Jammer's Review

"Star Trek Into Darkness"

Theatrical release: 5/17/2013
PG-13; 2 hrs. 12 min.
Written by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman & Damon Lindelof
Produced by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci
Directed by J.J. Abrams

Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Karl Urban (McCoy), Simon Pegg (Scotty), John Cho (Sulu), Anton Yelchin (Chekov), Benedict Cumberbatch (John Harrison), Bruce Greenwood (Christopher Pike), Peter Weller (Admiral Marcus), Alice Eve (Carol Marcus)

To be reviewed

Update: October 26, 2013

Will I ever review this movie? Yes. It's just been a hectic and busy past few months. My adorable baby daughter is almost eight months old now and we spend a lot of time playing with her. Also, we just bought a new house, moved, and we're in the process of selling our old house. (If I had time, I would blog about how much I hate the hassle and time/money drain of real estate.) So life is good, but also very busy.

I bought Star Trek Into Darkness on Blu-ray shortly after it was released, but have not yet watched it as a refresher for writing my review. I'll get to that eventually so I can finally weigh in on this movie, but it may be several more weeks. Maybe I'll shoot for the end of the year. Talk about prolonging things.

And then after that I'll catch up on the 550-plus comments that have been posted here while I've been AWOL.

Until then, I'll be unpacking some more boxes...

Cheers.


Previous: Star Trek (2009)

Section Index

760 comments on this review

Jammer - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 1:16am (USA Central)
Have at it, everyone. I'll have my say soon enough. Until then, play nice.
Nathaniel - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 1:29am (USA Central)
I suspect the only reason I didn't hate it is because I had exactly zero expectations after the substanceless first film.

Something I did despise is how they dealt with the Prime Directive. Apparently the Prime Directive means that a species only deserves to be rescued from annihilation if they have warp drive. Otherwise to hell with them.

And apparently it only takes 15 seconds to warp from Kronos to Earth. For some reason the Klingons never take advantage of that.
The Sisko - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 6:13am (USA Central)
I have to say, the movie was exactly what I expected - a highly entertaining popcorn flick with lots and lots of lensflare. Action-wise, this clearly topped the first one. I liked the fact that I got to see all this glory in 3D for the first time.

The movie definitely had a few weak points as well though. I would say the ending was a bit of a letdown. Also, some of the characterizations of the Enterprise's crew were a bit weak. And where was the humor? Most of the jokes didn't work for me. Some did.

This time around, everyone had to know going into this film what to expect. And that's what we got. Except the Spock/Khan thing. That was weird.

I think I'll go with three stars and add a quarter for the incredible audiovisual presentation.
Patrick - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 8:14am (USA Central)
I'm sure it will be the same ultra slick, empty spectacle that the last one was. I believe the original title for this film was:
2 Trek 2 Furious: Alpha Quadrant Drift.

Every time one of these JJTrek films are put out, I feel like I'm in some weird netherworld where most everyone I know can't tell quality from crap. I remember back in 2009, where people were ragging on Transformers 2 and exalting Star Trek 2009. And I kept thinking to myself: "They're the same f***ing movie!"
Brian - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 10:01am (USA Central)
Saw it last night...and pretty much have to concur with The Sisko and Patrick; just another action-packed romp with little substance. It was entertaining, sure...but, after I left the theater, I had a yearning to go home and watch a REAL Star Trek flick, so I put on ST VI: The Undiscovered Country.

...no, effin' comparison and it made me kinda sad to see what these JJ Abrams ST movies have degenerated into.
V - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 11:48am (USA Central)
I like JJ's take on Trek so far. However, I can't stress this enough: The expanded universe is essential!!

The Countdown comics that came out before the first movie, the Nero comics that explain Nero's time captured with the Klingons, and the ongoing IDW comics that follow what the new crew are doing between movies are crucial for a full understanding of the respect JJ's team is giving to Trek fans. The countdown comics basically are a TNG story 8 years after Nemesis. It starts off by explaining what Spock has been doing since the Unification episodes in season 5 of TNG and gives us so much more info on Nero and why he's a one note revenge villain. It's also nice to see Picard as an admiral, Data as a captain,(yes, Data - Data's neural net was successfully integrated into B4) ...we also get Worf and Geordi. Overall, it tastefully passes the torch to the reboot. I just love the connection to the prime universe that JJ's Trek has in its back-story - a connection that is sadly missed by a lot of fans. (Knowing that Geordi built the Jellyfish ship makes it so much better when watching!)
I also appreciate that the writers make it clear that the Prime universe is still there so I am OK with them doing whatever they want with these new movies.

Having more knowledge due to the expanded universe just makes this new Trek better for me. Maybe you guys read all the comics too and still have lots of problems, but for me the only problems I have with this new Trek are the writers playing it too safe with well tested trek ideas that we've seen many times. The first 20 min of the new movie is Prime Directive 101. Good stuff, but nothing new. However, to the non Trek fan this stuff is probably as golden to them as it was to me the first time I sat with it so it's all good. This is a retelling after all.

I also have no problem with this version of Khan. I like that his history is basically the same, but it's nice they change it up and got Section 31 thinking they need Augments. Section 31 and the Augments are two great elements of trek that never really got fleshed out much. They still don't in this new movie, but it's nice to see that maybe they will at some point in the comics or future movies. At the end of they day, JJ has to make Star Trek for the masses, and he's doing that with respect to the source material... that's all I really asked for.
Patrick - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 1:19pm (USA Central)
@V

My problem (among many) with the JJVerse, is that it *shouldn't* have to use supplemental material as a crutch for their films. The onus of telling the story in a full and comprehensive way should be on the makers of the film. I shouldn't have to watch a movie that's full of holes or characters that aren't properly flushed out, to be admonished to read the comics or whatnot.
Jo Jo Meastro - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 1:30pm (USA Central)
I just seen Star Trek Into Darkness this evening and I've got to say, I was really impressed! The story was sharp and thrilling, but still packed with emotion and kept the Star Trek ethos close to its core. It was socially responsible Trek for the modern times, with its theme of terrorism and how we need to always keep a firm grip on our humanity especailly in dark times.

The action was so amazing and clever, I loved the rifts on Wrath Of Khan. In a way the movie took elements from every era of Star Trek and celebrated the franchise in a really pleasing way. My only complaint would be that characters like Chekov and Sulu still need to given more attention and this cast doesn't quite have the magic feeling you get when the classic crew was together, but on the whole this movie was much stronger than the last one.

I predict a Jammer rating of 3.5/4!
V - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 2:12pm (USA Central)
I totally hear you, Patrick. It's not that great that the first one requires the countdown comic to really get a full grasp, but there is only so much they can do with the task of rebooting and trying to please fans and get lots of new people to like Trek in a 2 hour window.
I like that there is supplemental material because Trek by nature needs more than just 2 hours every few years and since there is no Trek on TV I'm happy they have it for fans like me.

As for Into Darkness... It's a self contained movie for the most part story wise and after the opening scene there is about an hour of development of characters and and of JJ's universe with lots of important story and back story. A lot of reviews say it's good but it's just an action packed popcorn film to turn your brain off too. That is so far from the truth, IMO.


Digedag - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 3:09pm (USA Central)
If it were not for the engaging performances of Pine, Quinto and company, this movie would be an unmitigated disaster! This movie is not merely dumb, it's insultingly stupid.

The plot is painfully thin yet needlessly convoluted and nonsensical, the writing has no regard for character motivation or cohesive drama whatsoever and internal logic is thrown out the window immediately. Allusions to a post 9/11 climate are predictably as superficial as they are unfitting, and are abandoned about the time when the plot inconsistencies and story contradictions are beginning to pile up remorselessly.

The references and homages are generally uninspired and lazy, and the final riff on one of the most famous moments in Trek history not only falls completely flat - feeling emotionally unearned and thematically vacant - but its eventual (laughable) resolution is telegraphed so obviously the majority of the audience will see it coming from a mile away, destroying any impact the scene might have had. Never mind that STID is painfully unoriginal when it comes to the oh so hip and contemporary action. Almost every set piece is blatantly stolen from other (better) movies, J.J. Abrams' first Star Trek ironically among them.

I'm normally not overly concerned with (technical) plot holes, but STID's total disregard for how this world operates/why people do what they do is just infuriating. Especially two elements that get introduced over the course of the movie have implication that basically render the Enterprise, Starfleet and one of Wrath of Khan's most potent and poignant themes absolutely void.

And while, as I said above, the performances of the main cast are fine, the characterization of especially Kirk oftentimes feels off. It's one thing to present the Captain of the Enterprise as immature and inexperienced, it's something completely else to paint him as an irresponsible arrogant douche. The sole reason Kirk doesn't come across as an insufferable a-hole is that Pine infuses him with enough charisma and complexity to make him somewhat tolerable. And, of course, there's no real character arc to speak of.

Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain of the piece is sadly absolutely wasted, being reduced to a hissing and growling one-note character. Alice Eve is nothing more than eye-candy - her most memorable scene being the gratuitous underwear shot that was featured in the trailer (yep, as you might have guessed, she strips down for absolutely no reason whatsoever), Anton Yelchin as Chekov is barely in the movie while Karl Urban fantastic Bones unfortunately takes a backseat to the duo Kirk/Spock. Gone are the days of the triumvirate Kirk/Spcke/McCoy. And Zoe Saldana's role as Uhura basically consists of playing the nagging girlfriend of Spock.

To say STID is a disappointment is putting it lightly, even if approached with lowered expectations. Into Darkness is not only a bad Star Trek movie, it's a bad film, period.
Eric - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 3:14pm (USA Central)
I was a little disappointed. These versions of the characters are too new to be re-creating classic scenes, and the movie failed to Leave any emotional impact. And I loved the 2009 film. That felt fresh yet familiar, like coming home after 10 years. This just felt like a run-of-the-mill action film with a bunch of Trek tropes thrown in. I hate to say that, because I really wanted to like the film and will probably see it again.
SPR - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 4:04pm (USA Central)
I wasn't expecting much from the reboot but I was really dissapointed on the same line as Patrick. I was looking forward to some new material with the rebooted universe. Even though I'm not a huge fan of Star Trek (2009), I thought it did a decent job of creating a new story while staying reasonably loyal to the original series.

But this film just seemed totally derivative of Wrath of Khan and did nothing to impress me other than some cool action sequences. It's like Abrams thought it'd be a brilliant idea to rip off the Wrath of Khan, by far my favorite Star Trek film, except Kirk makes the emotional sacrifice and Spock's the one with the vengeance problems. And then of course Kirk is alive by the end of the film because of the miraculous Khan blood.

It was over for me when Kirk died (in a reasonably touching sequence), and then you have Spock yelling "Khan!" at the top of his lungs. I just found that ridiculously campy, and an unneeded reference to the original film while this movie could have had a character of its own.
JYJ - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 6:14pm (USA Central)
SPR, you have major spoilers in your review...
Eric - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 6:42pm (USA Central)
I think spoilers are permitted here as this is intended for people who have seen the film and want to discuss it.
Clint - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 6:58pm (USA Central)
I really enjoyed Into Darkness. It certainly had all kinds of flaws, especially where realistic physics and logical consistency are concerned. That said, Into Darkness is a big budget summer blockbuster, geared to appeal to the lowest common denominator. It's virtually a distinct art form, and criticizing it for being what it is is like criticizing an impressionistic painting for not having clean lines and sharply defined shapes. Summer blockbusters may be a poor medium of expression for Star Trek, but that's a different argument. The question should be whether Into Darkness is a good summer blockbuster.
JackBauer - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 8:19pm (USA Central)
I thought, as in the first movie, that the characters were really solid and well cast. I enjoyed the humor. But overall, the plot was trash. Pure trash. This movie was an abomination on the Khan character. Cumberbatch overacted in every possible way and it became laughable. And Spock yelling out "Khhhhannn!" Jesus Christ what more can I say. It was like a fanboy wrote this movie and thought "Hey wouldnt it be hiliarious if we kill off Kirk instead of Spock and Spock yells Khan!??"

I will say I did like the reference to Section 31, and i loved how Praxas was blowed all up.
Peremensoe - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 10:35pm (USA Central)
The question should be whether it is a good Star Trek film.
Clint - Sat, May 18, 2013 - 11:44pm (USA Central)
Peremensoe asks whether the question shouldn't be, "Is Into Darkness a good Star Trek film?"

To answer such a question, we first need to define what Star Trek is. Despite claiming to be science fiction, Star Trek has almost always sacrificed scientific accuracy in the service of dramatic storytelling. As much as I might like to believe a future like Trek's might become a reality, no episode or film has ever held up to real scientific scrutiny. Furthermore, even the best Star Trek stories are often inconsistent with each other. Therefore I find it difficult to accept that Star Trek is really about a convincing vision of the future.

IMHO, at its most basic, Star Trek is a vehicle for telling stories that empower human beings to understand and improve themselves. I think Into Darkness succeeds at that goal.
The Sisko - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 5:07am (USA Central)
I have to agree with a lot of the negative points here, the biggest one being how this movie tries to rip off WoK and fails miserably in the process. It really feels like a pure fanboy film, in a highly unsophisticated way. You can clearly tell J.J. Abrams doesn't know the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek, no matter what he's claiming. To be fair, a lot of that blame should probably go to the writers though. What a cheesy, cartoony, empty, plot-driven script. That said, I did sort of like some of the character interaction in the first half of the movie. But with the appearance of the Dreadnought class ship, things really only go downhill from there. Does every Star Trek movie nowadays have to have a huge antagonist ship serveral times the size of the Enterprise to amplify the bad-ass-ness of the plot's villain? Apparently so. Yawn.
Darwin Dave - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 8:36am (USA Central)
Is the new film pro US and anti-terrorist?
Patrick - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 10:14am (USA Central)
@The Sisko

Those are all very good points. I was watching TWOK and the difference in *tone* in comparison to JJTrek is startling. In fact Trek as we've known it was grounded in sincerity (even the comedy episodes). There was this dedication to a verisimilitude of seriousness that made the low budget, often wacky looking TOS, still come off as something to be taken somewhat seriously. In fact Roddenberry and Co. could have taken the easy route and plunged TOS to be like Lost in Space, but they took the high road and went with a making a thoughtful product. Were all the episodes gems? No. There are even a few that are dumb. But, they TRIED.

JJTrek is this live action cartoon, where you're being jabbed in the ribs every few minutes with "Get it? That's from the old series! Get it?" The main characters come of as caricatures of the original cast. These films have no real dramatic gravity because they're trying to inject too much "kewlness" for the sake of "kewlness" and mindlessly mash humor and drama together willy-nilly. Drama and comedy can co-exist in the same piece, but it takes a nuanced hand--like say, Joss Whedon. And JJ Abrams and Co. aren't in the same galaxy as Joss Whedon.

I don't know if I'm the first to say this but: TREK NEEDS JOSS WHEDON.
Q - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 10:39am (USA Central)
@Patrick

I'm VERY enjoyed "Firefly" but... I saw "Avengers" too... "Avengers" was "Transformers 2-3" class brainless acitoneer. Very dull actioneer for worse.

And if hypotetical Whedon-Trek will be I say "Hurrah!" but if it will be next "Avengers" (what is very possible, because Trek movies are blockbusters now)... I say "No f*ckin way!".
Q - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 10:43am (USA Central)
Erratum: And if hypotetical Whedon-Trek will be next "Firefly" I say "Hurrah!"/
Patrick - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 11:35am (USA Central)
@Q

The Avengers wasn't perfect by any stretch, but it was miles smarter than Transformers 1,2, and 3. And far, far smarter than the output of Kurtzman, Orci, and Lindelof on their best day.

But, back to Trek...
Q - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 12:33pm (USA Central)
@Patrick

"Avengers" was smarter? I don't think so. Ok, Whedon's movie disaser has more coherent plot, but not smarter.

And - back to Trek - Kurtzman & Orci's Trek '09 writting was - yes - incoherent mush (with some good points), but... first Abrams' movie in toto have enough power and - hard to define - vitality to entertrain James Cameron himself.

Anyway... I'm enjoyed "Into Darkness". It is not a great movie, but it is very solid (and not stupid, Harrison's blood subplot is questionable, but I've read Greg Bear's "Blood Music"...), with best visual side from TMP's time, and actual, controversial (but not very deep) social message.
Eric - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 12:46pm (USA Central)
Gotta agree with Q on The Avengers. Just a Shallow wam bam fest That I have no need to see again.
Digedag - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 1:28pm (USA Central)
Yeah, "Into Drakness" isn't stupid, it's breathtakingly, offensively dumb.

In regards to Whedon:
His "Avengers" is light years ahead of anything that both Abrams (and his trio infernal of writers Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof) and Bay have ever accomplished. It's not perfect by any means, but "Avengers" is a movie with consistent characterization and tone, coherent plotting driven by real character motivation (cause+effect), demonstrating a deft hand for balancing action, suspense, humor etc., its emotional beats work because Whedon understands basic human drama.

Abrams has no interest in telling a cohesive, organic story, he only cares about delivering impressive set pieces that are connected by a perfunctory plot that is a sad pastiche of far better original work.

"Avengers" and "Into Darkness" reside on the opposite ends of the story telling spectrum. The latter is the reason with have so many shallow, empty, emotional dishonest multi-million dollar spectacles. And if we aren't allowed to criticize this kind of brainless blockbuster summer fare, if we are content that these flicks aim for the lowest common denominator and don't demand more for our admission fee, than we - in all honesty - deserve to suffer through "Transformers", "G.I. Joe", "Amazing Spider-Man", "Prometheus" and what have you.

By the way: Every great (or at least good) Star Trek movie simultaneously happens to be a good movie in its own right. ;-)
Brandon - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 1:39pm (USA Central)
I am stunned by how this movie got an 87% Rottentomatoes meter. It's an insult to intelligent moviegoers and Trek fans. I'm starting to think the only reason JJTrek gets so much love in critical circles is because of how bad Voyager, Enterprise, and Nemesis were.
Q - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 3:42pm (USA Central)
@Brandon

I agree in 100%. Not only critics but some fans (this one too ;) ) so enjoyed JJTrek is how trashy VGR, ENT and NEM were*.
But... JJTrek insn't much worse then "First Contact" (called popcorn movie by RDM himself, in Fandom.com iterview).

* Trek without Piller, Moore, Wolfe and - in the case of ENT and NEM - Menosky too, was brain dead, campy piece of s***...
Clint - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 4:10pm (USA Central)
Digedag writes:
"Avengers" and "Into Darkness" reside on the opposite ends of the story telling spectrum. The latter is the reason with have so many shallow, empty, emotional dishonest multi-million dollar spectacles. And if we aren't allowed to criticize this kind of brainless blockbuster summer fare, if we are content that these flicks aim for the lowest common denominator and don't demand more for our admission fee, than we - in all honesty - deserve to suffer through "Transformers", "G.I. Joe", "Amazing Spider-Man", "Prometheus" and what have you.

Into Darkness may be the result of previous summer blockbusters that have succeeded with nonsensical plots (though I don't agree it is), but it can't be the cause, unless you're implying the existence of time travel.

You can certainly criticize such films, but as long as they're earning hundreds of millions of dollars, the studios are motivated to produce more of the same. Expecting them to do otherwise is illogical. Summer blockbusters are a commercial art, and they aren't going to change until large numbers of the movie-watching public stop paying to see them. Organizing boycotts would be a much more successful tactic. Paying to see one is counterproductive, regardless of how much you later criticize it.

Matt - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 4:44pm (USA Central)
Surprised by the negativity here, and not just towards Trek... geez, Avengers was great action/adventure. As for STID, I really enjoyed it. Couple things:

> "shallow, empty, emotional dishonest multi-million dollar spectacles"

Emotionally dishonest?

* Spock has shut himself off after the destruction of Vulcan (makes sense to me)
- and his walls come down when Kirk dies (ditto)

* A much more sympathetic version of Khan than we've ever seen ("Would you not do anything for your family?")

* Kirk coming to grips with a mistake, experiencing a crisis of command, taking responsibility for his actions


Shallow? The movie that *I* saw was asking whether it's possible for Starfleet's peaceful mission to continue in a universe where terrorists, Klingons, and people close to home all wish to do us harm. Kirk and ADM Marcus had different answers to that question. That seems like a real and relevant issue. The debate among the crew about whether to use the long-range torpedoes was, for me, engaging and nuanced, and very in-character ("Spock, don't agree with me. It makes me very uncomfortable.").


> "Does every Star Trek movie nowadays have to have a huge antagonist ship serveral times the size of the Enterprise to amplify the bad-ass-ness of the plot's villain? Apparently so. Yawn."

Sure, point. But another way to look at it is that the dreadnought is ADM Marcus's vision for the future of Starfleet: unmanned (or close to it), focused solely on combat. How many science labs do you think are aboard that ship?

The Prime-universe Starfleet is not a pacifist organization; the Enterprise has always carried weaponry. But the question is, are we out in space to explore and defend ourselves if necessary? Or are we out here to defend ourselves and explore as necessary? Are we SEEKING OUT NEW LIFE, or are we NEUTRALIZING NEW THREATS?

The tension of "how military IS Starfleet?" has been in the background of ST before. (Remember the briefing room in STVI? After it's proposed that the Federation end hostilities with the Klingons, one admiral asks, "Are we talking about mothballing the Fleet?" Spock (I believe) gives him a sour look and says, "our EXPLORATION and SCIENTIFIC missions will be unaffected.")

And it makes sense to me that this question would be coming up in this universe. Remember, this universe had a Romulan ship with unknown tech come out of NOWHERE and destroy a Federation ship and a FLEET of Klingon ships. It wasn't until 30 years after the destruction of the Kelvin that they learned the Narada was from the future. Not that that makes it much better. If the Narada can come back, what's to stop others from doing the same?

IIRC, the Narada was from 170 years in the future. 170 years ago from now is the 1840's. If a modern aircraft carrier went back to the 1840's, how do you think the nations there would respond? Would the Gatling gun have been invented earlier? What about ironclad ships and self-propelled torpedoes? Would the Army take over building the railroads out West? I'd absolutely believe that a post-incursion 1845 would look different than our "Prime" 1845.

Also, WRT the militarization of Starfleet, I read another review that mentioned that the Vulcans would be very much against such a thing, but in the JJVerse, the Vulcans are almost certainly not as influential in the Federation as they were in the Prime universe...

So I think the question of Starfleet's militarization is a logical one for this universe, as well as relevant to our 21st century concerns. At least in the US, we've DEFINITELY seen a militarization of our pop culture in the last decade. STID examines these issues through futuristic allegory, sure, but it asks some tough questions about how we react and respond to threats.


Okay, so the whole thing with Khan's magic blood was a bit hokey. And we all knew that Kirk wasn't going to stay dead. But Kirk staying dead wasn't the point. The point was Kirk CHOOSING to go in to the reactor to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for his actions and his crew. He doesn't order Scotty to do it, even though he could (and Scotty basically volunteers, at least to go with). Earlier, Pike said that Kirk was using blind luck to justify recklessness - this is about what Kirk does when his luck runs out.


So I thought it was much more "Star Trek"-y than ST09 (and I enjoyed the hell of of ST09). Definitely not the brainless actioner that some sectors of fandom want to paint it as.
Q - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 5:41pm (USA Central)
Matt writes:
So I thought it was much more "Star Trek"-y than ST09 (and I enjoyed the hell of of ST09).

And I agree in 100%. In matter of both JJTreks.
Digedag - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 5:53pm (USA Central)
@Clint:
Um ... what? These are just examples of recent movies that fit into that category of movies that despite their severe storytelling shortcomings and flawed execution have achieved a (honestly mind-boggling) huge success at the box office. I'm not saying that "STID" story is a direct consequence of, let's say, the plot shenanigans of "Transformers 2", but the obvious correlation (small hint: $$$) between the success of certain types of film is hard to deny. After all, somebody thought it a brilliant idea to hire Orci/Kurtzman/Lindelof despite their dubious track record in the past. And said "Transformers 2" might have been critically panned but it nevertheless made almost a billion dollars worldwide. Of course the fault lies with the audience and their acceptance of bad storytelling.

Now, the consequence for disappointed movie goers would be - as you yourself point out - to stop paying money to see these films at the cinema. And yes, in order to judge a movie's quality one has watch it first. But while this might seem like a catch-22 situation, fortunately, we as intelligent humans have the ability to learn. For instance, the huge disappointment that is "STID" will result in me skipping future projects in which Lindelof, Orci, Kurtzman or Abrams are involved in any noteworthy way from now on. The same course of action applies for projects that are related to the other movies mentioned above. And I can assure you that "STID" won't find its way on my Blu-ray shelf either. So, no ten bucks for Paramount from me. Also, I'm gonna spread the word to all my friends (who know me as a movie aficionado) that they better don't waste two hours of their precious life watching this garbage.

See, there are alternatives to time travel. And if some of the more widely read critics weren't so easily impressionable perhaps a lot of people would think twice before paying their movie ticket. Alas, "STOD"'s current Rottentomatoes rating makes me deeply pessimistic about the state of professional film criticism. But not to go off on yet another tangent ...

Anyway ...


... I have a problem with the notion that these kind of sub-par blockbuster movies are excusable because they are just "big dumb popcorn flicks" and as such inherently stupid and nonsensical anyway. "Die Hard", "Raiders of the lost Ark", "Back to the Future", "The Bourne Trilogy", "The Avengers", "The Terminator", "Inception", "Alien(s)" etc. pp. beg to differ.
Just because a movie falls squarely in the blockbuster category doesn't mean it has to be insultingly dumb.

And it's not as if I'm demanding movies to boast highly sophisticated, cerebral scripts and deeply complex characters that leave a huge impression on me for years to come. ;-)
My complain is leveled at the fact that "STID" (and similar films) disregards basic storytelling fundamentals and constantly violates its own established rules.
dan l - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 6:01pm (USA Central)
@Matt- Thanks for the fact-specific rebuttal to many of the criticisms aimed at this movie. I think that the first question that needs to be asked when criticizing a movie or TV show is "was this entertaining in some way?" "Did it engage my interest?" If a movie fails to do this, it probably will not be a very good movie, let alone a good quote "Star Trek" movie. Ifa person only ooccipies himself with the question of "Is this a good Star Trek movie?" (Whatever that means; what Star Trek "is" is a question to which there can be multiple and even inconsistent answers) Or "Does this movie feel like StarTrek?", cchances are the person will not get around to the "entertaining" question. I find that sad, because preoccupation with the latter two questions can cause q person to refuse to be entertained. I think-I believe-that whatever thing Star Trek is about, or ""stands for," it, at its best, goes about it in an entertaining way. how good did thisnmovie measure up as entertainment? Enough to allow me to say it was worth at least part if the ticket price. That ought to count for something.
Digedag - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 6:03pm (USA Central)
By the way, MOVIEBOB tackles "STID" and its many problems in his usual eloquent fashion at:

moviebob.blogspot.de/2013/05/escape-to-movies-star-trek-into-darkness.html
Cureboy - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 10:07pm (USA Central)
Saw it this evening with my friend who knows very little about Star Trek. He loved it. Which is what the filmmaker wanted. I was entertained but not impressed, if that makes sense. I agree with everybody who says this seemed like it was written by a fanboy. Klingons? Check. Mention Harry Mudd? Check. "Needs of the many?" Check. Tribble? Check. "KHAAAAAN!" Check.

The movie briefly had potential. The temporary teaming of Kirk and Khan. If they continued that, the film could have been original and kept us guessing and debating about what should happen to Khan, after killing dozens then saving thousands. Instead they had to make him Pure Evil and get locked away in some garage.

But seriously that whole flipped Wrath of Khan ending. With Spock screaming KHAN. That's straight out of some very cheesy fan fiction.
TM - Sun, May 19, 2013 - 10:45pm (USA Central)
Is it too soon to warp through the plotholes?

It appears Scotty's magical transwarp beaming formula allows one to beam from Earth to Kronos?? Aren't we talking hundreds of light years? (And lucky for Admiral Marcus that Khan chose to beam there, or else his Master Plan would've been worthless) So do we even need Starships to explore strange new worlds? Why build a massive starship to battle Klingons? Why not simply beam an invasion force to Kronos?

Where was the rest of the entire Starfleet when two starships were battling in Earth's solar system? It was nice, FOR ONCE, to see a city other than San Francisco be the target for the enemy. But that changed later in the film with Khan crashing his ship there. I know its Starfleet HQ, but insurance rates for the locals must be through the roof

Carol Marcus with a British accent? And explain to me why she stripped down? Bibi Besch is spinning in her grave.

Spock calls Leonard Nimoy for advice on Khan. Nimoy says he wouldn't divulge information, and proceeds to divulge information. Spock asked Nimoy how they beat Khan. What, if any, advice did Nimoy give and when was it put to use?

The film spent a great deal of time inventing plot twists and then undoing them:

Kirk loses command, Spock gets transferred. Then are reunited when the first crisis occurs.

Khan is played as sympathetic, Kirk temporarily allies with him. Undone when Khan betrays them.

Kirk dies a heroic death, tears are flowing, then the laughable miracle cure. Khan's blood can cure anything! Do you think this will ever be put to use again??

The more I actually think about the film, the more I dislike it.
Chris - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 1:32am (USA Central)
@matt - I echo Dan regarding your excellent rebuttal towards all the negativity and criticisms.

I think this film had far more substance than ST09. The scene after Nibiru between Pike and kirk about prime directive was awesome.

I also enjoyed scotty`s resignation; the 72 torpedo dilemma; the `sentenced to death without trial` quandry; the militirization of starfleet; the foreshadowing of a Klingon war; McCoy`s arm caught in torpedo; the attack on starfleet HQ.


Overall a very solid, entertaining movie. My only gripe was the unnecessary 'one tear falling down cheek' scenes; way too many of those. lol
Rob - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 2:55am (USA Central)
I don't really understand the negativity toward this movie either. Sure, it's a blockbuster, popcorn, action movie. But wasn't First Contact, too? And that movie gets much less hate, it's widely considered the best TNG movie.

@matt pretty much sums up how I feel. It's a very entertaining action movie with great acting, great set pieces and a fast, unrelenting pace. It's not perfect, but I think it's a very good action film.

Hopefully, the popularity of the JJ films bodes well for another Trek TV Show!
Paul - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 8:42am (USA Central)
Really interesting reactions.

I'm not sure how I feel about STID yet. I noticed some logical gaffes -- how quickly the Enterprise can get from Earth to Kronos and back being chief among them. But I certainly don't hate the movie as some posters do.

Ultimately, I think the creators tried to jam too much plot in and didn't really let it breath. To have Kirk go from captain of the Enterprise back to the Academy(!) to Pike's first officer to captain again in 10 minutes was a bit much. I have a hard time seeing how Kirk would have been sent back to the Academy -- it they're going to do that, wouldn't they just court-martial him? Cutting out that machination and simply making him Pike's first officer would have been a better, more believable route.

The movie also suffers from something that happened a lot in the original Trek movies (and sometimes on the TV show). Why aren't other ships responding to the situations the Enterprise finds itself in?

It was just ridiculous to think that the Klingons wouldn't send ships to intercept the Enterprise (and intercepting Kirk's shuttle doesn't count). It's almost as ridiculous that the Enterprise and the Vengeance are left alone when they're in Earth's orbit. You can sort of shrug that one off more easily because of the attack on Starfleet, Admiral Marcus's involvement, etc. But it's still a plot hole.

All that said, I think JJJ get the characterizations right. Pine does pretty well as a younger version of Kirk. Keep in mind that this movie takes place in 2259, whereas Kirk's original 5-year mission on TV was in 2264 and on. That's a significant five years that would have allowed Kirk to grow up a lot.

Spock is also about right as a younger version of the character we see in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and on. He's really by the book, but he's not that confident about it. Throw in the destruction of Vulcan in ST, and the rest makes sense.

I actually thought Scotty's role in STID makes perfect sense and was well done (his rapport with Kirk is something that's stronger in the new movies -- which makes sense given the events of ST). McCoy is also about on par with what we see in TOS, which also makes sense as he's older than Kirk and Spock. I generally thought Sulu and Checkov were right, and Uhura (who is the biggest character departure from TOS) felt consistent from the 2009 movie.

Is the new Khan better? I'd have to say 'no', but it's a different take that I didn't mind. New Khan is much less flamboyant but he also feels more dangerous. It was a different take, but not a bad one.

Last point: I have a feeling that JJJ was still in setup mode in a lot of ways with this movie. It's possible that when this series of films is done, they'll work better as a group. This is particularly important with the Carol Marcus character, but it's also possible that the "Problems within Starfleet" will play a bigger role. It is worth noting that Admiral Marcus might have been over the top -- and how he built a ship without anybody noticing is kind of ridiculous. But it was in response to events of the first movie. In other words, one of the charter worlds of the Federation was just destroyed. It's not hard to believe that Starfleet would go a little darker than it did in the timeline in TOS when Vulcan was still, you know, in existence.
Josh - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 1:58pm (USA Central)
This movie really annoyed me. I sat through most of it with a mix of occasional amusement and probably more frequently eye-rolling. I was waiting for it to build up to the point where I could say I was impressed.

Instead, it built up to that ending. That ending. It was then I got annoyed.

I will admit I thought the idea of role reversal as quite cute at first. However, the scene falls completely flat for two main reasons:
1) We know the magic blood will undo everything within 5 minutes.
2) It's far, far too early in this franchise iteration to be doing this. They've shot the kill-off-a-main-character fox and the Kirk/Spock dynamic isn't nearly mature enough yet (I don't buy them as BFF's despite the movie's attempts to ram this fact down our throats).

And those criticisms are the general audience ones. When you're a fan of franchise, and in particular TWOK, the problems are only compounded by have awkwardly self-conscious this Easter egg is, how much not as good as the original version scene this is, and how patronising it is that the writers thought that this kind of gimmic is what will amuse us.

And then Spock yells KHAAAAAN!
Brandon - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 2:04pm (USA Central)
I will give the movie credit for trying to be about something, but primitive neocon-bashing does not count as "substance". I can swallow the idea that Nero's time travel has accelerated the technology curve in the alternate universe, but thinly-veiled anti-Bush stuff has been done to death for a decade now, and I'm highly disappointed that (admittedly liberal) Hollywood writers can't come up with anything more.

And that doesn't excuse the feverish cribbing and half-assed "homage moments". Nemesis got relentlessly clobbered for apeing just the PLOT of Wrath of Khan, yet this butchered copy gets a pass? Iron Man 3 had thrice the wit and intelligence of this plot.
Nic - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 2:33pm (USA Central)
Personnally, I can't say I was disappointed. I expected a turn-off-your-brain 2.5 star "movie" (as opposed to a "film") and that's what I got.

There were things that were better than expecetd. The opening sequence was good overall. The Enterprise rising out of the water was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Some of the characterization in the first half was good.

What didn't work at all were the references to WoK (the comparison between the two is not in its favour), and most of the perfunctory yet apparently obligatory ship-in-danger sequence at the end. I kept wondering how Scotty could be the only competent engineer on the ship, and how ridiculous it was that you could literally "kick-start" the engines.

Oh well, at least we have the original films.
Latex Zebra - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 2:52pm (USA Central)
Well that Cetacean Probe is still en route and much as Spock Prime has no plans to intervene in this timeline he really needs to give the guys a wake up call on this so we can avoid Star Trek III - The Search for Whales.

Seeing STID on Thursday but have been massively spoiled. I am open minded though.
Matt - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 5:04pm (USA Central)
> But it was in response to events of the first movie. In other words, one of the charter worlds of the Federation was just destroyed. It's not hard to believe that Starfleet would go a little darker than it did in the timeline in TOS when Vulcan was still, you know, in existence.

DING DING DING. We have a winner!

For such a "dumb" movie, the changes in the universe make an awful lot of sense, if you think them through. It's not just "business as usual" after the destruction of Vulcan. Would we want it to be?


> Spock asked Nimoy how they beat Khan. What, if any, advice did Nimoy give and when was it put to use?

I too would like to have seen what Spock Prime said. That said - are you REALLY complaining about this:

> Spock calls Leonard Nimoy for advice on Khan. Nimoy says he wouldn't divulge information, and proceeds to divulge information.

Did you see the same scene that I did? Spock Prime said that he had taken a vow to let NuSpock live his own life... but IN THIS CASE he would make an exception.

Because Khan's actions KILLED SPOCK PRIME. Remember that?

SRSLY PEOPLE. Wow... Talk about grasping at straws. (More on this when I play ship's counselor, below.)


Also: Did you see the look in Spock Prime's eyes through that scene? Amazing. (Man, Nimoy's still got it.)



> The film spent a great deal of time inventing plot twists and then undoing them

> Kirk loses command, Spock gets transferred. Then are reunited when the first crisis occurs.

Yes and no. Kirk needs to feel the consequences of breaking the PD. And given all the (justified) harping about how he GOT to the chair in ST09, I thought that having Pike (of all people) take it away and say he "wasn't ready" was powerful stuff. Clearly it hits Kirk hard.

If Kirk hadn't had that experience, the whole movie would have played out differently. I think the pre-Nibiru Kirk would have probably fired the torpedoes (and killed Harrison without a trial, and probably sparked a war, and probably gotten himself and his crew killed when either the Klingons or the Vengeance showed up).

In the aftermath of the attack, I can totally see why ADM Marcus would give the ship back to Kirk. Remember, Marcus is USING Kirk. And the Kirk who shows up in Marcus's office to demand that he be allowed to go after Harrison is the PERFECT tool for Marcus. Kirk in Marcus's office is SEETHING with rage, which is JUST what Marcus wants: someone who needs an authority figure and will shoot first and ask questions later (if at all).

And if Kirk wants Spock back, why would Marcus care? Marcus has probably never said 2 words to Spock. (In fact, allowing Kirk to have Spock back was probably Marcus's biggest mistake. Imagine how things would have played out without Spock.)

Seems kinda hard to call it a plot hole when it's one character manipulating another.

Oh wait, sorry, I forgot: this movie is "dumb". Characters would certainly not try to manipulate each other. I guess that having Marcus explain everything in detail to the audience would make the movie SO much smarter.


> Khan is played as sympathetic, Kirk temporarily allies with him. Undone when Khan betrays them.

To be fair (to the genetically-enhanced superman dictator - he doesn't need my help, does he?), Kirk betrayed Khan first when Kirk ordered Scotty to stun Khan.

I will say that Khan's motivation to destroy the Enterprise after taking back the Vengeance could have been better explained.


> Kirk dies a heroic death, tears are flowing, then the laughable miracle cure. Khan's blood can cure anything! Do you think this will ever be put to use again??

It might be. Transwarp beaming was. The writers seem to have taken the changes to the universe really seriously.


> I expected a turn-off-your-brain 2.5 star "movie" (as opposed to a "film") and that's what I got.

You and I were watching different movies. While you turned off your brain, I was thinking about the ethics of drone strikes and how we respond (and over-respond) to terrorism.

This movie reminded me of one of DS9's significant themes: holding Star Trek's peaceful vision of the future up to real scrutiny. STID asks how we can still have a positive, peaceful future in a world with terrorism and drone strikes.

But you might have missed all that, since you determined ahead of time to turn off your brain.


> What didn't work at all were the references to WoK (the comparison between the two is not in its favour), and most of the perfunctory yet apparently obligatory ship-in-danger sequence at the end.

Let's look at the comparable sequence from WoK. The Reliant has been crippled, Khan "spits his last breath at thee", and activates Genesis. The Enterprise has no warp drive so they beat feet on impulse. But they're not gonna make it without warp power.

Using your reasoning, we could say that this part of WoK is also a "perfunctory yet apparently obligatory ship-in-danger sequence".

Since you seem to have missed it, the POINT of these sequences is to see how our CHARACTERS RESPOND to the ship in danger - to see WHAT THEY DO in an imminent-doom, no-win scenario.


The "falling" sequence was, for me, tense, thrilling, and visually spectacular. I'd even say that watching the ship descend, and Kirk/Scotty make their way to the warp core, was way more exciting than watching the Enterprise fly away from the Reliant on impulse while a countdown plays on the bridge.

Yup, I just compared STID to WoK and STID won. (And I prefer WoK to STID overall. But not by much.)


> I kept wondering how Scotty could be the only competent engineer on the ship, and how ridiculous it was that you could literally "kick-start" the engines.

Who says that Scotty is the only competent engineer? Kirk doesn't go in the core because he thinks Scotty isn't competent. Where is THAT coming from?

The warp core is clearly not designed to be kicked. I think they need to put a warning label on it: PLEASE DO NOT KICK THE CORE. (That was a joke, in case you're humor-impaired.)


> We know the magic blood will undo everything within 5 minutes.

Sure. At the end of the reactor scene, my girlfriend leaned over to me and whispered, "they can use Khan's blood!"

But KIRK DOESN'T KNOW THAT. There's no way he could POSSIBLY know that: he hadn't seen Khan's blood heal the little girl or the Tribble. The point of the scene is not "will Kirk live or die?" The point of the scene is that KIRK TAKES RESPONSIBILITY in the ultimate way. The point is that the Kirk who goes into the reactor is NOT the Kirk who earlier said, "So they saw us, what's the big deal?" Pike is right that the "no big deal" Kirk doesn't respect the chair. The Kirk who goes into the reactor, does - because he has gone through CHARACTER GROWTH DURING THE MOVIE. (Oh, but wait, that can't happen, because this movie is "dumb".)

Again drawing a parallel: Does knowing that Spock comes back diminish the power of the scene in WoK? Not for me, because Spock makes the choice not knowing that he'll be back. The scene isn't about PLOT TENSION, it's about CHARACTER.


----


If I can play ship's counselor for a minute...

It almost seems like a lot of people are determined that they WILL NOT LIKE this movie, or the rebooted Trek in general. And that's fine. But let's not pretend it's because the film is "dumb", and let's not pretend that a film can't have BOTH fast-paced action AND philosophical depth.

I have no argument with anyone who says they don't like the style, pacing, or aesthetics of NuTrek. It's definitely a departure, and JJ's direction is very distinctive. You can tell that it's not Nicholas Meyer directing these. I love Nicholas Meyer's Trek films, and I'd love to see more of them. But if you wanted NuTrek to be a Meyer film, well, sorry, it's not. These movies are big, bold, and brash - and if that's not your thing, FINE. But "it's different and not really my thing" and "it's crap" are NOT THE SAME THING.
Matt - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 5:39pm (USA Central)
> the writing has no regard for character motivation or cohesive drama whatsoever and internal logic is thrown out the window immediately.

Character motivations may not be laid out on a platter for you, but as I've indicated, they are there. My last post didn't even get into all of them, such as the excellent work with Scotty.


> Allusions to a post 9/11 climate are predictably as superficial as they are unfitting, and are abandoned about the time when the plot inconsistencies and story contradictions are beginning to pile up remorselessly.

The militarization of Starfleet is clearly not "superficial", as it becomes evident that the HEAD OF STARFLEET is a WAR-MONGER. Fitting? Well, as I mentioned earlier, how is this a surprise when Spock is a member of an ENDANGERED SPECIES now?


> The references and homages are generally uninspired and lazy,

I thought Chekov's look of terror when Kirk tells him to put on a red shirt was hilarious.

Spock's "needs of the many" quote was apt and a great character moment - this is someone who's willing to lay down his life for a planet of natives who have "barely discovered the wheel". A man of deep principles, is Spock.

"I'm a doctor, not a torpedo technician!" Heh. Classic him.


> the final riff on one of the most famous moments in Trek history not only falls completely flat - feeling emotionally unearned and thematically vacant

If it didn't work for you, fine. It worked for me because it IS emotionally earned. As I mentioned before, I think Kirk's sacrifice is the PERFECT cap to his character arc in this movie.


> its eventual (laughable) resolution is telegraphed so obviously the majority of the audience will see it coming from a mile away, destroying any impact the scene might have had.

The impact is character, not plot.


> It's one thing to present the Captain of the Enterprise as immature and inexperienced, it's something completely else to paint him as an irresponsible arrogant douche.

I can totally believe that NuKirk would be an "irresponsible arrogant douche". Kirk Prime certainly had his arrogant moments, and NuKirk hasn't had the tempering, experience, or father figure as his Prime counterpart. He's still a natural leader but he's not the great Kirk we're used to.

I'm fine with that. That's interesting. It gives the character somewhere to go.


> And, of course, there's no real character arc to speak of.

If there's no arc, then why does Kirk - who said the Prime Directive is "no big deal" - sacrifice himself?

If there's no arc, then why does Spock - who doesn't understand why Kirk saved him from the volcano - lose control when Kirk dies?


> Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain of the piece is sadly absolutely wasted, being reduced to a hissing and growling one-note character.

A hissing, growling character who is concerned for his crew and motivated in part by grief. (He attacks London because he thinks they've been killed by Starfleet. Am I the only one who saw this movie?)


> Alice Eve is nothing more than eye-candy

Eye candy who can defuse an experimental torpedo and won't be beamed out to save herself.


> Anton Yelchin as Chekov is barely in the movie

Yeah, Chekov is hard to do much with. That's a benefit of TV shows - we can explore the secondary characters more. It was fun to see him out of his comfort zone, though.


> Karl Urban fantastic Bones unfortunately takes a backseat to the duo Kirk/Spock

Bones made at least as big an impression on me here as in ST09. Plus he's a key part of the ethical debate ("Don't agree with me, Spock."), and he gets to be a DOCTOR for real. I'd like him to have more, sure, because the actor and character are terrific.


> Zoe Saldana's role as Uhura basically consists of playing the nagging girlfriend of Spock.

And keeping her cool while negotiating with trigger-happy Klingons.


Seriously, did we see the same movie?
Chris - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 7:05pm (USA Central)
Matt, you are the man!!! I definitely saw the same movie you did. Awesome posts!
Dom - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 8:09pm (USA Central)
I'll just repaste my review from Amazon.com here:

I might be the only person on Earth who liked this movie more than I liked Abrams' Star Trek 2009. Unfortunately, that's partly because I disliked the 2009 Star Trek. But Into Darkness does have stunning visuals, some fun moments, and a much more compelling villain. It seems overall that viewers who don't know much about Star Trek seem to enjoy this movie and Abrams' larger take on Trek, whereas many viewers who do know Trek despise this movie. I'm more of the latter category (I've watched Trek since 1994), and while I don't *hate* Abrams' versions there are serious problems. Here are my thoughts.

SPOILER WARNING: I've included spoilers in my review. I found out about some key moments in the film before having seen it. I think in retrospect it was a good thing. There are some moments in the movie that can be maddening for Trek fans and having them spoiled actually allowed me to get my frustration out of my system before seeing the movie. I think I enjoyed the movie more having been spoiled. IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS, DON"T READ THIS REVIEW.

THE STORY

I love the beginning of this movie. Basically, Kirk violates the Prime Directive to save Spock. However, Spock reports him and Kirk gets demoted. The story connects to classic Trek and it gives the characters more emotional weight.

Unfortunately, the movie doesn't really continue with this intro. The rest of the movie follows rogue Starfleet officer John Harrison, who engages in several acts of terrorism against Starfleet. This part of the movie becomes a bit convoluted. Basically, the entire plot is an attempt by Starfleet Admiral Marcus to frighten Starfleet and to start a war with the Klingons, but what a convoluted way of going about it. When Harrison flees to the Klingon homeworld, Marcus sends the Enterprise to Kronos (yes, it's misspelt in the movie) to kill him. This part of the movie is fun, but a bit short on logic. Apparently, nobody thought to make diplomatic overtures to the Klingons to request that they return Harrison. Given that Harrison seems not to get along with the Klingons, it's hard to imagine they'd keep him.

I wish the movie had explored the consequences of Kirk's violating the Prime Directive and show Kirk actually struggle to get his command back. However, he's back in the captain's chair within a few minutes. This is fine. It gives the initial scenes a bit less emotional weight, but the second third of the movie is still fun. Where the movie really weakens though is the final third. It basically becomes a rehash of The Wrath of Khan. Things happen way too quickly, without any space to breath and let the emotional impact of events sink in.

There are a bunch of stupid plot twists that drove me nuts. Why on Earth was the Enterprise underwater in the beginning of the movie? I'm sure it was because Abrams thought it would look cool, but it makes no sense. Why would Admiral Marcus tell Kirk to fire torpedoes with Khans crew at Kronos? Why not just regular torpedoes? Sure, you could come up with contrived explanations, but like the 2009 movie this movie stretches logic.

THE VILLAIN

Given that I claim the final third of the movie borrows heavily from The Wrath of Khan, it's worth mentioning that John Harrison is Khan. Yes, despite all denials to the contrary, he is Khan. This is both good and bad. Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the few actors who can bring enough menace and charisma to the character to make a believable Khan. However, in this movie Khan's motives are pretty mundane. He just wants to get his 72 crew members back. Khan here has no ambitions to rule the galaxy, no epic quest for revenge. In fact, in one scene, Khan actually tears up when talking about his crew.

In short, while there was potential, Khan in this movie just never rises to the level of epic villain. The only reason anybody would care about Khan is because of the legacy of The Wrath of Khan. For much of the movie, Abrams could have substituted almost any other name for John Harrison without changing the villain's role. In fact, by making the villain Khan, I think it forced viewers who had seen Star Trek II to drew too many comparisons with Khan from that movie. It might have been better to just have had a fresh villain, perhaps a human or alien terrorist.

THE CHARACTERS

As with the 2009 Star Trek, I'm impressed with how well the new batch of actors mimic their counterparts from the Original Series. That said, Into Darkness is even less about the ensemble and more about the Kirk and Spock bromance. There are two problems here. First, one of the key relationship dynamics in the Original Series was the three-way dialogue between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Spock represented logic, McCoy represented emotion, and Kirk was the balance. However, in the Abrams movies McCoy has been relegated to a background character and to compensate has taken Kirk to an emotional extreme. I think there's a real opportunity missed for a band of brothers relationship between the three men.

Second, Spock is just too emotional. I don't mean that Vulcans never have emotions. However, in the Abrams movies, especially Into Darkness, Spock's default is emotional. This becomes particularly bad near the end, when Spock becomes enraged, yells "KHAAAAAN!", and goes off to chase Khan. The problem is that we never see Zachary Quinto's Spock as the cool, collected, logical Vulcan we see from the TV series and original movies. It's fine to show Spock's emotional side sometimes, but making him too emotional minimizes those moments.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

This is really where the movie shines. Abrams really knows how to paint a pretty picture. The intro sequence with the red planet and the white aliens with yellow robes was wonderful. The battle scenes are intense and when the Enterprise takes damage it really appears pretty damaged. Despite my other complaints, I do wish other Star Trek movies looked this good.

That said, the movie just doesn't slow down. There's no room for viewers to breath and absorb the emotional impact of events. Nicholas Meyer, director of Star Trek II & VI, says it's important to make some scenes special and some scenes mundane. However, in Abrams' movies, all of the scenes are so bold and busy that viewers really don't get a sense of which, if any scenes, are special (perhaps except radiation chamber scene). It's like a roller coaster ride with lots of ups and downs but to straightaways.

THE ENDING

As I said above the final third of the movie was the biggest disappointment. There's a situation where Spock grieves for Kirk. It's pretty much a direct rip on Wrath of Khan. I'm fine with a subtle homage. But what really frustrated me was that the end sequence is just a big fistfight between Khan and Spock. The scene lacks any tension and moreover takes place on a moving transport shuttle on Earth in broad daylight. While I think Abrams usually gets the visuals right, here the visuals were not only silly but also didn't provide a climax for the final battle. There was no battle of wits, just a pedestrian brawl.

One reviewer (I think the Transporter Room 3 podcast) said it best: at this point, the characters haven't earned this ending. We've only had one movie before this one with Kirk and Spock. It's not clear how that emotional became so deep. It just doesn't work when viewers know that Kirk will be resurrected. I think the ending could have been just as effective if Uhura had died, and made more sense.

THE VERDICT

Overall I give Into Darkness 3.5 stars. It's better than the 2009 Star Trek in my opinion, but Abrams still doesn't seem to understand Star Trek. This is all popcorn movie with little intellectual or emotional heft. More importantly, Abrams seems a bit too willing to make large leaps in logic and to fall back on action sequences rather than develop the plot. I'd still recommend seeing it. Despite my complaints, I did enjoy the movie and I'll buy the blu-ray. It just lacks the thoughtfulness of Star Treks II and VI, and that's a shame. If Abrams does make another sequel, I'd recommend he watch Star Trek II and VI, but not just to copy the plot twists, but also the thoughtfulness in those films.
Josh - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 8:54pm (USA Central)
I also enjoyed Into Darkness more than its predecessor, but it was also riddled with plot holes, questionable dialogue, and a script that felt like it needed at least another draft. As ever, there were action setpieces galore to the exclusion of more careful development of characters and plots. Others have touched on the retread nature of this movie, and I don't have much to add, except that none of the emotional payoff that was intended by much of the ending was earned, and so it fell flat.
Digedag - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 9:11pm (USA Central)
> Am I the only one who saw this movie?

Well, you seem to be the only one that saw an alternate version of the "Into Darkness" - after our time line was altered thanks to one extremely upset fan who traveled back in time and prevented the quartet of Abrams/Orci/Kurtzman/Lindelof from ever becoming engaged with the franchise - that was directed by Joss Whedon. ;-)

Well, it's pretty obvious that we have extremely different opinions regarding Into Darkness' respective merits and shortcomings. So, it's rather unlikely that I'm going to change your mind. And that's okay, different tastes and stuff :-)), but just a few things to contemplate:


> The militarization of Starfleet is clearly not "superficial", as it becomes evident that the HEAD OF STARFLEET is a WAR-MONGER. Fitting? Well, as I mentioned earlier, how is this a surprise when Spock is a member of an ENDANGERED SPECIES now?

Oh, how does this make itself felt apart from one war-mongering Admiral? How does Starfleet demonstrate this supposed development? How come this is a "Section 31" operation, an organization that works separately from the rest of the Federation and most importantly in absolute secrecy (but has a dockyard with a secret battle ship in plain sight) because their actions wouldn't possibly approved and sanctioned by the officials?
There are no real reverberations, no apparent evidence of this alleged change of attitude in Starfleet's modus operandi. Nor does the tone of the film reflect this in any significant way. For all we care, ol' Robocop could have acted out a revenge scheme because the Klingons killed his son during a camping trip, it wouldn't make a difference. He tells us some paranoid alibi reasoning about inevitable war or whatever, but it's ultimately an empty motivation spouted by a character that - like his daughter - serves only one purpose, to propel the plot forward. It's not reflected by the actual world the character inhabit. We're just told - in the most clumsy and unsubtle way imaginable - something without actually showing us some proof.

Hell, Spock who - as you mention - is part of an endangered species doesn't even weight in on the matter. Clearly, since he's directly affected, he could provide some interesting insight, perhaps some divisive and polarizing (logical) arguments. Or any other character could reflect on whether Admiral Robocop's private little war (HA!) is justified given the oh so dire situation of Starfleet. But this would require to actual deal with a complex topic, to offer different viewpoints embodied by characters who have an actual, understandable motivation to feel that way. But I guess it's difficult to address political and moral issues other than in a perfunctory way when you want to craft an entertaining space romp. Oh wait, "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" totally did touch upon these things while delivering an enjoyable movie going experience.


> Eye candy who can defuse an experimental torpedo and won't be beamed out to save herself.

Yeah, she's a story telling device to further the plot, not a character. See above.


> A hissing, growling character who is concerned for his crew and motivated in part by grief. (He attacks London because he thinks they've been killed by Starfleet.

Still a one-dimensional character though. There's no complexity or depth. Most important, him being Khan is absolute negligible. In fact, the narrative would have worked better if he would have been an original antagonist created from scratch. After all, what idiot thinks he can force a megalomaniacal war criminal to do his dirty work for him because he thinks he has some leverage (Khan's cryogenically frozen pals). Probably the same who conceives an needlessly convoluted plan to start a war.

Absolute wasted potential.


> And keeping her cool while negotiating with trigger-happy Klingons.

So, she speaks Klingon and doesn't tremble with fear when confronted with a potentially dangerous situation. That's a skill set expected of a Starfleet officer I'd argue. Bravery is a trait. This has not really something to do with good characterization. Every emotional reaction and behavior displayed by Uhura over the course of "STID" is Spock-related. Gee, the time line shift obviously somehow erased feminism.


> I thought Chekov's look of terror when Kirk tells him to put on a red shirt was hilarious.

Apart from the fact that "Red-shirt" gags at this point are becoming tiresome (after all, ST09 already milked this particular cliché), but this kind of "Get it! Get it! We poking fun at your old boring Trek. Aren't we hip!" is just infuriating because it's just lazy. That's the equivalent of name-dropping. Oh, wasn't there some mention of a certain Christine Chapel and a guy named Mudd?

Hey, Nothing against a clever reference or an affectionate homage, but this kind of smug back-slapping just leads to eye-rolling on my part. The "The needs of the many" falls in the same category. It wants to be profound, but a) comes at a time when the audience has just settled into their seats b) is, again, a rehash of a sentiment that has not been earned yet, lacking the necessary build-up. In the end you're left with another shallow reference that the audience recognizes because it's endlessly parroted in pop culture ever since, but that once had an actual conviction behind its utterance, a deeper meaning thanks to its careful setup that led to a real - and earned - emotional response.


> The impact [Kirk's "death"] is character, not plot.

It has no meaning if we know that he'll be resurrected ten minutes later. This COMPLETELY undermines the emotional resonance of the scene.
Also, in order for this to actually provoke a genuine reaction from the audience, it takes time to digest. This, however, is rather difficult if the movie moves along at breakneck-speed, immediately indulging in the next poorly though-out action set piece. Never mind the fact that this scene is a poor and frankly unimaginative rehash of one of the most famous and gut-punching sequences in Star Trek history, thus severely diminishes its intended impact. And, of course, this scene comes far too early in the lives of these (new) characters. Again, we aren't nearly as involved in their friendship as we were when "Wrath" came around.
Also, I fail to see how the Prime Directive fits into Kirk sacrificing himself at the end of the movie.


And one thing. Kirk doesn't really take responsibility for his actions. And by the way, how lazy is it for the movie to have one person (Pike) straight up tell the audience what character arc the protagonist has to to undergo before the credits roll? Film is a visual medium, for crying out load! Show, don't tell. Anyway, Kirk risks his life to save his crew. Nice sentiment (although to be expected of a Captain, I guess), but that's not the same as taking responsibility. See, Kirk risks his life all the time for other people. He does so at the beginning at the movie when he steals the holy script of the native inhabitants of the planet to distract them. He risks his life (and that of everyone on the ship) to save Spock. He puts his life constantly on the line throughout the film, sometimes to save other people. Too bad this movie doesn't explore the heroes mortality like "Wrath" did, but wants us make to believe that Kirk learns to take responsibility.

You know what would have been a sign of character growth and acceptance of the consequences of rash and short-sighted decisions? Ordering Scotty to climb into that radioactive chamber to repair the damage and live with the knowledge that Scotty's resulting death is his fault. After all, Kirk is the Captain. Leaving the ship without its freakin' commanding officer in an emergency situation to fix a broken the drive core although an engineer is far more suited for this job, thus diminishing the chance of success ... is pretty irresponsible (also, dumb). Hell, that was even a major plot (that beautifully tied into the characterization of one character) point in one of the later TNG episodes.

On that thought:

> It[Kirk's sacrifice] worked for me because it IS emotionally earned.

How is it emotionally earned. When a) did Kirk realize the fundamental(!) errors of his ways and b) adjusted his behavior accordingly? When did we see him actually mature? I sincerely hope you're not referring to when he apologizes to the crew on the bridge. Acknowledging his mistake when facing imminent annihilation hardly qualifies as serious character development. Admitting a wrong (and obvious) decision, especially given the circumstances, is hardly earning him respect or can be interpreted as a sign of real character growth. Neither is the act of sacrifice symbolic when the character in question isn't afraid to risk his life for the sake of other people and has done so numerous times up to this point.




So, now Star Trek is a universe in which death is a minor inconvenience and almost instantly curable thanks to 72 frozen "Übermenschen", which the movie conveniently forgot about when Bones desperately needed that blood sample.
Long-distance beaming across the whole quadrant is possible, basically making space flight obsolete. Although beaming a moving object still only works when the plot demands it.
A war with the Klingon Empire impending (or are they gonna let the violation of their territory and killing of over a dozen warriors go unpunished).
Digedag - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 9:26pm (USA Central)
PS: I apologize for numerous typos in my last comment. It's late and English is not my native tongue, so there are bound to be some grammatical hiccups that went unnoticed.
Patrick - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 9:30pm (USA Central)
I submit DS9's "Trials and Tribble-ations" as an example of how to do affectionate, subtle references to TOS.

JJTrek's nods to TOS are about as subtle as an SNL sketch.
Dom - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 11:41pm (USA Central)
Patrick, as much as I love the Trials and Tribble-ations episode, I wouldn't call it subtle! But you're right, that's how you pay an homage with respect. It also acknowledges that it's resting on the shoulders of greatness AND adds a new, unique twist.
Dom - Mon, May 20, 2013 - 11:47pm (USA Central)
> You know what would have been a sign of character growth and acceptance of the consequences of rash and short-sighted decisions? Ordering Scotty to climb into that radioactive chamber to repair the damage and live with the knowledge that Scotty's resulting death is his fault.

Wow, great minds think alike. Digedag, I had the same thought. There's actually a TNG episode in which Troi has to order Geordi to his death in a holodeck training simulation. That scene was a powerful moment for Troi, and that was the lesson Kirk needed to learn in this movie.
xaaos - Tue, May 21, 2013 - 3:00am (USA Central)
"I'm starting to think the only reason JJTrek gets so much love in critical circles is because of how bad Voyager, Enterprise, and Nemesis were."


Voyager was... bad?

LOL, in my opinion it was way better than TNG and Deep Space.
fluffysheap - Tue, May 21, 2013 - 5:05am (USA Central)
"Most important, him being Khan is absolute negligible. In fact, the narrative would have worked better if he would have been an original antagonist created from scratch."

There are actually a lot of good choices that were missed. Captain Garth, Commodore Decker or Gary Mitchell all would have been better choices than Khan here, although only Garth could have plausibly had magic blood.

"It has no meaning if we know that he'll be resurrected ten minutes later. This COMPLETELY undermines the emotional resonance of the scene."

Exactly. Spock's death in TWOK worked because NOBODY, including the writers, knew he was going to be resurrected later. When Picard was assimilated by the Borg, Patrick Stewart's contract was up in the air and it was totally plausible that he might not be coming back. When the Enterprise, no bloody A, B, C or D, was destroyed in TSFS, it at least stayed destroyed until the end of the next movie, and there was no guarantee there would actually be a Star Trek IV.

This is more like when Tom Paris turned into a lizard. Some magic medi-babble and he just gets better. Did anybody believe he was going to stay dead? Not for a minute.

Unfortunately, the circumstances where this works are mostly outside the writer's control, and don't come around all that often. You've either got to be prepared to *really* kill your main characters, or you've got to get your emotional impact from somewhere else. Otherwise it just feels cheap.

And I agree that *this* version of the characters have not "earned" the kind of friendship that they are trying to portray. In 2009, Kirk and Spock could barely stand each other.

The thing is, I really like these actors and this take on the characters (except Simon Pegg, because Scotty was never a comic relief character... except in Final Frontier, and we all know how THAT turned out). I wish the reboot-trek had been done as a TV show, with the same cast. But then... "The casting was great but everything else was terrible," that's pretty much everything JJ Abrams has ever done.
Hirogen73 - Tue, May 21, 2013 - 11:47am (USA Central)
I don’t know where to begin. It is a nice looking film. I’ll give them that. I wasn’t bored. I’ll give them that. They can quote Star Trek history but they don’t understand it. And the plot just doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot of sense. Might I add, that Khan as the villain will go down as the worst-kept secret of the year. Did anybody actually go into the film not suspecting the guy was really Khan?

Why Khan? I guess they wanted the reaction I heard in the audience when I saw it. Two out of 100 people loudly whispering “YES!” when he said “My name is Khan”. Other than that, why Khan? Those unfamiliar with the Trek universe just knew Khan as a real bad guy. And here that was his only characteristic, aside from wanting his people back. The real Khan had a thirst for power, but he was never a genocidal monster as Spock Prime seemed to imply. He was the best of the tyrants, remember? And why would Admiral Marcus use him to build an advanced starship? Yes, Khan was brilliant. But he was from OUR century. It would be like trying to revive Isaac Newton to help build the atomic bomb. In Wrath of Khan, the only reason he was defeated was because Khan, despite his genetically enhanced intelligence, was not experienced. But now he’s played as a fool, allowing 70-some missiles to be beamed aboard his ship without, you know, checking to see if the flipping things were armed!!

That whole business with Khan’s crew inside the missiles was very confusing. Khan hid them there? Whenever he did this, instead of individually storing all of them, wouldn’t it have been better to revive them all then and there? Boom…Instant army! And after the Godfather III take down of Starfleet Command (which, conveniently, only Spock, Kirk and Marcus survive), Khan beams to the Klingon planet? He knew exactly where the advanced starship was. Why not beam there and have one hell of a weapon to leverage the release of your people? He was able to single-handedly take down a battalion of Klingons and a couple Klingon battle cruisers, surely he would have been able to neutralize a couple dozen engineers on the advanced starship (which he, in fact, does do later). If the filmmakers really needed a tie-in to the original series, the Khan character should’ve been Gary Mitchell. Especially if they kept the thread that Kirk and Mitchell were good friends. That could’ve been a good story: Kirk having to hunt down an old friend who had developed superior powers and was out of control.

We have Peter Weller playing essentially the same character he played in the fifth season of “24”. Except now he is yet another corrupt Federation admiral. Like the others, he is naturally working outside of the purview of Starfleet, so there are no lasting repercussions to the integrity of Starfleet. By the way, even today our own government has missiles tucked away in Washington DC that can shoot down a threat to our nation’s capital. And yet with all their 23rd Century technology, and already knowing they’re vulnerable by nearly being destroyed by Nero in the last film, Starfleet can’t do anything to stop a ship about to crash directly into the city that is the home to Starfleet headquarters??

Kirk’s breakdown when Pike died made emotional sense. Spock’s breakdown when Kirk “died” did not. They didn’t get along until the last 10 minutes of the first film. And we barely got to see them bond in this film. The movie hadn’t earned the right to have the half-vulcan Spock go off on some vengeance streak. By the way, in regards to Kirk (and the Tribble’s) rebirth. Why would injecting Khan’s magic blood into a dead organism, where blood is not circulating mind you, heal the entire body? I guess that’s why it’s magic.

I could go on forever. This movie isn’t a Star Trek movie. It’s a big-budget, admittedly easy to watch, blow-stuff-up-real good spectacle set in space with characters named Kirk, Spock and Khan.

Oh yeah, somebody write down that transwarp beaming equation. Hand it to Captain Janeway about 100 years from now. She will need it in the Delta Quadrant since you can use it to apparently beam your way across many LIGHT YEARS of space.
Patrick - Tue, May 21, 2013 - 2:02pm (USA Central)
Could you imagine in TNG's "Skin of Evil" that at the end of the episode Dr. Crusher synthesizes an antidote to Tasha being dead using the black goo off the recently enveloped Commander Riker? If you thought that episode was held in low regard before...
Brandon - Tue, May 21, 2013 - 2:02pm (USA Central)
WHO CARES about the crew's characterizations as youngbloods???!!! It spoils the legend.

To quote Patton Oswalt as he bashed the SW prequels:

"I DON'T GIVE A SHIT where the stuff I love comes from! I just love the stuff I love!!!"
Matt - Tue, May 21, 2013 - 3:01pm (USA Central)
> Well, it's pretty obvious that we have extremely different opinions regarding Into Darkness' respective merits and shortcomings. So, it's rather unlikely that I'm going to change your mind.

I'm not trying to argue you into changing your mind. At most, I'm trying to point out that (again putting on my ship's counselor's hat) the reasons why you ACTUALLY don't like the movie are different from the reasons why you SAY you don't like the movie.


> Oh, how does this make itself felt apart from one war-mongering Admiral? How does Starfleet demonstrate this supposed development?

By thawing out a genetically-enhanced war criminal and putting him on a leash to develop weapons (and God knows what else). By developing a warship and crewing it with private security. Y'know... as you do.

ADM Marcus is not "one Admiral". He's the HEAD OF STARFLEET. And Carol's dialogue states that he runs MULTIPLE WEAPONS PROGRAMS.


> How come this is a "Section 31" operation, an organization that works separately from the rest of the Federation and most importantly in absolute secrecy (but has a dockyard with a secret battle ship in plain sight) because their actions wouldn't possibly approved and sanctioned by the officials?

ADM Marcus IS "the officials". Now, I sure HOPE that his actions were not known or sanctioned by the Federation Council... but that wasn't explored one way or the other.

And how exactly was Vengeance "in plain sight"? She was concealed inside a hangar bay, which was itself concealed behind one of Jupiter's moons.


> There are no real reverberations, no apparent evidence of this alleged change of attitude in Starfleet's modus operandi.

Except the genetically-enhanced war criminal in a STARFLEET UNIFORM. And the dreadnought crewed with private security. And the long-range photon torpedoes. AND Pike's description of Starfleet from the last movie as a "peacekeeping and humanitarian armada". Other than that, no evidence at all.


> For all we care, ol' Robocop could have acted out a revenge scheme because the Klingons killed his son during a camping trip, it wouldn't make a difference.

You repeatedly trivialize or dismiss Marcus's motivation without actually saying WHY it's "empty". To me, ADM Marcus's motivation works, and I'll explain why in just a bit.

Before that, though... If you think (or arbitrarily decide) that the motivation of the film's VILLAIN - a motivation which is EXPLAINED IN THE MOVIE and is a CONSEQUENCE OF other events in the universe - is "empty", then OF COURSE the whole film falls apart.

The same tactic can be applied to WoK. Khan's motivation is EXPLAINED IN THE CONTEXT OF THAT FILM'S UNIVERSE, but if you throw out that motivation as "empty", then nothing in the film has meaning anymore.

Arbitrarily dismissing a character's motivation doesn't mean the screenplay hasn't done its job. It means you have a chip on your shoulder.


So why does Marcus's motivation work for me? Because I've seen plenty of people in my country (USA) react in very similar ways over the past, oh, 12 years or so. Deep down, ADM Marcus is AFRAID. He looks out into space and he doesn't see the FINAL FRONTIER - he sees the THREATS AND DANGERS out there. He doesn't see NEW LIFE AND NEW CIVILIZATIONS - he sees Romulans with black hole machines.

And he's NOT ENTIRELY WRONG. As the singularity where Vulcan used to be can attest. That's DEVASTATION on a scale that we've NEVER SEEN BEFORE in Trek... how could it NOT affect Starfleet and the Federation? Would we WANT things to be "business as usual" after Vulcan?


I've seen plenty of people say that we have to cross ethical lines to "defend our way of life" (ADM Marcus's words). My government has done that plenty of times - just ask anyone subjected to "enhanced interrogation" or detained indefinitely without trial at Guantanamo Bay. STID not only engages with these issues, it takes a stand that defending our way of life by crossing ethical lines is SELF-DESTRUCTIVE. (Kirk doesn't kill Marcus; Marcus's own creation turns on him.) This stands in stark contrast to a culture that seems to be deciding that we have to "do whatever it takes" to fight those who wish us harm.


> Hell, Spock who - as you mention - is part of an endangered species doesn't even weight in on the matter.

Spock most certainly DOES weigh in on the issue of whether to assassinate Harrison using the torpedoes. (Again, did you actually WATCH this movie? Was your theater having SOUND PROBLEMS so that you couldn't hear what characters were SAYING?)

At that point, no one on the Enterprise KNOWS Marcus's goals. What they DO know is that they've been assigned to kill a Federation citizen without a trial and possibly spark an interstellar incident. There is vigorous ethical debate about THAT. (I know that because I LISTENED TO THE WORDS.)

Once ADM Marcus shows up, he points a gun at the crew's collective head. There's no occasion for ethical debate at that point, plus I'm not sure anyone on the command crew actually AGREES with Marcus. (Maybe the cybernetic guy wants to go all "war machine", but he doesn't get a vote.)

Again to compare with WoK, the ethical debates about Genesis all happen BEFORE Enterprise comes under fire.


> Yeah, [Carol is] a story telling device to further the plot, not a character. See above.

Carol is certainly a MINOR character. But her motivations are consistent, her reactions are believable, and she doesn't suddenly develop new skills or abilities as the plot demands.

What exactly is the difference between a "minor character" and a "story telling device" in your mind? Did you want this movie to be ABOUT Carol?


>> A hissing, growling character who is concerned for his crew and motivated in part by grief. (He attacks London because he thinks they've been killed by Starfleet.
> [Khan is] Still a one-dimensional character though. There's no complexity or depth.

See this pattern? I provide an example of something - in this case, character depth - and you say, "nuh-uh!", with NO REASONS GIVEN. This has happened with Marcus's motivation, Khan's character, and Kirk's demise. Not a particularly strong argument on your part, especially given that, for the most part, all I am doing is RECOUNTING THE EVENTS OF THE MOVIE.

You can arbitrarily decide that this character is "one-dimensional" but that doesn't make it so. In fact, this Khan is WAY more dimensional than the WoK Khan - STID Khan has more complex motivations (protect his crew, get out from under Marcus's thumb, and steal the Vengeance and defrost his people). The WoK Khan IS a one-dimensional character. He EXPLICITLY turns down the possibilities in front of him ("We have a ship, we can go anywhere we want!") in favor of HURTING KIRK.


> Most important, him being Khan is absolute negligible.

Khan seems like he would be a PERFECT CHOICE for a Sec31 black ops asset. For one thing, he can do things that baseline humans can't. ("I am better." "At what?" "Everything.") Plus, he has NO PAST. No facial recognition scans are going to pick him up. No past connections are going to compromise his loyalty.


> Every emotional reaction and behavior displayed by Uhura over the course of "STID" is Spock-related. Gee, the time line shift obviously somehow erased feminism.

I agree that it would have been nice to see some more complex characterization of the females. I never said this movie was PERFECT, only that a number of your critiques did not have basis in the events of the movie.

And speaking of things that have no basis in reality, "erased feminism"? Do I really need to respond to that?


> "Get it! Get it! We poking fun at your old boring Trek. Aren't we hip!"

If you took it this way, I think that says less about the movie and more about YOU.


>> The impact [Kirk's "death"] is character, not plot.
> It has no meaning if we know that he'll be resurrected ten minutes later. This COMPLETELY undermines the emotional resonance of the scene.

Your argument is that the "emotional resonance" hinges on whether we think he'll be brought back. I disagree. "Emotional resonance" is not the same as "tension". "Will Kirk live or die?" is a point of TENSION. "Why did Kirk do this?" is the EMOTIONAL RESONANCE. There may not be tension about Kirk's ultimate fate, but because THE CHARACTER BELIEVED HE WAS GOING TO DIE, there is DEFINITELY emotional resonance.

As I said earlier:
>> Does knowing that Spock comes back diminish the power of the scene in WoK? Not for me, because Spock makes the choice not knowing that he'll be back. The scene isn't about PLOT TENSION, it's about CHARACTER.

By your logic, STIII "COMPLETELY undermines the emotional resonance" of Spock's death. But it doesn't, at least not to me. I ask seriously: has STIII "completely undermined" Spock's death scene for you? If so, I 1) feel bad for you, and 2) think you're missing the point of Spock's death.


> And by the way, how lazy is it for the movie to have one person (Pike) straight up tell the audience what character arc the protagonist has to to undergo before the credits roll? Film is a visual medium, for crying out load! Show, don't tell.

We WERE shown. The WHOLE POINT of the Nibiru sequence was to show us Kirk's irresponsibility and recklessness. We saw Pike's dressing-down because 1) it's an important character note, and 2) at that point, Kirk doesn't think he's done anything wrong.


Hmm, wait a minute...

>>> And, of course, there's no real character arc to speak of.

So you believe that there's no arc to speak of, AND that Pike tells the audience what arc the protagonist is going to go through.

PICK ONE.


> Also, in order for this to actually provoke a genuine reaction from the audience, it takes time to digest. This, however, is rather difficult if the movie moves along at breakneck-speed, immediately indulging in the next poorly though-out action set piece.

"The pace was too fast" is a genuine stylistic complaint. Sounds like that choice didn't work for you. It did for me, but we can (subjectively) disagree on that.

Do you understand the difference between saying, "the pace was too fast", and "Marcus's motivation was not explained"? One of those is a SUBJECTIVE statement about what works for you, and one is a FACTUAL statement about what was in the movie.


> Anyway, Kirk risks his life to save his crew.

No, Kirk SACRIFICES his life to save his crew. That's a big difference.

Kirk is a guy who loves to take the big risks and win. "Risk" means "probability". AS FAR AS KIRK KNOWS, the probability of him surviving the warp core is ZERO. That's not a "risk", that's a sacrifice.


> He puts his life constantly on the line throughout the film, sometimes to save other people.

A risk is not the same as a sacrifice.


> Kirk doesn't really take responsibility for his actions.

Only if you can't recognize the difference between a "risk" and a "sacrifice".

Once more, with feeling: KIRK THINKS HE IS GOING TO PERMANENTLY, IRREVOCABLY DIE BY GOING IN THE REACTION CHAMBER.


> You know what would have been a sign of character growth and acceptance of the consequences of rash and short-sighted decisions? Ordering Scotty to climb into that radioactive chamber to repair the damage and live with the knowledge that Scotty's resulting death is his fault.

Agreed, that WOULD have been an interesting choice.


> Leaving the ship without its freakin' commanding officer in an emergency situation to fix a broken the drive core...

There wasn't much Kirk (or anyone) could do from the bridge at that point. It was all Sulu could do to keep the ship upright.


> When a) did Kirk realize the fundamental(!) errors of his ways and b) adjusted his behavior accordingly? When did we see him actually mature?

* He does not use the torpedoes against Harrison
* He captures Harrison even though he's clearly tempted to just kill him ("I am authorized to END you!")
* He refuses to turn Harrison over to ADM Marcus
* He gives himself up to spare his crew
* He CHOOSES to SACRIFICE HIS LIFE

Compare this to the guy at the beginning of the movie who asked "What's the big deal?" about breaking the Prime Directive. Kirk - Nu AND Prime - has always had an ego, and at the beginning of the movie, he's using his command to justify that ego. (Pike: "You think the rules don't apply to you." Kirk: "Some of them shouldn't.")

A man who's primarily driven by his own ego doesn't make the sacrifice play. At least, not without CHARACTER GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT.


> Acknowledging his mistake when facing imminent annihilation hardly qualifies as serious character development.

It counts as TAKING RESPONSIBILITY, which is exactly what you said Kirk did NOT DO. But he DOES do it. It's RIGHT THERE, in the movie that I SAW but you apparently did NOT.


> So, now Star Trek is a universe in which death is a minor inconvenience and almost instantly curable thanks to 72 frozen "Übermenschen", which the movie conveniently forgot about when Bones desperately needed that blood sample.

As was established in the movie, the thawing process is tricky and Bones doesn't really know how to do it. Plus, there's no guarantee that Khan's crew have the same abilities that Khan does.

Like the old Vulcan proverb says, "A genetically-engineered superman with a healing factor in the hand, is worth two in the cryo-tubes." (Another joke.)


> Long-distance beaming across the whole quadrant is possible, basically making space flight obsolete. Although beaming a moving object still only works when the plot demands it.

The Enterprise doesn't have transwarp beaming (TWB) because SECTION 31 CONFISCATED IT. Again, EXPLAINED IN THE MOVIE.

And TWB will certainly not replace space exploration. The whole point of exploration is to see if there's anywhere to beam TO. Additionally, we've never seen TWB work on anything larger than two humanoids.

It will be interesting to see what happens with this tech. I for one was glad that this was taken seriously and not just swept under the rug as a plot point in ST09.


> A war with the Klingon Empire impending (or are they gonna let the violation of their territory and killing of over a dozen warriors go unpunished).

It'll also be interesting to see how this plays out.


----

> However, in the Abrams movies, especially Into Darkness, Spock's default is emotional.

Except for when he's about to die in the volcano - he's logical then. And when he submits a factually correct report about Nibiru. And when he makes a logical argument against using the torpedoes. And when he calmly explains to Uhura why he's shut off his emotions. And THE ENTIRE MOVIE UNTIL THE LAST 15 MINUTES.

Other than those times, sure, totally emotional. He's a blubbering wreck.


> Apparently, nobody thought to make diplomatic overtures to the Klingons to request that they return Harrison.

Harrison DOES NOT OFFICIALLY EXIST. Going through channels would almost certainly expose things that Marcus wants kept secret.


> I wish the movie had explored the consequences of Kirk's violating the Prime Directive and show Kirk actually struggle to get his command back. However, he's back in the captain's chair within a few minutes.

As I mentioned a couple posts ago, Kirk gets his command back because ADM MARCUS IS USING HIM. Yeah, it is a bit "convenient" in screenplay terms, but it also makes sense once you realize what Marcus is doing.

Marcus is improvising the entire time. He didn't PLAN for Khan to attack London or San Fran - but when that happens, he USES Harrison's destination ("a place he thinks we can't go") and Kirk's rage to further his goals. (You don't get to be the head of Starfleet by being an idiot.)


> Why would Admiral Marcus tell Kirk to fire torpedoes with Khans crew at Kronos? Why not just regular torpedoes?

ADM Marcus does not know that Khan's crew are in the torpedoes. As explained in the movie.

The torpedoes are long-range weapons that can be fired from the edge of Klingon space. As explained in the movie. (We've only ever seen photorps used for short-range ship-to-ship engagements.)


> Sure, you could come up with contrived explanations

Or you could listen to the explanations that are given in the movie. Seriously, folks, go to a different theater with a working sound system. You'll enjoy movies much more.


> It might have been better to just have had a fresh villain, perhaps a human or alien terrorist.

I'd definitely like to see a fresh villain. But they kinda had to do Khan. We all know he's out there. And he's a major character in the ST universe. I do hope we get a fresh villain - or no villain at all - next time.


> But what really frustrated me was that the end sequence is just a big fistfight between Khan and Spock. The scene lacks any tension and moreover takes place on a moving transport shuttle on Earth in broad daylight.

Agreed on this.


----


> Spock's death in TWOK worked because NOBODY, including the writers, knew he was going to be resurrected later.

So then, STIII must make Spock's WoK death completely "not work" anymore, right? Because EVERYBODY knows he's going to be resurrected later.

Of course not. Spock's death works because he made a sacrifice that was both logical and emotional. It works because it made Kirk confront death in a way he never had before. In short, it works because of the EMOTIONAL RESONANCE.

If you think Spock's resurrection in STIII completely undoes the impact of Spock's death scene in WoK, I think you may be missing the point.


> This is more like when Tom Paris turned into a lizard. Some magic medi-babble and he just gets better. Did anybody believe he was going to stay dead? Not for a minute.

Tom Paris did not make any hard choices or sacrifice himself to turn into a lizard. Tom Paris becoming a lizard did not teach him or anyone around him anything about themselves. Spock's death did. NuKirk's death did. (Kirk Prime's, alas, did not.)


----


> Well, you seem to be the only one that saw an alternate version of the "Into Darkness" - after our time line was altered thanks to one extremely upset fan who traveled back in time and prevented the quartet of Abrams/Orci/Kurtzman/Lindelof from ever becoming engaged with the franchise - that was directed by Joss Whedon. ;-)

One final thing to wrap this up... I don't care if the script was written by AN INFINITE NUMBER OF MONKEYS (anybody get THAT reference?). What matters is what's on the screen. Looking down your nose at the creative team may make you feel better about yourself, but it doesn't allow you to INVENT problems with the movie.
Tokei-ihto - Tue, May 21, 2013 - 3:51pm (USA Central)
To borrow a line from the great, unfortunately recently deceased Roger Ebert:

"I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it."

This movie is the equivalent to a lobotomy. Good Lord, what a ridiculous mess.

Dom - Tue, May 21, 2013 - 4:01pm (USA Central)
> that was directed by Joss Whedon. ;-)

Oh, now THAT would be awesome.
Tokei-ihto - Tue, May 21, 2013 - 5:51pm (USA Central)
>> that was directed by Joss Whedon. ;-)

> Oh, now THAT would be awesome.

Yes, indeed. That would be a dream come true. Although I would already be content if the powers that be could hire someone who has a genuine affection for the property, or at least respects it enough to not turn it into the copycat of another well-known franchise.

I gotta say, compared to Star Trek 2013 even last year's rightly maligned Prometheus suddenly looks like a paragon of cohesive, tight writing. Abrams Star Trek sequel violates so many basic rules of storytelling 101, it's not even funny anymore. And while his first foray into Roddenberry's universe also featured plot holes and inconsistencies en masse, the swift pacing and compelling portrayals of the young cast swept you off your feat before you could level a complain against the porous narrative and carried you along for the ride until the closing credits rolled. This movie unfortunately lacks the momentum of its predecessor, giving you enough time to become painfully aware of the staggering amount of deficiencies and shortcomings* that others here have already pointed out.

I'd imagine in years to come Trek 2013 could serve as a fine example of what not to do when crafting a compelling character-driven and structurally sound movie.

But since the actors are by far the best and imho only redeeming part of the movie, I cling to the hope, somewhat illusory I fear, that third time's the charm.


*And obviously that's not completely lost on the people involved. Damon Lindelof just apologised for Carol Marcus' knickers scene, admitting that it was gratuitous and objectifying. Go figure.
John TY - Tue, May 21, 2013 - 7:48pm (USA Central)
It would seem there is only one official ship in starfleet in the 23rd century...
Dom - Tue, May 21, 2013 - 9:57pm (USA Central)
Not surprisingly, Damon Lindelof was responsible for Prometheus as well. The guy doesn't know how to tell a logical story. Why does he keep getting hired for big sci-fi films? (Actually, maybe that's why)
Ritz - Tue, May 21, 2013 - 10:32pm (USA Central)
One word to sum up the movie - superficial.

The references (see laughable rip-offs) of TWOK are horrible - Spock yelling Khan's name, the screen with the hands of Spock and Kirk separated by the glass, the direct quotes ('You'll flood the whole compartment!'). they make me think that Abrams and Co think Star Trek is a collection of lines and scenes that can be repeated with slight changes to make new Star Trek.

Kirk still acts like a bratty kid and Spock like a moody teenager. The visuals are great, but the plot falls apart if one thinks about it (what motivates these people? How does one build a giant starship in the solar system that no one notices? And on and on...

The whole time I kept thinking to myself how great TWOK was and how perfect the acting, dialogue, and acting was. In fact, all I wanted to do was go home and pop in the TWOK dvd.

This movie took TWOK and made something almost silly in its poor execution.
Hirogen73 - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 7:35am (USA Central)
For Matt, who keeps insisting that section 31 confiscated transwarp beaming.

How does one confiscate an equation? I would think Scotty would have it memorized (he certainly knew it when he saw it) or have it saved on a 23rd century flash drive, or have it written on a post it note. If all else fails, contact Spock Prime and say "Can you give me that equation again?"

Lord Garth - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 12:27pm (USA Central)
I liked the 2009 film. Not so much "Star Trek Into Darkness". It had too many plot holes.

These were the problems I had with STID:

1. Why would Admiral Marcus need to revive Khan to figure out how to fight the Klingons? It would be like someone today reviving Napoleon to figure out how to fight the North Koreans. Second of all, Starfleet has had 100 years to prepare for the Klingons by this point. The two sides have always been portrayed as powers of equal strength. The Klingons are a threat, but they're not an overwhelming one. Humanity also seems savage and primitive enough that they don't need Khan's insights. The humans in the Abrams films, unlike the Roddenberry series, would fit right into today's world.

2. Khan would never allow himself to become a pawn of Starfleet or Section 31. He'd never save Kirk from the Klingons. And he's not really that ruthless in this film. He should've killed Kirk right before beaming his corpse back to the Enterprise or fatally wounded him at least so he'd be dying and in as much pain as possible even as he intended to destroy the Enterprise. He does horrible things but he himself doesn't act villainous enough. The original Khan, as well as Kruge in "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock", were much more black-hatted, which is what Khan should be.

3. The movie was supposed to show Kirk becoming more mature and growing into an adult. When he's repeatedly punching Khan, he's acting like a 15-year-old. When he constantly turns his head whenever a woman walks by, he's acting like a 14-year-old. When he's having a threesome, it's like a teenage boy's fantasy. I see nothing in the film that shows he became more mature. All I see is a kid who had a bad experience and a rough mission, then made a good speech at the end. He's not an adult. He's still reckless. He's still immature. I don't think this is the type of Captain you want to send out on a five-year mission into the unknown. Is this who the Admiralty wants representing the Federation? The only rationale I can think of is to get Kirk out of the way. It would make more sense to have him in Federation space, thinking outside the box to solve unconventional local problems where he can be of help and they can keep an eye on him.

4. Spock is much too emotional. Spock shouldn't be yelling "KHAAAANNN!!!" and going crazy while fighting him. Spock shouldn't be jealous when Dr. Marcus is assigned as Science Officer and, yes, he was jealous. Spock wouldn't give Pike lip.

5. The treatment of Doctor Marcus is extremely sexist. She undresses while Kirk is in the same room and the only reason is to show a shot of her in her underwear. When she screams after Admiral Marcus is killed, it's like something from out of a '50s B-movie. They can't even stay away from the sex jokes while McCoy is down with her while they perform "surgery" on the torpedo.

6. Why would Khan's blood restore anything to life? They don't even try to explain it. It's just magic blood that can somehow reanimate every cell in your body. Does that mean Khan could be immortal? Not that the film is even smart enough or aware enough to pose the question.

7. While we're at it, there's an entire ethical dilemma that's not even touched upon. Now that the location of the Botany Bay is known, should these escaped supermen and superwomen stand trial? I'm surprised they were all just left in suspended animation but that could've been mitigated if there was at least a discussion about what should be done with them. But why ponder those types of questions when they'd take up too much time that would be better spent on chase scenes and explosions?

8. There's absolutely no comparison between the scene when Spock was dying in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" and the reverse scene in "Star Trek Into Darkness".

9. When Spock is fighting Khan on Earth, it feels more like "The Matrix" than "Star Trek". And why just beam down Uhura to let Spock know not to kill Khan? Maybe Uhura is the only one who can get through to Spock quickly enough but she's Communications Officer. There should be at least one Security Officer as well.

10. Why would that officer toward the beginning of "Into Darkness" blow up a building just because Khan/Harrison saved his daughter? Seems like an extreme thing to agree to.

11. Starfleet has sensors, ships in orbit have sensors, spacedock has sensors. Why did it take Kirk to figure out that "Harrison" was about to attack where the briefing was being held?

12. This is last because I realized as I was watching that this was the least of the film's problems: if you're going to cast someone to play Khan, it should either be a Hispanic actor, like Ricardo Montalban was, or an Indian. The fact that a 1967 episode and a 1982 film are more diverse than a 2013 film is inexcusable. This is not to slight Benedict Cumberbatch but I think he was miscast, unless they had him just be John Harrison. On that note: I understand that Khan went by a false identity but, if you're going to have the false identity, why not go the rest of the way and have McCoy or Khan himself mention that he was surgically altered?
Weiss - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 1:00pm (USA Central)
I enjoyed watching the move... mostly because it reminded me of why I loved Deep Space Nine...

I do no think this was as much a rip of Wrath of Khan, as it was ripping off (or homage) to DS9...

(1) the plot was pretty much Homefront and Paradise Lost... replace Changeling with Klingon false threat to divert attention (attack on the heart of Starfleet in San Francisco, which was until DS9 was never seen visually in any trek)
(2) reveal that an Admiral is behind the conspiracy and attempting to milaterize Earth
(3) using the good guys (Sisko/Odo or Kirk here) to unwittingly push the agenda without knowing it, and evetually realizing they were had and trying to stop it
(4) Admiral having his own loyalist starfleet agents with their own Starship (thank you Red Squad), which have a showdown with the good guys ships (in ds9 they were pummeling the Defiant, here the Enterprise). and the good guys having a subplot that involves investigating the Admirals loyalist crew (Scotty here, Nog in DS9)

--
I think what made me enjoy it was mostly Peter Weller as the lead villain (enjoy him always) and the "Mother" of references to Section 31. Which was originally created in Deep Space Nine.
In thinking about it, there is symmetry... in DS9, Bashir was genetically engineered and Section 31 tried to recruit him (and he tried to destroy them for the good guys)... in this one Wrath was found by Section 31, became an agent for them and tried to destroy them also.

--
The other thing I kept thinking during this movie was the Futurama quote by The Robot Devil "Ah, my ridiculously circuitous plan is one-quarter complete"... this movie pretty much kept moving at a break neck pace to avoid people thinking about the plotholes.

enjoyable nonetheless (I still wish they never created this reboot and just continued the original timeline).

Weiss - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 1:08pm (USA Central)
I hated the whole Khan's healing blood plotline... The moral implications of this were never got into.

In the original wrath of Khan, they talked about Genesis weapon (and they did go into the morality of using the device). Here they in essence use Khan's blood to give life, but never talk about the moral implications, just a plot device to move the story forwad. why even chase down Khan, when you have 72 others with the same blood.
Hell, this is where I miss Babylon 5, they had an episode called Deathwalker, where they went into the moral implications of creating a immortality serum (which required the death of millions to create the serum so a million more can live forever). Hell, wouldnt there be a concern that well if they can heal Kirk, why not use this blood for healing everyone else on Earth (use the 72 to heal humanity)??? They would have been better not going into this plot device... unfortunately this is where movies have to dumb down ideas (and 2 hours is not enough to delve into the deep)
Nic - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 1:29pm (USA Central)
Whoa, Matt. No need to take everything so personally. I'm glad you enjoyed the film, in fact I wish I had enjoyed as much as you did.

Despite my previous post, I did not literally 'turn off my brain' when I went to see it. I think I went in with an open mind. And for the first half of the film I was pleasantly surprised. It was the ending that let me down.

In WoK, Spock HAD to sacrifice himself to save the ship. That was the event that brought all the themes of the film (age, death, the no-win scenario) full circle. I can't imagine the film ending any other way.

In STID, I fail to see the dramatic purpose of having Kirk die and then revived five minutes later. I did not believe for a single moment that he was actually dead, though in retrospect if he HAD really died (that is, been punished for his arrogance) it would have been a better film, but still not as good as WoK.

My comment about the engineers a nitpick, for sure, but I found the idea of Chekov becoming chief engineer during Scotty's absence despite seeming completely clueless in the role quite implausible.
Tim - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 2:41pm (USA Central)
Watched STID yesterday, TWOK today and the difference in tone and quality was striking. Like it or not, Abrams and Co have invited this comparison with open arms (you know, by using half the dialog from TWOK).

TWOK was a movie with adult characters with deep personalities, raw emotion, awesome writing, brilliant direction. STID was a movie about kids flying cool looking ships, lots of people punching each other, superficial ‘homages’ to TWOK, and a plot with more holes than substance.

I have zero problem with bringing back Khan. In fact, I think Cumberbatch is a wonderful actor. But the problem is that there is nothing new in this movie. Its a rehash of best elements of TWOK but without the feeling and meaning.

When Kirk turns around and see’s Spock’s empty chair in TWOK, you can feel that emotion, the dread of what has happened, the instant knot in your throat kind of feeling. When the analogous ‘death’ scene happens in STID it felt cheesy, predictable, and induced eye rolls, rather than the kind of emotion the death scene in TWOK.

In the TWOK Spock saves the ship because it is the logical thing to do and Kirk has to finally face the no-win situation as both the audience and him lose someone they had known for a many years, etc… In STID Kick saves the ship so new Spock can yell ‘Khaaaan’ really loud and then go fight Khan on a floating thing (Wooo, more punching!!!!!!!!) after a giant ship crashes into a city and kills hundreds of people no one seems to be concerned about.

STID is not smart, its not well-written, its predicable, and it takes the wonderful film that was TWOK and twists it into something unintelligent and without feeling for people who think Star Trek is about people running around saying famous lines and acting like children.
Tim - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 2:51pm (USA Central)
And on top of that, the film borders on sexist, which runs counter to what we usually consider the essence of 'Trek.' Of course there is the already much debated, much lamented underwear scene. All I have to say is any scene that communicates that its OK to disregard a woman’s wish not to be looked at while almost naked just because she is attractive (i.e. no really does not mean no if she is hot enough) and puts the name Star Trek on it makes me sick. That is a message that does not belong in film, much less something that used to be socially progressive like Trek.

And to make things so much worse, they take a character that broke racial barriers on network television and inspired future African-American actors and astronauts and drew the praise of MLK and reduce Uhura to someone defined as the girlfriend of Spock who cannot act professionally on an away mission and is only in scenes to worry about Spock or advance his character’s plot. (Yes, her scene with the Klingons was great, but overshadowed by the rest of her dialogue).

Yes, women in Star Trek in the 1960′s dressed in revealing outfits. I am not saying classic Trek always got it right. But much of that was a function of TOS starting Trek half a century ago. What Trek really did was challenge racism and sexism. THAT is what made Trek special – it was intelligent, profound, ground-breaking. The idea of a black woman working on the bridge of a starship was radical at the time, and to reduce that character to what she is now is a joke.
Jo Jo Meastro - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 4:28pm (USA Central)
I'm suprised with the amount of negativity surrounding the film on here. While I'd be the first to admit that STID is far from perfect, it's a very enjoyable and engaging Star Trek movie and a welcome addition to the franchise.

Perhaps part of why I got such enjoyment from it is that its my first time I've ever seen a Star Trek film in the cinemas. In the past I ended up narrowingly missing out on them (in truth I rarely get the cinemas these days anyways) but this time I didn't miss out and it was a really awesome cinema expirience. Not to mention I had lovely hotdogs, very nice coffees, an ample supple of lush snacks....I was in movie-buff heaven!

I won't repeat what I already said in my first comment, except to say it was stronger than Star Trek 09 (which I enjoyed) and it was one of the better examples of blockbuster mainstream Trek since First Contact. Hell, it even got my Trek-hating girlfriend interested! It had the amazing action, visuals, themes, characterization, emotion, fun, humour and charm which embodies the best of big screen Trek. Not perfect, not classic; but solid and a great ride.

As an aside, I think people are over-reacting to the silly lightwieght "underwear" scene. If it had been Kirk in his underwear and Carol sneaking a peak, I bet no one would have batted an eyelid. To say its offensive is pollitical correctness gone haywire, it was a small injection of juvinile humour that highlighted a particular trait of our ladies-man Captian...it made me, my mother, my girlfriend and everyone in the cinema laugh.

Anyways, I'll conclude by saying I hope in hindsight some of the negativity thins out a bit. If not, I'll still stand by STID and when it comes out on Blu Ray I'll be buying it without a doubt. A solid 3 or 3.5 film.
Josh - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 5:24pm (USA Central)
Weiss,

You are right that the story was done previously on DS9. What you miss is how much better it was done first time round because then they didn't have confused motives and also they actually told that story, rather than setting it up and abanoning it.
canvilella - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 6:07pm (USA Central)
I loved the movie, and have to say I agree with Matt in all his points
Tokei-ihto - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 6:29pm (USA Central)
> As an aside, I think people are over-reacting to the silly lightwieght "underwear" scene. If it had been Kirk in his underwear and Carol sneaking a peak, I bet no one would have batted an eyelid. To say its offensive is pollitical correctness gone haywire [...]

It's not political correctness, it's a real issue. It's objectifying, reducing an already paper-thin character to a PASSIVE sex object to be goggled at. Worse, the movie forces the audience to adept Kirk's voyeuristic viewpoint during that scene. It doesn't help that there's no reason for her strip down to her panties in the first place. Even if she has to change her wardrobe, showing her in a state of undress is unnecessary and serves no narrative purpose. It neither has bearing on the following events nor does it in any discernable way add something substantial to her character. After all, we didn't get a look of Bones in his undies although he helped Carol Marcus with the torpedo defusing, did we?

Couple this with Uhura's de-emphasized role and the fact that she is now basically defined by her relationship to Spock, and Star Trek 2013 suddenly appears in an almost reactionary light that is in stark contrast to Trek's usual reputation as one of the more progressive and emancipated franchises.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that including that scene is proof of its creator's overly misogynistic and chauvinistic mindset, but it reveals a casual kind of sexism that is nonetheless worrisome.

See while Kirk is also shown sans shirt at one point during the movie, his semi-nude display is at least appropriate for the scene. He's engaging in a threesome, it makes sense for him to remove his clothes*. Furthermore, he takes on an ACTIVE role during that moment. He's obviously enjoying himself. Living out a teenage boy's fantasy, as someone above aptly described it. While it's extremely cliched and bordering on caricature, this scene, as redundant as it is in the greater context of the movie, informs the audience that Kirk's a carefree and charismatic guy who likes to indulge in his, how to put this delicately, ... more animalistic instincts, therefore offering a bit of characterisation that helps to illuminate who exactly this new Kirk is.

And I bet if there had been a role reversal and Carol Marcus had sneaked a peek at Kirk in the buff, I'm sure he would have enjoyed the moment, thus taking control of the situation. That's the difference.


*The reason nobody leveled a complain against the scantily clad green-skinned Space Babe™ with whom Kirk had a tête-à-tête in Star Trek 2009.
Jason - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 7:42pm (USA Central)
I'm a little surprised at the amount of negative comments as well. I didn't think the film was perfect by any stretch, but I did enjoy it. A few of my thoughts for now:

For one thing, I didn't care for Kahn's magic blood bringing Kirk back to life either. But is it any more ridiculous than Spock coming back to life via magic planet Genesis?

Also, Carol Marcus' underwear scene WAS gratuitous and unnecessary. Then again, it lasted 5 seconds. Seven of Nine wore a skin tight catsuit for 4 years. Troi wore low-cut dresses through much of TNG's run. The women of TOS wore mini skirts and go-go boots. And then there's T'Pol. When you factor in episodes like The Child, Ménage à Troi, and Turnabout Intruder I think Star Trek has a pretty bad track record when it comes to treating women fairly. At least STID had a strong Uhura character who did more than answer the phone for the men and fan dance naked.
Tim - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 9:15pm (USA Central)
@ Jason

It's more than what she was wearing in the scene. It's the idea that it's ok for someone to look at a woman who is undressing after she twice asks him not to. It's a message that has no place in Trek (much less anywhere).
Tokei-ihto - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 9:26pm (USA Central)
@Jason:

Fair enough. But it has to be said, even though certain female characters were sexualized to a certain degree and definitely acted as eye-candy for the audience, Seven of Nine in her tight fitting cat suit springs to mind, they never were REDUCED to their looks. While I wouldn't call someone like Deanna Troi necessarily a strong female character, most women on Trek were depicted as professional and capable officers. Seven, for instance, became one of the most complex, intriguing and multi-faceted characters on Voyager next to B'Elanna Torres and Janeway. DS9 had Kira who was a genuine strong, albeit conflicted woman. And while Jadzia Dax unfortunately wasn't as well drawn, she was a confident and self-assured woman in absolute CONTROL of her sexuality.

And the TOS comparison is somewhat flawed since the show was produced at the height of the sexual revolution when wearing mini skirts and, generally, showing skin was seen as a sign of sexual liberation, feminism and empowerment. You also have to bare in mind just how reactionary and uptight the TV landscape was back then and how this situation dictated the limits of how faithful Roddenberry's utopian vision could be translated to the screen.

Now, Trek admittedly had its fair share of questionable moments when it comes to the gender equality, but overall it seldom succumbed to outright pandering to the male crowd*, making its female characters PASSIVE victims of the male gaze for no reason but pure titillation.

And that's the main issue here, when audiences leave the cinema the only memorable thing about Carol Marcus' appearance that will stick with them will be that gratuitous underwear shot - because the character is basically a blank slate that only exists to serve the clumsy plot.


*But even IF Trek had one of the worst track records in this respect, hypothetically speaking, it wouldn't excuse the new Star Trek's shortcomings in this area. "XY has always been/is known for ..." is a poor and through and through depressing argument.
Patrick - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 9:27pm (USA Central)
Before people start invoking Spock's resurrection in STIII:TSFS, I'd like to point out it took an *entire* movie to bring Spock back. And within that movie, there's peril, tragedy, and SACRIFICE. It wasn't bringing Spock back "zip zop" 5 minutes after succumbing to radiation poisoning at the end of TWOK. *That* would have been a cheat and it would have robbed TWOK of its powerful ending.
Grumpy - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 10:37pm (USA Central)
If only that Klingon hadn't removed his helmet... unless we're supposed to believe Nero also fixed the Forehead Problem somehow.

Starting with the opening scene, I had a very peculiar mixed reaction. I appreciated the *outline* for this movie, but I hated the way that outline was executed. "Yes, this is a necessary scene," I kept saying to myself, "but they didn't have to do it *this* way."

And the Trek references were, as others have said, insulting. They even repeatedly referenced the 2009 movie, like we forgot about it!
Grumpy - Thu, May 23, 2013 - 10:48am (USA Central)
Wait... did Admiral Marcus know Khan's blood was a magic immortality serum? McCoy figured it out in, like, 20 minutes. But Marcus couldn't have known because, if he had, he would've put Khan to better use than simply leveraging his "savagery" to design weapons. No matter how jingoistic he was, he's not keeping a secret like that.

For that matter, it's incoceivable that Khan helped Marcus for any length of time, considering that he tried to take over the Enterprise and revive his comrades at his earliest opportunity in the prime timeline.

I know, I know. Anything that happened, happened because it's "kewl."
Jo Jo Meastro - Thu, May 23, 2013 - 4:55pm (USA Central)
@ Tokei-ihto that's fair enough, you make some good points even if I don't agree entirely. After all, the scene was clearly as a call-back to the TOS era and spoofing Kirks' reputation as a ladies man and 1960s attitudes. Given the modern twist he's made as the fool of the situation. I also got a hint that Kirk naturally spun around thanks to the intense discussion and forgot she was in her underwear.

If it had been Kirk hacking into a security camera where Carol was changing so that he and the entire bridge crew could snigger and wolf whistle at an oblivious Carol...it would have been a different story.

As it is, it was harmless and not sexual at all and no more offensive than Trois' mother flirting with an embarrassed Picard.

I wont comment futher on this scene, I say lets agree to disagree!
Latex Zebra - Thu, May 23, 2013 - 5:08pm (USA Central)
OK, seen it. Will give a fuller review tomorrow but I really enjoyed it.
Yes this is not traditional Trek but I was glued to the screen for 2 hours.
Being spoiled didn't, erm, spoil it for me. Can understand why they wanted the secrecy.

Oh and my Wife thought the underwear scene was amusing.

3.5/4 on Jammers Ratings for me.
Jo Jo Meastro - Thu, May 23, 2013 - 5:22pm (USA Central)
Oh and I forgot to add that Carol was a strong woman, defying her own father and facing peril with an admiral resolve. She'd be a welcome addition to the cast for future movies. I rememember her for this, not for the throw-away comedy underwear scenerio.

Sorry I couldn't somehow edit my other comment, I feel a bit bad for cutting over Latex Zebras' post!
Dom - Thu, May 23, 2013 - 5:28pm (USA Central)
@ Jo Jo Meastro , Lwaxana Troi's flirting with Picard was very sexual. You know if Picard didn't have a suppressed crush on Dr. Crusher Lwaxana would have forced him into bed.

I think the problem with the Carol Marcus scene was it seemed like forced humor, not natural. It was like she announced twice the Kirk shouldn't turn around, then he does. Ha, Ha, I guess. The scene with the Orion in the bikini in 2009 Trek wasn't controversial because it was part of the scene and was funny.
Tokei-ihto - Thu, May 23, 2013 - 7:46pm (USA Central)
@Maestro:

No problem. And I don't want to reduce this discussion to that one scene, especially since the movie quite clearly has other, arguably more glaring issues.

It's just that the underwear shot, in many ways, is an amalgamation of the problems that ultimately bog down Star Trek 2013, even if the scene itself it's not the worst offender.

There's not only no reason for her to strip down, but the movie doesn't even bother to come up with one single flimsy explanation for why Carol Marcus gets undressed. Even the most ridiculous exploitation and slasher flicks, whose sole purpose and key-motivation is titillation, offer up at least some kind of contrived reason for its female cast to get rid of their clothes. Not so this movie.

Also, Kirk's reputation as a ladies' man has already been firmly established by the threesome scene earlier in the movie on which I commented in my previous post, making Carol Marcus' striptease all the more redundant.

And as I already explained, for all its carefree depiction of skin and near nudity, TOS' women were never just objects to be ogled at but had an actual agenda and, furthermore, demonstrated an amount of self-confidence about their sexuality that is lacking from Star Trek 2013*. Here, Carol Marcus, as Tim has repeatedly pointed out, is clearly not enjoying Kirk's lustful glances, deeming it, at the very lest, unprofessional and inappropriate given the current situation and the task (defusing the torpedoes*) at hand.

I'm also not comfortable with the implication for Kirk's character here. That he sneaks a peek at Marcus although she unambiguously told him not to paints him not as a confident womanizer but as a lecherous frat boy. And while I'm aware that this new version is still an inexperienced young man whose lack of a father figure as a guiding presence in his life had an impact on his development, his inconsiderate and downright immature behaviour throughout the movie is in stark contrast to Shatner's Kirk who, for all his bravado, gung-go attitude and sexual appetite, actually was someone with a strong moral code and honour, someone who always displayed a huge respect for the opposite sex, never violating a woman's privacy or making advances against her wishes. The original Kirk also never acted out of spite and, in fact, almost always proceeded with caution, using his brains before engaging in a potentially dangerous situation.

It's one thing to have the protagonist of your story evolve and mature of the course of the movie, it's something else to change the fundamental virtues that once characterized him and made him such an outstanding and endearing icon in the first place.


*Besides, not only is Carol Marcus a painfully thin character whose relationship to the big baddie is the most prominent feature about her, basically reducing her to a plot device, as if being blatantly sexualized wasn't enough, but the screenwriters even have the nerve to make her incompetent at her job, too! After all, she totally botches the disarming of the torpedo, only surviving thanks to sheer luck (and an action movie cliche) and the fact that the torpedo wasn't carrying a warhead.


But okay, enough of this.
Jo Jo Meastro - Fri, May 24, 2013 - 8:09am (USA Central)
Tokei-ihto, I must admit I can definitively see where you're coming from when you showed the bigger picture surrounding it and I think much of the flaws found in post-DS9 Star Trek is down to catering for the mass audience ("babe" characters included). Compared to some of the embarrassing brain dead rubbish found in Enterprise, STID looks as sophisticated as 2001 Space Odyessy.

I think I read the scene slightly differently to you, it seemed more like Kirk temporarily forgot she was changing due to the intense discussion and embarrassed them both (I could be remembering wrong though). Coupled with the fact it made my mother and girlfriend laughed made me see the scene as more innocent and non-sexual than you.

I still maintain STID is one of the stronger entries in blockbuster Pop-Trek, but you've given me something to think about and I will agree there is a need to bring the franchise back to its more mature roots if its to maintain its integrity.
Jo Jo Meastro - Fri, May 24, 2013 - 8:12am (USA Central)
Sorry for the wierd grammar, posting from my ps3 has its drawbacks!
Leif - Fri, May 24, 2013 - 12:17pm (USA Central)
I dont know if someone else already raised this in one of the previous comments (since I havent read fro every single one). But didnt anyone else notice that it made absolutely NO SENSE for Uhura to be able to beam down onto the platform but for them NOT to be able to beam Spock and Khan up..if you can beam someone down usually that means you can beam up..theres no interference or shileding just because they ar emoving isnt a hindrance since they have to beam Uhura onto a maoving target..and Spock and Khan werent fused to the platform like when McCoy was stuck in the warhead..so I think this was a minor technical flaw..what does everyone else think? Anyone else catch that?
Dom - Fri, May 24, 2013 - 5:42pm (USA Central)
@ Leif, I don't think anybody else mentioned that, but somebody else mentioned that it'd have made more sense for Enterprise to beam down a security escort. Also, you'd think it'd be easier to beam somebody off a moving vehicle than it would be to beam them on. But that's only one small logical misstep in this movie - STID is full of problems like this.
Tokei-ihto - Fri, May 24, 2013 - 6:00pm (USA Central)
> I think I read the scene slightly differently to you [...] made me see the scene as more innocent and non-sexual than you.

And that's fine. As long as people who feel that way don't deride others that take serious issue with that scene because they see it as an example of the casual sexism that Hollywood is oftentimes guilty of indulging, there's nothing wrong with that sentiment. And, of course, audience members (like myself) who have a problem with this kind of depiction shouldn't insinuate that everyone who doesn't take offense at that scene is a insensitive chauvinistic jerk oblivious to the (perceived) problematic nature of the whole thing.

Sometimes a little mutual respect can go a long way.


@Leif:

Yeah, unfortunately that's just one of many instances were the movie violates its own established rules to further the plot.

What's so annoying about this particular scene is that it could have been easily fixed if the writes just bothered to do their job. Not only have we already seen that fast moving objects can be beamed up (for instance in Star Trek 2009), but they could just have the transporter temporarily malfunction due to the damage the Enterprise took during the battle and its uncontrolled plummet through the atmosphere afterwards, so that Spock has to take a shuttle to San Fransisco before Scotty can fix the damage in order for Uhura to eventually beam down. Of course, this still wouldn't explain why they didn't could just beam Spock and Khan up to the Enterprise the moment the transporter works again.

But then I just made up this alternative course of events in a minute. The writers had almost three years to figure this sh*t out and they still failed at the most fundamental level.

Never mind that the idea of Uhura just materializing behind Khan and knocking him out is a hugely anticlimactic resolution to that what is supposed to be the culminating action scene of the movie anyway. They probably realized that Uhura was incredibly underwritten this time around and tried to give her something to do. Thematically it's also an unsatisfying denouement to the (rather unconvincing) Spock-Uhura relationship arc.

Oh well ...
Grumpy - Fri, May 24, 2013 - 7:17pm (USA Central)
Leif: "...so I think this was a minor technical flaw..what does everyone else think? Anyone else catch that?"

Once the movie established that man-portable, interstellar-range transporters exist, the entire plot became a "minor technical flaw."

Of course, Wrath of Khan has a similar flaw when Enterprise is inexplicably unable to use the transporter to disintegrate the ticking Genesis device. Or earlier, when Khan could've used the transporter tactically against the unshielded Enterprise.
bigpig - Fri, May 24, 2013 - 7:35pm (USA Central)
I just saw it. I went in totally spoiler free, so I didn't even know Kahn was in the movie or that Spock Prime showed up. Very proud I went in pure.

That said, I thought it was a very fun movie, but not a particularly great Star Trek movie. But I guess this is what Star Trek has become: mindless fun with characters occasionally play-acting like the Original Series crew.

The one thing I really disliked was the unearned lifting of Wrath of Kahn. Not just in the concept (one dies to save the ship, the other grieves), but in the sometimes-verbatim lifting of dialogue. I mean over and over in that climax they just took words spoken by McCoy in STII and applied them to Scotty. It felt forced.

As did the entire climax. In Wrath of Kahn, when Spock nerve-pinches McCoy, that's a payoff to 15 years of history between the two frienemies. When Spock dyes in front of Kirk, it's the same decade+ payoff. It is earned.

This was not earned. And I get that the writers were going for the oppisite: kirk dying "establishes" the friendship between them, whereas in STII it's climaxes it. But there was no weight to it; no punch. Especially since everyone in the theater knew Kirk was coming back. Shoot, I immediately thought of Kahn's blood.

When Spock died, he stayed dead for 2 years and didn't return without heavy sacrifice (Kirk's son and the Enterprise itself). Kirk's death wasn't undone, it was undercut. There was no sacrifice to undo it. It was just...reversed.

All that said, it was a very fun movie. It was a great sequel to this new era of Trek. It's just not the Trek I grew up with, and the Trek I grew up with could be fun, adventurous, thrilling, emotional, AND intelligent. This movie was three out of those five things, and tried to be four out of five. I just don't think it ever tried to be intelligent.

Out of five? A very low THREE stars.
Brandon - Fri, May 24, 2013 - 11:30pm (USA Central)
This isn't the first time we've seen mindless plots, overemphasis on action, and objectification of women. It's the exact same stuff Jammer and many fans loved to hammer "Enterprise" for, only with a bigger budget and an unhinged directorial style.
Grumpy - Sat, May 25, 2013 - 8:21pm (USA Central)
This movie isn't the only culprit -- it's not the only Trek movie culprit, either -- but still it makes me wonder: do Foley artists ever ask why they need to record sound effects for scenes set in vacuum? Or are they just happy for the extra work?
Latex Zebra - Sun, May 26, 2013 - 5:04am (USA Central)
OK, can't bve arse to write a proper review. Especially on someone elses review site.

Trek has to move with the times and in this Iron Man/Fast Furious World of movies Star Trek of old just wont shift tickets, it just carries too much nerd history with it. Yes that is a shame but even now, after been out for a few weeks, this is not going to make a billion, or even close. That is what the studios want these days.

I put off any unhappiness about the feeling of this as Trek with the hope that come the 50th Anniversary they're not just rolling out a Threequel but announcing a new series on TV. That, I believe, is what us Trek fans really want. Not abig spectacle every 3-4 years.
If it takes a few movies that 'reboot' and get people interested then so be it. As long as when it comes to a new TV series they genuinely combine Star Trek of old with enough whoomp for the ADHD generation of today.

Oh and the only thing that really annoyed me was the Klingon heads, yes it still looked cool but why the **** did it need to change?
Dom - Sun, May 26, 2013 - 12:04pm (USA Central)
@ Latex Zebra, that's part of the problem though, isn't it. As dumbed down as Abrams' Trek is, it still isn't making much at the box office. Even with a budget of $190 million (around 15 times Wrath of Khan's budget and three times Nemesis), it only made $249 million thus far. Abrams' Trek has made more money than past Treks but it's also benefitted from a much larger budget. In short, the movies are certainly making money, but they're not making a killing.

In short, I'm not convinced the Abrams formula is really reviving Trek so much as drawing in some of the summer movie crowd. Will these new "fans" really be drawn to an *intelligent* Trek TV show?
Patrick - Sun, May 26, 2013 - 12:56pm (USA Central)
The first film benefitted from the novelty of the reboot. But, that novelty has now worn off. What are they going to to do now?

If Paramount is smart, they'll try and segue their recent success into a Trek series with a sophisticated mindset (like TOS, TNG and DS9). Voyager, Enterprise, and JJTrek have proven that dumbing down Trek will only get them so far.
Leif - Sun, May 26, 2013 - 5:40pm (USA Central)
Thanks guys, those of you who responded to my previous question. And just to give my overall take, I thoght it was a few miles ahead of the first film..in terms of plot and villain, which for me were the main weaknesses of the 2009 film. The alternate Kirk/Spock relationship thread juxtaposed with that in WOK I think was the highlight of the film and made Kirk's "death" scene respectable in this film's context if not the equal of Spock's death in WOK--especially since this theme was set up from the opening scene where Kirk decides to save Spock's life PD be damned and the ensuing conflict. And Captain Pike's death scene was a poignant moment I wasn't expecting and Admiral Marcus made a reasonable secondary villain/adversary. And the 9/11 themes of terrorism/vigilance were relevant and respectable. But the ending chase was too simplistic and unsatisfying..maybe a better ending wouldve involved the Klingons or more interesting conflict with Khan. And I agree with some of the comments above that Carol Marcus wasn't much of a character..in fact I was thinking she couldve been any random new character they couldve introduced into this reboot for the little she resembled the original Carol Marcus--who was a biologist while this one seemed to be a physicist...seemed more contrived to add another similarity to WOK but since she wasn't working on Genesis why bother..But since she'll apparently be back for the next movie (and perhaps so will Khan since he's on ice at the end of this movie but not dead) hopefully she'll get some development.
Dom - Sun, May 26, 2013 - 9:58pm (USA Central)
@ Leif, when Spock and Kirk discuss extrajudicial killings, I got excited. I like the idea of Trek taking on post-9/11 themes. However, the movies ending really didn't explore them. If anything, the message I got at the end was it's OK to punch terrorists out if it looks cool and they hurt your friends. ;)
Geordi - Mon, May 27, 2013 - 12:20am (USA Central)
Many of the comments above appear to be debating whether the plot makes sense as a whole, whether its delivery leaves enough space for emotion to seep through, and whether there is any depth to the storyline. I have gone to see this film twice now and had very different experiences which, I think, help to illustrate why this movie (and, indeed, both Trek 2009 and STID) is receiving such flak from some people and such admiration from others.

ONE

After the first watching, it takes a while to unwind the plot backwards, but after that it becomes fairly straightforward. I won't go into any detail (because it would take too long and because it's been looked at by many of you above), but suffice it to say the plot is an extremely intricate and mostly well-oiled machine. The machine moves very fast, and as a result is very, very distracting. Tied to the plot are a set of running comedy routines which, taken at their best, pay an homage to the comedy of the original TOS show, and, taken at their worst, form a shameless parody of it. Between these two, however, it is understandable that many people could not find an ounce of substance in the film, because so little time is allotted for characters to express emotions that aren't immediately turned either into laughs or interrupted by attackers.

So, I left the theater with the impression that A) the film was visually stunning, B) that there was a clear effort to create a believable future, C) that there was a certain amount of political commentary going on, and D) that the number of details fighting for attention demanded a second viewing. There were a lot of problems; for one thing, a lot of the references to old trek were extremely forced, as if the writers felt a compunction to design new scenarios into which they could insert classic dialogue or direct references. The "Needs of the many/few" bit at the beginning, while I agree it logically works, somehow failed emotionally, as did Spock's exclamation of "Khaaaaan!" upon Kirk's pseudo-death. Quite simply, while I could understand the logic of what was going on, I felt as if someone had gone up to a whiteboard, said, "Okay, who is Spock?" and then listed a few one-word attributes before moving on to the next character.

SECOND VIEWING

And... yeah, it got better! Because I knew generally what was going on, I didn't have to focus on unraveling exactly what big thing was going on in each scene, but could focus on the little things. And there are a lot of little things. Take the scene with the officer whose daughter is dying; we are treated to a lot of information about him and his family, as well as little pieces of the wider world. He walks into a building labelled "Kelvin Memorial Archive," a nice bit of continuity I didn't catch the first time; the world he inhabits has a sadness to it that is really strong, and the second time around I could say, "oh, that's Khan, who knows his blood has convenient medicinal purposes and has found a way to use this to push his agenda." This makes logical sense, and gives us an idea of Khan's cunning planning.

Then there are the torpedoes, which many people above seem to be wondering about. The first time around, it seems like a cheap James Bond-type presentation of gadgetry; here is your mission and here's this extra-special missile. On closer inspection, however, and with the whole plot in mind, we see that Section 31 is using Kirk to simultaneously kill Khan and all of his crew - and yes, they did know that the crew was in the tubes, because Khan explains that he was caught in the process of sealing his people in (By the way, I'm not entirely certain that bringing 31 into this was a good idea. Like everything else, it makes sense, but in this case it makes it too easy to pretend that the evils were confined to just a few people, and therefore not as important).

A lot of the film is like that - on the first viewing, it can be quite off-kilter, and because it moves so fast and through so many twists and turns it's hard to rationalize what's going on. On closer inspection, however, it turns out to work, and, more importantly, the emotions get a lot clearer. While I still thought the scene with Kirk dying on the inside of the reactor was horrifyingly overwrought (I have thus far been steadfastly endeavoring not to directly compare this movie to The Wrath of Khan, but I'll make an exception here - the original was infinitely more powerful because there was no necessary preamble, and the dialogue wasn't as awkward or drawn-out as it is here in STID. In the original, the basic conversation was laid out at the beginning of the film, when Spock tells Kirk that the good of the many outweighs the good of the one - so when we see it again, the exact words of the conversation are fairly quick and can take the backseat to Kirk's horror at Spock's rapidly deteriorating condition. In STID, Kirk and Spock just stare at each other and talk - and then keep talking - and then keep talking - and at last Kirk goes unconscious and Spock, who has already demonstrated more than enough emotion to satisfy what the scene is trying to say, shouts Khan's name. The writing is very poor there), in general, the film has a good number of good emotional scenes. The confrontation between Kirk and Pike is done perfectly - Kirk thinks he can just talk his way out of punishment, but Pike is fed up with that kind of thinking so they talk over one another for a while - this is handled superbly and fits into what Kirk has been developing into. The tensions between Spock and Uhura initially looked like an excuse to insert two wonderful gags ("Are you two guys fighting? What's that even like?" and "Is this going to be a problem?" "Unclear") but morphed into a way to show that Spock is responding to the destruction of his planet by shutting himself off even more than usual.

(I'd say I promise no more tangents,but that's unlikely and I have to add - in general, the writing for Spock in this movie is great - he delivers a deadpan, non-emotional statement, and someone in his vicinity responds with an ironic emotional outburst. It's great. Every now and then, though, there are lines that just sound out of place - lines which sound childishly simplistic in the midst of an otherwise expansive vocabulary - for example, "a reflection of my not caring" sounds odd because "reflection" and "not caring" don't coexist very well. Similarly, when Spock says, "I do not know [how to turn off my emotions]. Right now I am feeling," I had the sudden urge to begin laughing at how unnecessary that second sentence was - I mean, the guy was crying, how much more do you feel you have to add)

We are also treated to a lot of characterizations which allow us to see characters from many different angles. Admiral Marcus, for example, is not merely a paranoid military-type; after the attack by Nero, he goes out into deep space looking for tactical advantages against whoever might come next - and finds Khan.

Khan is, understandably, deeply enraged by the fact that his crew is being held hostage to force him to work for 31, so we get some development there (someone above mentioned that Commodore Decker would have been a better villain here. This movie could have been so much more if that was the case; maybe they went out and found the Doomsday Machine, tried to harness it, and failed; we could A) have an excuse to ONLY analyze one villain, Marcus-Decker instead of Marcus & Khan, and B) have a legitimate excuse to build another ship many times the size of the enterprise and then blow it up). I will say, with some hesitation, that this is a more subtle and human interpretation of Khan than the original, even if, at the same time, he seems more powerful and intimidating.

IN CONCLUSION, I'll predict that this film stands up to scrutiny better over the long term than Trek 2009 will. Part of why it's so easy to worry that the new films have plot lines too deeply tangled and complex to allow for emotion is that when we first see them, the plot is not yet clear. Later, however, we can see each element for what it is, and begin to see if the whole thing is cohesive. And - yeah, this is a nicely assembled whole. It has a few glitches in the writing, and certainly is trying too hard to reference other Trek, but that is probably a phase. After all, Star Trek The Motion Picture spent it's whole duration trying to be The Original Series in a movie - what made Wrath of Khan effective was the feel of continuation, rather than re-iteration. And hopefully, this new franchise will see that establishing a continuous development of new ideas rather than simply being content to joke about old ones is the way to go.

It's a good movie. Go see it if you haven't, and if you don't like it, I'll bet it's because the machinery (sorry, plot) is stealing too much of the spotlight the first time round.
Jason - Mon, May 27, 2013 - 12:49am (USA Central)
As I mentioned before, I really liked the movie. But after some thought and reading through other people's comments, I really do understand people's objections to this film.

As was alluded to already, I think most people will agree that STID is an action/adventure film first, and a Star Trek film second. This is a reversal from the first 10 movies which (for better or worse) were made for fans of the franchise with the hope that some casual viewers would tag along. And I can honestly see how that would bother long-time fans. With the action/adventure element, you're going to get more explosions, chase scenes, and yes, more gratuitous shots of women in their underwear. And there is no reason a fan has to like it. If someone wanted to write this whole "reboot" off as a bad idea, that Paramount should have just left Trek alone, I would have a difficult time arguing against it. If there was never another Star Trek movie after Nemesis or show after Enterprise I would have been OK with that. Trek has been fundamentally changed and fans of the franchise have a right to disagree with the direction it has been taken.

With that said, I like the new direction the franchise has gone. Yes, I could do without the aforementioned underwear scene and the action could have been toned down; but I am a long-time fan who has felt that Trek had become stale. I was skeptical when I first heard about a reboot. Yet the last two films have made me excited for Star Trek again. Were they perfect? Absolutely not. But I have accepted the fact that another TNG (or a DS9 or a VOY) movie was never going to get made.

I have also accepted the fact that for any sci-fi movie to be made now, it HAS to appeal to a wide audience. This film's first weekend proved that point clearly. It made almost $84 million from Thursday to Sunday (in the US) and it fell short of expectations. To put it another way, STID made $17 million more in 4 days than Nemesis made during it's entire theatrical run, and it still wasn't good enough for the studio. Granted the budget was much larger for STID, but it shows the current state of the movie industry.

The bottom line: if Star Trek movies are going to be made in the current climate, then Star Trek Into Darkness is what we can expect. If you don't like it, I completely understand. But if you're like me, you can still enjoy what Trek has become, and look at it as Trek 2.0 rather than Star Trek XII.
Dom - Mon, May 27, 2013 - 12:56am (USA Central)
@ Geordi, interesting points. I haven't seen STID a second time, but I went in thoroughly spoiled so I knew the plot going in and followed it closely. There are still a lot of things that don't make sense, like how Khan used transwarp beaming to go to another planet ;)

However, I fully agree in that I think STID is a much more interesting film than 2009 Trek. I feel like there's at least an attempt to build an interesting plot with an interesting villain, rather than just the "mad villain trying to destroy Earth trope. "

But overall I just don't think Damon Lindelof is up to the task of writing good dialogue and an intelligent plot. If Abrams is brave enough to remove him from the next Trek movie, I think it'll turn out a lot better.
Dom - Mon, May 27, 2013 - 1:01am (USA Central)
@ Jason, that's the question though, isn't it? If making Trek a mindless action movie with lots of women in underwear (I'm exaggerating, obviously) doesn't make it a box office success, then what is the hope for the franchise? Is it that it's not as fun an action movie as Iron Man 3 or Avengers? Or is it that Trek fans are disappointed with the lack of an intelligent plot? Or do audiences just not like sci-fi? I don't know, but I think Paramount ought to start asking these questions and not just assume that dumbing down Trek will sell more tickets.
Paul M. - Mon, May 27, 2013 - 3:25am (USA Central)
I went, I saw, and I was appaled. I was left lobotomised after 2 hours of non-stop explosions, shaking camera, "witty" banter, teenage angst, chases, fistfights, lens flares, and general idiocy.

The movie shows a complete lack of regard not only for Star Trek themes and ideals (this doesn't bother me *that* much, I'm not a purist Trekkie who can't handle something different), but more importantly for the very basic skills and rules of intelligent moviemaking. Shots are too short and chaotic, scenes pile on top of each other like dead lemmings without any attempt at thematic coherence while sense of spatial orientation in camera work simply DOESN'T exist. I didn't have a clue as to where someone was during an action scene.

Character work isn't much better, though actors themselves are quite good, especially Quinto as Spock and Cumberbatch as Khan, and do what they can with material given. But, what is given is so precious little. Most characters are reduced to one-note caricatures - Kirk the Rule-Breaking Hero, Spock the Logic Spouter, McCoy the Sarcastic Healer, Scotty the Comic Relief and Chekov the... something Inconsequentially Forgettable.

The movie is liberally peppered with scenes and homages to old Trek (Carol Marcus, destroyed Praxis, Section 31 etc.) and, though I was amused by those, they also show "all polish, no substance" mentality.

All in all, tt was a preposterous, loud, and excessive audio-visual nightmare that would have been proudly at home in the biographies of Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer.
Latex Zebra - Mon, May 27, 2013 - 5:27am (USA Central)
@Dom - I'd certainly agree it will be a tough sell but TV is big business at the moment and I think the Trek name can carry enough momentum following this film, and has enough big names behind the scenes wanting to get involved, for something to happen. I hope. Surely the execs can see that Trek suits TV better than movies.

Whether this would bare any relation to 'our' Trek is another matter and everything decent on TV these days seems to be dark. That said, DS( was hardly light and airy.

Paul M. - Mon, May 27, 2013 - 11:06am (USA Central)
Latex, I think it's only a matter of time until we get a new Trek series. What that show will be like is a completely different question. I'd guess the most appealing option is something that will capitalise on the success of the new movie franchise and that seems to me to be a recipe for a high-budget disaster likely to be cancelled after one season.

Grumpy - Mon, May 27, 2013 - 11:09am (USA Central)
Dom: "...overall I just don't think Damon Lindelof is up to the task of writing good dialogue and an intelligent plot."

Why blame him without also blaming the writers who gave us the first two Transformers movies? Truly this was the same formula as those abominations but in Trek drag.
Paul M. - Mon, May 27, 2013 - 11:22am (USA Central)
@Grumpy

Oh, I didn't know that. Checked on IMDB and you right: Orci and Kurtzman are writers on those... things as well. And they *were* directed by Michael Bay. Well, I guess the circle is complete.
Patrick - Mon, May 27, 2013 - 11:47am (USA Central)
Without an exploration of the human condition and the dedication to quality storytelling, Star Trek is no different than Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers.
FlyingSquirrel - Mon, May 27, 2013 - 1:44pm (USA Central)
My take on ST:ID was that it did actually *try* to be more than just another outer-space action movie, but it only got halfway there. As someone pointed out above, the militarization of Starfleet, or lack thereof, is a legitimate issue in both the original Trek universe and the new movie universe. In that sense, having the plot set in motion by a Starfleet uber-hawk, and having a major plot point being humanity's history of warfare coming back to haunt us, were both good choices.

But it only explored these issues up to a point. There were a number of instances where some sort of moral or sociopolitical question could have been addressed and was passed over. For example:

(a) Kirk is all gung-ho at first and even accepts Scotty's resignation, brushing off objections to Marcus's orders, then suddenly announces that he intends to take Harrison/Khan alive. I'm glad he did, obviously, but it was abrupt enough that I half-expected him to reveal later that he was lying just to keep the rest of the crew's noses clean.

(b) While it wasn't as bad as launching one of the torpedoes would have been, that skirmish on Kronos still seems likely to attract the Klingon government's attention. How was war averted? Did Starfleet have to admit the existence of the supersoldiers and Section 31?

(c) What happened to the supersoldier that they removed from stasis in order to freeze Kirk?

(d) Would Spock have killed Khan if Uhura hadn't beamed down to tell him that they needed Khan alive? IMO, Spock doesn't entirely acquit himself here since he doesn't stop hitting him until then.

(e) What would Khan have done if they hadn't stunned him immediately upon finding Marcus? It might have been more interesting to see Starfleet and the Federation have to come to grips with the history of the supersoldiers, but instead he turns into an unrestrained murderous nutjob at the end.
Dom - Mon, May 27, 2013 - 1:56pm (USA Central)
@ Grumpy,

To be honest, I don't really know much about Orci or Kurtzman and haven't seen the Transformers movies. However, I have seen Lost and Prometheus, both Lindelof creations, and some of the same problems of incoherent storytelling are present in those movies/shows as well. So, you're probably right, I should blame the whole writing team ;)
Daniel Cain - Mon, May 27, 2013 - 5:59pm (USA Central)
Ok, I just saw the movie Star Trek: Into Darkness, and my overall reaction/rating is that it's a 2 or 2.5 out of 4 stars; it wouldn't take too much for me to go to 1.5, but to be fair, I guess 2-2.5 is appropriate. I'm disappointed it's only taken this reboot effort 2 movies to already be tempted to steal so much from one of the "great" trek movies-- that being The Wrath of Khan. My reaction to the Kirk dying scene where they quote I shall forever be your friend...blah blah was that it was really cheap-- an attempt to make this movie better by stealing from another movie, and when it doesn't come off great, then it just looks cheap and dishonest. Can't come up with great story and tension on their own through truly original plot, so let's just steal it from somewhere else. Boo, hiss, cheap. The movie has great action scenes, but those wear thin when the story/plot is just not thought out well enough. I personally would appreciate more attempt at storytelling, and plot development, and less of the mindless, loud actions sequences. If the next Star Trek reboot movie doesn't go anywhere more than this one, then the reboot will be shortlived, and not bound to go to many more frontiers.
Sam - Tue, May 28, 2013 - 3:36am (USA Central)
Here's my review I took from Icheckmovies.com (great site), I added a few things:

I admit, I used to be one of the hugest Trek fans one could hope for as a kid. Now I look back and can see how the franchise has progressed over the years, and can see how this particular iteration fits into the canon. It's one of the finest films I've ever seen visually and sonically - the production design cannot be faulted in any way. There is incredible spectacle and relentless pace. The central 4 actors (Pine, Weller, and *particularly* a sadistic and volatile Cumberbatch; and an amazing, collected, conflicted, sharp Quinto) all prove their weight, the dialogue is snappy, and overall it remains a digestible and pleasing full-throttle combination of original-series camp, TNG pontification, and DS9 dramatic conflict, as filtered through a crowd-pleasing popcorn filter: it hits all the bases and rockets from setpiece to setpiece. There are several surprising about-faces in a complex, political narrative (even what was a seemingly excessive marketing campaign was in fact smartly misleading on more than a few plot points), and many inside jokes that will please the diehards to boot. It took me a while to appreciate it on a more substantial level until I realised the meat of the thematics: the nature of sacrificing for what once considers family, be it crew or country, a journey that all central 4 actors play out to the hilt with some real and meaningful consequences. Though the plot seems full of holes to some, the events are well-orchestrated to the ends of character development and contemporary comparison, even if it doesn't breathe deep enough into its best intentions to seem anything less than threadbare to some. Frankly, those who decide to hate Abrams Trek for its roots in flashy action vis-a-vis philosophical technobabble will find enough to hate here under a banner of 'marketing-driven patchy cynicism', but that's just playing nerd-stuck-in-the-mud Rorschach test, then refusing to acknowledge any other *kind* of substance or evolution, and rationalizing a desire to complain after the fact. That's fine, Trek can evolve just fine without that attitude, and at least this is fun and not stiff faux-cerebral stuffiness like the worst of its' TV-based counterparts. It's not perfect, some will rightfully call it lazy - it's perhaps still too stooped in the existing mythology to carve new ground; right down to borrowing model designs and plot elements, some of the characters get short shrift, and the ending is far too sudden and tidy (a huge ship crashes into San Francisco and nothing else is said of it) but it's got plenty going for it, and is a more than satisfactory addition to be sure. Continuing Trek's redemption from mediocre trope-ferreting, it's a real adventure that you should see on the biggest screen you can find.
Latex Zebra - Tue, May 28, 2013 - 1:55pm (USA Central)
I thinkI agree with Sam's review most.
Mahoney - Tue, May 28, 2013 - 2:18pm (USA Central)
I'll keep this short. Meh. I thought the idea of doing away with all the old continuity was so that fresh, new ideas could be brought to the Trek universe....so let's bring in Khan? What?
Also, I don't like the idea of New Spock having to run to Old Spock to get pointers on how to deal with Khan. It'd be nice to think this new crew could come up with a new way to deal with him instead of being handed Wrath of Khan 2.0
Dom - Wed, May 29, 2013 - 12:21am (USA Central)
Sadly, in a recent interview on Yahoo news, the STID writers basically admitted that they made Cumberbatch Khan at the last minute and squeezed him into the story:

They developed the story and character, and then decided if it would be fun for fans for the character to be Khan. As I said in my review, the villain in STID doesn't really feel like Khan and could have been any generic villain. I guess that's how he was originally developed...
Mahoney - Wed, May 29, 2013 - 6:44am (USA Central)
That is unfortunate, Dom. Now that I think about it I tend to agree with it.....it does feel like a rush job. I wish there had been another way for Kirk to get command other than Pike dying. I really liked that character.
Dom - Wed, May 29, 2013 - 8:06am (USA Central)
@ Mahoney, sorry I can't post the link in my comments, but hopefully you can find the interview via Google. The title is "Check This: 'Star Trek' Writers On Planting Easter Eggs With Tribbles and Khans"
Mahoney - Wed, May 29, 2013 - 9:03am (USA Central)
With this reboot I was looking forward to a new series of adventures....not a reimagining of events I've already seen. Hey.....what do you think of a new TNG series based on this new reality?
Dom - Wed, May 29, 2013 - 10:00am (USA Central)
A TNG reboot? Please no! I'm sick of reboots. Why would we need a TNG reboot? If we want to watch TNG, we can always watch it on Netflix. Do we really want to recast Captain Picard, Data, etc? The only time I think a reboot was necessary and proper was the Battlestar Galactica reboot, which was infinitely better than the original. Otherwise, I don't really see the point.

If we want another Trek TV show, I'd much prefer a new one (ideally helmed by Ron Moore or Joss Whedon). I could easily see a new Trek set in the 26th century and a more serious tone.

The 2009 Trek reboot was pretty much an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of Kirk and Spock despite the original actors being too old to go on any more adventures. It works for nostalgia, but as you said in your comments the movies have not been particularly fresh or original.

Around 2006, there was an attempt to make a new Trek animated TV series called Final Frontier. The storyboards are online. It was actually a pretty neat idea. The Federation has been knocked down and became more militaristic, but the captain of a new Enterprise wants to revive the spirit of exploration and humanitarianism. It wasn't a perfect idea, but I'd prefer something original like that.
Latex Zebra - Wed, May 29, 2013 - 10:18am (USA Central)
I didn't notice any product placement this time round.

Or am I completely conditioned now and... Wait I really fancy a Bud Classic and shall order one on my Nokia.
Rhino - Wed, May 29, 2013 - 12:54pm (USA Central)
It felt like watching Nemesis on a grander scale
Paul M. - Wed, May 29, 2013 - 1:12pm (USA Central)
@Rhino

You're right. In a way, nuTrek is everything Voyager, Nemesis, and especially Enterprise wanted to be, but on an infinitely greater and louder scale.

Maybe I'm biased, but I can't really see anything resembling TNG or DS9 or even TOS in any of this. It's essentially mindless popcorn summer fun with some technobabble plastered over it.
Ciara - Wed, May 29, 2013 - 2:07pm (USA Central)
I loved it.

It's not TOS' Kirk- but, by the standards of the rest of the films, it's one of the better ones.

I had a huge grin for the whole runtime. Felt like revisiting old friends.

I do wish it'd taken more time to focus on Section 31/the Klingon War dilemma, but I expect that'll be something for the next film.
Dom - Wed, May 29, 2013 - 2:10pm (USA Central)
@ Clara "by the standards of the rest of the films, it's one of the better ones."

True, but them be low standards...
Rhino - Wed, May 29, 2013 - 2:30pm (USA Central)
@Paul

Completely agree. It just didn't have much emotional resonance in contrast to the Battle of the Nebula/Spock's Death in WoK, Data's "Resistance is Futile!" in FC, or DS9 in general.

I walked out of the theater thinking "Well I guess that was pretty fun", but felt kinda empty like I did with Data's death in NEM. Decent 2.5/4.0 or very generously a 3.0/4.0.
Paul M. - Thu, May 30, 2013 - 5:29am (USA Central)
@Rhino

For me it's 1.5 star movie, 2.0 if I'm feeling generous. I must admit TV has spoiled me these last years. After watching the likes of BSG, Breaking Bad, Justified, Fringe, Game of Thrones and many other shows, I simply have no patience for bland and noisy "spectacles" looking for the lowest common denominator.
E2 - Thu, May 30, 2013 - 12:03pm (USA Central)
I saw "Star Trek Into Darkness". It was fun. I enjoyed it.

I can totally see why people who don't know or just don't like TOS or TNG, DS9, or the earlier films would like it.

Those older versions of trek were often slow and talky. They occasionally tried to act as though they were actual science fiction and acknowledge some of the laws of physics. They frequently tried to ram ideals or morals down our throats, or make us think about things from a different perspective. Once in a while they even portrayed complex issues in shades of gray, rather than absolutes. (Sometimes the assumed villain going in actually turned out to not even be bad!) They spent years building up relationships between characters. And on top of all that, they kept trying to sneak in this "if we work together, despite differences in gender, race, religion, even species, we CAN learn, and make things better" subtext- all that Roddenberry clap-trap.

It is safe to say that JJ has avoided all of those pitfalls, and crafted a action packed, highly entertaining film free from any of that old baggage. In fact, he's done it twice, now. Face it - we need "Blow stuff up" films for people who don't love overbuilt cars, giant transforming robots or super spies.

So, for those nay-sayers who suggest that what they loved about Star Trek, what made it stand apart from all those other fantasy adventures set in space, is absent- well, suck it up. If you really claim you want entertainment that requires you to think, you're barking up the wrong franchise. Go read a book.
Dom - Thu, May 30, 2013 - 12:41pm (USA Central)
@ E2, I can't tell if your review is sarcastic or serious. The WHOLE point of Star Trek is that it's supposed to be more thoughtful and engage in moral allegory. Saying that we should just turn it into another franchise that blows stuff up is basically saying we should remove the "Star Trek" from Star Trek. There are plenty of other action franchises set in space, including Star Wars and Starship Troopers. There's no need to dumb Trek down.
Lord Garth - Thu, May 30, 2013 - 1:10pm (USA Central)
Looks sarcastic to me.

As far as making Star Trek more action-packed and less thoughtful to appeal to the "masses", STID is the end result of that effort.

How did that effort turn out now that we're there and the music has stopped? 75% of the audience is over 25 (so much for going "younger") and ~70% is male.

Maybe Star Trek should be a 21st Century version of itself instead of trying to so hard to look like Star Wars or The Dark Knight.
Lord Garth - Thu, May 30, 2013 - 1:46pm (USA Central)
Clarification: "Look like" as opposed to "be like". I just realized it might've seemed as if I were knocking The Dark Knight and the original Star Wars trilogy. That wasn't what I meant to do. :p
Paul M. - Thu, May 30, 2013 - 2:38pm (USA Central)
Regarding this STID abbreviation I see floating around, in my native language stid means shame.

Always makes me chuckle :)
Tim - Sat, Jun 1, 2013 - 9:26am (USA Central)
I'll keep this brief. I'm just glad the term being "thrown under the bus" will survive another 300 years.
Lachlan - Sat, Jun 1, 2013 - 10:41pm (USA Central)
Why did they have to get Kahn back to save Kirk? McCoy could have taken the Magic Blood(TM) from any of the other guys in Kahn's crew.

What was Kirk doing in bed with the two chicks with the tails? Since everyone in the bed was still wearing their underwear I'll assume they're all saving themselves for marriage.
Baltar - Sun, Jun 2, 2013 - 10:49am (USA Central)
Plenty of people have already commented; most have already gotten the gist that this is an irretrievably terrible film, though I see that some are in some serious denial.

This, therefore, isn't so much a review as a cathartic bit of rage.

Things the writers of Star Trek Into Darkness need to learn:
-Cold fusion is not, despite the use of the term "cold," a process that freezes lava.
-A single volcano erupting is not going to cause a planet to explode.
-Starships cannot operate as submarines.
-The Prime Directive is not something that a Captain can say "So what?!" to without being court-martialed and spending the rest of his life in prison.
-Scenarios where you convince a good man to commit a terrible crime if you'll cure his terminally ill daughter only work if you don't cure the daughter first.
-There is more to McCoy than a southern accent and "I'm a doctor, not a..." grouses.
-Starfleet dress uniforms are not bellhop uniforms.
-The Klingons haven't conquered two planets since the Federation learned of them, they've probably conquered dozens, because it's been A HUNDRED YEARS.
-Saying that Kirk is an interstellar ladies' man does not mean that what Star Trek has been missing are scenes of alien threesomes; nor that women spontaneously tear their clothes off in his presence.
-You don't thaw someone out to take advantage of their savagery by having them be a weapons designer for you, not unless you have a society so unbelievably pacifistic that no one remembers how to build a damn gun.
-If you kill THOUSANDS of people in a major climactic scene...it's probably good to at least acknowledge it a moment later.
-The laws of physics do not change because someone is an interesting character; if you violate this rule, the last person in the universe you should have proclaiming it is the coolly logical Vulcan.
-Oh, and referencing something your audience will get as an in-joke only works if by doing so, you don't make clear you don't understand what the hell you're saying and just piss them off. (Such as Praxis, Ketha Province, Section 31...the list goes on.) And simply stealing lines from a much better film doesn't help you, either, nor does ludicrously claiming that the Starfleet Captain's Oath says "These are the voyages of Starship X, it's X-year missions, to seek out new life and new civilizations..."

I suppose I shouldn't knock McCoy so much, since he's obviously going to go down as the best doctor in human history-since HE'S CURED DEATH. This movie ripped of Wrath of Khan, sure, but it also ripped of The Fountain pretty solidly as well. Kudos, you idiotic plagarists.

Okay, I'm going to go find some tasty blood pressure medication and do something less dangerous to my health than focus on this anymore.
Chris NI - Sun, Jun 2, 2013 - 12:44pm (USA Central)
I thought Into Darkness was great entertainment. Bigger than the first film, without sacrificing substance or being overly excessive.

The first film was a big spectacle - it wasn't low-brow by any means, but not particularly intelligent from start to finish. It was just a big fun sci-fi movie. Into Darkness found time for ethical questions in amongst the action and humour, and that brought it much closer in line with the kind of stories Trek told on television.

Simon Pegg was very good - his comic timing and the way he delivers certain lines was great. Zachary Qunito's take on Spock continues to impress. Paul Weller seemed to be having immense fun chewing the scenery. And I think Chris Pine provided a nice progression of Kirk's character. It was refreshing to see a young Kirk who was uncertain and scared. Benedict Cumberbatch was a great villain overall. I was worried from the trailers that he was just going to be delivering lines in a very cheesy and over-the-top manner. There were certainly occasions when he did so, but they tended to fit with times where Khan was particularly angry or mental. Easily the most compelling Trek villain since the Borg Queen, and I liked how they gave him some small shades of grey.

The way they tapped into Wrath of Khan was very bold, I thought. I never had a big problem with the alternate universe created in the last film. Some people seemed to think that it erased what we had been watching for the past 40 years. I never felt that way, and Into Darkness confirmed that the original timeline was still very important. Talking to Old Spock about how Khan was defeated, and the mirror outcome of Kirk sacrificing himself to save the ship, were absolutely superb. I'm sure it was still great for non-Trek fans, but hearing all the familiar dialogue from Kirk and Spock's final conversation in Wrath of Khan play out with the roles reversed was tremendous. Scotty saying "You'll flood the whole compartment" gave me chills, as you knew right away what was coming. I found out about John Harrison's true identity a few days before the film, and in the lead-up to seeing the film I was a little annoyed that they sought to re-do such a memorable character. But their take on Khan really impressed me - it gave him a new menace So while they riffed on one of the greatest scenes in Trek history in the final act, this was still a very different Khan.

In terms of problems, I think they could have done a slightly better job of explaining Khan's past for those who were unfamiliar with him, but perhaps I'm remembering the dialogue wrong during his reveal. They treated us to another "Enterprise vs Massive ship" scenario, which has been done to death in Trek films (the Borg cube in First Contact, the Scimitar in Nemesis, the Nerada in the last film), but didn't do very much with the Vengeance once it was introduced. McCoy was still a little sidelined despite having some great lines here and there, but I think Kirk-Spock is always the most interesting aspect of that original triangle. Carol Marcus in her underwear was even more gratuitous than it looked in the trailer, and the writers have even acknowledged how pointless this was. The pace of the film might be a bit relentless, though I think there are more moments of calm or transition than other reviews suggest. But I think Mark Kermode's review on BBC Radio 5 Live said it best - you'd really have to go out of your way not to enjoy the film.

I don't think Into Darkness was trying to one-up Wrath of Khan. It was a nice homage, and a great way of maintaining the relevance of the original timeline whilst taking the same characters and circumstances in a different direction. If Old Spock hadn't been consulted about Khan, I think that would have been worse. The problem with time travel devices in Sci-fi movies is that they're often not exploited as much as they should be. Young Spock calling him up for some insight was completely "logical" and fit the character. I wasn't expecting Nimoy to pop up, but I think it would have been silly to make such a big deal out of there being an Older Spock in the alternate universe in the first film and then never mention him again.

Kronos being so nearby was a mistake. They got to Vulcan very fast in the first film too. I'm also still not comfortable with the idea of there being a transporter capable of operating across such vast distances or from a stationary position to a ship at warp, even if it was Old Spock who helped Scotty to introduce it. But at least they haven't just discarded the technology altogether.

With the events of the first film, at least there's a logic behind Starfleet becoming more militaristic and more paranoid about security. And with the damage done to Starfleet in both films, there's a case for an all-out conflict with the Klingons in the next movie given that Starfleet would be weaker than it was in the original timeline (and hence the Klingons might be more motivated to come knocking on the front door). But I think the essence of Star Trek works better in a TV show format than a film. First Contact is really the only Trek film that balances action-adventure with the Roddenberry vision of what humanity will become (and that vision was far more cemented in TNG than TOS). Action and spectacle will always be on the menu for the mainstream audience, for better or worse.

As nifty and bold as some of the call-backs to Wrath of Khan were, there's the danger of going too far too soon. Spock's death in Wrath of Khan is gut-wrenching, and that emotion was earned through three seasons of television and the character being a pop culture icon for nearly 20 years. Having Kirk sacrifice himself to save the ship in the new film fits his character, but the emotional response they were trying to stimulate with his death hadn't been earned in the same manner. Spock screaming "KHAAAAAAAAAN" was cool on an in-joke level, but a bit of a stretch on a character level.

Kirk's death and Spock's reaction felt like a scene that would be more affecting in a third film as opposed to a second. Kirk getting the command of the flagship by the end of the first film was tough to swallow. Then you have him being demoted and reinstated within about 10 minutes, and then dying and being brought back to life in the final act of Into Darkness. They're burning through a lot of big moments for characters that are meant to be in their early years. It's also a case of trying to have their cake and eat it, by resetting the timeline and yet still riffing on the original stuff (and going so far as to echo both Space Seed and Wrath of Khan). We've seen cities and planets getting destroyed and massive holes in space. We have very advanced transporter technology that they're already taking to the extreme (beaming all the way to Kronos, for goodness sake).We've seen the Enterprise trashed. Into Darkness very much felt like JJ signing off on the franchise and you have to wonder where they go from here.

But overall, I had a lot of fun in watching this film. For the universe that JJ has created, this was an improvement on the first film in several departments. Whether that's a universe that appeals to everyone is a different debate.

Dom - Sun, Jun 2, 2013 - 3:05pm (USA Central)
@ Baltar, I agree with a lot of your criticisms, but Kirk (and Picard) actually violated the Prime Directive a lot more without any consequence. The one thing I did like about STID is that there was at least an attempt, albeit half-hearted attempt to show Kirk getting disciplined for having violated the Prime Directive. Also the brief scene of the natives worshiping the Enterprise was a corny but effective way of showing the consequences of violating the Prime Directive.

Another point - a larger enough volcano could conceivably emit enough ash to cause a global cooling. Some paleontologists think the eruption of volcanoes in the Deccan Plateau in India killed off the dinosaurs. But, no, a single volcano won't explode a planet.
Jo Jo Meastro - Mon, Jun 3, 2013 - 6:43am (USA Central)
I agree with Chris NIs' summary of the film. It's very fun and engaging Star Trek that may not be flawless, but it certainly is entertaining and hits much more often than it misses. It does have substance, emotion and character depth that's all in the earnest human rough-and ready spirit of TOS. Far from subtle, but always charming and sometimes very poignant. I'm going to take a guess it'll get 3 stars, leaning towards 3 and a half.

What I'd love to see happen now is to bring the new film series up to 6 like the TOS movies and for the conclusion to be a devastatingly powerful, seriously epic and human ending where the mirror crew have to embark on an illegal fatal self-sacrifing mission to close the loop on the mirror timeline and give the original timeline a rebirth (the Guardian from City On The Edge Of Forever figuiring into the story). It would be full of destruction and pain, yet filled with beauty and humanity enduring and sparking a new age of hope and a better future. This is what I'd like anyway!
Daniel Lebovic - Wed, Jun 5, 2013 - 1:47am (USA Central)
Hi Nic - I'm not sure Matt is "taking things personally." I am not a mind-reader. Moreover, a lot of the posters have made denuciatory and declamatory one-liners that reflect hatred of and venom toward this movie (hate is never palatable, but it is always at its least palatable when it is unsupported by facts or reasoning) contrasted with Matt's specific, thoughtful and sober analysis. I eagerly await some of those to whom Matt responded in detail to reply back to him. I think it is always easier to criticize than to defend, because human beings are hard-wired that way (as a friend once told me, when I was childishly looking for a compliment, "People don't generally compliment you on routine things well-done. You will likely be criticized for a routine mistake.")

I spoke to the following point in 2009, and I too was in effect told to calm down: for those conversant in Star Trek history, no doubt you remember: Gene Roddenberry did not conceive of TOS as a drama shorn of interpersonal conflict where characters struggled to reach a utopian ideal. The characters in the original series routinely argued with each other. That reflects reality, in any century, as far as human beings are concerned. Twenty years down the line or so, when TNG came out Roddenberry attempted to reinvent what Star Trek "meant: lack of interpersonal conflict, Starfleet as not a military organization/organization heavily involved in "police actions" (TOS' Enterprise was involved in a number of such actions, and was in general used for militaristic purposes - even if defensive - more than the TNG Enterprise was, I think); Starfleet as an organization where traitors are hard to find. Roddenberry was shown Star Trek VI shortly before his death, and complained that the movie was too "militaristic."

If the CREATOR of Star Trek can change his mind about what Star Trek is or should be about, I find it impossible to understand how fans can attempt to impose a definition of what Star Trek "is." Part of the fun of discussing "Trek" and watching it over the years, for me, anyway, has been discussing what has made Star Trek so successful - and when I talk to different people about this, different people have different opinions. These people support their opinions with facts, and are not denigrated by those who claim that their actualization of "Trek" is and should be the only one.

Another point: While STID will probably not outgross its predecessor, it will, it appears, have a higher rate of return on its investment than most of the other Trek films have had. A major reason why the STID and its immediate predecessor fared so well is because non-fans saw these movies - a fair number of non-fans. STID received a Cinema Score rating of "A," which means a lot of non-fans also LIKED the movie. Evidently they were able to follow it. Fandom in days gone by often would hold the future of Trek in its hands: if the fan base did not show up to see Star Trek VI after V failed critically and commercially, perhaps there would have been no more movies.... No two CONSECUTIVE movies between Star Trek 1 and 10 were bombs, box-office wise, and the fans can be thanked for that. Surely, fans probably now realize that their input, and catering to their tastes, is less important to Paramount than it used to be, since the Star Trek movies, quite arguably, can exist as a going concern without having to rely ONLY on the fans.

Some people no doubt abhor this - i.e. they now believe "the only reason the movies can now survive is because they have been dumbed down for a mass audience. That is not an "accomplishment." (Perhaps people abhorring this explains some of the bile directed at this movie). IMHO, not one of the first ten Star Trek movies appealed primarily to the intellect. (Anyone who thinks otherwise, please share your thoughts). Some people no doubt abhor how this movie contains more special effects, more action, more cuts, more editing generally, than its predecessors. These items are value-neutral, though. They do not make a film better or worse.

One poster quoted Roger Ebert's review of "North" (1994), which contained a line to the effect of "I hated hated hated hated.. this movie." The late Ebert was also fond of saying something else: A movie is not what it is about, but how it is about it. If someone wants to condemn STID for being nothing more than an action picture, that person is condemning what the movie is about (and is also attempting to short-circuit legitimate debate - after all, to paraphrase something else Ebert once said, "Once you have called a movie an action movie, what else is there left to say about it?" The actual line Ebert used is, "Once you have called someone a Feminazi, what else is there to say about such a person?) rather than how it is about it. STID, while it is far from being a perfect movie, is, I think, an action/adventure movie that earns its thrills/laughs and some of the tears it attempts to make drop, because it goes about its story in an entertaining way, with excellent production values and a great cast that puts its own spin on things, and a script that, if criticized solely on the basis of what is on the page, moves us along from a series of exciting events to another, while even allowing for a little moral commentary that Roddenberry trying to reinvent Roddenberry Prime would have approved of (the militarism here was expressly singled out as leading Starfleet in a dangerous direction). Oh, and the screenplay does not spell things out for us (some people call that shoddy writing; reasonable people can disagree). That offends some, no doubt. One person complained that Admiral Marcus' motivation was not explained. Actually, it was (the destruction of Vulcan was, he claimed, an event that underscored the need for Starfleet to be more "proactive" against threats).

What I disagree with is not so much the reviews on this post that announce how bad this movie is, but rather the fact that a number of these reviews seem to be using, as evaluative measures, narrow, rigged criteria (i.e. "is this movie a Star Trek movie?") that when used will automatically result in this movie not "measuring up."

Yanks - Wed, Jun 5, 2013 - 7:03am (USA Central)
JJ listened, the writers not so much...

This is a difficult one, many highs and lows. I'll start with the cast. Once again this is the highlight of our new 'Trek'. Chris Pine gives his best acting performance ever. All of the actors understand their characters and work amazingly well with one another. The only question mark I might have is Alice Eve, and she hasn't been given enough yet to make a sound judgment. I do have some issues with how a couple of these characters are being written, but that's not the actors fault. Cumberbatch not being a "man of color" is not a problem. He played the part brilliantly. Kirks development in 2 short movies is outstanding. Peter Weller (John Frederick Paxton not Robo-Cop) is also outstanding. While I understand the need for Pike to die to aid in the development of Kirk, I'm sad to see him go. Bruce Greenwood's Pike was truly outstanding.

The plot: I've read probably 100 reviews here and at Rotten Tomatoes. It's obvious to me that folks don't understand the plot (or don't want to). This is probably a result of the fast pace "shoot'em up" theme in the movie (which most seem to dislike). I had to see it twice to follow it, but it is there and it's strong. Only in a JJ Trek movie does the plot get criticized because it aptly addresses current political issues. In all other Trek, those episodes and movies are considered 'Trek at its finest.' The hypocrisy I read from fellow Trekkies here is disheartening. Look past all the 'window dressing' you don't like and listen to the plot. It speaks loudly concerning current drone policy, GTMO detainees, 9/11, family, the "War on Terror" and gives us things to contemplate which is very Trek.

Now this Trekkie noticed lots to be upset about in this movie, but the plot shouldn't be one of them. The resurrection of a classic Trek character, Khan's reveal, after masquerading as John Harrison about 2/3'rds of the way through the movie, was meaningless to those unfamiliar with "Space Seed" and TWoK and didn't do anything for the Trekkies either - aside from getting under their skin. But OK, Khan's awakening does follow Trek canon and I'm OK with using him (now). What REALLY fires up this Trekkie was the complete lack of original thinking (writing) and using a rip- off-reversal of one of Trek's classic, revered and most iconic moments (Spock's death in TWoK). They actually thought Kirk entering the warp core, dying and saving the Enterprise and her crew was good writing… e- gads… oh, they also thought having Spock "loose it" and scream "KHAAAAN!" like Kirk did in TWoK was somehow in character for Spock (in either timeline). nuSpock didn't act like this when his planet was destroyed AND he lost his mother. Whatever made them think that losing his "friend" who he's known for about a year and who he's been at odds with for about half that time would provoke such a un-Vulcan response. Double "e-gads". All Harrison needed to be was an augment.

Some technical Trekkie stuff that makes one slap their forehead you ask? How about Kirk speaking to Scotty in a bar light-years away from Enterprise on his communicator… or Harri-Khan's briefcase sized trans- warp thingy… or rocket thrusters on the bottom of 1701… or the SSN-1701… or no radiation suit in engineering… or why not give Kirk some anti- radiation meds after the interior door was shut… or cold fusion stopping a frakin volcano? There, now you know I'm a Trekkie. (This nit-picking has been done to every single Trek movie and episode BTW. It's a labor of love) JJ did listen to the fans. He reduced the shaky cams, lens- flares and we now have a warp core that looks like something from the future rather than a beer distillery. (Thank you.) The problem is the writers didn't listen or just don't get it. They played the standard reboot theme of taking literary license with past production to the point of "WTF". Spock is still Spock. Nero's incursion shouldn't change that. Uhura shouldn't change that. (Oh, if it's not painfully obvious now, the Spock/Uhura thing needs to stop.) I understand the need to give Uhura more, but please don't do it at the expense of McCoy. He's too important here. Star Trek isn't Batman, or The Hulk, or Star Wars. It's not a place to "play". Star Trek has always been more than those. I hope the writers for the next installment take that to heart a little more than they've shown in the first two. The crew is assembled. They've been through hell a couple times. Let's use our imagination and create something fresh and new, something we can dream about, something positive. Pop-corn block-buster with lots of action - sure. But it also has to be a "Star Trek" movie. Make it "Trek" and you will be heralded. I want to take my kids to the next movie and I want them to learn something about life without seeing someone squeeze someone's head until it bursts.

How do I rate this visually epic, beautifully scored, Trek challenged movie? 7 of 10 I think. Trek is at home on TV, so this Trekkie will demonstrate some IDIC here and welcome this movie into the community.

I highly recommend "Star Trek Into Darkness". 9/10 had they not defined plagiarism with the ending.
chloes_fork - Wed, Jun 5, 2013 - 11:29am (USA Central)
Late to the party, and don't know if "Matt" is even still around, but if he is: just wanted to say I, for one, saw the same movie you did, and I very much appreciate your observant, thoughtful, and impassioned comments about it. Your posts taken together represent probably the most perceptive analysis and discussion of "STiD" I've seen. You've left me with little to add. (Though I would correct one factual point -- Adm. Marcus did know Khan's people were in the torpedos; Khan said he was caught trying to hide them in the torps and he went rogue on the incorrect assumption Marcus had killed them afterward. Doubtless Marcus, having rethought the wisdom of the whole genetically-augmented-superwarrior thing after Khan's rampage, saw firing them at Khan as a way to eliminate all his problems and any evidence in one fell swoop, and get his "inevitable" war with the Klingons as a bonus.)
Dom - Wed, Jun 5, 2013 - 1:19pm (USA Central)
@ Yanks,

I agree with much of what you said. But one point: it's not that critics didn't understand the plot, but rather that many (including myself) thought it was shallow. It's not enough simply to have Spock make a blatant allusion to remote assassinations of terrorists. The problem is the movie never really turned that short plot point into a coherent theme exploring the ethical problems with remote drone assassinations. If anything, the ending cheapens the whole experience by having Spock punch Khan in a bloody rage. So is the movie saying that extrajudicial killing is OK as long as it's done by the good guys? Or that revenge is OK when somebody kills your friend? The past Star Trek movies, while not always great, at least had consistently followed one or two key themes, but STID seems to raise issues but kind of drop them by the wayside.
Lachlan - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 2:40am (USA Central)
After the ship crashes into San Francisco why are people going on about their lives a few hundred metres up the road? Hailing cubs, jumping on trams, buying a sandwich, etc.
Lachlan - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 2:41am (USA Central)
Cabs that should be.
Digedag - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 6:53am (USA Central)
"If someone wants to condemn STID for being nothing more than an action picture, that person is condemning what the movie is about."

The problem is not that the movie is an action picture, the problem is that's an incredibly dumb, lazily written action picture that disregards any form of coherent narrative and internal logic.

And in regards to the Matt criticism/praise: While his effort to defend the movie is admirable, unfortunately he lacks a basic understanding of storytelling (consistent characterization -> character motivation -> character action -> plot development), semiotics and tonality ... to actually craft a convincing counterargument that isn't made up of mostly tangible details why STID supposedly succeeds on so many levels others felt the movie horribly failed.
Josephine - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 7:02am (USA Central)
dear matt sure has a lot of accounts here.
Hirogen73 - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 1:01pm (USA Central)
We should start a pool on Jammers rating of this film.

I'm predicting 2 1/2 stars

That's all I would give it
Dom - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 2:26pm (USA Central)
I predict 2 stars (2.25 if that were allowed by Jammer's rating system)
rkpres17@hotmail.com - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 3:09pm (USA Central)
I bet he gives it either a low 2.5 or a high 2.

Up until the third act, I would've given it a 2, but trying my hardest to not laugh in the theater during the "death" scene, and then not being able to take the film seriously at all after that, knocked it down to a 1.5.
Grumpy - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 7:01pm (USA Central)
Lachlan... good question, and the answer is one of the few scientifically accurate moments in the film. See, it's a faster-than-light starship. Therefore, it gets where it's going before anybody can see it!

I disagree with Digedag. It was entirely credible how dumb it was. And the writing wasn't lazy; I could hear them writing their asses off. The writers may have been careless and misguided, but they were not lazy.

Lastly, I think everyone should agree that criticism is out of bounds when it sinks to "You're stupid if you like this" or "You didn't like it because you missed the point." Try to focus on the work, not the audience.
Sam S - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 7:59pm (USA Central)
Here's wanting consistency. If Khan was woken up earlier, why didn't he look like Ricardo Montalban? Why wasn't he the same age as Ricardo Montalban in the episode Space seed? Why was he actually younger? That makes no sense. He would've been the same age as he was Kirk woke him up as when some nameless Federation admiral did years later. Also? Why is Kirk surprised when Khan tries to kill him at the end? After all, he had Scotty shoot the man with a phaser! Would you be surprised if you had somebody shot with a phaser and then they became your enemy at the end? I'm sure that Red Letter Media will get all of this, but also why was McCoy, Leonard H. reviving a dead Tribble that came from nowhere plot wise? Was he Kirk's personal shower loofa Tribble that was accidentally stepped on by one of the Klingons? By the way, how are we going to explain why the Klingons look different this time? Did Dr. Phlox go back to genetically work on the Klingons again and this time make sure nobody was able to grow hair on their thick Rocky craniums? This is no longer action schlock; this is jjschlock.
Sam S - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 8:05pm (USA Central)
After all that work in the first film to cut themselves free from continuity, why would they place this story in the context of all of the previous trek lore? Nonsense. They have so much to work with and still they have to go back and revisit Star Trek to the wrath of con in order to reverse every key plot point. The next Star Trek movie will probably be about returning to the alternate future to hunt down two whales named George and Gracie who are threatening to take over the earth unless Kirk promises to take them to Seaworld in a stolen Klingon bird o' prey. Oy!
Sam S - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 8:10pm (USA Central)
Throughout. I wondered why Robocop was used to the Federation at. And by the way, did you notice this was the same guy who played the head of Terra prime in that one episode of enterprise? What a total redirect! Why use that guy? And also consider that the name Harrison was one of those names for section 31, which was a clear misdirection I would've preferred that they actually make a Starfleet section 31 movie in which Kirk has to infiltrate section 31 in order to prevent war. Maybe he'd even run into a guy named Joe Bashir an ancestor of Dr. Julian Bashir on Star Trek space nine. That would've been 1000 times better than the film they created in which Kirk has to ally himself with ConMan and then get Scotty to shoot him in the face. After Star Trek six, I had my fill of Scottie shooting people in face.
Digedag - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 8:19pm (USA Central)
Fair enough. I admit that I sometimes get carried away a bit when discussing movies (or TV series, video games and books) and inadvertently might offend someone. If that's the case here, I duly apologize.

However, I firmly stand by my opinion that STID is lazily written. See, when the writers don't care to provide clear (and consistent) character motivation, don't bother to make sure their plot doesn't constantly violate the established rules of the movie's universe, arbitrarily introduce elements that have vast and severe consequences that change the very nature of the world they've created just to tie up the plot, and built their story around set-pieces instead of incorporating set-pieces organically into a character-driven narrative - that the very definition of lazy - and therefore bad - storytelling. And no, this being an action movie or a summer blockbuster doesn't mean STID gets a free pass.

Many others have already mentioned the gratuitous underwear shot of Carol Marcus. Now, that particular scene is aggravating for many reason, but the one that is probably most symptomatic of STID's shortcomings is that Orci/Kurtzmann/Lindelof, once again, didn't even come up with an excuse for it. They couldn't be bothered to give a simple reason for why the future Mrs. Kirk has to strip down. They just didn't care. And that's just lazy.

They are either awful at their job, not understanding basic principles of good storytelling, or they just don't give a damn. And while I think that especially Orci and Kurtzmann are talentless fanboys high on their own hubris, I just can not imagine that they weren't aware of the numerous inconsistencies, the lack of clarification, the dubious character motivation, etc.

No, they didn't feel the need to make the script tighter and more meaningful because ... BROOOOOMMM?!
Digedag - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 8:24pm (USA Central)
The last post was in response to Grumpy's comment.
Ns8401 - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 9:20pm (USA Central)
Did anybody notice that Marcus got kicked in the stomach in the fight on the uber ship? I wonder if that was what the underwear shot meant to hint to us? Maybe without telling us directly the shot was hinting that she got pregnant by Kirk and that kick hurt or killed the baby? I know it sounds far fetched but it seems plausible and would be another Khan tie-in.
Digedag - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 9:58pm (USA Central)
Unless Kirk now can impregnate women by merely lustfully looking at them, that's a definite no. Besides, Marcus isn't removing her clothes because she wants to engage in a bit of the ol' in-out with Kirk. In fact, she's clearly not enjoying Kirk's voyeuristic glances as she repeatedly tells him not to peek. And it becomes very clear from both her intonation and her facial expression that her rebuke is not meant to be interpreted as a thinly veiled attempt at flirting.

Also, I somehow doubt - given how blatant the references and pseudo-themes are presented through-out the movie - that any form of foreshadowing would be handled so comparatively subtle.

However, at the end of the movie Kirk and Marcus share a glance that is supposed to indicate a growing affection - never mind that the movie itself at no points hints that Marcus might be developing feelings for Kirk or at least is sexually attracted to him - for those members of the audience who neither are familiar with Trek lore nor have realized by that point that this timeline's Kirk is trying to screw anything with a heartbeat.
Dom - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 11:57pm (USA Central)
@ Sam S, I appreciate your call for reason, but I have to agree with Digedag on this one - parts of the STID script were just lazy. It's one thing if you're writing a script on a tight deadline or just can't make the dialogue work or if a director totally mangles it. However, with STID there are just a lot of lazy plot contrivances that are used, such as super transwarp beaming. I'm not saying that the writers themselves were lazy, just that the plot is lazy.

Frankly, I do think Lindeloff is incapable of putting together a logical plot that is realistic and adheres to the laws of science (see also Prometheus). He seems like he understands what he's doing, but thinks audiences will appreciate dumbed down characters or plot. He doesn't show much interest in science or getting things right on that side. The Prometheus DVD extras are pretty enlightening about his style of scriptwriting.
Digedag - Fri, Jun 7, 2013 - 2:50am (USA Central)
Plot contrivance. That's the word(s) I was looking for. I wish there was a similar term in my native language to perfectly describe this particular sin of story telling.

And of course I wasn't implying that the writers were lazy in the sense of not writing the script aka nor working at all. But they are guilty of being lazy in so far as they apparently didn't bother to craft a sound story that wouldn't completely collapse on first viewing and immediately reveal the nonsensical nature of the plot.

And I'm not talking about (technical) plot holes that you can find in almost any movie if you only look long and hard enough (see the awful and stupid "Everything wrong with movie XY in 3 minutes" videos on youtube). I normally don't care about this stuff as long as the movie abides by its own rules and presents a solid, character driven narrative in which the protagonists' course of action is contextually reasonable and dictated by understandable motivations.

The main problem I see is that especially Orci/Kurtzmann seem to operate according to the dictum "Wouldn't it be cool if ... (we saw the Enterprise under water/have a Star Wars dog fight)", "How great would it be if ... (a ship would crash into the San Francisco Bay/we have Khan in this movie)" "I've got this mental image of ... (Khan standing on Qo'noS/having a foot chase in a half destroyed SF)" They're basically stringing together a sequence of "cool" set pieces. The actual story seems to be an afterthought. That leads to protagonists being imposed with uncharacteristic traits and incoherent motivations, or, in the worst case, simply acting as plot devices.

Take Scotty. His moral concerns regarding the transportation of the torpedoes is not the result of an well-established character trait - in fact, in TOS, Scotty was portrayed as a capable "acting captain" who wasn't averse to using the Enterprise's weapon arsenal when the situation called for it (He even owned a sword!), definitely never opposing Kirk due to some pacifistic attitude -, no, his resignation is solely motivated by plot necessity. He needs to be absent from the Enterprise so he later can sneak aboard the - allegedly top secret and, one would assume, closely-guarded - Vengeance and sabotage it.

Now, wouldn't it have made a bit more sense from a character standpoint if Spock were the one to oppose Kirk, pointing out his illogical behavior driven by his wish for vengeance (and, in doing so, further widening the gulf between the two, something the writer obviously were going for anyway in terms of character dynamic for three quarters of the film)? Or how about McCoy, the ultimate humanist of the crew? Surely he wouldn't have approved of Kirk's decision. And while it's unlikely that Bones would have left the Enterprise, he surely would have given Kirk a mouthful. Honestly, I can't remember McCoy even mentioning the issue, definitely not arguing heatedly over it. Perhaps someone else of the crew could have stepped in?

Well, it doesn't matter because the plot calls for the Vengeance to be incapacitated for a short amount of time. So in order for this plot point to work they needed the engineer of the group on board of the enemy vessel. to recapitulate, Scotty basically acts out of character and displays a never before seen feature (even for this altered timeline, before someone digs up this argument) that gets abruptly introduced so the movie's narrative can move forward. The plot dictates the characterization and character action when it should be the other way around.

And this is just one of many example.


By the way, I'm not bashing STID out of principle because I'm sternly against Abrams' reboot or something similar. I'm criticizing the movie because I love Trek, because I think that the new cast is terrific and could really shine if given the opportunity and, in general, because there's so much potential to make a really good (Star Trek) movie.

But instead we've got the awful and aggravating STID. And I'm not even going to touch upon what a stupid idea it was trying to rip off Wrath of Khan and on how many levels STID failed to accomplish it successfully!

Anyway, here's a movie in which Spock yells "KHAAAAN", apparently so agonized by the death of Kirk that he has a surprising and for a Vulcan highly atypical emotional outburst - a reaction far more extreme than the one he showed when confronted with the destruction of his home planet and the extinction of his entire species! The funny thing is, though, we've never seen Kirk and Spock being friends. If one watches the movie one could almost assume that the two can't stand and barely tolerate each other. And no sign of real bonding over the whole course of the film. Strange! Even Uhura, his girlfriend is given the cold shoulder throughout because Spock doesn't want to make himself vulnerable (Pain! Pain!). Which of course begs the question what Uhura actually sees in this relationship which almost seems like a poorly thought out idea on part of the writers who wanted to introduce a new element into the franchise just for the sake of it. But again ... characterization, blah blah ...

Oh well ...
Paul M. - Fri, Jun 7, 2013 - 8:00am (USA Central)
Well said, Digedag.

Ultimately, what I'm most disappointed about is the fact that The Powers That Be decided to turn Star Trek into just another incarnation of a Summer Blockbuster Hey-At-Least-It's-Fun Movie Franchise.

I just need to ask why. Aren't there enough popcorn flicks around? Is mindless summer fun, even if done entertainingly (and this movie certainly isn't), really what Star Trek does best?

Also, to comment on Digedag's notion that the writers operate solely under "wouldn't it be cool if...?", just go read a couple of interviews by Abrams and the screenwriters. That's exactly what they were going for. To me, they come off as kids let loose in this great theme park salivating at the prospect to turn over this rock and push that button.

I mean, for crying out loud, Abrams flat out said he never really liked (or was it understood?, I can't remember) all that Trek philosophy! Just google it! He's basically the guy who likes to give this revamped car a spin around the block before jumping to the next sweet thing. Is there a project these last 10 years he saw to completion? He comes in, retools or invents a bunch of stuff, and leaves for greener pastures. What kind of creative approach is that?
Amy - Fri, Jun 7, 2013 - 2:26pm (USA Central)
I enjoyed your posts Digedag.

Speaking as someone who saw her first Trek movie in a theater this year (I wasn't into Trek in '09), I'd say the movie was fun.

I'd like to think this is my Trek now. This is something I can relate to because it's happening in real time for me. As the actors age, so will I. Regardless of whether or not STID worked as a movie, it definitely worked as my yardstick for the world of Trek.
Grumpy - Fri, Jun 7, 2013 - 3:01pm (USA Central)
Digedag, I actually agree with you, especially this: "They're basically stringing together a sequence of 'cool' set pieces. The actual story seems to be an afterthought." I made a similar observation earlier (I spelled it "kewl"). Whether that's laziness or not is a semantic dispute. I picture them breathlessly telling the story, like Patton Oswalt's Star Wars filibuster, and "lazy" is not the word that comes to mind. If anything, it's an excess of effort pointed at the wrong priorities.

And my comment about out-of-bounds criticism was not aimed at anyone in particular... but anyone who recognizes themselves in that description should rightly feel shame. Shame!
Demosthenes - Fri, Jun 7, 2013 - 3:01pm (USA Central)
"The late Ebert was also fond of saying something else: A movie is not what it is about, but how it is about it. If someone wants to condemn STID for being nothing more than an action picture, that person is condemning what the movie is about..."

Rebuttal:

You could substitute anything for the word "movie" in that sentence and have it still make sense -- for example, "franchise." And STiD, as a straight-up action movie with sci-fi and Trek elements, does not fit the "how it is about it"-ness of the Star Trek franchise. It is perfectly possible to condemn it on that basis.
Grumpy - Fri, Jun 7, 2013 - 3:13pm (USA Central)
Speaking of "wouldn't it be cool if...?", as Paul M. put it, I recall that Wrath of Khan was assembled the same way. They took the best parts of separate pitches (Khan's revenge, Kirk's son, Spock's death, the Omega/Genesis project) and crafted a story that tied them together. And the art director said, Wouldn't a nebula battle be kewl?? And the producer said, wouldn't a training simulator intro be kewl??

Maybe the magic of that film, which elevates it to great cinema beyond being good sci-fi or Trek, is that Nick Meyer (uncredited for the final script) covered the tracks. The characters are speaking, not the writers.
Dom - Fri, Jun 7, 2013 - 3:24pm (USA Central)
@ Grumpy, that's partly right about TWOK, but I think Meyer also took care to realize he was, at the end of the day, telling a story. Also, Meyer comes from a much more literate background, by which I mean he reads the classics like Shakespeare and clearly took inspiration from them (hence Khan's famous quotes). He had an understanding of storytelling in various media, including novels and theater. So, when he turned to TWOK, he wasn't approaching it just as a movie, but as a story. He knew how to create character moments that didn't require a lot of special effects or action scenes.

By contrast, I think too many scriptwriters and directors today are primarily or exclusively in cinema. JJ Abrams and Lindelof and company know how to put movies together, but they don't seem to know how to put stories together. Unlike Meyet, I could never see Lindelof writing a best-selling novel for example.

I'd say something similar about the actors (although the problem isn't all that bad). Many film actors today only know TV or movies. Unlike the Patrick Stewarts or Leonard Nimoys of the world, they're not stage actors. I think that actually makes a difference. Stage acting requires you to be a character for a prolonged period of time, with no cuts, and forces you to learn how to improvise. During a live show, there's nobody to hold your hand. They have to know how to hold an audience's attention because the audience is right in front of them. Many of the STID actors are quite good, but I can't connect to them as characters the same way I connected to Picard or Spock or even Dukat and Weyoun.
Paul M. - Fri, Jun 7, 2013 - 4:32pm (USA Central)
@Dom "By contrast, I think too many scriptwriters and directors today are primarily or exclusively in cinema. JJ Abrams and Lindelof and company know how to put movies together, but they don't seem to know how to put stories together."

Hence the rise of MTV generation directors who learned their craft on music videos. A 3 minute cool snippet with lots of cutting and camera angles.
david - Fri, Jun 7, 2013 - 9:36pm (USA Central)
2 stars and that is being generous. I think this film and the last one shows what a bad idea it is to let fanboys with no writing talent take over multi million dollar entertainment properties. Thiis film was devoid of a single original or well developed idea. It relied on nothing but barely clad actors, hyper active action sequences, plot contrivances and really good visual effects. There was no solid characterization, no interesting villain, no story just a bunch of stitched together scenes. It stole elements from earlier trek where the elements were handled infinitely better,,, khan, revenge, section 31 etc. Instead we get cliches,,,, the rogue admiral, his pawn rising up and turning on him, magic cures. And casting a white man for khan was lame.

The crew comes across as star trek brats who get a fancy starship to play around on. Star trek was in better hands with brann8n braga than orci, kurtzman, lindelof and abrams. There is no rhyme or reason for a lot of the stuff that happens in the film. It seems this generation of writers think action and kewl ideas are good entertainment. They arent. Even as a mindless flick it fails.
Paul M. - Sat, Jun 8, 2013 - 6:05am (USA Central)
@david: "Star trek was in better hands with brann8n braga than orci, kurtzman, lindelof and abrams."

It's a coin toss, in my opinion. I see Abrams Trek as everything Voyager and Nemesis wanted to be, but weren't.

So, while I am extremely critical of nuTrek, I admit that the franchise was moving in this direction for a long time, 15 years at least. And to be honest, the heart and soul of Trek was always on TV, not the big screen, even with the best Trek movies.

I only hope that one of these days we'll get a new Trek TV show. In that sense, I root for Abrams and Co. to succeed,if only to pave the way for a new incarnation of Trek.
Digedag - Sat, Jun 8, 2013 - 9:03am (USA Central)
Unfortunately It's unlikely that we'll see a return to the small screen in the foreseeable future. If I remember correctly, Abrams actually had plans to launch a TV series alongside the reboot some years ago that were ultimately squashed by the complicated legal position concerning the ownership of the rights to Trek.

And while STID is by no means a commercial failure, the movie nevertheless wasn't able to fulfill the (perhaps unrealistic, clearly too optimistic) box office expectations, making it somewhat of a financial disappointment for the studio.

But yes, Star Trek ultimately belongs on TV. It's the place for which it was originally conceived, were it had its finest hours and prospered the most. And it would be interesting to see how Star Trek would adjust to today's TV landscape and the challenges of serialized storytelling.

And I agree with your assessment, Paul, that many of the flaws that plague Abrams' version of Trek also were prevalent in the two last TV installments as well as in TNG's last cinematic outing.

There was also a good point made by Dom earlier. I agree that Abrams - being a Spielberg disciple through and through - definitely knows how to put a movie together. And seen individually many of the action sequences work beautifully on a visceral level, the only major point of criticism being the generic nature and familiarity of it all. However, unfortunately he lacks The Beard's talent for not only effortlessly infusing the action with human drama and conflict (let alone real purpose), but making the characters the ultimate anchor point of the story and the driving force behind the narrative.

In regards to Lindelof: It may come as a surprise, but I honestly think that it's unfair and a bit too convenient to put the blame of STID's numerous shortcomings solely on Damon Lindelof. Yes, he's the scapegoat of large sections of the Internet these days thanks to the debacle that was Prometheus. Yes, his rewrites ruined a perfectly fine (albeit not exactly world-shattering) script and turned the movie into a huge mess that shares many of the STID's problems like the unmotivated and oftentimes downright stupid character behavior. And Lost's disappointing resolution is also mostly his fault, no doubt about it.

However, out of the three writers he's the only one who's got actual talent and a distinct vision of his own. If only he could get rid of his obsession with the supernatural, like his rather juvenile reduction of complex issues to the simplistic dichotomy between faith and knowledge - and the incongruent, haphazard and pretentious way these themes oftentimes get explored. The confusion of unresolvedness with actual (meaningful) ambiguity, etc.

But while Lindelof's latest attempts at crafting a good script all have been pretty unsuccessful due to his strange fixations mentioned above, the main problem with Abrams' version of Star Trek is the duo of Alex Kurzmann and Robert Orci. They are responsible for the lion's share of these movies. Kurzmann and Orci are basically two fanboys who, ironically, neither understand nor care about what Star Trek is supposed to be about, who are more interested in a succession of "kewl" (to borrow that term) scenes without bothering to come up with a reasonable story or crafting real character drama. Two overpaid guys who never had a single original idea in their whole career, whose entire body of work is made up of other people's work arbitrarily slapped together and clumsily rearranged. It doesn't help that Orci is obviously a conspiracy theorist, which is what most likely lead to the stupid terrorist/paranoid admiral angle of the movie that not only feels artificially imposed - and doesn't work at all in terms of tone, Mise en scène and semiotics - but is in stark contrast to what is otherwise meant to be a fun romp inserted with a few serious moments (that don't work, neither emotionally nor thematically ... but, I digress).

So, if you are a fan of Roddenberry's creation (or of good movies in general) and have been granted one free wish: Wish that these two idiots will not be rehired to write the next Star Trek.


Anyways, I'm now going to rewatch "Galaxy Quest". Now, that's a genuinely great movie!
david - Sat, Jun 8, 2013 - 4:01pm (USA Central)
Sorry but lindelof is not a good writer. Just look at Lost which I would argue is the perfect example of excess storytelling that has come to define contemporary entertainment,,, nonlinear storytelling, an overabundance of flashback, massive roster of characters, dozens of mysteries, frenzied jumping from one scene to the next, and twists or omg moments exist to shock rather than being a launching point for a well developed storyline, and convoluted unwieldy mythologies. Lindelof was the one who suggested khan.

It. Is all about gimmicks. Oh how I pine for the days of modest ensembles, linear storytelling, good writing with internal logic, fresh ideas, interesting chracters and a modest pacing.

And say what you want but brannon actually had good ideas and could actually put them to good use I.e. adding a borg character to voyager, his Tng high concept stories and the xindi arc was infinitely more interesting than either abrams movie.
david - Sun, Jun 9, 2013 - 12:17am (USA Central)
Oh and while some are praising the attempts at commentary about terrorism etc. Please it was so ham handed and tiresome. Only the most basic cursory glance was attempted. Besides after ten years of tv programs tackling that issue for me it is just well worn and tiresome. Enuff.
TH - Sun, Jun 9, 2013 - 12:59am (USA Central)
I could go into a very long review of the film, but given the plethora of reviews here, I'm sure most of my thoughts have been said already, so I'll try to be somewhat brief.

I agree with one of the first postings: A great popcorn film, and that's about it.

First off, saw it in 3D. Other than some ash sparks and things in the volcano and a native arrow shot just over the camera (that legitimately had my reflexively dodge), there was little need for the 3D. I hate film converted to 3D anyway. It seems artificial. It seems like flat 2D elements (people, sets) placed at different depths like a puppet show. The faces in the foreground are flat, not round, but the "3D" is used to place them closer to the viewer than the background or another character. No depth within the layers.

As for the film itself, It was pretty well-written from a dialogue point of view, but not from a plot point of view. Once again, I found Karl Urban's performance was my favourite. He perfectly embodied that gruffness that was McCoy. Other than Urban, only Quinto seems to embody "acting" elements of the original character. Pegg is very funny as scotty and obviously does a scottish accent, but I find him far more energetic and manic than the real scotty, and doesn't have the same "character" that Doohan did. Similarly, Saldana doesn't really ring any "uhura" bells in my mind, nor does Cho any "Sulu". I suppose Yelchin does have some Chekov in him, but his character is barely present in the film. Pine does a pretty good job too, although he's handicapped by having to play Shatner's character, and both Shatner and Kirk are legendary. Hard to do justice to a legend.

But the plot was just awful. Best part was the whole opening - Kirk breaks the rules to save Spock; Spock doesn't get it; isn't grateful; Kirk loses command, etc. I also really liked the setup; Guy trades his daughter's life for his own and blows up a starfleet installation (although somewhat clichéed thanks to shows like 24 that have done that kind of "mole" to save my family plot many many times.

But I was intrigued. I was also intrigued when Harrison shot up the Starfleet commander's meeting. The death of Pike was very emotional. As an aside, I would point out that Kirk's reasoning for deducing that Harrison would shoot up the meeting because a) Harrison blew up a useless data library and b) knew the meeting would be held so the bombing was a ruse to get the meeting to be held. Once Adm. Marcus reveals that the Data Library was really a secret research facility, and we find out that Harrison bombed it for a reason, Kirk's logic doesn't hold anymore. It's fortunate for the plot that Harrison decided to shoot up the meeting on top of the bombing anyway.

But that's where the wheels came off the train.

Scotty quits, so the next best engineer onboard is Chekov? What the hell? Who the hell else is working in engineering - you know, full time? On TNG and whatnot they had "assistant chief engineers" and whatnot. This was a terrible plot choice to give Chekov something to do (similarly, Sulu gets to take the bridge once or twice, so that he gets something to do in the film as well).

Harrison is Khan. Oh well, they couldn't come up with a unique idea. Whatever. I don't mind that he's white either. I think Cumberbatch turned in a wonderfully haunting and menacing performance. But the entire plot surrounding him is terrible.

Adm. Marcus reminds me of the Admiral from Insurrection, Adm. Dougherty. Both had inexplicably irrational motivatons. Marcus is prepared to kill every starfleet officer on the Enterprise and destroy the ship just to kill Khan. He also desperately wants to start a war with the Klingons. I am at a loss to understand on what basis he justifies this. It's completely anti-starfleet, and I can only wonder how he became an Admiral with that kind of attitude. It taints the whole film for me.

That said, I wanted to believe that the writers, while ripping off Star Trek 2 by giving us Khan, were actually going to flip it on us and make Khan an ally against the evil Admiral. At least then they'd be turning ST2 on its head. But no, as soon as the admiral is dealt with, we get Khan in charge of a starfleet ship and we effectively get a slight tweak of ST2 right down to the death scene. Unfortunately, that scene has far less power than ST2, because I think we all know there's no damn way they are killing off Pine in this film.

As soon as they had Khan in sickbay and Kirk (or Spock?) turns to McCoy for no reason and asks "hey, what are you up to, Doc?" "Oh, I'm just injecting Khan's blood into a dead Tribble, why?"

It was a completely pointless moment that jarringly interrupted the flow of the scene. Instantly anyone who's see a sci-fi (or perhaps anyone who's seen any recent fiction) should instantly recognize that Khan's blood or the tribble (or both) are going to come into play in a major way later. So as soon as you find that Kirk is "dead", you have to wonder "how are they going to unkill him? Oh right - Khan blood".

So now Spock, who's out for vengeance, has to be told not to kill Khan, cause we need his blood.

I'm not 100% sure why they needed to do that. I would have expected that maybe they'd have didn't keep any sample of his blood from what they took earlier, but didn't we just find out that they have 72 suspended super-humans in their cargo bay? I assumed Khan's followers were also super-humans... am I wrong? Why can't they use their blood? In any event, it's awfully convenient that in both timelines, the leader among 72 other popsicles, Khan, happens to be the one that gets thawed.

I enjoyed the conceit of the ship losing power and therefore succumbing to gravity and falling into the atmosphere. That said, I found it hard to believe that the ship under no power could have any hope of surviving entry into the atmosphere. One damaged tile on a space shuttle and the thing will blow up on reentry. How exactly does the Enterprise, not aerodynamically designed for reentry even at the proper angle and attitude, manage to "fall" into the atmosphere after having been severely damaged by Khan?

Similarly, (and this one is a common movie inaccuracy), I would expect Khan's ship to be heavily destroyed after hitting the first building, but like a car hitting a chainlink fence, or a fruit stand, the moving object is impervious to damage. In reality a car goes through a fruit stand and its front end gets smashed.

I ultimately thought it sad to kill of Pike for such a relatively poor reason. It was disappointing. I also thought the need to contact NimoySpock was just an excuse to put him in the movie. Is QuintoSpock going to call NimoySpock every film for advice now?

All in all, some nice nostalgia and callbacks to ST2, but the plot itself was so blah that it left me underwhelmed.
Paul M. - Sun, Jun 9, 2013 - 10:21am (USA Central)
@TH "Best part was the whole opening - Kirk breaks the rules to save Spock; Spock doesn't get it; isn't grateful; Kirk loses command, etc. I also really liked the setup; Guy trades his daughter's life for his own and blows up a starfleet installation (...) I was also intrigued when Harrison shot up the Starfleet commander's meeting. The death of Pike was very emotional."

Yes. After first 20 minutes, I was actually pretty hopeful. The scenes with the bomber guy, Pike-Kirk, the whole what is the moral cost of breaking the rules vibe of the opening was quite good. A bit bombastic and overly logorrheic perhaps, but good.

Unfortunately, as soon as Kirk and crew ride off to chase the bad guys, the movie devolves into a giant mess of self-contained action set pieces that get progressively louder and crazier.

Also, I sincerely don't know what to make of the epilogue. After 2 hours of non-stop explosions and superhero stuff, we suddenly get a boldly going, explore new stuff speech in the very lasr seconds of the movie. It was such a jarring and inappropriate, not to mention insincere moment. What on Earth did this movie do to EARN such closing sentiment? Frankly, nothing.

And that's a recurring theme throughout much of the movie. It is packed to bursting with hommages, character points, emotions, and sentiments that it didn't earn.

I never *believed* this Kirk and this Spock were friends. I never believed this movie was about seeking out new life and new civilisations, or about drone extra-judicial killings and so on. It pays lip service to big ideas and pretends to wrestle with complicated moral dilemmas, but it's all a veneer slapped over a shallow pointless blockbuster. It is what it is.
Grumpy - Sun, Jun 9, 2013 - 11:03am (USA Central)
TH: "...it's awfully convenient that in both timelines, the leader among 72 other popsicles, Khan, happens to be the one that gets thawed."

As I recall from "Space Seed," Khan's freezer was programmed to open first. That much they got right, if only accidentally.

"I enjoyed the conceit of the ship losing power and therefore succumbing to gravity and falling into the atmosphere."

That was a genuinely fun scene that, unlike the rest of the movie, entertained me enough that I didn't question the logic *during* the movie. But in the parking lot... They fell from halfway to lunar orbit in 20 minutes? If they were in freefall, why did anyone's feet stick to anything? Were they subject to Earth gravity? Then the deck is still down because, as the poster pic shows, the ship is right-side up. If they were in negative-G (slowing down as they hit the air) then they're thrown to the ceiling. They're definitely not running on the walls.

But it was new & different. And, apart from being anti-climactic because the main plot had already been resolved, perhaps the best justification for the "kewl" approach to filmmaking.
Dom - Sun, Jun 9, 2013 - 12:39pm (USA Central)
@ Grumpy,

I didn't like the freefall scene, but I did get the impression that the ship was swerving. So, if they were subject to Earth gravity, the running on the walls could be because the ship wasn't falling rightside up. In fact, given that the ship is probably not well balanced, I could easily imagine it falling saucer-side first. I'd have to rewatch the movie to actually see how it was depicted though
Yanks - Mon, Jun 10, 2013 - 12:29pm (USA Central)
Jammer, when will you be reviewing this?
Yanks - Mon, Jun 10, 2013 - 12:35pm (USA Central)
@ Dom

Thanks for commenting on my review.

I guess my point was it's not up to the movie to answer all the questions. It's not a documentary.

It's kind of like all the Prometheus critics saying the movie didn't provide any answers. It wasn't supposed to.

STID did bring up point for further thought and consideration. I don't think it's up to the movie to throw all the "right" answers in your face.
Dom - Mon, Jun 10, 2013 - 1:44pm (USA Central)
@ Yanks, thanks. I agree the movie doesn't need to provide all the answers. I know for Prometheus a lot of people were upset that we didn't get every single detail about the Xenomorph, but I don't think that was necessary.

But a movie does need to provide a logical plot that actually relates to the moral question if we want to take it seriously. For example, if the movie really wanted to raise questions about the ethics of drone strikes, it should have raised that at some point near the resolution of the movie. For example, they could have had a dialogue like this:

Spock: Captain, I must apologize. If I hadn't insisted on capturing Khan alive, you would not have died and the 10,000 people in San Diego would not have been killed when the Vengeance crashed.

Kirk: Spock, your respect for life is human. I only wish Starfleet HQ remembers to respect life.

Spock: But the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Would it not have been worth eliminating Khan at that point?

Kirk: Could you have lived with yourself if you had?

Spock: [raises eyebrow, ponders]

Or something like that. That doesn't necessarily give you THE ANSWER, but it does at least show you that the characters are exploring the ethical implications of their actions and that the choice had an impact. Instead, the movie ends pretty quickly with Spock punching Khan in a rage.

Likewise, with Prometheus, most people weren't upset with the fact that we didn't get all the answers, but the fact that the characters behave like idiots (the biologist petting the snake, etc).

Anyways, I predict that this movie will keep fans talking. It actually raises important questions about the franchise and the fate of Trek.
Cail Corishev - Mon, Jun 10, 2013 - 5:43pm (USA Central)
Here's what I'm wondering: other movie franchises are often based on novels or comic books. When they decided to make Lord of the Rings movies, they didn't take Tolkien's characters and then hire some people who read the books 30 years ago in high school to write up a new script. They adapted the books that were already there.

Star Trek has this huge library of expanded universe writing out there. Why not buy the rights to a particularly good one and adapt it to film? Why try to force out a new idea -- and end up having to load it with homages and cheats about "separate timelines" -- when you have a universe already loaded with stories?
Digedag - Mon, Jun 10, 2013 - 6:20pm (USA Central)
Guys, let us not open the can of worms that is Prometheus, okay. Even attempting to approach that unwieldy behemoth of a movie is going to derail this discussion completely. I already lightly touched upon certain problems that plagued Scott's pretentious pseudo-Alien abomination when I was talking about Lindelof, but that was only scratching the surface.

Suffice to say that "unanswered questions" and "stupid behavior of supposedly smart people" are only the tip of the iceberg, tangible details if you will. Criticisms of effects that are the result of more complex problems, but not the actual cause. The reasons why Prometheus failed so grandiosely are manifold and deep-rooted.

One thing though - and Dom already addressed this to an extend - there's a huge difference between STID and movies that purposefully toy with ambiguity and/or thoroughly dissect complex moral issues without taking a clear stance and ultimately committing to one position, thus basically forcing the audience to contemplate and reflect on the events of the movie and then come to its own conclusion.

STID's wannabe commentary on the whole post 9/11-terrorist topic is superficial and lackadaisical at best. A tired rehash of old ideas that ...
a) are never supported by the movie in terms of of tone, visual language and contextualization, making them awkwardly stand out in an otherwise homogenous and (admittedly) effective execution.
b) don't get further explored in the remainder of the movie - despite certain theoretically significant implications - and are completely forgotten by the time everything goes boom.
c) probably only found their way into the movie because they needed some kind of motivation for the villain. Never mind that the reasons for Admiral Robocop's disregard for Starfleet's lofty ideals neither get a satisfactory explanation, nor are in any way, shape, or form represented by the actual world these characters inhabit (see point a).


Yeah, I guess we (meaning the fandom in general) are gonna keep discussing the movie's merits and shortcommings. But then again, currently there's nothing else Star Trek-related you could talk about. That's the sad truth.
Tim - Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - 12:42am (USA Central)
J.J.Abrams has done nothing but damage Star Trek.

"I'm more of a Star Wars fan"

Yeah... it shows.... you idiot.

Hopefully he will get kicked out and they will bring a Director in, who actually knows what the hell Star Trek is about.

In his first movie he single-handedly wipes out 2 of the 3 most important planets in the entire Quadrant.

Thanks for that. Real helpful contribution.

In his second, he continues using the same 'artistic' style.

A lens flare fills the entire screen every few seconds, forcing you to cringe and look away

The movie is ridiculously over-saturated with special effects, explosions and "Space Jumps" - again.

...and again he's produced a Star Wars movie, that has absolutely nothing of a resemblance to a Star Trek movie.

Star Trek: Into Darkness - is not a good Star Trek movie.

It is though, an average action movie.

/

Sadly, it rapes Wrath of Khan.

Hopefully it will be forgotten soon, so The Wrath of Khan isn't forgotten behind this abomination.
Tim - Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - 12:49am (USA Central)
And don't get me started on Alice Eve.

She is literally the worst actress i've seen.... EVER.

Clearly sexual favours landed her the part.

Every time she spoke, I wanted to slap her in the face.

Why do Americans always get British people to put on stupid pre-historic British accents?

We do not talk like that.

Maybe in 1950, but not now.

/

I hope the next film is the final one in this Reboot series.

..because you know - Star Trek fans want to see Star Trek - not fucking Star Wars.

Abrams... Run to your beloved shit pile.
Tim - Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - 12:52am (USA Central)
And don't forget those Cranial Ridges

Klingons now have alien Vaginas on their foreheads, in J.J. Abrams Universe.

/

So he's destroyed Vulcan

..destroyed Romulus

..destroyed Klingons

...and destroyed Star Trek: The Reboot.

Thanks J.J. Now die.
Paul M. - Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - 1:35am (USA Central)

@Digedag: "STID's wannabe commentary on the whole post 9/11-terrorist topic is superficial and lackadaisical at best. A tired rehash of old ideas that ...
(...)
c) probably only found their way into the movie because they needed some kind of motivation for the villain. Never mind that the reasons for Admiral Robocop's disregard for Starfleet's lofty ideals neither get a satisfactory explanation"

One only needs to compare STID's fumbling attempts at political controversy with how a very similar subject was tackled in another of the movie's sources of inspiration: Undiscovered Country. That was a good movie that truly explored what it means to live in a changing political landscape after the fall of Berli... ahem, after explosion of Praxis. Not only that, but ST VI weaved complex character questions in in the heart of its narrative--namely, do these old warriors, these relics of the past raised in another time, have a place in the "bold new world" opening up before their eyes. Some are stuck in the past, not willing to give up on beleifs they held their entire lives, while others adapted and grew, albeit reluctantly. At the end of the movie, Kirk and company knew their time was essentialy over, and they had the right sense not to overstay their welcome, paving the way for the next generation. That last Peter Pan reference is such a perfectly touching and appropriate closure to the heroes of the past.

Yeah, tldr, STID could learn a ton not only from Wrath of Khan, but from Undiscovered Country as well.
Digedag - Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - 4:56pm (USA Central)
@Paul:

It's quite ironic, isn't it? For all the plundering of the lore, the ripping off plot points and referencing moments from previous Star Trek movies, the writers were unable or unwilling - and I don't know which of the two is worse - to adapt the things that make in particular Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country work so well.

After all, Khan isn't such an iconic villain because he was played by the late, great Ricardo Montalban (although his charismatic Shakespearean turn as what is at its core a variation of Melville's Ahab certainly helped a lot), but because his motivation and subsequent actions played beautifully into the subjects of aging, family, friendship, responsibility, mortality that especially Kirk has to face over the course of the movie. These topics aren't just superficially imposed upon the storyline but beautifully and organically interwoven with both the characterization and narrative.

The same with the action set pieces. The much-heralded final confrontation in the Mutara Nebula doesn't simply try to ape naval warfare by having two star vessels circling each other and every now and then blindly firing shots, every aspect of the execution - from set-design, lighting, sound design, camera angles and even the more militaristic designed uniforms - fully commits to this idea, creating an atmosphere that reflects the thematic approach in a tonally coherent way.

And yes, that is equally true for The Undiscovered Country which, not coincidentally, was also directed and co-written by Nicholas Meyer. And in regards to the "Bold New World": The whole idea of the Perestroika in space metaphor wouldn't work if it were just a lazy plot gimmick. It works because the concept is sufficiently explored from a narrative standpoint and directly tied into the portrayals of the protagonists - who nevertheless remain consistent with earlier depictions. That's the brilliance of the script. It never violates or changes the essential core of who these people are in order to introduce new elements into the story, but creates motivations and develops familiar personality traits that represent a believable character progression for our heroes.

Even the antagonists are much more fleshed out than any villain in Abram's Trek so far. The motives of Chang and his conspirators are reasonable in the context of story and setting. Their cause might be misguided, their mentality hopelessly outdated, but we - the audience - can at least related to them - even if we don't exactly feel sympathy - because their concerns are ultimately only too human.

And you're absolutely right with your assessment of the ending of The Undiscovered Country. It's such a poignant and poetic sendoff that works on all three levels. It concludes the story in an appropriately melancholic but satisfactory fashion, it provides an optimistic outlook and social commentary - true to Roddenberry's original vision - on the changing landscape of real world politics and, last but not least, it ushers in a new age of Star Trek.

The funny thing is, STID makes you appreciate these movies all the more.
Dom - Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - 8:44pm (USA Central)
@ Digedag,

"The funny thing is, STID makes you appreciate these movies all the more."

I'm actually surprised how true that is. I've watched II, VI, and VIII in the past few weeks just to see if my memories of them held up. I came away impressed that those movies still hold up so well.

I can understand how somebody might say Khan and Undiscovered Country might be a bit too "slow" for today's audiences, but I don't see why we couldn't have another First Contact type film. That movie seemed to have a strong blend of action, plot, effects, humor, and character. And surprisingly good acting for Trek. THAT to me seems like the best model for the future of Trek movies.
Ralph - Thu, Jun 13, 2013 - 6:03am (USA Central)
Finally saw it yesterday, and wasn't impressed in the least. I think I might have spent 45 minutes in total contemplating whether was going to walk out or not.

My biggest problem is that it took them only one film to start rehashing stories. They took Trek to this alternative timeline to do new and bold things without being bogged down with the endless backstory, and what do they do? They basically redo Wrath of Khan, with throwbacks and references that feel so forced, so eager to please, so hammy that one can hardly take it seriously.

If they are going to continue with this timeline (which I am sure they will), they need to stop trying to please everyone, and stop trying to prove that yes, this is still your old Star Trek, because it damn well is not.

This is not Star Trek, this is an summer action film with a blatant regard for any- and everything Trek ever meant. Instead, it's a soulless action flick for the masses with only a spray of Starfleet paint. Thoroughly disappointing.
Ralph - Thu, Jun 13, 2013 - 6:06am (USA Central)
Of course, that should have been disregard in that last paragraph; not regard.
Eric - Thu, Jun 13, 2013 - 9:11pm (USA Central)
I'm not Sure that this timeline will last too much longer given STID's Somewhat disappointing performance at the box office. But That will probably just confine new Trek to novels and fan creations. Thing is, After the 2009 film, I thought this reboot could be really great. Given That they had for years, it's unbelievable that the powers that be couldn't do better.
MadBaggins - Sat, Jun 15, 2013 - 8:12am (USA Central)
Come on, Jammer, we've all moved on to complaining about Man Of Steel now!
Digedag - Sun, Jun 16, 2013 - 3:23pm (USA Central)
Okay, before we go on about a mass murdering Superman and how Snyder/Goyer/Nolan messed up the fundamental core of what the Man of Steel is supposed to be, here's an absolute must-read concerning the stupid, stupid science of STID, and how it undermines every aspect of what made Roddenberry's Star Trek so great.

Copernicus On The Science Of STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS: www.aintitcool.com/node/62867
John - Sun, Jun 16, 2013 - 4:16pm (USA Central)
Theres a harsh reality: Trek has changed forever. The franchise has been taken in a new and probably irreversible direction. And making it appeal more to the masses has come at the cost of the type of story telling and character development at the core of TNG, DS9 etc.

Theres a majority view from the posts here that the film had a lot of plot holes, poor character development and shouldnt have ripped off WOK. And I agree with much of it.

I enjoyed the film, for what it was. It was big screen entertainment, great SFX and enough of a story to make it work. But I didnt go back to see it again. And that says it all for me. There wasnt enough real character development to entice me back, and in the end it was just a summer blockbuster. Seen this way its a good film as it was entertaining but when compared to the quality within Trek canon, it was not.

But this is the future for Trek. I hope the next one develops an original Trek story, one that I'll want to see again and again. And I live for that day. If I have to put up with trek blockbusters in the meantime, well thats okay with me. I'd rather have some Trek than no Trek, and no one forces any of us to go and watch them. ;)
Dom - Sun, Jun 16, 2013 - 4:41pm (USA Central)
@ John, I actually think it might help to go a few years without any Trek again. I think we need to build up the public demand for Trek. Also, give some time for us all to get the JJ Trek out of our systems and reduce the likelihood that Paramount will simply dip back into the JJ Trek well.

What I would like is an announcement in 2016 about a new Trek TV series. I think there are more opportunities for smart Trek - and smart storytelling generally - on TV than in the movies.
Macca - Mon, Jun 17, 2013 - 5:37am (USA Central)
I have been really dismayed by some of the responses to Star Trek into Darkness on this website. While you may not agree with everything that has happened there is no doubt that JJ Abrams has revitalised Star Trek. It seems that people have very quickly forgotten that Rick Berman and Brannon Braga ran the franchise into the ground.

I am delighted that a new audience has been introduced to Star Trek many of whom will now seek out TOS and TNG, etc., which we all love. The Star Trek you know is still there sitting on your shelf or on your computer. Abrams has not stolen that from you.

Star Trek fans tend to have a romanticised view of Gene Roddenberry. At the end of the day he was a TV producer and if you don’t produce stuff that sells you don’t have a job. Gene would have no problem with this Trek if it were popular.

I know Gene was upset by some of the things that were added to Star Trek V and VI but we have to remember that he was very ill at that stage and was probably thinking about his legacy. Fair enough.

I thoroughly enjoyed Star Trek into Darkness. I actually went to see it twice. It was great to see these fantastic characters that Gene created once again. I get really annoyed with people that complain about the change in the timeline that is not what Star Trek is about. Star Trek is entertainment and as long as people are demonstrating that are entertained by buying tickets at the box office I am happy, and I think, so would Gene.
Ryan - Mon, Jun 17, 2013 - 11:14am (USA Central)
Macca I agree with everything you said. Other trek sites such a trek movie and trek bbs have liked this movie much better then people here.I am in shock at all the negative comments because I enjoyed the movie. There were so many good parts in the movie such as when mcoy tells sulu to remind him not to get sulu angery or when kirk tells mcoy to shut up. Even the death scene was ok and the kahhn scream wasnt distracting like many people here have said. Lastly Macca is right were lucky to even have any more treck this soon after the movies and shows enterprise,voyager,nemessis,and insurrection
Demosthenes - Mon, Jun 17, 2013 - 4:28pm (USA Central)
Prepare to be annoyed, Macca.

I don't have to defend the creative dearth of the latter-day Berman/Braga era in order to be properly offended by what Abrams has done with Trek. The last years of Voyager, and pretty much all of Enterprise, delivered trite, re-hashed, re-heated, and occasionally idiotic Trek. But it was still Trek, recognizable as such. Abrams' movies, as action movies, are engaging, exciting, over-the-top fun. But they're not Trek. They never will be, no matter what the characters' names are or what ship they fly around in.

Now, I have no objection to action movies. I'd hate to tell you how many times I've seen Die Hard and Lethal Weapon and Under Siege. But Trek isn't about action (except in service of the story); it's about exploration. It's not about blowing things up (though I admit that does happen from time to time); it's about examining the human condition and the human spirit. If I want to see gigantic empty spectacles, I have other options. That's not why I love Star Trek.

You talk about the new audience that will seek out the old Trek, now that they've had a taste. That's exactly why I was behind the concept of a reboot in the first place -- get rid of the restrictive canon that was holding people back from engaging, and make room for new stories. Give the audience a taste of that classic Trek feel, and maybe they'll be driven to the older stuff. But the first movie didn't feel like Trek, not totally. And ST:iD (I'm really having to fight hard to avoid shortening the acronym to STD) not only severed the link completely, it ironically managed to do so while aping one of the best pieces of entertainment the Star Trek franchise has ever produced -- re-hashed, again.

What is going to be interesting to this new audience about, say, "The Survivors" from TNG? Or "The Visitor" from DS9? Why would people who want action-Trek care about "Children of Time" or "Darmok"? Those episodes have moral dilemmas and mysteries at their heart. Problems don't get solved with massive explosions. Or, God help us, why would they ever want to watch "City on the Edge of Forever"? Cheesy special effects, no explosions -- the most violent thing that happens in the episode is a car crash. If they seek it out, most of them will either hate what they find, or just won't get it at all.

You want to like the movie? Like the movie. I watch and enjoy Robot Monster from time to time, which is objectively atrocious, so I'm in no position to sneer at anyone else's taste. And, as I said, if this had been a sci-fi/action movie not marketed as Trek, I probably would have enjoyed the hell out of it. But whatever you thought about the movie as a movie, let's not pretend that Abrams has revitalized Star Trek. For that to happen, he would have to bring Star Trek to the screen. He's made something that looks like Star Trek, but is populated with characters who talk and act like teenagers, and which exploits the emotional depth and resonance of real Trek to pretend toward some of its own. And I get really annoyed with people who claim to be Trek fans while not seeing that they're being suckered in with surface appearances ONLY.
Macca - Mon, Jun 17, 2013 - 5:57pm (USA Central)
HI Demosthenes
Thanks for contradicting yourself in your post. You’ve made this rebuttal much easier.

Of course people will be interested in perhaps the more demure episodes of Star Trek you mentioned. You said yourself that you enjoy action movies such as Die Hard. People can have more than one taste.

The Original Series was an action series. The producers would always make sure that had an action seen with Kirk involved in a punch up, leaping off rocks, and saving the girl. They quite often seemed to be inserted into the plot but hey, they were fun. I guarantee you that if Gene Roddenberry had $10 Million for each episode of Star Trek it would have had as many explosions as he could possibly have squeezed in.

If JJ Abrams hasn’t revitalised Trek no one has told the retailers. When I visit my local store the first thing I see is a huge stand of DVDs with all the original Star Trek Movies and all the TV series remastered on Blu-Ray.

Take care now.
Dom - Mon, Jun 17, 2013 - 6:20pm (USA Central)
Sorry Macca, I think you misunderstood Demosthenes. He was saying that Star Trek as a franchise has been about something more than action movies. Roddenberry wanted Trek to be about liberal humanism - optimism, exploration, professionalism. What Demosthenes was saying is that while Abrams' Trek is commercially successful (although STID actually didn't do all that well in the domestic box office), it's lost much of what made Trek unique. Abrams' Trek isn't following in the Roddenberry tradition. Yes, not all of the episodes or movies before did either, but one got the sense that they tried to paint an overall picture of a flawed but enlightened humanity.

That doesn't mean you have to like Trek or Roddenberry's vision. But I think to call something Trek when it abandons that philosophical vision is dishonest. The marketing team at Paramount even publicly said that STID is more action, less Trek!
Macca - Mon, Jun 17, 2013 - 6:41pm (USA Central)
Dom, I understand want Demosthenes is saying I just disagree with him.

You correctly point out that Star Trek tries to be about Liberal Humanism but doesn't hit the mark in all the episodes and movies.

What I'm saying is that Into Darkness should be accepted on the terms of what it is, a fun movie.
Grumpy - Mon, Jun 17, 2013 - 6:45pm (USA Central)
One doesn't need to be a Roddenberry purist to see that the new movies are Trek In Name Only. Heck, purists still argue about whether DS9 is a bastard child! But I agree with Demosthenes that feeling "lucky to even have any more Trek this soon," as Ryan put it, is no comfort if it's only superficially recognizable as Trek.

Good for you if you weren't distracted by, say, the misplaced Wrath of Khan homage. I was distracted. Severely. By my palm hitting my face. Insulted, even. Clearly different viewers bring different expectations.

Ryan: "There were so many good parts in the movie such as when mcoy tells sulu to remind him not to get sulu angery..."

For instance, I would've expected the scene to cut away before McCoy literally said the thing that the audience was already thinking thanks to the actors' performances. Instead, thanks to sloppy editing, the movie told me what to think. (This tendency was also present in the 2009 movie, as noted in the Harry Plinkett review.)
Macca - Mon, Jun 17, 2013 - 7:16pm (USA Central)
I have enjoyed the debate so far but I feel we are getting very close to the Elephant In The Room that is at the heart of all debates about Star Trek.

Who is going to be the first to say it?
Dom - Mon, Jun 17, 2013 - 7:27pm (USA Central)
Macca, sorry, it's clear that you misunderstand Roddenberry if you really think he would have filled his shows with a bunch of explosions if he'd had a bigger budget. I'm not saying Roddenberry was perfect, but I think it's pretty clear that he was opposed to militarism and in fact TOS had a lot of fight scenes in large part because the studios wanted a more action-oriented, less cerebral show (compare the original pilot "The Cage" with "Where No Man Has Gone"...)
Demosthenes - Mon, Jun 17, 2013 - 7:42pm (USA Central)
"The Original Series was an action series. The producers would always make sure that had an action seen with Kirk involved in a punch up, leaping off rocks, and saving the girl."

Oh, yes. 1960's-style brawling is absolutely comparable to a CGI-constructed ship crashing into San Francisco. Because they're both "action." And Forbidden Planet is comparable to Star Wars, right? Because they're both "sci-fi." My point -- part of it, anyway -- is that people who are attracted to ST:iD because of its fast-paced action aesthetic and ultra-modern graphics are not the audience that will be most receptive to the quieter, slower-paced, less technically accomplished, more philosophical Trek as it has existed before.

And while I went to extremes to pick out several quieter episodes (note: you need to learn what "demure" means, so you don't misuse it again), I don't have to go that far. Compare the action sequences in the faux-Trek Abrams movies with the best that cinematic Trek has done, say the fight against the Borg cube in ST:FC or the final battle sequence in ST:Nem, and there is no comparison. Can people have more than one taste? Sure. That said, most members of the generation of moviegoers raised on such hyperkinetic stuff are going to find as little to appreciate in the old Star Trek as people raised in the Star Wars era found in black-and-white, Poverty Row sci-fi. That should be obvious.

"I guarantee you that if Gene Roddenberry had $10 Million for each episode of Star Trek it would have had as many explosions as he could possibly have squeezed in."

First off, you're in no position to guarantee how someone who has been dead for twenty years would have handled a larger budget for a fifty-year-old TV show. Second, even if you're right, it would have been at the behest of the network. Compare the original "Cage" pilot to the actual series, and you'll see what I mean.

"You correctly point out that Star Trek tries to be about Liberal Humanism but doesn't hit the mark in all the episodes and movies."

So what? It aims for a goal, and doesn't always hit it. Meanwhile, however, when did Star Trek aim to be an action franchise? Ever? Rewatch several episodes of the original series, and you'll find that it's not aiming for that at all. Those are just the things that get put in the previews to get people to tune in. "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" and "Journey to Babel" and "Mirror, Mirror" -- sure, they have fistfights. So, are we reclassifying "Singin' in the Rain" as an action movie because it has a lot of stuntwork?

"What I'm saying is that Into Darkness should be accepted on the terms of what it is, a fun movie."

But THAT IS THE PROBLEM. It's not asking me to accept it as "Into Darkness," the fun new action/sci-fi hybrid...which is a pity, because I might well have been able to accept it on that basis. It's asking me to accept it as "STAR TREK: Into Darkness," the latest installment in a franchise that turns 50 in three years. And by that standard, not only does it not come close to measuring up to even the mediocre Trek, but -- as Grumpy pointed out -- it actively insulted the viewers by daring to be a reinterpretation of one of the truly excellent Trek outings, and failing miserably with practically every reference. Did it mean to be so insulting? Probably not. Which doesn't change the fact that it was.

That you choose not to be insulted is your affair. But don't feed me off-brand Star Wars/Mission: Impossible Lite trumped up with a few Trek emblems and then tell me that's Star Trek I taste. I know the difference, even if you don't.
Grumpy - Mon, Jun 17, 2013 - 10:40pm (USA Central)
Macca: "Who is going to be the first to say it?"

Ooh! Let me!

Ahem. "Get a life! It's just a TV show!"

If you're talking about some other grand, universal elephant, I don't know what it is.
Josh - Tue, Jun 18, 2013 - 4:09am (USA Central)
The important issue is not whether this is Trek or not, whatever that is. The important thing is whether this is any good. And it ain't.

Ironically, the thing that really brought it down was its attempt to try to be Trek. If it had genuinely done its own thing, try to tell its own story, it might not have been so bad. It was calamity of trying to be an old Trek tribute act that just killed it.
Brandon - Tue, Jun 18, 2013 - 1:10pm (USA Central)
"Revitalized" Star Trek? Abrams hasn't revitalized anything. Into Darkness disappointed at the box office, even WITH Abrams' usual trailer-carrots and "who is the villain?" metateasing, much of which has turned out to be more interesting than the actual film. I don't know what he'd do without that stuff.

I am not ashamed to say that I'm perversely glad Into Darkness underwhelmed domestically, as it may spur Paramount to hurry Abrams along into his Star Wars gig and sign someone with a brain for Trek. I've always suspected that 2009's decent BO numbers were just curiosity, and Into Darkness's performance has done little to change my suspicion.

Nobody cares, JJ.
Brandon - Tue, Jun 18, 2013 - 2:34pm (USA Central)
Ah, I see Red Letter Media has had their say. Please watch to appreciate how insultingly stupid the whole business is.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWLGH0VHUVs
Chris - Tue, Jun 18, 2013 - 7:34pm (USA Central)
Could someone please explain to me how over $413 mil worldwide on a $190 mil budget is a box office disappointment?? That's over 50% return on investment. Plus, STID is 4th domestically for 2013. I would hardly consider that to be disappointing. It still has another 3 months before it ends its theatrical run, and blu-ray/DVD/digital downloads will definitely make tons of dough for the studio.

Now After Earth on the other hand, that was a box office bomb.
Dom - Tue, Jun 18, 2013 - 7:39pm (USA Central)
The movie made money, but not as much as Paramount had hoped. (although $413 million is a lot higher than the previous projections, which is interesting). It's probably enough for Trek to get another movie, but it's also not quite stratospheric - yet.
Macca - Tue, Jun 18, 2013 - 11:04pm (USA Central)
Grumpy makes me smile. Chris has done his homework.
Demosthenes - Tue, Jun 18, 2013 - 11:53pm (USA Central)
"Could someone please explain to me how over $413 mil worldwide on a $190 mil budget is a box office disappointment??"

Don't have to. io9 has done it for me:

io9.com/5747305/how-much-money-does-a-movie-need-to-make-to-be-profitable

Bottom line -- if you figure (a good enough rule of thumb) that a movie needs to take in roughly twice its cost just to make the production company their money back, then ST:iD's worldwide box office to date means that the whole production is somewhere around $50 million in the black, which is subpar for a big-name blockbuster that's been out for a whole month. And that's not even factoring in the advertising budget, which you have to figure is anywhere from $70-100 million for a movie of this size. Maybe more.

In other words, after four weeks in theaters, ST:iD probably still has not turned a profit. That's not a great performance by any means. And Paramount has had some experience with this before. They took a theatrical bath on the fourth Indiana Jones movie, despite its taking in over $780 million worldwide on a $185 million budget...because Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Harrison Ford were collectively entitled to over seventy percent of the distributor's share of the box office GROSS. That leaves Paramount with about an $80 million loss before you even factor in advertising. Hooray for Hollywood.

To be fair, ST:iD will still probably end up making more money than its predecessor. We're also not factoring in product placement, which can be a huge revenue source. And then --as you pointed out, Chris -- there's the all-important DVD market. It's not as powerful as it used to be, and it will be less powerful still in the years to come. But it can still push most films into the black in every way except on the official balance sheets (that way, the studios don't have to pay out any net profits). But yeah, for a big summer movie that had a fairly popular predecessor and a lot of hype behind it, this performance is a bit of a disappointment.
Demosthenes - Wed, Jun 19, 2013 - 12:00am (USA Central)
Sorry, must modify one thing I said. When I wrote "product placement," I should also have written "tie-in deals," which is where this movie will make most of its ancillary revenue. Not too many products you can easily place over 200 years in the future, though that didn't stop Nokia and Budweiser from doing so in the 2009 movie...
Eduardo - Wed, Jun 19, 2013 - 10:03pm (USA Central)
@Demosthenes

I thought the Indiana Jones films were personally financed by Lucas. The way I see it, aside from distribution costs, Paramount didn't spend a dime.
Dom - Wed, Jun 19, 2013 - 11:26pm (USA Central)
Demosthenes, great explanation. I was too lazy to provide a proper response.

I'll point out one other thing. Unlike the 2009 movie, STID also was selling in 3D showings, which has a higher ticket price. And don't forget inflation. So, taking those into account, it's not even clear if it will make more money than the 2009 movie in real terms.
Demosthenes - Wed, Jun 19, 2013 - 11:42pm (USA Central)
Dom: Yeah, now that I think about it, you're right. I wish I had thought of that.

Eduardo: nope, the fourth film was bankrolled by Paramount. I was wrong about one thing, though. Spielberg, Ford, and Lucas together received 87.5% of the distributor's share of the gross, which makes my vague "over 70%" figure technically correct but very misleading (I had misremembered the figure at 72.5%).

That means that, in all probability, Paramount shelled out $185 million to make a movie that made $785 million at the box office...and lost somewhere in the neighborhood of $130 million on it. Granted, that's without factoring in ancillary revenue -- but again, that's also without factoring in advertising costs. Once you know that a studio can lose so much real money at the box office on a film that is such a big hit, you stop being surprised when people call a $400 million dollar film a disappointment.
Dom - Thu, Jun 20, 2013 - 1:24am (USA Central)
Or, to put it another way, Prometheus, which we all love to bash, was made for around $70 million less than STID and made around the same amount (assuming STID doesn't suddenly take off at this point). STID is a success, but it's not as much as the studio had hoped for given its investment.
David Ryan - Thu, Jun 20, 2013 - 5:00pm (USA Central)
On the inflation point made earlier: using the US Inflation Calculator website, Star Trek (2009)'s box office gross comes out as being the equivalent of $418,571,291.20 in today's money, with a run lasting through to October 2009 in the US. ST:ID is currently on $414,788,052 with a run lasting a month or so. Given the differences in timescale, I don't believe Paramount executives will be losing sleep on a difference of c. $4m gross.

Anyway, brief summary of the film: enjoyable enough. Some fairly sizeable plot holes, and the supporting cast yet again had too little to do, but I didn't feel as violently opposed to it as some on here appear to have been. Not the best Trek film by any stretch, but hardly the worst either.
Dom - Thu, Jun 20, 2013 - 8:24pm (USA Central)
@ David, remember though two things. First, the 2009 movie cost over $45 million less to make that STID (of course, not including marketing). Second, 2009 didn't have 3D while STID did. Again, STID certainly is a success, but it's not the blockbuster Paramount seems to have hoped for. Some had been talking about STID potentially earning $1 billion, which was probably unrealistic, but I also don't think we're going to look back on 2013 and say STID was one of the bigger movie successes of the year.
Pachazo - Fri, Jun 21, 2013 - 11:38am (USA Central)
Hey all. I just saw the film last weekend so I'm sorry to join in a little late here. As the shock of what I saw is starting to wear off and turn into anger I feel the need to express my frustration. As a favor to all I will try to keep my nerd rage to a minimum and just cover the things that bothered me the most.

I'd like to begin by saying that I actually like ST 2009. It's not perfect by any means and perhaps it's not even Trek. However, even though I have a few issues with said film, I find it to be a rather fun and engaging piece of entertainment. Perhaps I was just waxing nostalgic but I enjoyed seeing these characters again for the first time and thought that the actors, for the most part, did a good job.

But that's the trick of it now isn't it? It's a giant spectacle with a plethora of eye candy and scene after scene of high adrenaline, heart pounding action that tries desperately to cover up it's greatest weakness. Telling an interesting and intellectually stimulating story. That is the core of Star Trek. A great Trek episode/movie makes you think. It is deep, has many layers and speaks a universal truth that affects us profoundly.

Star Trek Into Darkness is perhaps the antithesis to this. It is the most cliched, basic and unoriginal story that one could possibly conceive of. Many people do not notice this though because they are "wowed" by the (admittedly impressive) special effects and action scenes that look like they belong in the latest superhero film. I was completely bored during the climatic and supposedly "epic" fight between Spock and Khan. Except when I was laughing.

Is this seriously what Star Trek has become? These writers are just a bunch of hacks who come up with some amusing ideas for particular scenes but have no idea how to weave them together into a coherent narrative. They have built their house upon an unstable foundation and it is sinking faster than the planet Vulcan imploded into itself via a black hole caused by "red matter'. Remember that one? They sure do know how to spin a good yarn don't they?

Oh, I'm rambling. Let's just get on with it then shall we?

1) Benedict Cumberbatch is a fine actor but he is not Khan. Let's not even get into the fact that it's strange to see a pasty white British guy in the role. If the character had been written with more than just the slightest resemblance of who Khan was then I could easily see past this. The fact of the matter is that this villain could have been anyone. Apparently they have revealed now that they shoehorned him into the script at the last minute. Well, it shows. This Khan does not quote Milton but he does cry while he paints himself as a victim who was forced to commit acts of terrorism to free his people. Khan would never show any sign of weakness in front of his enemies. He had a domineering personality and a very strong presence about him. It would seem that a strong presence is not needed when you are Superman. Yes, Khan was genetically enhanced and was stronger and smarter than the average man. In this movie though SuperKhan can be punched repeatedly in the face by Kirk and not feel a thing. In Space Seed Kirk knocks Khan out with some sort of club he pulls out of the engineering console. This Khan also has no conflict with Kirk. He seeks revenge on Admiral Whatever and simply uses Kirk as a means to achieve his goal. Khan's lust for vengeance is nowhere near as interesting when it's not aimed at Kirk. The whole idea of his revenge was based on their conflict in the first place. Khan tried to take over his ship and failed. He was then exiled and after catastrophe struck he blamed Kirk for all of his pain and suffering, including the death of his wife. In Into Darkness Kirk is pissed off because Khan killed Pike so they reverse the revenge angle. How clever. It's not the only clever reverse angle used in the movie though! Just wait until they really show off their writing skills! I'll give you a hint. SuperKhan has magic blood. I don't even know where to begin with that so I won't even bother. Lastly, I really missed the exclusion of the scene showing us the Botany Bay adrift in space. With all of the money put into CGI I think that they really could have created an impressive scene of beaming aboard Khan's ship and finding the creepy frozen people asleep in the tubes.

2)It was a huge mistake to recreate the death scene. Did they think that they were being ironic by switching who died? It was lost on me. It seemed rather forced as Kirk was extremely anxious to commit suicide. In the Wrath of Khan there was a theme about aging and death that was all tied in with the Kobayashi Maru scene at the beginning of the film that culminated with Spock's sacrifice as his solution to the no win scenario. This idea of Kirk sacrificing himself goes against the character's belief of not accepting a no win scenario. Especially young Kirk. He was the man who saved his crew from certain death time and time again, all the while patting himself on the back for it. Of course I buy into the idea that Kirk is committed to protecting his crew but he would have found another way. This was just not his style. It was much more befitting of Spock, who looked at things with the cold efficiency of a mathematical equation. Kirk and Spock were also much older in TWOK, with years of friendship and professional service between them. In STID Kirk and Spock have known each other for what, a year? How close were they in that time? There seemed to be a lot of bickering between them. This death scene was forced and had no meaning. There was no poetry in it. Then Spock yells KHAAAAAAAAAAAN and you realize that it's all a joke. This can't be taken seriously can it? Spock then goes on a mad, illogical rampage to catch Khan. By himself. Why? So we can have the obligatory big dumb action climax. They are jumping from extraordinary heights onto moving platforms or whatever they are. Yawn. Then the funniest part of the whole movie happens. Spock gives Khan the Vulcan neck pinch but Khan gets a mad face and starts yelling and effectively "screams it off". Wow. Then Uhura beams over and shoots him. Kirk is saved by the magic blood and all is well. Hey, let's start a five year mission. Khan is frozen and ready for a sequel. The End.

3)Random nitpicks. Didn't the black guy at the beginning of the movie seem overly eager to die as well? I understand that he made a deal but after his daughter's life was saved wouldn't he have had a strong instinct to preserve his life? Wouldn't he have at least tried to do something different? It's one thing to kill yourself but to set off a bomb and take all those innocent people with you... What will your daughter think of you now?
Having Carol Marcus in this movie was pointless. Why include her if she is not going to be romantically involved with Kirk?
Speaking of romance, Spock and Uhura have absolutely no chemistry with each other. It was kind of weird in the first one but here it just seems so forced. I'm tired of it at this point.
So 72 torpedoes can't destroy a starship? I hope the Federation can find the blueprints so they can build a fleet of these bad boys. I'm sure it will just be forgotten though.

I realize that I shouldn't have let it bother me so much. No one should get that upset over a movie. There are much bigger problems in life to deal with. I can't help but feel insulted though. Since TWOK is one of my all time favorite movies I understand that I'm going to be more critical of this than the average cinema goer. Isn't it sad though that so many people are watching Star Trek for the first time and think that this is all there is to it? I don't know. I'm finished.
Dom - Fri, Jun 21, 2013 - 7:11pm (USA Central)
Another good review of STID, this one focusing on why the War on Terror allegory doesn't really work:

www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/06/21/star_trek_into_dumbness?wp_login_ redirect=0
Joseph B - Sat, Jun 22, 2013 - 11:17am (USA Central)
@Pachazo: Listen, I can totally relate to your review.

In spite of all the logic inconsistencies I was "letting it all slide" and still enjoying the movie -- all the way up to the point where they started lifting whole scenes and dialog from TWoK. That just absolutely pissed me off -- as it would probably any fan of Classic Trek. And there was no reason to do that! They could very easily have pulled off a similar scenario without raping the most-beloved movie in the Franchise. And as you pointed out, that movie worked hard throughout to earn that scene. In this movie it was seemingly just thrown out there for the "clever" role reversal of the classic scene. I suppose they were going for a "homage" -- but they went so far over the top with it that it ended-up being a "slap in the face" to old-time fans.

I, personally, am so upset that I've just about decided that I don't even want to purchase the Blu!!
Jo Jo Meastro - Sun, Jun 23, 2013 - 3:54am (USA Central)
Wow, there is a lot of hate for this film in these comments and I can see their point of view even though I personally like it. My first reactions after leaving the cinema were very positive, in part because it was a great day overall and the fact that it got my Trek-hating girlfriend to reconsider her stance on the series! After the dust has settled and I can look at the movie with a more critical eye, I'd give it 2.5 stars (good but not quite great).

It shares many of Star Trek: Generations' flaws (narrative that favours spectacle over logic, not the best characterisation, could do with a more threatening villian, made a few bad moves like the treatment of Kirk, emotional pay-offs that should have been more effective, etc) BUT despite the drawbacks it's still far from the worst entry in the franchise and I'm more than happy with it. I've still got faith in these new Star Trek films yet.
stargazer - Sun, Jun 23, 2013 - 2:34pm (USA Central)
Seeing the negative comments and reviews I wonder why people needed another Trek movie by JJ Abrams & Co. to realize what a fraud those people are - when only one (ST2009) was enough to see that. There was absoultely nothing original or praiseworthy in that 2009 abomination. It was highly overrated and unduly rewarded with box office success as is this latest installment by those hacks who turned Trek into what it is now. They say it's "alive" and "popular" again, but I find that hard to believe. It's alive alright, but its soul is dead. There's no true creative and visionary force behind it, it's merely a shameless milking of money out of an iconic 40+ year-old franchise. This remake is a rehash and almost a parody. It probably wouldn't worry me if that transformation/dumbification of Trek were only temporary and limited to the current remake (2009-?), but I'd be concerned if this dreadful remake would serve as a model for any future Trek, whether on big or small screen. That would indeed be worrisome.
stargazer - Sun, Jun 23, 2013 - 2:42pm (USA Central)
@david,

who said: "Star trek was in better hands with brannon braga than orci, kurtzman, lindelof and abrams."

Oh, I agree.

I'd welcome if some Trek veteran(s) in the future worked on ST, and it would be great if they could tutor those who'd some day take over the creative oversight of the franchise, like Gene did with Berman.
stargazer - Sun, Jun 23, 2013 - 2:46pm (USA Central)
@Paul M.,

who said: "I root for Abrams and Co. to succeed,if only to pave the way for a new incarnation of Trek."

Yes, but what kind of Trek would that be? Would we really want those same people creating that same kind of derivative and uncreative stuff on the small screen as they did on the big screen? I know I wouldn't. The sooner they're gone from Trek, the better. I root for Trek, but I don't root for Abrams-Kurtzman-Orci. I think the best thing would be to replace the director, current writers, and 80% of the cast of this remake, as well as 90%, if not more, of the people working on production design. The new Trek sets, ships, etc. look inferior and everything is just too star warsy.
stargazer - Sun, Jun 23, 2013 - 2:48pm (USA Central)
@Digedad,

who said: "Two overpaid guys who never had a single original idea in their whole career, whose entire body of work is made up of other people's work arbitrarily slapped together and clumsily rearranged."

What a good and fitting description of Kurtzman and Orci.


Tim: "Star Trek fans want to see Star Trek - not fucking Star Wars."

True.
Dom - Sun, Jun 23, 2013 - 6:15pm (USA Central)
To put this all into perspective, Superman Man of Steel has already made about $400 million, almost as much as STID in much less time. Some guy in tight blue tights is doing better than Trek. That's not right!
David Ryan - Sun, Jun 23, 2013 - 6:16pm (USA Central)
@ Dom: Both fair points. However, as I said, comparing grosses from two films with completely different timescales is always going to be problematic. To demonstrate the point, STID's gross has increased by $2m in the time since I posted that. I agree that STID probably won't be ranked as one of 2013's most successful films, but given some of the films out this year that doesn't surprise me. The Iron Mans and Fast & Furiouses of this world are always going to be a bigger draw than Star Trek. Sad, but true. I guess I just don't feel this is such a travesty that it needs such a kicking.
Dom - Sun, Jun 23, 2013 - 7:01pm (USA Central)
@ David, true about comparing 2009 and STID, but that was my point in mentioning inflation and STID's higher budget. To say STID made more money than the 2009 film is kind of pointless when it actually might have made a smaller profit in real money terms. STID's performance isn't bad, but it's not stellar.

Your other point is valid though. I was being somewhat sarcastic in my last post. I guess my point really was that I think a lot of people are saying Star Trek needs more action/explosions/sex/dumbness so it can appeal to today's audiences, but while it's doing fine at the box office it still isn't pulling in the money like Superman (and a mediocre Superman from what I hear). I guess really what I'd call for is some more thought as to where the franchise should go. Should it try to keep up with the Superman movies of the world if it frankly doesn't seem like it can? Maybe the market for smart Star Trek is too small, but maybe it's a market that just needs to be reawakened.
Patrick - Mon, Jun 24, 2013 - 10:26am (USA Central)
I think the people at Paramount need to think long and hard as to why a 75-year-old intellectual property is kicking the box office ass of a near 50-year-old intellectual property.

Personally, I think that even though Superman Returns and Man of Steel are both rather somber films and aren't the best as movies goes, there's a fidelity to the the *spirit* of the source material. Star Trek (2009) was a success mainly because of "the novelty factor". Well, "the novelty factor" has worn off in just one movie.

Frankly, Trek need someone who is, if not a fan, than at least someone with the personal integrity to treat the source material with genuine respect (like Nicholas Meyer). Furthermore, Paramount needs to stop thinking of Trek as a cashcow only.
Grumpy - Mon, Jun 24, 2013 - 11:07am (USA Central)
Some more face-palming from IMDB's trivia page: www.imdb.com/title/tt1408101/trivia?ref_=ttgf_sa_1

The dilemma for the screenwriters was "whether to pit the crew against another villain, or to have an 'exploration sci-fi plot where the unknown and nature itself is somehow an adversary,' like in Star Trek." In other words, whether to make a Star Trek movie that is like Star Trek, or not.

In the same vein, Lindelof may have been "kidding on the square" when he suggested the title should've been: "Star Trek: Transformers 4."

The trivia page also mentions "The screenwriters studied sci-fi novels by Arthur C. Clarke and Larry Niven for inspiration." Why? For what?

Oh, and the reason Chekov was in engineering and therefore never interacted with Khan was apparently a nod to... wait, I'm laughing... continuity. Because Chekov never met Khan in "Space Seed," see.
Zathras - Mon, Jun 24, 2013 - 1:13pm (USA Central)
Khan (resembling Ricardo Montelbon), many years later on Ceti Alpha Five:

"I don't know you....but you....I never forget a face...Mr.....ABRAMS. YOU made that lousy movie that turned me into a pasty British white guy!"
Latex Zebra - Tue, Jun 25, 2013 - 3:51pm (USA Central)
I think we've scared Jammer off.

Didn't we all do this when he let us comment on the Galactica finale before he'd reviewed it?

Demosthenes - Wed, Jun 26, 2013 - 12:22am (USA Central)
@ stargazer

Speaking as one of the people who looked on the 2009 movie positively (if a little uncomfortably), I can answer your question -- at least in regard to my own perspective. Remember, we had just had a writer's strike that had taken its toll on a lot of films. I remember reading that people had wanted to change scripted dialogue and plot points, but couldn't.

At the time, I was fully prepared to believe that a lot of what I considered ludicrous in that movie, like Kirk getting promoted from cadet to captain, had just been put in as a placeholder to show where the writers had wanted to go once they had time for subsequent drafts. When someone is stopped from finishing the job they were hired to do, I think you do owe them a little bit of slack when evaluating the results. And the central time-travel plot device was such a perfectly Trekkian way to do a reboot that, again, I thought the team might have the big picture down...they had just needed another three or four drafts to work out the kinks.

So yeah, I was forgiving of the 2009 movie because of the intrusive background circumstances that they couldn't change. In light of this piece of crap, though, you're right -- I may have to reevaluate my stance.
Nic - Wed, Jun 26, 2013 - 11:52am (USA Central)
Thanks Daniel, for your very thorough analysis. I agree with almost everything you said. Except I would maybe argue that the very first Star Trek film (TMP) appealed primarily to the intellect (which is not to say it did not appeal on other levels).

As for STID, it definitely was an 'action picture'. I am not one to judge if that is what Star Trek "is" or "should be". It went in knowing what to expect, and I do not regret seeing it. But it was not the kind of Star Trek film that I most wanted to see.
Dom - Wed, Jun 26, 2013 - 1:26pm (USA Central)
@ Daniel L.

"Another point: While STID will probably not outgross its predecessor, it will, it appears, have a higher rate of return on its investment than most of the other Trek films have had"

Well, STID has outgrossed its predecessor. However, I think you've got the concept of higher rates of returns mixed up. Even with the current gross, STID appears set to maybe slightly more than double its budget in box office sales. By contrast, the best Trek films often took in 3-5 times their budget. TWOK made around 9 times what it cost to make. Even TMP made over thrice what it cost.

I personally don't know what a movie studio prefers - lots of smaller, cheap movies that have very high rates of returns and low risks, or one high-budget movie with a low rate of return but a higher gross return. My guess is the latter because it seems like movies need to be high-budget blockbusters in order to get people to the theaters. That makes me think the economics of the movie industry would preclude smaller Trek films like TWOK and even First Contact from being made today.
Demosthenes - Wed, Jun 26, 2013 - 11:57pm (USA Central)
It's all about winning the box office, the headlines, and the buzz battle, Dom. So, yes, you're right. Studios prefer the big-name properties that are nearly guaranteed to win the opening weekend and do hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office, regardless of quality. If those films even manage twice their budget at the box office, DVDs have historically paid for the advertising and then put the whole production in the black. (Though with the DVD market losing 40%-50% of sales, it will be interesting to see how those calculations change going forward.)

My take: a smart studio would make a good family-oriented film for $30-35 million, market it for the same budget, watch it do $100-150 million at the box office, pocket the $10-40 million profit, and start producing their next modestly-budgeted family movie while waiting for the DVD revenues (pretty much pure profit at that point) to start rolling in. As long as the movie makes $60-70 million, you're pretty much guaranteed to break even at the box office...and every so often, you'd get a runaway $300 million grosser that would pay for your entire next year's slate of movies. But I guess that making a steady profit for decades by doing something that works isn't very glamorous...
Paul M. - Thu, Jun 27, 2013 - 7:45am (USA Central)
Yes, just looking at the numbers, STID isn't the hit the studio wanted it to be. Almost $200 mil. budget, and the movie earned only twice that so far. That's not a stellar result. When you factor in percentage of that going to theaters, etc., I doubt the studio saw a particularly impressive return on their investment.

Compare to Iron Man 3 which with a similar budget earned 1,200,000,000 - that's well over one BILLION dollars. Fast and Furious 6: 160 mil., earned 650 mil. That's four times as much.

Point is, new Trek is alienating a good chunk of its core fans, at the same time failing to really establish itself as a massive blockbuster franchise, which it needs to in order to justify these abnormally high budgets.

And let's be honest, even those who enjoyed the movie for what it was. Ask yourselves: would Star Trek have endured for 50 years as one of the most recognisable SF franchises, a part of pop culture, had it been like this from the beginning? Trek's spirit and legacy, its very heart and soul, don't reside in explosions, action scenes, and witty banter (though it often had those as well), but in deep and thoughtful exploration of our ideals and morals. Star Trek is always at its best when it takes a good hard look into human soul.

No matter how much Abrams Trek makes at the box office, it won't have a future if it becomes just another in a long line of soulless summer flicks that you forget just as soon as another one of those comes in your theater.
Late_to_Party - Thu, Jun 27, 2013 - 2:28pm (USA Central)
I never knew how much I loved tripods until the movie biz threw them away about 10 years ago. All the shaky camera work and superfast cuts made the movie hard and a bit painful for me to watch. I only did so because it is Star Trek -- the rest of the movie biz will have to rediscover their tripods to regain me as a customer.

So. about a third of the time the screen was filled with colors and bright light that conveyed no meaning at all to me -- before I got oriented and figured out what I was looking at, the movie cut away to a different view -- which would then cut away before I figured out what I was looking at, again.

A disappointing movie. Such a waste of time putting up meaningless, pretty light shows on the screen. I missed a couple of plot points (where was old Spock? How'd he show up in the middle of that big battle?)

I did enjoy the young Chekhov, he's a hoot. Otherwise not much to recommend this movie.


Patrick - Thu, Jun 27, 2013 - 3:31pm (USA Central)
"And let's be honest, even those who enjoyed the movie for what it was. Ask yourselves: would Star Trek have endured for 50 years as one of the most recognisable SF franchises, a part of pop culture, had it been like this from the beginning? Trek's spirit and legacy, its very heart and soul, don't reside in explosions, action scenes, and witty banter (though it often had those as well), but in deep and thoughtful exploration of our ideals and morals. Star Trek is always at its best when it takes a good hard look into human soul."

Beautiful. Well said.
Eduardo - Thu, Jun 27, 2013 - 7:26pm (USA Central)
More and more I'm convinced Into Darkness would have been the perfect Star Trek film, if the studio had had the guts to kill off Kirk permanently, instead of having to rely on a contrived Deus Ex-Machina to bring back.

Think about it, the stakes would have been WAY higher, and Spock could have filled the main role, which Quinto is more than capable of handling.

Even if they had to keep Kirk, at least wait until the next film, to keep the stakes high in the meantime.

I tweeted Roberto Orci that very idea. He gave a joke reply, telling I should paused the Blu-Ray at the death scene, and leave it at that.
Cail Corishev - Fri, Jun 28, 2013 - 12:01am (USA Central)
In the many positive comments I've seen about this movie here and in other forums, the thing I keep reading over and over is something like, "I've never watched/liked Star Trek, but I really enjoyed this movie."

Somehow that doesn't seem like a good thing. I don't see these people going out and buying the DVDs of any of the series and sitting through their explosion-free talky scenes and long-term character development. They'd fall asleep during the DS9 pilot when Sisko spends several minutes trying to understand what "You exist here" means.

It seems to me that you could take the kind of budget this movie had and make any action movie and have similar success. They're not really trying to appeal to the older fan base, so they're not gaining that much by calling it Star Trek, and the franchise isn't going to gain new fans back from it, so what's the point?
Yanks - Fri, Jun 28, 2013 - 9:59am (USA Central)
This pretty much sums up my feelings about the movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M3lcHv4dI8

Jammer? .... where are you?
Corey - Fri, Jun 28, 2013 - 1:36pm (USA Central)
I just wanted to say that I have enjoyed the classic Trek of before, but I also enjoy this movie.

A movie tries to entertain (usually) - and STITD does just that. It had my attention the entire time (well except for Kirk's threesome) and while I needed to go the bathroom, I didn't until it was over because I didn't want to miss anything.

So many people say the Khan of this movie looked nothing like the original, but I don't think Khan's appearance was his important trait - his intelligence, resourcefulness, ruthlessness, passion (he passionately wanted Kirk dead) - these are the aspects of his character that matter.

Also, I think this is an important point too - people are partially shaped by their environment and their experiences, the Khan of the reboot universe had a different experiences than the Khan of TWOK, so perhaps it's not surprisingly they don't act exactly the same.

I thought changing the way Klingons looked was a poor choice - it was distracting from the main story, and added nothing useful or good, and even was a poor aesthetic choice. Possibly this was done for legal reasons, but still don't like it.

I did enjoy that there was a story and emotional moments in the movie, and it wasn't ONLY action.

Kirk seemed very immature in the beginning of the movie - seems strange for him to have been given command of a starship with that - could you imagine a US Carrier with a captain like that? I would bet none of the Carrier captains would be that immature.

The effects were good, and most of the actors seemed to be pulling their weight, when they actually got a chance to act.

The death scene by Kirk did NOT bother me, nor did it insult me. This was a different time-line, why couldn't things happen similarly? Also, Spock's life was saved when Kirk violated the prime directive, and it cost Kirk his command and his ship, things very dear to Kirk. Granted, they don't have the history of the prime universe,, but most people want people who save them who also claim to be their friends to keep living - thus I was not bothered either when Spock yelled Khan. Even in the prime universe, Spock was always emotional about Kirk (remember when Spock smiled when Kirk showed up in sickbay, but Spock thought he killed Kirk on Vulcan during Spock's Ponn Farr).
Macca - Fri, Jun 28, 2013 - 4:46pm (USA Central)
Corey, Corey, Corey

I'm very disappointed in you. If you had carefully read the previous posts you would realise that if you like this movie you don't really understand what Star Trek is all about.

Also, you failed to comment on how the Box Office takings for today relate to the takings of four years ago, and to the birth of cinema.

Please keep your posts relevant or leave the talking to the more demure amongst us.

On second thoughts - you're okay!
Corey - Fri, Jun 28, 2013 - 5:50pm (USA Central)
(Macca said...)
Corey, Corey, Corey

I'm very disappointed in you. If you had carefully read the previous posts you would realise that if you like this movie you don't really understand what Star Trek is all about.
(end quote)

@Macca - I did indeed carefully read the previous posts (all of them - took a while). I do know what Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek is about. But even though I would like to see more TNG type shows and characters, I am an adult - I know I don't always get what I want (hence STITD).

Nevertheless, on a personal level, I enjoyed STITD (most of it) - I also enjoyed Measure of Man and Ensigns of Command, that isn't hard to understand is it?

Does STITD have emotional resonance and power? No, so it can never be a 4 star outing, just entertaining, so somewhere between 2-3 on the Jammer scale. TWOK often is considered the best Star Trek movie, and with good reason, as it has emotional resonance.

A person, I'm easy to please so a person, or movie has to really mess up to get on my bad side (like Robocop II or Pet Cemetary II)
Jammer - Fri, Jun 28, 2013 - 11:32pm (USA Central)
Just checking in because it's been so long.

1. I have started writing the review. I will finish it at some point hopefully not too far off in the future. I'm writing it in micro-bursts in between bouts of laziness. It's admittedly not a good process, but it will ultimately end with a finished review.

2. As promised, I have *not* been reading the comments on this thread. I learned my lesson on that in the past. I will have plenty to catch up on after I've finally posted my review.

Cheers, and thanks for participating in my absence.
John - Sat, Jun 29, 2013 - 8:25am (USA Central)
I think Jammers lack of enthusiasm is already coming through and he hasnt even posted the review!
Ospero - Sat, Jun 29, 2013 - 8:36am (USA Central)
@Corey: I think you might have overlooked the sarcasm in Macca's reply, considering the tone of his other comments here...
Manavee - Sat, Jun 29, 2013 - 8:53pm (USA Central)
OK, while we're waiting, let's have a prediction contest.

How many stars will Jammer given STID?

I predict 2 stars.
Patrick - Sun, Jun 30, 2013 - 12:04am (USA Central)
I predict 2-2.5 stars: the same realm as Generations, Insurrection, and Nemesis.
Jo Jo Meastro - Sun, Jun 30, 2013 - 3:05am (USA Central)
I agree with Patrick. I predict 2.5 stars as Into Darkness is around the same level as Generations and Insurrection in terms of basic pros and cons.

The only thing Into Darkness has over those TNG movies is state-of-the-art production, but the slightly thinner plot and some misguidedness renders that advantage moot.
Paul M. - Sun, Jun 30, 2013 - 4:07am (USA Central)
I'd personally give it 2 stars, but Jammer does seem a bit more forgiving to Abrams Trek (at least where the first movie is concerned).

2.5 stars, I guess.
Eric - Sun, Jun 30, 2013 - 11:36am (USA Central)
Coincidentally, Both generations and into darkness are frustrating in that they essentially render the Enterprise powerless (Come on, you don't have the firepower to Bring down the bird of prey's shields?). I am still disappointed that we haven't really seen a big fleet battle in any of the Trek films.
Joseph B - Sun, Jun 30, 2013 - 11:23pm (USA Central)
This review of the movie from Jammer should prove to be even more interesting than usual.

I, myself, would have given the movie an 8 out of 10 for the first two thirds of the movie and a 2 out of 10 for the last third. (The first two thirds of the movie at least felt like an original Star Trek movie to me. ) As soon as they started directly lifting dialog and scenes from TWoK they totally lost me. I certainly didn’t mind the character of Khan being utilized in this new universe, but they absolutely *had* to do something more original with him than simply using him to set up a role reversal to one of the most revered scenes in the franchise.
Demosthenes - Mon, Jul 1, 2013 - 4:55pm (USA Central)
Ah, yes, Macca's still here. He still hasn't told us what the "elephant in the room" is...half a month after dropping the phrase...but he's still trying to get shots in at the people who have good taste.
RW - Thu, Jul 4, 2013 - 6:19am (USA Central)
I enjoyed both movies as good action adventure yarns. I am hoping that future movies will take advantage of the reboot and shake off all the baggage of previous shows. It would be nice if the 5 year mission into uncharted territory really explores uncharted territory (and story lines).
Patrick - Thu, Jul 4, 2013 - 9:50am (USA Central)
@RW

They're not going to explore new territory in sense of the term. They're just going to do inferior rehashes of stories and characters from decades ago. Their target audience are basically people who wouldn't normally be caught dead watching any of the Star Trek series--and they won't know the difference.
Eduardo - Thu, Jul 4, 2013 - 12:13pm (USA Central)
@RW Q established pretty well in the TNG finale that exploration isn't about new or old territory. Sometimes, it's about humanity itself.

Tim Lynch put it the best way, in his All Good Things review:

"exploration is *not* merely external, but can be internal as well, just as "good SF" is not synonymous with "hard science extrapolations that can lead to lots of gadgets going BING!""
Patrick - Thu, Jul 4, 2013 - 1:35pm (USA Central)
Well said, Eduardo.

No, the third installment will most likely follow in the footsteps of the previous two (without JJ, thank God).

It will be: Kirk and Spock as once againa as "buddy cops in space" facing off with Klingons, Romulans and maybe a souped-up Doomsday Machine with be lots of winks at the audience as subtle as a bludgeon. Expect to see Leonard Nimoy explaining stuff to young Spock once again on how to beat the last boss of the game...er, I mean defeat the bad guy.
Macca - Thu, Jul 4, 2013 - 3:26pm (USA Central)
Fascinating that no one has made the commitment to boycott the next movie.
Geordi - Thu, Jul 4, 2013 - 3:41pm (USA Central)
PS - not that I'm particularly fond of the idea of blindly re-making stuff from TOS, but it so happens that if they did remake something else, The Doomsday Machine would make a great movie.
Eric - Thu, Jul 4, 2013 - 8:59pm (USA Central)
@Macca, Digedag Did state that he will be skipping future projects if they are produced by the same team as Into Darkness. I don't know if I will out right Skip subsequent films, but I won't be so quick to run out to see them.
Pachazo - Thu, Jul 4, 2013 - 9:40pm (USA Central)
@Macca
I guess I am waiting for the official announcement of who is going to be writing the script. I still have faith, although my expectations will remain low, that in the right hands this could be done well. If it is indeed the same writers then I probably will skip it.
Genre-Buster - Fri, Jul 5, 2013 - 1:30pm (USA Central)
@Macca
"Boycott" might be too strong a term. How about "never waste my time or money on this garbage ever again"?

I posted quite a lot on the forum thread for Jammer's review of Trek 11, but I haven't bothered here because, after watching the trailer for STD, I knew exactly was I would be getting into and started my "Boycott" right away. Haven't seen it, never will. Everything I've read here confirms that I was right - including your posts, by the way.

AbramsTrek has killed the franchise dead. Dead dead dead.

Just my opinion, of course, but still the opinion of a lifelong Trekker.

At least up until 2009.
Dom - Fri, Jul 5, 2013 - 1:56pm (USA Central)
@ Macca

As others have said, it looks like Abrams is off with Star Wars and I doubt anybody else would hire Lindelof and Orci & Kurtzman, so I don't think we'll have the same team.

I'm certainly willing to give the next movie a try. I mean, I can afford 2 hours of my life and $10 movie tickets. No reason to boycott. But I also now know that if I do so it'll be to watch a popcorn flick, not true Star Trek.
Cail Corishev - Fri, Jul 5, 2013 - 6:44pm (USA Central)
Fascinating that no one has made the commitment to boycott the next movie.

Does boycotting this one count? "Boycott" is probably too strong a word for me, because I don't watch many movies in the theater, preferring to see how they hold up after the initial buzz wears off first. But I saw ST2009 in the theater, and that was enough to tell me I didn't need to bother with any more of this incarnation. I'm here because I enjoy Jammer's reviews in their own right, whether I've seen the movie or not. Unless this one starts getting high praise -- praise for its value as Star Trek -- I don't suppose I'll bother with it when it hits Netflix either.

If I want to watch a generic action flick with good effects, there are plenty of those around. If I want to see the Trek characters set in an alternate universe where the things we thought we knew about them may be thrown out the window to fit the writers' whims, I'll read fan-fiction. Never the twain should meet.

To the extent that a prequel was intriguing, it was because it was a chance to go back and see how our heroes got to where they were, how they became such a tight crew, and so on. But now these aren't our heroes; they're different people with different futures. Nothing they do or experience has any bearing on the TOS crew that we know. So that aspect of it is gone, and it doesn't leave much.
Eduardo - Sat, Jul 6, 2013 - 1:24pm (USA Central)
I posted this on the DS9 comments, figured it'd get more exposure here.

I really liked Into Darkness, especially in terms of living up to the dramatic potential of the Kirk/Spock relationship. Probably my 3rd or 4th favorite of the Trek films.

Having said that, tt's impressive how DS9's Duet aired exactly 20 years ago, was a very bottle-conscious effort, designed to save money, and it still pack a hell of a dramatic punch without making much effort.

Meanwhile, we have Star Trek into Darkness, while being a decent and entertaining movie, it has a 200 million dollar budget and doesn't even come close to matching this episode.

This is a case of the Trek movies are usually being pretty good, but some of the episodes of the shows still being miles ahead, no matter how good the films can be.
Brendan - Sun, Jul 7, 2013 - 12:14am (USA Central)
I liked it quite a bit. More so than the first one. Yes the homage to Wrath of Khan was maybe a bit too direct, but I couldn't help but enjoy it anyway. As the twists and turns worked on me too. And the surprise appearance of Leonard Nimoy got me too.

It did fail like te frost to be about anything serious, but it flirted with it early. The torpedoes as drone strike without trial analogy was a welcome one, I wish they ha gone further with it to solidify that message.
Niall - Thu, Jul 11, 2013 - 7:18am (USA Central)
Re: boycotts, I decided STINO wasn't for me after seeing the 2009 one in the cinema. If and when I get round to watching Into Darkness, which isn't a priority, it'll be as a torrent. I'm not paying for this disposal, derivative hackneyed tripe. Same applies to the rest of the Hobbit trilogy, which, if I do ever watch it, will only be to roll my eyes and analyse how badly they wrecked it. I actually think films like the Abrams Treks and the Hobbit trilogy (and, in fact, Nemesis and Enterprise) should be studied in the context of hyperreal/hypercapitalist cinema, they and their ilk actually say a tremendous amount about contemporary culture. Very little originality, just a collection of tropes and archetypes re-enacting situations we've seen in countless previous works - a simulacrum of a simulacrum. Film-making by committee, or by people who've grown up knowing nothing different. (Of course the grandfather of the hyperreal patchwork epic is Star Wars, which Abrams loves.) Boycott is too strong a word but given my own tastes, there's no reason or motivation for me to seek out and watch films of this kind, especially when I could instead spend 2 hours watching something a far more original, artful and worthwhile film from, for instance, the Romanian New Wave or the Polish Film School.
Dan L - Sat, Jul 13, 2013 - 9:38pm (USA Central)
I must confess, all snark aside, but I was not paying particular attention to the the semiotic properties and qualities of STID because I was too enraged that the movie did not follow the Aristorelian unities (a concept which I only found out about when I googled the phrase "are there any rulers for good drama?"). Aristotle's Poetics dictated that a successful drama must have the unities of place (take place in one location), time (must take place essentially over a year) and action (must have as close to zero subplots as possible).

Thankfully, modern folks understand that good drama (or, merely entertaining drama which is all that STID wants to be-and I believe it achieves at that modest goal) need not be limited by such artificial restraints. Likewise, people know that not every action in a film that is taken by a character must be directly motivated by a specific, on-screen exchange of dialog telling us why the character took the action, lest the action be criticized as a "plot hole."
To take an example: near the end of the movie, Spock states to Kirk something along the lines of ...."because you are my friend," to explain the motivation for a prior action. Some would argue that if, before this line of dialogue, there was no line of dialogue that directly established the friendship, the friendship did not exist and the utterance of the word "friend"by Spock is evidence of poor writing, poor character motivation, or constitutea a plot hole, etc.

I respectfully submit that the friendship could have been "properly" dramatically developed (and that it was) by other devices in the movie- devices that had the cumulatifwle effect of allowing us to imply or infer a friendship. Devices such ad ACTIONS taken that allowed the audience to realize there was a friendship. Whether this movie contained poor characterizations and plot holes is a matter of debate because just as there is no fixed definition of Star Trek, there is no fixed definition of the ingredients needed to create good "character motivation.". Unless, that is, if you subscribe to a specific theory like Aristotle's, in which case, please feel free to share with all commenters here the elements of that theory.

Also, there were certainly times when this movie was illogical and dumb. For an illogical, dumb action movie that contained a fair amount of trash, though, STID was pretty good. Find me an action movie that you think had no or few plot holes and I will tear it apart, just as you can tear apart one I would name (actually, I would not name one because it is a fool's exercis. Shakespeare himself was criticized for having the nerve to use the deux ex machina plot device).

As the late film critic Pauline Karl stated in her famous essay, "Trash, Art and the Movies," (Google it, it is an ezcellent read): "I've never trusted the instincts of people who claim they were born with such good taste in movies that they did not first have to wade their way through trash to get to "art," meaning that if one cannot or will not look for or appreciate simple entertainment value in a movie, why is that person bothering to go to the movies in the first place?


If you think that STID has no entertainmnent value, by all means, that is your right, and that is an argument you can make - with facts and reasoning and by evaluating what is actually there on the screen. I can/have/would/will do this, can't you?

BTW, Miss Karl praised TWOK and in the opening line of her review called out "wonderful, dumb fun.! That is exactly how I would describe movies 2 and 12 myself
Dan L - Sat, Jul 13, 2013 - 9:57pm (USA Central)
@ Dom: although I do know what a rate of return is, you may be right in that more than a handful of previous star trek movies had a higher rate of return than this one did. I do not know what movies 1 through 8 made overseas and cannot find this info online... if you know of a site that would be great. I don't know what the studios want and don't know if THEY know what they want in terms of budget/quantity. I mnknow little to nothing about Hollywood accounting-the real, actual accounting. I do know that the industry can be quite good at deluding itself into thinking it is giving the public what it wants. More than one studio executive has stated that studio research shows that moviegoers "love" the jalf-hour's worth of commercials moviegoers must sit through. I would love to see that research.
CadetNorris - Mon, Jul 15, 2013 - 12:25am (USA Central)
variety.com/2013/film/reviews/star-trek-into-darkness-review-1200442461/#!1 /review-startrek_benedict/

Well that's /\ what Hollywood's most celebrated critical publication has to say.

I remember Shatner saying in Star Trek Movie Memories (pp. 334-335) that the first few reviews of Star Trek V were great, until Variety bashed it to pieces. After that, almost every other review followed suit.

So, with tongue firmly in cheek, I'll quote Lucy Liu from Kill Bill Vol. 1:

"...If any of you sons of @&$&@ got anything else to say, NOW'S THE @&$&@ TIME!!!!!"
Digedag - Mon, Jul 15, 2013 - 6:54am (USA Central)
Um ... and now, for a change, a (sort of) review of someone who actually really understands the medium because, you know, he has studied film, is an actual screenwriter and also happens to be the incredible smart (Film Crit) Hulk:

THE AGE OF THE CONVOLUTED BLOCKBUSTER - badassdigest.com/2013/06/12/film-crit-hulk-smash-the-age-of-the-convoluted- blockbuster/

THE IMPORTANCE OF DRAMATIZING CHARACTER - badassdigest.com/2013/07/03/film-crit-hulk-man-of-steel/

The first one addresses STID and J.J. Abrams (in the context of Hollywood's approach to filmmaking these days), the latter is predominantly about Man of Steel, but much of the criticism applies to STID (and other blockbusters) in equal measure.
CadetNorris - Mon, Jul 15, 2013 - 11:24am (USA Central)
First link comes up broken. Just wanted to say that I tried to read it.

Listen, the point I'm making is that whatever anyone else says from this point on, a glowing review in Variety more or less cements this film's status as a successful picture.

It actually strikes me as somewhat bizarre that people are complaining about the story in this movie basically being closer to the television show's presentational style than any of the previous movies.

It's been said that a significant degree of the Trekkies are averse to the idea of having a sense of humor; i.e., they're what's called "stuffy," "stolid." All this whining over what's clearly going to be a gargantuan hit for the franchise only serves to reinforce that idea in my mind.

As James Tiberius himself once said:

"Young minds, fresh ideas. Be tolerant."
Digedag - Mon, Jul 15, 2013 - 12:51pm (USA Central)
For the last time, what you - and apparently a lot of other ardent defender of STID - don't seem to understand is that this is NOT about grumpy old Star Trek fans being narrow-minded, having an out-dated taste, wearing rose-tinted glasses or whatever ad hominem excuse one can come up with in order to undermine or invalidate the criticism of the movie. This is first and foremost about basics of storytelling, really fundamental and, above all, important stuff - and how STID gets it all wrong.

It's not so much about the story itself, it's about how it's told, if that makes sense.

And the only thing that cements a film's success are the box office numbers. Its status as a work of art, however, is not only absolutely detached from the earned revenue but, in the end, will be determined by future generations of movie fans. If there's one thing that film history has taught us it's that critics - no matter how popular, respected or influential they might have been at the time of a film's theatrical release - more often than not totally got it wrong, savaging films that later became widely accepted masterpieces or praising films of middling quality to the skies nobody cares or even knows today.

By the way, are you talking about the young minds that build the Excelsior, a ship advertised as a bold new technological leap in engineering that completely breaks down after Scotty removes a handful of screws. Interesting analogy. ;-)


PS: The link should work now: badassdigest.com/2013/06/12/film-crit-hulk-smash-the-age-of-the-convoluted- blockbuster/

If not, it can be easily found via Google. And please don't be put off by the All Caps. Film Crit Hulk is arguably the most intelligent, knowledgeable and articulate film critic out dare right now.
Digedag - Mon, Jul 15, 2013 - 1:13pm (USA Central)
PPS. Of course I can't claim to speak for everyone who came away feeling hugely disappointed by STID, but I'm somewhat tired of the accusation that fans of "the old Star Trek" are dismissing Abrams new version out of principle. Sure, there are probably people for whom the whole reboot is one huge affront, but the majority, I'd argue, judges each movie individually. It's when a film deliberately and so heavily draws parallels to former installments (like STID does to Wrath of Khan) that comparisons become inevitable. But, again, this is not real issue here. If the movie would work on a storytelling level, people would have far less of a problem with those homages and references.

And as I mentioned before, I actually enjoyed the 2009 Star Trek, despite its numerous flaws.


Oops, and that should read "out there right now" in the previous post.
Grumpy - Mon, Jul 15, 2013 - 9:27pm (USA Central)
Digedag and I are on the same wavelength. STID didn't offend me as a Trek fogey as much as it offended me as a consumer of cinema. The same way Transformers offended me. The same way Quantum of Solace offended me, when I saw it last night. Thanks for that "Convoluted" link; that's exactly what I was thinking while watching QoS (not much of an excuse that QoS and Transformers 2 were crippled by the writers strike; they still spent money making them and sold a defective product). So the flaws in STID are not unique or a heresy against the Great Bird; they are yet another example of a trend of movies that mistake plot for story, that confuse being mysterious with actual mystery, as Hulk Smash says.
CadetNorris - Mon, Jul 15, 2013 - 11:13pm (USA Central)
It occurs to me to ask, what kind of dramatic, theatrical idea has the series not tried at this point?

Isn't it (pardon me, can't resist) logical that when the franchise is so packed with history, there would be enormous difficulties in trying to cover any new ground? Granting such a difficulty, which borders on impossibility, doesn't it make sense to have to basically do something, anything to make the film attractive to us all, the Trekkies, many of whom (myself among them) have quite literally seen it all?

I love this film. I've seen Star Trek make me cry, make me laugh, make me sweat with suspense, cringe at the agony of the human condition...

And now I've seen Star Trek acknowledge all of it, kick back, relax, and have a good time.

Can't wait to see it again.
Wouter Verhelst - Tue, Jul 16, 2013 - 3:48am (USA Central)
I enjoyed Into Darkness. Sortof. About as much as I enjoyed "The Expendables", which I went to see on a whim a few years back.

I didn't like Into Darkness, though. There were far too many roll-my-eyes moments for that. Things that were supposed to be subtle pointers to previous episodes or films of the Star Trek universe, but were so in your face it wasn't even funny.

When the 2009 film came out, I was looking forward to a fresh take on the whole Star Trek universe. A reboot was exactly what Star Trek needed; there was far too many baggage, far too much history, to continue making fresh stories. This is a different starfleet; it would make sense that they would interpret their rules somewhat differently.

A reboot could revisit some ethical questions from the past and reinterpret them differently, considering current (as opposed to 1960s or 1980s) ethics, morals, and events. That would've been interesting.

What do we get instead? Essentially, a remake of "Wrath of Khan". I mean, sure, WoK was a good movie, though it's been far too long since I last saw it. But any remake is going to be crap in comparison to the original.

I don't think I'll be going to a movie theater to see the next installment -- if there is going to be one, that is.
Dom - Tue, Jul 16, 2013 - 9:03am (USA Central)
Another vote for Digedag. Movie plots should at least be logical enough for you to suspend disbelief. There were just too many stupid moments in STID to take it seriously. One of the worst parts was at the end, when the Vengeance crashes into London... and people walking on the streets seem oblivious. It just drove home the fact that it was fake CGI and that the movie didn't even try to make the audience sympathetic to or care about the citizens killed. That's just really basic storytelling. Instead, it seems clear JJ and company were more interested in destroying buildings because it was kewl rather than because it build emotional tension.

Imagine a movie about 9-11 in which people near the World Trade Center just went about their normal daily lives and seemed not to notice events a block away!
CadetNorris - Tue, Jul 16, 2013 - 11:55am (USA Central)
Look you're all absolutely right, it's just that because I've lived in the South for such a long time that I identify with Dr. McCoy more than I do with Spock! All I keep thinking is how G.D. LOGICAL you're all being!

"It's a SONG, you green blooded... Vulcan!! You sing it, the words aren't important, what's important is that you have a good time SINGING!"
Eduardo - Tue, Jul 16, 2013 - 2:20pm (USA Central)
@CadetNorris

Oh, I'm sorry. Are the above posters supposed to be having a good time?
CadetNorris - Tue, Jul 16, 2013 - 11:24pm (USA Central)
Every time I type the antispam message, I think to myself:

"GET AWAY FROM THAT LAUNCHER!!"

...More to the point, there were numerous logical errors in The Wrath Of Khan. Chekov not being in Space Seed is just the tip of the iceberg.

For starters, what kind of incredibly MORONIC body of governance approves a research project that can wipe out all life on a planet instantaneously, without then sending the Enterprise, the Excelsior, and maybe a couple of Borg Cubes to freaking GUARD the damn thing?

Also, this is more of a filmmaking issue, but why are Chekov and Terrell still aboard the Reliant during the scene that starts "Course to intercept Enterprise ready, sir?" Later Terrell says Khan went straight from Regula One to attack Enterprise. Aren't they supposed to have been stuffed in a locker prior to Joachim's first speaking scene?

In addition, Mike Okuda has pointed out that a 5 digit code is surprisingly breakable even by 1982 standards.

Kirk and Spock's subterfuge with the phrase "By the book" is not only kind of easy to figure out, but also recall that Khan reviewed all Starfleet procedures when he was reading the library computer way back in Space Seed.

But freaking James Horner just sells the damn thing like no tommorrow.

:)
Macca - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 12:34am (USA Central)
I am glad there is at least one other person who realises that Star Trek is entertainment and not a religion.

If you are not entertained by Star Trek then you just don't bother with it.
Digedag - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 1:38am (USA Central)
*sigh*

Basically all those "flaws" mentioned above fall in the category of technical plot holes. Every movie can be faulted for featuring myriads of aspects that don't make sense or are unbelievable when approached from a real world perspective. Sadly, there are people who pick apart movies on that level (like the guys that do the "Everything wrong with movie X in Y minutes or less") - and they are a perfect representation of what's wrong with today's movie-going audience.

However, that is NOT what our complains are leveled at. We're talking here mainly about storytelling shortcomings: incoherent narrative, inconsistent, contradictory or downright nonsensical characterization, far too many (and lazy) plot contrivances, underdeveloped themes, etc. - and how the accumulation of those issues renders every attempt at creating successful drama or emotional investment void. In short: We're not talking about plot holes, but about bad storytelling (even if former, occasionally, can be the result of the latter). Not about surface problems, but missing substance. Huge difference.

All this has already been discussed at length here. And Wrath of Khan, while surely not perfect, is so extremely superior to STID it's honestly laughable. Trying to knock down Wrath of Khan for perceived deficiencies won't make STID any less of a mess. Neither will it undo Wrath's excellent drama, thematic resonance and fantastic execution.

And since you're so fond of quoting from Star Trek's rich fundus of memorable dialogue, I finish with a line from Space Seed (doing my best impression of Ricardo Montalbán's charismatic, Latin-inflected speech pattern):

"This grows tiresome."
CadetNorris - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 12:53pm (USA Central)
You will forgive me if, to the uninitiated ear, it sounds altogether like splitting hairs to me. I believe, in time more people will agree with me.

And just so no one tries this again with me, it's

"I find myself growing fatigued by this cross-examination."
Digedag - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 2:16pm (USA Central)
Nope, different quote. Besides, I'd be careful with this constant quoting. People might assume you have no words or ideas of your own (like STID). ;-)

Oh, I let you off the hook. It's obvious that you lack the necessary theoretical knowledge of film and, in general, storytelling - your "tangible details" criticism of Wrath of Khan is kind of a giveaway - to have a more in-depth discussion here.

And just for the record: There's nothing wrong with that. I, for instance, don't know sh*t about musical theory (among other things) and could only insufficiently explain why I like or dislike certain songs (Um, melody? Rhythm? Lyrics!). My examination of a song's merits or shortcomings is therefore bound to only scratch the surface.

Perhaps you should accept that some people do possess a more comprehensive and detailed knowledge of the subject at hand. I'm not saying that you have to blindly believe everything that I or someone else is spouting off here, but in this instance ... well, you CAN believe that there is a vast, fundamental difference between the critical approaches mentioned above.

If you like STID, that's fine. But please understand that other people have legitimate reasons to dislike it - even if you disagree.

And I very much doubt that STID's reputation as a good piece of art/entertainment will grow in time. People will care less and less about it, because, apart from some insultingly dumb moments that may stay in people's mind temporarily (and fuel threads like this one), there's really nothing worthwhile or even unique to remember.
CadetNorris - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 4:06pm (USA Central)
Gee, it's too bad you can't call security and have me removed from the ship and stranded on Delta Vega.

For my part, he could have turned his whole post into "shut up" and it would have had the same meaning.

I'm not feeling particularly welcome in this open to the whole Internet discussion anymore.

Live long and prosper.
Macca - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 4:50pm (USA Central)
Digedag has finally lost it.

"Theoretical knowledge of film" give me a break.

Why aren't people allowed to enjoy this film?

No doubt the other cinemas scholars will be back to support Digedag shortly.
Demosthenes - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 6:17pm (USA Central)
Oh, give me a break, Macca. No one has said you aren't allowed to enjoy the film. As I said earlier, in my response to your very first post on this thread, "You want to like the movie? Like the movie." But by the same token, we are allowed to say that the film is bad, and that we didn't like it, and -- most crucially -- we are allowed to argue with you about which of us is right. Do you see Digedag saying "Why aren't people allowed to say this film is a load of dingo's kidneys?" No, of course you don't...because he doesn't have a persecution complex and he can handle being disagreed with.

Speaking of which, au revoir, CadetNorris.
Macca - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 7:26pm (USA Central)
Digedag clearly can't handle being disagreed with.

If he did, he would agree to disagree.

Instead, he says that unless you are an expert in film theory, if such a theory exists, you can't comment intelligently here.

I love how Demosthenes contradicts himself in his posts - this time in the one sentence. You can't on one hand say that I'm allowed to like the movie and then say that you are allowed to tell me why I'm wrong.
Patrick - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 7:56pm (USA Central)
"Play nice."-- Jammer
Jammer - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 8:34pm (USA Central)
Yes, please everyone, play nice.

Where is the review, you might ask? Not written, is the answer. Why? Because I had no enthusiasm for the movie? Because I had nothing to say?

Not telling, but certainly don't read into my silence.

It's simply because I haven't. It's the capper on a long tradition of Jammer's Delays. Within my daily routine of late I have simply not made the time to write it, and now that it's been two months, I might as well drag it out a little bit longer. Let's be honest here -- this review is not to tell anyone here whether to see the movie or not (although I suppose at this point it could tell you whether or not to buy the Blu-ray), because you've already made that decision long ago. This review is to tell you where my opinion aligns with yours, so we can compare notes. And I'm looking forward to reading your notes -- a few of which I have skimmed, but have not yet consumed in any depth.

Don't worry -- one of these days this summer I will get a hankering to get it pulled together and do just that. (Hopefully by then I will remember the movie in any detail.) Until then, please enjoy the party without your host.
Digedag - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 8:54pm (USA Central)
Pretty much what Demosthenes said.

And, Macca, please read my post thoroughly and don't try to build a straw man. I agreed with CadetNorris after he acknowledged that he didn't understand the difference in the critical approach that I pointed out in my previous post. Now, while his remark might have been sarcastic snark, it nevertheless proved that he wasn't able to grasp the distinction between the two concepts. And the fact that he not only contested the existence of said distinction without providing any proof or explanation, but simultaneously dismissed everything I (and other participants here, I might add) had written in regards to, well, storytelling, led me to believe that he lacked the necessary knowledge of the subject matter and that therefore there was really nothing gained by delving deeper into the discussion if he wasn't able to see the finer points of what I was talking about. Now, I freely admit after rereading the paragraph in question that my choice of words might have left something to be desired, but I stand by the gist of what I wrote, especially since I took pains to point out that this had nothing to do with him being not intelligent enough.


Also, you seem to have overlooked the part where I said "If you like STID, that's fine".

And do you know what film theory (if that sounds less pompous to you) is good for, Macca? Providing a conceptual framework for understanding film and exploring the inherent possibilities of expression through the medium. That thing that enables filmmakers to craft "fun" movies in the first place. See, I - and obviously a lot of other people here - hadn't that much "fun" with STID precisely because it disregards so many basic rules of good drama. Not because it was silly or didn't have a message or because it was aimed squarely at audiences that not that long ago might have scoffed at the idea of paying to see a Star Trek movie, BUT because it didn't entertain us due to its subpar storytelling that pretty much killed any enjoyment we might have had.

See, every "fun" movie of the last couple of years that was almost universally greeted with acceptance by moviegoers - even if it's something as inherently dumb as Fast 5 (and, to a somewhat lesser degree, Furious 6) - works both structurally and dramatically. That is the very reason people enjoy them. Good Storytelling.

And good storytelling doesn't mean a plot has to be extremely complex (and most screenwriter these days seem to confuse complicated with complex anyway) with an intricately-drawn narratives that feature profound, multi-layered characters. Hell, take James Cameron's Avatar. It's the most generic, predictable story imaginable. But for all things you can fault the movie for - its lack of originality, its stock characters and aggregation of cliches - it works because Jim Cameron knows his sh#t when it comes to storytelling. All the creatively designed stuff in that movie wouldn't have resonated half as much with audiences if the drama, as basic as it is, wouldn't work.


Now, we - the people who disliked STID - could talk all day long about how silly it was that Spock yelled "KHAAAAAN", but then we would discuss the symptom, not the cause. That would make this debate perhaps less pretentious sounding (;-)), but it most definitely wouldn't lead to a better understanding of why STID was such a disappointment to so many people.


PS: I can handle being disagreed with. In fact, if you provide convincing counterarguments to my thesis I might even reconsider my standpoint. ;-)
Macca - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 9:11pm (USA Central)
Digedag,

I don't need to provide counterpoints to your arguments as I am happy to let them stand on their merits.

What I am asking is that you let others have their say without getting a diatribe in response from you and your like.
Grumpy - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 9:19pm (USA Central)
While "you lack the necessary theoretical knowledge of film" is a low blow, I think I see where Digedag is coming from. This is, from the start, a discussion thread. If we were to "agree to disagree," we would tally our opinions (Awesome vs. Lame) and go our separate ways. Mirab, his sails unfurled!

But for a discussion, we must defend our opinions. As these are aesthetic opinions, nobody can be objectively correct. In that spirit, my goal is not to persuade those who loved STID that they should be as annoyed as I was. Rather, I must persuade others that my opinion is justified. If my opinion were unjustifiable, then it would be disconnected from the art that stimulated the response. I could've saved my ticket money, stared at a blank wall for two hours, and pronounced my opinion -- with no good reason. Having a discussion presumes aesthetic judgments have some justification.

Macca: "If you are not entertained by Star Trek then you just don't bother with it."

That's just the problem: I bothered with it *before* I learned that STID would annoy me more than it would entertain me. As I can't get a refund for my time and money, all that's left is to either boycott the next picture, as some suggest, or to offer constructive criticism to improve the next picture. Not just the Trek franchise, but all entertainments. The makers of entertainments may not read Jammer's site (their loss), but the audience does. And if the audience learns to demand more from their entertainment, they shape how it's made. That's why we have these discussions.
Macca - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 9:33pm (USA Central)
Grumpy,

Mostly well said. Does jumping on people who have a different opinion, as many have done, count as justifying one's own point of view?
Demosthenes - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 9:59pm (USA Central)
"I love how Demosthenes contradicts himself in his posts - this time in the one sentence. You can't on one hand say that I'm allowed to like the movie and then say that you are allowed to tell me why I'm wrong."

Point 1: You don't understand what a contradiction is. A contradiction would be "You are allowed to like ST:iD and you are not allowed to like ST:iD." See how that works? See how both halves of that sentence directly oppose each other? So where's the contradiction in what I said? That's easy -- there is none.

Point 2: Your first post on this thread was to say that you were "dismayed" by other people's reactions, and "annoyed" by people who said that the tone of the new movies wasn't in keeping with Trek. Both of those are your word choices, and they bracket a post where you lecture us on why we shouldn't believe what we do. Now you claim that all you want is for people like Dig and me to "let others have their say without getting a diatribe in response from you and your like."

So what I'm hearing is, YOU get to tell us why you're dismayed and annoyed by our opinions after you read our posts, but WE don't get to do the same to you. I'd really love to throw your accusation back at you -- but strictly speaking, that's not a contradiction. It's just a garden-variety double standard.

Point 3: I did actually misspeak, and I need to correct myself -- because I played right into your warped terminology. It's not a question of you being ALLOWED to like the movie. How could anyone possibly stop you from liking anything? NO ONE HAS ANY CONTROL OVER YOU. And by the same token, it's not a question of me being allowed to tell you why you're wrong. You don't control me, either. I can, and do, tell people that they're wrong all the time. And they do the same to me. Just last week I had occasion to tell a co-worker that "Adventure Time" is brain-drainingly dumb, and he shot back that "Buffy" is overrated girl-power garbage. That's just normal give-and-take between two people with different preferences and opinions. Get used to it, dude.

Point 4: I debated about whether to mention this, but what the heck. What you're claiming I said in one sentence, I actually said in two. Reading comprehension fail.
Macca - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 10:36pm (USA Central)
Nice diatribe.
Demosthenes - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 10:46pm (USA Central)
That seems to be the only way you know how to respond to criticism -- with a brush-off. Sad.
Digedag - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 11:20pm (USA Central)
Macca,

I would take a hard look at yourself. You have been the one who has repeatedly caught attention with ad hominem attacks. You, more than once, have left snarky and dismissive comments aimed at those of us who like to discuss this movie more in-depth: "You and your kind", "He can't handle", "cinemas scholars" etc. pp. - and that's just from the last couple of posts.

The thing is, apart from perhaps the last exchange with CadetNorris which contained what I already admitted was a poorly worded line, I haven't attacked anyone in person, nor have I insinuated disparaging things.

You talk about "jumping on people who have different opinions"/"Let others have their say" as if it were my modus operandi here, which is just not true. I've argued with people over certain aspects of the movie that we had contrary opinions about, and sometimes it got heated, but I don't insult them for having different viewpoints. Neither do a reply to every post. And I hadn't even addressed you prior to my last comment.

Now, perhaps some of my formulation leave room for misinterpretation, I've already pointed out that English is not my native tongue, and tone is notoriously difficult to convey in written form. However, you make it sound as if I had a vendetta against people who don't share my perspective.

This is a discussion, people argue. What is gained if everybody is in the mindset of "agree to disagree"? For me to actually agree or disagree with someone I need to here his or her reasoning, not just his initial impression, especially if can be reduced to "awesome" or "lame", as Grumpy put it. In fact, I tried to refrain from replying to comments that can be summarized as "it's fun", which as an impression is all fine and nice, as a review or contribution to an ongoing discussion has basically no value. Contrary to your accusation, I'm mostly interested in a stimulating exchange of thoughts that might expand my horizon, not enforcing some kind of conformity that is in line with what I think. But for this to happen you have to offer actual arguments.

To me it seems that YOU are the one who can't take being disagreed with, as if our complains (and the analysis of why we think STID fails to live up to expectations) would somehow invalidate your enjoyment of the movie. After all you have repeatedly written that you have been "really dismayed" or "annoyed" by people picking at this and that, stating absolutes "there can be no doubt that Abrams has revitalized Trek" as if it were some truth written in stone.

You act like some kind of moral authority that virtuously defends the poor souls that I and the evil likes of me verbally abuse for holding deviating opinions, which, as already pointed out, is just not true. So, perhaps you take a step back and perhaps consider the possibility that you are perhaps a bit thin-skinned or read to much into certain things.
CadetNorris - Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - 12:29am (USA Central)
The problem seems to lie in cultural barriers that exist between us. We're less conscious of it when we're all posting in the same language, typeface, and text color.

It's worth noting that the major impetus for learning manners is often some form of positive punishment, more typically verbal these days, though physical discipline isn't completely out of vogue, sad as it may be.

When the condition of a tangible punishment that we can easily understand and anticipate is removed, we human beings tend toward the most intensely charged defense of our viewpoint we feel we can get away with.

Granting all that, I will close by saying that I thought Star Trek Into Darkness was cute. The next one will either have to address the concerns of those who want there to be more of a focus on ideas, or risk creating an unneccessary schism in a fandom that has seen quite a few schisms formed and healed already.

If JJ makes another action-fest he's going to lose my attention.

Even so, I'll give it to him; Into Darkness entertained me.
Macca - Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - 12:39am (USA Central)
Nice diatribe x2
Genre-Buster - Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - 2:50am (USA Central)
Macca, get a dictionary and look up "diatribe," please.

Better yet, respond to the POINTS OF ARGUMENT that Digedag and Demosthenes (nice handle, btw - very appropriate for this forum) went to the trouble of articulating.

Speaking honestly about why you liked STID is one thing, losing yourself in rhetorical vitriol against those who didn't like it is quite another.

So let's conduct an experiment. As I said before, I haven't seen STID and don't plan to - this is the absolute truth. Pitch the movie to me - honestly tell me and your fellow forum readers why you personally liked it, and why you think we should see it. It's not enough to say it was fun - I want to know WHY it was fun. No need to quote box office returns or critical responses. I have access to Rotten Tomatoes and can look that stuff up for myself.

But here's the trick - you need to account for what Dig, Dem and others objected to WITHOUT picking apart their argumentative techniques. I personally find their arguments compelling - though they maybe could have worded them a little better (the bit about "necessary theoretical knowledge of film" was, as Dig admits, a pretty serious rhetorical boner) I nevertheless understand their basic gist. If you can show me that you understand that gist as well, and can THEN explain why you think they're wrong, if your argument is convincing enough, I'll go and see the movie. (Probably not right away - I want to see Before Midnight first - but I'll take it in. Why not?) Just don't insult our intelligence with another single-sentence quip. You'll never win the debate that way.

CadetNorris - thank you for continuing to post. This is turning into a pretty exciting little forum.
Macca - Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - 3:25am (USA Central)
Genre-Buster,

Not sure why you would be posting about a movie you don't intend to see. Seems like a waste of time to me, but each to their own.

Anyway, the point I have been trying to make is that anyone who comments positively on STID immediately gets smashed for no apparent reason. If you like the movie your intelligence and sophistication is questioned which I think is unfair.

I'm not interested in debating Digedag or Demosthenes as their posts have become so hysterical that it really isn't worth it.

I would like to hear more from people who are actually going to talk about the movie rather than the bee buzzing around in their collective bonnet.
Macca - Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - 3:34am (USA Central)
And just for the record I took out my trusty dictionary...

diatribe (noun)

An angry, bitterly critical speech or written article.

Sounds about right to me.
Matrix - Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - 5:11am (USA Central)
I liked the scene where Scotty and the green guy go to some nightclub after Scotty resigns. That was pretty cool. The green guy was wearing a turtleneck or something. I think some other stuff happened in the movie too.
CadetNorris - Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - 11:50am (USA Central)
Star Trek Into Darkness gives the Star Trek fan a glimpse into the possibilities of the Star Trek mythos.

In a universe where parallel dimensions are known to exist, can there still be such a thing as fate? Our our fates ultimately tied to our identities? Do the choices we make result only from the environment we live in, or is there some immutable quality to our consciousness that spans the breadth of all quantum realities?

Will two people who are destined to be lovers ultimately find each other no matter what is done to change the course of history? Conversely, will two people who are destined to be enemies ultimately find a way to get knives at each other's throats, regardless of what temporal discrepancies shred the fabric of history around them?

It's a look at the romance inherent, but up until now unacknowledged, in the story of the brave crew of the Starship Enterprise, no bloody A, B, C, or D.
E2 - Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - 12:09pm (USA Central)
"diatribe (noun)

An angry, bitterly critical speech or written article.

Sounds about right to me."

You're right on Macca.

Except for the angry or bitter part. If anything, most of the referenced posts seem pretty clinical and calm. Almost as though they were setting aside emotion in order to improve communication and understanding.

But they were clearly critical. There can be no doubt there.
CadetNorris - Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - 1:25pm (USA Central)
It's almost as though our violent human emotions are encroaching on the proceedings very much against our will.
Dom - Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - 7:00pm (USA Central)
@ Macca

"Anyway, the point I have been trying to make is that anyone who comments positively on STID immediately gets smashed for no apparent reason. "

Actually, it seems like the opposite is true. On this site and others, it seems like fans of the JJ Trek are very defensive and quick to attack anybody who is even slightly critical. Look at the critical reviews on Amazon.com. They're immediately voted down and people (some of whom I suspect are paid) post negative comments. While I don't agree with everything Digedag and Demosthenes say, nothing they have said seems to approach diatribe levels. They're very critical of the film, but that's the nature of writing a review.
CadetNorris - Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - 8:07pm (USA Central)
Are you sure it isn't time for a colorful metaphor?
Genre-Buster - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 1:52am (USA Central)
Macca, try not to take this personally, but really and truly, nothing of what you said in your reply to my post serves to prove your point at all. Where is this "hysteria" you speak of? YOU were the one who went on the attack with the very first sentence of your very first post:

Macca: "I have been really dismayed by some of the responses to Star Trek into Darkness on this website."

This immediately puts those who don't like the film on the defensive. Based on how you yourself initiated this dialogue, I can only conclude that you invited this conflict yourself. Your responses to opposing viewpoints have consistently become more and more hostile as the thread grows; a bit of snarkiness was bound to follow.

And dude - think about this for a second - the one avoiding discussion of the movie itself is none other than YOU - not since your very first post have you tried to describe what you like about STID. Everything you've written since then has been utterly combative and completely off the subject of what the film itself contains. What else can I say?

Well, actually quite a lot more, but I'll just close with this. Another term you should look up is "ad hominem," a term which you used to describe Dem's and Dig's posts. Actually, let me look it up for you:

plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html

The above link is to a thorough definition of the term with copious examples given by one Stephen Bond. I highly recommend it to anybody who posts (and wants to post) on forums of any kind. And Macca - if you don't see a mirror in at least some of the examples Bond gives, you might need to... well...

I'll stop there, lest the dread "ad hominem" bomb be dropped on me.
Genre-Buster - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 2:12am (USA Central)
@CadetNorris: Your brief but pithy post about the "possibilities of the Star Trek mythos" is very intriguing. I'm almost tempted to see the film based on that post alone.

Good work.
Macca - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 2:30am (USA Central)
Thanks for the research on ad hominem but I have never used this in any of my posts.

What a clown.
Bear - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 6:57am (USA Central)
Funny, funny, funny

Genre-Buster has lost all credibility, I doubt we'll hear from him again.

STID has lots of dreadful moments but it was fun.

I agree with one of Macca's original points that a new audience could be introduced to the former incarnations of Trek. Ends justifies the means?

I get the point about why would someone who likes STID also like Who Watches the Watchers so no need to rehash that argument. Maybe they might be drawn to the Dominion War Arc or Scorpion?
CadetNorris - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 8:52am (USA Central)
Like the man said:

"I will not allow posturing and bigotry to destroy this meeting!"

It was said, by Genre-Buster:

"So let's conduct an experiment. As I said before, I haven't seen STID and don't plan to - this is the absolute truth. Pitch the movie to me - honestly tell me and your fellow forum readers why you personally liked it, and why you think we should see it. It's not enough to say it was fun - I want to know WHY it was fun. No need to quote box office returns or critical responses. I have access to Rotten Tomatoes and can look that stuff up for myself."

To which I replied:

"Star Trek Into Darkness gives the Star Trek fan a glimpse into the possibilities of the Star Trek mythos.

In a universe where parallel dimensions are known to exist, can there still be such a thing as fate? Our our fates ultimately tied to our identities? Do the choices we make result only from the environment we live in, or is there some immutable quality to our consciousness that spans the breadth of all quantum realities?

Will two people who are destined to be lovers ultimately find each other no matter what is done to change the course of history? Conversely, will two people who are destined to be enemies ultimately find a way to get knives at each other's throats, regardless of what temporal discrepancies shred the fabric of history around them?

It's a look at the romance inherent, but up until now unacknowledged, in the story of the brave crew of the Starship Enterprise, no bloody A, B, C, or D."

This doesn't constitute a loss of "face" for anyone, and if I may say so, we are not Feudal Lords, we're just Trek fans.

Now enough with the rancor, that belongs in another franchise anyhow. ;)
CadetNorris - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 9:52am (USA Central)
I could also say this.

Something we tend to forget in the fandom is that Spock doesn't have a whole lot of friends. His very nature as a Vulcan prohibits expressions of personal affection, and while he is half human, he went to school entirely with Vulcans.

Now add into that his entire race being reduced to ~10,000 people.

This is a guy with serious issues.
Genre-Buster - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 10:22am (USA Central)
My apologies - the ad homonym remark came from Digegag, not Macca. How embarrassing - I should read a bit more carefully.

My credibility is happy to take the blow - "what a clown" indeed. Nevertheless, it should still be brought up in the context of how Macca in particular has framed his arguments. Digedag, while falling into the ad hominem trap himself with his aformentioned remark to CadetNorris, used the term with spot-on accuracy when he was rebutting Macca's "you and your kind" remark.

What you did with that remark, Macca, along with the accusation of hysteria, was to lower the bar of discussion here to mere pugilism.

...and you're STILL not talking about the film.
CadetNorris - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 11:08am (USA Central)
Macca, upon reflection, what are your impressions of the film?

I feel it necessary to point out that if you don't begin, follow through with, and end on a definite statement about the film, you really call into question, in my mind, the assertion that you have even seen the film in question. You saw it, right?

What did you think of the film? How does it compare to Star Trek: The Motion Picture?
Genre-Buster - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 11:12am (USA Central)
CadetNorris-

You win. I'll go see the film.

Your point about the Spock reboot is something I'll fully admit I've resisted ever since 2009. The destruction of Vulcan happened under such brain-numbingly stupid plot contrivances that I was never fully willing to go along with this new timeline. Zach Quinto's work has to be contextualized first, and I don't suppose I gave him a fair shake. I'll try to do so this afternoon.

And just to warn you, I'm still probably not going to like it.
CadetNorris - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 11:34am (USA Central)
Found this:

"E2 - Thu, May 30, 2013 - 12:03pm (USA Central)
I saw "Star Trek Into Darkness". It was fun. I enjoyed it.

I can totally see why people who don't know or just don't like TOS or TNG, DS9, or the earlier films would like it.

Those older versions of trek were often slow and talky. They occasionally tried to act as though they were actual science fiction and acknowledge some of the laws of physics. They frequently tried to ram ideals or morals down our throats, or make us think about things from a different perspective. Once in a while they even portrayed complex issues in shades of gray, rather than absolutes. (Sometimes the assumed villain going in actually turned out to not even be bad!) They spent years building up relationships between characters. And on top of all that, they kept trying to sneak in this "if we work together, despite differences in gender, race, religion, even species, we CAN learn, and make things better" subtext- all that Roddenberry clap-trap.

It is safe to say that JJ has avoided all of those pitfalls, and crafted a action packed, highly entertaining film free from any of that old baggage. In fact, he's done it twice, now. Face it - we need "Blow stuff up" films for people who don't love overbuilt cars, giant transforming robots or super spies.

So, for those nay-sayers who suggest that what they loved about Star Trek, what made it stand apart from all those other fantasy adventures set in space, is absent- well, suck it up. If you really claim you want entertainment that requires you to think, you're barking up the wrong franchise. Go read a book."

I would agree except for the part about racial integration being clap-trap. Certainly, much of what Roddenberry had to say was in retrospect complete self-serving garbage, but racial integration is not, and I'll hear no dismissive viewpoints toward it.

But he is right: Star Trek is what it is: cheap entertainment. Wrath of Khan cost $11 million, and yet it's the crown jewel of the franchise.

And you should read books! "Songs of Distant Earth" for one.

But don't take my word for it.

(Musical Cue)
Genre-Buster - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 12:31pm (USA Central)
Books?

Books are great! I love to read books!

So did Picard, and for that matter so did Khan - at least in the Ricardo Montalban incarnation. Yes, those guys were out there quoting Shakespeare and Melville and countless others, repeatedly reminding us of mankind's cultural heritage, where we came from and perhaps even indicating how we got here - that is, into space exploration and leading the way with the United Federation of Planets. It may not have been high art, but at least it was consistent.

Those old Trek episodes E2 talks about so disparagingly were of course uneven in quality, but bad or good, there was an adherence to principal that not one of those old episodes, not even when the franchise started its Berman/Braga nosedive, ever violated. The Prime Directive, "Live Long and Prosper," these were more than just tropes - at least until Abrams came along.

And I have a serious problem with the "cheap entertainment" argument. A quarter-billion dollar film budget? Doesn't sound cheap to me. No - what's been cheapened is my role as a movie-goer: I'm suddenly being told to "face it," "suck it up," etc. I seriously fear whether or not the generation growing up today even knows the difference between the footage taken on 9-11 and contemporary blockbuster set pieces.

Film is a highly influential art form - it's great when it entertains, but if it deliberately discourages thought (which is what I believe Trek 11 did, and what I fear STID has done as well), then we have a serious problem, one that cannot be dismissed with a simple quip about how times have changed.
CadetNorris - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 1:31pm (USA Central)
Too true, too true. As I said, this E2 feller is kinda out there.

I just thought it was a rather compelling argument that if they're going to spend money making a film (190 million+, if I'm not mistaken), the lion's share of the budget is naturally going to be devoted to the Spectacle aspect of it, or what you might call "showmanship."

Personally, I don't feel any of the story threads put forth in STID go against the established characters or framework of the setting. The technobabble is getting unbelievably ludicrous, but that's just never been a sticking point for me. The technological aspects of the story need to be wholly secondary to the characters and their ideas for the story to move at an acceptable pace.

Stephen King says in his book "On Writing" that if he tells you there's a cage on a table with a Rabbit that has the number 8 on its back, to tell you the dimensions of the table or the style of cage or its shape isn't storytelling, but an instruction manual.

And frankly, after watching "Threshold" (VOY), I gave up on trying to understand the technical aspects of the Star Trek universe, except as it relates to getting the story moving, and have, I feel, found much more enjoyment than I used to get out of it.
E2 - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 1:39pm (USA Central)
@Genre-Buster

but if it deliberately discourages thought ... then we have a serious problem, one that cannot be dismissed with a simple quip about how times have changed.

I agree with you here. But, (aside from the aforementioned books) there is some hope, mostly from the independent category-

Films like "Primer" and "Moon" are excellent, well thought out actual science fiction, that I found very entertaining. It's true, they don't offer much in the explosion or big budget CGI departments. What they do, is tell stories that draw you in with believable characters, that don't insult the audience.

As long as things of this caliber continue to pop up from time to time, I see hope for the medium. Even if it is only on the fringe of the industry. Even if I have to let go of one of my old favorites.
Eduardo - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 4:09pm (USA Central)
I think it was Nick Meyer himself who once said that "Art will always be a product of the times it was made in".

To me, this implies that Star Trek into Darkness is simply reflective of the times we live in, and it managed to hit the right notes with the current audiences.

Whether traditional Trek purists embrace them or not, the fact is these two films enabled the franchise to achieve a wider appeal beyond the standard fans.

Nemesis tanked in the box-office because it felt like it was being left behind by both the competition and the audience.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a lifelong fan of TNG, DS9, classic Trek, and their stories, but I don't see them returning to a slower-paced Trek anytime soon.
Eduardo - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 4:13pm (USA Central)
Also, the whole theoretical knowledge of film argument by Digedag is complete BS.

I studied film all my life. A movie has one goal: to tell a story. How you tell the story is subjective, as long as you can translate that to an audience on a visual and emotional level.

Into Darkness accomplishes that simple requirement. Most people can embrace Kirk's plight. The cocky young officer eager to rush into action, who suddenly finds himself to be an inadequate leader, and chooses a suicidal path.

In the end, what matters is getting the audience to respond to these characters.
Digedag - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 5:38pm (USA Central)
Yup, there are many ways to tell a story. The problem is, the approach STID chose didn't work. The screenwriters didn't accomplish what they set out to - which, by the way, is as basic as it gets in terms of drama - thus resulting in an unengaging film with poorly realized character arcs and shoddy, put-on conflicts. And funnily enough there was a huge disconnect between the visual language and the emotional resonance the filmmakers were aiming for.

And while STID might have worked for a part of the audience, the fact that a lot of other people responded negatively to this movie should call into question this alleged successfulness.
Eduardo - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 5:50pm (USA Central)
"The problem is, the approach STID chose didn't work."

Didn't work for you. Worked just fine for me, and many others.

"The screenwriters didn't accomplish what they set out to - which, by the way, is as basic as it gets in terms of drama - thus resulting in an unengaging film with poorly realized character arcs and shoddy, put-on conflicts."

Hollow argument, at best. Hyperbole with little actual content to back it up. The audience was cheering during my screening, therefore I wouldn't call it 'unengaging'. Plenty of people responded to it.

They wanted to tell an adventurous story in which Kirk is struggling to find himself and his place in this ever-changing world, learning to deal with the pressures of responsibility and duty. And also the story about a developing friendship and camaraderie between this rash young human and this misplaced Vulcan.

"And funnily enough there was a huge disconnect between the visual language and the emotional resonance the filmmakers were aiming for."

If by that you mean it was a visual rollercoaster ride, then it definitely achieved what it was going for.
Digedag - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 5:53pm (USA Central)
Also, and I have alluded to this before, the filmmaker who are able to craft unconventional drama that doesn't follow established storytelling rules are nevertheless people who have a firm grip on it and, in general, a pretty all-encompassing understanding of story function. Tarantino springs to mind.

But this hardly applies in this case since Orci/Kurtzman/Lindelof stuck to the most basic rules. Unfortunately there weren't able or - more likely - willing to translate their vision properly, opting instead to rely on lazy shortcuts and hoping that the audience would take everything they were fed at face value.
Eduardo - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 6:05pm (USA Central)
"But this hardly applies in this case since Orci/Kurtzman/Lindelof stuck to the most basic rules. Unfortunately there weren't able or - more likely - willing to translate their vision properly, opting instead to rely on lazy shortcuts and hoping that the audience would take everything they were fed at face value."

The only plot device I could even classify as a shortcut is Harrison's unprovoked attack on the Klingons.

Every other development is pretty organic and true to character.

Throughout the film, Kirk struggles with how to respond to the crisis at hand (Harrison's terrorism, and Pike's death). Throughout the second act, he tries to follow through on his mission, only to see it being thwarted by his own realization that he's not at all suited for command, and ends up with a high body count and a crippled ship.

His decision to sacrifice himself to restart the ship kicks off the film's resolution, and allows him to finally overcome his shortcomings and become the leader he was born to be, the leader Pike expected him to be, and in the process also live up to Spock Prime's expectations regarding the Kirk/Spock friendship.
Digedag - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 6:06pm (USA Central)
Yeah, and there were people groaning and at two points unintentionally laughing at in my viewing. So, yeah, now we have established that people were pretty split on the movie, which hardly goes in line with the claim that the movie was successful in its goals.

My disconnect comment was aimed at the dramatic scenes and how the execution that screams "Drama! Conflict! Hard Decisions!" was at odds with the lack of emotional resonance that the movie was able to achieve.

I explained already why the character bits mostly didn't work for me in prior comments, somewhere in the middle of this thread (early June, I think). Please forgive me that I'm not going to reiterate this now, since I had actually planned to slowly withdraw myself from this discussion. I just responded because you kinda addressed me.
Digedag - Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - 6:14pm (USA Central)
Jeez, another comment. I'm sorry, I can't think, translate and type that fast without making a clusterf*ck out of the post, both in terms of content and grammar.

I see your points, it just didn't work for me. I know it's lazy, but I have again point you to some of my earlier entries in this thread where I tried to explain why that was case.
TDexter - Sat, Jul 20, 2013 - 2:23pm (USA Central)
I enjoyed Star Trek (2009) because it had great pacing, and was a fun action/adventure film. I never go into a Star Trek film expecting anything like any of the television series. It's just a different format.

But Into Darkness never quite stuck with me. I was bored. The action scenes dragged on and on. There was zero tension. There was zero drama. I had no investment in any of the characters. The pacing was awful, as was the dialogue (or what little existed of it). It reminded me of the Star Wars prequels at their worst.

My two cents, at least.
Genre-Buster - Sat, Jul 20, 2013 - 5:18pm (USA Central)
Alright - I saw it.

First observation I'd like to make: Before Midnight (which I saw just prior was much, much better.

And don't hit me with that old hackneyed excuse that these movies are different genres: Before Midnight is arthouse, STID's a summer blockbuster, blah blah blah. Doesn't change the simple fact that listening to Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy talk for two hours solid was about a million times more interesting, thought provoking, provocative, and envigorating than all of the explosions, chase sequences, badassedness, hot women and apocalyptic simulations found in STID combined.

Oh well, it wasn't bad, I don't guess. Cadet N's "fate" observation a few posts up not only got me to see the film, but saved me from hating it altogether. There's actually quite a lot more to say about this, but for now, let it be known that I thought the film was okay.

Nothing like rock-bottom expectations to enhance on's filmgoing experience.
Genre-Buster - Sat, Jul 20, 2013 - 5:24pm (USA Central)
Jammer, would it be too much to ask for a "go back and edit" function on this forum for posts that we boogered up?I hate it when I hit send with typos I missed. Makes me look like a discredited clown.
CadetNorris - Sat, Jul 20, 2013 - 8:34pm (USA Central)
Someday they do need to make Star Trek II: Chekhov Screams Again.
Pachazo - Sun, Jul 21, 2013 - 6:59am (USA Central)
@CadetNorris
I agree with you that in ST 2009 they did a good job of exploring this alternate universe angle but in Into Darkness I just got the feeling that they were ripping off TWOK. Yes, they put a "clever" twist on it by reversing who died but it felt forced as opposed to the fresh, new ideas that we saw in the previous movie.

You also said that... "Personally, I don't feel any of the story threads put forth in STID go against the established characters or framework of the setting." Ok, you made a good point about Spock being messed up in the head due to the destruction of Vulcan but don't you feel that this Spock is a little too emotional? It took Spock Prime years to come to grips with his emotions. He is extremely reserved. It doesn't make sense for him to completely lose control of himself when he has spent so many years fighting to hide his emotions.

I also think that they got the character of Khan completely wrong. The biggest sin was when they showed him crying in front of Kirk and Spock. Khan had a very aggressive and dominant personality. He would never show a sign of weakness in front of another Alpha male, in this case Kirk. I know that he was trying to manipulate him but this was not Khan's style.

I am curious to know your thoughts on this. Everyone else feel free to comment as well.
CadetNorris - Sun, Jul 21, 2013 - 10:20am (USA Central)
"I agree with you that in ST 2009 they did a good job of exploring this alternate universe angle but in Into Darkness I just got the feeling that they were ripping off TWOK."

I find it to be unnecessarily cynical how quickly and easily people accuse writers of plagiarism when their intent is often homage. This may or may not be the process occurring here and now, but you've got to admit, if they were going to make some kind of heavily referential picture, they pick the right things to refer to.

"You also said that... "Personally, I don't feel any of the story threads put forth in STID go against the established characters or framework of the setting." Ok, you made a good point about Spock being messed up in the head due to the destruction of Vulcan but don't you feel that this Spock is a little too emotional? It took Spock Prime years to come to grips with his emotions. He is extremely reserved. It doesn't make sense for him to completely lose control of himself when he has spent so many years fighting to hide his emotions."

There are many scenes in the movie devoted to showing Spock maintaining his cool Vulcan exterior. I'm afraid the fact is, and I'm sure Mr. Quintillion will agree, he's just not quite as cool as Leonard Nimoy. I really can't fault him for it, because frankly I don't know who is.

"I also think that they got the character of Khan completely wrong. The biggest sin was when they showed him crying in front of Kirk and Spock. Khan had a very aggressive and dominant personality. He would never show a sign of weakness in front of another Alpha male, in this case Kirk. I know that he was trying to manipulate him but this was not Khan's style."

Cumberbatch as Khan turns away from Kirk and Spock before the year falls, so technically you are correct, he would not do this *in front of them* per se. The scene ends before he moves a muscle, IIRC.
Genre-Buster - Thu, Jul 25, 2013 - 12:01am (USA Central)
The biggest problem with Cumberbatch Khan is this business about his being some kind of ultimate bad-ass. I don't remember what Nimoy-Spock's line exactly was, but it was tantamount to "the most dangerous mutherf***er the universe has ever faced" or something to that effect. It would seem that hyperbole is among the symptoms of Nimoy-Spock's old-age dementia. Recall his comment in the original Trek 2:

"His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking."

Doen't sound very threatening to me. This is really driven home when Shatner-Kirk says quite smugly to Khan:

"We tried it once your way, Khan, are you game for a rematch?"

...and then:

"Hey Khan, I'm laughing at your superior intellect."

From what I remember, Montalban-Khan was little more than a bungler with just a few impressive traits: Noble carriage and seductiveness in Space Seed, and tenacity and dumb luck in STWOK. What made him so memorable was, of course, Ricardo Montalban's highly dynamic, textured, and at times even comical performance.

Benedict Cumberbatch may be a good actor (I hear he actually is), but there's no way you could tell from watching this movie. While I suppose the overall effect was to make Khan appear "menacing," a kind of Hannibal Lecter with gym-shoes, his actual CHARACTER is completely wooden; he's a line-spitting, snarling mannequin, nothing more.
CadetNorris - Thu, Jul 25, 2013 - 12:16pm (USA Central)
Nicholas Meyer said in the commentary to Wrath Of Khan that Montalban, even back in 67, suffered from a battle injury or something to one of his legs, and had a permanent limp that (according to Mr. Meyer) he worked very hard to conceal, and did so brilliantly. However, it's worth noting that a stunt double would have been required for any scenes of all-out combat.

WOK has only one such scene, and Khan is not the one Kirk beats up. There was a fight planned for Kirk and Khan, but this was never filmed as the budget would not allow it.

For these reasons, up until now, we have more or less had to depend largely on simple, singular shows of strength to understand what a dangerous person Khan is.

I find that the combat scenes in STID really drive home the point of how incredibly powerful and scary a genetically engineered super warrior would be.

You realize that selective breeding is a thing? I'm not certain, but I believe it is unlawful in some parts of the world, if not at least frowned upon?

Khan is the work of people who don't realize that humans have been given limitations because they need them in order to possess the incredibly vital character trait called compassion. If you construct a killing machine with the heart of a proud, greedy, selfish, emotional human being, you are unleashing a monster. It's not like they could selectively breed out emotions.

The point I'm making is, somebody on the crew said "I don't want them to laugh at the villain." That was a decision someone made, and I feel it adds a verisimilitude to the idea behind the character.

Ben Cumberbatch is attempting to fill a role that NOBODY is ever going to forget that Montalban played. The world knows Montalban as Khan, for as long as history gets recorded. There simply HAD to be a completely "from scratch" take on the character, or it wouldn't have been possible to do it.

I'll close now, by saying that I remember exactly what I was thinking when Spock Prime gave this film what are destined to be its Arc Words. I was thinking that Spock Prime's human side was thinking:

"I remember him. Sonofabitch killed me, for god's sake watch your back!!!"
Patrick - Fri, Jul 26, 2013 - 1:02pm (USA Central)
@Genre-Buster

Your criticisms of Khan being a bungler is really not fair. Khan's from the late 20th century piloting a 23rd century space vehicle. If he were from the Kirk's time and using 2-D thinking, then the case of him being a dumbass would fit.

But, consider: with just a couple of Ceti Eels and some captured Starfleet officers, he was able to commandeer a starship (again) and get his hands on a potentially dangerous device, and possibly conquer the galaxy. Not too shabby in my book.

Your argument is like saying Hannibal Lechter was much of a villain because he got captured by Will Graham. Or Darth Vader really was lame because he saved his son at the end.
Dom - Fri, Jul 26, 2013 - 7:33pm (USA Central)
Wow, is Jammer even going to bother posting a review? Maybe he disliked the movie so much he thinks it doesn't deserve a spot on this page...
CadetNorris - Sat, Jul 27, 2013 - 12:29am (USA Central)
We can simultaneously consider his potential review good and bad, until presented with evidence that indicates either possibility.

"Schrodinger's Review" :)
Genre-Buster - Sat, Jul 27, 2013 - 1:27am (USA Central)
I do understand why they gave this new Khan the more polished sheen, and ultimately it did work to the film's general purposes just fine. I just wanted to explain why Cumber-Khan is nowhere near my top-ten movie villains list, but Montal-Khan definitely is.

What really surprised me about this movie - and in a good way (for the time being, I'll have to let go of the the ass-pain that idiotic contrivance with Khan's blood being some kind of ambrosial elixir gave me - give me a f***ing break), what really surprised me was Kirk's transformation after dying and being resurrected, a transformation that I honestly did not see coming. Suddenly, there he was, a man upon whom the full weight of his responsibilities had at long last dawned. Carol Marcus shoots him a seductive glance, and lo and behold, he simply smiles, greets her as a respected colleague, and moves to the podium to give his speech. Pine's delivery of that speech was shockingly dignified and, I daresay, inspiring. Here he is - a man at last.

Which brings me to what CadetNorris said several posts up about fate. Here it is again:

"In a universe where parallel dimensions are known to exist, can there still be such a thing as fate? Our our fates ultimately tied to our identities? Do the choices we make result only from the environment we live in, or is there some immutable quality to our consciousness that spans the breadth of all quantum realities?"

That Kirk and Spock should be "destined" to confront Khan is not something I found particularly interesting at first, but that the FINAL result should wind in total harmony with what we understand about these characters from their previous incarnations, shoot, I was genuinely and pleasantly surprised.
MadBaggins - Sat, Jul 27, 2013 - 7:57am (USA Central)
I think Jammer is waiting for the DVD/Blu Ray release.
Dom - Sat, Jul 27, 2013 - 10:05pm (USA Central)
@ MadBaggins,

Maybe, but will anybody even care about this movie then? I actually canceled my pre-order because the more I think about STID the less I care
MaxG - Sun, Jul 28, 2013 - 12:10am (USA Central)
There's almost an accepted level of autism that seems to go hand in hand with star trek fandom. I must say, I have skimmed over the many comments in this blog and the majority of them seemed like whining. "Not enough plot", "too much action", "why was Spock mad after kirk died." Having grown up with the star trek series since the 90s, that is, multiple series, and eventually re-watching the originals, I must say I am anything but a star trek fan boy. I simply do not have the passion or sheer autism required to type several barely coherent paragraphs on why the film was not exactly made to my whiny standards. That being said, the JJ films while short on the philosophical dilated dialogues that most treks so desperate crave and hunger, offer plenty of entertainment value. Ultimately that is what movies are for.
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Jul 28, 2013 - 12:13am (USA Central)
I gave myself a promotion, because I'm about to return to active duty

I feel the consensus is that while a perfectly crafted "Trekbuster," STID will go down in history as a well intentioned but ultimately juuuust a bit corny film.

I think what Pauline Kael said about WoK applies to this movie as well:

"Wonderful, dumb fun."
Lord Garth - Sun, Jul 28, 2013 - 1:43pm (USA Central)
MaxG: Having wished for a better plot, less sexism in a *2013* film, and pointing out that someone acted out of character is autistic? Gotcha.

If you like "Into Darkness", fine, but no need to take digs. Some fans of STID are just as defensive as they say people who didn't like it are whiny (or worse). The extremes on both sides are just as bad. The same as with anything, not just Star Trek.

"plenty of entertainment value." I think that's a better description of the 2009 film.

"Having grown up with the star trek series since the 90s, that is, multiple series, and eventually re-watching the originals, I must say I am anything but a star trek fan boy."

It sounds to me like you're trying to have your cake and it too. Don't take this the wrong way, but if you watched *all* the series, are reading Jammer's Reviews, and feel the need to post, then you're a fanboy too.
MidshipmanNorris - Mon, Jul 29, 2013 - 12:51am (USA Central)
STOP FEEDING THE TROLLS

I'd like to move for a moratorium on addressing other posters directly.

All in favor?
Rob_Fleming - Mon, Jul 29, 2013 - 4:05am (USA Central)
Well, finally watched the movie...

...and sad to say I'm very disappointed.
I loved Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes, but unfortunately he is totally wasted in this movie.

It is sad, they had a wonderful cast, tons of money...and created Star Trek Transformers.

A disaster, indeed.
Niall - Mon, Jul 29, 2013 - 11:57am (USA Central)
First of all, "autism" isn't a term to be throwing around lightly and it also doesn't mean what you seem to think it means. (Talking about an "accepted level of autism", "sheer autism" etc. is grossly offensive.)

Secondly, fanboy shouldn't be a dirty word. We're all fans here.

Thirdly, movies are not for entertainment. Cinema is an art form and as such can serve various purposes depending on the creators' intentions. Watch something like Przesluchanie and then tell me the purpose of cinema is entertainment.

Fourthly, all opinions are valid by their very nature. If you liked STID, fine. If you didn't, fine. The whole purpose of this thread is to debate the film respectfully - which means people have full licence to be as critical of it as they like or praise it as much as they like. Neither view invalidates the other. If someone doesn't like it, it doesn't mean they're being "too" critical (there's no such thing) or that they're wrong to dislike it (they're not). Similarly, if someone likes STID, it doesn't mean they're too naive or not being critical enough or are wrong to like it (they're not). Neither party should have to face these kinds of personal accusations - which are actually nothing to do with and detract from the debate at hand - from the other party. Innit. IDIC, mofos :)

Debating an issue isn't about attacking the other side personally or attacking the validity of the opinion - it's about debating the issue. Passionately but dispassionately, and with a subjectivity that's as objective as possible.
E2 - Mon, Jul 29, 2013 - 2:46pm (USA Central)
Well said, Niall!

Rob_Fleming- I'm sorry to hear you were disappointed.

I also like Cumberbatch, and felt he didn't get a chance to shine in this film, much like Eric Bana in the 2009 film. To be fair, it is difficult to establish the villain as a fully formed character in such a short format as a film; much harder when you also have to re-introduce Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Sulu, Chekov, Scotty, and Pike as well!

TWOK benefited from being able to use Khan's previous appearance to fill in the gaps (at least for the serious fans in the audience.) But since that episode was broadcast over 45+ years ago, the new film couldn't expect to draw from it. (And also since the 2009 movie precludes the events of "Space Seed" and TWOK as well...)

I felt that Cumberbatch did as well as he could with what he'd been given. (Much like Zachary Quinto, who I think is also very good.)


Patrick - Mon, Jul 29, 2013 - 11:59pm (USA Central)
Any re-imagining of Star Trek--whether official or unofficial, can be judged if by one factor and one factor only: how they portray Dr. Leonard McCoy.

If Dr. McCoy is portrayed as nothing more than a grouchy quip generator, then the people behind the re-imagining most likely never watched a single episode of TOS (at least not with a serious mindset).

But, if they treat the character with the full nuance that that the people behind TOS did (most notably DeForest Kelley), then most likely these people truly the magic of TOS.
Patrick - Tue, Jul 30, 2013 - 12:15am (USA Central)
[REDONE]
Any re-imagining of the The Original Star Trek, officially or unofficially, can be judged by one factor, and one factor alone: how they portray Dr. Leonard McCoy.

If Dr. McCoy is portrayed as nothing more than a grouchy quip generator then most likely the people in charge of the production have never watched TOS, or never watched it with a serious mindset.

But, if McCoy is played with the full nuance that DeForest Kelley imbued in the character and how he was written, most likely the people bend the production truly understood the magic of TOS. And that's an important place to start.

That being said: JJ and company really fumbled McCoy in these 2 movies. I don't blame Urban at all. I think he could have done a lot more had he'd been given a more dimensional McCoy to play. Here, he's just in constant "Dammit, Jim!" mode all the way through.
Yanks - Thu, Aug 1, 2013 - 7:05pm (USA Central)
I thought the end of this review pretty nicely sums up STID.

"As much as I want to applaud the work of the cast who do a fantastic job impersonating characters that are part of the cinematic consciousness. As much as I want to stand up and cheer at the exciting and stirring action sequences. As much as I want to thank Cumberbatch for doing everything he can to infuse Khan with the kind of humanity Ricardo Montalban did in the original series and again in the film. I cannot do it. I gave the first film credit for being an exciting science fiction film that just happened to use Trek characters and otherwise hardly resembled the great franchise.

This time, I'm not going to celebrate more of the same. Sometimes, it takes real courage to take something in a new direction, but claiming that's what you're doing and not delivering it, but just redoing everything that's gone before only showcases your limitations as a filmmaker. Apart from his ability to bring together fantastic actors and pay for top-notch visual effects, Abrams is unable to do anything more than ape his predecessors. His work is no more impressive than the likes of Michael Bay or Roland Emmerich. The distinction here is that Abrams, and those critics who enable him, believe he's a magnificent director, yet generates mediocre work. At least Emmerich recognizes that his work isn't high art and he embraces that distinction, making his films distinctly more enjoyable, at least if you don't permit yourself to believe the hype.

Star Trek: Into Darkness may seem like great entertainment, but if you break the film down into its basic parts, you'll discover that there's not a single original idea or execution to be found. You can put a mink coat on a sow, but that doesn't make it anything more than a sow in a mink coat."


Thoughts?
MidshipmanNorris - Thu, Aug 1, 2013 - 9:03pm (USA Central)
The first paragraph. Is composed. Almost entirely. Of sentence fragments.

If Nimoy liked it enough to appear in the film, that's good enough for me.

Note that if it's not good enough for you, you must justify the statement, "I disagree with Leonard Nimoy regarding Star Trek."
Macca - Fri, Aug 2, 2013 - 2:45am (USA Central)
Sorry, I'm back.

Yanks - something cant 'seem' to be entertaining. If the individual viewer was entertained, then for them, it was entertaining.

You can try and put forward arguments as to why someone shouldn't be entertained by STID but that's just a waste of time.
Yanks - Fri, Aug 2, 2013 - 7:07am (USA Central)
Macca,

Agree, but the author was referring to himself in his review. If you were entertained, then great! I was until the stupid Kirk death scene, then I just shut down. I even came to accept the "Khan" thing. Just read my review above to see my feelings.

I agree completely with his opinion on the lack of origionality. They made themselves a clean slate in a wonderful universe, did the best job of casting I can remember and copped out instead of being creative.

MidshipmanNorris,

If I was a betting man, Nimoy did his little part just to stick it to Shatner (again). And his role in STID was nothing like ST09. This little "cameo" was meaningless to the story.
MidshipmanNorris - Fri, Aug 2, 2013 - 5:09pm (USA Central)
"If I was a betting man, Nimoy did his little part just to stick it to Shatner (again). And his role in STID was nothing like ST09. This little "cameo" was meaningless to the story."

:D Entirely unsubstantiated.

Leonard Nimoy putting his image as a creative on the line for a childish prank? Even at the expense of Shatner, I don't buy that. I highly doubt he would ever consent to appear in a film unless he had read and approved of the script.

The operative word in that sentence, "doubt," does, in fact, make my statement ALSO unsubstantiated, but as Commander Kruge said:

"I trust my instincts."
Ian Whitcombe - Fri, Aug 2, 2013 - 8:02pm (USA Central)
MidshimanNorris, does this mean that Nimoy's involvement in the Transformers franchise suggest that *those* films are also beyond reproach?
Demosthenes - Fri, Aug 2, 2013 - 9:20pm (USA Central)
Niall:

"...all opinions are valid by their very nature."

Wrong. Here's the proof:

1. It is your opinion that all opinions are valid.
2. It is my opinion that some opinions are not valid.
3. The statements "all opinions are valid" and "some opinions are not valid" cannot both be true.
4. Therefore, one of our opinions is wrong.
5. If yours is right, then by implication, so is mine.
6. But 5 can't be right, because it violates 3.
7. Therefore, your opinion that all opinions are valid is wrong.

E2:

"To be fair, it is difficult to establish the villain as a fully formed character in such a short format as a film; much harder when you also have to re-introduce Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Sulu, Chekov, Scotty, and Pike as well! TWOK benefited from being able to use Khan's previous appearance to fill in the gaps (at least for the serious fans in the audience.) But since that episode was broadcast over 45+ years ago, the new film couldn't expect to draw from it."

I watched TWOK before I ever knew there was an episode of Star Trek with Khan in it. The old movie did a fine job of establishing him, while reintroducing every member of the crew. Whether it's difficult or not, it's yet another area in which newer is not better.

And in these days, 45 years of time difference isn't nearly as important as the roughly 15 years of difference between the original show and the movie -- not when "Space Seed," TWOK, and ST11 (the three "precursors" to ST:iD) are all readily available on DVD and via online pay-streaming services.

Macca:

"...something cant 'seem' to be entertaining. If the individual viewer was entertained, then for them, it was entertaining."

We've had some conflict between us on this thread, and I admit that my "Prepare to be annoyed" was the flashpoint of it. So allow me to extend the olive branch, and say that although I disagree with your comment here, I do understand where you're coming from.

However...well, let's change the subject from movies to food, and the operative descriptive from "entertaining" to "tasty." If Person A finds McDonald's tasty, then yes, I guess you could say it's tasty -- to him. Then you sit him down in front of a choice cut of prime rib, perfectly accented with bernaise and served with buttered and lightly peppered asparagus. He eats the meal with relish, and when you ask him how it was afterward, he says it was "tasty."

So what's the lesson we're to draw from this? Is it that all meals described as tasty are, in fact, tasty -- maybe equally tasty, since the same descriptive was used? Or is it perhaps that the person lacks a certain...well...taste?
Macca - Fri, Aug 2, 2013 - 10:23pm (USA Central)
Really?

If the previous post is an attempt at self parody then it was a stunning success.

If not, then it was as pretentious as it was embarrassing.
MidshipmanNorris - Fri, Aug 2, 2013 - 11:54pm (USA Central)
Ian:

"MidshimanNorris, does this mean that Nimoy's involvement in the Transformers franchise suggest that *those* films are also beyond reproach?"

Nimoy isn't an authority on Transformers. He is perhaps the greatest living authority on Star Trek. And I did not make any assertion of the film being "beyond reproach." My words were "good enough for me."

Macca, insulting people for the sake of insulting them is getting really old.

Genre-Buster - Sat, Aug 3, 2013 - 12:32am (USA Central)
Macca! Welcome back! You've been missed!

I, Genre-Buster, mis-reader of posts and clown-deluxe, would like to personally extend my heartiest of happy sentiments at your long awaited return to this discussion.

Allow me, if I may, to ask you: have you seen the movie StarTrek: Into Darkness, and if so, what was your reaction? Did you like it, and why?

I personally thought the film was mediocre - better than the previous reboot, certainly, but overall, exploitative and kinda dumb.

But enough about me. What did you think?

Midshipman: Nimoy's appearance in STID doesn't really constitute an endorsement. He's been working at remounting his legendary one-man show: "Vincent," in NewYork (with another actor, of course; he's merely producing this time around), and no doubt is trying to to cull funds from wherever he can.
Genre-Buster - Sat, Aug 3, 2013 - 12:55am (USA Central)
...and yes, I'm happy to help him promote it:

youtu.be/D8pTI4uW2NE
Demosthenes - Sat, Aug 3, 2013 - 3:57am (USA Central)
Well, I suppose that serves me right for attempting to resume a discussion with Macca on a more civil wavelength. I'll read through the rest of what I've missed later, and respond where appropriate.
MidshipmanNorris - Sat, Aug 3, 2013 - 4:04am (USA Central)
"trying to to cull funds"

...

...

...bwwwwwwAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
MidshipmanNorris - Sat, Aug 3, 2013 - 4:28am (USA Central)
From 'Star Trek Movie Memories,' pp.394-396 (emphasis mine):
________________
With Gene's death came the obligatory tributes: shallow TV news memorials, public accolades from his peers, mourning among the most hard-core Trekkers, and of course genuine sadness among our cast and crew. Gene, love him or not, was undeniably the creative spark behind Star Trek, and without him none of us would have been able to spend our lives in pursuit of such a joyful distraction. With that in mind, it was decided to dedicate Star Trek VI to his memory. However, even that didn't come off without a fight. Leonard Nimoy explains:

Very late in the game, I found out that Nick
Meyer and Brandon Tartikoff, who'd just
arrived at the studio, were meeting to decide
how the dedication should read. I thought to
myself, 'Where do these people get off?' I
think, maybe, Nick might have waved at Gene
Roddenberry one day. I don't think the two
ever had a real sit-down face-to-face meeting.
And Brandon Tartikoff? He had nothing at all to
do with the making of this picture. By the time
he'd arrived at the studio, we already had our
final cut in the can. So these were the people,
of all people, who were deciding what the
dedication to Gene Roddenberry should say.
Again, nobody told me anything.
So when I found out about that, I called up
John Goldwyn, who'd become our new studio
executive on the picture, replacing Teddy Zee,
and I vented on him. I said, "I think it's
absolutely disgusting that these two kids are
running around in a playpen they don't even own.
It's not even their territory. Why aren't you
people talking about this to someone who's
connected to the picture? Someone who's had a
relationship with Gene? Why not have this thing
put together by someone who knows exactly who
Gene was, and what he was? How dare you
arbitrarily slap something onto the top of the
film as if it were some box office decision?
How dare you guys?" At that point, he sort of
sighed into the phone and halfheartedly asked,
"Well, how would you like it to read, Leonard?"
After expressing myself on how badly I thought
the situation had been handled, I hung up on
him.
He rang me back for days, but I wouldn't take
his calls. What fun to get angry. I handled it
badly, but I'M TOO OLD AND TOO RICH. I'M AT THE
POINT IN MY LIFE WHERE I CAN AFFORD MYSELF THE
LUXURY OF SAYING "I DON'T GIVE A SHIT. IF IT
KILLS MY RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU AND THE STUDIO,
SO BE IT." That's the way it went down.
________________

"Cull funds."

No, Leonard Nimoy does not have to "cull funds" for anything.

And no, he didn't have to make a cameo in Star Trek Into Darkness if he thought the script was stupid, and yes, he would have read it first.

Come on, Genre-Buster.
Genre-Buster - Sat, Aug 3, 2013 - 10:01am (USA Central)
Rich people have to cull funds even more than us poor people, I'm afraid. I'm not saying Nimoy didn't like the movie - he probably did. I did, you did, lots of people did - so why not Nimoy?

All I'm saying is that the mere fact of his appearance in these latest Treks does not prove anything about his actual opinion of their quality.

Thanks for the memoir quote, MSN: it's a wonderful example of the kind of stuff Nimoy no doubt has do deal with all the time. But I can promise you that if Nimoy, or anyone for that matter, used your all-caps quote as some kind of axiom for how to navigate life in every circumstance, he wouldn't stay rich for long. One has to choose one's battles, and Nimoy, quite rightly I think, decided to take on a couple of Paramount heavies when it came time to eulogize his friend.

But the pressure on someone like Nimoy to fund the arts, AND KEEP those funds flowing, is something none of us will likely ever grasp.
Yanks - Sat, Aug 3, 2013 - 10:44am (USA Central)
@ MidshipmanNorris - Fri, Aug 2, 2013 - 5:09pm (USA Central)
"If I was a betting man, Nimoy did his little part just to stick it to Shatner (again). And his role in STID was nothing like ST09. This little "cameo" was meaningless to the story."

:D Entirely unsubstantiated.

Leonard Nimoy putting his image as a creative on the line for a childish prank? Even at the expense of Shatner, I don't buy that. I highly doubt he would ever consent to appear in a film unless he had read and approved of the script.

The operative word in that sentence, "doubt," does, in fact, make my statement ALSO unsubstantiated, but as Commander Kruge said:

"I trust my instincts."
===============================================
:D Are you suggesting that Nimoy's part in STID was substantial?

As much as I love Nimoy, not sure how much credence I give to an 82 year olds mans approval of the script.

Not totally unsubstantiated. I attended a Con in which he did rub in his involvement in ST09... (at The Shat)
MidshipmanNorris - Sat, Aug 3, 2013 - 5:47pm (USA Central)
":D Are you suggesting that Nimoy's part in STID was substantial?"

No, you're misreading my comment. I'm saying that the statement that Nimoy doing a cameo was a dig at Shatner was unsubstantiated, and as I said, no more or less unsubstantiated than my claim of his endorsement. But for the sake of argument, I stand by my claim.

"As much as I love Nimoy, not sure how much credence I give to an 82 year olds mans approval of the script."

Agism!!

"Not totally unsubstantiated. I attended a Con in which he did rub in his involvement in ST09... (at The Shat)"

Conventions are one thing; the silver screen is another.

For what it's worth, I have nothing invested in changing your opinion at all.

I'll simply reiterate here that I feel Nimoy wouldn't have consented to appear in the film if he had any problems with the script or the writers or the director. He obviously liked it enough to say, "Yes, I will allow my face to be put on this thing."

I'll reiterate also that if you don't agree, you are technically placing yourself in the position of disagreeing with Leonard Nimoy about Star Trek.

You can try all you want, buy you will never invalidate Leonard Nimoy's opinion of what Star Trek is and should be.

To attempt to do so would be...illogical. 6_o
E2 - Mon, Aug 5, 2013 - 11:59am (USA Central)
Well, I guess that settles it- I would never consider holding an opinion that differs from Leonard Nimoy's.

I suppose I'll have to go re-watch this, then, too:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ_duzQzS1I

(Yep, it's the Bilbo song...)
MidshipmanNorris - Mon, Aug 5, 2013 - 1:03pm (USA Central)
Now THAT was Leonard Nimoy trying to cull funds.
Genre-Buster - Mon, Aug 5, 2013 - 1:24pm (USA Central)
How much you wanna bet the STID paycheck was higher?
MidshipmanNorris - Mon, Aug 5, 2013 - 9:05pm (USA Central)
When you're a relatively unknown, but talented actor with next to no clout in the industry, you put your face on things and don't think twice (Ballad of Bilbo Baggins).

When you're an internationally famous actor, director, and the face of a franchise that has grown pants-shittingly huge, no amount of money will buy back your credibility if you screw up. So you read scripts and approve before so much as breathing the same air as the cinematographer (Star Trek Into Darkness).

I'll be interested to see you try to wriggle out of that. ;)
MidshipmanNorris - Mon, Aug 5, 2013 - 9:12pm (USA Central)
Genre-Buster...

Were you ever involved in a certain television series known as T.J. Hooker, by any chance?

:D
Dom - Mon, Aug 5, 2013 - 9:20pm (USA Central)
@ MidshipmanNorris, first of all that's not always true. Unless you're Leonard's accountant, do you know what his finances are like? But more importantly Nimoy isn't the type of person to go around bad-mouthing a project, even if he doesn't like it. He's still something of a gentleman.
Genre-Buster - Tue, Aug 6, 2013 - 12:08am (USA Central)
MidshipmanNorris:

What are you implying about Shatner? He and Nimoy are friends with a joke running between them, nothing more.

And wriggle out of what? I love Nimoy, I've always loved Nimoy. He made gobs of money on STID; bully for him. And g**-***mit, for the last time, I LIKED THE MOVIE, which starred by the way Zachary Quinto, not Leonard Nimoy. It's already happened: people don't REALLY need to see Nimoy's face in order to think of Star Trek, the just the need pointy ears, the blue shirt, and the bangs. Put them on Quinto, shoot, put them on Chevy Chase - you get the same effect.

And just take a moment and think about this: Nimoy didn't didn't need to do nearly as much work on STID as he undoubtedly did on the Bilbo song - no choreography, no rehearsing, no singing, no feeling crushingly foolish while kids are dancing around you like imps - just put on the ears, read off of the teleprompter, and shove some more cash into your grandkids' trust-funds. Even if the film had been terrible - which it wasn't - no-one could possibly begrudge Nimoy for taking the money and running.

And before you hit me with the big legend about Nimoy refusing to do Generations because he thought the script was lame, just consider: what if his big battle with Paramount over Roddenberry's eulogy that you posted about cost him that job, and he simply found a way to spin the story to his favor?

I'm not being cynical, dude, I'm telling you how the business is. I'm not William Shatner, but I am a struggling professional actor myself, and there's nothing the studios like more than to pigeonhole people in order to marginalize their power.

Leonard Nimoy is unquestionably a man of great integrity, but Spock was his primary, and I might add, solitary meal-ticket. Yes, there was Three Men and a Baby, yes there was that Columbo episode, his brief stint on Mission Impossible, the Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake, Transformers 3, hell, the Bilbo song, for the matter. But none of those jobs would have even been offered to him had there been no Spock. Being Spock certainly has it's advantages, but there's a downside to it as well - it's called typecasting, and Nimoy is a glorious example on how to navigate that extremely tricky pitfall.
MidshipmanNorris - Tue, Aug 6, 2013 - 12:28am (USA Central)
:(

God.

I didn't mean to piss anybody off.

I retract everything. Forget it.
Genre-Buster - Tue, Aug 6, 2013 - 12:54am (USA Central)
...and I AM shitting my pants at the hugeness of the Trek franchise, by the way - as is Nimoy, as is Shatner, as is JJ Abrams.

Too big to fail, too important to take risks with, and property of Paramount Pictures lock stock and barrel - never to be the launching pad of true creativity ever again.

But boy o boy, are we rich! ;)
Genre-Buster - Tue, Aug 6, 2013 - 1:07am (USA Central)
MSN, you didn't piss anyone off - not at all. I'm just giving my hit on the way things are as I see them.

I really have come to terms with what Trek has become. As you said, it's cheap entertainment. I just believe it can be much more than that. The latest film did show some signs of that - not enough for my taste, but enough to give me hope for the future.

Keep posting, MSN. What if Macca comes back? You soften the rhetoric, and we need that.
MidshipmanNorris - Tue, Aug 6, 2013 - 10:44am (USA Central)
I'll post something later today, but I want to make it clear that I'm just having a good time. I might take a dig at people here or there if I consider the joke I've come up with especially clever, but it's not intended as inflammatory.

We're all Trekkers here...
Brandon - Tue, Aug 6, 2013 - 5:37pm (USA Central)
Genre-Buster put it well. JJTrek is skillfully executed dumb fun. It's just that some of us don't want to settle for "dumb fun" with our Star Trek. There have been plenty of recent sci-fi exercises out there that have been both exciting and intellectually challenging.

I would say that Trek needs the Nolan treatment, except that Nolan is now generally known for rebooting things. Trek needs breathing room and should find a new century to inhabit.
MidshipmanNorris - Wed, Aug 7, 2013 - 12:12am (USA Central)
I'm not going to respond to recent comments, as there's too much unsubstantiated speculation on both sides of the "Nimoy Endorsement" argument; I'll just start a new train of thought.

But before I go to impulse power, I'll fire up the aft thrusters: I'd like to make it clear that when I say "argument," I don't mean this:
________
Wife: How could you blow all our money on booze! You pathetic drunk!

Husband: I'll do what I want with the money I earn, and if you don't like it, there's the door, you water-retaining sea cow!!
________

What I mean by "argument" is in the classical, (sorry but it's necessary) LOGICAL sense.

I'm not trying to ruffle feathers or make anyone upset. I'm saying all this because think about it: we're arguing over text-only communication. There are no non-verbal cues to read the emotion behind what I'm saying.

To give you the general idea for all my posts, the way I feel about it is, this is a lot of fun! :D I'm enjoying debating with fellow Trekkers!

You see, I live in Tennessee. Star Trek, as well as all sci-fi, is seen as bizarre at best, and pseudo-socialist rhetoric at worst. I'm not accepted here, so I have to keep it sort of a secret.

Sorry for droning on.

What I wanted to say about the film is: as far as taking issue with the character development, I think it's important to note that we've never really had the chance to see what these people were like when they were young. Kirk was 34 by the time TOS began.

Additionally, ever since Nick Meyer's brilliant, brilliant Wrath of Khan, Star Trek has had this "dealing with old age" theme attached to it, for better or worse.

The fact that there's none of that here may be almost disturbing...it's like looking at a mutated life form. We're so used to Star Trek being about older people, that to suddenly have the youngest cast the series has ever had makes it, for better or worse, a completely different atmosphere, with totally different themes, that are going to be written to be relatable to a totally different age group.

I'm not sure if I'm really moving toward an exact thesis statement of any kind...

I'll just let you ponder what I've got, I guess.
Gere-Buster - Wed, Aug 7, 2013 - 1:21am (USA Central)
Jeez - closet Trekking in Tennessee. I feel for you, man.

Brilliant observation about age, MSN. But of course you forget Roddenberry's lone experiment with a "younger" generation - which came well after TWOK. God, what a miserable failure that was.

I refer, of course, to little Wesley Crusher, the disowned Brady boy in the tight-fitting jumpsuit. If what we're doing here is comparing "coming of age stories," I think you may have me against the ropes on this one. There can be no question that Pine, Quinto and company are leagues more watchable than Will Wheaton could have ever dreamt of being. (Of course, Jake and Nog deserve a nod on that score as well, but rest assured, your point is taken.)

But now we're back to the issue of what genre Trek is supposed to be in the end, and my vote is still for "science fiction." It's not like genres can't mix. "Coming of age" doesn't all have to be straightforward Karate Kid/Stand by Me-style realism. What was the Luke Skywalker storyline if not "coming of age?" Or Harry Potter, for that matter? And good Sci-Fi generally SHOULD bleed over to other forms, and in fact is always best when it does.

But where's the Sci-Fi in STID? That stuff about the dangers of genetic engineering isn't really going to cut it - it feels badly overused and hackneyed in this film. The only thing that gives me hope here is the promise they make at the end about an upcoming five-year mission - you know, seeking out new life etc.?

I'm still waiting for it, but at least they said it was coming.
MidshipmanNorris - Wed, Aug 7, 2013 - 5:41am (USA Central)
Hm...

I don't know if science fiction is really a genre...it seems more like a setting to me, in which stories of this or that genre are told. Since it depends on things that are in and of themselves difficult for people to relate to (science, the future, space, aliens), the storytelling meat has to come from the people and the ideas those people are espousing.

Now that's not to say that science fiction can't be a vehicle for storytelling. Quite the contrary; "Cause and Effect" (TNG) really doesn't have a lot of dramatic content beyond the Enterprise exploding over and over, and the trepidation of the crew as they begin to realize what's happening. The basic sci-fi idea (a time loop) takes center stage.

But you notice, it wouldn't be nearly as good an episode without those dramatic, character-driven moments. Crusher calling Riker's bluff. Worf's reaction to Data's surprisingly natural "Still no help for the Klingon," and of course, Doctor Crusher being unable to prevent herself from knocking her wine glass over.

Science fiction gives you a framework for a story, but it can't be the story itself. You couldn't make an episode out of examining the innerworkings of an EPS conduit. Nobody would watch it; they'd cry bullshit, and they'd be right.

An EPS conduit isn't a real thing; it might be based on real things, but it's not real.

And even if you used something real, say a steam engine, examining the innerworkings of a steam engine isn't storytelling; it's a documentary.

In order to tell a story that will stir people, there's got to be drama, spectacle, conflict. Even the most sci-fi of the Trek movies, The Motion Picture, does have a heavy; it's not a particularly clear or colorful heavy, but V'Ger is intent on neutralizing the "carbon units" on the third planet, after all.

And the rejected first pilot for the series, "The Cage," isn't purely about exploration or science fiction either...the Tallosians have imprisoned Captain Pike, and he spends the majority of the episode railing at them.

Conflict, drama, resolution. You've gotta have 'em, or people are gonna get confused, bored, and irritated, and they're gonna walk out of the theater or change the channel.
MidshipmanNorris - Wed, Aug 7, 2013 - 5:59am (USA Central)
Brandon:

"Trek needs breathing room"

Earth, Hitler, 1938.

;)
Dom - Wed, Aug 7, 2013 - 4:21pm (USA Central)
@ MidshipmanNorris

I don't think anybody would disagree that sci-fi and Star Trek shouldn't have drama. Jammer has been quite clear on that point in his reviews. BUT, Trek has always been about more than that. You could have drama on a soap opera. Trek is about exploration and Big Ideas and morality plays.

For example, "The Cage" episode, which you mention, IS about the idea that even a gilded cage is still a cage. Captain Pike is railing at the Talosians because they think he'll be happy in an imagined fantasy but Pike wants freedom. You can argue if the show is effective or not, but there was something that the show was trying to convey.

Finally, the "Conflict, drama, resolution" need to be good. That's where STID fails. STID relied a lot of special effects and things blowing up. Compare that movie to TWOK, which STID emulated. TWOK has a lot of slower, character moments. I won't repeat myself as to where I think STID dropped the ball in building "Conflict, drama, resolution", but suffice it to say those elements need to be done well.

I'll just end with this - I might disagree with you, but I respect the fact that you're presenting reasons on behalf of your argument. I've seen a lot of people in forums basically attacking anybody who doesn't like STID and getting really nasty. I appreciate that you're taking people's arguments seriously and I hope you realize that I'm trying to respond in kind, not attacking you but throwing out what I see as counterarguments.
MidshipmanNorris - Wed, Aug 7, 2013 - 5:00pm (USA Central)
...Once again, whenever I type the antispam message, I think...

"GET AWAY FROM THAT LAUNCHER!!"

Now, I actually wasn't specifically addressing STID in my comments, but only attempting to examine the relationship between the identifying components of Science Fiction and the identifying components of storytelling.

I think it's a common tendency to jump straight to a qualitative judgement of the work, and I understand why, because 1. That is the point of this comments section, and 2. The point of comments sections in general is to express an opinion.

But I'm kind of wary of that thinking; I don't want to jump to condemn the film's "popcorn-ier" elements, even though I confess I had a similarly ambivalent reaction at first.

(This is tangential, but I do think JJ and Co. succeeded in giving us all something extremely controversial to discuss.)

Now, Dom, to address your comments specifically, you said:

"Trek is about exploration and Big Ideas and morality plays."

Most of the time, but not always. "The Trouble With Tribbles" has little in the way of big ideas or morality, beyond "Too much of anything, even love, isn't necessarily a good thing." Yet it's counted among the favorite episodes in TOS. And with good reason: it has a good story, is well-executed, and stands out as one of the funniest moments in Star Trek history. It makes you smile.

"Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations" may have been a Roddenberry marketing scheme, but as a philosophy of entertainment, it works surprisingly well. Star Trek doesn't have to be any one thing; there are certainly things it can't and shouldn't be (nihilistic, pornographic, et. al.), but the format isn't as rigid as I feel most people tend to think.

Now, that's not to say their personal preferences of what Star Trek should be are irrelevant. No, of course not. But when it's got so big, with so much history, it develops certain stratifications; you can have a sad episode, a funny episode, a battle epsiode, a mind-bender...many possibilities.

"The Cage"

I agree with you! All I said was that it doesn't depend solely on examining that idea: there's drama, conflict, spectacle, and resolution. There wasn't enough for the Desilu (or was it NBC?) suits, hence why they rejected it, but it is there.

You said:

"Finally, the Conflict, drama, resolution need to be good. That's where STID fails."

This is your opinion, and I can't cast it aside with that statement. This comments section is about examining each others' opinions. But I wonder how much of it might be based on what you've grown accustomed to after having watched Star Trek all these years. It's very different, but I found that it has it's own sort of "heart."
They seem to have been trying to appeal to the children of the generation that grew up with Star Trek (I'm one of those). Whether that appeal was successful, I suppose depends on the person.

It's like if your dad has been telling you stories about Captain Horatio Hornblower all your life, and then your dad dies, and when you go looking for someone to tell you those stories again, you naturally feel that it's "just not the same."

Thank you for your kind words. I think we (Trek fans) have a responsibility to make the attempt to include anyone who is following the rules of civilized conduct. That's what the social contract is all about.
MidshipmanNorris - Thu, Aug 8, 2013 - 2:26am (USA Central)
Hm...

I'd never seen Spock engage, of his own volition, in a battle to the death with anyone before.

Then I saw Star Trek Into Darkness.

I'd never seen an Enterprise crew member go toe-to-toe with Kirk on a decision, and get canned for his trouble.

Then I saw Star Trek Into Darkness.

I'd never seen Kirk presented with a romance story that was ever hinted at becoming semi-permanent.

Then I saw Star Trek Into Darkness.

I'd never seen Uhura fire a phaser!

Then I saw Star Trek Into Darkness.

I'd never seen Sulu bluff.

Then I saw Star Trek Into Darkness.

I'd never seen a realistic depiction of a hull breach.

Then I saw Star Trek Into Darkness.

And once and for all...

I've never seen the moment that Kirk, Spock and McCoy all looked at each other and realized that they were probably going to be together for a very, very long time.

Then I saw Star Trek Into Darkness.
Dom - Thu, Aug 8, 2013 - 7:28pm (USA Central)
@ MidshipmanNorris, thanks. I feel like part of the gulf between fans of the JJ Trek and older Trek is generational, as you suggest. But there seem to be a lot of people who liked the 2009 movie but not this one.

For me at least, there's a lot I like about STID, but I thought the plot twists were clumsy. I actually blame the writers more than JJ Abrams. But I love the new cast and it's nice to get strong special effects. I'm actually VERY hopeful for Trek 3 now that they've gotten new writers and JJ Abrams seems to be out.
MidshipmanNorris - Thu, Aug 8, 2013 - 8:55pm (USA Central)
"I'm actually VERY hopeful for Trek 3 now that they've gotten new writers and JJ Abrams seems to be out."

Not to mention that they're rolling in gold pressed latinum.
MidshipmanNorris - Thu, Aug 8, 2013 - 8:58pm (USA Central)
"The first duty of every Starfleet Officer is to the truth!"

I had said:

"They seem to have been trying to appeal to the children of the generation that grew up with Star Trek (I'm one of those). Whether that appeal was successful, I suppose depends on the person."

I wanted to clarify. I'm one of the children of the generation that grew up with Star Trek.
Yanks - Fri, Aug 9, 2013 - 5:19pm (USA Central)
"I've never seen the moment that Kirk, Spock and McCoy all looked at each other and realized that they were probably going to be together for a very, very long time.

Then I saw Star Trek Into Darkness."

Really?
MidshipmanNorris - Fri, Aug 9, 2013 - 7:48pm (USA Central)
You will die slowly...Durassss. 8D
Dom - Fri, Aug 9, 2013 - 9:53pm (USA Central)
@ MidshipmanNorris, I'm actually a bit worried that too much money might make the studio and director and scriptwriters lazy. Many of the best movies faced financial difficulties and were forced to be creative to tell their story. I worry money actually hurt Abrams' Trek by allowing him to give into temptation to just load the movie with special effects.
MidshipmanNorris - Fri, Aug 9, 2013 - 10:26pm (USA Central)
Dom, you said:

"I'm actually a bit worried that too much money might make the studio and director and scriptwriters lazy. Many of the best movies faced financial difficulties and were forced to be creative to tell their story."

An altogether valid concern. But certainly too much money is better than not enough money. Star Trek VI almost got cancelled for want of 3.5 mil. Then the suits played musical chairs, and one of Nick Meyer's friends ended up in a position to give the go-ahead.

"I worry money actually hurt Abrams' Trek by allowing him to give into temptation to just load the movie with special effects."

I don't think they're *overloaded* with special effects. Star Trek: The Motion Picture is overloaded with special effects.

But it is still an important concern, and I don't think it should be dismissed. But let's face it; the sword of Damicles has always hung over Star Trek, even at the pinnacle of its artistic validity. Nick Meyer fought tooth-and-nail to keep the shots of the Genesis Planet and Spock's Photon Tube out of Star Trek II. He thought it "attacked the integrity and the authenticity of the feelings generated by his death (Star Trek Movie Memories, p.249)."

Of course, it's worth saying that there was very little chance of Nick Meyer getting his way in that regard, but imagine what would have happened if he had raised a stink about it and gotten his way.

The point is, things are always going to be precarious, and the right people need to be there for it to really work. It's never going to be just perfect, smooth sailing. And I read a quote once, don't know where it's from, and don't feel like Googling it:

"Nothing is so good that someone, somewhere, will not hate it."
Genre-Buster - Fri, Aug 9, 2013 - 10:40pm (USA Central)
Excellent point, Dom.

A perfect example of what you're talking about is the "Khan crashes USS Vengence into major metropolitan area" sequence. Paramout shoehorned that truly idiotic set piece into this film for no other reason than "we've got the money." I can think of no other purpose - unless it was to show us that Khan is evil, "genocidal" as they say more than once in the film. But honestly - big f***ing deal. They could have shown that any number of ways, and a smaller budget would have forced them to think creatively. Instead, the budget forced them to think in terms of pure safety: what would be the best way to spend this money and have proof of its proper use on the screen for all to see?

Answer: BIG HUGE APOCALYPTIC SEQUENCE.

Did I say I liked this movie? I take it back.
MidshipmanNorris - Fri, Aug 9, 2013 - 10:53pm (USA Central)
A big sticking point for a lot of people is Kirk's Disney Death. They compare it to Spock's death, as they are being directed to do by the imagery and the borrowed dialogue (a point I admit I had trouble swallowing in the theater).

But there's a silver lining to it; as Genre-Buster pointed out in his post above:

"What really surprised me about this movie - and in a good way (for the time being, I'll have to let go of the the ass-pain that idiotic contrivance with Khan's blood being some kind of ambrosial elixir gave me - give me a f***ing break), what really surprised me was Kirk's transformation after dying and being resurrected, a transformation that I honestly did not see coming. Suddenly, there he was, a man upon whom the full weight of his responsibilities had at long last dawned. Carol Marcus shoots him a seductive glance, and lo and behold, he simply smiles, greets her as a respected colleague, and moves to the podium to give his speech. Pine's delivery of that speech was shockingly dignified and, I daresay, inspiring. Here he is - a man at last."

You know what this reminds me of?

"The Jean-Luc Picard you wanted to be, the one who did *not* fight the Nausicaan, had quite a different career from the one you remember.

That Picard never had a brush with death...never came face to face with his own mortality...never realized how fragile life is...how important each moment can be...so his life never came into focus. He drifted through much of his career, with no plan or agenda...going from one assignment to the next, never seizing the opportunities that presented themselves...

(beat)

He didn't lead the away team on Milika III to save that ambassador...he didn't take charge of the Stargazer's bridge when its captain was killed...and no one ever offered him a command.

(beat)

He learned to play it safe. And he never, ever got noticed by anyone."

And this last point I'll make is, admittedly, a matter of taste, but as much as people chide the composer, he (or somebody with say-so over him) made the decision to quote the theme from "Star Trek: Generations" that plays when Kirk Prime dies.

This one: www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8_oqgPwHfI&feature=player_detailpage&t=64

They had me going there for a minute!
MidshipmanNorris - Fri, Aug 9, 2013 - 10:58pm (USA Central)
Genre-Buster:

Sure, it's big, loud, and abrasive, which is not what we're used to.

It's also largely unnecessary, but it doesn't specifically take anything away from the film. The Vengeance had to crash into something, and showing that it crashed, rather than telling us it crashes, is a good decision in and of itself. It might be kind of overblown, but at least it's not handwaved out of existence, like, the ship got disabled and is just hanging there up in space, and Khan transwarp-transports down to Earth to try and escape.

I know it's going to an extreme to present my point, but it just seems like you wouldn't be happy unless they did a Star Trek stage play.
Dom - Sat, Aug 10, 2013 - 1:03am (USA Central)
I think Gene-Buster's example is actually relevant. It's not just that the scene of the Vengeance crashing had big, splashy special effects. The reason the scene fell flat for me was that it focused on the special effects and not the character drama or conflict. One of the biggest mistakes in that scene is that it focuses on the ship crashing into buildings with no indication of a human fallout. We don't get the impression that anything, much less human lives, are at risk. All we see are a bunch of buildings being destroyed. To make it worse, when Spock and Khan are walking the streets of London, we see pedestrians walking around as if nothing had happened! I mean, this sort of terrorist attack happened to us during 9-11, and I know for a fact that New Yorkers did not simply keep walking oblivious to the attack. At the least, we should have seen more fallout and maybe even a sense that we should kind of feel bad for these people.
MidshipmanNorris - Sat, Aug 10, 2013 - 2:32am (USA Central)
Hm. I think I see the problem. You're right.

But I think back on the film, and...

I think this is the only example of such a shortfall. Could it be that they didn't want you to focus on the dramatic implications of the scene? If that were so, then the question must be asked: why not?

Was it because someone said, "Oh, I don't want to focus on the dramatic content of this scene, I think that's unnecessary, people only care about big buildings being smashed, no one's going to be watching it that carefully anyway, and we're marketing to 10 years olds."

That seems unlikely. It's just blatant stupidity, and however much you disagree with the decisions of the writers and director, I just find it hard to believe anyone capable of producing a film could be that stupid and pigheaded.

Now, another possibility is that someone suggested it, and someone else said, "we don't have the time or money to create such a scene, it would require too much coordination among the extra cast, it would be too complicated to shoot, and it'll run our production schedule over."

That seems slightly more likely, as it's based out of simple practicality, and reading about the production of TOS and the TOS-based movies, you hear about that sort of thing a lot.

Now, you might respond that the film had a budget of $190 million+, how could they not be able to afford it?

According to the Inflation Calculator (that I Googled), 190 million in 1982 dollars, for example, is reported to be around 80 million dollars, which is a little more than seven times the budget of Wrath of Khan.

So now it seems a bit less likely that it was budgetary concerns.

A third possibility is that someone said, "we should make this grittier, like 9-11," and someone else said, "I don't know, I think that's getting a little heavy for people. The war's ending, our audience is primarily liberals, and people in general are tired of thinking about it. We're in a liberal administration right now, and the clout of the war rhetoric is at a low ebb. I think we should play it down."

I'm not sure how to feel about this possibility. It has rather...complex implications.
MidshipmanNorris - Sat, Aug 10, 2013 - 2:39am (USA Central)
Addendum:

*Anyone capable of producing a film SUCH AS THIS.*
Eduardo - Sat, Aug 10, 2013 - 12:48pm (USA Central)
I'll give a fourth possibility:

The audience's concern has to be whether Spock is able to avenge Kirk's death, not the crash itself. Everything else is collateral.

Consider the Vengeance's crash to be a visual depiction of Khan's level of madness.
Yanks - Sat, Aug 10, 2013 - 3:00pm (USA Central)
All I know is I saw STID twice in the theater. Both times folks got up and left when Harrison announce he was Khan.
MidshipmanNorris - Sat, Aug 10, 2013 - 3:59pm (USA Central)
"All I know is I saw STID twice in the theater. Both times folks got up and left when Harrison announce he was Khan."

I would say that they are taking this franchise too seriously, and quote the MST3K Mantra, but...

I dunno. I love it, and want to see it again, but can't afford to. One man's trash...
MidshipmanNorris - Sat, Aug 10, 2013 - 4:05pm (USA Central)
Hm...

I thought of this...

The new fans who've never seen Star Trek before. They're hooked now.

They came for the buildings crumbling...

They'll stay for the art.
MidshipmanNorris - Sat, Aug 10, 2013 - 4:07pm (USA Central)
And if you don't believe they will, then it's up to you to tell them why they should.

Are you getting me?
Genre-Buster - Sat, Aug 10, 2013 - 10:35pm (USA Central)
MSN: "The new fans who've never seen Star Trek before. They're hooked now."

Are they? Proof, please...

There was a time when action movies only ever needed a single set piece in order to be memorable, i.e. get us "hooked". I mean, go back to the original Die Hard - the scene near the end where they blow the roof and McClain has to swing off using a fire-hose rig - a truly original, inventive, and completely thrilling action sequence, and again, the film's only one.

For STID, I counted a total of EIGHT set pieces, none of which had me particularly enthralled, and every single one of them derivative of stuff I'd seen in other films. Here they are, with the films they ripped off in parentheses:

1) Pre-credit sequence (Indiana Jones franchise)
2) Attack at star fleet command (Godfather III, Die Hard [see above])
3) Klingon/shuttle chase (Star Wars franchise)
4) Vengeance attacks Enterprise (about a million films)
5) Spacesuit flight between ships (this may be an exception - but I smell ST Insurrection)
6) Gravity trouble on Enterprise (Inception, Matrix franchise)
7) Vengeance crashes into city (Roland Emmerich/Michael Bay ad nauseum)
8) Spock vs Khan chase sequence/fistfight (another million or so films)

I get the feeling that the above list was the original script outline for STID. And NONE of this constitutes any of what I liked about the film.

And getting back to what I was saying about sci-fi: There's no possible room for any meaningful science fiction in a film packed with this kind of seizure-inducing action. How could there be?
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Aug 11, 2013 - 12:24am (USA Central)
"There's no possible room for any meaningful science fiction in a film packed with this kind of seizure-inducing action."

Define meaningful.
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Aug 11, 2013 - 1:02am (USA Central)
Perhaps if I made it more interesting to you:

What, out of all previous official Star Trek stories, are the most meaningful to you?

Meaning is subjective. If Star Trek Into Darkness means something to me, then it means something.

You're dealing with a very difficult-to-pin-down concept here, and you're presenting it like everyone's supposed to accept it as having a universal denotative definition.

...And that's terrible.
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Aug 11, 2013 - 1:06am (USA Central)
And by the way, a million years ago, Digedag said that I "lacked the necessary theoretical knowledge of film to have a meaningful discussion here."

I think what he meant was that it's obvious I haven't studied film theory. If so, he is correct; I'm an amateur at best.

As much as people jumped on it for being a thing, he is right.
Genre-Buster - Sun, Aug 11, 2013 - 1:52am (USA Central)
Dang, you're sensitive.

Fine - please by all means delete the word "meaningful" from my post and read it again. The subject is science fiction, not 'meaning', so it doesn't change my core point one iota.

Yes, there were 'meaningful' moments in STID - I never said there weren't. But when it comes to science fiction, yes, I do have standards: Frank Herbert, Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, Douglas Adams, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov. There are times when Trek has been able to meet these standards - not very often, but I generally let it slide because at least at least an attempt was made.

I'm sorry, but the latest two Trek films don't even do that much. They're simply action films on steroids, mixed with a little bit of coming-of-age (as we mentioned before), and little to no science fiction content.

I don't even know why we're arguing on this point, it seems so obvious.
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Aug 11, 2013 - 1:56am (USA Central)
"I don't even know why we're arguing on this point, it seems so obvious."

'If you've got a better idea, now's the time.'

I've been described as "sensitive" by a lot of people, but I don't *think* I'm doing that here...just jumping on the ammunition you gave me. I'm being clinical, tactical...devious, even.

I didn't mean any offense to you personally.

By the way, the MST3K Mantra I mentioned above goes:

"It's just a show, I should really just relax."

Once again, GB this isn't directed at you personally, just something that I try to remind myself of periodically.
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Aug 11, 2013 - 2:03am (USA Central)
I'm just having a good time. I'm not going to win anything if my comment ends up being the last one. I know that.

I'm just practicing my debating skills really. I've said that I think the film is good, and good for Star Trek in general, and if nobody agrees with me, it isn't going to be the worst thing that's ever happened to me.
Genre-Buster - Sun, Aug 11, 2013 - 2:37am (USA Central)
You haven't offended me, MSN, but you are trying my patience. If you want to sharpen your debating skills, you should address my core point about science-fiction and not graze around its edges by nit-picking the modifiers I chose. Yes, STID is just a show, and we're all relaxed here. So leaving off the issue of whether it was good or bad or meaningful or whatever, let me just ask the question point-blank:

Is it science-fiction?
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Aug 11, 2013 - 4:50am (USA Central)
No, it is not.

The idea that STID is any kind of step forward for Science Fiction in general is unsupportable.

But this is a franchise that has hemorrhaged money for years. Things weren't looking that good for it.

This movie is a grand flourish, a broad stroke. A retrospective. It was designed to pound out dollars as quickly and easily as possible, by word of mouth. They wanted to get people to talk about it, even if they had to piss them off to do it.

It was underhanded, sure. And a bit questionable in many other ways.

But I think there were probably a lot of people who thought the shots of Genesis and Spock's Coffin were shilling to the paying audience, too, at the time.

History has forgotten those people. Wrath of Khan is pointed to as the best of the best of the best, because it put the franchise back on its feet.
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Aug 11, 2013 - 4:58am (USA Central)
And for that matter, all of Star Trek III is just one long shill to the paying audience.

Let's face it: in a movie called "The Search For Spock," you can't not find Spock.
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Aug 11, 2013 - 5:03am (USA Central)
And in the interest of civility, I'll just say something I liked about the film.

The scene where Kirk says he's going to miss Spock (right before the Godfather rip-off scene) is intriguing. Quinto played that well.

Spock, who has been ostracized by his race since childhood for being half human, is told point blank by Kirk, "We are friends."

He doesn't know what to say at all, and I think it comes off superbly.
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Aug 11, 2013 - 5:07am (USA Central)
Consider this a footnote.

Wrath of Khan started shooting two weeks after I was born.

I'm the same age as that movie, and it's 31. We just passed its 30th anniversary.

I think that calls for a celebration.
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Aug 11, 2013 - 10:42am (USA Central)
And lastly:

Spock's reaction to Kirk's suffering in the chamber could have been worse.

If I recall correctly, it's:

"KHAAAAAAAN!!"

Whereas, in Wrath of Khan, it's:

"KHAAAAN!!" ... "khaaan" ... "khan"

...Echoing through the crust of Regula into the cosmos itself.

...Where there is no air for the sound waves to travel through.
Jo Jo Meastro - Sun, Aug 11, 2013 - 2:47pm (USA Central)
Wow, I'm impressed the discussion is still going strong! For what its worth I'll try to give my side of the argument against the many naysayers, but like MidshipmanNorris I'm only interested in light hearted fun discussion (I had to laugh at the guys a while ago who were talking about being experts on film thesis and trying to squeeze in as many complicated words as they could, in the silly belief that it somehow rises their *opinions* above everyone else!).

Anyway, I enjoy films of all shapes and sizes. From Die Hard to Frost Nixon and everything in between, so perhaps I'm just too easy please. But from my point of view, I thought Star Trek Into Darkness was a good movie even when it made some clumsy stumbles along the way (mostly to do with the plot that could have been ironed out a little).

It had everything for everyone, in a fresh blending of the retro meeting the modern and the high octane spectacle balanced out with some inspired character work. There was emotion (who didn't tear up when Spock admitted to becoming so numb ever since the destruction of his home world, or even Scottys' heartfelt and pained resignation from the Enterprise?).

I think everybody knows it isn't exactly high art, but it hits the spot for most and it is a real, thrilling, witty, colourful, fun Trek blockbuster which doesn't forget its characters nor its iconic origins. It missed some marks and left some boxes un-ticked, but on the whole I believe its a very satisfying entry to the Trek film series which has definitely seen some stinkers along the way.

I'm confident a third film would likely to be even better, and I'd hope that in hindsight people can give Into Darkness another chance.
MidshipmanNorris - Mon, Aug 12, 2013 - 4:53am (USA Central)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1PejM57F8s

"I'm sorry, Doctor, I have no time to discuss this logically."
MidshipmanNorris - Mon, Aug 12, 2013 - 10:01am (USA Central)
(I was afraid Harrison would be Sybok)
Dom - Mon, Aug 12, 2013 - 5:35pm (USA Central)
I think Genre-Buster and MSN are discussing one of the most interesting aspects of movie criticism. Older movies often do look more intelligent in hindsight. I'm not convinced TWOK was supposed to be hard science fiction. Heck, even Nicholas Meyer says it was essentially glorified Horatio Hornblower.

BUT, I think one reason why I think TWOK will stand the test of time and STID won't is because TWOK had a coherent theme. The movie was about aging and accepting what nature has wrought. And this theme ties directly with the characters and how they change, especially Kirk (I love when he says "I feel young").

First Contact I think succeeded on this level as well. There was a lot in FC about what it means to be a "man" and rising above your baser instincts. Was the biological implants the Borg gave Data taking him closer to humanity or giving into temptation? Was the noble image the Enterprise crew has of Zefram Cochrane more true than the reality of a hard drinking bum? How could even the noble Picard, who preaches about 24th century human virtues, give into his desire for revenge against the Borg? It's subtle, but it gives the movie a richness that means I'll enjoy watching it even 20 years from now.

I don't get that with STID or 2009 Trek (and to be fair many other Trek movies). I think STID tried to hit upon a few moral dilemmas, such as remote assassinations, but they didn't feel like coherent themes that unified the entire movie. At the very least, I would have want Spock and Kirk to come back to that question at the end and try to reflect upon what happened and how it relates to the theme. TWOK did it very simply but effectively with Kirk's "I feel young" quote. STID didn't have anything quite so powerful tying it all together.
MidshipmanNorris - Mon, Aug 12, 2013 - 7:13pm (USA Central)
You're making a new adopter's job very difficult by throwing the entire Catholic Mass at them right away.

This is something that the majority of people in the world are wary of getting interested in.

It just simply isn't as widespread as you're assuming it is, or perhaps shouldn't be as limited as it is.

To get more people interested in it, you have to make it easy for them to get into it.

There is likely at least one person who saw these two films, and these two films only, who decides "You know, I'm gonna check out the rest of Star Trek, and see what all the fuss is about."

If we make even that one person's enjoyment of the series invalid by questioning how he/she came to the series, we are ignoring everything we claim to cherish about the message inherent in Star Trek, that we have a responsibility to make the attempt to include anyone who is willing to follow the rules of civilized conduct.

You can't exclude stupid people.

"Oh, COME ON, Bob! I don't know about you, but my compassion for someone isn't limited to my estimate of their intelligence!"
MidshipmanNorris - Mon, Aug 12, 2013 - 7:30pm (USA Central)
It's just a different flavor. The other flavors don't cease to exist because this is a different flavor.
Yanks - Tue, Aug 13, 2013 - 10:24am (USA Central)
MidshipmanNorris,

"I would say that they are taking this franchise too seriously, and quote the MST3K Mantra, but...

I dunno. I love it, and want to see it again, but can't afford to. One man's trash..."

I don't hate it and don't form any sort of opinion of you because you love it. I saw it twice in the theater and will buy the combo pac! 

But those folks leaving the theater and the many MANY others (including me) that shook their head, or slapped their forehead, or looked up at the ceiling and asked "why?" when Kirk was heading down to fix the core... those are the folks that have endeared themselves to this franchise. Those are folks that for DECADES have supported this franchise, and for them to get slapped in the face (and the TWoK reversal HAD to be considered nothing but that) is very - very frustrating.

You can tell the same story, and not rip off arguably the movie franchise's most moving and iconic moment.

You can tell the same story and not give us a Khan reveal that accomplishes nothing but to piss of the faithful and meant nothing to those that aren't.

How simple would it have been to have ADM Marcus find some eggs from Cold Station 12, bring one to adult hood through some genetic mumbo jumbo (Harrison) and have Harrison find out that ADM Marcus desires to destroy all the evidence to include all the other unlatched eggs?

You accomplish the same thing and don't piss anyone off!

There are many, and I mean many, that understand how simple it would have been to accomplish the same story without ripping off TWoK. They ask themselves why? Why go there Orci, Kurtzman & Lindelof? Is this an intentional slap in the face to the trekkies? IT FELT LIKE IT! Do they even care?
Yanks - Tue, Aug 13, 2013 - 1:00pm (USA Central)
STID ranks pretty damn low at the Vegas Star Trek convention (favorite movie poll).

Hot off the presses and fresh in everyone's memories...STID....

...came in DEAD LAST.

Wow, how about that for a message from the Trek faithful?

www.blastr.com/2013-8-12/ouch-fans-vote-galaxy-quest-better-trek-movie-dark ness
MidshipmanNorris - Tue, Aug 13, 2013 - 6:42pm (USA Central)
I'll bet you Roddenberry felt pretty ripped off...

When Wrath of Khan was successful. They told him in no uncertain terms, "hands off, play nice and we'll cut you in, you give us any more trouble, we will stop playing nice."

They took it completely out of his hands and just made whatever they wanted to.

But explain to me how this is a series that has never ripped anything off.
MidshipmanNorris - Tue, Aug 13, 2013 - 6:49pm (USA Central)
"If the Admiral can't see the facts for himself, then...with all due respect...he's as blind as a Tiberian bat! ...Sir!"
Michael - Sat, Aug 17, 2013 - 11:48am (USA Central)
@Yanks

I think you're right on the money there. I was going to say that I thought the fans in that poll were being unfair to STID, which I neither particularly liked nor particularly disliked, but the recycling of whole scenes really is kind of offensive when I think back on it. Whereas I strongly dislike the TNG movies because I feel they ruined the characters and were basically just dumb action movies, at least they didn't just steal whole scenes as an "homage". Still, I don't really have strong feelings about STID one way or the other. I enjoyed it enough as an action movie, but when people asked me if they should see it, I couldn't really recommend it. It wasn't totally without merit, but if you want to watch something star trek there are literally hundreds of hours of significantly better material available.
Grumpy - Sun, Aug 18, 2013 - 12:59am (USA Central)
Permit me to rewind the discussion a week. When Dom said, "I'm actually a bit worried that too much money might make the studio and director and scriptwriters lazy," it's very relevant in light of a recent interview with Lindelof.

www.vulture.com/2013/08/script-doctor-damon-lindelof-on-blockbuster-screenw riting.html

“Once you spend more than $100 million on a movie, you have to save the world... It’s almost impossible to, for example, not have a final set piece where the fate of the free world is at stake... Did Star Trek Into Darkness need to have a gigantic starship crashing into San ­Francisco? I’ll never know. But it sure felt like it did."

By the way, Lindelof mentions that earlier versions ended the movie with the Klingons attacking and Uhura defusing the war. In its place, we got a post-climax sequence that a) left people wondering, "What about the Klingons?"; b) gave us an embarrasing Wrath of Khan homage; and c) concluded with Spock punching a guy.

What I don't understand is, if spending $100 million forces the story into dumb corners, why not *spend less money*?? Apparently, the only reason to crash the starship is to include that image in the marketing, in hopes of attracting more ticket buyers, in hopes of earning back the movie's budget (and sell ancillary merchandise). Not to make a better story -- the quality of the movie is irrelevant to its box office in the age of one-weekend wonders. Word-of-mouth is irrelevant; box office returns are purely a measurement of how effective the marketing was.

So it's not that big budgets make filmmakers lazy or that adversity is a better muse. It's that the budget tail is wagging the story dog. Instead of "here's a story, how much will it cost?" today's blockbusters begin with "here's the budget, now create a product that will earn a profit." The actual story is incidental; the movie exists an advertisement for the franchise.
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Aug 18, 2013 - 5:33am (USA Central)
Grumpy:

"The actual story is incidental"

There is only one solution to this, and it's not going to be a long-winded speech about budgets wagging dog's tails or whatever.

Write your own Star Trek stories.

Remember Robin Leffler?

"When all else fails, do it yourself."

If you don't like their story, then "I dare you to do better."
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Aug 18, 2013 - 5:38am (USA Central)
How big are movie theater speakers? How much magnet does it take to construct one? I bet they're expensive.

How much does it cost to make a comfortable seat? How about to make 140 comfortable seats all right next to each other? I bet it's expensive.

How much does it cost to maintain digital projection equipment? I bet they're expensive.

Movies are big, loud, expensive, and breathtaking. They are not TV. They are not books. They are movies.

You go to movies for CATHARSIS. Not for an examination of the the thought processes of V'Ger, but for Khan Noonien Singh *blowing up.*

That is what movies are. If you want arthouse, Star Trek is NOT your thing. Star Trek requires a person with the imagination of a child.
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Aug 18, 2013 - 5:43am (USA Central)
"How can you be deaf with *ears* like that?!?"
Genre-buster - Sun, Aug 18, 2013 - 12:42pm (USA Central)
GB: Grandmother, what an odd definition of catharsis you have...

MSN: The better to swallow your posts with, my dear.


Things going boom do not a true catharsis make. In my view, the V-Ger mystery at the center of TMP and its reveal at the end are about a million times more cathartic than all of the explosions in all of the subsequent Trek movies combined.

Surely you're aware that you're flying directly in the face of what Lindelhof himself freely admits is a huge problem with the present-day blockbuster.

Trek's potential remains, but not in its present format. I say the franchise be returned to television, which has evolved TREMENDOUSLY since Enterprise was cancelled over a decade ago. Let Paramount do with Trek what HBO is doing with Game of Thrones, what AMC is doing with zombies, and what is clearly becoming the real future of the medium anyway: no more than twelve episodes per season, all attention and effort put on quality of storyline, and nothing goes boom until it needs to.
Grumpy - Sun, Aug 18, 2013 - 5:33pm (USA Central)
The medium shapes the message, yes, and in the case of blockbuster movies, stories are designed for the theater. That demands either spectacle (which needs big hardware to appreciate), laughs or scares (audience participation), or stuff that couples or families can experience together (destination-based entertainment). Stories that don't push those buttons can't compete with TV, etc.

The suggestion "Write your own Star Trek stories" is actually a little depressing. If I could stare at a wall and imagine a better story, why do I need published works at all? (I'm sure the fanfic community wrestles with this conundrum constantly.) Published works can't help but be disappointing. When, for example, the latest Star Trek sequel was announced, the potential for stories was limitless (within the bounds of the blockbuster formula). When the work is published, those possibilities collapse into the actual instance. The published story is privileged by existing for all to see, not by virtue of being the best possible story.
Mark - Mon, Aug 19, 2013 - 5:23am (USA Central)
I loved it! It proved that Trek still has a reason to be out there.
I am a fan of TOS, TNG and VOY and I embrace the reboot. 'It's fun!'
MidshipmanNorris - Mon, Aug 19, 2013 - 7:50am (USA Central)
Admittedly, the two extremes of:

____
SPOCK: V'ger is asking, "is this all that I am? Is there nothing more?"
____

and:

____
KHAN: From hell's heart, I stab at thee!! For hate's sake...I SPIT...my last BREATH at thee!!
____

Are the absolute extreme ends of the spectrum on catharsis vs. statement of theme.

The problem is, if you have a huge movie theater to play with, you naturally are going to want to do things that show off the possibilities of the equipment at your disposal. Otherwise, why did this picture cost 190 blanking million dollars?

I think the idea of a 12-episode-a-year Trek show released online through a streaming service of some sort would be great, just great! That's a marvelous idea! They can get outside the pattern of building to a bigger climax every fifteen minutes.
Pachazo - Mon, Aug 19, 2013 - 9:20am (USA Central)
@Grumpy, I share your sentiments. There is truly no need to spend so much money making a film just for the sake of creating a huge spectacle. The story certainly does become incidental. The quote you posted from Lindelof captures this perfectly. They really seemed to be confused on what direction to take.

Sometimes limitations force you to become more creative. It would be interesting to see what they could come up with if they had only half the budget. Actually it probably wouldn't. It would just expose them as the frauds they are.

Tim - Mon, Aug 19, 2013 - 10:06am (USA Central)
I hope the review comes soon so I should know if I should see it at my local cineplex
Brandon - Mon, Aug 19, 2013 - 1:48pm (USA Central)
I refuse to believe that the cinema medium is incapable of turning out a movie that's both exciting and thought-provoking. I'd like Trek back on TV, yes. But modern moviemakers HAVE experienced success with metaphor on the big screen. It's tricky, but doable. You don't even have to be Christopher Nolan or Steven Spielberg to do it. I'd love to see Duncan Jones, Alfonso Cuaron, Neil Blomkamp, or Alex Garland take a crack at Trek. Ron Moore or Bryan Fuller would be a welcome sight. Hell, I saw more legitimate science fiction than ST:ID in both Prometheus and Wall-E.

Of course, Trek will never get a real writer. Paramount would have to be looking for someone with real imagination and respect for the audience instead of merely dollar signs in their eyes. Lindelof's comments about feeling enslaved to blockbuster expectations indicate exactly where he falls on that spectrum.
MidshipmanNorris - Tue, Aug 20, 2013 - 2:13am (USA Central)
You all seem bound and determined to simply hurl insults at things and people you don't like.

You aren't really examining the nuts and bolts of film making, but simply calling people and their work names.
MidshipmanNorris - Tue, Aug 20, 2013 - 2:14am (USA Central)
I find it immature.
Genre-Buster - Tue, Aug 20, 2013 - 3:38am (USA Central)
MSN, what on earth are you talking about?

I think this discussion is going quite well. It's opinionated, certainly, but for the most part civilized. I suppose you may have a point about maturity, since we're all taking time out of our day to post about frigging Star Trek of all things, but insults? Name-calling? Please, be serious.
MidshipmanNorris - Wed, Aug 21, 2013 - 2:14am (USA Central)
______
It would just expose them as the frauds they are.

I saw more legitimate science fiction than ST:ID in both Prometheus and Wall-E.

Paramount would have to be looking for someone with real imagination and respect for the audience instead of merely dollar signs in their eyes.
________
...This kind of stuff isn't discussion, but vitriol. Calm yourselves, please.

I realize that's only a small fraction of what's been said, but this stuff is counter-productive, in my opinion.

Do we have to insult things in order to have a discussion? I'm sorry JJ Abrams and his Blockbuster Mentality stepped on your feet and took your lunch money, but I'd enjoy the discussion more if we could get beyond slagging the film. You're just going to make people feel uncomfortable posting here if they don't agree with you about the film; you can't un-make the dang thing.

And ya know, there have been worse money-shilling blockbusters, even in this series. I don't agree with the Vegas Convention Poll.

None of us has had the chance to see this film in the quiet of our living room yet...or if they have, then they aren't talking yet.

And hey, you know, it's possible my opinion of the film might change upon re-viewing it.
Dom - Wed, Aug 21, 2013 - 6:28pm (USA Central)
"I saw more legitimate science fiction than ST:ID in both Prometheus and Wall-E."

How is that inappropriate? There's a very fair argument that both Prometheus and Wall-E tried to explore broader sci-fi themes (meeting our Maker, end of the world), whereas STID didn't really try except for a throwaway line about extrajudicial assassinations.

If you like the movie, nobody can take that away. But for people who were disappointed it's also fair to make those sorts of comparisons and point out the problems in the writers' and Paramount's approach.
Genre-Buster - Wed, Aug 21, 2013 - 8:51pm (USA Central)
I suppose calling the filmmakers frauds is a little bit snarky, but come on, they're millionaires; they can handle it. And Brandon has repeatedly presnted his arguments concerning "real imagination and respect for the audience" here in this thread, in the Trek '09 thread, and the STID trailer thread. He's very passionate, but eloquent as all get out. Go back and read his stuff. He's good.

All of this is leading everyone (including you, MSN) away from what the discussion here should be all about: Trek. So I'll reopen the discussion on Trek for TV: Interesting that the season opener of Breaking Bad featured a whole scene of Trek-Talk. I wonder if this means AMC is picking it up.

Comments?
Demosthenes - Wed, Aug 21, 2013 - 11:36pm (USA Central)
"Movies are big, loud, expensive, and breathtaking."

How big was "Rear Window," or "12 Angry Men"?
How loud was "Double Indemnity," or "The Apartment"?
How expensive was "Halloween," or "Animal House"?
How breathtaking was "Taxi Driver," or "The Manchurian Candidate"?
Which ones of these aren't movies?

Look, I loved "The Avengers" and the Dark Knight films. I enjoyed the hell out of "The Hunger Games." I even found quite a few nice things to say about "Skyfall," which I seem to like a lot less than the rest of the world does. But your definition of movies is as silly as it is reductive. Just because one type of movie (the blockbuster) operates according to your rules does not mean that this is all there is.

"You go to movies for CATHARSIS. Not for an examination of the the thought processes of V'Ger, but for Khan Noonien Singh *blowing up.*"

If it hadn't been for the intense long-standing character examination of Kirk, Spock, and Khan in TWOK, it wouldn't have been half as cathartic when Khan blew up! Seriously, how is that not clear?

I'm not saying that I don't enjoy it when things happen on film, or that I will watch nothing but Scandinavian art films and "Last Year at Marienbad." And I'm not defending the indefensible slow pace of ST:TMP. But I cared about Montal-Khan in a way I never could care about Khan-berbatch, and I love TWOK whereas I am still queasy when thinking about ST:iD. That's because the action in TWOK was about more than just blowin' stuff up real good.

I second Brandon's claim that it is possible to turn out movies which satisfy both our higher cognitive functions and our animal pleasures. For the past several years, Christopher Nolan's been the master of this. I defy anyone to see "Inception" and then (love it or hate it) tell me that it was JUST about ideas, or JUST about action. This dualism -- we can either have "2001" or "Star Wars," but not both in the same movie -- has got to stop.

"You're just going to make people feel uncomfortable posting here if they don't agree with you about the film..."

Which doesn't seem to have stopped you from, not only posting about the film, but risking the discomfort of people like me by disagreeing with us. And yet...we survive.

I have tried to avoid saying this, but here it comes: if anyone's feelings are so delicate that they would be intimidated into silence by some anonymous non-descript geeks* posting spirited disagreement with their aesthetic opinions on a third-party boutique website, then they need to stop having the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone.

* Yes, geeks. We all know it's true. Let's own it, baby.
MidshipmanNorris - Thu, Aug 22, 2013 - 3:36am (USA Central)
"risking the discomfort of people like me by disagreeing with us."

You may not have done it consciously, but this is a twisting of my words. I said "do you have to be so vitriolic," not "do you have to disagree with me."

I'm not the boss of you, or anybody really, but I personally don't think it's ever productive to hurl insults, no matter how strongly you feel. It's much more productive to cite examples of the strengths or weaknesses of the decisions the production team made...to analyze it, not judge it.

And the list of movies that weren't big, loud, expensive and breathtaking...

Yeah, none of those are franchises except Halloween, and it ain't cuz it's got artistic integrity. The distinction I'm making here, and that I should have made in the first place, was that franchise movies have typically been big, loud, expensive and breathtaking. This is the prototype put forth by, yeah, you guessed it, Star Wars.

Now, that's not to say a different approach could not be tried, and really, if you wanted to, right now would be a great time. Star Trek 3...I mean, if they wanted to make an artistic statement, they certainly have the money, and moreover, it seems to me that you guys are *demanding* that.

You are demanding it, aren't you?

...Hm...

Now all you have to do is make that demand...

...Popular.
MidshipmanNorris - Thu, Aug 22, 2013 - 3:44am (USA Central)
Here's a thought:

Would TMP have been as bad if it wasn't shot in pastels, with crew members dressed in pajamas, and didn't have a bald woman who required 19 takes of the line "No" in a leading role?

Could whoever comes next do the impossible and make The Motion Picture...gasp...a good movie?
Higgs_Boson - Thu, Aug 22, 2013 - 11:58am (USA Central)
Here are some quotes from another forum that are in line with my thoughts:

Regarding the complaint that STID copied TWOK: "This point still annoys me. Into Darkness is not a copy of Wrath of Khan. It happens to use a villain that was used in a previous incarnation of the franchise, just like Dark Knight used Joker, Superman II, IV, and Returns used Luthor. It shares almost nothing with Wrath of Khan except an homage-ish moment at the end. It actually has more in common with Space Seed, in that Khan is discovered in the Botany Bay, is revived, and proves to have an agenda.

Plot points from Wrath of Khan NOT in Into Darkness: Khan is not seeking revenge against Kirk, Carol Marcus is not an old lover, Kirk does not have a son, there is no Genesis device, there is no Genesis planet, Spock doesn't die, there is no Reliant, none of Khan's crew are revived. There are certainly other things the two movies don't share.

Stop calling this movie a copy of anything. Hate if you want to, but at least be honest about why you don't like it. Stop following the herd of old trekkies who can't face that time moves on. Actors change, movies change, franchises change, tastes change. A lot of people, judging from box office, feel like Into Darkness got more right than wrong."

Regarding the convention vote that STID is the worst trek film: "Trekkies need to get over themselves! Seriously! It's a movie for crying out loud, and yes Wrath of Khan is one of the greatest trek movies ever made, but I would put Undiscovered Country over that one anytime.

JJ's Trek, is a totally different movie series all together. It's a fresh take, and has a broader appeal to market the general audience. Compare box office results with any of the original Trek movies and you will find this to be factually true.

It's a general fact that there are two types of audiences: the cerebral audience, that makes up about 10 to 20 percent of the population, and then everyone else, who is considered the general Population. Now these people are not considered stupid by the film industry, but they are the people who just want to go to the movies and lose themselves in a good time. Deep plots and inward thinking is not something they are looking for after working a hard job all day. They are looking to relax and check their brain at the door.

If Trekkies can't accept the way things are then they just need to sit in their houses and watch the old DVD's. But seriously, they need to stop the wining. It's not going to get their version of Trek back, as Paramount is clearly listening to the general audience and not them."
Eduardo - Thu, Aug 22, 2013 - 4:19pm (USA Central)
"Deep plots and inward thinking is not something they are looking for after working a hard job all day. They are looking to relax and check their brain at the door."

I'm sorry. Working what hard job?

The people you've mentioned never worked a hard job in their life. Making fast food for 10$ an hour doesn't require a lot of brain power, nor does driving cabs or selling stuff.

Writers have hard jobs. Directors have hard jobs. Editors have brutal jobs. Producers have life-consuming jobs. And they still find the time to watch thought-provoking stories.

To quote Star Trek's Ron Moore (technically a TV rant, but it still applies to movies):

"You just quickly get the audience up to speed, because the audience is not stupid. The audience has watched television for a long time. They understand that they have missed some things, that perhaps this is a reference to a show that they didn’t see. They aren’t just going to throw up their hands and move on. If you are pre-supposing that, you are aiming towards the person that is grabbing a beer, and isn’t really paying attention, and is walking out of the room every ten minutes and coming back and sitting down; all you are going to do is dumb down the show. You are reducing it to its lowest common denominator, and what’s the point of that? What do you get out of that?"
MidshipmanNorris - Fri, Aug 23, 2013 - 5:13am (USA Central)
Eduardo:

"The people you've mentioned never worked a hard job in their life. Making fast food for 10$ an hour doesn't require a lot of brain power, nor does driving cabs or selling stuff."

Not everyone is a creative. Most people don't have the sheer mental energy to think about fantasy the way you do. Executives, managers, court reporters, math teachers, construction workers, police officers, military personnel, website administrators, etc.

There are lots of people who work jobs that are extremely mentally taxing that are not $10 an hour fast food jobs. I find your train of thought rather self-centered.

"Writers have hard jobs. Directors have hard jobs. Editors have brutal jobs. Producers have life-consuming jobs. And they still find the time to watch thought-provoking stories."

None of these things can result in a life-threatening injury except under the most extreme circumstances. They are not hard, but simply hard to come up with ideas for, and time consuming. But you usually aren't going to get shot at.

"Technically a TV rant, but it still applies to movies..."

You cannot make that throw-away assertion. It's totally, patently ridiculous, and I don't even feel the need to explain why.

You are not thinking about this from a broad enough perspective. Consider all the angles, and come at it again.
MidshipmanNorris - Fri, Aug 23, 2013 - 5:24am (USA Central)
If you depend only on logical proofs, you will not remain in touch with reality for very long. Imagination is vital to mental stability.

You are postulating making a Star Trek solely based on Science without any of the Fantasy. You are saying you want to destroy the soul of Star Trek.

It won't be Star Trek anymore, the moment the scale tips in favor of Science. This is why Star Trek: TMP would not work: there's just not enough Fantasy in it. What little there is takes a lot of explaining, and we don't get shown that stuff (Specifically, V'Ger's visit to the machine planet...Spock is flying in a space suit and explains it into a recorder).

That's no fun to watch, and if someone is tired from working any job, even a producer of popular fiction, they don't want to sit there and have the plot explained to them. They want to see it, they want to hear it, they want to perceive it themselves, and use their imagination to construct a story in their head for what they're seeing and hearing.

Show, don't tell.

To put the focus entirely on Science makes the movie unshootable, and unwatchable.

Ass was kicked in this movie, and I, for one, think it's about damn time. Scotty and Kirk beating the crap out of guys twice their size?

YES PLEASE!
MidshipmanNorris - Fri, Aug 23, 2013 - 5:29am (USA Central)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMrzdKzQTf8

"Laddie, don't ya think...you should...rephrase that?"
Demosthenes - Fri, Aug 23, 2013 - 8:35pm (USA Central)
First, the only response I need to make to Higgs_Boson has already been made:

redlettermedia.com/mr-plinkett-star-trek-into-reference/

And now, onto the midshipman.

"The distinction I'm making here, and that I should have made in the first place, was that franchise movies have typically been big, loud, expensive and breathtaking. This is the prototype put forth by, yeah, you guessed it, Star Wars."

Now that's better. I'll accept the revision and move on. But you still have a problem. Here are some franchises whose first movie fits every single criteria on your checklist:

Star Wars
Indiana Jones
The Matrix
Spider-Man
Jurassic Park
Marvel's Avengers
Jaws
Terminator
Batman
James Bond

Were the first movies of these franchises big, loud, expensive, breathtaking? Yes to all four. Were they moneymakers? Oh, yes...in fact, four of these are among the top five money-making franchises of all time. They also have something else in common -- their first films are held in high regard by audiences and critics alike.

Why, the first films of the top three of those franchises have all been selected for preservation by the Library of Congress, alongside many of the films I mentioned earlier. Why? Because they combined great spectacle with great storytelling -- they've not only influenced all sorts of technical and filmmaking innovations, but they're just really good stories with people we love to like and hate.

"I mean, if they wanted to make an artistic statement, they certainly have the money, and moreover, it seems to me that you guys are *demanding* that."

It's like you haven't paid attention to anything that anyone who's disagreeing with you has said. WE WANTED A GOOD STAR TREK MOVIE. WE GOT A PILE OF BANTHA POODOO. Let me be just as fair to you. If all you want is empty spectacle, and you don't care about the plot making sense and/or the characters being interesting, may I suggest the following films for your pleasure:

Star Wars I-III
Indiana Jones IV
The Matrix II
Spider-Man III
Jurassic Park II-III
Iron Man II
Jaws III-IV
Terminator III-IV
Batman III-IV
Most of the Moore/Brosnan Bonds

...which are the films that happen when people who make franchise blockbusters stop caring about hanging special effects and set pieces on a good story, and start warping the story to fit the special effects and set pieces.

You want to encourage empty spectacle filmmaking? You go right ahead. You want to like the movie-shaped pile of crap? It's your life. Me, I'll be watching the good stuff.
Demosthenes - Fri, Aug 23, 2013 - 8:37pm (USA Central)
Important enough to deserve its own post:

"You are postulating making a Star Trek solely based on Science without any of the Fantasy. You are saying you want to destroy the soul of Star Trek."

I defy you to point to anyone who has said anything resembling this.
Jay - Fri, Aug 23, 2013 - 9:53pm (USA Central)
What was the point of Leonard Nimoy's scene in this movie, other than "look...Leonard Nimoy is in this movie!"?
Jay - Fri, Aug 23, 2013 - 10:01pm (USA Central)
The Sisko sez:

""Does every Star Trek movie nowadays have to have a huge antagonist ship serveral times the size of the Enterprise to amplify the bad-ass-ness of the plot's villain? Apparently so. Yawn.""

Yeah, the Scimitar, the Narada, and the Vengeance were kind of a ridiculous Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria from hell...
MadBaggins - Sat, Aug 24, 2013 - 7:57am (USA Central)
Three months since Jammer promised to post his review soon. Hope he's okay.
Lord Garth - Sat, Aug 24, 2013 - 11:11am (USA Central)
I agree with whoever said upthread that he's waiting for the DVD/Blu-Ray. He's also a new father. I'm not a father myself but I am an uncle and I've heard stories about how being a new parent goes... Best of luck to Jammer!

For comparison: Nemesis was released in December 2002 but the review wasn't out until June 2003. I think that's when the VHS/DVD release was.
Dom - Sat, Aug 24, 2013 - 6:23pm (USA Central)
I'd imagine most people are going to search for reviews of STID soon after the movie is released in theaters. I wonder why Jammer would wait until the blu-rays?
Joseph B - Sat, Aug 24, 2013 - 6:42pm (USA Central)
In fairness, I don't think *anybody* saw "Nemesis" prior to June 2003. When the movie was released it was up against a "Harry Potter" movie and "Lord of the Rings: The Twin Towers". When it didn’t perform that first weekend, exhibitors wasted no time utilizing the screens for the other movies. I know I had planned to view it the third weekend -- "after the crowds had died down" -- and it was already gone.

But getting back to ST:ID , I’m ready for Jammers’ review. Heck, the movie is now available on iTunes and various streaming services.
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Aug 25, 2013 - 11:25pm (USA Central)
"Does every Star Trek movie nowadays have to have a huge antagonist ship serveral times the size of the Enterprise to amplify the bad-ass-ness of the plot's villain? Apparently so. Yawn."

Name a Star Trek movie that did not involve blowing up or in some other way neutralizing a threat of some sort.

Y'all're a buncha picky cats. :P

Not one of you has answered this:

"I'll bet you Roddenberry felt pretty ripped off...

When Wrath of Khan was successful. They told him in no uncertain terms, "hands off, play nice and we'll cut you in, you give us any more trouble, we will stop playing nice."

They took it completely out of his hands and just made whatever they wanted to.

But explain to me how this is a series that has never ripped anything off."

A Star Trek movie that does not shill to the paying audience is something only a fool would wait for.
Jack - Mon, Aug 26, 2013 - 12:34am (USA Central)
Joseph Gatt is credited as "Science Officer 0718", and in one scene is shown to have a power cell or come kind of circuitry on the top of his head...so I guess in this universe there are at least 718 Data equivalents decades before Soong built a handful of them in the real Star Trek universe...

And what do Abrams and Co. have against alien hair? The Romulans were stripped of their coiffures in Star Trek '09, and here the Klingons are as well.
Lord Garth - Mon, Aug 26, 2013 - 9:00am (USA Central)
Midshipman Norris, give it a rest.

You said you want to use this place to sharpen your debating skills but if that's all you're doing than haven't you had enough practice? If you legitimately want to defend "Star Trek Into Darkness" then that's fine. If you want to keep this going just to keep this going, so you can get more practice, then that's something else altogether.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I ask if you would mind practicing somewhere else?
Dom - Mon, Aug 26, 2013 - 1:10pm (USA Central)
Joseph, I did see Nemesis in theaters and hated it. I've since begun to appreciate it more after seeing the Abrams Trek because at least Nemesis "tried" to engage with deeper sci-fi/philosophical themes and actually asked interesting questions. Also, the deleted scenes really do add a lot.
Genre-Buster - Mon, Aug 26, 2013 - 10:58pm (USA Central)
MidshipmanNorris:

Never mind what Lord Garth says: post here to your heart's delight.

Just understand that debate becomes really tiresome if all you want to do is "win." You can do that easily enough by following Macca's example: go on the attack, and retract nothing.

The point is that you have posted 21 times in a row now without saying word one in praise of the the film, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and really, you have to go back to the posts you made as a "Cadet" to find anything truly substantial. You've spent virtually all of your energy either countering the rhetoric of those you disagree with or pushing a bunch of apologetics concerning the political climate in Hollywood. Big deal. Can any of that really boost my opinion of STID? Of course not.

Concerning your point about Gene Roddenberry: G-Rod was just as capable of being wrong about stuff as anyone, but his opinion does happen to matter, and honestly, I can see his point about TWOK. It was only marginally Science-Fiction, and it also ignored all the stuff Roddenberry really cared about: portraying a future that mankind could look forward to and work toward, providing inspirational role models, etc. To raise such objections happens to be the creator's prerogative, and I respect it, but it still has nothing to do with the quality of the film we're all here to talk about.

You yourself conceded that it's not Science-Fiction, so what is it? A coming of age story? I agree with you that that is the one place where the film succeeds in telling a somewhat meaningful story, but it takes up such a small percentage of the film's content as to be nearly nonexistent. So what are we left with?

Answer: Just another action movie. And if we're going to judge the film based on what it is, then I have to say, this has got to be the most most derivative action movie to come out of Hollywood since... well... Trek '09 (I don't want to repeat myself, so I'll just point about 60 posts up to where I list all of the film's action sequences and indicate which films are being aped). TWOK might not have been Science-Fiction either. It might better be categorized as a cat-and-mouse thriller, but at least it was original. It was tightly written. Basically it was good enough for us to overlook/forgive it its flaws.
MidshipmanNorris - Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - 6:01am (USA Central)
"Having an artistic experience is not supposed to be an intellectual experience, it's supposed to be an emotional experience. When you start to think, something is wrong. If you think when it's over, when you leave, and you start to think about it, then it's good, that's so much the better.

But if you are starting to notice things, then the portion of your mind that I want engaged as an artist is not engaged, it's being bounced out of the movie [...] and there's no two ways about it."

~ Nicholas Meyer

If you can badmouth the film, I can defend it. I don't see what's so tiresome about that.

It's my opinion that you're simply thinking too hard about what you're watching.

Let me ask you a question: if you were a small child who liked spaceships and action movies, what would you think of this film?

Are you capable of placing yourself into this mindset?
Yanks - Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - 7:42am (USA Central)
@ Genre-Buster - Mon, Aug 26, 2013 - 10:58pm (USA Central)

(snip)

You yourself conceded that it's not Science-Fiction, so what is it? A coming of age story? I agree with you that that is the one place where the film succeeds in telling a somewhat meaningful story, but it takes up such a small percentage of the film's content as to be nearly nonexistent. So what are we left with?

Answer: Just another action movie. And if we're going to judge the film based on what it is, then I have to say, this has got to be the most most derivative action movie to come out of Hollywood since... well... Trek '09 (I don't want to repeat myself, so I'll just point about 60 posts up to where I list all of the film's action sequences and indicate which films are being aped). TWOK might not have been Science-Fiction either. It might better be categorized as a cat-and-mouse thriller, but at least it was original. It was tightly written. Basically it was good enough for us to overlook/forgive it its flaws.
-------------------------------------------------

If it's any consolation, Best Buy lists STID as a "horror" movie.

(slaps forehead)
Yanks - Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - 7:45am (USA Central)
@ Michael - Sat, Aug 17, 2013 - 11:48am (USA Central)
@Yanks

I think you're right on the money there. I was going to say that I thought the fans in that poll were being unfair to STID, which I neither particularly liked nor particularly disliked, but the recycling of whole scenes really is kind of offensive when I think back on it. Whereas I strongly dislike the TNG movies because I feel they ruined the characters and were basically just dumb action movies, at least they didn't just steal whole scenes as an "homage". Still, I don't really have strong feelings about STID one way or the other. I enjoyed it enough as an action movie, but when people asked me if they should see it, I couldn't really recommend it. It wasn't totally without merit, but if you want to watch something star trek there are literally hundreds of hours of significantly better material available.
-----------------------------------------------

Thanks.

I don't hate it, but IMO they blew it with the ending... so much wrong and so easy to "fix".

But as Orci says, "you still have your DVD's"
Lord Garth - Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - 11:12am (USA Central)
Norris: I liked "Star Trek" (2009) when I saw it in the theater and I was 29. Not exactly what I'd consider when I was a "small child".

I discovered Star Trek at the age of 11 in 1991. It was around the same time I started puberty and I thought it as one of the first "adult" things that I was a fan of.

Obviously what's considered "adult" television has become more even more *adult* since the early-'90s but, at the time, I knew that I'd become a fan of something that wasn't aimed squarely toward children.

I'm one of those "half-breeds" who liked the first Abrams film but didn't like the second.

"Prometheus" was mentioned earlier. Reaction to that film was mixed. It's one of my favorite movies. I don't keep at it and at it with people. That was the point I was trying to make earlier, it seemed to me that you wanted to keep at it and at it more the sake of it than anything else. I'm also a fan of "Alien 3" and "Alien Resurrection" the latter of which I know is a debate I'll never "win" so I don't bother to go into it.

So I do know *something* of what it's like to be a fan of something that receives a negative reaction from other fans.
Patrick D - Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - 3:35pm (USA Central)
My personal beef, beyond a critical examination, of AbramsTrek, is that it's Trek aimed for the jocks rather than the nerds. The same "top shelf" people who used to make fun of anything and anyone that didn't pander to them.

So we have these two films, though they are financially successful, have started a situation Trek that is unsustainable. Trek has been kept alive mainly because of the legions of people who care about the franchise for the last almost 50 years. AbramsTrek is designed to be disposable entertainment, just like Michael Bay's Transformers. The majority of people who go to see these films couldn't give a damn about Star Trek. The jocks will move on to the next spectacle once it becomes old hat, and the Trek nerds will feel put off.

Trek has cut its own throat.
Dom - Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - 5:52pm (USA Central)
Patrick, I agree. We're a long way from Trek that inspires people to become engineers. I can't imagine people like Stephen Hawkings are fans of STID.
Genre-Buster - Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - 6:28pm (USA Central)
@ MidshipmanNorris - Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - 6:01am (USA Central)
"If you can badmouth the film, I can defend it. I don't see what's so tiresome about that."
"It's my opinion that you're simply thinking too hard about what you're watching."
"If you were a small child who liked spaceships and action movies, what would you think of this film?"


If all I've been doing is "badmouthing the film," then I would fully expect you and everyone else to call me tiresome. But yes, that's exactly how I'm starting to feel about this "debate."

You'll never win ANY debate by suggesting your opponent "think less" or (my god!) devolve his mindset into that of a small child with comically low standards. You might as well ask a round peg to go cram itself into that square hole over there. I seriously doubt that was Meyer's point.

Besides, STID doesn't come even close to being a children's movie. WTF?

Can we talk about the actual movie, please? 22 posts and counting...
MidshipmanNorris - Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - 9:13pm (USA Central)
I find you all to be remarkably unpleasant people.

I have absolutely no desire to continue this discussion.
Genre-Buster - Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - 10:24pm (USA Central)
Then why did you even bother posting the above comment? To insult us, perhaps? To badmouth us? If so, I too have lost interest in this particular discussion. So on to others:

@Yanks:

Horror movie? Really? Hardly any consolation in that, bizarrely accurate though it may be. I have to admit that Cumberbatch came off as something of a cross between Hannibal Lecter and Michael Myers. Just kind of a pancake-flat "EVIL" guy whose face you light from below so that he can look extra spooky. If only they had shown us even the remotest glimpse of a human being underneath all that menace, it might have helped.

But then, that would have taken up precious screen time, and they needed THAT to blow more stuff up.
Patrick D - Wed, Aug 28, 2013 - 2:41am (USA Central)
*ahem*

"Play nice." -- Jammer
Yanks - Wed, Aug 28, 2013 - 10:49am (USA Central)
@ Genre-Buster - Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - 10:24pm (USA Central)

True, but they saved time using brief cased sized transwarp!!!
Jack - Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - 4:40pm (USA Central)
Dom sex:

Patrick, I agree. We're a long way from Trek that inspires people to become engineers. I can't imagine people like Stephen Hawkings are fans of STID.

I agree too. And what we've seen of AbramTrek's engine room, it would be more aptly called the plumbing section rather than the engineering section.
Brandon - Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - 11:27pm (USA Central)
I read into Jammer asking us not to read into the lateness of his review, as a hint that he liked it. He WOULD do that, just to annoy us all. :P

I miss when Trek was on the cutting edge of things.
Lord Garth - Fri, Aug 30, 2013 - 1:00am (USA Central)
Scotty couldn't be happier that Engineering is also the Brewery. ;)

I agree with Patrick on these points:

"AbramsTrek is designed to be disposable entertainment, just like Michael Bay's Transformers."

This is true. Even though I liked ST XI when I saw it in the theater, I've only seen it once after 2009, and that was in 2011. I have no burning urge to watch it again.

The main problem with these films is that they try too hard to emulate other franchises and exaggerate the what pop culture associates with TOS.

STID made less domestically than ST XI, so there's obviously going to be a tapering effect.

What they should do is take the data on who's seen these movies and extrapolate from there. Star Trek, however its done, is capturing a mainly Over 25 Audience. Paramount should partition its demographics. If they took a two-pronged approach they could use Transformers to target Under 25 and Star Trek to target Over 25. Then there are the European and Asian markets. I feel like smarter and more sophisticated writing would be well-received if they want to lean more on the foreign box office. I'd think the less "American" it is, the more Star Trek appeal overseas. STID has a very post-9/11 vibe, except 9/11 was 12 years ago.

"The majority of people who go to see these films couldn't give a damn about Star Trek. The jocks will move on to the next spectacle once it becomes old hat, and the Trek nerds will feel put off."

I think it's going to become old hat once Star Wars VII hits. That's where the they'll flock to.

Bad Robot will do ST XIII because they *have* to. After that, Star Trek will go onto its next incarnation, whatever it is, wherever it's produced, and however it'll be seen.
Genre-Buster - Fri, Aug 30, 2013 - 1:14am (USA Central)
I predict another three-star. He'll probably give it a qualified positive, citing industry pressures for blockbusters etc, much like he did with Trek '09, and then go on to say that while this is a flawed film, there's reason to hope for better in the future.

Just like he did with Trek '09.

Just like we all did, for that matter. That's the problem with these latest two films: Love 'em or hate 'em, it's impossible to speak about them except in comparative terms: "Look at where the franchise was when Abrams was first signed on," "Trek needs to be as exciting as possible nowadays considering the other franchises out there," "Now that a new generation of moviegoers have been exposed to Trek, the franchise can continue," etc. It's all just one big friggin' promissory note. We all have no choice but to hope it'll be better next time. I just want it to be good now.
Trek Fan - Fri, Aug 30, 2013 - 11:51am (USA Central)
Jammer will give STID 2.5 stars. The production values are terrific, but he will be disappointed that they ripped off TWOK.

In the 2009 film the movie makers created the alternate reality to shrug off the baggage that came with all the preceding material. So, there was hope that we would get something new and innovative with STID. That didn't happen, and this will be a major sticking point for Jammer.

Like Genre-Buster said above, STID was derivative of so many earlier (and better) movies.
Cail Corishev - Fri, Aug 30, 2013 - 8:37pm (USA Central)
"The new fans who've never seen Star Trek before. They're hooked now."

I'd be happier about these movies if I believed that, but I don't. I just don't see that the kind of new fans who are pulled in by a big-budget, action-heavy, "dumb fun" flick are going to be drawn to small-screen, talky, idea-exploring Trek, either the old shows on DVD or something new that might be created. They'll go watch the next big-budget, action-heavy, "dumb fun" flick, regardless of whether it has Star Trek in the title.

Some kids I know are really into some superhero cartoons produced in recent years, like Ultimate Spiderman and Justice League Unlimited. Most episodes seem to consist of 2-3 minutes of angsty high-school-quality romance and navel-gazing and 20 minutes of fighting, shooting, and otherwise zapping each other and knocking down buildings.

So I thought they might enjoy watching some of the original series that introduced those characters and gave them actual stories to work with. Nope. It took them about 30 seconds to declare those boring and go back to their noisy shoot-'em-ups.

These movies are going to have to stand on their own, for whatever value they contain in themselves. They're not going to generate a new audience for the likes of Duet and Darmok.
Glom - Sat, Aug 31, 2013 - 9:15am (USA Central)
More to the point, is there much evidence of nuTrek getting its own cult following? Agnostics may like these films, but simply liking a film, even liking it quite a bit, isn't the same as becoming a Trekkie-esque fan for them.
Macca - Sat, Aug 31, 2013 - 5:43pm (USA Central)
I know, I know, back again.

Every potential Trekkie has a different entry point. For me, it was watching TNG's 'Tin Man' when I was about 10 and I only caught the last 20 minutes or so.

I was interested enough to tune in the following week and eventually I became hooked. If DVD had have been around then I probably would have caught up a lot faster on the Trek Universe.

STID doesn't exist in a vacuum. Anyone seeing Trek for the first time through this movie will be aware at least that other elements of the franchise exist. There is no reason to think that some people will seek it out, just as I did.

I like STID just as I like Duet and Darmok. I don't think I'm unusual in this regard. Star Trek has always uses different ways to tell stories and STID is just one of these ways.
Macca - Sun, Sep 1, 2013 - 12:41am (USA Central)
Used that should be!
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Sep 1, 2013 - 4:52pm (USA Central)
"It's a SONG, ya green-blooded...Vulcan! You sing it, the words aren't important, what's important is that you have a GOOD time SINGING!!"
wl123 - Tue, Sep 3, 2013 - 9:09pm (USA Central)
Maybe the problem is that there is no spark of exploration in these stories anymore. Instead of "Going where no man has gone before", writers are recycling old stories.

It's not JJ alone, Enterprise had the same issue, so did Voyager.

Science fiction is not dead by any means, it's questions remain alive and vibrant, so why have we stopped actually pushing the limits?

Heck, they could start a movie by blowing up a solar system killing trillions, then play it in reverse order to find out why. (Hope Christopher Nolan takes the helm for the next movie :d )
Demosthenes - Wed, Sep 4, 2013 - 1:51pm (USA Central)
wl123 makes a good point re: Voyager and Enterprise. (Though I'll pass on "Star Trek: Memento," thanks.) I think it's only fair that the vocal critics of ST:iD, like me, take a moment to acknowledge that it wasn't exactly sunshine and roses under Berman and Braga, either. But both those shows had moments where they tried to stake out their own identity. Pretty much all of Enterprise Season 3 is a good example. ST:iD seems to be trying to stake out a place as the Star Trek for people who don't like Star Trek. I suppose that is a defining feature, but it's not one I care for.

And I still do see a difference between ST09, where the whole point of the movie was to reboot Trek in a Trekkian way (at which they were pretty successful with a few caveats)...and ST:iD, where the whole point seems to be constructing an action-heavy collage of things that the whole Trek franchise has done too often and/or too recently.

Having said all that...Star Trek on the big screen has rarely tried to be high-concept sci-fi in the style of 2001, nor should it try. Star Trek I was boring, and Star Trek V was banal. Star Trek II, on the other hand, told a very human story about aging and loss; Star Trek IV was a light comedy wrapped in a time-travel story; Star Trek VI based itself on an allegory about then-contemporary geopolitics; and ST:FC had at its core a good old-fashioned "How far will a wounded man go to get revenge?" question. These are the commonly cited favorites, and it isn't because they're classic "big idea" sci-fi, or because they blow stuff up real good. It's because they're just good stories that we can relate to.
Demosthenes - Wed, Sep 4, 2013 - 1:52pm (USA Central)
Oh, yeah...and that's 500. Boo ya, anyone who thought they were getting there first. :)
Dom - Thu, Sep 5, 2013 - 12:18am (USA Central)
Exactly, Demosthenes . Put more simply, the best Trek movies were always about something more than blowing stuff up.

Something that STID defenders don't seem to get is that Trek fans aren't loyalists, generally speaking. Trek fans are perfectly happy to criticize a movie, episode, or TV show if it isn't good. The label "Star Trek" doesn't protect it from criticism. Trek fans have generally tolerated dissent and differences of opinion. After all, that's one of the key themes of the show.
Latex Zebra - Thu, Sep 5, 2013 - 6:47am (USA Central)
Watched it on DVD last night.
Yep, still enjoyed it. Maybe not as high as when first marked it 3/4. Still one of the better Trek movies.
Noticed a lot more lens flare on my home TV though. It's good fun and I refuse to get too screwed up about this straying from 'THE VISION'
As I've said previously I'm sure Trek will be back on TV in a couple of years and hopefully we can return to real meaty storytelling instead of quick fix entertainment like this.
Yanks - Thu, Sep 5, 2013 - 9:29am (USA Central)
@ MidshipmanNorris - Thu, Aug 22, 2013 - 3:44am (USA Central)
Here's a thought:

Would TMP have been as bad if it wasn't shot in pastels, with crew members dressed in pajamas, and didn't have a bald woman who required 19 takes of the line "No" in a leading role?

Could whoever comes next do the impossible and make The Motion Picture...gasp...a good movie?
================================================

TMP was "bad" (I don't think it's bad BTE) because it was edited horribly. I had no problem with the uniforms, they looked futuristic enough. Hey, that "bald woman" was hot! :-)

It's probably the only ST movies that is a true SCI-FI film.
Jay - Thu, Sep 5, 2013 - 10:46pm (USA Central)
"Hope Christopher Nolan takes the helm for the next movie"

I don't think I could handle how ridiculous he'd make the crew's voices...
Dom - Fri, Sep 6, 2013 - 5:40pm (USA Central)
io9 has an article about the pitfalls of showing mass carnage in sci-fi movies and how too many movies nowadays just throw in a bunch of CGI carnage without any emotional impact. I think STID violates all of these rules, which is why the finale with the Vengeance crashing into London falls so flat with me. Here's the article:

io9.com/9-vital-questions-to-ask-before-destroying-a-city-in-yo-1245587153
Dom - Sat, Sep 7, 2013 - 11:58am (USA Central)
Apparently, according to Bob Orci, if you didn't like STID, you're a "shitty fan". Classy.

www.tor.com/blogs/2013/09/bob-orci-blows-up-at-star-trek-fans-for-not-adori ng-into-darkness
Captain Jon - Sun, Sep 8, 2013 - 12:25am (USA Central)
Here's my review of STID, soon to be posted on my own blog. You guys get the first look! Can't wait for Jammer's review!


With its opening scene, Star Trek Into Darkness takes off running and never lets up. With a chase that plays tribute to Raiders of the Lost Ark, we find Kirk (Chris Pine) and McCoy (Karl Urban) fleeing a tribe of primitive aliens after stealing a religious relic so they can lure them away from their village. Said village is in the destructive path of a volcano about ready to erupt unless Spock (Zachary Quinto) can stop it by dropping inside and detonating a "super ice cube". The entire sequence is top notch with colors that harken back to the original series and shows the crew working together to save an alien race.


The Enterprise rising from the ocean
Kirk is ultimately put in a position to choose between violating revealing the Enterprise to the primitive natives and thereby violating the Prime Directive, or allow Spock to die for "the needs of the many". Since we're only ten minutes into the movie, Kirk's choice is rather obvious yet the dilemma is classic Trek. The Enterprise rising from its hiding place underwater right in front of the natives, forever reshaping their society as they begin to worship the mysterious ship. Why is the Enterprise hiding underwater instead of orbiting safely in space? It doesn't make sense but the visual effects mixed with Michael Giacchino's rousing score is most thrilling!
result is a magnificent shot of the


Pike scolds Kirk and Spock for violating the Prime Directive
There's no time to take a breath before Abrams throws us into the plot of Benedict Cumberbatch's mysterious John Harrison. It's clear throughout the film that this villain's manipulations are constantly at play and one can't help but wonder what he has in store next. As Harrison unleashes his first attack on Starfleet, we find Kirk facing the consequences of his actions from the opening sequence. Kirk is swiftly demoted, though this turns out to be rather pointless as he returns to command barely five minutes later. However, it's still a delight to watch Bruce Greenwood's Admiral Pike chewing out Kirk and Spock, especially when Spock lands a couple of straight-man comic barbs during the exchange.

The plot hits full throttle as Harrison attacks Starfleet Headquarters, killing Pike in the process. Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) sends Kirk and the Enterprise into Klingon space armed with long-range warheads to kill Harrison in retaliation. Kirk, wanting revenge for Pike's death, is eager to comply without question. Yet Spock and Scotty (Simon Pegg) argue the moral implications of their mission; follow orders and kill Harrison or capture him and allow him to face a fair trial. What's intriguing about this question is the parallel that it draws (maybe a little too obviously) to the manhunt for Osama bin Laden. Star Trek has always been about making social commentary and it's nice to have such an issue raised here. The drawback, however, is that Into Darkness's brisk pace doesn't allow much time for the question to be debated; Kirk quickly decides to go against Marcus's orders and bring Harrison to justice.


Khan is back and this time he's here to help...or is he?
Following a rather lackluster action sequence on the Klingon homeworld, Harrison surrenders and his mind games begin as he calls upon Kirk to question the motives behind his orders. Cumberbatch is truly Trek fans very familiar with franchise history, newcomers with no prior knowledge will undoubtedly find the moment a little flat. The writers kind of assume that Khan's history is common knowledge, his backstory left rather vague; a little more detail would've been nice. Still, the team of writers bring a new interpretation of Khan and avoid retreading what was done with the character in TOS's Space Seed and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Throughout the movie, you're left questioning if Khan can be trusted as he cooperates with Kirk (even helping him) or if he's got some other hidden motive at work. I'd like to point out, however, that it's Kirk who eventually betrays Khan. Just saying...
mesmerizing and despite his atrocious actions you can't help but wonder if he was justified. The eventual reveal of Harrison's true identity (Khan) is a little overplayed, completely with ominous music the moment his name is mentioned. While it's obviously being played up for

Despite Khan's presence, he is not the primary villain. With Khan's guidance, Kirk and crew eventually uncover a conspiracy to start a war between the Federation and Klingon Empire. In a nice twist and a frightening reveal, the mastermind is revealed to be Admiral Marcus commanding a Starfleet warship he and Khan built in secret. Marcus's plan; use Khan's warrior ingenuity to use the secretive Section 31 (a nice nod to Deep Space 9) to build up Starfleet's weapons in order to engage the Klingons in open war. Marcus's motives are fueled by fear following the events of 2009's Star Trek that saw the destruction of Vulcan and the near-destruction of Earth. Marcus wants to ward off any further threats to the Federation head on, even if it means compromising the Federation's peaceful mission in order to protect their way of life. Peter Weller is excellent, strongly conveying Marcus's convictions and he stands out as one of Star Trek's better villains.

Peter Weller is excellent as Admiral Marcus
This presents an allegory to the dilemma presented in today's post-9/11 world. With all the debates surrounding secret surveillance, torture in interrogation and the preemptive war in Iraq, our world has been presented with the question of how far we should go in order to protect our way of life. Into Darkness presents us with two different reactions to the problem. With Kirk we find a character who, at first, is willing to compromise his values to avenge the death of Admiral Pike. Kirk, however, choses to hold true to his values. Marcus, on the other hand, has succumbed to his fear following the destruction of Vulcan and is willing to go into darkness (hence the title) to protect his way of life, regardless the cause. It's an intriguing debate raised by a film that proves itself to be more than your typical summer popcorn fare.

Unfortunately, it's also at this point as the conspiracy ultimately unfolds where the plot becomes a little too convoluted and credibility is strained in order for the pieces to fall into place. Khan's role is a bit of a stretch, something that even Kirk points out as he questions why a Starfleet admiral would seek out the help of a 20th century relic.

Having said that, the script from Alex Kurtzman, Robert Orci and Damon Lindelof is mostly solid. Like its 2009 predecessor, Into Darkness's dialogue is sharp and witty with plenty of jokes to go around. Abrams gives the same conviction and energy in his direction that he did in his previous outing, though there isn't the same sense of urgency as there was in Star Trek, probably because this isn't about assembling the crew. Still, the action is well-handled with most of the sequences quite thrilling. A couple, however, don't work as well as others. The aforementioned Klingon sequence, as well as the final chase between Spock and Khan through San Francisco, which drags out the runtime a few minutes too long. The space dive from one ship to another is thrilling yet derivative of the space jump done in Star Trek.

Acting-wise the cast is solid, though some of the characters do suffer from diminished roles. Pine continues to prove himself excellent as Kirk, though I must admit that I'm ready to see the smooth, confident Captain Kirk of the television series. Quinto and Pegg handle the comic aspects of their roles with aplomb, yet still manage to execute the serious moments as well. Pegg especially is given an expanded role and handles it well. McCoy, sadly, has a more diminished role though Urban makes the most of his time and John Cho as Sulu has a couple strong scenes. Zoe Saldana is given less to do as well, with the majority of her role now to serve as Spock's angry girlfriend. Chekov's role is greatly diminished, suffering the most of everybody. However, the cast is one again excellent, each member sliding easily back into their roles and showing more confidence.

Alice Eve is decent as Carol Marcus and I'm interested in seeing what more can be done with the character. Unfortunately so much time is spent on the plot that very little is done with her. The underwear scene from the promos? Just as pointless here as it was there.

As far as Leonard Nimoy's cameo is concerned, I'm honestly torn. On one hand, it's nice to see the original Spock back. On the other hand, it's rather unnecessary since Quinto's Spock could easily have looked upon Khan's past in the computer, just as the original Spock did in Space Seed. Nimoy's presence also represents the filmmakers' hesitance at completely cutting the umbilical cord to the original universe. It's as though they want to reassure fans that everything that happened from 1966 to 2005 still exist and hasn't been erased. For these new films to truly succeed, Abrams and company must dare to push forward without leaning on the past. You can respect the past without being beholden to it.



The film's most frightening sight: the U.S.S. Vengeance
chases down and attacks the Enterprise at warp
Visually Into Darkness is the best looking Star Trek film to date. The effects are top-notch, by far surpassing the work done four years ago. I wasn't as put-off by the use of lens flare this time around as I was last, though it would be nice if Abrams cut back a little more. One of the best sequences (and most chilling) was the sight of the Vengeance bearing down upon the Enterprise and attack it mid-warp, knocking the ship to a halt near Earth's moon. It's a fantastic sequence and even tops, in my opinion, the two starships falling to Earth at the end of the film. Though the crash of the Vengeance into San Francisco isn't as spectacular as the Enterprise-D crash in Star Trek: Generations (I still point to that as how to crash a starship), it's still quite incredible.

Michael Giacchino returns in his second outing as composer, bringing back some of his themes from his previous work. His theme for Khan is simple yet suspenseful. His score here is stronger than Star Trek because it brings a much more mature sound than before. Giacchino has grown as a composer over the last four years and it's great to hear the maturity come across here.


Powerless, the Enterprise falls to Earth
At the end of the day, however, the focus of Into Darkness is the growing relationship between Kirk and Spock. Pine and Quinto continue to display their excellent chemistry and their work is solid, bringing back fond memories of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. Because we can believe in their friendship and the two work so well together, it makes the film's ending work. I have intentionally saved this aspect of my review for last as I'm about to dive into what's easily the most controversial aspect of the entire movie. In order to save the Enterprise from its fall to Earth, Kirk must realign the warp core; to do so would mean a lethal dose of radiation.

Yes, this is The Wrath of Khan but with a twist. It's easy to see how many Star Trek fans would be upset with some lines directly lifted from the 1982 movie. Some will attribute this to laziness, however I find it to be a nice homage and it provides a different emotional value from The Wrath of Khan. In The Wrath of Khan, Spock's death was the culmination of years of friendship between Kirk and Spock. Kirk's Into Darkness death is the solidification of their friendship. It works so well because Pine and Quinto sell it. In the hands of less-capable actors, it would've fallen flat and been a travesty. Yet, they make it work. The only aspect of the scene that doesn't work (I even chuckled) is Quinto's scream of "Khaaaannn!" It was a little too over-the-top.

The Wrath of Khan with a twist; Kirk mets his end to save
the Enterprise and her crew
Kirk's death, however, is more than just the beginning of his friendship with Spock. It also marks him becoming the captain he's always been meant to be and follows through on the theme established in Star Trek, whether intentionally or not. When Kirk and Spock first met, Spock challenged Kirk to realize that a captain cannot cheat death. Here, Kirk is presented with the no-win scenario he cheated his way through in the Academy and realizes that in order to save his crew, he must die. It's nice to see Kirk come full circle and grow from being brash and arrogant to being humble and selfless.

Of course, we can't have the next film be Star Trek The Search for Kirk, so we're presented with Khan's superhuman blood that has magical healing properties. Kirk is thereby revived and is ready for his next adventure. Khan's super-blood is a little too contrived and a bit of a cheat, but it isn't enough to scuttle the movie.

Overall, Into Darkness is another solid entry into the Star Trek film franchise. It's not as fresh as its predecessor, yet it's one of the better films. I'm ready for Abrams and company to cut the cord to the original universe and do their own thing with this new universe, but Into Darkness is a fine tribute to Star Trek's past. There's plenty of heart and spirit and a good allegorical message to make us look at what's going on in our world today, something which holds true to the very spirit of Star Trek that Gene Roddenberry envisioned nearly fifty years ago.

The Enterprise boldly goes onto its next adventure
Bring on the fiftieth anniversary!

Writing: 1.25
Character: 1.5
Acting: 2.0
Entertainment: 2.0
Music: 1.0
Visuals: 1.0

TOTAL: 8.75 / 10
Captain Jon - Sun, Sep 8, 2013 - 12:27am (USA Central)
Oops! Some of those lines are actually the captions for screencaps I included in my blog! Guess I should've done a better job of proofreading when I copy and paste!
Brandon - Sun, Sep 8, 2013 - 8:36pm (USA Central)
Jon, you nailed one of my biggest obstacles to really immersing myself into Abrams' Trek: the pace. It's screaming, hyperkinetic, and unable to breathe.

It might be THE greatest reason I simply cannot reconcile this director with the classic Treks, and why anyone who comments that it "captures the feel of TOS" gets an incredulous glance from me. This just does not feel even remotely like the old Trek. That series had CONVERSATIONS. It had people sitting down at conference tables and wrangling verbally with ideas that were much bigger than them. TOS had Kirk-speeches, it had moving hallway discussions, it allowed cameras to linger on things...just the polar opposite in pacing from the blinding blur of images and plot points that Abrams throws around. Even when TOS did fistfights, it still felt calmer.

I remember watching XI and coming to the bridge scene where the characters were standing on the bridge and discussing the possibility of an alternate universe. I was immediately hit by one thought: "This is the first moment I've seen that feels like Star Trek." But then of course it had to throw in a fistfight. So hilariously predictable that Abrams had to throw in a fistfight.

The Avengers movie was a much better example of how to balance ideas, dialogue, and action. Whedon pulled off a great balancing act there, though of course he wouldn't be caught dead in the director's chair of a Trek movie.
Yanks - Mon, Sep 9, 2013 - 12:23pm (USA Central)
@ Brandon - Sun, Sep 8, 2013 - 8:36pm (USA Central)

The Avengers movie was a much better example of how to balance ideas, dialogue, and action. Whedon pulled off a great balancing act there, though of course he wouldn't be caught dead in the director's chair of a Trek movie.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Agree!! Joss MADE Avengers...

Why don't you think he'd tackle Trek?
Yanks - Mon, Sep 9, 2013 - 12:37pm (USA Central)
Captain Jon,

Nice review. It's clear you spent lots of time and thought composing it.

Glad you enjoyed the film.

I agree, the pacing was too fast.

I don't agree with your accessment of TWoK rip-off reversal, I thought it was horribly lazy writing. But that's OK.

I agree about Spock(prime)'s appearance. It didn't achieve anything. Poor cameo that leave's us asking "will they just call him up everytime they get in trouble?"

Yonagonaf - Mon, Sep 9, 2013 - 2:32pm (USA Central)
It is interesting that when Captain Kirk is enjoying his Wendy’s “Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger” he removes the pickles.

In “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” Kirk orders a cheeseburger from A&W and also removes the pickles.

This is a good example of when a character’s profile is maintained.
Demosthenes - Tue, Sep 10, 2013 - 3:13am (USA Central)
Thanks, Dom, for pointing out Orci's comments. Now I not only definitely won't be going to see Star Trek XIII, I won't feel even the tiniest bit bad about it. Heck, I might even have to skip Ender's Game now, and I've really been looking forward to that. I don't know how faithful the movie will be to the book...I just don't want to risk a chance of Orci getting in my face (metaphorically) and ranting about how I never understood that the Buggers weren't really giant insectoid aliens and Petra Arkanian totally needed a character reboot anyway and if I don't like the movie, his friend Harrison Ford is gonna come over dressed like Colonel Graff and kick the crap out of me.
Patrick D - Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - 4:43pm (USA Central)
So, now STiD is now out on home video. So Jammer has no excuse to not review this film--except you know, adult responsibilities, not the least of which career, wife, and fatherhood. Priorities, man! ;-)
Brandon - Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - 5:29pm (USA Central)
Joss Whedon wrote Firefly as the direct antithesis of Star Trek. I believe he described it as the story of "the people whom the Enterprise would have just ignored and flown right past" or something. Additionally, a major unifying theme of his creations has been finding a kind of glory in the flaws of mankind, a fierce devotion to personal freedom and a general dismissal of large governments and corporations. None of that is in Trek.

Ugh, Orci is writing Ender's game, too? What ISN'T that tripe specialist writing these days?

I hope Jammer loathes XII so much that he's inspired to write a fake narrative for it a la VOY's "Demon".
Demosthenes - Thu, Sep 12, 2013 - 12:04am (USA Central)
He's not writing it, Brandon. But he is producing it, so I imagine that at some point he probably contributed some dialogue or script ideas.
Latex Zebra - Sun, Sep 15, 2013 - 1:25pm (USA Central)
I'm always amazed how much time people are willing to devote putting down things they don't like.

Dom - Sun, Sep 15, 2013 - 7:42pm (USA Central)
@ Latex, because if we the fans don't speak out about this, I think many of us worry that Paramount will just keep pumping out mediocre films. Our hope is that by speaking out (and hopefully Paramount marketing monitors reviews like Jammer's), Paramount won't lazily assume that it can slap "Star Trek" on any half-baked movie and make money. Maybe I'm just being unrealistic though...
Moonie - Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - 3:17am (USA Central)
For a blockbuster, it was a good movie. I mean, let's face it, the makers *wanted* to make a blockbuster and that's what they did. The last blockbuster I saw that also had a really great story, was "Matrix". Just to put things into perspective. I think it's almost impossible to make a blockbuster that is also a damned good movie and tells a convincing story in an intelligent way. I'm afraid that's just how it is in the days of diminished attention spans.

I liked it better than ST09, mostly because in my opinion the characters are coming together more than in the first one, and I enjoy the Spock/Kirk relationship dynamic. Though I also think it happened too fast but that's not a phenomenon which is unique to STID. It seems things/events/relationships often develop at an unusually quick pace in movies and TV shows (not limited to Star Trek) if the plot or a good scene requires it.

It's too bad that Chekov and Scotty are almost turning into caricatures of themselves, and I cringed when Uhura and Spock discussed their relationship in the presence of their captain and while on a dangerous mission. But oh well.

@Cail Corishev, you wrote:
"The new fans who've never seen Star Trek before. They're hooked now."
"I'd be happier about these movies if I believed that, but I don't. I just don't see that the kind of new fans who are pulled in by a big-budget, action-heavy, "dumb fun" flick are going to be drawn to small-screen, talky, idea-exploring Trek, either the old shows on DVD or something new that might be created. They'll go watch the next big-budget, action-heavy, "dumb fun" flick, regardless of whether it has Star Trek in the title."

Actually I don't normally watch action-heavy dumb-fun blockbusters. I resisted for three years to watch ST09 because I thought it could only suck. I finally watched it earlier this year BECAUSE it was Star Trek and because my curiosity got the best of me. I had never watched anything but TOS back as a young teen on German TV so I wasn't a Trek purist r anything - I was just sure they would ruin my fond memories.

Well, they did not, and since I saw ST09 I have not only begun to re-watch TOS (this time the original, not the dubbed versions) but am also watching TNG (into the 3rd season) and ENT at the same time. I'll save VOY and DS9 for when I'm through with TNG. I don't know how many more like me there are, but I've come across quite a few on the ST boards.

I understand (I think) why many long-term fans have difficulties with the two new movies. They are not a lot like TOS or TNG. I find, they are good in their own right, and the best thing about them is, they got me into ST. I love them the most for that.
Moonie - Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - 3:21am (USA Central)
Okay, as a "not-long-time Trekkie" maybe I just don't get it.

Why does the reversed warp core death scene have to be a "slap in the face"? I saw it as an homage. All of the scenes that included hints or allusions TWOK were meant to be homages. Clearly, they didn't work that way for a lot of long-term trekkies, but I'm sure that was the intention behind them. Maybe I'm naive and over-emotional, though :)
E2 - Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - 11:03am (USA Central)
@Moonie

That's a valid point, for those new to Trek.

Here's an example of why some feel such unsubtle attempts at homage are a "slap in the face."

In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, we have one of the most remembered, and quoted lines of any Star Trek production- Khan informs Kirk that he's content to leave him marooned inside the dead planet, and Kirk, his rage and impotence appearently boiling over, screams: "KHAAAAANNNNN!!!!!" so loudly that it reverberates off the planet. Many people view this as the epitome of Shatner's over-acting. Placed back in context, however, there is more to it. Kirk (and those in the audience who were paying close attention, or seeing the film for the second time) knows full well that his ship is not nearly as damaged as he has led Khan to believe, and if given just a bit more time, will be able to pick him up- if he can keep Khan deceived. So he gives Khan exactly what he wants- just enough to convince Khan that he has in fact beaten him. And the moment Kirk 'hangs up' and puts the communicator down, he's relaxed and in control again.

So this is perhaps an example of both Shatner chewing the scenery, and of Kirk's full mastery of a delicate situtation.

Now, contrast that to the 'homage' of the 2013 film. Spock, our nearly emotionless and ever logical hero, upon witnessing Kirk's supposed death after sacrificing himself to save the ship, screams: "KHAAAAANNNNN!!!!!" flies into a murderous rage, and beams down alone to engage in an epic fistfight on behalf of a man he couldn't stand 15 minutes ago.
This doesn't work all that well in film, and is at odds with Zachery Quinto's excellent portrayal of the character.

Homage is always risky, especially if you are inserting it into a production that may not be as strong as what you're referencing. (Frequently, the line between homage and fromage is very thin.)

In the old film, the line serves to illustrate the character's command of his environment and emotions, even when it appears things are stacked against him.

In the new movie, the line highlights an out-of-control character who loses himself to wild emotion and takes a completely reckless course of action without thinking things through.

In this case, it felt like the writers wanted to be in the theater with us, elbowing us in the ribs, saying: "see- we include that line, from that thing you liked, see!"
Dom - Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - 3:36pm (USA Central)
E2, well said. I'd also add that, since 1982, "KHAAAAN" has become an internet meme, one sometimes used to make fun of Trek/Shatner. It sticks out in STID because there's so much baggage associated with that one quote.

Moonie, glad to hear you're getting into the rest of Trek. There are some great episodes and Jammer's website is a great guide to them. I hope there are lots more like you who are going beyond the Abrams films to the other parts of Trek.
Shelby - Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - 4:50pm (USA Central)
I thought it was fantastic.

But I just wanted to make a point on Officer 0718. He's not an android or anything related to Data or Soong at all. He's completely human with cybernetic implants (as it's illegal for these in the Federation unless from an accident, we have to assume that 0718 had some sort of accident that caused the cybernetic implants to be placed). As for the circuit thing on the back of his head, it's actually a miniature ship's main computer system so he is telepathically linked the ship's computers at all times. Which is pretty nifty. I like him.

Anyways...yeah...there's that. xD.
Demosthenes - Fri, Sep 20, 2013 - 6:09pm (USA Central)
Latex Zebra, who is amazed at people taking so much time to say they didn't like something, took the time to leave a comment to that effect. Interesting.

Moonie:

"The last blockbuster I saw that also had a really great story, was "Matrix"...I think it's almost impossible to make a blockbuster that is also a damned good movie and tells a convincing story in an intelligent way."

Dude...really? The Matrix came out in 1999. You didn't go to see X-Men (2000), Spider-Man (2002), Pirates of the Caribbean (the first one, 2003), X2: X-Men United (also 2003), Spider-Man 2 (2004), King Kong (2005), Casino Royale (2006), Mision: Impossible III (also 2006), Iron Man (2008), The Hangover (2009), either of the Sherlock Holmes movies (2009 and 2011), Inception (2010), The Avengers (2012), The Hunger Games (also 2012), Skyfall (also ALSO 2012), Men in Black 3 (no, I'm not kidding), or any movies from the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, or Dark Knight franchises? Well, then. Do I have some good news for YOU! :)

No, I'm being serious. Anyone's mileage may vary on some of those titles, and everyone's probably will. But I think that at least the bulk of that list, from any perspective, defeats the claim that intelligent blockbusters just can't be done anymore. In fact, I deliberately left animated movies off this list -- if we can count animated movies at blockbusters, then I can throw on The Incredibles and Cars at the very least. And there are a number of other blockbusters that aren't actively stupid and are pretty decent although not outstanding movies...Captain America comes to mind.

I'll also second everything that E2 said in response to your earlier question, and add this: I refuse to believe that this universe's Kirk dying could inspire in Spock a blind emotional rage which seems the equivalent of pon farr in what it does to Vulcan composure. Spock was exactly the wrong character to use during that "homage," which was really more of a straight rip-off anyway.
Moonie - Sat, Sep 21, 2013 - 3:48am (USA Central)
@ DEmosthenes, I didn't particularly care for any of those movies. I am not really into *that* kind of movies. I know I should give Inception a try, though ;-)

@ E2, that makes complete sense, thanks for the explanation.
Demosthenes - Sat, Sep 21, 2013 - 5:28pm (USA Central)
Well, fair enough if you didn't care for them. But the statement you made was that you thought it was "almost impossible to make a blockbuster that is also a damned good movie and tells a convincing story in an intelligent way." At least some of the movies on my hastily assembled list beg to differ. Always remember: a movie can be good even if you don't care for it, and you can love a bad movie in spite of itself.
Niall - Sat, Sep 21, 2013 - 6:46pm (USA Central)
OK, I've finally seen the film. Here's my stream-of-consciousness review, jotted down while watching it:

- We open with a preposterously unlikely action sequence (the scourge of contemporary blockbusters)
- Monster = Star Wars
- Colonialist depiction of alien civilisation (though Star Trek has been guilty of that on a fair few occasions, but this was pretty bad)
- The decisions and dialogue of the only main female character (Uhura) are based around her love interest (Spock)
- Southern English man cast as Scot when a Scots actor could have been used. OK, Doohan wasn'tS cottish either, but his accent was much more skilful and authentic. You can really tell Pegg is faking it. Moreover, his performance is OTT and one-note, and they made Scott into solely a comic relief character, just like Peter Jackson did with Gimli in the LOTR films. Crime.
- Korean-American actor cast as Japanese character despite the fact Koreans and Japanese look different
- OMG, check out Chris Pine's bulge in the bodysuit!
- Kirk looks and acts like he's about 17
- Why can't they beam Spock out of the volcano?
- As in the last film, of the principle trio, only Karl Urban's performance comes over as authentic; the others seem like they're playing caricatures. This iteration of Trek has made Kirk into a petulant frat-boy jerk and Spock into a monotonous robot. The film completely misunderstands Vulcans and presents them as people who don't feel emotion. Vulcans do feel, deeply, they just don't overtly express emotion. In past Trek series, we've seen highly skilled actors expertly portray characters of this kind who experience but don't express overt emotion: Leonard Nimoy, Brent Spiner and Jeri Ryan were all superb in their respective roles. All of them understood that when playing this type of character, a tremendous amount can be conveyed through tone of voice, line reading, body language, the eyes and expression etc. We've also seen it go wrong; Tim Russ and Jolene Blalock were arguably too cold and flat as Vulcans. Quinto takes, or is directed to take, the latter approach. None of Spock's humanity is here; he is played as a blank slate. This despite the fact that unlike Tuvok or T'Pol, he is half-human.
- It's like Pine and Quinto are playing caricatures, mere figures defined by no more than 2-3 attributes - Pine "womanizer, headstrong/reckless", Quinto "scientific, emotionless, blank slate". But there was always so much more to Kirk and Spock than that. Shatner and Nimoy did so much better a job, they created three-dimensional characters with real chemistry. Neither even attempt to imbue their characters with the charisma, wisdom, maturity, panache, and responsibility of the original Kirk and Spock. This is character assassination of Kirk and (especially) Spock.
- McCoy is reduced to a one-note Paris-esque spouter of one-liners, a foil/sidekick for Kirk.
- Good use and future rendering of British locations in the opening scenes, good use of non-white British actors. Though it's obvious that this has been shoehorned in because of the Downton Abbey/Sherlock effect and the presence of Cumberbatch, plus as a nod to the UK market.
- The whole Kirk/Spock Nibiru rescue and fallout is played wrong. Spock is far too thankless (unrealistically so), Kirk too teenage. In "our" Trek, Spock would have been thankful at being rescued and Kirk would have understood the need to file a truthful report.
- Whitewashing of Khan, a North Indian Sikh in the original.
- Earth bombing and the way Kirk zooms into the photo borrowed from DS9's "Homefront"
- Why isn't there better security around Starfleet HQ?
- Why doesn't Cumberbatch just bomb Starfleet HQ like he did London? Why does he fly up to the window?
- How on Earth does Kirk survive?
- Preposterous action sequence 2
- It's well-faced, well-made and exciting, I'll give it that
- Pike's death & Kirk's OTT reaction = monomyth father death, a copy of a copy of a copy by Abrams. Film completely ignores all of the other fatalities in the room
- I like the architecture, the wardrobe and the transporter beams
- There's no such thing as a "transwarp beaming device". You can't have a long-distance transporter that can beam someone from Earth to Kronos in the 23rd century! No-one has long-distance transporters apart from the Dominion! You can't use the word "transwarp" that flippantly, fans know better! That's even worse than Voyager's lack of continuity regarding Borg transwarp corridors. Scotty did not invent long-distance transportation, "transwarp" or otherwise!!!
- Would Admiral Marcus really tell Kirk/Spock about Section 31 so flippantly? It's supposed to be secret.
- Sexism
- Scotty's narratively important scene which introduces the torpedoes comes over as a comic scene and the dialogue almost flies over viewers' heads (at least mine) because of Pegg's hammy acting and the fact the whole scene is frenetically overplayed.
- What is the point of his alien sidekick?
- Kirk says about Spock "I want to rip the f- bangs off his head". Really.
- Silly Kirk/Uhura gossip and unnecessary relationship drama.
- Chekov guy is awful, atrociously overdone, exaggerated Russian accent much worse and far less skilful than Walter Koenig's.
- "abandoned city" on Kronos = quite blatantly only exists as setup for the next action scene
- The English woman is wooden
- Enterprise design, space station design and Enterprise sound effects are all just right.
- By now it's clear that all of McCoy, Scotty and Chekov have been reduced to comic relief characters.
- Nods to "our" Star Trek are tokenistic ("Mudd incident", "Christine Chapel", Gorn, tribble, Ketha, the nakedly absurd exposition via "our" Spock)
- Uhura is made into a moody and unprofessional character who has relationship drama on a shuttle mission. THIS ISN'T CHARACTER WORK, it's teenage.
- Preposterous action sequence 3 = Star Wars. Why would that slit even be there in the first place? This is Galaxy Quest but without the irony or intelligence - it's dead serious.
- Since when does Uhura speak Klingon? OK, reasonable to incorporate this, I guess. They've added elements of Hoshi to her. Not a problem and gives her character more meat.
- What's with the badass Birds Of Prey?
- The Klingons have foreheads and look cool!
- Wait, the Klingon would slaughter an unarmed woman with a knife? Then she stabs him? WTF? This is without honour. Proper Trek Klingons would have respected her for knowing their language, listened to her and been honourable. Here, they're portrayed as brutal thugs solely to hasten the next action sequence.
- Reinvented Klingons otherwise good, including their drop method from the ships and the new-style bat'leth.
- They should immediately suspect something when Cumberbatch asked about the mystery cargo then instantly surrenders.
- Kirk is just a thug.
- No-one asks what Cumberbatch's motivation is at any point.
- The Uhura/Spock romance is terrible. The fact he can romance her flies in the face of his established emotionlessness.
- Kirk is hot-headed teenager; you do not put a hot-headed teenager in command of a starship.
- How can he communicate with Scotty on Earth by communicator from Kronos?
- Kronos moon doesn't get blown up until ST VI, yet we see an exploded moon that looks a lot like Praxis in the establishing shot of Kronos.
- The original Carol Marcus was so much better. She's such a cipher.
- Underwear shot is totally gratuitous. I know Kirk is shirtless earlier on and we see his bulge in the bodysuit, but it's the voyeuristic way this is framed (both narratively and literally in the shot) that makes this so retrograde; it's a complete disrespect to the character and makes it very clear what her purpose in the story is. They wouldn't have dared do something like this with Seven on Voyager, despite her outfit, they had too much respect for the character and the actress.
- Why on Earth would McCoy be involved in opening up the torpedo?
- Clock stops at 2 seconds before detonation, the cliche of all cliches.
- Use of blackmailed father with terminally ill girl to circumvent security and blow up facility is very contrived.
- Why would a white English man be called Khan Noonien Singh?
- Cumberbatch overacting like hell
- Plot doesn't add up
- What was Kirk supposed to do with the torpedoes? Firing them would have just killed them. The Klingons wouldn't have thawed them.
- Admiral Marcus, really? OTT joke character. Really, Admiral Marcus wants to execute Khan's men? This goes against everything we know about Starfleet. A whole ship with special big retractable guns prepared to destroy the Enterprise and murder everyone on board in cold blood, without negotiation? What am I watching?
- Why is Chekov in goggles?
- Effectively realistic depiction of a hull breach
- It works fine on its own terms, better than the last one in fact, but it's not Star Trek. They should have used fresh characters and called it something different.
- Preposterous action sequence 6 - the ship-to-ship transfer - is the most ridiculous thing in the film up to that point.
- How come they stop trusting Khan so suddenly after bringing him along to help?
- It's a good actioner, don't get me wrong
- Khan crushes Admiral Marcus's head in his hands. Yeah.
- Khan is played as a cold, one-note psychopath in the classic "British villain" mold we often see in US productions, rather than the charismatic, rounded, multifaceted he was in the original.
- TWOK had stellar character work at its core, and the action was driven naturally by the characters and their decisions. Into Darkness is a series of action setpieces strung together with shoddy writing, shoddy plotting and shoddy logic, and the teenage attempts at character work barely even pass as such. Eat some more popcorn why don't you.
- The whole second ship aspect exists solely to give Khan a ship. (For him to crash into some skyscrapers at the end.) It's that transparent.
- The gravity going offline is an authentically interesting and novel idea, but as the ship is in freefall, wouldn't they have all ended up floating? Also, it's largely used for run-of-the-mill "people hanging off beams" escapades, something we've seen an inordinate number of times before (including in the TNG Trek films).
- Oh and he punches Scotty? Nice.
- Good rendering of thrusters.
- That's the warp core? Everything's just designed to look as bombastic as possible.
- Significantly less brain than the average latter-day Voyager two-part actioner, which is saying something. Equinox and Flesh And Blood etc were hardly Voyager's finest hours (and not a scratch on Future's End or Year Of Hell), but they withstood much better scrutiny than this, made more sense and tried to do more - much more - with the characters.
- Spock crying now? Gimme a break. This is not character work.
- We know Kirk isn't going to die, so a drawn-out, melodramatic fake death scene is dramatically hollow and flat-out pointless, betraying contempt for the audience. This is an insulting collection of tired tropes, nothing more.
- Spock doing the Khan scream = no.
- The Starfleet uniforms look like Hugo Boss Nazi uniforms. I kind of like them but it feels wrong.
- The destruction of Starfleet headquarters as the hijacked ship flies through skyscraper after skyscraper cynically evokes 9/11. Actually appalled. And there's pretty much no reflection on the thousands that must have died. It exists as a visual effect and is designed to function solely on that level, not in terms of its consequences on Starfleet or Earth. Here, even Enterprise did better with its handling of the Xindi attack on Earth.
- Spock going emotional is so cynical, overdone and not remotely in character. Who on Earth thinks this is good writing? What do they take the audience for?
- Fist fight on top of a train (essentially), like we've never seen that before in a film.
- Is this a platform game now?
- Voyager's plotting was much better, and I say this as someone who much prefers DS9 and feels a lot of Voyager was sadly disposable. But credit where it's due, Voyager got a lot of basics right that this film just doesn't.
- Khan kills by crushing heads? Are they going for the immature teenage boy market?
- Spock beating someone into a bloody pulp = no. Huge disrespect to the character.
- What? The scene ends, and suddenly Kirk is back among the living?
- "superblood"?
- The film ends with them launching the "5-year mission", and the original theme tune plays over an over-stylised end credits sequence. Given the mass death and destruction we've just witnessed, none of which was apparently of any consequence, all of this is handled over-jubilantly.
"This film is dedicated to our post-9/11 veterans" - don't add insult to injury.

Conclusion: Zero understanding of character in evidence. I kind of enjoyed it on a superficial action level, but it's vastly more disposable than Voyager or Enterprise and far less lofty in its goals. It's Star Trek without the values and character core that make Star Trek what it is. Every single character including Cumberbatch is a one-note, dialogue-spouting action figure.
Dom - Sat, Sep 21, 2013 - 7:36pm (USA Central)
Niall: "Are they going for the immature teenage boy market?"

Yes.
MidshipmanNorris - Mon, Sep 23, 2013 - 9:22am (USA Central)
If you don't like this movie, you're too cynical to be watching Star Trek. Find a new hobby.
Dom - Mon, Sep 23, 2013 - 7:56pm (USA Central)
@MSN, That's pretty unfair. People are free to like or dislike anything they please. Especially when STID is very different in substance and style from the rest of Star Trek.
Genre-Buster - Tue, Sep 24, 2013 - 1:50am (USA Central)
Plus, these latest two movies have an infinitely more cynical tone than any of the previous franchise incarnations.

Like the movie all you want, MSN, but knock off the snarking, please. You're better than that.
Demosthenes - Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - 6:55am (USA Central)
@ the midshipman:

"If you don't like this movie, you're too cynical to be watching Star Trek. Find a new hobby."

Do we have to insult people in order to have a discussion? You're just going to make people feel uncomfortable posting here if they don't agree with you about the film.

:)
Niall - Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - 7:25am (USA Central)
No worries folks. I think any post that states "If you don't like this movie, then X" should simply be ignored.
Demosthenes - Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - 7:29am (USA Central)
Okay, now I've had my fun for the day. I would like to respond to the substance of what MSN said, though...with a couple of analogies. I consider what he said substantially equivalent to the following:

"If you don't like Green Lantern, you're too cynical to be watching superhero movies."
"If you don't like The Zookeeper, you're too cynical to be watching wacky comedies."
"If you don't like The Apparition, you're too cynical to be watching horror movies."

So my honest question is: Why? From my viewpoint (and your mileage may vary), these movies are to their genre what ST:iD is to the genre of Star Trek. On the surface, they look like they should belong just fine...but they don't. They don't demonstrate an understanding of why great films in their genre work; they just rehash the major script beats and plot points, mix them in a blender, and serve lukewarm. The result, to many/most people who like the genre, is deeply dissatisfying.

I get why people like ST:iD; I'm just not one of them. I've said several times that if it had been made and marketed as a non-Star Trek film, I probably would have felt differently about it. But it just doesn't fit in that universe. And now, making that observation is enough to get me told I'm also "too cynical" for the rest of the universe? Too discerning for my own good, perhaps. But to riff off Genre-Buster, the people who are really cynical are the ones who made this movie. They thought a bunch of Trek fans would buy anything with the label on it. Sadly, they appear to have been right.

[And yes, with six television series, twelve movies, and tons of licensed print adaptations, Star Trek now has enough material to be its own genre (or at least its own subgenre). It can't just be regarded as standard sci-fi anymore, not when most people on the street would recognize "Live long and prosper" or "Beam me up, Scotty" and know where they came from.]
Jason K - Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - 7:38am (USA Central)
Just to show how our attention spans have dwindled since the 80s. In 1982, the film producers had us wait 2 years and an entire film to know whether or not Spock would survive. These days, we waited only 2 minutes to see if Kirk survived. Things have changed. I wondered if they would have had the balls to end this film with Kirk/Spock dead. Guess not.
Brandon - Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - 5:28pm (USA Central)
Demosthenes: I wouldn't say they were expecting fans to buy anything with the label on it, because JJ has made it all but clear that his movies aren't directed at fans. They're directed at the uninitiated. His phrase for this is "bringing in new fans"; the reality is probably something more like "making money off the popcorn-swilling masses".

As Jason said, perhaps we should not fault Abrams for making this kind of movie. Perhaps we should fault modern society for voting for this kind of movie with their wallets over many years.
Demosthenes - Thu, Sep 26, 2013 - 5:09pm (USA Central)
I just had to pop in today to make the observation that it has now been four months to the day since Jammer promised us his ST:iD review "soon."

The only conclusion I can reach: Jammer = Aslan.
Eduardo - Fri, Sep 27, 2013 - 4:17pm (USA Central)
"Perhaps we should fault modern society for voting for this kind of movie with their wallets over many years."

Now that's something I agree completely. The dumbing down of society and multiplex cinema are directly related. Society allowed itself to drop to low standards.
Glom - Thu, Oct 3, 2013 - 5:00am (USA Central)
E2 "In this case, it felt like the writers wanted to be in the theater with us, elbowing us in the ribs, saying: "see- we include that line, from that thing you liked, see!""

That! Exactly that! My ribs were aching afterwards.

I just found that rather insulting. It's like they thought all that had to do for the fans was drop in references (and incredibly shallow references at that) and we'd be all giddy.

I didn't pay £10 to see an anniversary special. I paid to see something new.
Brandon - Fri, Oct 4, 2013 - 3:13pm (USA Central)
I just finished rewatching the first four episodes of "Lost" and have a renewed appreciation for JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof's writing/directorial skills. What a great show that was in its first season. Maturity, subtlety, natural humor, strong characters, realistic dialogue, and compelling themes in a well-paced package that still has the ability, nine years later, to send the uninitiated scrambling for their Netflix passwords in order to catch up. For that matter, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman did respectable work on Fringe as well. It was a great show once it hit its stride.

So I have no idea what happened with these Trek movies. None of the clarity and show-don't-tell restraint from those shows is present here. It's as if Abrams and his crew turn into googly-eyed five years olds whenever they get near a feature film budget.
Matt L - Fri, Oct 4, 2013 - 4:15pm (USA Central)
"Perhaps we should fault modern society for voting for this kind of movie with their wallets over many years."

The hyperbole I'm seeing in this thread is going to make my eyes roll right out of my head. Go back and re-watch the source material. Guess what, this movie is head and shoulders above many other episodes and films in the series.

Yes, it is action focused, BUT it is also very character focused with lots of great character beats and interactions. Many of you, in your rush to paint this film as some kind of mind-less action film miss that.

Yes, I get it, the JJ films aren't super focused on BIG ISSUES, but that's not the same as being stupid. In fact, I'd argue that the BEST episodes and films have not been the BIG ISSUE TM episodes--too often those episodes are all about serving the issue in a ham-handed way. The best episodes, and films, have always for me been those focused on character and relationships. Those are the things that really matter in a story.

City on the Edge forever wasn't really an issue episode, it was a character episode. It was about Kirk and the woman he loved and the decision he had to make. Certainly there were greater concerns (the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few for one), but they came naturally out of that character.

Likewise I would argue that Into Darkness is a film chiefly about character and that it succeeds and that FROM that emphasis it DOES touch on ideas like friendship, sacrifice, etc. It is not as one poster implied the same as Transformers.

You do a disservice to the ideals of Star Trek by assuming that everyone who liked this film is just some kind of mindless drone (see what I did there) brain washed by modern society. You would be better off taking a step back and asking yourself if maybe there are other ways to look at the film that you haven't considered.
Matt L - Fri, Oct 4, 2013 - 4:22pm (USA Central)
"Pike's death & Kirk's OTT reaction = monomyth father death, a copy of a copy of a copy by Abrams. Film completely ignores all of the other fatalities in the room"

Riiiight...because from now on no good film can have a father figure die. Come on, this is an absurd claim. Yes, it's a beat that appears in many stories. It's a universal moment that almost all of us will have to face some day. Guess what? People are gonna keep writing these scenes.

As far as other fatalities go...if you're trying to tell me that while watching someone that important to you dying they wouldn't be your immediate focus...you're lying to either me or yourself.

The film, and this scene in particular, is largely about Kirk so it's quite logical for the film to focus on what matters most to him at any given moment.

Ok, I've got to stop reading this thread for a while.
Brandon - Fri, Oct 4, 2013 - 4:52pm (USA Central)
I noticed exactly one character moment of any depth or insight in STID. During the second act, JJ Abrams miraculously keeps the camera still long enough to allow Spock to admit how his mind-meld with Pike revealed emotions that echoed his own from the destruction of Vulcan. It's a profound moment. And then it is rudely interrupted by another explosion and the impact of the moment is lost.

Character and relationships are indeed at the heart of good drama. It's just that there is no such heart in STID. The revenge angle for Kirk is there but merely sprouts an action plot that's unworthy of it. It's simplistic, superficial, junior-high-level work that is indeed about on the level of Transformer's 2 "the cannot be given; it must be earned through bravery".

If you want real character work, go back to the emotional centerpiece of The Wrath of Khan: Kirk sitting in a cave admitting to an ex-flame how he felt old and past his prime. It was a moving moment, requiring only a static camera and no special effects, that served as a response to an action plot rather than the transparent justification for one. Any good stuff in STID is either drowned out by the frenetic action or lifted straight from other movies.
Dom - Fri, Oct 4, 2013 - 5:13pm (USA Central)
Matt, welcome to this chat. I know there are a lot of comments, but we do address those points somewhere here. Suffice it to say the character moments were attempted but too often failed (like Kirk's death mimicking Wrath of Khan).
Jo Jo Meastro - Sat, Oct 5, 2013 - 8:00am (USA Central)
I can sorta see it from both sides of the fence as someone who thinks STID is a perfectly valid and good entry to the uneven Trek film franchise, yet I certainly do recognise its' problems.

To me it perhaps needed the plot tidied up a little and giving the whole movie some breathing space to linger on its great moments and driving home the emotion and achieve a better balanced pace with a lot more depth and a lot more grounded and textured story.

With that said, I see plenty of merit and I'm pleased to say the characterisation and sheer fun made up for the flaws which places it only slightly below Star Trek 2009 for me (although STID definitely has a much better villain!).

I do hope we get to see at least one more sequel. While Star Trek is far from its' hayday, its' surely still going strong enough to deserve that much.
Moonie - Sat, Oct 5, 2013 - 1:46pm (USA Central)
For the past few weeks (months, at this point), I have watched at least two episodes of TOS or TNG most days, with some ENT thrown in. I think I have watched almost 100 Trek episodes in a very short time by now. And yes I can see why and how those new movies are not "Star Trek". And yes, the trans warp beaming device is a joke, like a few other things.

Still the fact remains that it was those two much hated movies that got me into ST and motivated me to revisit TOS and get started on TNG and I don't plan on stopping any time soon - this time next year I plan to have watched every single Trek episode that ever came out (expect TAS, I'm into real actors).

Saying J.J. Abrams killed Star Trek as some people do, couldn't be more wrong from my point of view.

Where was ST before those movies? But maybe some people like being an elitist group and don't want new Trekkies to join the fold?

No rerun of TNG or VOY could have achieved for me what those movies did. I don't have a problem with loving the movies for what they are. There are some rather weak TOS episodes I love for one quote, one scene only.

I for one am looking forward to the next "new" Star Trek movie.

Could the movies have been better? No doubt about that. On the other hand they provided a plausible reason for the "reboot" - hey we could have got a reboot "just because!" - and the actors they picked for Spock, Kirk and Bones, couldn't be any better IMO (though Kirk still needs to outgrow his teenage attitudes but unfortunately movies nowadays are made for 14 year olds)

I expect the next one will be better.

Maybe if I had been a Trekkie before STID, I'd be angry and upset too and HATE those movies. Actually that is quite likely. The thing is, everything else is still there! TOS and TNG have not gone away! The Trek universe you knew still exists and is still there for everyone to enjoy. The new movies brought a new audience in, some will enjoy the movies and think that "they" are ST, others will delve into the Star Trek universe and not come up for air for a long, long time...lol.

Bottomline is, I believe this renaissance is a god thing for Star Trek. Now, can we get a new TV show please? Preferably not with the new actors though... something more low key, with good stories...
Jack - Sat, Oct 5, 2013 - 10:15pm (USA Central)
One day, Scotty says he's been off the ship one day? All that travel they did happened in a day? Abrams Trek continues to make a mockery of warp drive. In ST09, it's Earth to Vulcan in what was apparently minutes, and now Earth to Q'on'os and back again in under a day...
Brandon - Sun, Oct 6, 2013 - 11:36am (USA Central)
Moonie, I'm genuinely interested in your viewpoint. What have you thought of TNG after viewing the new movies? What are the differences? For a lot of longtime fans, TNG and AbramsTrek are like night and day. TNG is much slower-paced, talkier, and (for me) weightier with its ideas while Abrams comes across to me as modern disposable entertainment. What are your thoughts?
Banquo - Sun, Oct 6, 2013 - 7:54pm (USA Central)
TNG is the other side of the coin from TOS.

Naturally, if these movies are based off of TOS, the logical assumption would be that these movies are a modern take on that show, not TNG.

People are channeling their anger at their parents by slamming this movie, because it's a restatement of the message, style and theme of TOS, which their parents loved so much that they watched it all the time.

Many people my age grew quite bitter and cynical in the 90's, as political tensions heated up and wars raged. The television programming didn't help much, what with all the daytime talk shows putting human ugliness up for display as "entertainment." No offense to Mr. Springer (whose restrain on those shows was always admirable), but I just don't enjoy listening to people loudly argue and throw punches at each other.

Our anger at our parents stemmed from their artistic style, which tended toward impressionism, abstraction, surrealism and absurdism.

It is a frustrating style to study...it is wild, imaginative and utterly lacking in restraint. Finding your "inner child" and letting it speak in your art, etc.

We were forced to grow up too quickly, and became bitter about it.

But we cannot now look at the staunch professionals we have become, the invincible leaders we have become, the hardworking parents we have become, and then turn around and criticize our parents' approach.

It may have been a baptism by fire, but it was a baptism, for sure.

Let's all go watch Star Wars.
Moonie - Mon, Oct 7, 2013 - 4:38pm (USA Central)
@ Brandon:

After I'd watched the new movies, TNG was the first series I started watching. I didn't want to start with TOS because I didn't think it'd be worth it... you can shoot me now. I was familiar with the characters from my childhood and I remembered lots of clumsy special effects and planets that looked like earth. So I didn't think I'd want to go back to that, nor did I feel I HAD to. I don't mean to sound like I didn't like TOS, quite the contrary, I did - back in the 1970s as a kid! But I didn't feel I had to go back and watch hours and hours of 1960s television...

Of course I knew TNG would be different than the movies. I didn't expect it to be anything like the Abrams movies. I was *a bit* surprised at how few "space action scenes" there were but on the other hand, after watching Encounter at Farpoint (which I realize a lot of people don't think much of), I was quite thrilled because it was so much like TOS (or at least like TOS was in my memories). I'm probably not the typical newborn Trekkie because I am old enough to have childhood memories of TOS when it first aired (in my country that was in the early 70s).

Sure, TNG is much "talkier" and to me, that is a good thing. I get bored with endless action and fight scenes. On the other hand I was also a bit... shocked at times... at how truly BAD some of it was. However I got into the characters and the stories very very quickly - and of course there was still some leftover attachment to the Enterprise from my childhood :-). I guess young "new Trekkies" don't have that effect. TNG made me want to go back and watch TOS and I'm sure glad I did! (What was I thinking?? lol)

No, TNG doesn't have much in common with the new movies. I have a teenage son who remarked that "Every time you watch that show they do nothing but talk!" But he still thinks Picard is "cool".

I think I mentioned already that I like the new movies a bit less now that I watched more "real" Star Trek. (I do, on the other hand, have a friend who is an old Trekkie who loves them because they gave ST a more "modern" look.) I can't *hate* them though.

They don't do a good job of introducing people to the Star Trek universe or the philosophy behind it but IMO, they are entertaining enough to make (some, many?) people want to see more. And I still think they did a really good job with the key actors. I couldn't imagine ANYONE could play Kirk.

I am a bit sad though that the TNG crew never got that kind of movie (and budget?). I mean, Insurrection really, really sucked.
Dom - Mon, Oct 7, 2013 - 6:26pm (USA Central)
Moonie, don't worry the first two seasons of TNG are universally regarded as mediocre (see Jammers reviews). It only gets better from there. Glad you're liking it though.
Moonie - Tue, Oct 8, 2013 - 12:45pm (USA Central)
@ Dom, I am in the middle of season 3 and I can see that :-)
Paul M. - Tue, Oct 8, 2013 - 2:03pm (USA Central)
Moonie, I'm sure everyone here would appreciate if you continued your TNG reviewing moments. I always enjoy hearing the thoughts of newly converted. :)
Genre-Buster - Wed, Oct 9, 2013 - 3:42am (USA Central)
Wow - to watch "Best of Both Worlds" for the first time...

Of course, to get the full experience, you would really have to wait three months after watching part one before moving on to part two.

Those three months back in 1990 were excruciating, but delicious. The hours my friends and I spent speculating on how the story would conclude were almost as fun as the episode itself. An absolute landmark in television history.

Whatever it took to get you here, Moonie, is fine by me.
Moonie - Thu, Oct 10, 2013 - 6:00pm (USA Central)
Domo
Dom - Fri, Oct 11, 2013 - 5:54pm (USA Central)
Apparently Bob Orci is in talks for a new Star Trek TV show. The horror...

io9.com/what-do-you-want-to-see-from-a-new-star-trek-tv-show-1444063674
Brandon - Fri, Oct 11, 2013 - 8:38pm (USA Central)
I think Orci would actually do much better on TV.
Captain Jon - Mon, Oct 14, 2013 - 10:27pm (USA Central)
@ Brandon

I agree with you. While I really enjoyed both ST09 and STID, I do think that some of the character development ideas that Orci and co. have would work better on TV when they're allowed the time to flesh it out. Example: I think the Spock/Uhura relationship would sit better with fans if it was given the time to develop on TV when you're able to follow week to week. It doesn't work with feature films unless you devote the ENTIRE plotline to that relationship. It's like what Jammer said about Riker/Deanna in Insurrection how it would be worthwhile to explore the idea in a TV series but not when you visit these people every 2 to 4 years. I think Orci has some good ideas for the characters but he needs the freedom of a weekly television series to properly flesh them out.
stargazer - Thu, Oct 24, 2013 - 6:04am (USA Central)
@Dom

Don't worry, that's just a rumor (which may or may not be true--allegedly Orci attempted to contact CBS about a potential series) which has been blown out of proportion. Fortunately, CBS is not interested now.

Wow. Over 500 comments. Has the record been broken?
Duge - Thu, Nov 7, 2013 - 11:32am (USA Central)
I personally enjoyed ST:ID, warts and all, plotholes and all. I don't know if ID set itself out to be a "remix" or alternate version of TWOK but there were certainly a lot of clear homages to TWOK though some notable differences too, the most significant one, of course, having Kirk be the one to "die" after repairing the warp core. One of the things that I liked the most about ID is that, instead of Khan being portrayed as a simple megalomaniac out to hunt down and kill Kirk and his crew, he was, at least initially, presented as a somewhat more complex character. Of course, when we first see him, we abhor what he has done (blowing up the Section 31 building, attacking Starfleet and killing some of the senior staff) but after Kirk captures him and we find out more about what is really going on, a more nuanced picture of the situation and of Khan himself emerges. Plus, it was kind of neat to see him and Kirk actually team up against Marcus, at least for a little while. Of course, Khan was using Kirk (and Kirk knew it) and it was only a matter of time before he reverted to being "pure evil" but getting there is still fun to watch. Unlike TWOK, Khan is ultimately subdued by Spock and placed back into cryotube with the rest of his people. I would say that I'm disappointed that we didn't get enough Khan in this movie but I would be incredibly surprised if this is the last we see of him. Just, hopefully, not right away in the next movie
davidw - Fri, Nov 15, 2013 - 9:48pm (USA Central)
We get the Star Trek we deserve.
Dom - Sun, Nov 17, 2013 - 2:19am (USA Central)
@davidw, ouch, that's a pretty harsh indictment of the fans! Not sure if you meant it that way :)

I just rewatched STID. I was curious if my opinion would change on a second viewing. It did, but in the negative direction. While I thought the visuals and action scenes were strong during my first viewing in the theater, once I knew what was going to happen I just got bored. Without strong character development and a strong story, the visuals weren't enough to keep me glued to the screen this time around. Oh well... we'll see what Jammer says one of these days.
SPR - Mon, Nov 18, 2013 - 8:49pm (USA Central)
Anyone else check back every week or so just to see if Jammer's going to finally publish his review?

As one of my English teachers used to say, "Half of the joy is in the anticipation."

PS. My bet's on 2 Stars for STID
MidshipmanNorris - Tue, Nov 19, 2013 - 12:13am (USA Central)
I tried to re watch it but I'm too depressed.
NCC-1701-Z - Tue, Nov 19, 2013 - 3:09am (USA Central)
During the scene where Cumberbatch-Khan threatens Spock over the comm while holding Kirk hostage, something in his manner/facial expression was very reminiscent of Ricardo Montalban's Khan (when he was saying "Shall I destroy you, Mr. Spock?") It felt very surreal, I can't quite explain it. For a moment, it looked like Cumberbatch had been possessed by the old Khan. Ah, good times...

I feel that this movie was entertaining, but rather thin - Abrams seems rather cavalier with plot holes and canon when it comes to Star Trek to say the least For instance:

- The shields seemed virtually nonexistent when the Vengeance started blasting the hell out of the Enterprise, based on visuals. At least in Nemesis they showed the shields deflecting weapons fire for a bit before collapsing entirely. They could have had the Enterprise's shields absorb at least a few phaser blasts in the FX of the initial battle before fizzing out completely.
- Also, how are they going to explain away that dead Klingon patrol? And how did they get to Qo'nos so fast? Speaking of Klingons, given that they didn't detect the Enterprise at all or the various communications to the surface, or pretty much anything until the ship was at the planet, I'd say that they're about as threatening as Imperial Stormtroopers (i.e. not at all) and the Feds will beat them handily any day (until plot dictates otherwise, that is). Costumes looked cool though.
- Why didn't they send down a commando team to get Khan instead of the usual "I must face him alone" stuff, or try to contact a SWAT team equivalent on the planet surface, or both? (Nemesis committed a similar flaw.) They could have at least said "We can only beam down one person at a time", but still! JJ, after watching Lost and the many ways in which it defied traditional cliches, I am very disappointed in you for that!
-And how did no other starships near Earth notice the final battle going on *at all*?! I mean, they were right behind the freaking moon!

Still Cumberbatch did a phenomenal, and I mean *phenomenal* acting job playing the bad guy with the material he got, and the movie did make an attempt at some meaningful character development, I thought. And the opening scene felt like a tribute of sorts to the cheesy alien-contact plots of many a TOS-episode, in addition to setting up some of the thematic elements of the movie. But some of the motives felt paper thin at times, the ending felt a little like a cheat, and I felt it was sorely missing the "inspirational" component which made TOS what it was. Having been inspired by the original Trek to go into the sciences, this felt very superficial by comparison. Perhaps that makes me biased in favor of the original series, but nevertheless, I still enjoyed this movie somewhat, and would watch it again. Yes, it was a ripoff of TWOK, but it was a *passable* ripoff of TWOK.

My rating - 2.5/4, or low 3, depending on my mood.
NCC-1701-Z - Tue, Nov 19, 2013 - 3:13am (USA Central)
An alternate ending to STID brought to you by the folks at How It Should Have Ended. (They did a pretty hilarious one for Lost too.)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N15J4ibej8
Niall - Tue, Nov 19, 2013 - 5:24am (USA Central)
SPR, my bet's on ** too.
Demosthenes - Tue, Nov 19, 2013 - 5:57pm (USA Central)
I think it should be lower than 2 stars -- one and a half would be about right. But looking back on how Jammer has rated the films, I'm forced to concur that two stars seems the most in line with his previous ratings.
Brandon - Tue, Nov 19, 2013 - 6:07pm (USA Central)
Good find, Z. If you want to keep your drama credible (or even anywhere close), there's three things you don't introduce: time travel, healing blood, and unlimited teleportation. Possessing any one of those always inevitably creates loads of plot holes and makes a plot hard to write. Possessing all three essentially makes us gods.

Abrams has introduced all three. He should have taken a cue from how "Heroes" died.
Dom - Thu, Nov 21, 2013 - 9:41am (USA Central)
Z, with regards to the "I must face him alone stuff", I agree, but that's also pretty classic TOS Trek. Kirk would always end up in those sorts of situations. TNG deliberately made Riker the lead character for most away team missions, but even so there were a few exceptions. If I remember correctly in Nemesis the plan was to send more people but the transporter wasn't working after Picard went through. That's why Data jumped out into space rather than beam over.
Genre-Buster - Fri, Nov 22, 2013 - 12:54am (USA Central)
I personally wouldn't go higher than two stars, but Jammer gave three to Trek'09, and STID, for all its flaws, was better. He may go lower than three, but it would have to be based on the "disappointment" factor - i.e. that the "potentials" opened up in Trek'09 weren't adequately lived up to.
Niall - Fri, Nov 22, 2013 - 9:32am (USA Central)
Brandon, that's a superb point. Good fantasy/sci-fi requires limits and a consistent, believable world that the characters operate within. Otherwise there's no sense that anything's genuinely at stake (as you say, the characters effectively become omnipotent) and plot developments can seem totally arbitrary.
Picardo - Mon, Nov 25, 2013 - 5:50pm (USA Central)
This Star Trek movie has more GIRLS

It has GIRLS doing things and looking hawt

And the film quality makes the GIRLS look extra hawt

Seriously, they are very beautiful these women folk, also I think the movie is good, perhaps not the best they could have done, but good writing zen is so hard to come by these days
Mitch - Tue, Nov 26, 2013 - 4:21am (USA Central)
Well, I've seen every TV and movie incarnation of Star Trek. No kidding, every episode of TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT. I even watched the Filmation cartoon series! And of course all the movies, from 1979 to the present.

What can I say, the first film was watchable but left an uneasy bitter taste behind. STID however, is a total trainwreck as far as I'm concerned. It's the first time I burst out laughing (for the wrong reasons) watching a Star Trek film. Ugh, I never thought I'd say this, but they actually managed to produce something far, far inferior to Voyager or Enterprise (okay, for the latter it wasn't quite Voy badness, but just on the side of dull and mediocre Trek for the most part). Voyager seems like a masterpiece by contrast! Sure STID is stylish and slick looking, and I'd give it points for that, but plot wise? What they've done with the Trek universe? It's just rubbish.

I'm anxious to read what Jammer has to say on it. Been a follower of this site and Jammer's reviews since January 1995! :)
MidshipmanNorris - Thu, Nov 28, 2013 - 8:06pm (USA Central)
The Star Trek Drinking Game

Every time someone says "Yes, sir" instead of "Aye, sir," Kirk punches him (doesn't matter if Kirk is in the spinoff we're talking about or not) and says "Not on my ship." So we all say "Not on my ship" and take a shot.

(As in Mirror, Mirror at 15.12 on the youtube)

So who's in? :)
Dom - Wed, Dec 4, 2013 - 10:28am (USA Central)
Well, now Abrams said it was a mistake to keep Khan's identity a secret before the release of STID. I get the sense that he knows STID wasn't a good movie, but can't figure out why.

www.ign.com/articles/2013/12/02/opinion-why-is-jj-abrams-saying-khan-should nt-have-been-kept-a-secret
Brandon - Wed, Dec 4, 2013 - 6:04pm (USA Central)
What a load. The whole secrecy thing is 100% in line with JJ's usual "mystery box" approach. The Cloverfield and Super 8 campaigns, the online culture of interview hints, viral websites, and losers begging at their keyboards (yes, including me at that time) for every "Lost"-related morsel from Michael Ausiello or Watch With Kristin...it's completely and utterly HIS trademark.
NCC-1701-Z - Thu, Dec 5, 2013 - 12:28pm (USA Central)
Also, just wanted to mention, the Vengeance guard who found Scotty has to be *THE* dumbest guard in the history of Trek. Ever. (Jammer, I expect you to comment on this ;)) Like, dumber than O'Herlihy ([shouts loudly] "CAPTAIN, I SEE SOMETHING!!" [ZAAAAAP!] [instantly vaporized]) I'm willing to forgive that, though, because it was just so unintentionally hilarious. Maybe that was the point?
Genre-Buster - Fri, Dec 6, 2013 - 1:54am (USA Central)
@Brandon: To give JJ Abrams the benefit of the doubt for a moment (just a moment mind you), is it possible that his marketing trademark really is backfiring on him, and that he is genuinely frustrated at STID's final outcome? After all, I would imagine that studio execs hire him with full expectations that he'll deliver the big bottom line bonanza he's become notorious for, and that any deviation from established strategies - strategies that Abrams himself perfected - would make them nervous as hell. What if he was pressured into it? It's true that Abrams is an extremely powerful Hollywood player, but the very fact that he's being groomed for the top spot ("the next Spielberg," "the next Lucas," coming soon: "the next Cameron" - why not?) makes him particularly vulnerable to artistic compromise. And it doesn't matter how powerful you are: artistic compromise sucks. It's as painful as having your teeth pulled.

Of course, that's only if you're an artist, and Abrams may not be one. But you yourself have argued in favor of some of his earlier stuff, that it was genuinely inspired, etc. What if, buried beneath all the seizure-inducing action and gratuitous aping these last two films are so inexplicably applauded for, there was an actual germ of an idea that simply got bulldozed for a buck? And what if that idea originally came from Abrams himself?

Ouch.
Rob Fleming - Fri, Dec 6, 2013 - 3:54am (USA Central)
"Star Trek Into Darkness is as Dumb as You’ve Heard, if not More So"
www.forgetthebox.net/star-trek-into-darkness-is-as-dumb-as-youve-heard-if-n ot-more-so/

I agree. Fully. (sigh)
Brandon - Fri, Dec 6, 2013 - 3:16pm (USA Central)
@Genre-Buster: It's always possible, of course, but impossible to know. It'd be easier for me to see the CumberSecrecy as a studio thing if it hadn't been so thoroughly JJ's trademark all this time, and if the writers hadn't been involved in Transformers. But there are definitely touches to the movie that scream "studio" as well. A collaboration of stupid all around, it seems.
Mitch - Fri, Dec 6, 2013 - 4:39pm (USA Central)
Ah, another Montrealer. :)

Incidentally, for the above URL to work, you need to remove the space in the word "not" or you get a broken link.

Good review. As for myself...after the latest Trek film I've decided to consider it, and the previous film, as non-canonical. At least in my own mind, they're just not part of the pre-established Trek universe in any way, sense or form (ironically these films themselves consider that established Trek universe from 1966 to 2005 as having never happened and erased from existence; save for "old Spock" to more or less validate it as canon).

I did the same with the Alien universe. Alien (Scott Ridley) and Aliens (James Cameron) canon. Alien 3, Resurrection, AVP, and Prometheus...non-canon, never happened. Maybe an alternate dimension at best, and that's how I see the 2009 and 2013 Trek films. Not even a different Trek timeline, but just stories of a bizarre twisted alternate dimension. I'd almost like to throw Nemesis into that alternate dimension category for good measure but it wasn't nearly as bad. ;)
Brandon - Sat, Dec 7, 2013 - 3:42pm (USA Central)
collider.com/star-trek-3-roberto-orci-j-d-payne-patrick-mckay/

Paramount has hired a couple of nobodies to write XIII with Roberto Orci. At this point, I'll take any change.
John W - Sun, Dec 8, 2013 - 3:33pm (USA Central)
While I want to be hopeful about changes in writers, apparently they're also Bad Robot staff...and have no writing credits to their name. It COULD be a pleasant surprise, but the presence of Orci gives me pause. The upcoming one sounds like it'll be a lower priority entry all around.
Mitch - Mon, Dec 9, 2013 - 12:52am (USA Central)
My wish is that they drop this whole reboot crap (which has been completely awful) and go back to the original Trek. Maybe make a new movie with the TNG, VOY or DS9 cast...or remaining TOS cast even, old as all the casts now are. Or at the very least, a completely new cast, but with the SAME type of sci-fi look, storylines and plotting from the TV and movie series in the 80's and 90's.

You know, computer displays, technology, gadgets that are in the realm of believable SCIENCE fiction. Not science fantasy! Stories that tell us something about the human condition, wonder, discovery and exploration. Not mindless gun battles, action sequences and things blowing up.

There is a reason growing up, and even now, why I preferred Star Trek over Star Wars. Trek was about a glimpse into a possible future...and it taught us something about ourselves on the way. Meh, if the next Star Trek movie is more of the same crap we saw in 2009 and this year, I'll pass.
I mean compare even the Enterprise bridge (or ship itself) in 1982's Wrath of Kahn with 2013's Into the Darkness. You had a scene of actually being in space...huge, slow moving ship, plausibly realistic screens and consoles. In 2013 the ship and it's insides look like something out of Harry Potter or Star Wars. Just a magical fantasy world...

Almost wish they'd do another Trek TV series in the style of of TNG or DS9. Probably wishful thinking at this point, I don't think audiences will watch anything slow moving, intellectual, introspective or that doesn't have things mindlessly blowing up every 5 minutes.
Petrus - Mon, Dec 9, 2013 - 2:27pm (USA Central)
Into Darkness is a pure action movie. Some of the twists and turns with Cumberbatch's performance as Khan were interesting, but that was really the only thing that was.

J.J. Abrams is a commercialistic hack. Aside from Cumberbatch, the film is basically one lens flare laden, "extreme," action set piece after another. The manic, ceaseless obsession with both fascism and 9/11 are also constantly present as well, which is genuinely disturbing.

Probably the most tragic thing about Into Darkness, however, was the amount of money it made; $467 million, according to Wikipedia. This is a good explanation of why films like this keep getting made; because someone, unfortunately, is paying to see them.

If you're a hard core Trekkie, you'll most likely be deeply offended by this. If like me, you're a moderate Trekkie who also doesn't actually mind having fun with B-grade schlock now and then, Into Darkness will cause you to walk out of the cinema feeling pumped, but you'll realise that you've seen a pile of cinematic fecal matter later.

If you're the sort of non-demanding, adolescent, unapolagetically brainless idiot for whom this type of film is tailor made, however, then you'll probably love it; and worse yet, you'll actively defend it, when it is criticised by other people who are infinitely more intelligent than you are.
Richard - Mon, Dec 9, 2013 - 4:16pm (USA Central)
I was disappointed. "Star Trek" by J.J. Abrams had a lot of promise. He took a plot device that had been done to death (i.e., time travel) and used it to great effect. A true reboot that distilled the characters down to their essentials and got rid of all the baggage. Let's face it...there was alot of baggage.

Instead of following through and going "where no one has gone before", we got a remake of the "Wrath of Khan" That was a great movie, but I was hoping for something edgy and new.
Mitch - Tue, Dec 10, 2013 - 2:34pm (USA Central)
I still can't help but think these last two films (particularly STID) have killed the Trek franchise. Maybe not in a marketable sense, but to long time diehard Trek fans such as myself.

It's been hijacked and turned into something that is not even remotely recognizable as Star Trek. Just a hollow and empty shell with nothing familiar about it except some dropped names here and there. Sad to think I felt Voyager, Enterprise and the last two TNG films (Insurrection and Nemesis) were the absolute low points of the franchise.

Unfortunately there probably is no turning back, I don't know if audiences still exist that would appreciate a new film done in the style of a 30+ year old film like the Wrath of Khan. It would likely be deemed "too boring" and action scenes too realistic...not over the top enough. Yet that is why I love that film, those space battles felt real. There was consequence, drama, tension, build up. Even just watching the ship slowly turn just to fire back... and the musical score, wow. To this day I still remember every scene and how it was lifted and brought to life with that score by James Horner. STID is just so absolutely forgettable, in every sense. All I will remember years from now is: IT WAS BAD.

Unless the third film is a complete masterpiece, attempting to draw us in and a return to what Trek was really about (hah, yeah...right) then I fear Star Trek is yet another franchise forever destroyed (much like the Alien and Terminator franchises, other sci-fi series I once loved and utterly ruined).
Brandon - Tue, Dec 10, 2013 - 3:59pm (USA Central)
Joe Cornish has dropped out of talks to direct.

I guess he didn't want to be stuck directing a BS script with no insight into Kirk other than "uhh, he's a rebel".
John W - Tue, Dec 10, 2013 - 10:05pm (USA Central)
"I still can't help but think these last two films (particularly STID) have killed the Trek franchise. Maybe not in a marketable sense, but to long time diehard Trek fans such as myself."

This is an opinion that I sadly share. The shelf life for these movies can be measured in months until the next major release comes along. They play out like the "monkey's paw" version of my wish for a big-budgeted large scale Star Trek. For all of STID's $190 million (not including marketing)...is there anything that registers? Yeah, ILM can boast about how much space the Enterprise CGI model takes up in storage, but what's the point when nothing interesting is done with it? BSG was pulling off more interesting action sequences several years beforehand...on a cable TV budget.

I won't even get into the shoddy character work (Hey! We did the Hero's Journey TWICE now! Just to make it stick!), inconsistent story telling, and just plain awful world building.

I have seen worse movies. I've seen utterly incompetent movies, but few have angered me so much as Bad Robot's stabs at Trek. Tear it down and start again.
Joseph B - Thu, Dec 12, 2013 - 4:44am (USA Central)
I wholeheartedly agree that STID was the *not* the Stsr Trek movie I wanted to see (the logic inconsistencies were more than appalling, and the raping of dialog and scenes from WoK were incredibly insulting to long-time fans); but I disagree that the current iteration of Trek has destroyed the franchise.

The first Abrams' movie gave this long-time fan a lot to smile about. The "essence and core" of Star Trek was there. STID was an abhorrently bad step in the wrong direction, but I think there is still some hope that the next film could appease both old and new fans.
Brandon - Thu, Dec 12, 2013 - 2:30pm (USA Central)
I don't see how the "essence and core" of Star Trek was there. Now I REALLY am not saying this with the intent to trod on your enjoyment of the movie. I'm glad you enjoyed the experience. I'm just trying to explain why I didn't see the essence in there that so many others did. In fact, I saw the opposite.

The core of Trek was in its dialogue. From 1966 onward, Star Trek has been people sitting in a room talking about things at a nice, deliberate pace. People tend to remember the larger-scale action stuff, but the glue that spaced the action apart, informed the ideas and fleshed out the characters was the dialogue.

Abrams' Trek movies don't have room for dialogue. Once you take out the parts involving the cliche of people shouting over each other (TV Trek rarely used such amateurish tactics), there's hardly any in the movie. Most of it is the clipped, frantic, explain-the-next-action-set-piece variety. There were only two really memorable scenes of dialogue in the entire Abrams franchise so far, and the entire rest of the movie is so relentlessly AAAHHHH and KABOOM that the dialogue scenes feel less like the glue of the movie and more like the perfunctory breathing spells of a straight-up action movie. Even First Contact, the most brisk and tense and actiony of the Trek movies, had much more room for ideas.

That's why it just wasn't Trek for me. The action-idea ratio was so high and the themes so superficially put forth that it felt like nothing but an action movie. And not even a thought-provoking action movie like Minority Report, but a silly one like Transformers 2: "The Matrix of Leadership cannot be found. It must be earned, sometimes at a cost." Whatever, Michael Bay. We all know what this movie is really about.
Dom - Fri, Dec 13, 2013 - 10:25pm (USA Central)
@ John W, you hit the nail on the head. Abrams' Trek movies aren't the worst movies I've seen, but they're frustrating because they take a franchise with so much potential and done wrong by them. I'm just worried about Star Wars now!
Dom - Fri, Dec 13, 2013 - 10:29pm (USA Central)
@ Mitch, I suspect if Trek ever returns to form, it'll have to be on TV. Movie economics just don't seem to support thoughtful movies anymore. Even Peter Jackson, whose Lord of the Rings movies were wonderful, seems to have dumbed down the Hobbit movies and thrown in a bunch of mindless CGI action scenes.

I think TV could support a more thoughtful Trek, but it'd have to be a serialized form, not episodic. Still, TV would give Trek the time it needs to build an ensemble cast and to reward viewers for their patience.
Joseph B - Sat, Dec 14, 2013 - 10:24am (USA Central)
I agree that a serialized Star Trek TV series could be great!
Actually, DS9 certainly seemed like a serialized series at times -- as did ENT. But neither went 100% in that direction. (ENT was actually closer with it's third season arc. Too bad they had to throw the darn "Temporal War" mess in there as well ... *sigh*)

I have to confess that I'm ready for some all new weekly Trek of some kind back on TV. This "once-every-four-year" CGI -enhanced retread of previous movies just isn't doing it for me!
Heck -- I'm so desperate I'm about to break out my Voyager DVDs ...
Mitch - Tue, Dec 24, 2013 - 12:22am (USA Central)
I'd love to see Trek return to TV, unfortunately that idea is likely on the back burner for probably a good decade. I predict for the foreseeable future, Trek is now locked into these horrible Micheal Bay type movies (read: mindless explosions and action) on the big screen. Like it or leave it.

They'll just keep making crappy STID type sequels one after another... until people get bored with the concept and they stop making money. And at that point, Trek will go back into a deep slumber until someone decides to reboot it again (a la TNG back in '87). Can't see a serialized TV trek series, with DS9 level of writing and story lines, running concurrently with these horrible Trek movies. Probably a good thing, I wouldn't want them existing in this "reboot" universe, I want Trek back in the universe we all knew and loved.
Dom - Thu, Dec 26, 2013 - 4:20pm (USA Central)
Speaking of TV shows, I just realized that as of next year it will have been 20 years since the end of TNG, arguably the height of Trek. That's actually longer than the time between the end of TOS and beginning of TNG!

I suspect that Paramount will milk the 50th anniversary of Trek with another nuTrek movie, but after that I wouldn't be surprised if we hear about a new TV show. I don't think nuTrek has much life in it left. Pretty soon the actors are going to be too old for the target demographic (younger males, teens).
Joseph B - Fri, Dec 27, 2013 - 1:35am (USA Central)
Wow! I just realized that we're getting close to the end of 2013. In Jammer's last update he stated "Maybe I’ll shoot for the end of the year." So it's actually possible that we're now getting close to finally being able to read his thoughts regarding this movie. I've been holding out viewing the Blu until his review was posted (or perhaps I'm just looking for a reason to *not* view the movie again!) But my daughter hasn't viewed the movie at all yet, so we may just break down and spin the Blu if the review is not posted by next Monday ...
Lord Garth - Sat, Dec 28, 2013 - 11:50am (USA Central)
At this point, I think a capsule review, as opposed to full length, might be worth considering.
Genre-Buster - Sat, Dec 28, 2013 - 11:40pm (USA Central)
Indeed - what could Jammer possibly add to this discussion that hasn't already been said? 600 posts now and counting...

Still, the fetishist in me wants the damn thing written and posted. This is the finest Trek website out there, and there's still no STID review!

Get on with it, man! You can type and burp your baby at the same time, can't you? Can't be that hard...
Dom - Tue, Dec 31, 2013 - 3:32pm (USA Central)
7.5 more hours for Jammer to post a review before 2014 comes...
Mitch - Tue, Dec 31, 2013 - 4:20pm (USA Central)
I'm eagerly awaiting too. To me, Jammer's review of STID, whenever he writes it, is *THE* definitive review! I just have to read it before I put any closure on this latest film. Perhaps because I've been reading his reviews since January 1995 (back then using a text-based Apple II computer with Lynx!) or just perhaps because they're so insightful, well written and he has such a grasp on Trek's history. I remember a time I wasn't done with an episode of DS9 or VOY until I read Jammer's take on it... :)
Joseph B - Wed, Jan 1, 2014 - 10:55pm (USA Central)
*Oof!*
STID was rated the Number 2 Worse SF/Fantasy movie for 2013 by io9:

io9.com/the-best-and-worst-science-fiction-and-fantasy-movies-o-1485583680

The same site had placed the 2009 movie in their Top 10 List, so "This has gotta' hurt!" as they say. After having just viewed the movie for only the second time since its release, I can't disagree with the placement. Just a terrible embarrassment for the Trek franchise.
harpohara - Sat, Jan 4, 2014 - 5:06pm (USA Central)
Well Mitch I am sorry to say that Jammers review would have been the definitive review if it had come out before now but I am sure im not the only one who stopped caring long ago. And I have probably checked for the review 100 times over the months.

Jammer - respect for your circumstances but a man like you after everything you have done cannot just shut up shop for this long. Its like you dont care anymore and whether you like it or not, everthing you have done and the following you have creates a level of expectation from and (yes) a responsibility to the very many people who have followed you for many years, including me.

I still want to give you the benefit of the doubt on this but it honestly seems like you have either forgotten about your followers, decided you owe us nothing, have major life events you cant discuss, or have stopped caring.
Lord Garth - Sat, Jan 4, 2014 - 8:05pm (USA Central)
He bought the DVD, so that puts it above 1.5, which he gave TFF.

Let's be realistic: he's not going to give it 3.5 or 4.

So that leaves 2, 2.5, or 3. He's defended JJ Abrams' films but I think he would've felt compelled to write something by now if he were *really* enjoyed the film. Moving and taking care of a baby are a lot of work but everyone needs a break.

Taking all that into consideration, I'm 99.9% sure, Jammer would rate this a 2.5.

Just my opinion of what I think he'd give STID. In lieu of a review, that's my educated guess.
jdm - Sun, Jan 5, 2014 - 9:43pm (USA Central)
Happy New Year 2014 to Jammer and all Jammer fans.

harpohara, unless you and Jammer made a contract for him to write the review, he's got no responsibility to you or any of the rest of us. Come down off your high horse and wait for the review (which may never come) if you're curious what Jammer thinks, or stop visiting the site if you're bored. Your choice.
Mitch - Wed, Jan 8, 2014 - 10:38pm (USA Central)
Harpohara - Whether it comes now or later, it's still the definitive review because it's by someone who's opinion I value and been following for years to boot! Beyond that, I'd cut Jammer some slack. It's a Trek movie, and one that hardly even qualifies at that...more a poor action b-movie. We're not talking about weekly TV episodes of DS9, VOY, ENT or BSG where timely reviews mattered.

When he writes it, he writes it. Sooner would be nice, but speaking for myself personally, I can wait.

In the meantime The Red Letter Media guys did a pretty good (albeit tongue in cheek) review of STID.

redlettermedia.com/half-in-the-bag-star-trek-into-darkness/

The only other one I'm eagerly awaiting is their Mr. Plinkett review of STID (hopefully that's coming), those are just awesome! :D
joseph b - Thu, Jan 9, 2014 - 7:50am (USA Central)
Mitch -- That's a good point. And when you think about it, there's likely not going to be any new Trek movies or eps until at least 2016 (Fifty year Anniversary). So Jammer still has about another 30 months or so to get his Review out ...
Demosthenes - Thu, Jan 9, 2014 - 11:06pm (USA Central)
harpohara, with respect, you're way out of line. You aren't a subscriber to this website. You come here for free, just like the rest of us. Jammer takes time from his life to write these reviews. He doesn't owe you new content. He has no responsibilities toward you, or me, or any of us.

I want to read his review too. And like you, I'm frustrated that I couldn't do it months ago. But I also recognize that when I get something for free, I don't really get to dictate a schedule for it.
K'Elvis - Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - 3:38pm (USA Central)
It was an entertaining imitation of Star Trek. Imitation isn't necessarily a bad thing. I put imitation sugar in my coffee, I spread imitation butter on my bread. I have a bottle of imitation vanilla in my kitchen. I will occasionally eat an imitation cupcake wrapped in plastic. Some people prefer imitations: many people think they like cherries when when what they really like is imitation cherry flavoring.

I'll eat the imitation, I'll watch the imitation if it is all I can get. But it's not going to be memorable. If I go out for dinner, and want something memorable, I'll have real sugar, real butter, real vanilla and real cherries.
Demosthenes - Sun, Jan 19, 2014 - 10:13am (USA Central)
It's now been over eight months since ST:iD was released, for those of you keeping track.
Ryanofnine - Fri, Jan 31, 2014 - 9:39pm (USA Central)
Zero substance. I hate seeing Star Trek's good name on these films. Everything Star Trek means to its fans is thrown out the window in these new films. I want moral dilemma, self reflection, and thought provoking comments on humanity presented through an intelligent sci-fi storyline. Instead, JJ gives us shiny, sexy, and ultimately mindless. No stars from me.
MidshipmanNorris - Mon, Feb 3, 2014 - 5:56pm (USA Central)
Ryan, that stuff doesn't play in Hollywood. You want that kind of substance, you read books. It's rare that such thematic substance ever gets into a big-budget Hollywood production.

Why waste your time on Star Trek? It's been "Hollywood-ized" since 1982.
E2 - Wed, Feb 5, 2014 - 2:33pm (USA Central)
@MidshipmanNorris:
"Ryan, that stuff doesn't play in Hollywood. You want that kind of substance, you read books. It's rare that such thematic substance ever gets into a big-budget Hollywood production.
Why waste your time on Star Trek? It's been "Hollywood-ized" since 1982."

Wow! Too true, too true. I guess this MidshipmanNorris feller is kinda out there.

Sadly, I can't really disagree with him here. However there was and are exceptions- and therefore hope. Both "The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine" Are examples of post '82 Trek that often embodied the best qualities of the genre, and of Roddenberry's vison.

As for the big screen, although not Trek, I might suggest "The Europa Report" as being the most recent honest attempt at putting actual science fiction on the big screen.
Brandon - Fri, Feb 7, 2014 - 12:25pm (USA Central)
Norris, one of the reasons Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is so well-received is because it's not empty. It's drenched in relevant, coherent themes and skillfully rides the line between popular entertainment and social commentary. There's stuff to think about even as you shovel the popcorn and watch the explosions. Everything has more significance to it.

I see nothing of the sort in STID. The 9/11 metaphor is subtle as a hammer and completely backwards. We're asked to identify with the bin Laden figure, prompted to sympathize with him, and THEN he topples a bunch of buildings? Huh? What are they trying to say with that?

There's a difference between a smart movie and a dumb movie that's trying to look smarter than an endless bunch of explosions. STID is the latter, unfortunately.
Rob Fleming - Mon, Feb 10, 2014 - 5:35am (USA Central)
well, the Batman trilogy is a good example for good "popcorn" movies not insulting the intelligence of the viewers.
There are several other examples coming into my mind, like X-men First Class or Inception...
Christopher Nolan should take over :-)
Niall - Mon, Feb 10, 2014 - 6:15am (USA Central)
Those who are badgering Jammer - what do you honestly think his review is going to add to your life? Are you hoping it will validate your own opinion? I'd be happy for Jammer to take another 8 months just to further aggravate some of the more vocal badgerers. He'll write it in his own time. In the meantime, there are tons of other well-written STID reviews all over the internet spanning a whole range of voices and opinion.
stargazer - Mon, Feb 10, 2014 - 12:42pm (USA Central)
Here's one good review:

youtube.com/watch?v=9jAg6h1yzF8

It's a good, spontaneus analysis of what's wrong not just with the latest "Star Trek" movie, specifically Abrams' take on it, but also with today's Hollywood. Here's one small excerpt:

"If J.J. Abrams had a shred of self-respect, he'd pay back the 25 million he was paid to do this fu***** movie; and the writers would give their checks back. The agreement in society is that this is a meritocracy. You get paid to do things based on ability. If you can write something that the rest of us can't write, if you can direct something that the rest of us can't direct, you deserve your 25 million. Star Trek into Darkness was worse than the worst fan fiction you could find on the internet. Fan fiction was more in-depth, psychologically authentic and technologically accurate than the sh*t J.J. Abrams crapped out."
Mitch - Tue, Feb 11, 2014 - 1:40pm (USA Central)
That YouTube analysis was spot on. For at least the past decade and a half, Hollywood movies are now constructed as a series of disjointed "cool scenes", well before a story or plot have even been conceived.

It's akin to letting a group of children draw a bunch of random pictures and then saying, "Okay boys and girls, now you need to make a story about those drawings and somehow in the process, connect them all together too".

The most important aspect of any movie is the writing...with a story and a well thought out plot. It's only AFTERWARDS do you embellish it with visuals, music and special effects. It's like putting on the frosting before baking the cake! And there's no originality anymore, it's all recycled from other classic movies (simplified and dumbed down for today's audience of course) with nothing new to offer. Cookie cutter plots and scenes trying to paying tribute to once great films. Or perhaps just trying to rip them off.

Star Trek has been infected by this laziness. I thought it was bad with Insurrection and Nemesis, but ST and STID just took it to levels so low its just unrecognizable as Star Trek now.
Joseph B - Wed, Feb 12, 2014 - 7:31am (USA Central)
@Niall:
I thought Jammer would have until around May 2016 to review this movie and still stay current with "all things Star Trek".

Now, I'm not too sure: This new "Star Trek Continues" series is seemingly picking up steam. They just released the second ep in this series ("Lolani") and the acting is vastly improved over the first. In fact, I think it may be "Jammer Review Worthy"! So Jammer needs to review STID so he can get on to reviewing some *real* Star Trek again!!

observationdeck.io9.com/star-trek-continues-episode-2-lolani-1519235192/151 9486991/@laurendavis


stargazer - Thu, Feb 13, 2014 - 4:30am (USA Central)
@Mitch

Yes, definitely.

@Joseph B

Yes, it looks really good! (and promising). I haven't watched the (two) episodes yet, but I'm about to.
Genre-Buster - Sat, Feb 22, 2014 - 9:06pm (USA Central)
I have to say, CM's really tearing it up:

www.confusedmatthew.com/star-trek-into-darkness.html

Clearly, there's plenty more to say about this film, so I'm still very much looking forward to Jammer's take.
E2 - Wed, Feb 26, 2014 - 9:47am (USA Central)
@Joseph B:
"Star Trek Continues" series is seemingly picking up steam.

I'm not sure we can use that expression with a fan-fic that is done entirely by people donating their time. It seems the maximum output at 'full steam' would be about 1.5 episodes a year...

On the other hand, I agree with you that would be really interesting to see Jammer's take on it here. Maybe we can entice him by mentioning that Jammie Bamber is a guest actor in the first episode. (And it doesn't hurt that it is made by people who seem to actually sort of like Star Trek, in stark contrast to recent big screen efforts.)
Dom - Tue, Mar 4, 2014 - 9:22am (USA Central)
@stargazer, I agree with you 100% about JJ Abrams, Lindeloff, and the rest. Unfortunately, rather than being punished for their lazy writing and directing, they've been rewarded. JJ Abrams is directing Star Wars, arguably the biggest prize in sci-fi/fantasy film. Lindeloff hasn't been laughed out of Hollywood yet. Unfortunately, it too many fields, the idea of meritocracy is not alive and well. I worry studios are going to look at the bottom line - STID did make money - and not at the actual quality.
MidshipmanNorris - Sat, Mar 8, 2014 - 5:25am (USA Central)
What, he still hasn't posted the review?

God damn. I guess it's time to stop caring.
Demosthenes - Mon, Mar 17, 2014 - 6:32am (USA Central)
For those keeping track, "Star Trek: Into Darkness" was released ten months ago today. Anyone who took the over on one year, it's time to start feeling good about your chances.
Demosthenes - Wed, Mar 19, 2014 - 9:05pm (USA Central)
Just watching a rerun of Big Bang Theory. It's the one where Sheldon gets the cardboard cutout of the reboot Spock and angrily exclaims, "Live long and suck it, Zachary Quinto!"

I remember thinking that in the theater last year when Spock screamed "KHAN!"
R. - Tue, Mar 25, 2014 - 12:23am (USA Central)
Does anyone here have real hope that Star Trek will ever return to the format where it belongs?

After watching "Into Darkness" in the theater last year, I now look back at the days when "Enterprise" was considered the red headed stepchild of the family with a none-too-small degree of nostalgia.
Mitch - Tue, Mar 25, 2014 - 6:22pm (USA Central)
I would hope for a return to television--and in pre-2009 movie format, otherwise for all intents and purposes, Trek is dead.

I would love to see more of the Star Trek universe we were presented in the late 80's and 90's, still set in the 24th century. Maybe even set it ahead to the 25th century? (so long as it doesn't stray too far from the original premise, like the movies have). I want to see touch screens and displays like we had in TNG and DS9, I want large slow moving ships, I want it sci-fi based and NOT sci-fantasy. Stories about human nature and condition, not action and stuff blowing up. Well, that's fun too, but in small moderation and as long as it doesn't overtake the intellectual bits.

'Star Trek Continues' is kinda cool. You could almost mistake it for actual TOS! I just found the acting a bit...well...under par. It'd be really cool if they could do Star Trek II movie era episodes or even TNG, but that'd likely be out of budget and beyond do-ability unless a mainstream studio were producing it. TOS is easy to replicate on a shoe string budget no doubt.

Back on Into Darkness, yep, I can't believe they produced something that is even lower than Enteprise or Nemesis. Far, far lower. It makes those seem like classics now. As I said, if these reboot movies are the only future for Trek, Trek is dead to me. Particularly because I don't see it going that far....we'll get what, another movie or two before people get bored with it and Trek is buried again?
R. - Thu, Mar 27, 2014 - 12:45am (USA Central)
I'm forced to agree with you, Mitch.

Star Trek has been shortchanged by J.J. Abrams. Morality plays and commentaries on the human condition have been abandoned in favor of campy thrills and lens flare. Even Enterprise, for some of the absolute travesties it inflicted on we the viewers, had gems like "Dear Doctor", "Cogenitor" and "Damage". It would seem that Abrams' attempt to make Star Trek "more like Star Wars" has robbed it of its voice and purpose.

Here's hoping that now that he actually has his mitts on Star Wars, the franchise can be pried form his grasping fingers and pass into the hands and minds of people who are worthy of it.

Maybe after a decade or two out of the public consciousness Star Trek will have a second renaissance.
Dom - Thu, Mar 27, 2014 - 1:00pm (USA Central)
@Mitch and R,

I agree with you about the quality of JJ Trek, but remember that we've got the 50th anniversary of Trek coming up in a few years. I wouldn't be surprised if that motivates CBS or Paramount to invest in a new, better Trek outing. As much as I dislike Abrams' cinematography, I think the real problem is Paramount. Going back to 1966, it's clear Paramount never really had a clue how to treat Star Trek. The best Trek often occurred when Paramount wasn't looking or didn't pay attention, such as Wrath of Khan and Deep Space Nine. I don't know what CBS's attitude towards Trek is nowadays, but Paramount obviously just wanted a cash grab with the JJ Trek movies.

I predict we'll at some point get a Trek show set some 100-200 years after the end of Voyager. With advances in TV storytelling since 2005, it seems like a no-brainer.
R. - Thu, Mar 27, 2014 - 3:23pm (USA Central)
That's a shrewd observation, Dom.

When I read it I couldn't help but think of the Kate Mulgrew hair controversy of Voyager's first season or the no-conflict-among-the-crew rule of TNG.

I imagine J.J. Abrams fancies himself something of a messiah to Trekkies the world over. To me he's more like the Antichrist.
Mitch - Fri, Mar 28, 2014 - 2:37am (USA Central)
I think Voyager and Enterprise had incredible potential, all the right ingredients were there, they just went off in the wrong direction. Or maybe it was writer fatigue? I remember Jammer writing in one of his series reviews that Trek needed to go into dormancy, a very extended break if you will, for it to become fresh again.

Hah, I always thought DS9 had the worst premise and setting of any series, but with excellent writing they produced the best stories EVER seen in Trek! Meanwhile Voyager had the best premise and setting, but with poor writing, produced the worst Trek of all time (well, until these movies came along). The reboot wasn't merely going in the wrong direction, it was totally and completely off track. Hell never mind a track, it went off universe....it was the very first time Trek has been unrecognizable to me. I even have far more respect for the cheesy Filmation cartoon Trek of the 70's! (which to its credit though, had some of the original Trek writing staff and produced some REALLY good stories to my surprise!).

As for Trek's 50th anniversary. Let's just hope it's better than the Doctor Who 50th...another one of my favorite sci-fi series rebooted and ruined, particularly during the Matt Smith era. Again, all about the writing!

...Back to Trek, I think Jammer would say they woke it up too earlier with these films and it needs to go back to sleep for awhile.
Dom - Fri, Mar 28, 2014 - 10:49am (USA Central)
Honestly, more than a new series or movie, I think the most important thing for the future of Trek is to upscale the older material into HD/blu-ray quality. This has already been done with TNG and TOS, but there's been no announcement for DS9. Increasingly, as people get used to watching TV stations and streaming services in HD, there's a risk that DS9 will look unacceptably old. I'm worried that potential new fans might not give them a chance. This has already happened with shows like Babylon 5, which is almost unwatchable now on a large screen because the effects were all done in standard def in a different aspect ratio. At the least, if Paramount/CBS were to take care of the back library of Trek, it might get new fans interested and create more demand for Trek.
R. - Sun, Mar 30, 2014 - 12:27am (USA Central)
I don't think Paramount is in any great rush to give DS9 a revamp. We're more likely to see the more bankable series (i.e. Voyager), go first. Although, the first three seasons of DS9 would look fantastic in sharper quality.

Yes, Mitch, the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode made Voyager's "Threshold" comprehensible by comparison. I might be a tad biased, though, since I loathe the new incarnation (2004 onwards) of that show.
Dom - Sun, Mar 30, 2014 - 1:20pm (USA Central)
@R., I'm curious, how is Voyager more bankable than DS9? DS9 DVDs are amongst the highest selling Trek TV show DVDs. Also, Voyager pretty widely disliked by many fans (including Jammer). If anything, I'd think DS9 in HD could sell relatively well given its more loyal following.
MidshipmanNorris` - Sun, Mar 30, 2014 - 10:21pm (USA Central)
get away from that launcher

Have we given up discussing STID?

People seem to be pouring out their hate for this movie. Maybe some of them have never seen Barbara Luna in that dress she's almost wearing in "Mirror, Mirror."

So she's in her undies. Tee hee!

People are getting so goddamn sensitive these days! I say screw it, I like seeing chicks in their undies, and you may as well call me Edgar Friendly because I might just need to smear green jello all over my body while motorcycling down sunset boulevard and reading playboy magazine, just because I felt the need to!

This movie rocks your socks, and you can easily put it up against Avengers for nerd movie of the year! I say Star Trek fans have become complacent in years of TV watching and are in danger of becoming the cosmic party poopers that people have been saying they are since the beginning. But that's not how Star Trek got started and that's not how it HAS TO BE!

THink! THe whole "we should look at this from a more mature angle" thing came along because Shatner was starting to get old. Harve Bennett has said it, Nick Meyer said it, and Shatner has said it, and I'll quote you chapter and verse if I have to. I got the books.

Star Trek is Zefram Cochrane's dream of retiring to a tropical island full of naked women (otherwise known as Risa). This series has been about sex, plain and simple, for such a long time, and somewhere along the way this dry academicism seeped in and got people thinking that aching bones and death and aging are all that mean anything in the Trek universe, and by god, I have to just say one more time, in the words of the great De Kelley:

"IT'S A SONG, YA GREEN BLOODED...VULCAN! THE WORDS AREN'T IMPORTANT, WHAT'S IMPORTANT IS THAT YOU HAVE A GOOD TIME SINGING!"

I just feel like people have forgotten what a good time is, and are nitpicking this movie to death.

The Motionless Picture, it ain't!
Joseph B - Mon, Mar 31, 2014 - 4:16am (USA Central)
@Dom:
IMO both DS9 and Voyager will come to Blu-ray and HD via new sophisticated computerized upscaling processes. Restoring TNG by going back to the original film elements and then re-editing scene-by-scene has proven to be much costlier than CBS initially estimated. And while the results have been spectacular from a visual perspective, the Blu-rays have not sold as well as anticipated.

Consumer surveys indicate that fans would have been more receptive to repurchasing TNG on Blu-ray if the 16:9 aspect ratio had been provided. CBS could have done that by slightly cropping the original 4:3 aspect ratio and then utilizing a process known as "tilt-and-scan", but then they would have had to have *all* of the interior SFX shots re-done to match. They actually tried some tests utilizing the method with the existing SFX simply blown-up to match the cropping: The results looked almost as bad as the Babylon 5 16:9 effort. In retrospect, with all of the money spent on re-editing the original film elements combined with new CGI for the space scenes, CBS probably should have just gone the extra mile with the interior SFX. TNG in HD presented in 16:9 could probably have gone back into syndication.

Fortunately, computerized upscaling has gotten much better just in the past two years. DS9 and Voyager may not look like true HD utilizing this process, but will look much better than SD (without aliasing and stairstepping artifacts) and could easily be provided in the 16:9 aspect ratio. (BTW, it's rumored that Voyager was shot protected for 16:9 in its last three seasons.)
R. - Mon, Mar 31, 2014 - 6:14am (USA Central)
@Dom In the sense that Voyager is more accessible to the casual viewer than DS9. I'm only going off of my own experience with Star Trek fans, of course, but my general observation has been that Voyager is usually well-liked while DS9 is labelled as "boring". Of all the people I know who like Star Trek (a short list, sadly), I would say perhaps 80% of them are Voyager fans. There's no accounting for taste, though.

Maybe it's because Voyager was pretty much the same show from start to finish? DS9 was subtle and evolved over the course of seven seasons. The most accurate device for knowing which season of Voyager you're watching is usually Captain Janeway's hairstyle. Or maybe starships are just cooler than Cardassian bicycle wheels. Who knows?

I simply meant that DS9 has always been overlooked within the franchise, despite its generally good ratings and standing with the critics.
Demosthenes - Mon, Mar 31, 2014 - 12:01pm (USA Central)
@ the midshipman:

"Have we given up discussing STID?"

What else is there to say? This comment of mine is the 640th that's been posted on this thread. The few of us who are still here are just waiting for Jammer's review so we'll have something else to talk about. At this point, it seems like everyone who's commented has (between all of us) worn out any positive and negative points of view, and comments, that could be made. We just sound like we're repeating ourselves, or others. I mean, how many times have you made that same "get away from that launcher" reference? It's been at least twice that I can remember, and that's without going back to count. That's not ragging on you personally, it's just going to show how repetitive the conversation has become.

"This movie rocks your socks, and you can easily put it up against Avengers for nerd movie of the year!"

1) My socks remain unrocked.
2) It would be a neat trick if we could put ST:iD and The Avengers against each other for nerd movie of the year, since they came out in different years.

"People are getting so goddamn sensitive these days!"

Dude. DUDE. DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDE.

Not to make this a personal thing, but your saying this triggered something in my memory that made me go back and look. You have quit this thread twice, and retracted your comments another time, because you seemed to get your feelings hurt. And ALL of those took place within a month and a half of each other --

CadetNorris, July 17, 2013:
"I'm not feeling particularly welcome in this open to the whole Internet discussion anymore. Live long and prosper. " (You were gone for like, nine hours.)

MidshipmanNorris, August 6, 2013:
"God. I didn't mean to piss anybody off. I retract everything. Forget it." (That was just after midnight Central Time, over some weird argument on Leonard Nimoy. You were back by noon.)

MidshipmanNorris, August 27, 2013:
"I find you all to be remarkably unpleasant people. I have absolutely no desire to continue this discussion." (You were back within five days.)

I mean, I'm sorry to say this, man, because I don't know what else is going on in your life. But based on the evidence in this thread, it seems like you're the sensitive one. Heck, you've even admitted yourself that people call you sensitive! (August 11, 2013). So you saying that OTHER people are getting too sensitive...it's just too much, dude. It's just too much.

And since I was looking anyway...that "get away from that launcher" joke? You've made it three times.
Dom - Mon, Mar 31, 2014 - 8:03pm (USA Central)
@ Demosthenes, I appreciate your attempt to shine some truth onto MidshipmanNorris' statements, but I recommend you just ignore him. I've had people like him post comments incessantly on my Amazon review of STID for months on end (the only reason they stopped is that my review was no longer the highest ranked critical review of the movie once the blu-rays came out). It seems there are just some people who can't tolerate intelligent discussion and/or criticism of this movie.

That said, I'll say something new about STID that I don't think has been mentioned here before. Some of the deleted scenes were posted on Trek Core a few weeks ago. Nothing important, except in one Kirk records his doctored captain's log on the bridge. That's right, Kirk lies in front of his crew. Thankfully that scene was cut because it really would have diminished the character even more if even the bridge crew couldn't take him seriously.
Demosthenes - Mon, Mar 31, 2014 - 9:37pm (USA Central)
Yeah, Dom, maybe I should have. Truth be told, I hesitated before posting it. While Norris has been all over the place, he has sometimes tried to discuss the film and what he liked about it. And it seemed like a low blow to bring up the inconsistencies I found when I went back to confirm my memories.

But that "remarkably unpleasant people" kiss-off finally decided me -- well, that coupled with the fact that he was the first one to call for a "moratorium" that I think was meant to preclude people from insulting each other...or offering criticisms of what they said. (July 29, 2013) You really can't have it both ways. Or maybe you can, if people let you. But you shouldn't.

Honestly, I wish they'd included that "Kirk doctoring the log in public" scene. Just one more thing he could get busted for. Man doesn't deserve to be in control of a starship. (Not this version of him, at any rate.)
Vylora - Wed, Apr 2, 2014 - 4:06pm (USA Central)
While I agree that the 'undie' scene was blown WAY out of proportion, Midship Norris' comments that Star Trek was about sex in the first place is extremely short-sighted. Seems to me he never listened to any of the dialogue and watched it only for the short skirts (which were the costume of choice because Roddenberry liked them and for no other reason).

The "dry academism" or whatever never "slowly crept in" like some virulent strain...it was simply a great part of what Star Trek was when it began. It was always about good storytelling for better or for worse. The only difference subjectively is whether one prefers style or substance.

When it comes to the Abrams Treks, they're enjoyable enough. I enjoyed the first one a bit more. And by 'enjoy' I mean mainly on an aesthetic level. But they will never be what I would show a newcomer to Trek. I really do like Abrams work but he was not the guy for Star Trek. At least not movies anyway. Especially swimming through Paramounts drooling over trying to turn a great franchise of mostly great storytelling into a blubbering mess of mindless action and pretty pictures.

Abrams MIGHT have been a good choice for a new series. Alias was good. Fringe was fantastic. Lost was amazing. I have lost interest, though, in Almost Human and in Revolution. So in my mind an Abrams ST series may have worked as long as he brought in a few veterans to work with him. I could be wrong.

I digress. Basically the new movies should have been handled by someone else. Ron Moore, Joss Whedon, hell even Darren Aronofsky. But I also realize that doing the movies in the first place was probably a bad idea. I mean it was great for Paramount as a cash-grab. From a storytelling point of view, though, it wasn't. Trek has first and foremost always been best as a series. It's also proven that it can be a great series with serialized storytelling. So maybe instead of putting another "adventure-of-the-week" Trek worried about ratings and demographics and advertising dollars on broadcast tv for the soda-guzzling, reality-show/cop-drama-watching masses; let's bring it to a cable network that might actually take care of it and promote creativity. Maybe AMC or something. Just a thought.
Dom - Fri, Apr 4, 2014 - 9:46am (USA Central)
It's sad how many times I've seen people claim Gene Roddenberry would have liked this movie. That's simply not true. Gene was adamantly against militarism and violence. He disliked Undiscovered Country and tried to stop its release. He probably would have denounced STID publicly.
Captain Jon - Sat, Apr 5, 2014 - 11:16pm (USA Central)
Dom, while I agree that it's sad people are claiming Roddenberry would have liked STID, I think it's sad that people say he wouldn't. No one can really speak for Gene Roddenberry except Gene himself. Are there aspects of these new movies he probably would've disagreed with? Absolutely! But there are probably also aspects he would've enjoyed. The truth will never be known.

I'd like to point out that Roddenberry objected to aspects of TWoK and we all know how highly that's considered by everyone.
Gene Roddenberry - Sun, Apr 6, 2014 - 5:05am (USA Central)
I did not like Star Trek Into Darkness.
Macca - Sun, Apr 6, 2014 - 2:24pm (USA Central)
Ha ha.
Dom - Sun, Apr 6, 2014 - 6:06pm (USA Central)
@Captain Jon, well, Gene's views are pretty well documented. He was a rational humanist and antimilitarist. He objected to the more militaristic aspects of Starfleet in the films (supposedly, he was preparing to file a lawsuit to prevent Star Trek VI from being released before he passed away, and also didn't like Wrath of Khan). So I think it's pretty safe to say that he probably wouldn't have liked STID much, if at all, and maybe even would have filed a suit against it. We can't know for sure of course but I think history and the evidence strongly suggests that.
Dom - Sun, Apr 6, 2014 - 6:07pm (USA Central)
To be sure, just because Gene Roddenberry doesn't like something doesn't mean it isn't good. His wife Majel spoke out against DS9, my favorite incarnation of Trek.
Matrix - Mon, Apr 7, 2014 - 10:40pm (USA Central)
Gene Roddenberry was a pretty cool guy. But
scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/17993/what-evidence-exists-supporting-tha t-roddenberry-thought-of-tos-as-non-canon he was also kinda nuts, which still makes him a pretty cool guy.
MidshipmanNorris - Fri, Apr 11, 2014 - 8:37pm (USA Central)
get away from that launcher

It's agreed that The Bird was kinda out there. He wasn't really involved in the movies much; his pitch from twok on was for kirk and co to go back to the 60's and try to stop the Kennedy assassination, which is dumb, because everyone knows they aren't going to be able to do it.

But more to the point; it's almost certain that Roddenberry would have preferred a more sci-fi oriented Trek than STID has any right to claim to be. But attend, for Roddenberry's Trek is somewhat limited in its scope of ideas. In order to win new fans, the current crop of Trek writers have tried to play to the series' strengths. I find this to be a most logical course of action.
Demosthenes - Sun, Apr 13, 2014 - 11:56pm (USA Central)
So, in your view, "the series' strengths" include:

Befouling its own greatest moments
Aping the "Star Wars" aesthetic
CGI-infested action sequences
Inconsistent and lousy science
Paint-by-numbers plotting
Not actually trekking across the stars

I'd call those weaknesses myself, but hey. Whatever makes you happy.
Louis B - Sun, Apr 20, 2014 - 1:44am (USA Central)
Hey Jammer!

I love your reviews. ~86% of them at least.

REVIEW STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS!!!

Please.

Love,
Louis

P.S. Thanks
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, Apr 20, 2014 - 10:07am (USA Central)
Demosthenes, you cease tolerating opinions the moment they become not your opinions. And you never seem to get tired of it. I find your emotional investment in the failure of this movie to be somewhat distasteful, especially seeing as the movie swept the box office, and many people I've spoken to in real life, who are not, by and large, Star Trek fans, have admitted to enjoying the film.

You're slanting things to support your fan hate, and it's making Baby Jesus cry on this wonderful Easter morning.

Star Trek Into Darkness has:

Cool fight scenes
Hot chicks
A villain with acting chops (have you seen Sherlock?)
Slam-bang CG action sequences
Hot chicks
A plot that moves constantly (never slow or pedantic)
Just enough sci-fi to be interesting, but not so much that it irritates non-sf fans
And to top it all off, it has hot chicks.

You seem to have something against this movie personally, as I stated above. Perhaps you've made your point and it's time to move on?
Eric - Sun, Apr 20, 2014 - 12:19pm (USA Central)
Vylora's comments about Abrams' work and him being a better choice for TV than movies were interesting. He (or the writing team he enlists) does seem to have a real problem with finishing TV series though. The last two seasons of Fringe were unbelievably frustrating due to the pseudo-reboot and the muddling of the mythology. I remember someone posting a quote from Peter David which essentially said that in Sci-Fi, nothing is more important than setting, and the writers made a gigantic mess of the setting beginning in the last 30 seconds of the third season. There was absolutely no reason to tell the audience that most of what they'd seen never happened.

I really disliked Into Darkness for reasons others have pointed out many times, but do think a good bit of classic era Trek feels lifeless. I'm not sure I'd have stuck with TNG if it were airing for the first time now after seeing shows like Breaking Bad and The Wire. Even in its best years, TNG was hit or miss, which really became apparent when Jammer reviewed it.
Dom - Sun, Apr 20, 2014 - 2:19pm (USA Central)
@MidshipmanNorris, why do you feel the need to attack everybody who criticizes STID? You keep insisting that STID used the best of Trek. All Demosthenes did was point out that there's much more to Trek, and indeed for many the core of Trek is the rich storytelling and intellectual discussion. If you like STID because it has "hot chicks" and "cool fight scenes", that's your right, but for many of us that's just not what Trek is all about and those aren't enough for a good movie.

Frankly, your attacks are getting a bit petulant. "making Baby Jesus cry" - really? You think Baby Jesus really cares about a Star Trek movie? If you want to intelligently discuss the movie, more power to you, but right now you're not really making a particularly strong case or being a good representative for people who do like STID.
Demosthenes - Sun, Apr 20, 2014 - 8:05pm (USA Central)
"Demosthenes, you cease tolerating opinions the moment they become not your opinions."

Coming from you, that's rich.

"And you never seem to get tired of it."

Says the person who has posted the most comments of anyone on this thread -- more than TWICE as many as I have, and under two different names no less. Do you realize that even if we treated your names as belonging to two different people, both of you would be still in the top TEN commenters (#2 and #8) out of over one hundred and twenty unique names?!

"...the movie swept the box office..."

Apparently, "swept the box office" is the newest euphemism for "didn't even crack the top ten domestically."

"...and many people I've spoken to in real life, who are not, by and large, Star Trek fans, have admitted to enjoying the film."

And many people who are Star Trek fans in real life have admitted, by and large, to hating the film. That might tell you something about its relative worth as a STAR TREK MOVIE.

When a convention of Star Trek fans give higher marks to both "Star Trek: The Motionless Picture" and "Star Trek V: What Does God Need With a Starship?"...

When io9 rates "ST:iD" the second-worst genre movie of 2013 (and let's face it, "The Lone Ranger" is not really a genre movie, just a really stupid period buddy comedy)...

When its most vocal defender on this board justifies the movie's existence by saying that it "plays to the series' strengths," and then fills in examples of those strengths as "hot chicks" and "slam-bang CG action sequences" (because, you know, those aren't things you could ever say about any OTHER Hollywood blockbusters of recent years)...

Then maybe it's time to admit that the detractors of "ST:iD" might, just might, have a point.

"Perhaps you've made your point and it's time to move on?"

You've quit the thread two or three times, have abused the proverbial deceased equine until it's bled out, and yet YOU haven't moved on. Why should I, when we're all still playing Vladimir and Estragon to Jammer's Godot?
MidshipmanNorris - Mon, Apr 21, 2014 - 12:32am (USA Central)
You know, Jean Luc, sometimes I think the only reason I keep coming back here is to listen to these wonderful speeches of yours.

You've got the burden of proof here. I don't know why I even bother posting, because clearly no one wants to mess around with your "theoretical knowledge of film."

Haters have taken over this comment board.
Demosthenes - Mon, Apr 21, 2014 - 12:21pm (USA Central)
Sigh. You were right, Dom. I should have just ignored Norris.

So, anyone up to debate ST movie rankings? I'll put out a list of my own to start us off.

1. Wrath of Khan
2. First Contact
3. The Voyage Home
4. The Undiscovered Country
5. Star Trek
6. The Search for Spock
7. Generations
8. The Motion Picture
9. Nemesis
10. Insurrection
11. The Final Frontier
12. Into Darkness

I don't think I need to defend Wrath of Khan at #1. #2-#4 are rough for me, because I like them all, but I'm a sucker for a good time travel story, and I always liked the lighter tone of The Voyage Home. I'm not comfortable putting The Undiscovered Country at #4, but I'd be less comfortable with either of the other two movies in that spot.

The reboot gets #5, despite it feeling a lot like a movie outline that they filmed, mostly because of the Trekkian ingenuity involved in the reboot. The Search for Spock is underappreciated, but I can't justify placing it higher than the first five. I've never been able to watch Generations the same way since Harry Plinkett ripped it a new one, but it's better than The Motion Picture even so...and since that movie, for all its slowness, is at least trying to be good sci-fi (if not good Trek), that places it above the rest of the movies.

Of those, Nemesis goes down the easiest for me because it feels both like a movie and like Star Trek, although retread versions of both. Insurrection feels like a mediocre two-parter episode of TNG, and I could have done without all the puberty jokes. That still places it above both remaining movies, which are obnoxiously bad. I hate to say that The Final Frontier is better than Into Darkness, because it's really a case of "crap" and "crap lite." I give STV the edge here solely because it's bad in an undeniably original way, whereas the reboot sequel is bad in a thoroughly derivative way that might taint (for some viewers) the best movie ever made under the Star Trek franchise banner.

So, Dom, Eric, Vylora, Louis B, Captain Jon, Matrix...other recent commenters...what do you think?
Dom - Tue, Apr 22, 2014 - 2:25pm (USA Central)
I've always believed Trek is primarily a TV franchise and most of the movies are NOT good (I'd say only the top 4 here really count as "great"). That said, here goes my list:

1. Wrath of Khan
2. First Contact
3. Undiscovered Country
4. Voyage Home
5. Nemesis
6. Search for Spock
7. The Motion Picture
8. Insurrection
9. 2009 Trek
10. Into Darkness
11. Final Frontier
12. Generations

The first three are self-explanatory. I'm not a huge Voyage Home fan, but it is genuinely funny, which I appreciate.

I like Nemesis more than most. It's an attempt to get at a really interesting philosophical idea and has some potentially great moments. The idea of a "bad-boy" Picard clone is brilliant. It's bogged down by bad effects, plot twists, and directorial decisions (should never have been Remans, just use Romulans). The deleted scenes actually really do add a lot and I think an "extended" version of the movie would have fared much better.

The first half of Search for Spock sets up a great mystery and the "stealing the Enterprise" montage is one of the best moments in Trek film history. It goes downhill from there.

TMP is a big, bloated special effects ad. It's pretty, but not all that interesting.

The JJ films are competently directed but have mindless plots. I feel like the 2009 Trek is a more complete story, but it's bogged down by WAY too many plot holes. STID is at least entertaining on a superficial level, but more than plot holes it's the lazy plotting that bothered me.

I agree with Demosthenes that Final Frontier has originality, which I appreciate. I'd love TNG to have taken this concept and done it right. Imagine Picard talking to "God".

Generations is just bad. Bad attempts at fan service with the Klingons, Kirk, etc. Production values are slapdash (who dimmed the lights on the Enterprise? why are crewmen wearing two different styles of uniform?). I'd be tempted to say that Kirk's death in this movie isn't canon.

Again, I don't think any Trek movie compares to the best two-part episodes of TNG or DS9. The TV show production values were never cinematic (unlike the way BSG production values tended to be). But the TV shows tended to have better writers.
Brandon - Tue, Apr 22, 2014 - 7:39pm (USA Central)
This is always a fun one.


1. Wrath of Khan
2. First Contact
3. Undiscovered Country
4. Voyage Home
5. Search for Spock
6. The Motion Picture
7. Insurrection
8. Generations
9. Nemesis
10. 2009 Trek
11. Into Darkness
12. Final Frontier

I have to admit that a lot of my views on the Trek movies are affected by nostalgia and preconditioning. I grew up on this stuff. The vividness of the special effects and the grandiose music on my young mind standardized the stuff, made it "normal", helps sweep away a lot of flaws to this day and make even bad movies great. I think we're all familiar with this.

(It also helps explain the adversity of non-Trekkies, and Trekkies from the millenial generation, to the older movies. They see them as sucky, which, by most cinematic standards, they kinda are.)

Search for Spock and Motion Picture get high marks for me because of said impressionability. Love the austerity and headiness of TMP, love the 80s clarity of the special effects. Insurrection and Generations I enjoyed for what they were. I really think the music helps them there, at least for me. Odd, I know. Nemesis was just bleak.

Huge dropoff there into the Abrams movies. They could be leaps and bounds better than the older ones by most cinematic standards and I wouldn't care. They just felt like cheap, self-conscious knockoffs right from the start. So shallow in every aspect - emotion, themes, plot, characters, everything. No risk-taking, no truly bold ideas, just such a Jerry Bruckheimer mentality. I wanted to barf and what had become of Star Trek

But in the end...they're still better than Final Frontier. That tripe is just nigh-unwatchable, even with the nostalgia.
Kim Cardassian - Tue, Apr 22, 2014 - 8:39pm (USA Central)
Which movie had TJ Hooker in it?
Dom - Tue, Apr 22, 2014 - 8:56pm (USA Central)
What I think a lot of people don't realize is that Trek movies (TMP aside) were traditionally small-budget features. A lot of that corniness and cheapness was out of necessity. I'd always wondered what the 80s or even 90s Trek movies might have been like if the directors had wielded the sort of power and influence JJ Abrams did over the studios. Counting for inflation, STID cost 6.5 times as much as Wrath of Khan to make. Imagine if Nicholas Meyer had had enough money to build a beautiful set for the Genesis cave! On the other hand, I can't help but wonder if more money might simply have corrupted the earlier Trek movies. Even a movie like "Search for Spock," which I don't consider very good, has a charming innocence and genuineness that can't be bought and that the Abrams movies lack.
Genre-Buster - Wed, Apr 23, 2014 - 8:59pm (USA Central)
The following list is based on my initial reaction to the films after seeing them for the first time, so take note: this is not a critic's list. I was 12 years old when TMP came out, and its placement at #1 is based on that twelve-year-old's reaction. The only movie I didn't see in the theaters was Final Frontier, which I just now watched on Amazon in order to create this post.

1. Motion Picture - I came out of this movie with STARS in my eyes. I had never been so wonderfully dazzled by a film since Kubrick's 2001.

2. Search for Spock - With the lone exception of Spock's resurrection at the end, this movie surprised me in every way imaginable. Every single one of the seven lead characters was given a surprising new edge, and Spock's resurrection came at a shockingly satisfying cost.

3. Voyage Home - Nimoy was on an absolute roll. What a shame they didn't keep him on for any more directorial projects.

4. Wrath of Khan - The only movie to successfully invoke the campiness TOS was so famous for - and still tell a damn fine story.

5. Undiscovered Country - A good story, but it's perestroika allegory was a bit too trendy for my taste. Still, an entirely enjoyable experience.

6. First Contact - Kind dumb, and had some weird character inconsistencies, but it was okay.

7. Insurrection - Would've made a good TNG episode, but otherwise meh.

8. Generations - Disappointing. Nuff said. Don't know why I liked it, but I kinda did.

9. STID - see above posts.

10. Final Frontier - God, this was bad, but fun too in its own way.

11. Nemesis - A bleak and depressing exploitation film. Insults the intelligence to boot.

12. Star Trek '09 - As much as I've heard people complain that STID is worse, it would never have happened at all had it not been for this god-awful travesty. They could make another 20 films and this one would still be at the bottom of my list.
Genre-Buster - Thu, Apr 24, 2014 - 1:50am (USA Central)
Norris, I would actually be interested in seeing your list as well, but only if you can avoid the snark-baiting and stick to the topic of the films and what you liked/disliked about them.
MidshipmanNorris - Thu, Apr 24, 2014 - 11:41am (USA Central)
1 - Wrath of Khan

2 - Undiscovered Country

Everything else is tied for 3. As you might surmise from this, I'm a huge fan of Nick Meyer, so the nods to TWoK in STID, I got a kick out of them.

Apologies for not providing a more thorough argument and the "snark-baiting"...intoxication definitely had a lot to do with it.
Genre-Buster - Fri, Apr 25, 2014 - 12:35pm (USA Central)
Well, I don't suppose there's any law making PWI a crime, and I guess if you're going start a drunken brawl, it's better to do so online than at your local pub.

Which reminds me of a joke:

Guy walks into a bar and orders a Bud Classic. Bartender says, "Hey, what are you doing here?"

Guy says, "Paying tribute to Nick Meyer," and punches the bartender in the face.
MidshipmanNorris - Fri, Apr 25, 2014 - 4:42pm (USA Central)
To be perfectly succinct and clear, I want to say that I thought STID was a "not bad" Trek film. Certainly not as bad as it's being made out to be. As Thanksgiving dinners go, it's just good, but not great.

The problem is that it tries to be too many different Trek films at once. It tries to mimic the whole of the Star Trek film franchise, and thus succeeds as being not as good as any of them, save utter failures as V and the Motion Picture.

But taken on its own merits, it's certainly not as bad as films like "2 Fast 2 Furious" or the Transformers movies which I thought were terrible.

Maybe some of that can be attributed to the characters and plot they had to work with already, but at any rate, it's got to be said that this movie isn't a bad way to spend 132 minutes.

Khan shedding a single tear and Spock having an emotional outburst are the two things I would have taken out of the film.
Joseph B - Sat, Apr 26, 2014 - 4:47am (USA Central)
Oooh! I want to play too!!

Here's my rankings (And like many here, I grew up on these movies):

1. The Wrath of Khan (Of course!)

2. First Contact - A thoroughly enjoyable romp with the TNG crew. And a terrific directing job by Frakes. Had it not been for "Insurrection" -- which was too heavily influenced by Stewart and Spiner -- Frakes would probably have had the opportunity to direct many more TNG movies.

3. The Undiscovered Country - And Nicholas Meyer certainly knew his way around Trek! It's ironic that his two entries into the series did not involve time travel, as his "Time After Time" is still one of my favorite movies from that genre. (Starring Malcolm McDowell no less!)

4. Star Trek (2009) -- Unlike most of you guys, I had a really good time in the theater with this movie. It was fun personified and still felt like Trek to me.

5. The Voyage Home -- And "fun" certainly defines this movie as well. Nimoy directing Nimoy led to some great Spock scenes. And it really took somebody who was intimately familiar with all the characters to make this into a successful comedy within the Trek framework. Terrific job by everybody involved! (For the record, I like Italian!)

6. The Search for Spock -- A good entry into the series, but not enough Spock. Uhura gets her best scene in the movie series with "Mr Adventure"; and the Klingons are finally front and center as the villains. And the movie is certainly "definitive" with the demise of the NCC-1701 and Kirk's son.

7. The Motion Picture -- I appreciated the effort here, but this was the first original Live Action Trek since 1969 and it was (mostly) a mashup of two TV episodes from the series. And, of course, the execution was plodding to the extreme. A real missed opportunity. The DVD Directors Cut is still the best iteration of the movie.

8. Nemesis -- Agree with most everyone here that many of the deleted scenes should have been included in the movie. (And the mind rape scene should not have been included.) There was a decent movie lurking around in there, but whoever edited this thing was not "Star Trek Knowledgable".

9. Insurrection -- Too much pre-production and meddling from the primary actors (Stewart/Spiner) sunk this movie before principal photography began. Frakes should have stepped-up and leveraged his success from "First Contact", but instead kowtied to the PTB. The movie was meant initially to be a "Voyage Home"-style lighthearted adventure, but instead ended up all over the place. A real shame since the potential was certainly there for many more successful TNG movies. But this effort ripped the soul from everybody involved.

10. Into Darkness -- The first two-thirds of this movie was fun, and even seemed to be going somewhere. The last third -- which included the raping of the most beloved film in the franchise -- was abysmal to the extreme. I left the theater actually angry. The only reason it's not last on my list is the production values.

11. The Final Frontier -- And speaking of "Production Values ...." Poor Shatner! His first directorial effort is torpedoed by teamster strikes, budget cuts, and sheer bad luck. Oh, well: I still enjoy listening to "Row, Row, Row your Boat" in surround sound. And I would still rather view this movie over any of the Transformer sequels ...
Joseph B - Sat, Apr 26, 2014 - 4:59am (USA Central)
Ugh!!

I just realized I left "Generations" off my list above. For the record it would have been in 8th place following "The Motion Picture". Between Data singing about "Life Forms" and the unceremonious death of Kirk, I have a tendency to blank this movie from my consciousness ...
MidshipmanNorris - Thu, May 1, 2014 - 2:43pm (USA Central)
I thought the scene were Kirk cans Scotty was handled extremely well and it stands out as one of the good scenes.

The all-out brawl with Kirk and Scotty on the giant enemy spaceship was memorable as well, as it allowed Scotty to kick some ass, which he rarely did in TOS.
Matrix - Sat, May 3, 2014 - 4:46am (USA Central)
My ranking of the trek films would probably go:

Good
The Wrath of Khan
The Voyage Home
The Final Frontier
The Undiscovered Country

Okay
Generations
First Contact

Boring*
The Motion Picture
The Search for Spock
Insurrection
Nemesis
Star Trek
Into Darkness

*there are moments in these that I probably enjoy, but I don't really give a shit about the whole package.
Brandon - Sat, May 3, 2014 - 7:13pm (USA Central)
The "Kirk cans Scotty" scene was one of the most painfully weak scenes in the film. We'd never been given a previous scene to establish Pegg-Scotty as any unbending paragon of procedure and principle. He was a tongue-in-cheek comedy relief character, the least ideal guy to use in this scene. It made no impact to have him resign over a shipment of torpedoes with classified materials. It all just came out of the blue.

Had Scotty grumbled but accepted the torpedoes, even under protest, it would have been a truer-to-life moment and highlighted his loyalty to Kirk. He had been given time to think about it and resigned after a lengthy amount of time (not possible in this kind of movie), it would been a truer-to-life moment. As it was, the non-sequitur of it was just too much.

Because, of course, the real reason to have Scotty resign was to put him in position to save the day later in the film. Such an obvious twist. Crappy writing.
Matrix - Sat, May 3, 2014 - 7:35pm (USA Central)
Actually, if I could redo that list I'd probably move The Search for Spock up one group. When I think of that it seems I think about all the parts that annoy me, when there's actually some good scenes too.
MidshipmanNorris - Sun, May 4, 2014 - 11:23am (USA Central)
I hate how when you post things online, people seem to think that there's not a person at the other end of the network whose opinions matter to *them.*

This is why I need to go outside more. I can't post a single positive comment about this movie in here without it getting shredded to pieces by some jerk.
Brandon - Sun, May 4, 2014 - 8:31pm (USA Central)
BTW, is anyone else watching the upcoming "double-cast" X-Men movie and worrying that XIII will attempt the same stunt? Go back to the time-travel well and have the remaining original TOS members link up with the alternate crew for some reason, or perhaps the TNG crew?

I can just see this Supreme Court trying it. It's not like they've been overboard on originality in the first two films.
Genre-Buster - Wed, May 7, 2014 - 1:39am (USA Central)
MSN:

Brandon's remark, as blunt and jerkish as it might be, is not a personal attack against you. He's only giving his opinion of a scene you expressed a liking for, and presenting an argument as to why he dislikes it.

If you feel as though your comment has been "shredded to pieces," you're basically conceding defeat.

You're the one who wanted to sharpen your debating skills, so get back in there and make your case! In spite of what most political pundits would have you think, debate is not something you either win or lose - it's something you engage in as you search for the truth, so engage!

Rethink your argument, get introspective, ask yourself the really hard questions. You can even dare to concede points to your opponents: Brandon, Demosthenes, me, whoever. But here's the point: when you do that, take advantage of it - fire back a rebuttal, hold on to your main point. You have every right to like Star Trek: Into Darkness, SO DEFEND YOURSELF LIKE A MAN!!!

Let me give you an example: Brandon definitely has a point when he remarks that Scotty's exit in act one is an obvious and predictable trope to set him up for an act three return. I saw it coming a mile away. I didn't think it was necessarily "crappy," but sure, utterly predictable. And "kicking ass" was never something I was personally hoping for as far as Scotty was concerned. Is this something you can concede?


Brandon:

Yeah. I'd eat my own hat if Orci and co. haven't thrown that one into the mix as a possibility, but I would also bet that it got shot down. The old guys are just too old, I'm afraid.
petetonglaw - Thu, May 8, 2014 - 11:24pm (USA Central)
After almost a year I finally got around to watching Star Trek Into Darkness. I was not expecting too much. I had read poor reviews from fans of the STWoK and I found the last movie silly. I ended up finding it worse than I could have imagined. A few key issues:

1. The key special effects sequence involves the crashing of a space ship into downtown San Francisco. The level of death and destruction is apocalyptic. Yet the film does not address it in anyway.

2. Kirk's death scene has no emotional resonance. Partly because he dies after a total of 3 hours of screen time in the movie franchise. Also the soundtrack is really lacking.

3. Uruha.

4. Pine's Kirk's cavalier attitude lacks the charm of Shatner's Kirk. He ends up just coming across as a douchebag and I cringed those scenes.

5. I love long shots. This movie has none. In fact the camera rarely stays on an actor's face for more than 2 seconds.
Zathras - Fri, May 9, 2014 - 2:43pm (USA Central)
One thing that finally dawned on me about that starhip crash into SF scene: did it occur to the morons that made this movie that a crash like that would likely cause a warp core breach and anitmatter release that would likely blow up HALF THE DAMN PLANET?
MidshipmanNorris - Mon, May 12, 2014 - 1:52am (USA Central)
Me:

"I thought the scene were Kirk cans Scotty was handled extremely well and it stands out as one of the good scenes.

The all-out brawl with Kirk and Scotty on the giant enemy spaceship was memorable as well, as it allowed Scotty to kick some ass, which he rarely did in TOS."

Brandon:

"The "Kirk cans Scotty" scene was one of the most painfully weak scenes in the film. We'd never been given a previous scene to establish Pegg-Scotty as any unbending paragon of procedure and principle. He was a tongue-in-cheek comedy relief character, the least ideal guy to use in this scene. It made no impact to have him resign over a shipment of torpedoes with classified materials. It all just came out of the blue.

Had Scotty grumbled but accepted the torpedoes, even under protest, it would have been a truer-to-life moment and highlighted his loyalty to Kirk. He had been given time to think about it and resigned after a lengthy amount of time (not possible in this kind of movie), it would been a truer-to-life moment. As it was, the non-sequitur of it was just too much.

Because, of course, the real reason to have Scotty resign was to put him in position to save the day later in the film. Such an obvious twist. Crappy writing."

Seems like an attack to me. Brandon chose the exact two things I said I enjoyed and decided to take a big old crap all over them.

It's like Brandon and some others here feel like it's wrong to like anything about this film, and that's bullshit.
Dom - Mon, May 12, 2014 - 11:39am (USA Central)
@MSN, you've really got to learn to distinguish between criticism of a film and a personal attack. Brandon criticized the film. No reason for you to take offense. You have a right to your own opinion, but other people have no obligation to agree with you.

As for Scotty.... well, if he never kicked ass in TOS, maybe that says something about his character? i.e., he's an engineer, not a fighter? I didn't hate the Scotty arc in STID as much as Brandon, but the whole resignation did seem out of the blue.
Demosthenes - Mon, May 12, 2014 - 3:35pm (USA Central)
So, five people have put out ranked lists: me, Dom, Brandon, Joseph B, and Genre-Buster. I think that's a good enough number to draw some conclusions from. (Matrix included general category groupings, but nothing was actually ranked, and I didn't feel comfortable assigning numerical rankings. Norris also participated, but I don't know how to accommodate ten third-place votes.)

* "Wrath of Khan" is the near-consensus #1. Four of five people gave it their first-place nod. "First Contact" was also the near-consensus #2, with four of five people putting it in that slot. "The Voyage Home" and "The Undiscovered Country" round out the top third of the movies, and there is almost no difference between them. Both of them got at least two third-place votes, and neither was lower than fifth on anyone's list.

* Starting at the bottom and coming back up, "The Final Frontier" has the worst average rating by a small but noticeable margin. Four people put it either last or next-to-last, and it didn't rate higher than tenth for anyone. Following close behind it at #11 was "Into Darkness." Three people put it either last or next-to-last, and it didn't rate higher than ninth for anyone.

* The movie on which there was the least overall consensus was the 2009 "Star Trek" reboot. No one gave it the same ranking -- it received rankings of fourth, fifth, ninth, tenth, and twelfth. This reflects the clear divide we've already seen on this thread about both the concept and the execution of Abrams Trek.

* "The Motion Picture" and "The Search for Spock" seem to be the movies that fall below the first rank, but that most people don't hate. Three people voted "The Search for Spock" sixth, but it actually ended up fifth in the average because of a high nostalgia rating from Genre-Buster. Most people put "The Motion Picture" between sixth and eighth, and it ended up a clear sixth in the average -- with, again, Genre-Buster being the big outlier.

* There is almost no difference between the average ratings for "Generations," "Insurrection," and "Nemesis." They're clearly the movies that most people don't like, but also don't despise. A majority of voters so far put "Generations" eighth and "Nemesis" ninth. (Interestingly, Dom is a major outlier on both movies, rating "Nemesis" fifth and "Generations" twelfth.) "Insurrection" showed more of a split -- two people rated it seventh, but two people also rated it tenth.

AVERAGE RATINGS SO FAR:

#1 -- 1.6 -- Wrath of Khan
#2 -- 2.8 -- First Contact
#3 -- 3.6 -- The Undiscovered Country
#4 -- 3.8 -- The Voyage Home
#5 -- 5.0 -- The Search for Spock
#6 -- 5.8 -- The Motion Picture
#7 -- 8.0 -- Star Trek '09
#8 -- 8.4 -- Insurrection
#9 (tie) -- 8.6 -- Generations, Nemesis
#11 -- 10.6 -- Into Darkness
#12 -- 11.2 -- The Final Frontier

Honestly, none of this really surprises me. The movies I thought would be on top, are. The movies I thought would be on bottom, are. The kind of blah movies are in the middle. And no one seems to care for any of the Next Generation outings (except for "First Contact") all that much, so much so that they are basically all tied for the places on the list that say "We don't like these, but at least none of them have God trying to commandeer a starship or Orci and Kurtzman trying to commandeer Star Trek II."
Demosthenes - Mon, May 12, 2014 - 4:08pm (USA Central)
After I posted the above, it occurred to me how to accommodate Norris's rankings without drastically skewing every rating upward...weight the average. With the exception of Norris (and Matrix, whom this still won't accommodate -- sorry, Matrix), everyone who participated rated the movies with 1 being the best and 12 being the worst. For Norris, 1 is the best and 3 is the worst -- since everything other than "Wrath of Khan" and "The Undiscovered Country" is tied for third on his scale. So the worst possible movie, the one everyone would rate last, would have its ratings add up to 63 (12 + 12 + 12 + 12 + 12 + 3).

To weight the average so that Norris could participate, I totaled the rankings as if they were points, divided those points by 63 (again, the maximum number any movie could have earned), and then multiplied the result by 12 to put things back on a 12-point scale.

AVERAGE WEIGHTED RANKINGS SO FAR:

#1 -- 1.714 -- Wrath of Khan
#2 -- 3.238 -- First Contact
#3 -- 3.810 -- The Undiscovered Country
#4 -- 4.190 -- The Voyage Home
#5 -- 5.333 -- The Search for Spock
#6 -- 6.095 -- The Motion Picture
#7 -- 8.190 -- Star Trek '09
#8 -- 8.571 -- Insurrection
#9 (tie) -- 8.762 -- Generations, Nemesis
#11 -- 10.667 -- Into Darkness
#12 -- 11.238 -- The Final Frontier

So, as you can see, the order doesn't change, and the averages don't vary all that much either. The biggest difference is that there's now a lot less daylight between "First Contact" and "The Undiscovered Country" for the second and third spots on the list -- which is as it should be, since Norris rated "The Undiscovered Country" at #2.
Genre-Buster - Mon, May 12, 2014 - 7:12pm (USA Central)
Demosthenes-

I can't help but notice that Matrix's list of movies within each category is not alphabetical. Could this be an indication that Matrix's list is indeed a 1-12 ranking? Oops, nope, they're chronological. Matrix, help us out here...


MSN-

To interpret Brandon's post as BS is a decision you and you alone have made. I vehemently discourage it, as it gets neither you nor anyone else anywhere, but fine, if that's the bed you want to lie in, go for it. But me, I'm done with you.


A final note:

I have another reason for ranking TMP at the top and Trek'09 at the bottom. Back in the late '70s/early '80s, there were two very distinct camps: people who preferred Roddenberry and those who preferred Lucas. Each camp had its radical devotees, but there were plenty of floaters. I would know, since I was one of them. TMP was different from Star Wars in every way Roddenberry could conjure - this was quite deliberate, and even those who complained of the film's slow pace immediately recognized and respected the direction G-Rod wanted to take the franchise.

In this respect you can see why Roddenberry disliked TWOK. Still, that film's focus remained on tight storytelling and developing (in a believable manner) the characters that we had all come to know and love. What Abrams and co. did was to completely rework the franchise to conform with the George Lucas handbook, and by now of course they had six Star Wars movies to rip off, not just one. Enter the endless use of mind-numbing action sequences and lame dialogue bridging them.

What element did they add to give their "reboot" some distinction? Answer: hedonism, revenge-porn, conquest, cynicism. And more aping of other blockbuster formulas.

One example: for all the talk of Shatner-Kirk being a "ladies' man," which he certainly was, the seduction scenes in TOS were generally with Kirk as the seductee, and even when he did act as seducer, it was as part of a plan to serve a greater cause. Seduction in TOS was ALWAYS problematized.

A..J. Abrams: F*** that sh**, this guy needs to have a permanent hard-on, and nothing less will do. Kurtzman, Orci, get on it.

STID is nowhere near the bottom of my list for the simple reason that at least this one issue was somewhat corrected. The others were left begging, to be sure...
Genre-Buster - Mon, May 12, 2014 - 7:58pm (USA Central)
How about this: rank the movies in M's list 1-12 and then average them out within each category. That would give you:

Good: 4 movies @ 2.5 points each

Okay: 2 @ 5.5 each

Boring: 6 @ 9.5 each
Demosthenes - Mon, May 12, 2014 - 10:39pm (USA Central)
G-B: I thought about that, actually. But Matrix may actually have some preferences within each category, and so I don't want to risk ranking the movies for him. Norris, on the other hand, clearly expressed rankings.

Okay, new topic, one that I doubt will so easily resolve itself into group rankings. It would be too easy to ask all of you what your favorite Star Trek series are. So, what are your TEN favorite NON-Star Trek television series? Again, I'm happy to go first.

1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Angel
2. The Twilight Zone (classic)
3. Veronica Mars
4. The Prisoner
5. The Big Bang Theory
6. Monty Python's Flying Circus
7. Firefly
8. The Office (US)
9. Twin Peaks
10. How I Met Your Mother

(I realize #1 is a bit of a cheat, but as far as I'm concerned, those two are inseparable -- same universe, same characters. I'm not blind to their flaws, but they generally had smart writing and sharp action, and I still find them compulsively watchable.)

Shows I thought very hard about including, in alphabetical order:

Arrested Development
Battlestar Galactica (2000's series)
Blackadder
Columbo
Community
Fawlty Towers
Monk
Sherlock
South Park
Genre-Buster - Tue, May 13, 2014 - 1:50am (USA Central)
Dem-

I hate to blow the whistle here, but do you really think your topic proposal belongs on this forum? It's super cool and all, but this is supposed to be a Trek discussion by its very definition, and it's really supposed to involve STID, at least marginally. Can you come up with something else?
Demosthenes - Tue, May 13, 2014 - 7:21am (USA Central)
If we're playing strictly by Hoyle, the comments are also supposed to be partly in reaction to a review. But that hasn't stopped us from collectively putting up nearly 700, in the 360 days that this comment thread has been active.

Seriously, it is now almost a year since ST:iD came out in theaters. The few of us who are here, still waiting for a Jammer review, have seen the movie hashed pretty much to death. There may be a few minor things to say about it, like "Where the hell was Chekov?" -- nope, never mind, I see that Jo Jo Meastro and Digedag hit that button on the first day. Anyway, my point was, there's nothing major left for us to say about the movie. And if I remember correctly, that's the *second* time I've made that point.

So if you want to propose something else ST:iD-related to talk about, that we haven't covered before, go right ahead. Come May 17, I'm out of here anyway.
Jo Jo Meastro - Tue, May 13, 2014 - 3:41pm (USA Central)
I've been reading the comments every so often just to see if the review has been posted yet and thought I'd put in my 2 cents.

I haven't seen as much discussion on peoples' opinions on how each individual actor does recreating the classic characters, so perhaps there is room left to talk about that?

Here's my take and a ranking of each one. I'm just sticking to the main cast but if others wanted to expand on that they're more than welcome to.

1) Bruce Greenwood as Pike. There isn't much to say except that his character is one of the best things for me personally in the new Trek. They took a great character from the older era and breathed new life into him with style, without just merely rehashing what we've already seen a thousand times. I loved the new angle given to him and I will admit I was taken back to see him killed off in STID, but to be fair at least he got a decent send off and there wasn't much development left to do with Pike so he may have been wasted in any more sequels.

2) Karl Urban as McCoy. I will admit he is very under-utilized in the new movies, but what we do see of him is a note perfect performance. Not only does he capture McCoys' manners and voice, he also captures the whole spirit and the essence of the character so naturally. I would like to see more of this new McCoy in future films.

3) Chris Pine as Kirk. This casting choice apparently divides a lot of fans and I can definitely understand since this version of Kirk doesn't even try to be like Shatners'. It works for me though and I believe him as a younger less assured Kirk who had a radically different upbringing given the changes in the timeline.

4) John Cho as Sulu. It probably seems a strange choice for fourth place considering he's barely in either of the films. What I have seen I've liked quite a lot and his moment in the big chair in STID showed to me a interesting take on Sulu with potential for a lot more development. You could never replicate Georges' classic performances so I'm glad they didn't even try.

5) Anton Yelchin as Checkov. While generally a weak character in both the new films and the old series; I can't deny the actor does a good job challenging the original Checkov. It had a old school quality to it with the campy over-acting and outrageous accent, and that's exactly what we've always come to expect from the character. He's not exactly deep but that was never the point of his character and any serious moments with him rarely feel fitting.

6) Zachary Quinto as Spock. He is a good actor but, as many people have already pointed out, he is just too human and emotional in his portrayal. Whenever he was trying to be cool and detached, he came across more miffed or sarcastic. Nemoy managed to give subtle hints at emotion amongst the cool detachment a lot better. I guess I have to take into account that this is a altered timeline version of Spock who suffered the loss of his homeworld, but still I feel he's just too human and lost what attracts us to the character in the first place.

7) Simon Pegg as Scotty. This is an actor I generally do like, but he just isn't what springs to mind when I picture a young Scotty. He is good in delivering the comic relief aspect of him, but on the whole I never can quite accept his portrayal as a recognisable version of Scotty.

8) Zoe Saldana as Uhura. There isn't much to say except that it just didn't feel like Uhuras' character at all and I didn't really like the love relationship that they introduced. She was too much like a typical modern girl if that makes sense. The only aspect I did enjoy was the fact that she was strong willed and quite fiery when provoked which is true of the old Uhura (think "Mirror Mirror" and "Search For Spock"). I wouldn't mind if a new film brought in her hobby of music from the old TV show as a nice little homage to make it feel more like the old Uhura.

9) Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan. Again I'm actually a fan of Benedict and love him as the new Sherlock, but his casting here feels very random and he seems to be there purely to give the film a big Hollywood name attached to it. He was nothing like Khan, mostly down to the writing, and didn't leave much of an impression despite Benedict giving it his best.

It was actually quite hard to do the list as I don't particularly hate anyone in their roles, which means they all generally did a decent job. Sorry for such a lengthy post but you seemed to be in need of STID related conversation so thought I'd do my best to provide some of that!
Brandon - Tue, May 13, 2014 - 4:24pm (USA Central)
The actors I don't really have a problem with. They give their all, and one of JJ Abrams' strengths as a director is milking tons of energy and passion out of his thespians. No complaints there.

Of course, there's the fact that Trek is no longer about the "Big Three" but about the Big Two and the chick one of them is banging...

Kirk is constantly mishandled as well. His dialogue and actions show no hint of a future leader. He's a confused frat boy who gets bailed out repeatedly by his crew and Spock Prime.

Sorry, Norris...like whatever movies you wish, but for me, there's barely a part in either of these two movies that I couldn't rip to shreds as a Jerry Bruckheimer moment.
Dom - Tue, May 13, 2014 - 9:58pm (USA Central)
It's official - Roberto Orci is directing Trek 3. Guess that kills our hopes for a Trek renaissance.

variety.com/2014/film/news/roberto-orci-to-direct-star-trek-3-1201180140/
John W - Wed, May 14, 2014 - 1:33am (USA Central)
I'd be less than truthful if I was upset at this news, because I swore of this version of Trek...but I anticipate reading the comments on Orci's entry, without having seen it myself.

Kinda like I did the opening weekend for Amazing Spiderman 2 this year.
Joseph B - Wed, May 14, 2014 - 1:47am (USA Central)
Orci to direct? Wow! I have to admit that it' s hard to be optimistic considering the fact that this is his first time in the Director's chair! Hope he at least has a good script to shoot from ...

(The only good news here: Fewer lens flares!!)

Seriously, I think Orci is a fairly competent writer. His (Amazing) Spider-Man 2 script wasn't quite as atrocious as STID, and I have actually enjoyed some of the Hawaii Five-O scripts he's penned.

But, still: A first time director for a major project like Star Trek?
What were they thinking???
Latex Zebra - Wed, May 14, 2014 - 2:17pm (USA Central)
I think we'll be discussing the 3rd movie before Jammer has reviewed the 2nd. ;o)
Brandon - Wed, May 14, 2014 - 5:46pm (USA Central)
Let me get this straight...they take the ONE redeeming aspect of the last two movies - JJ's directorial wizardry - and jettison it?

I'm starting to once again question whether Paramount really cares about this thing.
Dom - Wed, May 14, 2014 - 7:42pm (USA Central)
@Brandon, to be clear, Paramount has never appreciated Trek, even going back to the 60s. Trek has worked best when Paramount took a lighter hand and let the creative teams do what they want (Wrath of Khan, etc). Trek hasn't been as good when Paramount notices it and starts to view it as a cash cow.

As for JJ's direct oral wizardry - well, Star Wars got to him. Honestly, JJ obviously never really cared about Trek and it showed. I don't mourn his loss. But Orci has proven to be nothing but a horrible writer and a pompous jerk (see some of his railings against fans in comments I've posted above).
Rachel - Wed, May 14, 2014 - 10:11pm (USA Central)
Hi Jammer! I'm looking forward to your review when you get around to it, and hoping things are going well for you and your family in the meantime.

I enjoyed "Into Darkness." There were a lot of moments in it that worked for me. I liked Christopher Pike's presence throughout the early scenes and I appreciated that his death scene forced both Spock and the audience to experience the death and pain that Harrison had wrought very personally and intimately.

I liked the way that, despite this experience, Spock immediately called Kirk on his unacceptable thirst for vengeance, and I especially appreciated how quickly Kirk himself came to agree with Spock's moral position and altered his mission on his own cognizance in order to stay true to the ideals of the Federation. To me, that progression from gut-level emotion to self-critical readjustment to a final decision which places his ideals above both his orders and his anger...that's just quintessential James T Kirk to me.

I enjoyed Uhura's scenes in the film, it was good to see her using her linguistic expertise to try to save the lives of the away team in an act of calm professionalism and courage.

I also thought it was good to use both her and Kirk as foils for Spock, to illuminate his serenity as growing, not from rationality or the true wisdom which Spock!Prime had reached in the Wrath of Kahn timeline, but rather from a deliberate choice to deaden himself to pain which grew out of trauma and the fear of vulnerability. This Spock is much younger, much more wounded and much less prepared to deal with death or emotion than the Spock of The Wrath of Kahn was, and I think that putting the events of that classic plot here at this *early* stage in the characters' journeys, when they are not sure of themselves or of their relationships with each other, does make it play out in different ways which are interesting. I know many fans felt that it was simply a misguided, emotionally shallow retread, but for myself I enjoyed watching what it did to these characters to move an incredibly character-defining crisis from the maturity of their friendship up to the very beginning of it, and to see what grew out of those stresses given the people they are right now in the rebooted series.

Ricardo Montalban IS Khan for me, and I would have preferred it had they allowed Cumberbatch to be his own original character rather than trying to fill those shoes, but he did fine with what he was given and the scene in the brig where he weeps over the seeming death of his crew was effective. I also liked the later exchange: "I thought he was helping us!" / "I'm pretty sure we're helping him."

Not a classic, but good fun and interesting. My sense from the few comments I've looked at is that I'm in the minority in liking this one, but that's par for the course, since my reactions to many Trek movies seem to be out of the mainstream (I don't like First Contact or Undiscovered Country, which are generally highly regarded; and I even think that Final Frontier has some great moments despite its overall silliness -- I'm much fonder of it than most people are.)

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts! All best wishes.
Tyrion - Thu, May 15, 2014 - 4:29am (USA Central)
1. Babylon 5
2. Buffy/Angel
3. Game of Thrones
4. Firefly
5. Jeremiah
6. Dollhouse
7. Rome
8. Stargate Atlantis
9. Dark Angel
10. Battlestar Galactica (1978)
Manavee - Thu, May 15, 2014 - 8:05pm (USA Central)
What are the odds that Jammer will have a review in by tomorrow, the one year anniversary of the release?
Dom - Thu, May 15, 2014 - 11:59pm (USA Central)
@ Manvee, same odds that this movie will get more than 2 stars from Jammer
Joseph B - Fri, May 16, 2014 - 1:46am (USA Central)
OK, If we're going to list favorite *genre* TV series other than Star Trek, I'm in!

Here's my Top 10 (Keep in mind that Star Trek:TOS, DS9, and TNG would be my Top 3 if we were including Star Trek series; and ENT and VOY would have made the Top 10.):

* Babylon 5 --- It's more like reading a giant, sprawling, Asimov trilogy than viewing a TV show. Starting with the last 5 eps of the first season and running through the end of season 4, it was totally immersive. During that stretch of shows I can only recall 2 clunkers. Pretty incredible for a show producing 22 eps per season.

* Farscape --- "Alien" aliens traveling in a living ship accompanied by a contemporary human astronaut. The highly imaginative Jim Henson alien designs drew me in initially, but once Scorpius enters the fray near the end of Season 1 the *real* fun begins! The whole of Season 3 is a TV treasure.

* Firefly -- And speaking of a "TV treasure" ... Following a few "foundation" eps this series hit its stride quickly, leading to an incredible string of high quality entertaining SF shows. And then, of course, it was cancelled!! Guess it was just "too good for TV".

* Battlestar Galactica (reboot) -- Ron Moore of Star Trek fame shows how to *really* reboot a franchise with this humanistic SF drama series. And talk about going "Into Darkness" ... the final 10 eps were so dark they bordered on gruesome, but it was impossible to look away. The three hour finale still provokes discussion (and interpretation) to this day.

* Doctor Who --- So are we talking about "classic" Who, or the one from 2005 on? Both --- because it's the *same character*!! Thanks to this aliens' regenerative ability, multiple actors can fill the role of the same entity. So the Doctor Who we see today is still the same character introduced in the '60s ... just with better production values! This sometimes bizarre Time Travel series goes all over the place from week to week. The one constant is that our friend from Gallifrey can always be counted on to save the day --- eventually --- and even if he has to (occasionally) "team up" with some of his former selves to do so!

* Stargate: Atlantis --- OK, I'm the first to admit that this show was highly derivative and even occasionally (blatantly) ripped-off plots from TOS and DS9. But, doggone it, it was also highly entertaining and with production values which bordered on incredible for a TV show. The first three seasons were the best.

* Stargate: SG1 --- This long running "militaristic" SF show was rarely great, but did provide pretty decent SF entertainment from about the middle of Season 1 through Season 7. And the "different direction" started in Season 9 was starting to pay off in Season 10 when it was cancelled. Should you choose to view the latter two seasons be sure to seek out the straight-to-DVD movie "The Ark of Truth" which neatly wraps everything up.

* Batman: The Animated Series --- This series arguably provides the best overall incarnation of Batman in any format outside of his native comics. Heavily influenced by the first Tim Burton Batman movie, it captures the style of that movie and mixes-in elements of the 80s comics to really good effect. The Joker episodes in particular are all outstanding.

* Star Wars: The Clone Wars --- This surprisingly deep CGI animated series depicts the events which transpire between the second and third Star Wars Prequel movies. Here we see Anakin Skywalker as a real hero -- albeit a troubled one at times. The characters of Count Dooku and General Grievous are fleshed out to good effect, and even Yoda appears with some frequency. Some of the CGI space battles are quite epic in scope. Season 6 (available exclusively on Netflix) provides needed background on "Order 66" and the genesis of the Clones. This series is so good at times that it (almost) redeems the Prequel Trilogy.

* Quantum Leap -- A future captain of the Enterprise gets stuck in a Time Travel experiment gone bad. Hmmm ...







Dom - Fri, May 16, 2014 - 5:47pm (USA Central)
Here's my top:

- BSG (reboot): it has great acting, realistic effects, social commentary, and a gripping story. Probably my favorite TV show ever

- Firefly: Witty, gritty, pity - it got canceled. The characters in these 14 episodes were deeper and more complex than what we got in most TV shows that ran for seasons longer.

- Merlin: not sure if fantasy counts as "genre", but this one is pretty darn good. Much more than swords and sorcery.

- Caprica: the story could have been told in far fewer episodes, but I like that it tried to be something different and original from BSG.

- The Clone Wars: a lot of unforced errors and plodding story lines, but I agree with Joseph that it does deserve recognition for the storytelling risks it took.

- Farscape: at a distant 5th for me, but some of the episodes are fun. It definitely improves in later seasons.

And that's it really. When I think about it, there aren't even a lot of TV shows I really like enough to rewatch.

I never could get into Babylon 5. I think I could have if I'd watched it in the 90s, but the effects and acting are just grating after having seen more modern shows. I'd love somebody to remake the show because the concept is interesting, but the execution leaves something to be desired.

Defiance has some potential, but we've only gotten one season so far and it's not really clear where the story is going. And frankly it's been so long since the first season has ended that I've almost forgotten about it.

As for personal fantasies, I've love to see an HBO-style Dune TV series. The Sci-Fi ministries was OK, but Dune deserves much better representation on screen.
Genre-Buster - Sat, May 17, 2014 - 10:28am (USA Central)
1) In Treatment (US version)
2) The Wire
3) Breaking Bad
4) Six Feet Under
5) House of Cards
6) Northern Exposure
7) Mad Men
8) Deadwood
9) Silicon Valley
10) Weeds

For the record, my Trek preferences are:
1) TNG (between 2 and 3 above)
2) TOS (right after TNG)
3) DS9 (somewhere near 8 or 9 above)
4) Voyager (didn't make it on the list)
5) Enterprise (are you kidding?)
MidshipmanNorris - Sat, May 17, 2014 - 10:47pm (USA Central)
www.rottentomatoes.com/m/star_trek_into_darkness/

90%.

All I'm saying.
Brandon - Sun, May 18, 2014 - 2:47pm (USA Central)
I'm not terribly concerned with what movie critics say, either. Most of them are young, snotty thirtysomethings who (judging from their comments) clearly never watched the original Star Trek and will eat up anything that smacks of anti-Bush.

:)
Dom - Sun, May 18, 2014 - 5:20pm (USA Central)
@MSN, I've posted before about why those sites are not reliable. With STID, this is a big problem. Many of the reviews rated as "fresh" actually say something like "The movie is fun but dumb." That doesn't sound "fresh" to me - at best, that's more like lukewarm.

Also, I've noticed that there are a lot of people who seem inordinately obsessed with posting positive reviews of the movie. I suspect Paramount paid some people to post in message boards and post good reviews. I've been attacked by those types of goons on my Amazon review.

So I don't trust Rotten Tomatoes at all on this. I trust my own eyes, ears, and brain.
Genre-Buster - Mon, May 19, 2014 - 1:41am (USA Central)
MSN, I guess I'm not quite done with you after all:

Have you never disagreed with a Rotten Tomatoes rating? I doubt it.

Your post (and here it is again in it's entirety:

www.rottentomatoes.com/m/star_trek_into_darkness/

90%.

All I'm saying.

...is just that, and only that. It truly is all you're saying. How utterly lazy. If this forum is, as you say, taken over by haters, then I have every right to say that RT has been taken over by a bunch of stupid "lovers," and it's that easy to cancel out each other's points of view.

BUT (and forgive me for yelling this) THAT'S NOT WHAT DEBATE IS ABOUT!!!!

We're repeatedly giving our reasons here for disliking this film, and I can count a total of two argument you've made in your mountain of posts citing what it was you liked about STID.

PLEASE stop being so damned lazy. DEFEND your point about Scotty, or concede Brandin's point. If this were real debate, those would be your only two choices. Citing popular opinion is never going to work, especially if you prefer to think of yourself as an individual, and it seems to me that you really are enjoying this role of "outcast" that you've given yourself.

So gallop ahead, dark horse. Put at least a little bit of effort into these posts of yours, and I guarantee they'll yield fruit.
Dom - Mon, May 19, 2014 - 12:10pm (USA Central)
@Genre-Buster, well, to be fair to MSN, STID doesn't give him much to work with. The best defense I've heard of the movie was from Confused Matthew, and even he rips apart the latter half of the film.
Genre-Buster - Tue, May 20, 2014 - 1:23am (USA Central)
The dude is not incapable of thoughtfulness. I've seen it. If this forum is going to stay lively while we wait for Jammer to post his review, we need someone to debate with. Disagreement is by far the best catalyst for discussion.
Dom - Tue, May 20, 2014 - 4:34pm (USA Central)
@Genre-Buster, I think we've talked STID to death. I like Demosthenes' idea - just use this space as a general Trek forum.
MidshipmanNorris - Fri, May 23, 2014 - 9:26pm (USA Central)
You know, Jean-Luc, sometimes I think the only reason I keep coming back here is to listen to these *wonderful* speeches of yours.

I like the idea of general Trek discussion as well...we're beating gas out of a dead mule until Jammer posts his review.

I'm tired of arguing, in case no one's noticed.
Captain Jon - Fri, May 23, 2014 - 11:33pm (USA Central)
You know, I don't think Jammer's gonna post a review and I wouldn't blame him. If he rates it 3 or above or 2 or below, I think his review will be ripped apart by those who disagree with him. The only "safe" rating he can give is 2.5 and even then I think he'll face being criticized for either being "too generous" or "too critical". It's been over a year...why bother now?
Joseph B - Sat, May 24, 2014 - 2:50pm (USA Central)
@ Captain Jon:

Jammer's review -- whenever it's posted -- will still be relevant. There are still new reviews of this movie being posted all over YouTube. (I think the "Confused Matthew" review went up just a month or so ago.) This is, after all, a *Star Trek movie*, so it will be discussed for decades. (Just like the Star Wars films).

Many of Jammer's reviews for the classic crew movies weren't posted until the DVDs were released a decade or more later. Perhaps Jammer is just waiting for the new 4K-format version of the movie to post his review. :)

Captain Jon - Sun, May 25, 2014 - 12:27am (USA Central)
@ Joseph B:

I'm not saying it won't be relevant...I'm actually eager to see what he has to say since I've followed his reviews for years. All I'm saying is that I think his review will be more controversial than most of his reviews, whether it's negative or positive. That's not his fault. STID is probably the most controversial Trek film ever made because fans are divided over whether or not to accept it.

The only review he can write that will be well-received at this point is a 2.5 because anything else will be ripped apart.

I posted by own review much further up on this page and I really liked it. Yes, I believe it's Star Trek just for a new age. Do I want a shift back towards drama and characters? Absolutely, but I think you can combine the old with the new. Why not? Have the fun and adventure of the new films mixed the smarts of the older films.
Dom - Sun, May 25, 2014 - 9:45am (USA Central)
@Captain Jon

I definitely agree that you can combine fun and adventure with smarts. That's been a staple part of Trek since the 60s. One of the reasons I like DS9 so much is because I think it finds that balance. The question is doing that effectively, which is tricky.

With STID, for some reason the fun and adventure side really only worked the first time I saw it. I admit it was a fun roller coaster ride. But once I knew where the ride was going, for some reason I just don't find it fun rewatching it (as opposed to say 2009 Trek).

Not sure I can really explain why except to say that the ending is a real letdown rather than climax, so knowing where the film is going makes it harder for me to invest in the earlier scenes. And not just the TWOK ripoff. For me the ending just has an odd pacing and loses some steam, especially by the time Khan crashes his ship. As some of us noted above, the lack of reaction from the people of London to a ship crashing into the city also makes it less dramatic.

I'm curious if other folks who didn't like the film because of the TWOK references or it's "dumbness" thought it at least worked as a "fun adventure" story.
Eddington - Sun, May 25, 2014 - 3:50pm (USA Central)
I guess I'm a little late to the game here, but I just watched STID yesterday when I saw it was on Netflix.

To me, it had nearly all the problems that all of Star Trek always had. Most notably a completely incoherent portrayal of the Prime Directive where the Directive is only invoked after it has been grossly violated (we join a such a violation in- progress as the crew attempts to alter the natural evolution of a pre-warp civilization... with awesome red trees). It's only when things get physically dangerous or uncomfortable that someone mentions that all this just might be a violation of the Prime Directive. Sorry, but this is classic Trek and totally reminiscent of TNG.

The list of problems goes on, and reads like a list of problems from any number of episodes, pick any series.

I am ok with the warp travel time, unlike many others. Trek is notoriously ambiguous and very inconsistent about warp travel time, and indeed even with the location and distance to Vulcan, Kronos, etc. The rebooted Enterprise is more consistent in that it takes almost no time at all to travel the Federation and its neighboring territories.

And last, but not least, I never saw "Wrath of Kahn", but in Engineering when Kirk dies and Spock starts whimpering, even *I* saw it coming and had plenty of time to set my face to Cringe!!!

I probably enjoyed these two movies more than most non-DS9 Trek. A lot of fun and the plot, thin as it is, sticks together better than anything VOY ever gave us.

And I'm sorry Kahn was a white dude, but you have to realize that Kahn was originally said to be a Sikh of Indian ethnicity, if I remember correctly. Sikhs do *not* shave their beards, nor uncover their (unshorn) hair like old Kahn did. Trek writers have a habit of betraying their ignorance of any religion or philosophy, and this ignorance is oftentimes fanned into active disdain and telegraphed through the dialog and plot with insulting results. The old-Kahn seemed to draw solely on the Sikhs' legendary prowess for counterinsurgency, but warped that into a genocidal lunacy! So I find it much more palatable to swallow "britisher with Indian name" rather than whatever old-Kahn was supposed to be, and I'm happy to see the trend of insults has been suspended by the new regime.

Full disclosure: I'm not a Sikh.
Genre-Buster - Mon, May 26, 2014 - 12:13am (USA Central)
@ Eddington:

Whatever the Space Seed writers claimed Khan's origins were, Sikh or otherwise, the character wound up being a kind of "noble savage" type that you saw quite a lot of in early 1960's television - everything from Gunsmoke and Bonanza to Star Trek and the Lone Ranger.

What ultimately made the character so amazingly memorable was what Nick Meyer and Ricardo Montalban did with this cardboard cutout in its big screen incarnation. For TWOK, Khan was transformed into pure savage - no recognizable ethnicity beyond Montalban's accent. He could have been from anywhere. But wherever he came from, one thing was certain. This guy was truly human - anyone could identify with his anger, and yet still be appalled at the route he took to give his anger expression.

You really should take time to watch TWOK - the story is so straightforward and yet totally engaging. It really is a shining example of the kind of A-plus storytelling that Hollywood seems to have totally forgotten about.

Sorry, but Cumberbatch-Khan did nothing for me. He was just an exposition-spouting pseudo-badass with absolutely no human qualities that I could relate to.

Crap, crap, crap, chase scene, crap. Pretty much sums it up.
MidshipmanNorris - Tue, May 27, 2014 - 1:35am (USA Central)
I bet you I could tear this thing a new a-hole way worse than you guys.

But I choose not to because of what it represents to me.

This is a cherished childhood memory that is being paid tribute by some incredibly talented actors, writers, filmmakers and their crew who worked their balls off just because people keep demanding more Star Trek films, even though there'd been 11 of the things.

I don't want to have to defend that. It's embarrassing, come in here going on about my damn childhood and how hard the people worked.

I just want to discuss what the film is. You're not going to affect anything at this point by continuing to spew bile about how Cumberbatch isn't good in the role or how the continuity didn't play out to your satisfaction.

You aren't accomplishing anything. Let's start talking about the next film.
Yanks - Tue, May 27, 2014 - 12:55pm (USA Central)
@ Demosthenes - Fri, Aug 23, 2013 - 8:35pm (USA Central)

"...which are the films that happen when people who make franchise blockbusters stop caring about hanging special effects and set pieces on a good story, and start warping the story to fit the special effects and set pieces."

STANDS AND APPLAUDS!!!!

This is exactly what I think the "problem" is in Hollywood today.

"Wow, we have XXXXX million dollars, what can we blow up now?"

This is why I think SCI-FI movies like "Oblivion" and "Moon" were the best we've seen in awhile.

Glad I came back here to do some reading, hoping to see that Jammer had completed his review.

Yanks - Tue, May 27, 2014 - 1:29pm (USA Central)
@ Genre-Buster - Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - 10:24pm (USA Central)

@Yanks:

Horror movie? Really? Hardly any consolation in that, bizarrely accurate though it may be. I have to admit that Cumberbatch came off as something of a cross between Hannibal Lecter and Michael Myers. Just kind of a pancake-flat "EVIL" guy whose face you light from below so that he can look extra spooky. If only they had shown us even the remotest glimpse of a human being underneath all that menace, it might have helped.

But then, that would have taken up precious screen time, and they needed THAT to blow more stuff up.
==================================================

Agree about the blowing stuff up stuff (and killing thousands in SF too...) but I think Cumby actually did reveal his human feelings during the Khan reveal speech while he was locked up.

I thought his perfromance was outstanding.
Dominic Jerry Nardi Jr. - Tue, May 27, 2014 - 4:48pm (USA Central)
Cumberbatch was OK. I thought the problem was less him or his acting and more that he wasn't playing Khan. The way he played the character would have been perfect for the villain in Skyfall - angry secret agent who wants to get revenge on his former employer - with an added dose of concern for his "family." Khan in TWOK though was an overly dramatic, larger than life character. I don't think anybody could have achieved Montalban's presence on screen, but Cumberbatch wasn't the right pick imho.
Brandon - Wed, May 28, 2014 - 3:55pm (USA Central)
I have little problem with Cumberbatch's performance and little problem with his race being changed. A simplistic revenge character would have been out of place in the Nolan Era; we needed something more nuanced, and we got it.

But Khan's actions were entirely nonsensical and self-defeating, as are most villains' actions these days.
MidshipmanNorris - Sat, May 31, 2014 - 8:58pm (USA Central)
The first episode that was filmed in regular production was The Corbomite Maneuver.

Thoughts on this episode?

I loved it when the guy interrupts Kirk to say "YOU NOW HAVE TWO MINUTES" and Kirk just keeps on going.

:D
Dom - Sat, May 31, 2014 - 9:11pm (USA Central)
@Brandon, I actually didn't find the CumberKhan character to be all that nuanced, aside from a scene or two in which he cries. But more importantly I don't think the way in which they tried to add nuance fit the Khan character.

In TOS, Khan's backstory is that he's essentially a genetically engineered space Hitler. It's really tough to add nuance and complexity to that type of character. But that type of character has to convey some sense of authority and charisma. Khan is a larger than life figure.

I think if the writers did want to add nuance to Khan, they should have done what DS9 did with pre-season 6Gul Dukat. THAT was a character who was a genocidal dictator but also managed to be charismatic and even sympathetic at times. He committed evil acts, but we almost believed that he was doing them because he thought they were the right thing to do (all he wanted to do was to reduce the severity of the Occupation).
Chris L - Sun, Jun 1, 2014 - 5:27pm (USA Central)
I think we've dissected this movie as much as we can for the moment. I'm in agreement with others who think we should just use this place as a general discussion of Trek until Jammer posts his review, if that's all right with Jammer of course.
MidshipmanNorris - Mon, Jun 2, 2014 - 4:14pm (USA Central)
How can Star Trek get back on TV, is what I'm concerned about.
Jo Jo Meastro - Tue, Jun 3, 2014 - 5:46am (USA Central)
I wonder if peoples' reactions to the movie had been different if Kirk actually had been killed off for good and Khans' magic blood just didn't do the trick, leaving us with a character study of Spock at a severe breaking point and a darker twist on the legacy of Khan. Or would that be a case of upsetting fans by killing too many main characters too quickly like what happened in X-Men 3, considering Pikes' death early on in the movie?

I personally think a gutsy move like that would have earned more respect and make the point that this really is an alternate spin on Star Trek. It also could have made the movie more moving and mature, with a bit more emotional power to back up all the explosions and fist fights.

I think the cast could pull off a film with lots more depth and it would have been nice to see that on-screen.
Dom - Tue, Jun 3, 2014 - 10:14am (USA Central)
I like the idea of one of the major crew members dying, but I can't imagine they would have killed Kirk. However, Chekov would have been a good choice. He doesn't seem to do much on the ship, but he's a noticeable character. In the movie he's sent to engineering, so you'd think he'd play some role in fixing the ship. So I think a much more powerful way to go would have been Kirk ordering Chekov to fix the reactor, Chekov dying, and Kirk learning the lesson he didn't learn in the beginning with Spock - sometimes the captain has to make tough decisions.
pachazo - Tue, Jun 3, 2014 - 11:39pm (USA Central)
@Jo Jo Meastro - Yes, I think that audiences would have been pissed off if they had killed Kirk. However, if you could explain the alternate ending to them (Kirk is resurrected ten minutes later by Khan's magic blood) then they would have gladly let Kirk die. Better to be bold than to perform a massive cop out at the end of your film.
jdm - Thu, Jun 5, 2014 - 2:16am (USA Central)
Perhaps the year-and-counting that has passed between the release of STID and Jammer's review is a review in itself: The film in insufficiently compelling of commentary either positive or negative.
Jo Jo Meastro - Thu, Jun 5, 2014 - 3:26am (USA Central)
Cheknovs' death would have been a good choice if the movie made us feel safe by bringing Kirk back to life and suddenly Cheknovs' murdered just when audiences are expecting the end credits.

The problem with the film as it is, is it repeats the mistakes of many of the Treks shows by being routine and safe more often than not (even DS9 was guilty of this from time to time).

I like STID but I would be the first to admit that it could have been better and could have earned more respect from the fandom.
Dom - Thu, Jun 5, 2014 - 9:08am (USA Central)
@Jo Jo Meastro, I think you're right about the film and TV shows generally being safe. What makes the film disappointing in this regard though is that we're in an era of storytelling where safe is no longer the norm. Back during the era of TNG and DS9, TV storytelling was safe. DS9 took a lot of risks for its time, focusing on a long-running story arc (especially for a syndicated show) and letting supporting characters play a major role. The only TV show or even movie I can think of that really pushed boundaries was Babylon 5.

But over the past decade or so the TV/movie landscape has really changed. Think of the difference between even DS9 and BSG. So STID had plenty of precedents for bold storytelling. I almost get the sense that the new film franchise is torn between some fans who want to return to the safe, optimistic Trek of the 90s and fans who like and embrace the new, darker storytelling that has become dominant in recent years. It'll be interesting to see if Trek can ever bridge that divide.
MidshipmanNorris - Thu, Jun 5, 2014 - 4:39pm (USA Central)
"And then after that I'll catch up on the 550-plus comments that have been posted here while I've been AWOL."

I wonder what the final tally will be for comments on STID? 550 doesn't sound quite enough...
Captain Jon - Sun, Jun 8, 2014 - 1:04am (USA Central)
@Dom

I agree with you on the filmmakers being torn between the kind of storytelling they should tell. I wrote in my review (posted somewhere above) that Nimoy's appearance is nice but seems like an unnecessary tie to Old Trek. Star Trek was always meant to be bold and challenging in its storytelling and tackling of today's issues and I think that's the direction it should be taken. You can have a dark, compelling story that stays true to the optimistic spirit of Trek. DS9 did that incredibly well, in my opinion.

I know some people have complained about the 9/11 allegory, saying it's inappropriate or doesn't belong in Trek. I disagree: I THINK IT DOES BELONG! Why? Because Star Trek tackles the issues whether it's sexism or racism or individuality. They dealt with the natural urge to seek revenge when something horrible happens but showed that the better, more optimistic way is to seek out justice and be the better people. I think it's very appropriate in our post-9/11 era.

I want them to be bold and take risks because that's what makes Star Trek great!
Dom - Sun, Jun 8, 2014 - 12:56pm (USA Central)
@ Capt. Jon, I definitely agree that the 9/11 allegory was appropriate. In fact, I thought the third season of Enterprise worked best when it tackled those types of issues head on, but then played with them (like how our understanding of the Xindi changes throughout the course of the season).

During the first third of STID, I had high hopes for a true Trek 9/11 allegory. But the big problem for me is the second part of what you said. The STID Trek crew doesn't become more optimistic or better. Spock gives into violence and revenge and brutally pummels Khan. There's no discussion or resolution of that afterwards. We don't ever see Spock reflect or repent. I found Spock's actions to be truly abhorrent, to the point where I don't know if I'll ever like the nuSpock character again, but the film doesn't seem to acknowledge that tension.

So many of my problems with the ending could have been solved with a scene or two at the end in which Kirk berates Spock for giving into his emotions and the two talk about responding to violence with violence. As it stands, it's as if the message of STID is that it's OK to beat up terrorists unless they have something - like magic blood - that we need.
Brandon - Sun, Jun 8, 2014 - 3:23pm (USA Central)
I have no problem with a 9/11 allegory, but it's just another aspect of the film that got totally bungled. The Osama bin Laden character is made to be sympathetic and a protector of family(??!?!?!), which I have no idea what's meant by that. Then he goes on a rampage again, toppling skyscrapers in the process. What kind of a lopsided metaphor is this?

Then there was the drone aspect, represented by the torpedoes, but it's simplistic and goes nowhere. I think they were just throwing in some topical-sounding stuff in order to fill Trek's "relevance quota".

And in a film with the audacity to dedicate itself to veterans, you'd damn well better be lucid with your metaphors.
Cheyne - Sat, Jun 21, 2014 - 8:23am (USA Central)
Hope Jammer gets around to his review soon...

I saw STID for the first time a few days ago. I had been wary of seeing it at the cinema because of all the hype.

I think that it is definitely pretty visually in parts and I think that the characterisation of Bones and Kirk is good. Spock is a bit hit and miss, and Scotty and Uhura seem to bear little resemblance to the originals.

But yes, for me the scene where the Vengeance wipes out a big chunk of San Francisco was a bit much.

For me, Spock going crazy on Khan would have been tolerable if there had been some kind of self-examination with it, but no, none of that... it's more like Data with a fused emotion chip.

Plus, as some have mentioned above, Starfleet can now do just about anything, transport across the galaxy, traverse vast differences in seconds, etc., etc. If this is the equivalent of TOS, who knows what would be possible by the time we got to rebooted TNG.

I did like the rebooted Klingons though, and the first part on the planet Nibiru although it was completely ridiculous, at least it was more a more original portrayal of an alien world than we usually get on Trek.

As for the hoary old "would Gene or wouldn't Gene" debate, well, I think if anyone can bear to sit through TOS, he or she would see that the original view of the Star Trek universe was inconsistent at best, and unwatchable at worst, and I really don't think that "Geneism" is a coherent philosophy. Yes, it seems there were certain points he wanted to make about life, humanity, etc. But he certainly wasn't above contradicting himself. I think in certain aspects, especially in that first scene, this movie was reminiscent of TOS, and the confrontation with corrupt or power-mad Starfleet adversaries certainly occurred while the almightly Gene was still around in TNG, and was definitely a theme in post-Gene DS9 too.

Yes, this film is definitely made for those with a shorter attention span, but I think it's unfair to say it is completely without any reflection on deeper "Gene-type" (or should that be genotype, haha) themes) - how far would you go to save your child being one that comes to mind.

I do see the underlying alternate universe idea being preserved and slightly built upon from ST 2009, and I think that some are slightly unfair in saying that there was no thought behind this one, and that it is only action, and explosions and sex.

I think that making any Trek series or movie, if you're not the almighty Gene or working with the classics is always going to make you the target of a huge amount of hate... it is absolutely impossible to please everyone and you must have to have a skin at least two meters thick, and frankly, I don't know why anyone would stick with it. Basically, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't, and maybe that's what Abrams has done here... he knows what he's going to get from Trek fandom so he's taken his approach and run with it.

Having said that, I do think that many of the criticisms above are entirely valid, but I also think that at least it has resuscitated the franchise for a few years more, and that might give it a bit of time while it awaits for someone with a view more in line with the purists to come along and make something that they feel reflects what Trek is supposed to be.

But I would insist, Trek has always, always been hit and miss, in all of its incarnations - the series, the movies... It's never necessarily been pure science fiction or pure philosophy, or pure television or cinematic gold, and more than once has been rubbish (and I'm a pretty die-hard fan myself but I can admit that), and it's that bizarre mix that makes Trek what it is - and to reiterate, that's why I can tolerate these movies and even enjoy them in a shallow sense (and even in a not so shallow sense, they do have their moments) - they give Trek a few more years and the possibility of reinventing itself yet again in the future. And perhaps they will have got some younguns interested in investigating the past incarnations, and it's there they will find the deeper messages, and perhaps be inspired to make something better themselves some day. But let's not completely crucify those who have given our beloved franchise a new lease on life, even if its not entirely to our liking.

Dom - Sat, Jun 21, 2014 - 1:43pm (USA Central)
@Cheyne, good point about the early Trek being inconsistent. However, I think one part of the reason is that Gene didn't always have creative control over Trek. Some of the stuff, like the cheesy bar fights in the TOS, were studio mandated after Paramount/CBS told him to make the show funnier and more exciting. When Gene could voice his opinion, he was adamantly against rogue admirals and conflict amongst humans. I think the era of Trek that most accurately reflects Gene's vision is seasons 1-2 of TNG, when he still had bargaining power vis a vis the studio and was healthy.

I think the biggest problem with the Trek movies is, as you said, there's no moment of reflection when Gene's vision was violated. DS9 showed war and violence all the time, but we also see the characters struggling with issues of morality. Just a scene at the end when Spock thinks back at what he did to Khan might have helped it fit better with Gene's vision.
MidshipmanNorris - Thu, Jun 26, 2014 - 12:23am (USA Central)
DISCLAIMER

Anyone who quotes my above posts (or this one) in an effort to "argue me down" will be flatly ignored. I have no interest in debate anymore, I'm just here to support STID (hereafter referred to as "the film") against its detractors in any way I can.

END DISCLAIMER

Being a month sober and much more focused, I find that I can finally let go of the anger I feel at the film's critics and distill what they're saying from how they are saying it. Not to mention, I feel like typing, so here goes.

There seems to be some school of thought going on that Star Trek movies are supposed to be in some way 'above' the rest of cinema, as an indie art film or a celebrated classic ("Casablanca," "Citizen Kane") would be thought of. Now, I don't know where this idea comes from, and I'm not accusing the film's detractors of ALL having this view, or any of them, really. But that's what my spidey-sense is tingling about for me, an instinctive thing I'm picking up, so I'm going with it.

This line of thinking is not supported by the 12 Star Trek films that are in the can. Not at all. Not even TMP. Nope. Nada. Zilch. Nothing.

TMP has its moments*, but all in all, it's just popcorn for Trekkers. From TWOK on, every Star Trek film has been purely an attempt to cash in on the popularity of a TV series that ran three seasons in the late 60's and fizzled, until it picked up a rabid fandom in syndication in the early 70's.

I'm not interested in debating what Star Trek captial I "Is" or what it captial R "Represents." The series is so wide and big and sprawling at this point that such a debate becomes next to meaningless. What I'm saying is that with the possible exception of a few moments in TMP*, the sci-fi "hardness" of Trek has always, always been questionable, and likely will remain so.

To the ones who complain that transwarp beaming shouldn't be possible: nobody but the hardest of the hardcore Trekker would know such a thing or care. There are 7 billion people on earth. You are a drop in the bucket, my good friend.

To the ones who complain that San Francisco should be in a state of 9/11-like panic at the end of the film: so what. It's a detail that lasts all of 5 to 10 seconds of an otherwise decent film. Get over it and enjoy the movie.

To the ones who complain about Cumberbatch being an inferior Khan: Ricardo Montalban would tell you that each individual actor who assumes a role must search within himself to come up with an interpretation of a character that suits HIS acting style; otherwise, derivative acting results, and derivative acting is a hair's breadth away from terrible acting.

To the ones who complain about Kirk's revival at the end of the film: this gimmick has been so used in the series before that you honestly ought to feel very familiar and comfortable with it by this point. See "Amok Time," "The Enterprise Incident," "Operation: Annihilate" (admittedly a shit example of an episode, but Spock does die and get revived), and "The Search For Spock" (which, despite popular opinion now, was a successful film and launched Leonard Nimoy's directing career). Get over it and enjoy the film.

I feel compelled at this time to quote the MST3K Mantra:

"If you're wondering how he sleeps and breathes/And other science facts/Just repeat to yourself, 'It's just a show,/I should really just relax.'"

It's just a show. I'll return now to my original point: every Star Trek film has been soft sci-fi popcorn aimed at the die hard fans with un-lucid metaphors and space mumbo jumbo and kiddie Zen mysticism since TWOK. TMP, as I keep reiterating, had a moment*, but other than that, it's always "BIG GIANT THREAT THAT MUST BE NEUTRALIZED BY OUR SPACE HEROES." This sums up every single Star Trek film, including TMP. That's Hollywood for you. They don't come up with original ideas very often.

I, personally, enjoy the popcorny stuff. I get a kick out of it, and I'm refusing to let you ruin this movie for me. It's available on Netflix, likely due to your distaste for it, so I win. I can watch it anytime I want to, and I think I will do just that right now.

I enjoy seeing Spock and Uhura fighting and hearing Kirk say "Are you really gonna do this now?" I enjoy seeing Alice Eve in her undies and her slightly pissed "Turn around. NOW." I enjoy the opening sequence on Niburu and Pike's chewing out of Kirk over violating the Prime Directive. I enjoy STID, and you can't stop me.

I enjoy it, it's Star Trek alright.

If you don't like it, then in the words of Captain Christopher Pike, "I dare you to do better."

*The moment I refer to is when Spock is in sickbay after mind-melding with V'ger. When he awakens in sickbay, Spock says “I should have known…” and goes on to tell Kirk about “this simple feeling,” which V’ger, a machine of pure logic, cannot understand. That's the core of the sci-fi hardness of Trek and Gene Roddenberry's finest moment right there.

But as I've already said, beyond that, Trek movies ARE popcorn flicks, or have been up to this point.

Do you want to see a Trek "art" film? Go ahead. WRITE ONE. I hope you make zillions of dollars.

"Well, you know what they say, Lieutennant. Be careful what you wish for. You may get it."

"You may find that having is not nearly so good a thing as wanting."

"Phasers on stun, good luck, Kirk out."
Paul M. - Thu, Jun 26, 2014 - 4:23am (USA Central)
@MidshipmanNorris

I don't dislike this movie because it's "bad Trek" or an affront to Trekdom or whatever. I dislike it because I think it's a bad movie, a popcorn Michael Bay production that goes for sound and fury, signifying nothing. It's a movie that will be forgotten like all the rest of summer popcorn nonsense that comes along and whimpers out. It is a chain with setpieces strung along like cheap but expensive looking kitschy beads that razzle and dazzle their way into massive cerebral hemorrhage.
Genre-Buster - Thu, Jun 26, 2014 - 12:24pm (USA Central)
Ditto Paul M, Midshipman, but let me congratulate you on your month's sobriety - keep it up, and also for a well constructed argument. You make some good points: I'll fully admit that I'm one of those people who would jump up and down like a five-year-old on his birthday if an art-house Trek film came out. Even if it failed I'd be ecstatic that the attempt was even made. I never counted myself as one among the majority (though it would appear that that's the case here). I simply know what I like.

Sure, the San Francisco apocalypse only takes up a few seconds of the film, but in my view, that's precisely why it doesn't belong there. 9/11 was a real event, with real death and real consequences, and STID is a world with absolutely no concept of consequence. It seemed to me that the only thing Abrams & co were thinking was: "If it's good for the trailer, it's good for the film." I found it kind of insulting, to be honest.
Brandon - Fri, Jun 27, 2014 - 11:14am (USA Central)
See, I do think Star Trek was closer to art than many people give it credit for. That's why I'm so angsty.

There are quite a few folks who claim that the original Star Trek was vapid cornball nonsense in an attempt to justify Abrams' Trek being nonsense as well. And they've got ammunition. Conveniently half-dressed women, cheesy sets, blaring colors, crashy incidental music, naive optimism. Not to mention the casual sexism ad bigotry (McCoy giving Spock grief for his ears and green blood would NOT be tolerated on mainstream TV today). It's hilarious today. But only because it's TODAY.

So I don't buy the line that TOS was "not to be taken seriously". Much of the disconnect for us is the result of the passage of time. Back then, those elements were just part of the norm, as surely as mobile devices and nihilistic grimness are for today's TV. We should try and look past the surface and examine the content.

And once you get past the fact that TOS had its howler and groaner episodes for sure, there was actually quite a bit of literate and thoughtful stuff to be found. It was classic science fiction - metaphor and symbolism, heartfelt emotion, weighty themes of duty and morality, genuine possibility and "what would YOU do?" moments. TOS was kind of a pastiche of the really bad and the really good, but examine the really good and you get a picture of why so many people clung to that show over, say, the original BSG. It was actually pretty smart and thoughtful. Simplistic, perhaps, but only because sci-fi was younger back then.

Some people look at the giant space amoeba of "The Immunity Syndrome", the corny villain of "The Corbomite Maneuver" or the costumed apes of "Galileo Seven" and roll their eyes, but embedded in those episodes are legitimate essays on the angst of command and the nihilism of approaching death. You've got profound dualism and inner darkness in "The Enemy Within" and "The Naked Time". You've got cerebral existentialism in "The Menagerie" and "Tomorrow is Yesterday" that might even stimulate today's audiences with a bit more texture. War, pacifism, bigotry, understanding, isolation, technology, love, loyalty, guilt, the lessons of Earth's history, and of course the constant collision of logic and emotion...this was good stuff. Laugh at the space babes all you want. Take that out and you've got legitimate content.

So I guess I do take umbrage that Star Trek has been reduced to noise now. STID did try to include some elements of self-examination and relevance, but not only did it go the most eye-rollingly obvious route (primitive Bush-bashing), but it did so with none of the subtlety and fairness of even the Bourne films. It was so on-the-nose, and drowned out by the rest of the film, which was so clearly set up to generate action scenes that it distracted from the honesty of the "topical" stuff. If you can see the writers' hands at work, you've got a problem.

Enjoy it if you like, no doubt. I just wanted to explain why some Trek fans do respect the franchise as something approaching art.
Dom - Sat, Jun 28, 2014 - 11:54am (USA Central)
@MSN, I make many of the same criticisms of other movies, like the Hobbit. You can't have wanton destruction of a city and not portray the consequences if you want people to care. I mean, if you're going to crash a ship into a city, but the people on the street don't seem to notice, then it just doesn't feel real. Why bother?

As for Khan - the problem isn't that it's a different actor with a different take, it's that the new version doesn't fit up with the backstory. If an actor plays a historical character like Hitler, then he'd better act like Hitler. I think similar for Khan. STID does not get rid of the Khan backstory pre-Space Seed. The character is still a genetically engineered superman who once ruled much of the world. If that's the case, then the character had better reflect that history.
Yanks - Wed, Jul 9, 2014 - 10:54am (USA Central)
@ Dom

I think he did. We just see him under different circumstances. He was held hostage from the get go, Khan in TOS was not. Hell, Kirk gave him access to the ship's library.

As to Cumby's race WRT playing Khan I have no issue whatsoever. Hell, RM was the wrong "race".
Dom - Thu, Jul 10, 2014 - 8:56pm (USA Central)
@Yanks,

I agree about the race issue. My understanding is that the casting director actually tried to look for a hispanic or Indian actor but didn't feel they had found somebody with the gravitas. I can sympathize.

But even though the circumstances for Khan in STID were different, I still didn't feel like this was a former world despot. He seemed more like a former secret agent than a despot. Khan in this movie barely tried to bargain with Kirk in the way that I'd imagine a former despot in jail would. Khan in TOS was essentially a prisoner when he was first rescued, but he still "commanded" people around and still had an air of authority. Again, I don't think this is Cumberbatch's acting so much as the fact that the role wasn't written originally for Khan and doesn't really fit.
Daphne - Sat, Jul 12, 2014 - 5:30am (USA Central)
What a god-awful disgusting piece of trash this movie was. I felt like a rape victim after walking out of it. Or more precisely, I felt like I was watching the corpse of a loved one being raped on screen - namely my beloved Wrath of Khan. Why did they have to keep referencing it in increasingly cringeworthy ways? Can't they see how a comparison of Kirk's death scene with Spock's death scene in the minds of the audience will just undermine the movie fatally, especially when no relationship has been established between Spock and Kirk to justify the reactions of the characters? When Zachary Quinto screamed out "Khaaaan", I first laughed, and then I wanted to cry. There should be an article against this sort of thing in the Geneva convention. On its own terms it was a bland, formulaic exercise in painting by numbers Hollywood mediocrity - but as a Star Trek fan it felt in addition like the whole thing was laced with poison, that just made me want to retch at almost every scene. This was the worst experience I've ever had in a cinema.
Macca - Sun, Jul 13, 2014 - 12:11am (USA Central)
Hi Jammer

The comment above probably needs to be deleted as inappropriate.
Genre-Buster - Sun, Jul 13, 2014 - 12:55am (USA Central)
Inappropriate to what, exactly? Your personal desire for people to like STID? Daphne hated this movie - that happens every now and then. At least she laid out her reasons, and maore importantly, she attacked the film itself, not (**ahem**) anyone who might disagree with her.
Greg M - Sun, Jul 13, 2014 - 1:31am (USA Central)
Jammer,

Just curious if you are going to write a review for this movie. It's been out for over a year. Of course there is no rush. Hope your daughter is doing great and life is good for you and yours.
Jo Jo Meastro - Sun, Jul 13, 2014 - 9:48am (USA Central)
I think Macca was referring to the comments' use of rape victims as an analogy for disliking the film, which I agree is a very disgusting remark to make and I think that kind of blatant vulgarity is not allowed by Jammer. As he said, play nice and bringing rape into a trivial discussion of a film is not nice.
John W - Sun, Jul 13, 2014 - 10:54am (USA Central)
After seeing "Winter Soldier" twice this year, I couldn't help but think "This is playing with the same pieces that STID did, but assembled them fantastically."

Dormant super soldier awoken to carry out missions on the behalf of a compromised organization? Check.

Development of a new war-like class of vessel? Check.

Not everything was a 1:1 match, but it was similar enough to make myself realize that one CAN tell a story of this nature, and do it well. "Winter Soldier" wasn't short on action by any means, but each sequence was integral, and character focused...and I wanted to follow Steve Rogers through out his journey, because of his core decency, and unwillingness to participate in this system. His ease of bringing Black Widow and Falcon to his team speaks for itself. He commands the situation, but also has self awareness and doubt, and it's shown through his basic interaction with others. He's the type of James T. Kirk that I respect and idolize.
Genre-Buster - Sun, Jul 13, 2014 - 3:29pm (USA Central)
@jojo:

Well, disgusting or no, Daphne is hardly the first person to use the rape analogy when it comes to AbramsTrek:

redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-trek/star-trek-09-short-film/
Jo Jo Meastro - Tue, Jul 15, 2014 - 1:33am (USA Central)
Genre-Buster, I wont persist and risk derailing the point of the discussion board but to me it doesn't matter how many people use the rape analogy. I see it all over IMDB on practically any film franchise with a hard core fan base and I find it tasteless and idiotic every single time.

At the end of the day, movies are just movies and I'll never understand why people get so invested and so distressed over them that they compare it to rape. I'm not aiming that towards you, it was just a general comment about how people can often behave in these types of discussion boards. If you can't agree that's absolutely fine, I just wanted to try further explain my point of view.

To bring my comments back on topic (sort of!), Winter Soldier is an awesome film and I never noticed the similarities to STID until John W said. Even though I lean more towards the crowd that actually quite liked STID, I have to say Winter Soldier is the superior film any way you look at it.

I also look back and I find Star Trek 09 is the superior film as well. With that film, it was much more ground-shaking and genuinely emotional with moments of pause to let us really feel alongside the characters. Whenever we do get the next Trek movie, I hope to see a return of this kind of balance between spectacle and drama. STID was a flawed but still enjoyable effort, lets hope they learn from the mistakes here to bring us a really awesome conclusion to the trilogy!
Yanks - Wed, Jul 16, 2014 - 4:18pm (USA Central)
@ Dom - Thu, Jul 10, 2014 - 8:56pm (USA Central)

Good point about Khan. I think I would agree there. We didn't see any starfleet babe quit her job :-)
Yanks - Wed, Jul 16, 2014 - 9:48pm (USA Central)
@ Brandon.

Incredibly well put. Thank you.
Dom - Wed, Jul 16, 2014 - 10:12pm (USA Central)
For anybody who argues that Hollywood has to dumb down Trek to appeal to modern audiences, I urge them to check out Dawn of Planet of the Apes. It's a smart movie with rich characters and surprisingly little violence or explosions (and when there are explosions they are in the service of the story). It's a fun movie that accessible to non-fans (my wife who typically hates sci-fi and Trek loved it). Moreover, it has a moving moral allegory about the costs of war and violence. Oh yeah, and for the bean counters, it's making a lot of money.
MidshipmanNorris - Thu, Jul 17, 2014 - 1:06pm (USA Central)
I still say that if you have so much drive to write that you can spend paragraph after paragraph bashing a perfectly good Trek film, you should try your hand at writing one. It's not as easy as it looks.

I once tried writing a script for Star Trek V that would serve to replace the one they put out, but that has no hope of ever getting greenlighted, so I buried it somewhere.

Star Trek has a very formal tone to a lot of its dialogue, and formality, when it's not present, is replaced by procedural dialogue ("Shields up, battle stations, divert power to phasers, etc"). It's only in about half the story that we deal with the emotional content of what's going on. There are two halves to Trek, seen in this way: the "Technical" half and the "Character" half.

Star Trek Into Darkness has a really good mix of the two, and while some may find the supposed political commentary to be "eye-rolling," it can be ignored for the sake of a decent adventure story.

You start out thinking it's going to be like the first film, but with everyone in their places...but then the film throws you a curve: Kirk has been stripped of his command!

You may think the fact that it's reinstated about twenty minutes later is a bit manipulative on the part of the writer, but Bruce Greenwood really sells it for you. Also, Kirk quotes himself from "Wrath of Khan" in the bar scene:

"I don't know what to say."

I thought that was a cool moment.

You've got a lot of action and fights scenes in this one, something that wouldn't have been as plausible with the aging cast of the original Trek. This is a way that the movie plays to its strengths: it has a young cast, so lots of action. It's believable that a young Kirk can survive this onslaught: not so much with the aging "Wrath of Khan" on-upwards Kirk.

The move goes out of its way to sell itself to you, sure. But can you blame them? People love seeing stories about this crew again! I do, anyway!

I really get a kick out of it, and I think I'll watch it right now.

Toodles!
Dom - Thu, Jul 17, 2014 - 7:01pm (USA Central)
@MSN, with all due respect, if you don't think people should criticize a film without having written one, you're basically denying the legitimacy of film reviews. That's a nearly impossible standard (think about it: only a handful of people have ever written for Trek). While I don't think I or any other critic will deny that writing a good script is difficult, we've seen it done and we know enough about story writing to recognize the good from the bad.

I do agree that some criticisms can be cheap shots, especially in lower budget films. For example, in TWOK I think the Genesis Cave is dreadfully underwhelming, but I can also appreciate that the crew didn't have the budget to make anything better. Sometimes the actors hired don't quite fit the role.

As for the plot twists you pointed out... Let me just say I liked the first half of STID because of some of those elements, but the middle and ending really didn't provide a satisfactory resolution. I thought stripping Kirk of his command was a neat idea. But it never really goes anywhere. Kirk gets his command back within a few minutes! I loved the idea of Kirk having to learn how to order a crew member to his death, but he never has to make that decision. That's another reason why I thought making Khan the villain did the movie no service - it just distracted from the potentially more interesting stories in the film.

Confused Matthew's review is actually pretty good in explaining how STID potentially had a great setup but just didn't follow through. It's worth checking out if you haven't already.
Milton - Mon, Jul 21, 2014 - 6:01pm (USA Central)
Hi Jammer

If you get the time, a good sci-fi series you might like is 'Torchwood', a British series by Russell T Davies. It's a spinoff of Doctor Who, but is easily possible to enjoy on its own. It's only 41 episodes long, at 45 mins per episode.

LLAP,

Milton
Daphne - Tue, Jul 22, 2014 - 12:39pm (USA Central)
Sorry, I didn't know everybody was so touchy. If I said Abrams 'murdered' Star Trek, which he did, I'm sure nobody would have a problem. But I've forgotten that most people nowadays see the world through the prism of tabloid hysteria.

Just to address the point that Abrams has to compromise Star Trek to make money - the idea he's actually made an unprecedented amount of money is a myth, if you take inflation and film-going habits into account. A good way to judge its relative success is to look at the top ten box office movies for each year in the US and worldwide. Wrath of Khan was the sixth highest earner domestically in 1982, STID was the 11th highest earner in 2013. So it's a myth.

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