Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Live long and puzzle

Let's get one thing clear: I love the new Star Trek film. I absolutely loved it. I abso-fucking-lutely loved it. I loved it so much that I wish I could cram even more curse words into "absolutely" to describe it.

I dragged Britt to the movie theater twice last weekend to see it, and threatened to take him a third time. The only reason we didn't go three times is that I would have been embarrassed for Britt to tell people that I forced him to see the same movie three days in a row.

I have just three problems with the Star Trek film, and they're rooted in science:

First, could a supernova actually threaten an entire galaxy? I'm not an expert in this area, but I don't think supernovae could consume planets millions of light years away.

Second, how does a drill—even a high tech laser drill from the future—actually burrow a hole to the core of a planet? Keep in mind that a planet like Earth has a relatively thin solid crust, floating on top of a molten liquid substance. I assume that a planet like Vulcan would have a similar composition. How does one drill through liquid? Also, what is Nero's crew doing with all the debris that is displaced?

Third, how does Spock observe Vulcan from his vantage point on the frozen planet? (I think the planet's name in the film was Delta Vega, but it could have been a stand-in for Hoth in the Star Wars universe.) In the film, we are given the impression the the Enterprise is traveling far away from Vulcan's position when the events on Delta Vega occur, so I assume that the two planets are light years apart. However, Vulcan seems as large in the Delta Vega sky as the moon is in our sky. I think this was done to make a particular scene more dramatic, but it did make me pause and wonder what the heck was happening. If someone is making a science fiction film, the science shouldn't be sloppy.

My only other complaint with Star Trek is that I had to attempt to explain how the time-travel plot worked to my mother. I still don't think she gets it. I think director J.J. Abrams owes me some Excedrin and should call my mom.

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