Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Movie Miscellany - Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Ah, Star Trek.  The sine qua non of science fiction.  Sure, go ahead and start bickering about whether or not it's better than Star Wars, but the fact remains that they are both awesome and each is worthy in its own right.  I'm not gonna go down the road of debating whether TOS is better than TNG and so on, and will keep my comments limited to this film.  In short: it's pretty spectacular.

As always, it's got the fun visual effects, and in this case, one of the most outrageous plots I have ever come across in a movie.  Second perhaps only to a 500-year-old homicidal turkey on a killing spree.  In fact, this outrageous plot has one of the only unresolved story lines in a film that I actually want to be resolved. 

That 'omg?!? moment' at the end of Inception…meh.  But how and why would aliens 1) know enough about terrestrial biology to know about humpback whales; 2) know enough about humpback whales to communicate with them; 3) build and send a cetacean-song-spouting probe to communicate with them; and 4) who are these aliens and why have they spent so much time on (or studying) Earth (likely without our knowledge)?!? 

I think that would be an infinitely more fascinating storyline to pursue than the capers involved in going back in time to get a couple whales to stop the probe, but I guess most people aren't interested in the hows and whys like this.  This wouldn't even have to be the focus of the film though, it could just be a simple revelation at the end of the flick - Spock needs only to do another mind meld with one of the whales.

More reasons to love this flick: it takes place in SF and has a pretty great romp around San Francisco medley, complete with MUNI ride.  The ingenuity of the crew and their ability to navigate a previous time period and its technology is pretty impressive as well.  Seriously, Sulu can fly a helicopter like he was riding a bike, and Scotty can sit down in front of a computer of two centuries past and nimbly navigate the engineering program on screen.  I'd have trouble with an unfamiliar word processing program from two decades ago.

Another something I'm curious about is if whales have been long extinct in the 23rd century, what's the state of the other sea life?  These poor whales have been in captivity their whole lives, I don't really think they'd hack it in the open ocean.  But if sharks and all those large predators have been extinct for a while, they'll probably be ok.  Although I'm still not super hopeful for the long-term survival of the species, as there's only momma, daddy, and soon-to-be baby whale in the population gene pool.

Overall, great film and really fun to watch, even with the holey plot and abounding ridiculousness.  See it if you haven't already!

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