The Seven Biggest Loopholes in the New Star Trek

May 13, 2009

At this point one thing is clear: J.J. Abrams’ reboot of Star Trek has been a huge success. He has single-handedly broadened the fan base for Star Trek by about a zillion people, and the stigma that has stuck to this movie franchise has been expunged. That said, it’s hard not to notice a few loopholes in the logic of the movie that leave you scratching your head as you leave the theater. Beware: This entire article is a spoiler.

Source: Paramount Pictures

7. How do the people on board the SS Kelvin have any familiarity with Romulans?

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Source: Paramount Pictures

The first time anyone in the Federation ever sees an actual Romulan happens in an episode in the series, thus Spock and Kirk are somewhat older. A long war between the Federation and the Romulans had been going on involving only probes: so nobody on the Kelvin should have ever actually seen a Romulan before, to say nothing of the shock that should ensue that this race is so similar in looks to Vulcans (the races are “cousins,” whatever that means). Yes, the fact that Nero has travelled through time changes everything (thus the term “reboot”), but it still doesn’t explain the fact that everyone onboard the Kelvin should be a bit more baffled as to the nature of this alien race no one has ever encountered in person before.

6. Kirk and Spock wind up in the same solar system on the same planet in the same ice cave at the same time.

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Source: Paramount Pictures

I mean, come on. What are the chances? Yeah, Spock has been exiled to the ice planet so that he’ll be forced to witness the destruction of Vulcan. But when was the last time you bumped into your best friend while vacationing in Dubai? ‘Cause the odds are a lot higher that that would happen than you bumping into your future best friend on a random ass planet in the middle of a huge frickin’ ice plain.

But we’re not stopping there, oh no. How about the fact that Spock possesses the state-of-the-art technology to beam onto spaceships while they’re travelling at warp speed – hell, at any speed! If this is the case, then why has he been kicking it on Planet Ice Cube for 25 years when he could’ve beamed aboard some Federation vehicle passing by (the planet is in Federation space) and gotten busy saving his home planet?! Nay, his own mother?! Way to not take advantage of your God-like abilities, Spock! Now who’s being illogical?

5. The Vulcan kids who bully Spock show a helluva lot of emotion.

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Source: Paramount Pictures

Call me kooky, but doesn’t it seem a little out of place that a gang of Vulcan kids have made their joie de vivre picking on little Spock? Doesn’t their bullying strike you as a little…what’s the word…illogical?! Here you have a race of people who are purportedly devoid of emotion, they’re walking computers with infrequent slivers of compassion, but this gang of hoodlums gets their kicks by mean-spiritedly provoking Spock to violence. Something about their pastime smacks of human nature.

You’d think they’d spend their off hours memorizing pi to the eight billionth decimal, but instead they’re just as worthless as their human counterparts. Sure, the argument can be made that they’re simply prodding Spock as if he were an experiment, but the obvious pleasure they get from causing him unhappiness is kind of the whole point of the scene – that, and the fact that Spock’s mother is a whore (kidding!). These little Vulcans get an "F" for Vulcanism.

4. Why does the planet Romulus exist in Star Trek: The Next Generation?

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Source: Paramount Pictures

If Romulus goes boom back when Spock is around and kicking, then doesn’t that mean that Romulus should not exist at any point during Next Generation? Now, I’m not as good at physics and numbers and mind-melds as Spock, but it just seems categorically impossible for Jean-Luc Picard to ever have suffered any headaches due to these hostile, pointy-eared bastard cousins of the Vulcans if their home planet long since got eaten up by a star (in the original time line, not the new one created by Nero). It doesn’t take Stephen Hawking to figure this out, though we could really use his help piecing together the timeline in the new Star Trek.

3. Why don’t these planets have any defenses against Nero’s drills?

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Source: Paramount Pictures

I’m sorry, but this is just stupid. Kirk and Sulu take these things out with a sword and a laser gun. So, what – Planet Vulcan and Earth didn’t have any fighter jets or land-to-air missiles or angry members of the Taliban willing to suicide bomb these things? Please.

If the Enterprise can move faster than the speed of light then it seems only logical someone on planet Earth would be able to muster the wherewithal to destroy a mile-long drill without parachuting a couple of dudes onto the thing armed only with attitude and good looks. Get creative, people. And the idea that a planet full of geniuses would stand around praying to the Rock Gods while their red-headed step cousins were trying to blow up their planet just doesn’t make a lick of sense.

2. Why don’t the laws of physics apply in the Star Trek universe?

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Source: Photodisc/Getty Images

Spock watches planet Vulcan implode into a black hole while standing on the ice planet. Which means planet Vulcan is about as close to the ice planet as the moon is to earth. Which means, best case scenario, the orbit of the planet he was standing on would have been thrown totally off-course. The atmosphere of the planet would have been ripped away into space and, assuming the lack of oxygen and pressure didn’t kill him, the complete alteration of gravitational pull would have. Every living thing on that planet would have died instantly.

Worst case scenario: The ice planet Spock is standing on is within the event horizon of the newly created black hole (which, seeing as Vulcan was visible to him, and thus within light-minutes distance, it certainly was), and thus is torn to shreds as it is consumed by the black hole at the speed of light. Why is it that the laws of physics don’t hold within the universe of Star Trek? This is pretty basic stuff as far as astrophysics goes, but doesn’t seem to apply until the very end of the movie when it makes for a suspenseful climax.

1. Why does Nero use huge, cumbersome drills to destroy planets when a drop of Red Matter would suffice?

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Source: Paramount Pictures

For one reason or another Spock whipped up a big ol’ batch of Red Matter to put an end to exploding stars, but it turns out all you really need is a spoonful to elicit planetary destruction. Which begs the question: why did Nero bother with huge-ass drills when all he needed was a thimbleful of the crap and a trusty detonator? Yes, they clearly state that he has to send the goopy gunk into the core of the planet – but is a floating drill shooting fire out of the sky like the wrath of god really the sneakiest way to go about it? Why not send a ground crew trained in the art of subterfuge to do a secret ops mission?

But in the end the discussion comes once again down to Spock. The man went and made what is arguably the most dangerous substance known to man, Vulcan or Romulan, and he made enough so that every bad guy in the cosmos can come back for seconds. What is the purpose of his making so much of this galaxy-consuming death matter? Does he have a side deal going on with the Klingons? Is he making some nice baksheesh as an arms dealer in the black market?

Everyone would’ve been a lot better off (including Spock, who wouldn’t have lost his planet and mother) if he’d never made this stuff at all and just told the Romulans, “Tough cookies!” when their planet was about to get engulfed by the supernova. Pretty much everything Spock does in the new Star Trek only brings about planetary destruction and familial discord.

There is such a thing as being too smart for your own good.

 

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