Something that didn't really register with me until second viewing (because, like everything else in this film, it passes by so quick and is promptly forgotten):
It's bad enough that two entire planets are destroyed in this movie, albeit on separate timelines, especially given that both planets have a long "history" with Trek fans and are not mere story devices like Alderaan was in the original Star Wars.
But what about the Starfleet Academy graduating class? Like, aren't almost all of them killed offscreen? And yet nobody really addresses this or feels any fallout from this.
Like I say, I didn't really connect the dots until the second viewing. But here are the dots I think I caught:
-- Starfleet Academy gets a distress call from Vulcan, and all the cadets are hastily assigned to their ships and sent to Vulcan because the primary fleet is in the Laurentian system and therefore cannot get to Vulcan all that quickly. (BTW, we know that the journey from Earth to Vulcan takes at least four days, because that's what Scotty said in The Motion Picture -- which, incidentally, took place after the Enterprise's refit and therefore took place when the Enterprise was presumably faster than it is in the current movie. So all that "drilling" Nero did over Vulcan, between the original distress call and the Enterprise's arrival, must have taken four days at least. And yet, right up until moments before they arrive at the planet, Pike and his crew believe that Vulcan is merely experiencing natural seismic activity. Can it really be that no one on Vulcan figured out what was going on before the Enterprise got there?)The first time I saw this film, I never got the sense that the space wreckage above Vulcan was anything more than an obstacle course for the Enterprise to maneuver around. Yes, of course, I knew it represented lots of dead Starfleet crew, but on my first viewing, I actually forgot that those ships were full of dead CADETS (or Starfleet Academy graduates for whom the ink on their sheepskins was still wet, to be more precise). In other words, I forgot that the Enterprise crew should have been looking out the viewscreen and thinking, "Oh my god, what happened to all my classmates...?"
-- The cadets get to their ships, and all the ships jump to warp speed -- all but one, that is, since Sulu forgets to do one of the things you're supposed to do before you jump to warp speed. (It has something to do with starting or stopping the ship's external inertial dampeners, if memory serves.)
-- After a few minutes, Sulu figures out what he should have done, and the Enterprise finally jumps to warp speed.
-- The Enterprise then arrives at Vulcan a few minutes AFTER all the other ships ... and all the other ships have been destroyed. All the other ships have been blasted out of the sky by Nero and his men. They're nothing now but space wreckage that the Enterprise has to dodge. (And so, Uhura's green-skinned roommate, who smiled so excitedly before saying goodbye and going to her ship, is presumably just one of the many, many cadets who are now floating in the vacuum of space above the soon-to-be-black-holed Vulcan -- assuming their bodies haven't been incinerated or atomized or worse.)
-- And thus, when Vulcan is destroyed and Nero's ship jumps to warp speed, the Enterprise is all by itself, thus leaving Spock to decide that the only logical course of action, somehow, is to go to the Laurentian system (which, remember, is even FURTHER away from Vulcan than Earth) and have a "confab" (Kirk's word) with the primary fleet. (Did I say the primary fleet is further away from Vulcan than Earth is? Heck, they must be REEEEEEALLY far away if Spock can't have his "confab" with them over a subspace communications channel.)
But the next time we see Starfleet Academy, what happens? Kirk gets a commendation for bravery (or something; it certainly isn't the commendation that he got for "original thinking" on the original timeline), and people cheer, and... no one says anything about the dead graduates. Nothing at all. People will be looking at the Class of 58's picture in the halls of Starfleet Academy for years and thinking, "My, how sad that virtually none of them lived to enjoy being actual Starfleet officers," but there is no trace of this grief anywhere in the film. No trace at all.
Edited by Peter T Chattaway, 13 May 2009 - 06:24 PM.