed to be a lot of politics in the future, but I have to think someone got passed over here and is kind of pissed about it.

Looking forward to Terminator Salvation (which deals with timeline inconsistencies better), Up, Transformers, GI Joe, Harry Potter…

110 thoughts on “Problems with the New Star Trek Movie Reboot

  1. I know, the whole time travel thing bothers me, too, as I generally avoid shows with time travel elements (i.e LOST, which was perfectly fine until they introduced the time travel season)

    Roger Ebert also points out a few other facts that I had not thought of while I was watching the film (or, as I should say, as I was being dazzled by special effects, which was probably the intention) He points out the ridiculousness of parachuting down to the drilling platform when the Enterprise has transporter technology. I know, it totally went over my head at the time.

    I also observed that they seem to imply that Kirk was an only child. Kirk has/had an older brother who was killed in “Operation: Annihilate”.

    And since when are Starship’s built on the ground? What about Utopia Planicia?

    I guess we can sit here and go on and on. I did enjoy the film, btw, but I, like you, dislike seeing the known facts manipulated to serve other ends.

    • The drill cut off communications and transport, that is why they parachuted down and why Capt. Pike took a ship instead of being beamed aboard.

      • Bill, that’s my whole point. Why in the world would a drill cut off communications & transport? They don’t even try to explain it, because there is no reason other than they didn’t think it through ahead of time.

    • I could have bought the reboot to explain the new actors, and previous series had plenty of plot holes. What ruined it for me was that they turned TOS, a SF drama series with some action, into an SF action movie. It wasn’t plot holes but plot stupidity. Kirk just walking in an joining Starfleet with no advance testing, an unruly cadet who’d been convicted on mutiny give command solely based on one mission. (In VOYAGE HOME, they gave Kirk a break when he saved the Earth, but this was a Kirk with a long and distinguished service history behind him. The characters were all one-note with no development. TOS Kirk and crew could be righteous, awed, funny, romantic, sad, depressed, and more. Just giving the new actors their tag lines to parrot doesn’t do it.

    • elegantextraxts – Believe me, there are things that seriously bother me about this movie as well. My big issue is how do they explain Romulous being destroyed in the original timeline? To my understanding, Spock and the rest of the original crew are dead by Star Trek Nemesis, and yet, there is Romulous, nice and proud and alive. Yet somehow, during the new film, Spock has attempted to prevent this destructive occurrence? But the one thing I need to point out to you is this – The almost orbital skydive, while completely insane thanks to atmospheric pressure, is actually explained, though with such a lacking of wit and intelligence a child could wonder why it was used. Once the drilling was started, the transporter was unable to be used. It was the premise for them having to destroy the drill first at the end of the movie.

  2. You’re dead on with the continuity/physics errors. Don’t forget about the sight of a starship being assembled in the middle of a random cornfield.

    The one big flaw that they explained in the comic book prequel, but not the movie, is how a random Romulan mining ship could be so powerful.

    (Answer: Once Nero decided to take his revenge, he assimilated Borg, Klingon, and Cardassian technology to convert his mining ship into a warship. We also miss out on learning that Spock Prime’s ship was designed by Geordi LaForge, and that the reason Nero is so bitter is that the Vulcan High Council forbade Spock from using Red Matter to contain the Hobus supernova, leading to the destruction of Romulus.)

  3. And let’s not forget the best part about “Enterprise”–they finally explained why the Klingons grew lobster foreheads after TOS.

  4. OMG! Wait a minute… Vulcan has no moon!!!

    Remember when Uhura (TOS) is on the bridge chatting up Spock about romantic evenings on Vulcan? He tells her, “Vulcan has no moon”, and she replies “I’m not surprised.” Based on that alone, I would consider Delta Vega as a moon considering the size of the Planet Vulcan appearing from its surface.

    ACK! And another thing, Delta Vega is an automated mining colony (I forget which TOS episode) the planet where Gary Mitchell is transported down to in order to keep him from taking over the Enterprise.

    So I guess, both incidents could be considered BIG TIME plot holes.

    Sometimes I think I know far too much about Star Trek then what is good for me. 🙂

    • So tru. Also I’m sure Vulcan is meant to have red atmosphere. And little spock had red blood not green. I suppose if its in another reality/timeline they can get away with it but…….

  5. I agree with most of what Adam says. While the movie was good and I enjoyed it, and they did a lot of smart and clever things, I missed something like A Big Idea, which we usually see in Star Trek. Although I usually had no trouble with “willing suspension of disbelief” in most of TOS, TNG, and Voyager, I had trouble with it in this movie. I felt like the pace was too fast – because they didn’t want us to realize that perhaps the movie is a little shallow compared to many Trek outings? I thought all the actors were excellent, although Nimoy stole the show. Having been born in Iowa, I can tell you that there are no canyons there. That was ridiculous. Somehow the movie was less believable than many episodes of TOS, even with what look like hoky special effects to us today.

    • The one thing I do not feel is over my head is this idea….that this is the future…meaning that there may be a cataclysmic event or several that cause a canyon to crop up, such as mass flooding, mining for something….just saying. As for the whole older sibling of James, why would they ignore that, when it seems fairly important. Is it possible that they just didnt allude to it, that James was a second child, and his sibling was away at Space Camp, while mom and dad were on a mission…and/or that kid hitchhiking was his older brother? We never know what was left out or edited…just saying. As for Scotty being in that one place at that one time, I find that Life is not a series of coincidences, but destiny, so it is possible, especially since this new alternate existence was not like how it originally would be, if George had lived. They were meant to meet, no matter how it came to be. And I wholeheartedly agree that Nimoy stole the movie! I thought that was great.

  6. 1) The kid that young Kirk drove by in the beginning of the movie was supposed to be his brother

    2) Personally, I hated all the time travel stuff from Voyager and Enterprise. Those were convenient methods for Braga and Berman to do whatever they wanted to so as long as the big red reset button was waiting for them by the end of the episode. The idea of multiverses in the Star Trek reboot was perfectly fine for me.

      • hey i no im late in replying but i just stumble on this but u all forget that this movie was done because old man lenard nimoy will sone pass on plus he as full control over the star trek world so can not let us or the future trekies forget him. whats funny his he took control but forgot that after the piloit eps air of the orig tv series they wanted to can is part . bassicaly he tell them look who’s in charge now and ura ismy girl not scotty’s live long and remember.. RAD RAN signing off

  7. You just recapped the entire post-movie trip home between me & my husband. We also found the movie entertaining, but SO full of holes and OMG MORE TIME TRAVEL!?! GAH! ACK! Grgggllgrrrglll…blah *sigh*.

    We do not understand why there is this persistent practice of using a member of whatever previous cast to ‘launch’ the a new movie/cast – why couldn’t they have just told the story of how the crew came together? or what the heck happened during the Klingon Wars? Aren’t there a bajillion an one untold adventures for the ‘young crew’ to draw on? or did I miss those in the Barnes & Noble Good-God-Not-Another-Boring-Star-Trek-Book Black Hole Aisle?

    I agree whole-heartedly with all your points – I really, REALLY loved the character treatment and found the effects & visuals to be so much fun. I wanted to love the whole movie and wll still see it again – but found the biggest, most annoying part to be J.J.’s fascinaton with CLIFFORD THE DAMN RED BALL. (See: Alias, tv show) Is this some Jungian thing with him? A childhood memory? WHAT? I loved Alias, too – but why in heaven do I need to see that plot device in anything else EVER AGAIN?

    And also? If one teeny tiny bitty DOT of red juice is all it takes to create a black hole big enough to eat a whole damn planet, wouldn’t releasing the ENTIRE BALL pretty much destroy the UNIVERSE? And why would you make that much TO BEGIN WITH if you’re just trying to save one planet? ‘Cuz really, nothing screams “STEAL ME” like flying around with back-up planet-eating juice in a time-traveling super-ship. Ugh.

  8. Falling back on the time travel is so over-used and uninteresting. However, alternate realities are completely different than alternate timelines. It’s still disappointing they couldn’t come up with something better, and I agree with most of the other things mentioned, but I just thought I’d point that out.

  9. I am not a Trekkie, and I enjoyed the movie a lot, blissfully unaware. But I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I want to watch it again now that I know about all of this – which was probably not your intention with a post like this 🙂

    Agree on Terminator Salvation – can’t wait. I thought the Fox series was really good and I really hope it doesn’t get canceled.

  10. Two people liked the Star
    Trek Enterprise series. They just really screwed up–blowing up Vulcan!! The next movie is probably set to put time back to normal. At least we can hope. I had a real problem with the green cadet being permanently given the rank of Captain. How many years did Riker have to wait? You need more experience than one lucky mission. Remember, these people don’t know this is the legendary Captain Kirk to them it is just another jerk cadet that thinks he knows it all. There were so many good stories that could have been done to introduce this new crew.

    • Hi Melissa,

      It’s ironic, as I pointed out, that even though only two people liked the Star Trek Enterprise series, it’s the only one left standing as canon! After all, the time distortion happens well after. Remember, also, that the time travel issues/concepts extend to Deep Space Nine and Voyager as well.

      They are not going to ever put “time back to normal”. That’s clearly not the intent. They were going for a reboot of the franchise.


    • I loved _ST:Enterprise_–I just couldn’t remember that it was four seasons rather than two when in Las Vegas, half drunk at Quarks a couple years back. I was about to bet the Andorian waiter $100 on it. He calmly told me that he was not allowed to place wagers with customers then took me aside into the gift shop and pointed out a _ST:E_ boxed set–replete with four seasons of episodes.

  11. Finally saw it! Thank goodness for babysitters.

    Completely ignoring your major points, as I got about 25 minutes into the first ep of Enterprise before giving up, on the small nits:

    – It’s not a canyon, it’s a quarry. It may be a totally implausible quarry, but it was definitely a quarry.
    – The Enterprise SHOULD be big. It always was supposed to carry an implausibly large number of people (even if we never saw more than a couple hundred short-lived redshirts).
    – Of *course* Sulu carries his sword. he just volunteered for a hand-to-hand combat mission.
    – The person who got passed over is Pike — followed by Spock. There’s at least semi-plausible internal evidence for why both of those would work. Sure there’s probably some other cranky Starfleet officers out there — but Kirk *did* just save Earth.
    – I have no answers for the ice planet thing — there was some silly there — but note that the ice planet was one of a TON of Star Wars references. There’s Death Star / Alderaan, there’s a bridge fight scene … I think Abrams is trying to bridge the old Star Wars/Trek gap. No idea why.

  12. God, I can’t believe I am actually joining in on this…

    Canyon in Iowa was the remnant of the Xindi test weapon sent to earth some 60 years prior to the event in this movie.

    Overall, I have to concur with the idea that they should have done a clean re-boot vs. this mucked up semi-cannonical twist in the wind story. They’re all supposed to be cadets/kids but they are too old for that and yet not experienced enough to run a ship. The only interesting and believable character in the entire film was Capt/Adm Pike. Should have used a slightly younger version of him with some basic background from the original series for a re-booted Kirk, but alas they felt the need to make Gen Y feel that they have a future…. Yech!

    • I have not finished season 3 of enterprise so is this comes after I apologize but the the first Xindi test weapon hit from Florida to Venezuela and last time I checked that did not include Iowa.

  13. Agree with much of what has been said. I hate time travel in these movies…in this one, one would assume that now knowing what he now know s, Spock would change the course of events that destroyed Romulus thereby preventing the Romulan Captain from coming back …rechanging history…but then no one would come back…so they wouldn’t have known to make the changes…and so on and so forth…ending up in some sort of infinite back and forth loop betwen alternate realities…it makes my head hurt…I hate time travel. Also the idea that now many or perhaps all of the events of the series that I have enjoyed are banished into a future that will never happen annoys me just a bit. My two cents.


  14. And let’s not forget the best part about "Enterprise"–they finally explained why the Klingons grew lobster foreheads after TOS.

  15. I’m glad I’m not in the minority here in not being satisfied with the new movie. It seems that plot holes are no problem in movies anymore. Horrible plot devices and buckets of Phlebotinum don’t seem to dampen peoples enthusiasm for movies. I don’t know if this is a new trend or not. If it is, our school system is failing a whole lotta people.

    & big budget movies really are made for 14 year old boys.

  16. Wow. I choose to reserve all of my commentary until after I talked ALL of my friends and family, many of whom are not into Sci-Fi at all, to go and see the movie.

    I think this was a great movie. It had all the romance, violence, conflict, and flare that we love, but it wasn’t Trek. I nearly died when I looked up at the screen and Uhura is tonguing Spock in front of everyone as though they were in heat.

    Every single person on the crew had a plantronics ear piece in there ear.. what’s the point of a comm officer? So much, so much!

  17. I’m late to the discussion but I’m hoping someone will read this and comment.

    The biggest hole created by the time travel meme: everyone now knows that in 129 years Romulus will be destroyed. They got 129 years to prevent it / evacuate. I could excuse Nero not thinking of this – he went crazy from grief. But what about everyone else. If Romulus is never destroyed doesn’t the timeline correct itself.

  18. I just wanted to add one point that struck me after watching the movie (which I allowed myself to enjoy, and I am now enjoying finding troubles with it).

    After the Romulan mining ship is disabled by Kirk Sr. why does the New Federation just lets it sit there for the next 25 years while it waits for Old Spock to come through and New Spock and New Kirk to become old enough to fight it?

    I am also glad that someone mentioned the amount of Red Matter that Spock had. If one or two drops is all that was needed, better bring a few dozen extra gallons of the stuff, just in case…

  19. overall this movie was about rebooting the franchise. bottom line-money.
    adhering to canon was thrown out years ago and to hell with the opinions of the fandom. my big gaping hole in the story is the fact that kirk’s parents were a bit older than portrayed and he had an older brother named sam. he was about 10 years older than kirk. in the original series, “operation: annihiliate ” kirks older brother sam and his family are victims of the flying brain cells. his brother and sister-in-law are killed and only his nephew remained.

    what did they do with sam?

  20. I am not a trekkie, but grew up as the son of a trekkie, so I know a couple of things about the TOS. First off, I recall there were several episodes that included Spock’s mother, yet she dies in the movie?

    I agree, the Montgomery Scott coincidence is lame. How can the bridge be more technologically superior in this enterprise than on the TOS enterprise?

    If future spock said kirks dad was at the graduation from starfleet, why wasnt kirks dad there at the end, even after they went through the black hole, changing the time continuiim?

  21. Thank you for inciting a well needed conversation. This helped put my thoughts into perspective. I too seem to be in the minority of movie goers that wasn’t overly enchanted with the movie. I liked it, but it could have been less clunky overall.

    I agree with LBarndt, they really did very little to stop the Romulans overall and seemed to not take the whole first incident very seriously. Anyways, I could go on and on. Thanks again!

  22. This Movie spells the end of Star Trek as we know it.

    It took me a long time to get around to watching it, and by the time I did I was aware of all the plot holes and messed up timelines. I guess there are alternate universes in the Star Trek canon (We see at least the one in several episodes concerning the “Evil” Kirk and Spock from the transporter malfunctions, etc. where they switch places), but the time travel incident was not well-handled, and I feel as if they made a good attempt to cast the movie with good actors who could carry the parts of Kirk and crew, but over-all it has turned a series I loved (even Enterprise, my least favorite) into another big-budget showy franchise, with none of the social and political implications that made it what it is to so many people today.

    And I really miss the effort that all the series seemed to go to to stay true to the events as they were already set out. One of the reasons trekkies are known for pointing out tiny inconsistencies in the plots of various episodes, and made fun of for it, is that there are so few unexplained errors, and each episode could more or less be fit into the timeline. I am mourning the death of somehting I loved, which now has been turned into a piece of entertaining fluff.

    • You said it! I feel the exact same way. I’m bummed out that Star Trek has been hijacked from those who care and changed into something else entirely.

  23. How likely is it that Nero would fall into a black hole and come out on the other side, and just happen to be sitting in front of George Kirk’s ship. What are the chances he would just pop out of a wormhole at that exact place and time? It struck me as ridiculous to the point of being absurd. Which may be perfect for Trek, I can’t say I am a geek-level fan.

    Also I don’t know much about transporter tech, but is it possible to beam someone as far as they did when Scotty and Kirk beamed on to the warping Enterprise from the planet that was far too close to Vulcan? I thought the ship had to be fairly close to a target to use the transporter.

    I was generally disappointed by how the movie brushed aside most of the tech concerns. Again and again I was pulled out of the immersion of the film by an absurdity. Surely, that’s not a good thing in a sci-fi film.

  24. I liked the movie. However when I saw Spock’s mother, Amanda die, I thought they now have to somehow go back in time to prevent the destruction of Vulcan (as well as his mother) but it never happened. The older Spock from the future tells the young Spock that he was already looking for a “new” Vulcan, but the death of Amanda was never resolved. As Bret stated Amanda definately appears in a few of the TOS series. As movies go I loved the action and special effects and really thought the characters of Kirk & Spock were dead on. Thanks

  25. And…while Uhura was kissing Spock goodbye on the transporter and Kirk was standing there looking akward I remember thinking “Don’t worry, you’ll get your kiss later from her.” Remember that TOS episode was the first televised interracial kiss?

  26. Correct me if I am wrong, but Klingon ships weren’t called war birds, were they? Romulans are the ones with the war birds. I may be wrong about that, but I do know they killed my favorite franchise.

  27. Abrams totally rewrote G.I.Joe’s origin/history, so why does any of this surprise any of you? general ideas of basic themes/characters / places are there, but entirely not adhering to canon. On either movie. Nice movies, but not for diehard fans looking for new chapters to the canon.

    • Sorry, but this just isn’t the story. Abrams clearly cared enough about canon to reach into arbitrarily weak series, like Enterprise, to reference the name of Archer’s beagle. You can’t have it both ways. The whole point of my piece is that the movie would have been better if he actually *did* ignore canon, and made the movie loosely based on the characters, like Superman Returns. Instead, he decided to get wink-wink close to the history, and then just failed.

  28. I would just like to say thank you.. I thought I was in the minority with not being a huge fan of this Star Trek.. It basically takes a huge crap on all the other Treks and says.. “Oh.. you’ve not seen any history and have no idea what Star Trek is like?.. Then here’s a shoot ’em up space movie that has nothing to do with Star Trek except the character names”.

    Also.. why did this future universe have to have sooo many lens flares? It looks like the whole movie was shot behind one shiny piece of glass. It’s almost annoying to watch. I’ve only seen it once.. That was enough for me. Rewatching DS9 right now.. loving it. Much more than the new movie.

    Thank you for reassuring me that I’m not alone :).

    • I just have to say, you can convince yourselves that you are “not in the minority” with not liking this film, but you’re just in denial. The rest of the world LOVED THIS MOVIE!
      It made Star Trek watchable again!
      Action packed, compelling, great characters, nice humor and just all round extremely watchable!
      Its brought Star Trek back to life!

  29. I too had a problem with the BIG temporal plot hole, as well as some of the others minor things, but it’s Trek and there are always going to be some minor details that make you go, “huh?”. But the fact that the temporal “cops” didn’t come and repair the time line did come to mind as I was watching this in the theater.

    It took me the better part of a year, and several viewings of the movie since buying the DVD, to come to the realization that there was no fix because there was no need for one. Kirk, and his entire original crew served their time on the Enterprise. Yes, Vulcan was destroyed, but it’s people and culture survived. Spok was very clear about setting things right by getting James T. Kirk back in command of th Enterprise, and that was the outcome.

    Yes, it’s weak, but the fact is that an argument can be made that events significant to the future time line stayed intact just by Jim kirk being the captain of the Enterprise. I like to think that this new timeline will still give way to Picard, Janeway, Sisko and their crews. I have seen nothing in this movie to make me think otherwise.

    • On the temporal cops thing, so everyone’s biggest complaint is Abrams decided to ignore the weakest plot device in the whole Star Trek franchise? (And let’s be honest, since TOS ended, the Star Trek franchise has been pretty much one big weak plot device.)

      And this made the movie unwatchable?

      Shatner was right: you guys need to get out of your moms’ basements and get a date.

      • OK, MDF. Let me get this straight. I detail out a pretty complex sequence of plots, characters and ships that cut across multiple series and episodes. You then blow this off as a “plot device”, and the “weakest” one at that. You then jump to a straw man argument (one that was never made) that says that this makes the movie “unwatchable”. To cap it off, you quote William Shatner and imply that somehow I get less action than a guy who quotes William Shatner and has an email handle of “mydailyfatwa”.

        Did I get that right?

        Let me just correct your statement to say that it’s safe to say that, with the advent of this movie, the title of “weakest plot device in Star Trek” goes to a combination of a mining ship, red matter, and a laser that for some reason disables transporters. In fact, re-read my post to get a new list of “Top 5” weakest plot devices.

    • Spock would not have seen getting Kirk back command as a way to set things right (and I never got the impression that he did). He would have seen the illogic of expecting this rash, green kid to fulfill Kirk’s destiny. He would have realized that Kirk (and the rest) needed the experience he gained as a young officer aboard the USS REPUBLIC and FARRAGUT to become the seasoned commander of TOS. The military does not promote cadets to command positions.

    • Two really quick things that I don’t see being mentioned much here (yes, I’m late to the party):
      1) This is not just time travel – This is time travel AND multiple universes. I think JJ thought that he can bridge the two together to come up with this new plot line since it is mentioned in a TNG episode that for every second / decision a billion different universes are born to explore every option. The way I saw it described in the film is that Nemo went back in time and changed something – which created the alternate universe seen in the previous example. The problem is: That isn’t the way that it works in Star Trek. That one episode described multiple paths in the universe, and really had nothing to do with time. For any and all Time Travel episode, when you go back you change your universe’s timeline. What they did made no sense in the Star Trek Universe, which is a bigger breach than one that just doesn’t make sense in ours.
      2) Even assuming that Vulcans have colonized other planets, we have to assume that a vast majority of their population was on the planet Vulcan. That means that many Vulcans seen on future series of Star Trek have ancestors who are dead now. You can’t explain away the impact of all those deaths, when many beloved characters may be effected. It’s possible that Tuvok was even on the planet on the time! (Don’t know what his birth year was, but he was old enough to be on Sulu’s ship during Star Trek VI)

      Sorry, but this movie is stupid. I was very disappointed in it.

  30. 6 months.. 6months i held off from watching this movie.. something in the back of my mind told me to stay away.. AND BY GOT I WISH I DID.

    Wasnt a big fan of TOS but am a die hard fan of TNG, DS9, VOG, ENTR, and the games. And one thing they all have in common was some form of continuity. Even in the temporal episodes they fixed or attempted to fix the continuity of the story.. G.R. must be rolling in his grave.. And Berman and crew should have sue this shit out of abrams for destroying a 40 year old franchise..

    I can understand if they remade to be younger and hip, which i thought they would do. But they totally just shit on the whole timeline and say eff it, eff the fans, eff you all, gimme money.. Well eff this movie i for one will be watching all of ds9 and voyager, then watch some bsg for stability and forget that this shit storm of a movie was ever made..


    JJ ABRAMS = CAN EAT A COCK (And i for one will boycott any movie he tries to remake).

  31. Just saw it. I had to look it up as it kept bugging me … did they, or did they not, fix the timeline? They had the perfect opportunity with that HUGE ball of ‘red matter’ (that really did come from Alias :). If they are going for a whole new timeline-universe thing, they should have made it more obvious – its just left a bad taste in my brain.
    And what’s with Uhura jumping all over Spock – creepy.
    And where was kirk’s light saber to defeat the snow monster? haha 🙂 I guess thats what sulu pulled out on the drilling platform.
    They did do a nice job of selecting the actors. Pike definitely needed to be younger.
    I DID like ‘Enterprise’. I watched ’em all. I especially liked the alternate timeline where the linguististics girl takes over.
    I didn’t like the Janeway enterprise much and stopped watching it halfway until almost the very end. Enterprise was so much better most of the time.

    • People who don’t like Enterprise are people who don’t realize the fact that a series can exist that has optomism and that “wowee” feeling. Also, behind TNG, it’s probably the best put together of any of them, because it stays true, while not just building off of previous ones. The new movie, however, just tries to redo it, but instead of just starting from scratch, they have to pull poor old Spock into it. If it was a REAL reboot, it could be accepted as such, and thus just seen as this is the “other” Star Trek, but instead, it is made to REPLACE almost HALF A CENTURY of stories that have given hope and a wonderful dream to strive for. This new one is instead an attempt to take all of the horrible problems of today and say that we have remained stagnant through the 23rd Century (the people in this movie are less sophisticated than the people in Enterprise, set a HUNDRED years before!)

      • I disagree. One of the things I like about Star Trek (particularly TOS and TNG) is the optimistic view of humanity’s future, but I just never got the impression that Enterprise had that same view. If anything it was quite the opposite. For example, that episode with Trip and the British guy trapped on a shuttle together. They start bickering after maybe a day. That’s not even a very good run for civilians and these guys are supposed to be military officers (more or less, whether Starfleet is a military organization, a scientific one or both is another debate).

      • The point is, of course, that they did not actually alter the timeline / history of Enterprise at all. This movie takes place after those events, and even refer’s to Archer’s beagle.


  32. Why didn’t Abrams hire Mike Okuda to check his continuity? Or anybody for that matter, that was actually familiar with the canon. It was a big budget movie and they couldn’t hire a consultant to tighten up the plot for the trekies.

    I think behind the scenes Abrams and the other higher up folks at Paramount had a good laugh at the trekies, by not bothering to deal with the continuity errors. I just don’t undertsand how all this happened, especially in an age when directors release “special directors cut” editions with all the nerdy stuff (like Watchmen for example). Trekies didn’t even get that bone thrown to them.

  33. I am not a start trek fan – but have watched my share of episodes becase I had a roommate in college and now my wife like all the Star Trek series. So from an novice person – what I hated was the very end of the movie. It basically invalidated everything I’ve ever watched except for maybe the Enterprise series. I wanted Old Spock to travel back in time and put everything back the way it was. But what this did was allow writers to write entirely new series based on things that never happened now. But old Spock should tell young Jim all the things he may encounter in the future. Just did not like the ending.

  34. Thanks for posting this. I agree 100% with what you wrote, and furthermore wanted to point out some further nonsense in the movie.

    Let’s grant them the idea of Nero coming back in time due to Romulas blowing up. Fine. So…the “normal” timeline is the one in effect, up to the point where Nero appears in the past. This would be the normal, pre TOS, but post Enterprise timeline.

    So…why the heck does George Kirk’s ship look *nothing* like the NX-01 *or* the NCC-1701? Why does engineering look like the engineering area of a WW2 Aircraft Carrier, with pipes and catwalks everywhere? (Because they filmed it in an old Brewery, that’s why). Continuity? What’s that?

    Also…I find it incredibly stupid that the weapons of the USS Kelvin couldn’t do a thing to stop Nero’s big bad mining ship from shooting the crap outta them…but suddenly, it can magically intercept shots being fired at escaping shuttlecraft? What, it can only defend others? Not itself?

    …and don’t get me started on the Apple iBridge set. *shudder*


  35. I was thinking that we should just consider the Abrams Star Trek the “Mirror Universe” told as revisionist history. Once his version is no longer “Hot Stuff” hopefully a writer knowledgeable about “canon” can come along and upend the whole story and say, well that was the “Mirror Universe” and nobody told you so. BTY, I was influenced to this idea on another board.

    • Well, Star Trek (2009) is commonly called a reboot, but it’s really not. It’s more of a re-imagining and the fact that it was in an alternate timeline from the previously established history would make it very easy for someone to just say “okay that was fun, but let’s go back to the timeline most of us know and love.” Sort of the science fiction equivalent of of a character falling out of bed and realizing it was all a dream.

  36. Something that I’ve noticed is that Romulans were not even known until later as in TOS episode “Balance of Terror”. Everyone acts as if they know exactly who the Romulans are. Even with the time travel crap they would not have known them until the five year mission.

  37. Sorry, JJ but I don’t buy the new timeline hype. Nero’s arrival could not have created this timeline. Everyone knows that James T Kirk was born in Iowa. The fact that his parents were aboard the USS Kelvin, days (at least) away from Iowa at the point where Nero arrived indicates that the timeline was ALREADY different before his arrival. And the Enterprise could not have been built near Kirk’s farm after his father’s death because in the original timeline, George Kirk served on the Enterprise under Captain Robert April (not Pike). For Pavel Chekov to be a young Ensign under 35 year old Kirk in the original and 17 years old under 25 year old Kirk means his birth occured earlier than the original. Point is, Nero’s arrival could not have caused changes that were already in effect when he arrived. This new timeline must have been caused by something that happened way earlier; or Nero went to a mirror universe by mistake. JJ’s whole premise is false. But that’s to be expected, since so much else in the plot didn’t make sense. Kirk deciding overnight to join Starfleet and walking in with no screening, psych evaluations or examinations; Starfleet sending one ship full of untrained cadets to defend Vulcan, its major ally in the Federation (ALL their other ships were tied up? Wow- whatever they were doing must be a bigger story than this!) ; Kirk being placed in command after being tried and convicted of mutiny?

    • Abrams obviously had no prior knowledge of Star Trek except perhaps in the most superficial way. For example, why the hell did Karl Urban play Bones as if he were Rip Torn, constantly talking out of one side of his mouth? “This isn’t an intergalactic kegger!”

    • I agree with u. Why were Kirk’s parents on a ship before Nero arrived and not in Iowa? It doesn’t make any sense. Im surprised no one else seams to have picked up on this. Also I doubt that Kirk’s influence on the universe could delay the construction of the enterprise, have it built on earth and not in space, and affect Chekhov’s birth.

  38. I think only time will tell if this movie will be accepted as canon or if there’s enough resistance that they’ll drop this ‘timeline’ in favor of the old. But as far as the time travel theory itself is concerned, it’s just as canon as TOS, voyager and others.

    I could go into details but I doubt anyone would be interested. If you are, email me.

    @Az, Apple iBridge.. I love it. 🙂 going to start using that in my RPGs here.

  39. Ok… a few problems that I have with the film. Now, I will admit to being a Star Trek Fan, but I’d have these problems if they didn’t call it Star Trek, and also, these aren’t little nigglies with unimportant stuff, its flaws in the major premise of the film.

    Ok, let me start with the biggie, the one central to the plot, they mobilized the cadets……. Right, as I haven’t seen anyone else bring this up, then I must assume that most people who have seen the film and noticed this aren’t talking, but really, untried, incomplete training, inexperienced… these are all words that can be attached to the crew of the ships that starfleet sent to save vulcan. 200 years in the future, is this the best that can be brought together to man 6 ships that are ready to be deployed that day?

    There is something that modern armies are playing with, an experimental stragety called reserves, where you train civilians to… wait, what am I talking about? The Ancient Greeks had reserves, they were called hoplites. They farmed part of the year, fought when the city needed them to. 3000 years seperate the events of Star Trek from the ancient Greeks, and in that time reserves have been used, from the peasents that the English trained into bowmen to the terrorital army used today. Its a basic backup if your main fleet is say engaged elsewhere….

    Further to that, what happened to the second fleet? the third fleet? the home world fleet? The (dare I say it?) reserve fleet? What sort of nation commits its entire navy to a single operation?

    Next, we get to the single character who earns the most ire from me, Captain Pike… This guy is the most inept commander ever to grace the screens of our media. Forget Gorman of Aliens (and he made some big blunders) forget any you have seen before, this guy isn’t fit to command himself out of a damp paper bag.

    Ok, lets go through his list of failures:
    1 – Some inexperienced cadet leaves the handbrake on.
    At the end of the day, its the captin’s responsibility to make sure that his ship is ready to go to warp at the scheduled time. His ship is fleet command, its majorly important that he stays in contact, and up to date with the fleet. Then some rookie leaves the handbrake on… No, this isn’t look at the poor guy like he’s some slightly errant puppy, this is make the stupid kid run around the ship stripped to the waist yelling “I am a mong” so he learns his lesson. He failed to make the ship ready for warp at the designated time, and that’s unforgiveable, by doing that he delayed the departure of the entire fleet… wait, no, sorry.

    2 – Captain Pike decided to allow his fleet to get separated. Fleet command trailing behind like tail end Charlie. Why? This is perhaps his second most stupid act of the whole film, and why is what we see happened, Fleet command gets separated, then fleet gets destroyed before command is even aware of what is going on….. Ok, I need to take a deep breath before I say this, and then edit my words so I don’t swear.

    This is absolutely messed, this is absolutely rabbited. A fleet commander MUST be in contact with his fleet at all times, he must know the second a shot is fired at any ships under his command, so that he can give quick orders and good leadership to see the men and women under his command through to the end of the mission, and bring them home. Doubly important considering that the majority of the crew under his command are the next generation of officers, bound for great and wonderful things…. Instead, they all get wiped out, and he hasn’t a clue… This is unforgiveable as a commander, what would the likes of Nelson or Halsey say if they heard of a fleet commander who lost his fleet whilst he was napping? He’d be a laughing stock of everyone else, court martialed, and drummed out of the military.

    3 – Arrival into an unknown situation.
    Ok, you are arriving in a situation you don’t know what is going on, the first thing you need is intelligence, you stop the main fleet the next system over, and then move a couple of ships to the edge of Vulcan orbit, to peek at what is going on… oh look, its a large ship with an evil laser, I think I’ll plan my next move rather carefully. Oh look, Star Trek is solved halfway through, Vulcan is saved…. But now, 5 ships come out of warp in a tight formation, get in each others way, and are unable to react to the big alien ship that just scared them. This should not have happened, bad leadership lead to it, and its unforgiveable.

    Ok, so the above things occured, and it was down to a cadet who hadn’t finished his training, and has several black marks to his name to save the day… He’s given a flagship over the many officers who were doing sterling work in the laurentiun system… and that addle faced twerp is promoted to admiral… Where is the board of inquiry, I would love to see the evidence that was given to that, “So Captain, why did you fail to save Vulcan?” Why was there a celebration that Earth was saved? Where was the memorial service? And why was Kirk given a medal for doing what any insertion team could have done as part of their normal duties? The end of this film is so jarring, and the actions taken by the various characters are just so removed from what you might expect a real organisation to do. It feels like a rebel force trying to overthrow oppression, cutting corners to achieve this. Please, don’t try and meld what makes Star Wars good with Star Trek? The premise just don’t mesh, its like trying to mike bailey’s with subtle tastes, its overpowering, and ruins everything.

  40. TOS had well developed backstories for all the characters; they weren’t given their own ship fresh out of academy. Even Kirk worked his way up thru the ranks. There is a reason for this. You have to learn to follow orders before you can give orders. And Abrams’ Kirk had certainly not proven that he could follow orders. Cheated at academy, lied his way on board ship, and was even convicted of mutiny. Roddenberry’s Kirk was a well rounded character with a solid family upbringing that gave him his sense of idealism. When we learned that he cheated on Kobiyashu Maru, it was because he couldn’t accept a no-win situation, Abrams’ Kirk cheated to boost his own selfish ego, and because he just didn’t care (witness the apple-munching). He did nothing to deserve comand of the ENTERPRISE. When Kirk in THE VOYAGE HOME was given his old rank back and command of the new ENTERPRISE, he was being rewarded for a long and distinguished career; not the same thing at all. But of course my biggest gripe is that STAR TREK TOS was a drama, not an action series. It always gave you food for thought. not just a lot of blowing things up. No way does Abrams’ version have to worry about being “too cerebral” like TOS; on the contrary it was utterly mindless.

  41. That’s why I said earlier that we should just accept this universe to be the mirror universe of the Terran Empire. It makes all the continuity issues more tolerable:

    1) This would explain why the USS Relativity doesn’t show up to fix the timeline. Because it’s the mirror universe they don’t care about what happens there.

    2) This would explain why there is no George Samuel Kirk. This Kirk does not have a brother in the Mirror Universe, so he is essentially George, but is named Jim due to the destruction of the USS Kelvin and early death of his father Lt Kirk. It also explains why he is such a trouble maker without conscience, unlike the original Captain Kirk. Why, because this is the mirror universe.

    4) This would also explain why Uhura and Spock have a relationship. This Mirror Spock doesn’t care about his bond with T’pring and with the destruction of Vulcan she dies anyway.

    3) Why does Pike not get court martialed for doing such a poor job defending the planet Vulcan? Because he is an officer of the Terran Empire, not the Federation. They probably perfer the destruction of Vulcan to a lesser degree or don’t care otherwise. Since the Romulan Empire is independent in the Mirror Universe, the issue of defeating a new Romulan Ship is likely a more pressing issue than saving Vulcan.

    4) It would also explain why the USS Kelvin looks so weird. The design of the Kelvin that we see on screen was influenced by the appearance of the Constitution class USS Defiant that appeared in Tholian space in the time of Captain Archer of the Terran Empire.

    It will be cake for writers to retcon this version of Star Trek in the future. If the Tholians could open a gateway into an alternate future universe, then the Red stuff that Spock was using could do the same into the past. In fact this timeline could be an attempt by the Terran Slave resistance to keep the Terran Empire from losing power to the Alliance with the assistance of maniputating the time line in the Mirror Universe.

  42. This movie needs a Special Edition where the credits end and Q appears, looks around, and says “Screw this!”, snaps his fingers and takes us back to how it should be…

    • That IS how it should be. Maybe the next one will actually be where Picard wakes-up and finds Q saying he needs to go to the past, fix what imbeciles messed-up and then find that Data had been sucked back in time!

    • That would be perfect! That’s what I always liked about Q, that he was the ultimate deus ex machina device. The writers could have Q literally snap his fingers to being up all sorts of crazy stuff, then return things to normal. Perfect for episodic television.

  43. I don’t think GeneRrodenberry would have been too happy with the story either. I doubt he would have liked at all the reboot element. Also the film was riddled with star trek / scientific and plausability errors. For example the Kelvin had been crippled by Nero, but Kirk’s Dad held Nero off for precious minutes and was allowed to crash into Nero’s unshielded ship – hmm, not likely. Romulus Nova plotline is also BS as the Romulans would have seen it coming a long way off and simply evacuated. Spock witnessed Vulcan’s destruction while marooned on Delta Vega. I think not. Does he have eyes as big as the Hubble Telescope! There were lots more errors but that was just a taster. I liked the look of the new film and the actors, but thought the story was poor.

  44. As far as I’m concerned on the Trek time line… It was officially and royally screwed up in First Contact. The whole Nero time travel thing wasn’t needed, really…

    Still a good film. Just wasn’t really Star Trek….

  45. It’s a lot easier to understand when you realize it’s not really a reboot. It’s completely separate timeline from anything we’ve seen before. Robert Orci (who co-wrote it) said it would be “disrespectful” to do a clean reboot, and yet ironically this allowed them to totally ignore anything that had been done before and snub everyone who was already familiar with Star Trek.

  46. If they had done something like BSG, it would have been OK, I’d still probably not like it, but I could deal with it. Also, when will people learn that anything with J. J. Abrams on it ANYWHERE is a clear indicator that a complete and utter MORON is going to screw something up (Lost was messed-up from the start).

    Until this one, I loved every inch of Star Trek (except 5, but that doesn’t count), and they have to go and turn it into a cheap attempt to immitate the brilliance of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, minus intellect. I swear there was maybe half a neuron between the entire team for this movie. Maybe they should ask Ron Moore to come and reimagine Star Trek (he did it right for BSG, and heck, he wrote for some of the best Treks [ie. most of the Klingon arcs]). This is all I have to say, and let Picard, Sisko and Janeway be saved from being so frakked-up by a retarded Romulan, who is really a mix between a Klingon and one of those guys who search for things to “make them go”

    • It became clear at the end that Abrams was making up LOST as he went along, with no clear story resolution in mind. His STAR TREK feels much the same. I’ve given up FRINGE, which I kinda liked, because I don’t want to waste several seasons going nowhere.

  47. Here’s some of the problems I have with XI. Mainly, that it doesn’t match with established Trek Canon.

    The Enterprise was not launched in 2253, Kirk’s third year at the Academy. Enterprise was launched in 2245.

    McCoy did not attend the Academy with Kirk.

    Kirk’s first assignment was the USS Republic (as a first year cadet). He graduated from the Academy as a lieutenant and served on the USS Farragut.

    Spock did not earn the rank of Commander until 2265.

    Spock entered the Academy one year ahead of Kirk. There is no way he could have been running the Kobayashi Maru test for four years.

    Spock was engaged to T’Pring at the time. There is no way he would kiss Uhura.

    Since Vulcan was (apparently) destroyed in 2253, there is no way to take Spock back there to be reunited with his Katra in 2286. Therefore, Spock could not have returned from the future to help the past, since he could not possibly exist.

    It is also difficult to accept that Spock would fly into a rage and beat up Kirk.

    I guess what NBC said about Star Trek in 1965 has now become moot. Namely, that Star Trek is “‘too cerebral’, ‘too intellectual’, and ‘too slow’ with ‘not enough action’.

    My only response is “not anymore”. Now Star Trek is better if you don’t think.

    • Roddenberry’s concept was a DRAMA, not an action piece. The characters were well rounded, not just a collection of catch phrases. They had solid and believable backstories, not just something thrown together to meet the needs of the plot.

  48. Pingback: The Big Problem with Transformers 3 « Psychohistory

  49. Leave time travel and paradoxes to Doctor Who. They do it better and at least explain it with better techno-babble. It’s a “timey-wimey,wibbly, wobbly thing.” I’m sick and tired of the ‘time-travel’ crutch these half-assed, so-called “scifi” writers are stuck on. We can argue all day about “shoulda/woulda/coulda” but the bottom line is that JJ Abrams is a freaking moron. He totally insulted every die-hard trek fan out there by taking certain technical details and just “making stuff up.” The bridge of the Enterprise for one. Why does it have to look like a freaking Apple Store? Engineering is another huge problem I have. We all know the Enterprise runs on a matter/anti-matter reactor. The series spawned by Gene Roddenberry actually tried to explain this. Matter injectors from the top, anti-matter injectors from the bottom, dilithium crystal in the center regulates and focuses the reaction and power beams shoot out the sides and out to the warp engines. It actually, kinda half-way makes sense! So what’s the freaking deal with miles of catwalks, suspended hundreds of feet above huge tanks and huge water pipes and valves everywhere? The damn place looks like a freaking brewery! That’s because they filmed it in a freaking brewery! That nerd JJ Abrams didn’t even bother to do any research on how the Enterprise actually works. He just thought, “Duh….A big spaceship would be complicated, so lets pretend it looks like a big complicated beer brewery…huhuhuhuh” Well, sorry J.J. (your name fits) but you’ve ruined Star Trek forever, you’ve disgraced Gene Roddenberry’s legacy and I’ll never see another one of your movies again!

    • I don’t think they just pretended it looked like a brewery; worse, they had it look like a brewery so they could insert that comedy scene with Scotty being sucked through the pipes. But bottom line is I could have liked this better despite the glitches except that they forgot (or ignored) that STAR TREK was a drama series, not an action series.

  50. on a quick note, the warp nacelles are NOT rocket engines! (I agree with almost every criticism but the ‘thrust” effect really bothered me)

  51. I assumed Kirk got Enterprise because he saved earth from total destruction. I also assumed that with the destruction of all those starships at Vulcan, Starfleet had to rebuild, since it lost so many ships and captians.

    So I could see them promoting Kirk as a reward and also maybe a symbol of Starfleet to help recruiting…………

  52. This movie is total crap. Period. Pretty much all of my complaints have been enumerated either here, or in other blogs, by other people. I will only state that if you know anything about Star Trek, and you like this movie AS Star Trek, you are a total moron.

  53. Yeah…..I had a problem with Spock marooning Kirk on the ice planet — that would never be allowed. It could have amounted to an illegal death sentence. Don’t they have a brig? Plus, as noted, Kirk just so happens to land near where Spock was marooned by Nero — and just happens to be chased by the monster into the very cave in which Spock is living.

    The biggest problem I had with the timeline change is that it creates an unresolved paradox. The old Spock is from the old timeline — and I understand that he will remain a product of the old timeline even though he is now in the new timeline. He just lives on as he is. But when the younger Spock grows old and reaches the time of the events which thrust the old Spock back in time — those events will now also be changed because they now belong to the new timeline. Or they won’t happen at all in the new timeline. But what if the young Spock, now grown old in the new timeline, avoids being thrown back into the past? — which would mean the Romulan ship also doesn’t go back in time? Then the new timeline is changed so that the events which made it a new timeline don’t happen — because everything that changed the old timeline into the new timeline is now negated.

    What we have here is a unresolved paradox. If example, if old Spock went back in time and killed young Spock, then young Spock would never grow older so that he could go back in time as old Spock and kill young Spock. This is why time travel into the past is essentially impossible.

    • People asume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually — from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint — it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly… timey-wimey… stuff.

  54. Well now they are making a new movie as we’ve seen the trailer for it. My biggest and i mean BIGGEST gripe about this new star trek timeline thing is simply this. The Enterprise was CONSTITUTION CLASS!!!!! look at the bridge of the original TV series. They didn’t even try to capture the more classical look of the Enterprise did they. No, now it’s a bunch of flashy screens and the color white for some reason. Where are the brown, red, and grey tones of the original bridge. Furthermore they could have made the flashy screens and stuff but kept the bridge colors and style the same. No Fair i hate how they changed the bridge. All the other rooms on the ship were believable to me except for the Bridge. For shame they put a director in that did not sit and watch every single episode of star trek the original TV series, TNG, Voy, DS9. It’s like the director only watched the first star trek movie and called it a day. Ugh… but even so I watched the movie it was OK. I’m with the author of this article where is USS relativity in the 28th century to fix the timeline. Voyager was all about this. Whatever *sigh* I’ll just have to be annoyed by their complete lack of devotion to accurate star fleet details.

    • @Robert – If JJ did watch a Trek film it sure as heck wasn’t the first one. The ’79 film would be the film I would recommend to someone for getting technical Trek details right. No way anyone w/ an IQ approaching triple digits could watch that and not have some of the tech stuff “stick”.

      The 2009 film was horrible start to end. It did a great job throwing flashing and action scenes on the screen to distract the audience. But it has zero re-watchability. Once the “OOOOOs and Ahhhhs” are no longer distracting all the problems this film has surface.

      Now that JJ drove this car right into a ditch I have a perverse sense to want to see that upcoming sequel. I might wait for it on BluRay and then tape in the bottom right corner of my screen the silhouettes of 2 robots and a human in theater seats. That way I can experience JJ’s brilliance as it is meant to be experienced.

  55. I compeletly agree…a little late I know but just saw your blog for the first time today and though I would also point out the brand references namely budwiser and jack are also in the bar scene just before Kirk gets his ass kicked and I fail to see the logic (pardon the pun) with Vulcan children bullying Spock

  56. Great food for thought here. I could probably write a book back and forth about my perception of this film. Essentially, this was an impossible task. How to reboot Star Trek for a new generation with an apetite for gratuitous, computer generated effects, broaden its appeal to support more cinematic ventures, yet not profane the source material?

    Upon my first watching, I thought the time travel route was a fairly smart way to approach it. There is a span of x amount of years (how old was Kirk supposed to be? 25? 30?) where nothing evolved as it originally had…30 years is a long time in terms of technology, politics, and intergalactic relations. Many (but certainly not all) of the ‘differences’ could be attributed to that. But seriously – for those who are angry about the updated technological appearance of the gadgetry on the Enterprise…was it more reasonable for ToS to postulate through its iconography that a starship a few hundred years in the future would have controls which looked eerily similar to 1960’s recording / TV broadcast studio controls? That was presumptuous even for ToS, and was obviously a convenience issue, having access to plenty of spare parts to help build the set (see every other SciFi control room ever designed for Television/Movies). It is even something that was made fun of throughout the years in parodies. So no, the updates to the technological iconography did not bother me.

    There was something about Pine’s Kirk that didn’t work quite right for me, and I figured it out. I actually did sort of relate to him better than Shatner’s Kirk. In fact, I RELATED more to Quinto’s Spock more than I did Nimoy’s too. In fact, they seemed almost too relatable, whereas in the original series, they seemed right from the outset as caricatures; foreigners from a vastly different culture that had only a vague semblance to our own. Again, this is obviously attributed to the cultural divide between 1960s television and modern visual storytelling, but it bothered me more than the tech issues…it was one of the things that made this movie feel less like a Star Trek film, albeit an enjoyable adventure movie. Their relationships were more real too…by that I mean, they felt more like the CW relationship stories geared towards teenagers than the more mature relationships that ToS illustrated. That just goes to demonstrate the changing demographic of the medium, though.

    Nero was also a rather worthless villain. He was terribly uninteresting as far as epic villains go, and I think he would’ve made only an average villain in any Star Trek episode, let alone such a major cinematic undertaking. That’s one thing this movie sorely lacked that I hope the sequel gets (and I believe it will).

    And yes, how the crew came together was terribly contrived. The entire ice planet sequence was 100% gratuitous, inconceivably convenient, and pretty much unnecessary. If there was one thing unforgivable about this movie, it wouldn’t be the time travel issues or the casting choices or the lens flares or the inconsistencies with canonical details…it would be the stupid ice planet creature chase scene. To me, that demonstrated the inherent problems with today’s cinema as a whole. This did not offer anything. Nothing evolved here. The scene served no purpose. It did not advance character development. It was not fueled by the themes of the story. It was a few wasted minutes with absolutely no purpose.

    And yes, I did miss the sociological and philosophical questions that every trek story should have. Even Insurrection, which I’d put at least towards the bottom of the Star Trek movie barrel, tried to pose moral, social, and philosophical dilemas. The only subtext in the 2009 reboot was about a few very shallow, individual, emotional arcs of characters. So many of…in fact almost all of the episodes of Star Trek (from ToS all the way to Enterprise) were able to mirror a character’s personal dilema with a major social or moral issue, which attached us to the character and put him or her in context of their environment. This made the world of Star Trek feel more real and less like a set. Star Trek 2009 was a story about thwarting vengeance, but little else. I can hope that the reason for this was simply to put the pieces in place for what is to come next. After all, Star Trek ToS had many, many, many, many (essentially 70) hours of time to build characters where as for newcomers, this movie had only 2 1/2. I would say it did pretty well to develop so many characters at 35 times the speed that they were developed over ToS. Unfortunately, the character development without context in that philosophical, sociological, moral arena made it feel much less like a true Star Trek experience.

    Yet considering all that, I enjoyed it. And it wasn’t a nostalgic thing. It was a fun film. It was well acted (some parts better than others, true). It was gorgeous (even though yes, the lens flares were ridiculous). Although it had problems, it was a cool way to allot for necessary changes that would need to be made in an update (I mean hell…eradicating Vulcan essentially means the entire balance of the galaxy could shift radically…or maybe not…which gives a lot of room to play for any new stories!).

    It’s like Batman Begins, which was my favorite flick of Nolan’s franchise. Was it precisely canonical? Absolutely not. In fact, were there many instances of dramatic license taken leading to terrible discrepancies with the source material? Indeed. Were there parts that made no sense or were just contrary to real life logic? You bet. But it was a great film. Here’s to hoping Star Trek Into Darkness, then, resembles The Dark Knight.

  57. Great article. This was me in 2009:
    Please, someone wake me the hell up, because I’ve died and gone to Hell!
    Star Trek has now become a teen angst movie! THE most Juvenile Star Trek movie Ever!
    Fan films are more mature and Trek-relavent than this Joke. Don’t be fooled by the high ratings: checkout what demographic is voting. Males outnumber Females by over 5 to 1, and the vast majority are in their teens and 20’s. Because never before has Star Trek been targeted at a Juvenile Audience! Up until this stage, Trek was primarily aimed at, well, ADULTS. Critics, in order to please the masses now side with the masses. It’s easier to join the love group and accept bribes… So the ratings for this steaming pile of flash keep rising. And the young jerk director, Abrams, (who admits to never having been a Trek fan!) is glorifying in all of it. The biggest, saddest Joke of all is that this 2009 “Star Trek” movie now rates Higher than any other Star Trek movie bar none! The masses have been bamboozled and bought out.
    They’ve All swallowed this spiel that “Star Trek NEEDED to be reboot…” I’ve read That particular bullshit line Over and Over again, right along with “This is not your father’s Star Trek.” Damned right it isn’t. Obviously this advertising is needed to Justify the extremes to which this non-Trek film goes. Like wiping out all of Trek history so the New directing/writing team doesn’t have to, you know, Research anything about the Trek universe…because they’re all brand-spanking New to it, and many hadn’t even been born when the original series first aired. They’re all children of a much later generation.
    Yeah, it’s Awesome for a dumbed-down non-thinking idiocracy audience which appreciates Michael Bay films, the likes of “Transformers.” It’s the Same writing and directing team, you know. Don’t believe me? Checkout the credits yourself.
    This is not science fiction. In fact, any of the 6 Star WARS series of films are by far better science fiction than you’ll have in this mess. They had things like, uh, characters and plot.
    Take this Romulan villain, Nero, for example. He is THE most simplistic, cardboard nemesis ever presented in Any film. I mean, forget V’ger, Khan, Kruge, Sybok, Chang, Soran, the Borg, So’na, and Shinzon. They were all Real and motivated antagonists, with Some background.
    Basically Nero, played by Erica Bana, has a few lines that amount to “I’m going to destroy Vulcan and Earth because you destroyed my world in the future!” and that’s It! Anyone could have played him. Anyone. The rest is rampant CGI, to blind the audience to, well, actually Thinking and Asking simple questions about Plot. There are no real characters or character development here. Things happen for no damned reason other than to hurry along things into the next pointless action scene. There’s CGI everywhere, accompanied by lens flare and the shaky camera routine. I want to see some Plot not action scene after action scene. There is no meaning here. No awe. No thought provoking dialogue or concepts. Just young jerks running amok. We got deeper and more meaninful stuff in old Lost in Space episodes–sans big screen special effects, of course. But as long as the lowest common denominator keeps paying for crap like this, we’ll get more and more crap like this. And Abrams et al will become more and more famous; as he’s already being called a Visionary and the New Steven Spielberg. For what? For paying CGI artists to paint pretty pictures for the babies. Remember Barney’s Great Adventure? That was a Big hit, too. A vast money-maker. Of course the target audience for That was 5-year olds. Hack the intellectual writing down a few more notches and Maybe that will be the next step in Trek’s “evolution” if given time… I can’t believe countless millions of dollars were poured down into this gold-plated toilet. With that money they could have re-created all of the Enterprise sets from All of the movies and series! Instead we got cheated with crap designs which were an abomination to the Enterprise/s of old. Oh, I can’t go into it all…from the Engineering Deck brewery to the Bridge Apple store. It’s That Painful! Nothing made sense. Not even the new uniforms! Which only makes sense since it was thrown together by Non-Trek-Fans who Have No Sense of Star Trek!

    The Real burning hell part is this: I’m the only one left who can actually See this piece of garbage for what it is! Everyone else has been Borged into thinking Abrams’ “Masterpiece” is The Greatest Star Trek Film Ever! Where the hell are all the people who Hated the Transformers films? “Oh, but this is Star Trek, I Can’t hate Star Trek! It’s now the new Canon!”

  58. I’m a hard core trekkie. I have loved every incarnation of this show since TOS. This last movie was just bullshit on every level. I don’t need to recap everything that’s wrong with it but I’d like to add this, Roddenberry had a vision about a bright future for humanity. Star Trek used to MEAN something. Berman has just shit all over it with this blatant “Transformers in Space” money grab of a film. With another abomination just a month away at this point I can say that I definitely WON’T be seeing it unless I can do so for free. Not another dime from me.

  59. From what I remember the time travel was an accident. They were sucked in sending them back in time. And yes Spock did say the timeline changed become of this. That means it started a whole new timeline. Again we will be experiencing a new alternate Starfleet events. Unless future Spock tells Starfleet how to correct or figures out how to correct it. Which is very difficult to do. Can’t traval to the future because the timeline changed they would have to go back in time to travel to the future to correct what changed everything. Which means let Spock not try to save billions on Romulus that way he never uses the red matter. Oh now that I said that. I guess Voyager will not have Tuvox remember Volcan was destroyed. So yes lots of things changed. Things will change and may not happen. See it this way. We are watching Star Trek for the first time again. A whole new Star Trek, ST Next Generation, New DS9, and New Voyager, Sorry for my spelling. And I was just letting you guys know what I thought. Also think of it this way lots more movies and shows. At least Enterprise looks more futuristic now compared to the 1960’s.

  60. Pingback: › Star Trek: A Love Story

  61. I cant wait for these abominable films to crash and burn and we get our tv show back from people like JJ

  62. The thing I couldn’t get over was the Vulcan bullies. Bullying is illogical. Spock’s reaction was illogical. Everything about the whole scene was just… ILLOGICAL!!!

  63. I completely sympathize. What I find interesting is that J.J went as far as completely ignore the temporal cold war as well as Daniels and his colleagues, yet mentioned that Scottie was in trouble because he lost Admiral Archer’s prized beagle. Of course it must have been one of J.A’s later dogs and not Porthos. Dogs don’t live that long, right? Then again, this is J.M’s Star Trek!

  64. Just like Darth Vader helped to make Star Wars a Legend, that is
    what Spock did for Star Trek. It’s about the attraction of a character,
    and that quinto guy as Spock just doesn’t blow my skirt up! He’s a very
    good looking actor but he sucks as Spock both physically and mentally.
    He is not even convincing as a Vulcan. Gene Rodenberry, bless his soul
    did not create Spock but in name and look (which is all quinto has) –
    Leonard Nimoy created the legend. He was/is superb in the roll and he was
    unforgettable that is a must when it comes to legends- right? Well this
    other guy, what’s his name is completely forgettable and thanks to the
    tabloids the only thing I will remember about him is – ya know – what he
    prefers. And that is not the reason I think he sucks – he’s an actor point
    blank – but he sucks as Spock.
    The new Kirk is ararar – eye candy and super sexy and is actually perfect,
    even reminds me of Kirk. The new Star Trek and cast is pretty good. I like
    all the Star Trek stuff – but the characters are most important to me of course.
    It’s just what one person thinks a lot of time a 100 more people think it.
    And if this new franchise does not make it, I guarantee it is because of the lack
    luster Spock who is not capturing the imagination of the viewers as the first one did.

  65. what bother about this movie except the lens flare

    – Romulans ships are run by blackholes. so why depend on Spock when they have sufficient research about blackholes to save themselves.

    – Spock warned Romulus ahead of time so wouldn’t they just evacuated the planet to a romulan colony.

    – why the fuck did Spock had the big ball of red matter anyway if it just takes drops to make a blackhole.

    -what the fuck is red matter I never heard of it in the series

    – Nero could have saved Romulus by warning them after his time travel

    – Kirk and Pike are nearly the same age as stated in the original series when Spock was on trial

    – with an arrest record I believe starfleet will deny Kirk from joining

    – why does Kirk has an arrest record he suppose to be a Guy that breaks starfleet rules in certain situation that helps with the mission or conflicts with the survival of the ship and her crew

    – from cadet- captain just by accomplishing 1 mission this definitely should not happen even though he saved the earth. if the earth or any other federation planet is in danger then is mandatory for starfleet operatives to help protect it as a reward you get honored and couple of medals possibly a promotion you do not jump several ranks.

    – Kirk was suspended he was not supposed to be on the enterprise yet he gets the ship at the end.

    – Nero waited 25 years for Spock what the fuck he was doing for 25 years. this also make Kirk 23-25 years old far too young to become captain.

    I just hope that any star trek series/ movies in the future will just write this off as a what if story. the reboot was suppose to bring people to star trek but it seems it tries to annex the fans that kept the franchise alive.

  66. Another time travel issue is the episodes we saw, let alone the one’s we didn’t, whereby Kirk and company kept the timeline in check (ie Gary Seven episode) and the planet Sarpeidon. Continuity was tossed out the window for sure. Why would the new Enterprise be so large, yet internally in the engineering section look so backwards compared to the technology on the bridge? In the easiest sense, a trip to the Guardian by old Spock could fix this.

  67. That pathetic movie WAS NOT STAR TREK! So please stop babbling about how great that piece of crap was! It was not logical and it did suck! The characters were boring! Original Kirk was a hero! This putrid laughable cardboard cut-out Kirk is a ZERO!
    Uhura went from classy to Trashy! New Spock is a stiff boring joke! Scotty is horribly acted! The entire premise appeals to simpletons and half-wits who are opposed to using their brains.
    And yes! We REAL STAR TREK FANS DO ACCEPT CHANGE! WHEN IT’S GOOD! But when it sucks big time, we will reject it! Too bad for the knuckle-dragging half-wits who enjoy watching movies while drooling all over themselves.
    There will be one final putrid Betrayal of Roddenberry’s Vastly Superior version of Star Trek AND THEN NO MORE! This scum-sucking wanna-be Star Trek will DIE! Thank goodness!
    And will be IGNORED! Treated like a dark ugly secret no one wants to talk about!

  68. I know this is so late but found this and could not resist posting a comment on the “big hole” that OP mentions. Before that, I do have to say:
    (a) I agree implicitly with almost everything in the Original Post. And I really enjoyed reading it – thanks for the article! Also the first time I happened upon your blog – I admire its title!
    (b) I really liked the movie and enjoyed the little nods to TOS. Overall I felt like they were rebooting everything, but leaving some breadcrumbs for TOS fans – and I really respect them for taking things out of fandom, fan fiction, popular lore (not just the canonical shows).
    (c) I stumbled a little on most (a few escaped me) of the hard-to-swallow issues mentioned above, but forgave them all even while noticing them, for the sake of a really light-hearted, happy, let’s-go-boldly spirit of the reboot. That is something that was becoming more and more missing from the line that the franchise was following, IMHO. That is the one big thing this reboot does, make it fun again.

    BUT. I think the “big hole” of Temporal PD and Cold War can be argued around with a little sophistry (and light-hearted suspension of disbelief). As OP points out, ST Enterprise is before the reboot, so it is the unique precursor of both the “old” and the “new” timeline. If so, when people in the new timeline in the far future come way back to the past, they would land in it, as shown. So maybe Federation time travel, the Temporal Prime Directive, all that jazz only happened in the NEW timeline. In fact, this here “red matter” incident at the dawn of time travel may have triggered the whole development of time travel technology. And naturally from there on they would be super careful to avoid any changes, knowing (from the extensive memoirs old Spock left, natch) how much the timeline had been changed once. And maybe they even went and confiscated or imploded all the red matter in the universe, which is why we never heard of it before or after. (Every time I say “red matter” I cringe inside 😣.)

    Oh, I know; what about STV “Relativity”? Well, (said he, going out on a thinner and thinner limb,) we have no real evidence of which timeline STV is itself in. Maybe ALL of STV actually happened only in the NEW timeline. The references they make to centuries old history in the actual show would hardly be so precise as to allow us to figure out when they see Shatner or Pine when they say “Kirk”. Oh and maybe (as many in SF have theorized), reality has an overall inertia that tends to make things converge back to the original “real” history after small – ahem – “temporary” disturbances. Which would also explain the wild coincidences cited above, e.g. Scotty being right there.

    Okay, I ran out of whatever I was smoking. Bottomline, I enjoyed (a) watching the movie, (b) seeing ST be popular again, (c) bitching about errors, (d) spinning fancy and specious arguments to fix said errors. Now it’s time for me to go get a drink – I will try some of that MARVEL kool-aid.

  69. Another late comment. Has anyone realised that despite the JarJarverse’s claims that it’s going to be going in a completely new direction, it is still drawing parallels with the Kirk-era movies?

    –ST09/Motion Picture: Lightning cloud in space phenomenon that conceals a massive ship intent on harming Earth. (Nerada/V’Ger respectively)
    –STID/WoK: Khan. Obvious. Two federation ships firing on one another with Khan being (later, in STID’s case) in command of the aggressor.
    –STB/SFS: The Enterprise being destroyed (blessedly in the case of the former, sadly in the case of the latter).

    Just calling it now that the next movie will be a time travel one … and that they’ll probably end up reviving the buffalo or some species that in today’s world is endangered or recently extinct. Just saying. Orci and Kurtzman have no concept of Trek, nor a concept of originality. Their plot failures in the first movie alone go far and beyond what is mentioned in this brilliant blog.

    –Scotty swimming through tubes of engine coolant on the Enterprise. Should have been liquefied.
    –The Jellyfish being a Hail Mary. The whole concept of the ship was stupid and I believe was the inspiration for Discovery’s spinning saucer section, which itself was atrocious. Firstly … if such a ship was so important, why did Nero, who had superior tech, not destroy it as soon as he stripped the Red Matter containment out of it. Which begs the question, why didn’t he?
    –Transwarp beaming. Don’t just slap “transwarp” to the concept, as transwarp WAS a speed factor, not a distance factor. Prior to this movie, Transwarp meant going beyond Warp 10. It was never “let’s match that ship’s trajectory with a transporter beam and sneak aboard.”
    –What the hell were the Nerada’s crew doing for 20ish years? Why didn’t they return to Romulus, allow their own people reverse engineer all that shiny technology to, I don’t know, give them the superiority to crush both the Federation and the Klingon Empire and take their territories? How did such a vastly superior ship fall prey to the Klingons in such a way that the crew were imprisoned on Rura Penthe (deleted scene) to pass the time, or, conversely, why would Nero willingly turn himself and crew over to the prison facility. In either case why didn’t the Klingons strip the ship down and reverse engineer its tech?
    –Delta Vega Mk 2: They’ve told us that this new Delta Vega is ANOTHER planet called Delta Vega, because they didn’t realise we’d call them on their BS “let’s do no research”. However … this Delta Vega is an ice planet … neighbouring (or possibly sharing the orbit, given the apparent proximity) Vulcan, which is a notoriously hot planet. Explain? Though, given that Spock in TOS said that Vulcan has no moons and did not elaborate on a sister planet in the same orbit, it stands to reason that isn’t the case.
    –Black Hole/Time Travel/Warp Travel: So in the beginning of the movie, the “lightning storm in space” phenomenon preceded the Nerada’s arrival. It was essentially the “time portal” they came through. Yet the same phenomenon is reported in the skies of Vulcan while the Nerada is drilling into the planet … and then we see the same effect at the end as a black hole when Spock Jr. crashes the Jellyfish into the Nerada. Considering that was the whole point of the red matter in the first place, the other two instances make 0 sense.
    –How is Uhura on Earth picking up Klingon transmissions to state that a single Romulan ship destroyed a task force of battle cruisers? It’s not like the Klingons would have been advertising that in the direction of the Federation. And while we’re on that subject, how does she know “all seven dialects” of Romulan? The Neutral Zone treaty after the Romulans lost their war with Earth in the 22nd century was established by a single transmission … where’s the sense in them using 7 dialects in a single transmission? And after the Nerada destroyed the Kelvin, yes the Federation would have demanded an explanation from the Romulans (more on this point next) but the Romulans were 100% likely to send a single “Fuck off it wasn’t one of ours” transmission in reply … again, one dialect. Assuming Uhura studied both, as a comm expert, she would, at most, know 2.
    –Considering the flat-headedness of these Romulans (a case can be argued in canon, but I’m still not a fan) how did Starfleet know they were Romulans? Nero didn’t say “OHAI! I’m Romulan. Come aboard!” to the Kelvin’s captain. To Starfleet, they should have resembled Vulcans. But there are other species out there that resemble Vulcans (see TNG Mintakans) so the Vulcans would not have known they were Romulans specifically, just one of a myriad of the “savage colonial offshoots”.
    –I don’t care how you rule-of-cool it … no Cadet is elevated straight to Captain at graduation and given command of the fleet’s flagship. Not in any military is this done, and certainly not in an organisation like Starfleet. As a matter of fact, Spock, being older and having been in Starfleet for years longer, and already XO of the Enterprise, IS SNUBBED. This is an unintentional (I’d like to believe) racial profiling that apparently an experienced, controlled Vulcan is not as capable a captain as an out of control, reckless youth of a human.

    • And that’s just the biggest issues with the first movie. Don’t even get me STARTED on the trainwrecks that were Into Darkness and Beyond.

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