Trekking to Titan


Titan Steals The Scene
Titan Steals The Scene

For any of you who’ve seen the new Star Trek film by director J.J. Abrams, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who haven’t (yet), there’s a few spoilers here so…read at your own risk 🙂


I’m not the biggest fan of Star Trek, there being so many more people much more so than I would ever claim to be, but I do enjoy the storyline and the original series and characters a lot. I went into the theater on Sunday afternoon expected to be entertained for a couple of hours by a visually enjoyable but most likely forgettable movie…..hey, it IS May, after all….but I have to say, it was not only visually enjoyable but also one of the best Star Trek films I’ve ever seen. Really. I mean, sure they changed the actors playing Kirk, Spock, Bones, et al…..kinda have to…..and sure they “altered” some canonical events (with due explanation, of course), and sure the Enterprise got a face-lift (and some serious firepower too!) but it all really came together well. The direction was solid, the acting was good, the lighting and sound effects were superb….man, those “bang” sounds when the ships went into warp just hit you in the chest (look for a theater with digital sound, please) and there was a very nice merging of the science, the story and the people in it. I was duly impressed.

Oh, and of course, there was Titan.

Thanks to Carolyn Porco, the director of the Cassini Imaging Team, being on hand as the science advisor for the film (woot!) Titan got to play a major role – if briefly – in the success of the Enterprise’s mission. I was aware that something involving the latest information from the Cassini mission was going to be part of the film, so when the Enterprise rose up from the clouds of Saturn’s largest moon after having warped into its clouds in an attempt to hide from the Romulans orbiting Earth….well, let’s say it was just glorious. I gave an audible “heh!” in the crowded theater. Just me.

So they all thought I was either nuts or just a giant geek. So what. (Guilty on both counts, btw.)

Anyway, great idea Carolyn, and very cool scene as well. Yes yes, the camera’s angle was off related to Saturn’s rings in the background, and the clouds wouldn’t really have been all poofy like they were, and the light was too bright for where Saturn is in orbit around the sun, etc etc….you can pick apart sci-fi all day long (and for some reason people do) but what it all came down to was a beautiful scene in an awesome movie about some of the best characters the science fiction genre has ever had. Add a little imagination from your seat and you can enjoy it the way it’s supposed to be. I did.

The image above is a true color calibration by Gordan Ugarkovic, showing an increased-contrast view of the atmosphere and haze above Titan’s north pole. This is more what the Enterprise would have been rising through, were the science 100% accurate (regardless that the rest of it isn’t). Both versions are amazing to look at.

So try to get to see the film while it’s in theaters. It’s worth it. Abrams did a wonderful job on it, as did the cast and everyone involved in its design and creation. It really is a new Star Trek for the ages, and opens up a whole new future for the franchise. I’m eager to see what’s next.

Check out the trailer below:

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