CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

At Last ... 'Star Trek' Opens!

The latest, rejuvenated, and much anticipated rendition of the most iconic cosmic adventure of all time, J.J. Abrams' film `Star Trek', is finally opening in the United States on May 8, 2009. This is the story behind the story ... how the beloved characters from the 40-year-old original TV series find themselves and each other as youths on the maiden voyage of the Starship Enterprise, and their action-packed adventure to save the Universe from evil.

The film's director, J.J. Abrams (of 'Alias', 'Lost', and 'Mission Impossible: III' fame), keen to create an authentic vision of space, invited the Cassini Imaging Team leader, Carolyn Porco, to be the science consultant on the film. So, prepare to see some familiar sights!

Below you will find some previews of the film, as well as some photos from the film's Hollywood premiere.

 

"Star Trek" Trailer

 

"Enlist in Star Fleet"

 

"Ice Planet"

 

Photos from the Hollywood Premiere

 

The celebration following the 'Star Trek' Hollywood premiere
'Star Trek' science consultant Carolyn Porco with the film's director J.J. Abrams
The Once and Future Spock: Zachary Quinto, left, and Leonard Nimoy, right
Zoe Saldana (Nyota Uhura) and guest
Bruce Greenwood (Capt. Christopher Pike, first captain of the USS Enterprise), center
Eric Bana (Nero, the villain)

Alliance Member Comments
AlienAbducter (Apr 16, 2010 at 9:54 PM):
I've always like any shows about space, one can always lose one self in them as too how the future might be like. But I guess this is all I will ever have too know or see about the unknown universe. Now that Nasa has changed course and American Astronauts will be grounded, and never be able too boldly go were no man has gone before.
enceladus5 (Feb 21, 2010 at 12:45 PM):
Dear Dr.Porco,
Loved the movie. The scene with the Enterprise emerging out of Titan in full view of the majestic rings was awesome. You do deserve a cameo in a potential Star Trek sequel.
From Tornado Rob
stevekasian (Jan 14, 2010 at 4:15 PM):
Oh geeeezzzz... I'm so sorry! I thought I'd read that JPL had something to do with it. Well, Apologies for my foolishness!!

So Congratulations to YOU and YOU ALONE for your involvement in the making of the movie!! You obviously gave some great science advice!
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Jan 14, 2010 at 2:18 PM):
stevekasian: Blasphemy!! How could you say that?! JPL had nothing to do with that movie. 'Twas I, and I alone, who was the science consultant and suggested that scene to JJ Abrams. And yes, it was awesome...I agree.
stevekasian (Jan 14, 2010 at 5:19 AM):
I too love the Star Trek series, although TOS was a little hard for me to swallow. I guess I'm just too young to have appreciated it. But TNG was an obsession of mine - and made Patrick Stewart one of my all time favorite actors.

Someone commented very negatively on the whole "rewriting of history" deal, and how they hoped this movie would "soon be forgotten". I don't agree. Come on man (as Bones would say - lol) , it's the last damn Star Trek movie that's ever gonna be made Jim! The afformentioned critic has obviously not taken into account the "quantum possibilities" that exist in a world where there are 2 Spocks and the fabric of space/time can be manipulated! They could've blown up the Earth in this one and it would still be possible to bring it back somehow later on!

Congratulations to JPL and all involved in the making of the movie. I really tripped out when I saw the ship rise up out of the Titan smog. That was awsome!

Regards, and best of luck with all real-life missions, present and future!
TomMadigan (Dec 24, 2009 at 8:48 PM):
correction...that would be "moot".
TomMadigan (Dec 24, 2009 at 8:32 PM):
The special effects and visuals were great, especially the Enterprise/ Saturn sequence. However, growing up watching the original cast and crew, collecting all bound volumes of all the episodes, attending one or two Star Trek conventions, taking in every previous Hollywood major motion picture, I find the "rewriting of history" offensive to the memory and legacy of the original concept, to put it mildly. By destroying Vulcan in the Prequel, all future episodes, stories and plots are now mute. The Vulcan race, a race now removed retroactively, figured large in many episodes and story lines. This is not simply just another episode - it is an anomaly produced in an alternative universe. They crossed the "artistic license" line with this one and I'm not so sure Gene Roddenberry would be as gleeful as some have suggested. Some things are better left alone and to make a movie simply because you can is one thing but to do so and rewrite 50 years of history is quite another. In short, this movie was all show, no substance and (hopefully) will soon be forgotten.
shysf (Dec 15, 2009 at 2:23 PM):
Sorry I mixed up the episode titles star trek copied from. It is
Star Trek Voyager's Year of Hell parts 1 and 2
20tauri (Nov 30, 2009 at 1:58 PM):
Just picked up the Star Trek BluRay this past weekend. If you haven't already gotten a hold of one, you should definitely do so! On top of the film, there are tons of extras. Most relevant to this forum, our Captain appears on-screen with insightful commentary on the dawn of the space age and the importance of films like Star Trek in capturing our collective imagination. You can find Carolyn in the section on Gene Roddenberry's vision (note: the word on the street is that this only appears in the BluRay release, not the DVDs).

Incidentally, most of you know this already, but in case you missed it: Earlier this fall a couple of us put together a petition to get Carolyn a cameo in the Star Trek sequel that's in pre-production right now. Please sign it if you haven't already! It's at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/dr-carolyn-porco-deserves-a-star-trek-cameo
willhiggs (Jul 31, 2009 at 2:44 PM):
What's this celebrity **** doing on a scientific website ?
Merry (Jul 29, 2009 at 10:43 AM):
As a person that would make sure I was at home for the original series of Star Trek (no recording devices at that time of course), I was apprehensive about going to see this flick. Was scared they would miss the ideology of Star Trek and concentrate on major conflict scenes and graphics. I was so pleased when I finally decided to go. Leonard Nemoy was a complete surprise. I had no idea he was in it. Guess I should have come here but didn't, see the above reason for not seeing the movie. Anyway, just loved it!
bassplyr98 (Jul 5, 2009 at 8:45 PM):
I just wanted to say we love your site:) didn't see another contact for that, probably too busy looking at all the amazing movies
ALHS (Jul 3, 2009 at 5:02 PM):
As an old Trekkie who loved the original, I commend the new film and am delighted by it. May the USS Enterprise and its young crew continue to boldly go into warp speed for many new adventures. I'll be looking forward to the films to come. Thank you for respecting an important and much loved genre.
20tauri (Jun 25, 2009 at 0:03 AM):
With the exception of the time travel bit (which left me with way more questions than the plot answered), I thought Abrams & Co. did a great job resurrecting the series. It was about time they rejuvenated it with some young blood! And the Ice Planet scenes definitely made me smile...well done, Carolyn and CICLOPS team!
shysf (Jun 23, 2009 at 10:55 AM):
Also the federation isn't supposed to know what a romulan looks like until Balence of Terror. The Romulan war was settled by subspace radio.
shysf (Jun 23, 2009 at 10:53 AM):
I hated this movie! I can not stress this enough! Everything I was curious about just got deleted by time travel. What about Robert April, Christopher Pike's two missions on the Enterprise, Number One, Samuel Kirk and his family, Ruth and Finnigan, John Gill, Gary Michell, Captain Garrivick and the USS Farrigut (the cloud monster), Lt. Riley and the Kodos massacre, Janice Rand, Carol Marcus and David. Among others just deleted. This isn't Gene Roddenbury's Star trek it s Abrams.
Also the story has major holes in it. Why does the Romulan villian wait around 24 years for spock? He can go to Romulus warn his people and prepare them. Also he can give his ship for them to study and defeat the Federation.
The story is taken from Star trek Voyager's weapon ship from A few more calculations and Endgame.
The end fight scene is from a number of star trek movies. Generations for one.
Terminator was better. perhaps Serena is Sarah.
pspotts (Jun 19, 2009 at 3:10 PM):
A trip to the move theater to see Star Trek today was our Mothers Day treat. We're a sci-fi movie family, and my wife (and the rest of us) desperately wanted to see the film. I thought of you immediately as I watched that shot of the Enterprise slowly rising from what I took to be Titan's smoggy atmosphere. It was stunning. As one who religiously watched the original episodes (at their original time slots!), I must say it was nice to see that the crew no longer wears cheap pajamas!
marc (Jun 17, 2009 at 3:01 PM):
Maybe you can work in a Saturnian Solar eclipse in the next movie, it probably would look great in IMAX.

Other than that it was a great movie!
Thanks :)
BobbyD (Jun 13, 2009 at 10:26 PM):
I loved the new Star Trek!! I think it's the BEST Trek film!!.... and I've seen it 3 times already, and might even go a few more! For some weird reason, I couldn't seem to keep my dad-gum eyes dry during all the Leonard Nimoy scenes!!!He was brilliant!! The new cast/crew will successfully fly to "where no one has gone before!!" Godspeed guys!! Carolyn!, kudos to you and the beautiful Enterprise / Saturn-Titan scenes!!The most amazing scenes are the ones from reality when it comes to the exploration of the Universe!!! Oh,by the way Carolyn, please,please, oh please put me down for a downloadable copy of a wallpaper, or file, of the Enterprise-Saturn image...just AWESOME!!!!! Thanks!!
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Jun 12, 2009 at 12:39 PM):
YosemiteRob: Working the details as I write. Stay tuned ....
yosemiterob (Jun 12, 2009 at 12:16 PM):
OK, when is the poster going to be released showing the Enterprise hovering above Titan in front of Saturn. Seriously, when is that going to come out.
Alan Canon (Jun 12, 2009 at 6:42 AM):
Oh, I'll just gush a little more. I saw the movie *four times* in one week! I don't think I watched any of the others more than twice in theatrical release. I am a long time fan of the movies, and I have my favorites. I think this one goes at the top of the list. Of the characterizations, Karl Urban as McCoy was my favorite: "Space is disease and death, wrapped in darkness and silence." Classic!

Of course the Titan scene made me cheer, one-upping the fabu Leonov-Discovery sequences set above Io in "2010: The Year We Make Contact." I can't wait to get the DVD just to hear what Carolyn has to say about it.
Alan Canon (Jun 12, 2009 at 6:32 AM):
I've seen all the Star Trek movies in the theatre (Robert Wise's excellent Star Trek: The Motion Picture was the first Trek I ever saw.) Wise imaginatively incorporated NASA's Voyager program into the plotline...and guess which Supreme Imagining Darling of us Alliance members worked on the Voyager mission?

Carolyn Porco!

Now we've come full circle, with a new "first" Star Trek movie, where not only the latest in space science informs the movie, but Carolyn, herself, to boot!

Loved the movie, and agree that Carolyn needs to be in the next one.

Jim (Jun 11, 2009 at 6:48 PM):
Saw the movie a couple of weeks ago, Excellent! as a fan of the 60s series
and ONLY of the 60s series, the movie lived up to all of my expectations.
As the owner of a 1967 mustang I empathize with Harry, too bad about the corvette.
I don't wish to nitpick about accuracy either but it's 200 hundred
years into the future, where the hell are the seatbelts? I'm not here to just
comment on the movie, I also would like to petition that Carolyn, be given a
part in the next movie and with a speaking part. King Abdullah II of Jordan
had a part with lines in a " ST Next Generation" episode, the King of Jordan
does not have the cred Carolyn does. My pick for her character would be the
part of T'Pol, if not T'Pol then maybe a science officer on board a Romulan
vessel!
Artistonemark (Jun 11, 2009 at 3:40 PM):
I had the pleasure to meet Gene R. when I worked for Apple Computer and it was Wonderful. Commander Riker from Star Trek the Next Generation lives near me in Maine. The New Movie was Outstanding and it was so good to hear Gene's wife as the computer voice on the Enterprise and to see Leonard Nimoy. So "Live Long and Prosper" Greetings from the United Federation of Planets.
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Jun 6, 2009 at 11:20 AM):
Everyone: Here's an update about the Titan/Saturn/Enterprise scene. I spoke to JJ Abrams about it this past week. He says he's going to work on getting me a high-res frame of the scene. (JJ is VERY cool, and a really good guy.) I'll let you all know how this transpires as it unfolds.
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Jun 2, 2009 at 5:54 PM):
RJacobsen: You, and others who have emailed me, and me too (!) are all eager to get a copy of the Titan/Enterprise/Saturn scene. I had inquired of Paramount about it, and they said that the still has been offered as an `exclusive' to another publication, so I couldn't get it to put on our website. I will inquire again about it. I think all Alliance members should have a giant poster of that scene. We earned it!!
RJacobsen (Jun 2, 2009 at 2:25 PM):
Has anyone found a quality image or wallpaper of the Titan/Enterprise scene. I would love to have one. Could one be posted on the site?

I loved this movie! I knew my dad would too, saw it a second time with him. Awesome website!
DeeKahleb (May 31, 2009 at 5:37 PM):
Wow! THE greatest movie ever made. It put "The Poseidon Adventure," to shame. Wait, it's no longer 1972. Wow! The greatest movie ever made.

Thank you and good night.
wcwilkin (May 26, 2009 at 10:40 PM):
The best of the Star Trek movies (or made-for-TV episodes). This movie enters an alternate universe the old-fashioned way - time travel. It paves the way for a completely new series of stories with the original characters. Spock meets himself in the past and the universe doesn't end - Hoorah! The hypocritical, emotional Vulcans come out of their logical closet.
mikesimons (May 26, 2009 at 3:26 PM):
Wow! We saw it on Cape Cod this weekend and it exceeded our expectations. It was both a "movie" and a "film". You couldn't miss the stunning visual! I told people sitting around me about Carolyn's role, and we stayed through the credits and we cheered when her name scrolled. They saw it before I did! My wife isn't a Trekkie, but it isn't in the least necessary. A Trekkie knows "Get your Vulcan hands off me" was in the original series, but who cares? Some scientists (I'm a CFO) may quibble with imperfect accuracy. Hey, lighten up! This isn't a documentary! Have fun. Live Long and Prosper!
dholmes (May 21, 2009 at 6:11 AM):
I would like to add a further comment now that I have gone back and read the earlier ones. The visual relationship between Titan and Saturn are just fine. Do look at the links in Carolyn's comment and that should disabuse some of the member's over analytical proclivities. I am a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) expert with a govt. agency here in Atlanta, Ga., and ever day I go through mounds of visual data. When I first saw that shot of Titan and Saturn, no alarm bells went off, no red flags, nor anything else but a sense of pride that she had that influence on something so indemic and personal to Star Trek fans everywhere. Here's to the next adventure with maybe NCC 1701 coming up on the moon Encaladus with the new crew getting ready for their next adventure, and maybe a guest shot with the science advisor as a crew member.
dholmes (May 21, 2009 at 5:43 AM):
I finally broke away from my un-trek wife and kids and saw the movie last night.
As a member the 1st generation of Star Trek (1960's) fans I thought they did a great job to keep the young actors in character with the original cast. Yes the future for Star Trek movies will be in the past. I could see a whole series of new adventures for the crew of the enterprise, who knows maybe they could keep going on until the new fans will look back on this movie as the beginning. I enjoyed of course as did we all Carolyn's influence with Titan and Saturn. I hope in the next Star Trek movie that her influence will continue, and put her name closer to the front of the credit listing (was still waiting until the theatre emptied until finally her name appeared). Good job.
Harry (May 19, 2009 at 5:38 PM):
What an awesome ride! Although the sound was too high, I highly recommend the IMAX version. Cool storyline and nice twist to the further development of otherwise well known characters. I have been a lifelong fan of science fiction, but have also been critical of the ever-present mistakes in science fact. But, as I age, I am much more forgiving with the visuals and breaks with reality. A few comments (these are for fun by the way):
1. Why does breaking the light barrier make an acoustic "bang" in space?
2. If they needed a magnetic field to hide in, why were they not under the cloud deck of Jupiter?
3. I guess spaceships in the 24th century have paint and surfaces immune to the nasty chemistry of Titan. My flying saucer would need a good buffing after that.
4. Yes, Titan is too far above the ecliptic, but a really long telephoto lens from long distance would yield the apparent proximity of the rings. And what was with the hurricane force winds that caused Titan's upper atmosphere to have those waves?
5. Why was the black hole generated by the red matter 2 dimensional?
6. The "Last Star Fighter" had more realistic transitions through light speed. At least the streaks from the earlier films were gone.
7. Darwin would cringe if he saw a red spidery crab critter with no fur climbing out of a cave on an ice planet.
8. At least nobody without space suits were climbing around the outside of the ship like they did in Disney's "Black Hole".
9. What's with all the swirly lights in the Transporter scenes? This is where they need a bang or a nice "Galaxy Quest" splat!
10. Why do bad guy space ships need a lot of extraneous metal stuff? I guess Romulans have an affinity for spaceships that look like spiky cock roaches on steroids.
11. Young Spock and old Spock meeting at the end is cool. Time paradox issues avoided. Now if they had just crossed the streams in "Ghostbusters" earlier.

It would really be nice one day for a film to stay accurate with the physics except for those necessary to advance the story. PS, I want one of those floating motorcycles like the patrolman had. Too bad about that Corvette.
PipePR (May 17, 2009 at 10:41 AM):
YES that scene holds for a couple of seconds, im absolutelly sure they did it on purpose for a wallpaper. i NEED that wallpaper PLEASEEEEEEEE. of course in High Res. cant wait for the DVD to be released and capture the image. i need the image now, really, its an emergency. please post that image
mojolim (May 14, 2009 at 7:16 PM):
Astonishing view - the ncc1701 comes up from the haze of Titan and the giant Saturn behind. I really ask you to post that to use as a wallpaper ;-) high resolution pls :-DDDD Well done Cassini!!! Well done Ciclops Team!!! and obviously well done Cast!!! It's magic; Mr. J.J.Abrams has shuffled the deck so now a new Federation will rise . . . . Live Long and Prosper!! ops Good Luck!
Tucker M (May 14, 2009 at 8:21 AM):
What an eye-popping, incredibly fun ride. Loved the Saturn shot - wish it could have been more!

The angle from Titan was wrong of course, no...? And the field of view was way off...but honestly, just having a real Cassini photo featured in a great sci-fi flick was more than worth it. So glad they involved you!

Although the acting and visuals were really top-notch, the real props have to go to the director and editor, who have proved themselves storytellers in Peter Jackson's class. Bravo.
carolyn (CICLOPS) (May 12, 2009 at 5:48 PM):
Drewbot: I did in fact give an interview for the DVD but did not go into detail on the Saturn/Titan scene, since I hadn't even seen the final version yet at the time the interview was conducted. But I did get to discuss some of my favorite topics, like the `anything is possible' mindset that made the 1960s the fascinating, innovative and unsettling years that they were, and how that optimism underscored everything from the unbridled creativity we saw in the arts and music, to the painful (but hope-driven) events within the civil rights movement, to our bold and daring leap off the planet and onto the moon. And this cauldron of ideas and new signposts for the future found their way into the thinking of Stanley Kubrick (working on material from Arthur C. Clarke) in crafting 2001, and they found their way into the thinking of Gene Roddenberry in creating Star Trek.

I'll be interested to hear what people think about that interview when the DVD comes out, in the fall.
drewbot (May 12, 2009 at 3:18 PM):
I've been following this discussion about scientific accuracy re: Titan & Saturn in Star Trek, and had a few thoughts:

(1) Poetic license plays a role in all art, including cinema. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, there's a scene in Jovian orbit where the four Galilean moons of Jupiter align with the monolith; that alignment could not have occurred in 2001. Does knowing that have any impact on the visual power of the scene?

(2) It's a minor miracle that a Hollywood director sought out the advice of an actual scientist! That doesn't always happen, as any M.D. can tell you. There is no TV show or movie that hasn't had bogus medicine in at least one episode. This movie is no exception; any M.D. could point out an instance in ST where a known drug is given to a patient and produces an effect that just doesn't happen. One TV show even referred to dihydrogen oxide as a drug - that's an odd way of saying water. In every ST, there's an episode where a few wounded people are brought into the sick bay, laid on tables with open wounds, and nobody even removes the patients' torn uniforms or cleans their wounds. My wife is an M.D., and she will never sign up for the Starfleet HMO plan.

(3) It's a Major Miracle that we live in a time where a director can ask the question: "Among all the planets and moons of our solar system, where would be a good place to hide a starship?" Think back to 1966, when ST premiered on TV. Even if he had wanted to, no director could have even asked this question; nobody knew then what we know now about the other planets and their moons. In the last 40 years, we've sent probes to every major body, and examples of every type of minor body, in our solar system.

(4) If we didn't have scientific nits to pick, what would we do for entertainment? It might be fun to have a game to see who can come up with a better reason why Titan would be a good place to hide a starship, or a game of "Where would YOU hide a starship in our solar system"?

(5) Hopefully, the extended version on DVD will include an extra feature wherein the Saturn scene is discussed by one or more planetary scientists. Anyone want to start a campaign to make it so? Dr. Porco, has there been any talk about including a scientific talk about Saturn by you on the DVD? Is that a bug you could plant in someone's ear? After all, one of the previous ST movies had a long - and fascinating - lecture by a linguist about how the Klingon language is structured. And one of the Futurama boxed sets has a feature about breaking the codes of the alien languages that appear in the background shots.
Dave Gallagher (May 12, 2009 at 2:37 PM):
The Enterprise rising from Titan in front of Saturn and her rings in all their glory gave me goosebumps. Even though I was expecting it (based on spoilers here and elsewhere), it still took my breath away. If you have to sell your first born to afford an IMAX ticket for this film, do so. Mine understood.
dschlom (May 12, 2009 at 2:25 PM):
My two kids both have met Carolyn and are fans of hers as well as the original Star Trek. My son first saw the trailer last summer and was really excited about seeing this film. He had it built up so much in his mind that I was worried he might be disappointed.
He wasn't. He and his sister (who happens to have studied Enceladus extensively as a budding geologist) both saw the film at an IMAX theater in Anaheim. Both stayed through the credits and cheered when Carolyn's name came up.
Here is Taylor's review:

It was an Indiana Jones meets Star Wars thrill ride! The relationship
between the three musketeers(kirk, spock, bones) was amazing. The new
actors boldly go to new heights. They took the characters to different
places, emotionally, than what was seen in the original series. At the
same time, it was nice to see a lot of the same characteristics and
lines that we all know and love. I have already seen it a second time.
Its that good. Tyanna and I both smiled for the cassini moment(i dont
want to ruin it for you dad).

I'll send Tyanna's commentary when I get it from her. Needless to say, my 19 year old son loved the film and ranks it amongst his all time top five favorite films. I am waiting for Godot. Then I will go see it...


dschlom (May 12, 2009 at 2:24 PM):
My two kids both have met Carolyn and are fans of hers as well as the original Star Trek. My son first saw the trailer last summer and was really excited about seeing this film. He had it built up so much in his mind that I was worried he might be disappointed.
He wasn't. He and his sister (who happens to have studied Enceladus extensively as a budding geologist) both saw the film at an IMAX theater in Anaheim. Both stayed through the credits and cheered when Carolyn's name came up.
Here is Taylor's review:

It was an Indiana Jones meets Star Wars thrill ride! The relationship
between the three musketeers(kirk, spock, bones) was amazing. The new
actors boldly go to new heights. They took the characters to different
places, emotionally, than what was seen in the original series. At the
same time, it was nice to see a lot of the same characteristics and
lines that we all know and love. I have already seen it a second time.
Its that good. Tyanna and I both smiled for the cassini moment(i dont
want to ruin it for you dad).

I'll send Tyanna's commentary when I get it from her. Needless to say, my 19 year old son loved the film and ranks it amongst his all time top five favorite films. I am waiting for Godot. Then I will go see it...


carolyn (CICLOPS) (May 12, 2009 at 12:36 PM):
PolishBear and others: I've already explained the `Titan above the ring plane' bit below. But one of your statements ... that Saturn should be much farther in the distance...is not correct. Whether or not it appears to be `close' or `far' would depend on your distance from Titan while `filming', *and* the focal length and field of view of your imaging device. You can take a look at the image at http://ciclops.org/view.php?id=1776 and the one at http://ciclops.org/view.php?id=983 and you'll see that the relationship between Titan and Saturn in the movie is ok.

The Star Trek digital artists *did* get a few things right: the colors of Titan and Saturn, most of the details in the rings, etc. As I said, I was happy to be able to get something at all of our discoveries at Saturn in this very popular movie. Progress almost always proceeds slower than we would like, but this is progress.
Ron Miller (May 12, 2009 at 9:04 AM):
I absolutely loved the movie but it would have been nice (even if a nitpick) to have seen Titan at least remotely near its right place.
PolishBear (May 12, 2009 at 8:33 AM):
As someone who is rapidly closing in on 50 years of age, I’m of that generation that used to play “Star Trek” on the jungle gym back in elementary school. I’ve watched all the TV series, seen all the movies … and yet, watching this new film in the theater just yesterday, I suddenly started feeling very OLD. There is no doubt that J.J. Abrams wanted to revive the “Star Trek” franchise, and at the same time make it appeal to a younger, hipper audience. I’m not going to get all apoplectic over the film’s straying from “canon” … AFTER ALL, this is science fiction, not World History. And anyway, I can attribute those changes to the “alternate realities” that the new film employs as easily as it employs Red Matter (retrieved, I guess, the the Universe’s biggest Lava Lamp). Of course, no amount of “alternate reality” could change James T. Kirk’s predilection for green-skinned alien babes.

But there’s one thing I cannot forgive J.J. Abrams for, and that’s depicting Titan so far above Saturn’s ecliptic! Sure, it was a lovely, DRAMATIC shot, but can’t scientific accuracy figure into the film JUST A LITTLE BIT??? I'm SURE the folks here at CICLOPS had to be squirming just a tad. As we all know, a realistic shot would've placed Saturn much farther in the distance, with the rings nearly edge-on. But let's face it: When it comes to movies, eye candy will win out over scientific accuracy every time.

I will also say this: The death of Spock’s mother, Amanda Grayson, upset me deeply. You can say what you want about “alternate realities,” but I really don’t think this was necessary to the plot of the film. Even though she appeared in just one episode of the original series and a couple of the earlier movies, I was very fond of her, especially as portrayed with such grace by Jane Wyatt.

All that having been said, I’ll give the film 7 out of 10 stars. Here’s hoping the NEXT film in the franchise is just a little MEATIER.
billclawson (May 11, 2009 at 2:47 PM):
The movie was great! Although I'm still nostalgic over many (not all) of the Star Trek films, this one beats them all. Great character story and brilliant special effects. I'm assuming 'red matter' is sort of a 24th century 'dark matter'. Parts of the story were a little choppy for me. The treatment of the ice world, 'Delta Vega', was a bit awkward. It's stunning view of Vulcan would've required that it be a moon of said same. Given that Vulcan is supposed to be a hot, dry world, this seems unlikely. Given the name 'Delta Vega', this seems unlikely too.
drewbot (May 11, 2009 at 0:49 AM):
We just saw Star Trek.
Short review: we should've brought helmets along because it blew our minds!
Long review:
To use an analogy: imagine an old song you love and listen to all the time, and you hear that some new singer is going to re-record it. Usually, the new recording is a disappointment - but sometimes, it's a revelation. For example, I used to think that Bob Dylan was the only person who could sing "All Along The Watchtower" - until I heard Jimi Hendrix's version. As good as Dylan made it sound, well, somehow Hendrix just played it better.
It was the same old Star Trek we've known and loved for so long - but they played it better.
You recognize the characters, to be sure. But they're even more real than they were 35 years ago, like an old negative that's been enhanced digitally. Finally, Uhura has a lot more to say than 'Hailing frequencies are open'. Sulu's fencing skills aren't just a gimmicky hobby, he wields that sword like Obi-Wan on his best day. Scotty doesn't just pull the levers on the transporter, he helped improve the technology. Bones was crafty like a fox before he met Kirk (he's the one that comes up with the plan to sneak cadet Kirk onboard); it may be that he taught Kirk how to bend the rules, rather than the other way around.
You recognize the ship, but, like a lot in the film, everything old is new again: the Enterprise never looked better. You get to see how Kirk could fall in love with her at first sight, and you even get to see the moment he does.
You see the shoot-outs and fist-fights you expect in an adventure movie, but, like the original ST, they usually are the least exciting types of conflicts. The inner conflicts (logic vs. emotion, self-pity vs. boldness), and the intraship conflicts (Kirk Vs. Spock vs. Bones), are where the real action is.
You understand Spock's decision to enter the Academy, as one word - "disadvantage" - makes you see why he makes the choice he does. As soon as that word is spoken, it's the decision you want him to make.
You understand what drives Kirk more than you ever did. Born on a battlefield, drowning in a bottle, one word - "challenge" - helps him make his choice. The recurring motif of him holding onto the edge of a precipice, and climbing his way out of it, shows the essence of his struggle and his persistence of his character.
You see Spock and Kirk as twin sons of separate mothers. Both lose a parent in a terrorist's attack; both struggle to be someone they are not. Neither becomes the person they want or expect to be, but they are each forced to recognize and confront that which has kept them from becoming a better person.
And you are reminded that time is a bit fluid: the future is whatever we choose to make it, both individually and as a species. Destiny is a future to be made, not a pre-ordained fate to follow. That said, it felt like a punch to the gut when Spock said "I find myself to be a member of an endangered species." That may seem to be our destiny as well, but it doesn't have to be our fate. We can still climb out of the precipice we find ourselves on the edge of. It will not be easy, but ST rekindles the hope that we can survive, and gives us a glimpse at the wonder that awaits us if we boldly choose to do so.
* * *
So we loved the movie, but we also experienced a bit of the ST phenomena afterwards. My wife's parents, who dislike Sci-Fi in general and ST in particular, loved the movie. They couldn't stop raving about it when we talked to them, I think they enjoyed it even more than we did! It was the first good family moment we've had since just before the election, when we had some really bad moments discussing politics. I think ST shows the future we all want, even if we disagree on how to get there and what our chances are. At least I have that hope again.
* * *
We do have a question that you, as an insider, might be able to answer. That admiral's beagle that Scotty "lost" - was its name Porthos and was the admiral named Archer? We hoped so - we never liked ST:Enterprise and its little dog too.
* * *
We loved seeing the Enterprise rising out of Titan's atmosphere with Saturn's grand rings in the background (the backdrop was an actual Cassinin image, wasn't it?). We had hoped that when the prequel TV series ST:Enterprise would start with the exploration of our solar system. Even if humans had gone to some of the closer planets (Mars, Venus) before warp drive was invented, all of the known planets would have become immediately accessible with the advent of warp drive and radiation shielding. We now know enough about our solar system to tell realistic stories on the majority of the worlds within, but there is still a lot of mystery and wonder he in our own backyard.
msabb (May 10, 2009 at 8:30 PM):
I agree with wow. I too have been a fan since the 60's when I used to go to my grandfather's house to watch it with him on his COLOR TV. I really liked the film and found that it rang true with the original in obvious and subtle ways. I agree with a comment I read elsewhere. This is the Casino Royale of Star Trek. By the way, new films are less than $4 here in Bangkok for fantastic theaters.
Milka (May 10, 2009 at 4:51 AM):
I enjoyed the film very much. I´ve been a Star trek fan for many years and I have to say: Great job, Mr. Abrams and everybody in his team. Great job the Ciclops team. Thank you.
Nad for those who hasn´t seen it yet: Go and see it!
Jay55 (May 10, 2009 at 3:38 AM):
That was so cool seeing Enterprise rise out of the clouds of Titan with Saturn in the background. It must be great Carolyn seeing an idea you suggested manifest itself on the big screen. My family had to wait with me at the end until I saw your name in the credits too. Congratulations, and what a great opportunity for Cassini to be put in the spotlight. You have done so much Carolyn to bring this amazing scientific acheivment to the public eye. I heard somewhere that you were thinking about making an IMAX film showing Cassini images. That has to be on the cards now after this film. And for all the nit-pickers ITS A MOVIE! and certainly one of the best TREK movies ever. I love all the character. The actors reallyl nailed them. Great experience I have to see it again!
mipsandbips (May 9, 2009 at 8:43 PM):
The Saturn scene was great and so was the idea on Titan's atmosphere as a hiding place for the USS Enterprise!
Now we all know that Romulans and red matter don't mix!
Good old spock,"Live long and prosper"
laurabudz (May 9, 2009 at 6:28 PM):
That was AWESOME! The cast really brought out the spirit of the original characters; they all really did a superb job.

Had a big smile on my face when they flew in front of Saturn...

Yea, Spock and Uhura make a good couple!
toomanytribbles (May 9, 2009 at 2:34 PM):
i just came back from the movie -- and i was blown away. i have lots of thoughts i still have to gather together... i hope to put them down tomorrow.

but now, suffice to say that i found myself crying happily in the end, very moved -- and i, too, stayed to see carolyn porco's name in the credits.
carolyn (CICLOPS) (May 9, 2009 at 12:03 PM):
To all Alliance members:

As the official `science consultant' for this film, I would like to respond to the statements and criticisms made elsewhere on the web about the science of this film.

First, I was brought on to answer questions here and there, when the crew had them, but mostly to help with a particular plot/visualization dilemma as posed to me by the director, Abrams: How to hide the Enterprise when it re-enters the solar system, so that the Romulans don't know it's in the vicinity until too late.

It was my suggestion to have it come out of warp drive in the atmosphere of Titan, and rise up through the haze, submarine style, since I knew it could be made into a very dramatic scene. To my delight and astonishment, Abrams thought the idea was `brilliant' and immediately used it. I was expecting to be asked at some point how to get around the obvious problem that any respectable starship, Federation or Romulan, would have no trouble picking up the presence of an alien ship by other than visual means, but I never was. I didn't realize until seeing the final result for the first time myself only last week that they imagined it could be made invisible by the magnetic field of Saturn's rings. Of course, the rings don't have a magnetic field, and even Saturn's is not very strong -- certainly not as strong as Jupiter's -- and I would gladly have informed them of such had I known.

The diminution of the haze in Titan's uppermost atmosphere would be gradual with increasing altitude, but a sharper boundary makes for a more dramatic scene. And while we're nit-picking, there is yet another matter that's not technically right as far as we know: the upper haze would be horizontally uniform, and at some 200 km above the surface you wouldn't see the effects of convection, like the hummocky, clouds that are depicted in the movie.

Finally, in seeing intermediate stages of the Saturn scene, I noted that Titan was too far above the rings, and suggested that the special effects artists at ILM add in the drama of seeing Saturn and its rings in the background by pulling back and far above Titan, with the camera following the Enterprise as it rises. However, I was told that it was too far a camera move to execute and would take more time than they wanted to allot for this scene.

In the end, even I have to remind myself that this is a movie, and movies need to have visual as well as human drama. And not unlike spaceflight missions, they are big projects that must live within other, far more mundane constraints. It would be a great thing if sufficient will, time and resources could be brought to bear in film-making to make all representations of the world, natural or otherwise, precisely accurate. But then, that is asking the impossible: Remember, if you were physically in the Saturn system, it would be as dark as twilight on Earth. So, even putting a representation of Saturn on the screen so that we could see it with ease is already a violation.

Also, this particular movie is based on a well-established set of futuristic capabilities (warp drive, phasers, transporters, etc) that are certainly, at present, physically impossible and are likely not to be available even 200 years from now. So, we can't all joyously accept one collection of impossibilities, and complain bitterly about another.

From my point of view, it was a wonderful thing that Abrams cared enough about getting things right that he asked for the opinions of a scientist. I've encountered others in Hollywood in the past who did't feel any obligation whatsoever to honor the truth, so the heart of this particular production was exactly in the right place. And I felt gratifed, even triumphant, to see some of our spectacular findings at Saturn depicted on the big screen. Remember: Stanley Kubrick put the monolith in the movie `2001' on a moon of Jupiter, instead of on the Saturnian moon Iapetus where it originally belonged, because he couldn't figure out a way to get Saturn's rings looking right. Well, we don't have *that* problem anymore, now do we?

On a different note, I have to say that I have fallen in love with this movie. The special effects have finally risen to a level of sophistication befitting the saga, there are humorous moments that made me laugh so hard I cried, and the new cast has done an outstanding job capturing the essence of each of the original, oh-so-memorable characters.

As one of the fans from way back in 60's, it warms me to know that with the success of this film, we are looking at the possibility of a new dawn in this beloved epic.

Or put another way ... Star Trek lives! And I, for one, am grateful for that.
spock (May 9, 2009 at 7:52 AM):
Fascinating, if I may be so bold, that we have an alternate universe for our alternate Star Trek universe. How apropos to the 21st century- Spock gets the girl! Uhura in the sixties was proud just to be there- a black woman on the bridge. "Today's" Uhura is a fully formed uber competent human being. Things are as they should be. I was choked up at the end. I don't know why.
yosemiterob (May 9, 2009 at 0:41 AM):
Carolyn awesome job you did on advising this movie. I've seen it twice in one day and I must say the science and imagery behind it was spectacular. You should of seen the smile on my face when the Enterprise was flying above Titan in front of Saturn.... BRAVO! Where is the poster and desktop image for computers of that shot? I will be seeing it for a third time this Sunday.
adrew123 (May 8, 2009 at 1:48 PM):
Saw the movie last night and was blown away!! I'm a fan of all the series' and movies. They did a great job with all the characters, keeping them true to the already established personalities etc. The shot of Saturn was spectacular! We waited to see Carolyn's name in the credits! Great job! Can't wait to see it again!
Judisparks (May 8, 2009 at 1:15 PM):
Just came from seeing it an hour or so ago and am still awestruck by my first viewing -- there will be more, that is absolutely for certain. When hubby asked me how it was, the only thing that I could say was "99% perfect."

Incredible scene at Titan/Saturn -- thought of Ciclops briefly when it was on the screen. Should have known that the Ciclops team would have input. Great job!

If you haven't seen it, go. My favorite series is DS9 but this movie is.... wow.
amzolt (May 7, 2009 at 9:43 PM):
Just saw it!!!

I was a fan of Star Trek but not an afficionado. Luckily, I went to the movie with one. He said they resolved having all the original crew on board Enterprise when Kirk took over by introducing time-travel and rewriting history. So, essentially, they could do honor to the old series but begin the saga again on different terms. He also said Paramont is committed to sequels!!

All I know is the movie was a total Blast and the way they ended with that shot of the crew on the bridge (totally mirroring the old series) brought the movie to a completely satisfying conclusion and left me with an insatiable urge to see more, More, MORE !!!
Sunburned Goose (May 7, 2009 at 9:34 PM):
WOW. I was stunned by the rich visuals of the Enterprise within Titan, speaking through the atmosphere, with Saturn in the distance. Great work there everyone!
toomanytribbles (May 7, 2009 at 3:58 PM):
i've got reservations at a huge screen for saturday night. woohooooo!
Red_dragon (May 7, 2009 at 2:33 PM):
:) With the due honours, I salute all the brave crewmen of the starship USS Enterprise. Although I've some trouble with the money I'll try to go to see the movie because of you at CICLOPS; I recognize I love Star Trek TOS -the one I best know-, followed by The Next Generation.

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