As usual for the rebooted Star Trek franchise, ST:B was a fun romp. But the story lacks cohesion. Those of us who remember the original Trek recall that the stories at least tried to be about something other than seeking out and blowing up new civilizations. It’s almost like they saw the roller-coaster ride of Star Wars and decided to ditch their cerebellums and fly fast by the seat of our pants.
The Small Universe Error
This has become a mainstay of Trek movies. I have railed about it before. “We got stuck in a nebula, so we landed on a nearby planet.” That might work if there were rogue planets in nebulae and if nebulae were a couple hundred or thousand miles across. But when you land on such a planet there would be no “sunlight”, save maybe a faint colored glow. There would certainly be no way such a radiation-soaked planet could support the ancient, defunct civilization that had apparently lived there, let alone Kraal and his bunch.
“Hi, I’m sweet and innocent and needy. Please come rescue me!” So we’re all geared up to think she’s a damsel in distress but as we all know, any damsels you meet in the first act must by the laws of drama turn out to be evil. And she did. And promptly got smooshed by an improbable starship fragment.
“Oh, hey. I am a cute girl with a lobster head. There has never been one of me in Trek before, but just don’t look at me too close”. You get the impression Jim has been intimate with this crewman – or at least flirted with her enough to get her to open up. And by open up, I mean her incredibly unlikely back-of-the-head-fingers, a-la Sarris from Galaxy Quest. Cool and faithful as she is, *poof*, she’s gone.
Antagonist Logic Errors
Ok, now. We have Kraal. A human Mako from ST:Enterprise days. He’s a soldier, so he sees the universe in warrior terms. The universe wants us dead, and humanity is too fat and lazy to kill them back. So if I take out a major peaceful federation settlement, surely that will terrorize all of humanity (maybe even the whole Federation) into becoming what? A warrior race like the Klingons?
But we all know humanity better than that. It would be a tragic terror act for a week, then the news cycle would flip over to the unexpected tribble infestation on Rigel IV.
So Kraal crashed on Nebula Planet 400 years ago. He somehow got lizard face – maybe he life-sucked some lizard aliens. But what about the throngs of lizard faced cronies around him? Are they his original crew of humans from the crash? So they are all life-suckers now? Not that we need to care, because even with 400+ years of combat experience, 4 starfleet officers and a homeless girl wipe them out en masse.
Ok, Homeless Girl. She was a kid, watching her daddy get vaporized in an escape attempt. She scuttles off to find a crashed starfleet ship and – as a kid – figures out how to reboot the C:/ drive, learn English, invent a cloaking device, stay alive on a planet with no above-ground life or water. Apparently the energizer bunny runs the ship because 400 years later the XBox consoles still work. Also, why bother cloaking the ship from Kraal? IT WAS HIS SHIP! He knows where it is! It’s not like the swarmer bees are going to come in after searching for the tasty little girl and this would happen…
“Uh, boss, you know that starship we crashed in? It’s gone.”
“Yeah, it was there yesterday and now… just rocks. We think that little girl who got away might have fixed it and flew off”
Also, if the minions are the old crew of the Franklin, nega-kudos for all the crewmen who didn’t stand up to the captain and decided to spend 400 years luring starships to their deaths.
Then there’s This ship was designed to be built in space, not flown in an atmosphere. Unless you press these 2 buttons: there, and we’re off! And that maneuver where you plunge downward to restart an engine is from one of the Airport movies I think, where forcing enough airflow over the turbines may cause enough spin to restart the engine. Except that this starship was not designed to ever be in an atmosphere!
Oh, and the much larger Enterprise crew – what’s left of them – vastly outnumber the Franklin crew. I guess they killed just enough of them to crew the Franklin without leaving 50 guys standing on the rocks.
I guess the term “artificial gravity” just covers all the illogic of the Deep Space: Yorktown design. Except when Kirk and Kraal are duking it out in the zero-g part, where landing any kind of punch would be physically impossible. Throwing your fist forward would push the rest of your body back.
Oh, and Big, loopy, curvy habitats in a glass ball. Just sayin’. Did anyone else besides me get Futurama flashbacks over this?
Also, the starships seem to be made of some gawd-awful strong stuff, because they can slice off the side of a cliff at the cost of some broken windows and hull scratches. If you tried that in the space shuttle, you’d be toast. So big, heavy-metal starships would require enormous amounts of energy to move around, but I guess “antimatter reactor” just covers all that engineering nonsense.
Oh, yeah and somehow Kraal is angry about being left for dead on Nebula Planet, but he has a fleet of swarm ships, subspace contact with Yorktown, and Jim’s band of refugees fixed his old ship in an afternoon!