The movie's premise makes time travel in the Star Trek universe seem much too easy. We can only assume that that ship was special because it belonged to Christopher Lloyd.
Maybe, but it wasn't without precedent in the series — this was actually the third or fourth time they'd used that method of time travel. Plus it did have its limits, in that it caused huge stress to the ship that was attempting it, and the range was apparently limited to a few centuries in either direction.
Fourth, actually. They did it three times in TOS. Twice on purpose.
The movie does indicate that relatively small miscalculations could have bad effects in timewarp. They risk it here because, well, it is the only plan they manage to come up with.
The dream state is what effectively acts as the ultimate limiter. It only lasts a matter of minutes if you hop back a century or two, but beyond that you could spend days, weeks, or months just laying there asleep.
Time travel in Star Trek IS easy. It's just generally a bad idea.
The time cops in DS9 's "Trials and Tribble-lations" groaned upon hearing that James Kirk was involved with Sisko's story, calling Kirk a 'menace' and was responsible for 17 separate time violations.
I think everyone's taking this one too literally. If he could get a DeLorean up to 88 MPH, of course he could get a Bird of Prey to travel through time.
The line "Damage control is easy. Reading Klingon, that's hard!" is actually a in-joke. The original foundations of the Klingon and Vulcan languages stem from the first Star Trek film. And were actually put together by...James Doohan (Scotty).
When the rest of the crew are splashing around celebrating in San Francisco Bay after the Probe departs, Spock is very noticeably not enjoying himself. He tries to climb as high up on the Bird of Prey's hull as he can, resists the efforts of the others to drag him into the water with them, and lets out a growl of disgust when they finally succeed and he surfaces. On one hand it's funny because Spock is usually The Stoic, and you'd expect him to be reserved and dignified. But then you remember Spock is from Vulcan. Vulcan is a highly-volcanic Single-Biome Planet that's almost entirely covered by mountains and deserts, with only a few small scattered seas. He doesn't like the water because he's from a planet where thanks to modern irrigation technology one could go their entire life and never see open bodies of water. Spock diving into George and Gracie's tank earlier was merely done out of necessity.
The crew all know San Francisco well because they went to Starfleet Academy there, yet Chekov and Uhura have no idea where Alameda is. Alameda was probably either bombed into oblivion during one of Earth's major wars, or sunk due to sea level rise.
While it's great and all that the Planet is saved at the end, eventually, they're going to have to repeat this mission. At best, a humpback can live about a hundred years; if George and Gracie's kid lives that long, the humpback will go back to extinction around Picard's time.
Keep in mind that people in the 24th century seem to have mastered cloning.
The novelization explains that there are samples of humpback whale DNA preserved on Earth, but that without a pre-existing whale to teach the clones how to act like humpback whales, there would be no point. Presumably these samples are used to boost the population to a self-sustaining level.
The whales are also completely alone, with no others of its species. However, according to the Novelization, whales have always had good relations with other marine mammals like dolphins.
If we accept that hump-backed whales are endangered and every single one of them (especially "very pregnant" ones) matter to the survival of the species, then it's quite possible that by taking two away, as well as an expert / activist (who now, without a job, had plenty of time on her hands to work on behalf of the whales), that it's possible Kirk may have inadvertently caused their extinction! Yes I know they were being hunted at the end, but we don't know whether they would have escaped from the whalers...
Would two whales + one baby + one human expert make that much difference though, compared to the dozens/hundreds of whales being slaughtered every year despite efforts to the contrary?
Not to mention the ecological catastrophe(s) of the coming decades in the Trek 'verse; the Eugenics Wars-WWIII.
Imagine being a pilot in one of those little shuttles that you see flying around inside Spacedock as the Probe passes by. Not only are you stuck in a powerless metal box with dwindling air reserves, it's only a matter of time before you collide with part of Spacedock, another shuttle, a starship...
Spock tells McCoy that he cannot discuss what it was like being dead unless the other person in the conversation has a similar frame of reference, i.e. has been dead themselves. Everyone seems to be forgetting that 2 members of the crew have been dead before: McCoy died on the Shore Leave planet, and Scotty was killed by the Nomad probe!
Except that the manner of Spock's death; the transfer and re-insertion of his Katra into a rejuvenated body is a kind of death-resurrection experience that only a Vulcan can possibly have.
Should Spock know how it feels to be dead at all? Forgive the flimsy computer analogy, but Spock uploaded his katra into McCoy's brain before his sacrifice, so if he remembers anything between that and the point his katra was downloaded back into his body, it should be memories he shares with Bones. Spock's body went through a second infancy, so it seems like the body wouldn't have retained any memories of the event—though to be fair, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Vulcans can recall their infancy with perfect clarity—so, if anything, Spock should be able to describe his experience to McCoy because they have the exact same frame of reference for the event.
Chekov left his phaser, communicator, and identification onboard the USS Enterprise... that is, the "nuclear wessel".
Chekov's phaser didn't work, the identification was laughed off as a fake, and the communicator useless to anyone without 23rd Century or later communicators to talk to. They were most likely tossed aside as useless props owned by a Commie agent. Conversely, given the Stable Time Loop that seems to happen with Scotty giving away transparent aluminum, the tech from Chekov's "props" could be used to found the technology Cochrane would need to build his warp drive.
Clarified in the novelization, where Chekov grabbed his things before leaving the ship, and threw them into the water before he was captured again.
And good thing, too, as The Original Series establishes that communicators are not useless without another communicator near — or more accurately, you can't use them as a tool, but you can reverse-engineer certain basic 23d century Federation technologies from them (even from a less developed starting point then that of the 1980s-era USA).
Wait a minute, during this timeframe, would Federation communicators even work with a Klingon ship? They were at war with each other. Or are they powerful enough transmitters to not require a ship or satellite relay? The movie mentions replacing the food packs, not rebuilding the communication system.
They're actually using Klingon communicators. Slightly redesigned between movies, but if you look they've got the Electric shaver looking mouthpieces Kruge and his crew used instead of the usual Starfleet flip open communicators. Presumably the Bird of Prey had several in its supplies and they just used those.
Kirk tells Gillian that she might have a chance at a longer life if she stayed on Earth, rather than travel to the future in a spaceship that might not make it in one piece. In the Trek universe, the Eugenics Wars started in 1992. She's probably damn lucky she went forward in time.
Not necessarily. An episode from Voyager had the crew time travel to the 1990s U.S. and it seemed to be pretty okay. It's implied, but not shown that the Eugenics Wars were largely confined to Asia and Africa.
So what happened to Maltz from Star Trek III? Surely if the Federation sent a ship to pick up a Klingon prisoner, they would have picked up Kirk and company as well. Did Maltz spend the entirety of Star Trek IV in the bird-of-prey's brig?
Dropped him off in a Vulcan prison, or at the Klingon embassy on Vulcan, most likely.
Given the Klingon mentality it doesn't seem likely that Klingon birds-of-prey would be equipped with dedicated holding cells—Maltz might have spent time in some sort of high-security closet.
Maybe they left him on Vulcan.
The film mentions that Sarek's diplomatic powers are what's keeping the Federation from just arresting Kirk and company. Odds are he wouldn't have been inclined to offer Maltz the same protection.
One storyline of the movie before Eddie Murphy left the project had Maltz escape into 20th Century earth while Kirk and crew are off to find some whales. Murphy would have run into him, thereby bringing him into the story.
The guy at the factory said that they could build the whale tank with six inch thick plexiglass. And, what many people seem to overlook is that that's exactly what they did do. They traded the Transparent Aluminum formula for the materials they needed. They only had $100 in cash to begin with after all, so they bartered with information.
And while we're at it, it's not like it's a major issue with the timeline, either. Sulu commented that they were 'a number of years too early' when Scotty thought of using transparent aluminum, and Dr. Nichols himself said 'it'd take years just to figure out the dynamics of this matrix,' in reference to the information Scotty gave him. It seems that this and other elements of this movie were the 'correct' course of events, forming a Stable Time Loop.
Since its now been established that its perfectly fine to take a 20th Century person back to the 23rd....might there be some OTHER reason Spock insisted so strongly "Edith Keeler MUST die"?
Edith Keeler was from the 1930s, where the most advanced technology was nowhere near space travel or time travel. Her entire life was devoted to caring for the men that came into the shelter. Gillian was from the 1980s, which would be a slightly easier transition culturally. Her entire life was given over to caring for George and Gracie. Besides, who's to say that the Guardian would have let them bring back Edith Keeler? (And yes, I got the Ho Yay implications of your post. I'm just not a Kirk/Spock shipper.)
The Federation has established rules for dealing with time travel and people stranded thereby. One of them is that people from the past who come forward in time need to stay forward in time unless their absence in the past causes catastrophic consequences. Edith Keeler just "disappearing" rather than dying might have had greater consequences than some whale biologist who was already a bit of an overemotional flake (what? she is) disappearing.
The thing to consider is not just that the person in question is dead/missing but how the people who knew them react and how that will affect them and the people who know them. Sometimes it makes no relevant difference, other times the changes are more obvious. If Gillain wasn't particularly social then her disappearance will cause minimal change.
The Guardian in The City on the Edge of Forever didn't appear to have, or give, an option to bring someone back who hadn't gone through. It automatically brought back McCoy, Spock, and Kirk once Keeler's death restored the timeline. So, to save Edith Keeler, they'd have to do another warp jump and beam her out, preferably when no one was watching. (And then cause a minor time ripple about a missing woman who is never found...)
Speaking of time travel and a missing woman who is never found, one might feel sorry for Gillian's boss. We know that she decided to go forward in time with Kirk so that she could teach people about whales and lived happily ever after. All he knows is that he made the decision to send the whales off early in hopes of making the parting easier on her... and she screamed at him, slapped him, stormed off, and drove away. Her empty truck was found in Golden Gate Park and her body was never recovered.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is famously the only Trek movie to have no body count. . .so don't think too hard about just how badly that probe was fucking with Earth's weather.
And it couldn't have been great for pacemakers.
Did you not pay attention to all the ranting during the medical scenes? The very concept of a pacemaker in the 23rd century would have made Bones hit the roof.
It was meant facetiously. I was trying to communicate the idea that a catastrophic power outage on a planet that is so heavily dependent on technology probably caused some deaths.
That would depend. With such advanced technology they may not have people who are dependent on constant care anymore so it would simply be a matter of if anyone was mortally wounded during that period.
Even Captain Picard has an artificial heart.
The headlines that day read, "Catastrophic Power Loss Worldwide" with the subtitle "Every Hovercraft And Aircraft Luckily In For Repairs."
Anyone else out there think that the old woman in the hospital is in for a lifetime of tests and probes as the medical establishment tries to figure out how she grew a new kidney (and how they can replicate the miracle).
Only if she wants to be. Voluntary and Informed consent is pretty important.
In America perhaps. However bear in mind that the Middle East is a scant few years away from the eugenics wars. What if someone thinks that spontaneously generating organs might be very useful for their augmented army? We do know from Star Trek Into Darkness that Khan has incredible levels of regeneration which the Prime augments should logically also possess as they were engineered before Nero's incursion. Who knows how the team working on the augments developed that technology? A trace residue from a miracle drug from the future perhaps? And heck, its not even as if the America of the Star Trek universe is that squeaky clean anyway considering that the Bill Gates of this world is Henry Starling - AKA the guy who lives to make money ripping off the future and is perfectly willing to lie, kidnap and murder in the process.
Considering all the crap we've put in the ocean, and that the whales' endangerment is kinda our fault, why would George and Gracie talking to the probe make things any better? "Well, they hunted us, caused all kinds of pollution, and apparently have driven us totally to extinction 'cause they had to go back in time and kidnap us to have someone to talk to you. Other than that, we're fine." Once whoever sent the probe found out to what happened to their pals, a Roaring Rampage of Revenge seems in order, especially when they realized all they had to do to accomplish it was leave the probe running. If anything, it'd be an ironic punishment. "See what happens when you carelessly put your crap in environment someone's kinda using? Suck on that, ape-boys!"
They seemed to get along decently with Spock during his mental discussion with them (they informed him Gracie was pregnant, after all), so evidently these particular humpback whales aren't all that angry with human-seeming people. Also, George and Gracie likely wouldn't have the full image of just how poorly humans were treating their species, seeing as they'd spend so much of their life in captivity (rather than being out hunted in the polluted waters alongside their gradually-driven-to-extinction kin).
Spock *asked* the whales to help and they said yes (I take issue with you saying "kidnapped"). Why would they have lied to him? Of course if the whales said no, Kirk might have taken them anyway and caused the scenario you mentioned, but that didn't come up.
Plus maybe the whales don't think punishing billions of innocent people (plus possibly lots of other animals as well) isn't a smart idea.
The Extended Universe novel Probe actually dealt with this. Short version: the Probe's programming didn't cover what to do in cases where the aliens it was trying to contact weren't there but then all of a sudden two of them were. It decided to leave Earth alone for now but come back in a few years to see how the situation had progressed (in the meanwhile, the Enterprise crew managed to make contact with the Probe and convince it humanity and the Federation were okay).
When the whales and their surrounding water are beamed aboard into the containment tank...where did the oxygen in the tank go?
The same place the air in the transporter room goes when someone beams in. Presumably the transporter creates a forcefield that starts in the middle and expands to form a cylinder the size of the incoming cylinder. The missing air is replaced by the air being beamed aboard with the traveler.
How did the probe ever expect to hear the whales from space? (Then, how did it hear them?)
Presumably the same way any space ship in ST does. They scan the ocean for high-pitched tones (whale song).
The 23rd century has tricorders that scan many signals/frequencies/what-have-you from large distances, and the Probe is definitely many centuries ahead of them in power + sophistication... no doubt it just picks up their songs as signals, which can easily be picked up across space (no need for 'hearing' as we understand it). Apparently they weren't in any hurry though, with that same Probe merely traveling at impulse speeds.
Signals/frequencies are still electromagnetic waves and even at that they can't travel indefinitely through interstellar space as other radiation sources will interfere eventually. Whale singing is sound. Sound requires a medium (water, air) to travel through and the signal rapidly gets weaker the further from the source. Wind and even other animals swimming would dissipate the sound waves of whales singing quickly Unless there's a subspace transmitter or wormhole in the oceans, it wouldn't work
Why didn't Kirk transmit the alien probe's message to the whales from the 21st century, record their response, and then take their response back to the 23rd century and transmit it to the probe? Why did they need to bring the whales back at all? It can't be for conservation/repopulation reasons, because even the most basic biology student could tell Kirk about the concept of a genetic bottleneck.
OK, so he goes back and records the whales' response to the probe. Then the probe asks a follow-up question. What then?
Also, the probe knocks out primary power and propulsion to any ship. There's no guarantee that the Bird of Prey could have played the message.
Spock explains that the Universal Translator can't understand whale song, and like mentioned above, there's going to be more than 1 question the probe has when the whales answer. They need a native speaker to tell the probe to screw off, so they bring back 2 in hopes of repopulating whales to prevent this from happening again.
Kirk also tells Gillian that he wants the whales to "repopulate the species." Granted, that's pretty obviously him dodging a much longer and scarier story, but there's also the fact that some incredibly advanced alien race sent this probe specifically to talk to humpback whales, so even if cheating it with a recording would work, it would probably only be a temporary solution. Kirk has the opportunity to bring a species back from extinction, and apparently a sapient species at that. He's not going to turn that down (see above for possibilities how the whales could survive as a species in the 23rd Century).