Star Trek is iconic for many things, but its futuristic technology is what wowed and inspired many a viewer.
Bearing in mind that the franchise is 55 years old, some of that tech from the future is already here. So, let’s take a seat on the bridge of the Enterprise and have a delve through the computer’s logs.
What’s been and gone
Let’s delve into the futuristic tech that is within touching grasp of our fingertips. Believe it or not, a warp drive could be coming our way soon. Perhaps not as quick as Picard heading off to engage with the Borg, but still. There are exciting rumblings coming from NASA regarding their EmDrive technology. Although this isn’t ‘exactly’ warp drive, it could lead to super-fast interplanetary travel. Which could then lead to warp drive. So come on NASA, make it so.
Next up, the trusty food replicator. Ever ready to present Jean-Luc with his ‘Tea, Earl Grey, Hot’, the replicator was a staple part of Star Trek. Although there isn’t yet a way to magic up cups of tea, we are close. We have 3D printers. They can print complex three-dimensional objects, so maybe in time, we’ll get an instant Early Grey cup of tea.
Another regular element of ships on Star Trek (and other sci-fi shows), is the tractor beam. Used for a variety of reasons, it was most commonly used to help tow stranded ships to safety. Now, bear with me. We don’t have to ability to use tractor beams to pull large objects along, but there is something similar. Albeit on a smaller scale. Optical tweezers work by holding and moving microscopic objects with two lasers. So, it’s not moving shuttle craft around space, but it’s a start. And who knows where that technology could lead in a few years?
Beam me up, Scotty…
How many of you have wished you could get instantly teleported to where you need to go? Maybe it’s being stuck in a traffic jam and late for work? Or maybe you’re at a social event stuck talking to the worlds most boring person. We’ve all wished there was a metaphorical Scotty to beam us out of a situation. Well, real-life transporters to move human beings are some way off. But there is a glimmer of hope. This all comes down to quantum mechanics. Back in 2015, scientists managed to transport photons across 63 miles of fibre optics. This was a big jump on what was achieved previously, so opens the door to more advancements in the coming years. Good old science.
Tricorders were a doctor’s best friend through Star Trek. They gave them the ability to find out what’s wrong by a quick scan over the body. It was also able to mend minor wounds. ‘Bones’ McCoy certainly enjoyed using it. There was a competition launched in 2014 for companies to create a Tricorder type device. It should be able to detect certain conditions. Although it won’t have the abilities that the fictional device had, it’s still exciting stuff.
One of the coolest things from the Star Trek universe was the cloaking device used by Klingon ships. It enabled them to go undetected from scans until they decloaked. How far off are we from having real-life cloaking devices? Maybe not as far off as you think. Scientists have created cloaking with a small assortment of electronic devices (metamaterials). They managed to change the reflection and refraction of light that we’re used to. This is cool as it opens the door for newer metamaterials to possibly give new effects. Although according to NASA, invisibility cloaking is still a way off.
Full speed ahead
There were many times where Captain Kirk ordered for full impulse power from Mr Sulu. The fictional impulse engines were based on fusion reactions, as opposed to the chemical reactions of real ones. We don’t have impulse power just yet, but they are a real possibility of future engineering. In recent years, ion drive engines have been used by various space agencies to propel probes to asteroids and comets. They’re much more efficient than chemical rockets and were mentioned a few times in Star Trek. Although electric cars are the imminent future, imagine being propelled down a highway with an ion thruster behind you?
One of the more science-focused elements of Star Trek was the matter and antimatter generation. It was one of the most efficient types of power sources for ships. Antimatter has been created in microscopic quantities, but not enough for power generation. Certainly not enough to power anything that resembles a starship.
Who knows what the future will bring, but advancements in science certainly give us optimism that the future just might be Star Trek.
That’s our list of Star Trek tech that’s almost here. What would you most like to see come to life from the shows? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out what we can expect from Star Trek: Strange New Worlds HERE.
No Time To Die – Review
No Time To Die is the 25th instalment in the official James Bond series. It’s the VERY long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Spectre. The 6-year gap between the two films is only matched by the same gap between Timothy Dalton’s last outing in 1989’s Licence To Kill and Pierce Brosnan’s debut in 1995’s Goldeneye. Here’s our review of No Time To Die.
SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the film, but if not there are spoilers ahead.
Of course, there are mitigating factors in that enormous gap. Namely COVID. Which made No Time To Die the first major film to delay its release due to the pandemic. Although, this film has had a difficult gestation irrespective of the global situation in the last 18 months. As soon as Spectre was released the speculation over Daniel Craig’s future in the role began. With him initially suggesting he would rather slash his own wrists than play the iconic spy again. He did a mea culpa on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show in August 2017, where he confirmed he would appear as Bond for a fifth and final time. The original director and writer, Danny Boyle and John Hodge, left the project a year later over creative differences. Cory Joji Fukunaga took over as director. While Bond script veterans Robert Wade and Neil Purvis took charge of the screenplay – with a sprinkling of magic from Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Originally slated for release in April 2020, at long last, we finally get to see Daniel Craig’s denouement as 007. His portrayal of Bond has been very much in keeping with the character of Ian Fleming’s original novels. His performances have certainly followed the dramatic lineage of Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton. Rather than the lighter portrayals by Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. Yet his Bond has displayed a vulnerability only really demonstrated with any plausibility by George Lazenby in his solitary outing as 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The deference to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is presented in stark relief throughout this 2h43min epic. Making this the longest Bond film in the series. As this was the first film I’ve seen at the cinema since before the pandemic, I was already excited before I even sat down. As a massive James Bond fan as well, I was close to apoplexy! I felt a tangible shiver go down my spine as the iconic gun barrel sequence appeared before we see James cruising around Italy in the classic DB5 with Madeleine Swann at his side. This anticipation was clearly felt by other cinema-goers. They have made No Time To Die break the UK box office record for the biggest opening weekend. It took almost £26m, breaking the record previously held by Skyfall.
I’m not going to spoil the plot for those who’ve not seen it. I had made a conscious decision to avoid spoilers before I went.
A step up?
This film is another shot in the arm for those who see Craig as the definitive Bond. This was aided by a refocusing of the Bond canon after the main tropes of the series were stretched to breaking point by the invisible cars and melting ice palaces of Die Another Day. And then stretched still further by Madonna’s cameo as a fencing instructor. Daniel Craig was given leeway to truly regenerate James Bond for the 21st Century. The stripped-back nature of Casino Royale, without most of the supporting characters that have been a staple of the series like Q and Moneypenny. Gave him licence (pardon the pun) to explore the deepest and darkest recesses of the Bond psyche. Some well-drawn female leads and villains really allowed Craig’s Bond to spar with them with depth and genuine emotion.
That exploration continues and grows in No Time To Die. We get to see an ageing, truly world-weary Bond, whose past he appears unable to escape. This leaves him in a state of almost constant angst. Paradoxically though, we also see him truly relaxed at times. In a way I can’t recall ever seeing James Bond in any of his previous cinematic outings.
The issue with that exploration is that a number of characters then have their screen time cut. Moneypenny is reduced to little more than a cameo. And Remi Malek’s Safin is almost secondary as he features in the opening moments as his story is told, but then disappears for what seemed like an eternity. He of course reappears but he almost seems a mild irritation within the plot and merely a conduit to allow us to see the climax of Daniel Craig’s Bond era. It’s a disappointing underuse of a terrific actor. One with a captivating screen presence, who could have been one of the most menacing Bond villains of all time. That said, the influence of his dastardly but highly sophisticated plan is felt by all of the main protagonists. Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld continues to wreak his havoc with malevolent glee from his cell. He again revels in the chaos of his twisted sibling rivalry with Bond.
Lea Seydoux is wonderful again as Dr Madeleine Swann, picking up where she left off in Spectre and giving Bond as good as he gets in every way imaginable.
There are new characters who definitely cut through. Ana De Armas is utterly charming in her relatively brief time on-screen as Paloma, while Lashana Lynch takes no nonsense from Bond as Nomi. She also gives us a potential indicator as to the future direction of the franchise. Which has been the subject of much discussion in all quarters. That debate has even made its way into the political sphere with even Boris Johnson weighing in on what gender the next actor to play 007 should be.
Hans Zimmer’s score is classic Hans Zimmer, adding power and bombast to the usual mix of stunning scenery and brilliantly choreographed stunts. He brilliantly weaves nods to previous entries in the Bond musical tapestry throughout his score. While his cues are always thunderous, they never overpower the action on screen, but do add a sonic rumble that I don’t think has been heard in a Bond score for quite some time. I found Fukunaga’s direction a bit mixed, with some of the cinematography unnecessarily showy. Some of the tracking shots almost gave me motion sickness while some (admittedly beautifully composed) shots of the scenery seemed to have made the edit purely so as whoever the drone operator was could demonstrate their skills.
The film is much too long, although at no point did I check my watch. It’s not that any of the plot points are superfluous, more that the pacing is a little slow in places. Some of the dialogue feels cliched and clunky, making what is a great story feel a tad generic. Which doesn’t do anyone justice. However, there were some excellent jokes, and I laughed out loud several times. You don’t have to be a 007 super fan to get some of the self-referential humour that they seem to enjoy sprinkling throughout the film.
Billie Eilish’s theme song is a worthy addition to the collection and certainly sits comfortably within the top half of the ‘Bond Theme Chart’. It’s definitely more memorable and evocative than Sam Smith’s ‘Writing On The Wall’ for Spectre. Her voice trembles at times as you can almost feel she recognises the significance of singing the theme for Daniel Craig’s final appearance in the franchise.
It was also very pleasing to see that this film has moved with the times and reflects the world of 2021 with its portrayal of women. Every single female character had a genuine purpose and important role within the plot. While of course, the female actors playing those roles are all irrefutably glamorous and attractive. There was genuine respect and no objectification of women.
I came out of the screening with mixed emotions. Glad to be back in the cinema on one hand, sad that Daniel Craig’s stint ordering Martini’s was over on the other. I was pleased that such a good climax had been created to bring this era of Bond to a close, and all its story arcs had been brought to conclusions. I’m also excited and apprehensive in equal measure for the future of such an iconic film series. But I was disappointed with some of the characters not getting the necessary screen-time to truly develop their characters. Surprisingly, I was almost tearful at the final few moments, especially as the credits rolled.
Overall, this is a loving homage to the James Bond series, past and present. It’s a solid if unspectacular film in its own right, but the performances of Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux, as well as the Bond history it wraps itself in, elevate it beyond that.
It’s not Craig’s best Bond film, as Skyfall is almost untouchable in my opinion, but it does bring closure to his tenure in the tuxedo in a manner that should please Bond fans across the board. It also tantalises us as to what the 6th age of Bond will look like. Let the intense speculation begin!
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 7/10
Thank you for reading our review of James Bond No Time To Die. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Check out who we think could be the next James Bond and why HERE.
Read IMDB information about No Time To Die HERE.
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