I’m going to get very nerdy, now.
I don’t want to. I don’t like getting this nitpicky and nerdy, but it’s an automatic state brought on by dumb ass $h!t and laziness. And Star Trek Into Darkness had both. I’m blaming Damon Lindelof.
Let’s get this out of the way: ST Into Darkness is fine as a garden-variety action flick. It was pretty. It had great action sequences. It just wasn’t a Star Trek movie. Star Trek movies have three things: sense, heart, and exploration. This had none of those.
I will also say that I liked Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan, even though his name made no sense in conjunction with his ethnicity. He was really threatening. I can buy that guy conquering 1/4 of Earth’s population. I could also listen to that guy reading the ingredients list off a can of cat food. His voice is hot.
Also, Uhura confronting a gaggle of angry Klingons by herself? Bad ass.
Let’s get on with the dumb ass things that don’t make sense. I’m calling these the movie’s Damon Lindelofs. (I don’t know if he was directly responsible, but he writes stupid, lazy science fiction, so he’s my scapegoat. Sorry.)
Damon Lindelof #1: Nibiru
What the hell was this sequence even for? We never go back there. The Prime Directive had no other part in the story. There was no corresponding role reversal where Spock had to decide to violate protocol and save Kirk. It wasn’t about Kirk proving his ability because, after getting demoted, he was immediately reinstated and given back the Enterprise. I can only think that the Nibiru sequence was solely about establishing characters: Kirk goes by his gut, Spock is by the book, Bones is a cautionary worrywart, Scotty is a gear head, and Uhura is…..there.
All of these things are shown again later and in context of the actual story, rendering this whole bit redundant.
Oh, and a bunch of primitive people worshipping an image of the Enterprise? I immediately thought, “That’s how Abrams & Co. see existing fans….” Real nice, guys. Fcuk you.
Damon Lindelof #2: Windows
In an emergency, Starfleet Command assembles……in a room full of windows? Shouldn’t that be underground or, at the very least, in a windowless room? Am I the only one with any common sense in the future? Apparently not, because, in ST6, Starfleet Command assembled in a room without windows.
Damon Lindelof #3: Spock
In “Space Seed”, Spock was able to piece together Khan’s identity with knowledge and research. He may not have been able to pinpoint Khan exactly, but he figured out that the Botany Bay’s cryo-crew were Earth’s missing, genetically engineered despots from centuries earlier and, thusly, bad news.
In ST Into Darkness, Spock just calls up Old Spock, who’s like Wikipedia, now. He has all the answers.
And you can’t just say, “ALTERNATE TIMELINE!” as a defense of this. It was made very clear in ST 2009 that the timelines split when Nero arrived. That part of Earth’s history – the part featuring Khan & Friends – would’ve been exactly the same. Spock, or someone else, should’ve been able to piece it together off screen. Christ, these people are supposed to be smart.
If I Only Had A Heart
Now, let’s get to the heart. Or lack thereof.
What I liked so much about this alternate timeline device was that it made these characters new and different and gave me the chance to discover these characters as new people. A Kirk who grew up without a dad? I don’t know that guy. A Spock who witnessed his mom’s death, saw his planet destroyed, and has a girlfriend in Uhura? I definitely don’t know that guy.
I want to know them. I want to spend time with them and witness their development so that, when one does die, I genuinely feel something. I shouldn’t have to be told that I should be feeling something just because Spock is screaming, “KHAAAN!” (Which was fcuking stupid).
Yet, ST Into Darkness carried on as if I had the same emotional connection I’d had with the original timeline characters for Wrath of Khan. I don’t and I can’t with this bunch. Not yet. They haven’t had the development. It also carried on as if these people had the same connection to one another. They don’t and they can’t. Not yet. They haven’t had the time together.
I Want More Than A Checklist
The most offensive thing about ST Into Darkness was that it felt like a checklist. It felt like JJ Abrams had a list of fan service items made up of stuff from ST 2009 and ST in general, and he was checking them off:
- We’re doing the space jump again.
- There’s the Enterprise rising up through a gaseous cloud again.
- Here’s Leonard Nimoy. Are we seriously not ready to cut those apron strings?
- Prime Directive
- Intro to Klingons
I can’t claim to know every Trekkie ever. I can say that the Trekkies I do know aren’t interested in this fan service $h!t. We tend to be interested in Star Trek because it shows us a better humanity, because it takes us places where no one has gone before.
See Ya, JJ
And that’s why I glad JJ Abrams isn’t coming back. JJ Abrams was the guy to break us out of our canon rut and show us the possibilities of a new Star Trek for a new millennium. But, like a new fling in a new town, his usefulness here is limited. He was great for getting us started. He’s terrible for anything else. Moving forward, we need a visionary who loves the source material (without being imprisoned by it) to show us a story we’ve never seen.