Star Trek Into Darkness: Spoilers and Shit Below This Fold, So Watch Out

I’m gonna leave a gigantic wall space here since i don’t want to spoil anybody, but I really can’t talk about this movie — and how it is the absolute perfect model of commercial fanservice in 2013 — without them. So here we go.

NO SERIOUSLY SPOILERS BELOW THIS FOLD

OK, so let’s talk about this movie.

It is astonishing the level of effort that went into ensuring that Star Trek Into Darkness is the inverse function of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

It’s pretty clear that the Kurtzman/Orci/Abrams crew is a big fan of Wrath. So is, like, every nerd born since the mid-’70s, if not earlier. That’s cool. There were a lot of clever references in the first flick — the Kobayashi Maru, the earworms, etc. It was a reinvigorating take on a franchise that basically everyone had given up on, returning it to its roots while capturing a whole new generation. That shit ain’t common to pull off. It made tons of bank, and everybody was happy.

But Jesus, guys.

It’s one thing when you introduce Dr. Carol Marcus from Wrath of Khan to the sequel – okay, we get it, you dig that movie. That’s nice! We all do, too, we’ve all seen it, it’s nice that’s respected, okay. And you’ve got a new svelte brunette villain with a funny accent, okay, we all know he’s probably going to be Khan circa the original episode, nice.

But then the movie opens with Kirk opining about how he’s too young to be a captain, instead of Wrath of Khan opening with Kirk opining about how he’s too old to be a captain.

Then we have the beginning of Kirk and Marcus’s relationship, instead of its end.

Then we have multiple torpedoes featuring Khan’s crew as a threat of destroying a planet and starting a war, rather than a single torpedo being shot with a terraforming device.

And then Kirk drops the “need of the many” quote at the beginning, and later, sacrifices himself to radiation poisoning, placing his hand against Spock’s on a window, and dying, leading Spock to yell “KHAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!”

And you earnestly wonder to yourself: “what the fuck would anybody think about this movie if they’d just seen the 2009 Star Trek?” Because I’m pretty sure the answer is “that was pretty cool, but why?”

I’ve probably never heard a theatre audience OH SHIT in unison the way they did when Sherlock announced he was Khan, but as much as I enjoyed portions of that flick from there on in, it was hard to divorce myself from the fact that I was being pandered to beyond belief for having seen a movie that was released in 1982. It’s cool that Star Trek claims to be all about exploring strange new worlds and going where no-one has gone before, but I left that movie absolutely shocked by the fact that it didn’t contain a deus ex machina plot device called the Revelations Machine.

It’s fine to throw some easter eggs in for existing fans, but this didn’t take the franchise anywhere new, it was just a replay of a greatest hits collection with the tape on reverse, like the devil was singing the lyrics, but minus the rebellion. I had fun, but c’mon, guys, everyone involved can do better than this. Come up with some new ideas. Explore some new worlds. Don’t just give us the most predictable possible twist on what’s come before.

EDIT: Holy shit I forgot the worst part! What? The? Fuck? was up with that opening sequence with the spearchucking albino tribe in the red forest chasing down Kirk and… was it Bones or Spock or both? I forget. No seriously, how did so many people see that being portrayed as a ‘primitive tribe’ and not go “wait, what the fuck is up with this?” Because I was like straight-up uncomfortable.

 

2 Responses to “Star Trek Into Darkness: Spoilers and Shit Below This Fold, So Watch Out”

  1. Hmmm… I know what you mean – I hate it when shit just becomes a series of “remember when this happened??” moments at the expense of telling any sort of coherent story, but I have almost zero emotional attachment to Trek of any stripe and haven’t watched The Wrath of Khan in probably 20 years. It still held together for me and, honestly, knowing now that it’s played as an inverse Khan makes it, if anything, probably even more impressive.

    I got the Kirk/Spock reversal at the end. Even my memory isn’t that shitty :)

    That Abrams/Orci/Kurtzman have managed to make a summer blockbuster, let alone a Star Trek movie, that’s actually about something – 9/11, American sponsorship of extremists back in the day, the futility of revenge as a driving force for a nation state – was enough for me. That they’ve done that largely by breaking down Star Trek II and shuffling the pieces around is nothing short of a minor miracle.

    Besides all that thematic stuff, it was a lot of fun to boot. No long interminable second act (cf. The Dark Knight Rises); no long interminable second act broken up by a studio-mandated gratuitous action scene cribbed from The Thing (cf. Prometheus); no 40 minutes of folks talking before anything happens, by which time I’ve stopped paying attention (cf. Amazing Spider-Man). Honestly I thought it was great.

    And the opening? A light hearted Vin Danniken/Chariots of The Gods bit with a cursory nod (yes, another one) to Raiders of the Lost Ark. Nothing to see here :)

    Anyway, I liked it, and I hope Star Wars doesn’t keep Abrams from coming back and doing another. As long as it’s not shuffling around arcane plot points of The Search for Spock anyway, ’cause man that was a boring movie.

  2. jason1749 Says:

    Yeah, I pretty much had the complete opposite reaction as you. Sure, Spock yelling “KHANNNN” made me laugh, which wasn’t their intention and they telegraphed way to hard the means of Kirk’s resurrection, but the rest of the Wrath parallels you draw just weren’t there for me. I mean come on, sometimes a torpedo is just a torpedo. It is funny that the fan servicing parts of the film (except for the throwaway gags that worked well) were it’s worst parts, but the good ones made me kind of scan over them.

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