I’m sure you all know that the teaser for J.J. Abrams’ new Star Trek movie unspooled before Cloverfield and is now available online right ovah heah. And while it is short, it’s completely effective in stoking the kind of geek awe one needs in order to resuscitate this flagging franchise. After all, love him or hate him, the stoking is one of the things Abrams is best at. (Witness this other site, which offers "security cam" footage of those same workers building the Enterprise.)
But aside from the awesomeness of watching the construction of the ol’ NCC-1701, this teaser did raise one big geek question for me: Why would anyone build a starship on Earth itself? Because that’s what those welders are doing. I get that it’s a cooler image, seeing the grimy faces of the workers as the sparks reflect off their safety goggles — as opposed to dudes floating around in space suits. But it just doesn’t make any sense. If a vessel is never going to operate inside the gravity well of a planetary body, then why subject it to the stresses of that same gravity well during construction? And isn’t it easier to maneuver the raw materials in a weightless atmosphere? One dude, all by himself, could slide a warp nacelle into position if he was in zero-g orbit. You’d need massive, massive machinery to do the same thing on Earth. Besides, according to Star Trek lore, Starfleet built the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards — in orbit around Mars — expressly for ship construction. Because Starfleet ain’t stupid.
Writer-producer Roberto Orci attempts to explain away some of these issues, but I’m not even remotely convinced. What about you? Do you buy it? Or do you not particularly care?
Okay, I’m closing the geek hailing frequencies now. Carry on.