Friday, 4 November 2016

Questioning Star Trek.

I watched Star Trek: Nemesis tonight. (Note that I am catching up. This film was made only fourteen years ago.) It raised a few questions.

The first is the one that’s been asked many times: Why do the Romulans, who live in a far galaxy many light years away, speak English with an American accent? ‘Ah,’ you might say, ‘they don’t. You have to suspend disbelief and accept that it’s only presented that way so as to avoid having to invent a different language and use subtitles.’ ‘Oh right,’ I would respond, ‘but there’s a scene in which a Romulan commander is talking to Jean-Luc through his big TV screen, and she’s definitely lip synching with an American accent.’

Second question: Why does the Romulan rebel, Shinzon, speak with a British accent? ‘That’s simple,’ you would reply. ‘It’s because he’s a clone of Jean-Luc Picard. Jean-Luc speaks with a British accent, so his clone would speak the same way.’ No, he wouldn’t. If he’s been brought up in Romulan culture he would speak with a proper American accent like all the other Romulans.

Third question: Why does Jean-Luc speak with a British accent anyway? His name is definitely French, and I seem to recall there being a ST film in which he goes back to his family’s vineyards in France. So why doesn’t he speak with a French accent? Better still, why didn’t they just cast Gerard Depardieu in the role, so when Geordie says ‘All the shields are down Captain, we have no photon torpedoes left, there are seventeen Romulan warbirds closing in for the kill, and we’ve run out of cornflakes. What do we do?’, Jean-Luc could just do a massive Gallic shrug and everything would make sense.

And hasn’t anybody noticed the obvious reference to Arthurian legend in the relationship between Jean-Luc and Shinzon? It was obvious enough when the father/son-style hostility first appeared, and was later confirmed when Jean-Luc despatched his young clone by shoving a big pointed stick through his chest. It was lifted directly from the scene in Excalibur in which King Arthur dispatches Mordred in exactly the same way.

But now I’m becoming serious. Time to stop.

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