“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Star Trek Into Darkness

tn_startrek2The genius of J.J. Abrams’ STAR TREK: NOT THE MOTION PICTURE BUT STAR TREK (2009) was not just that it had a good gimmick for recasting the original cast of characters and restarting their adventures without denying the existence of their old ones. It was also the way it worked for both Trekkos and regulars. I was able to see it with a girl that grew up watching Star Trek and she loved it, but I enjoyed it too even though, come on. We, as citizens of the world, were all able to share it and enjoy it together equally as brothers and sisters.

Party’s over, though. Trekkos want their shit back. I’ve heard complaints from fans about the new ones not being truly in the spirit of the old movies and syndicated tv series. I mean it seems weird to be mad at the filmatists for having fun things happen instead of just people having long conversations in one room while looking at a screen with a picture of space and then walking down a hallway and then going back to the first room, but I do think they’re probly semi-legitimate grievances. STAR TREK did carve out its own niche where it’s different from the other shows, and is about explorers and talking and philosophy or whatever. So maybe some of the new movies shouldn’t be about fighting an evil warlord. And if you guys all agree you want to go back to the approach they had for the previous 20 years then I’m fine going back to only watching one every six or seven years and then saying “Yeah, that was fine I guess. James Cromwell is always good.”

mp_startrek2But STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS aka STAR TREK 2: THE [SPOILER] OF [SPOILER] is still pretty balanced. This time the Star Trek girl and I were able to have equally strong feelings about it being okay. I guess with the characters and world already established we’ve gotten some of the fun stuff out of the way, now we’re just left with a plot about a villain trying to do something villainous and some twists and reversals on famous things from previous Star Trek. Fun, but kinda empty. There’s an obvious war on terror allegory in there (Star Trek thinks we should’ve tried to capture bin Laden instead of shoot him I think?), but it doesn’t feel too heavy… until the end credits when they dedicate the film to post 9-11 veterans. A little much, there. Might be a little bit of the “EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is the dark one so that’s how you do a good part 2” syndrome.

The story still focuses heavily on Star Fleet Captain and #1 Beastie Boys fan James Ti Kirk (Chris Pine, SMOKIN’ ACES), who’s still struggling between a great respect for and friendship with Spock (Zachary Quinto) and being annoyed as fuck at his by-the-book-to-a-fault, emotionless Vulcan ways. The big conflict in the beginning is that Kirk breaks the rules to save Spock from a space volcano and Spock repays him by filing a completely honest report that gets his ass fired. I hope part 3 is more of a mismatched buddies movie, preferably a remake of LETHAL WEAPON.

Then there is a bombing, real life Harry Potter character Benedict Cumberbatch is the suspect, he runs off to a predominantly Klingon neighborhood to hide out (Space Afghanistan), and the Star Gang are given a mission by Peter Weller (DRAGON EYES) to blow him up. Which might be a bad idea because of morals, starting wars, etc.

[I’M JUST GONNA SPOIL SHIT FROM THIS POINT ON] I think we all guessed this but yeah, Cumberbatch’s character eventually introduces himself as Khan.They tried to not advertise it since it’s not revealed for the first third of the movie, and more power to them. But if there’s two things the internet will not tolerate it’s 1) surprises 2) spoilers.

I want to point out that he never says his full name, nor does he put it in writing. For all we know he’s a totally different Khan than we’re thinking of, which would explain why he looks and sounds and acts and dresses like a totally different guy. In my opinion there is an 80% chance that it is actually some dude named Con, short for Conrad, and he just happens to have almost the same backstory as the other more imposing character Khan played by Ricardo Montalban in the original part 2. I mean I’m sure Khan wishes he could do kung fu and space parkour like Con, but then he wouldn’t get to wear that cool jacket and have long hair, so he’s not gonna cry about it.

On the other hand, this guy does have alot of wrath. I noticed he was pretty wrathful. But if we’re gonna go along with this conspiracy theory that it’s the same Khan Noonein Singh character then we should consider a few things. According to the backstory, Khan ruled the earth from 1992-1996 and then was frozen. That means he has not had a chance to see THE MATRIX, it’s only a coincidence that he dresses like Neo in this one. If he went to the movies in the months before he got frozen we can guess he probly saw INDEPENDENCE DAY, maybe TWISTER or MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, perhaps FARGO. Actually he does seem more like a guy that would see FARGO then some of the big blockbusters. Maybe SLING BLADE too. Maybe TRAINSPOTTING.

But it’s hard to say. His last movie could’ve been SPACE JAM. Last CD purchased could’ve been All Eyez On Me.

Do you think it would be embarrassing if they took him out of cryo-freeze and he was wearing a Spice Girls t-shirt? I don’t think so. I think it would humanize him.

Swear to God, I dozed off and missed this part. what is my problem
Swear to God, I dozed off and missed this part. what is my problem

Anyway, the first movie had young Kirk listen to “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys, in this one it’s “Body Movin’ (Fat Boy Slim remix)” during a threesome with twin sisters who have tails. (not kidding.) So it would be interesting if these two got into a conversation about that. Of course Khan would only know up through Ill Communication, but that’s their best stuff anyway. He would be able to describe to Kirk what it was like having those albums as contemporary music instead of oldies.

Despite being very white and not in any way Montalbanesque, Cumberbatch is pretty decent casting because he does project an arrogant intelligence and has a good dragony voice. Come to think of it he’s more like Hans Grueber than Khan. But he’s a good version of a pretty standard villain. I prefer Eric Bana in the first one, he was much stranger.

For a time they do find kind a way to be surprising, they have this evil terrorist explain the full context of what’s going on and all the sudden he doesn’t seem as bad. And he has special abilities and shared goals and they actually work together. But it’s not a Riddick situation, it turns out he can’t be trusted and it goes back to the standard bad guy battle that you expect. I would’ve liked it better if in this timeline the ultimate villain was more of a loose cannon good guy. At least it would’ve been something different. Going back to what was expected is kind of a waste. I hope for the next one they just come up with a new story instead of trying to comment on a previous one.

Anyway, it should be called STAR TREK 2: THE BRIEF COOPERATION OF KHAN. Or CON.

As far as the criticisms about Abrams turning what was formerly peaceful, thoughtful science nerd sci-fi into violent action, I don’t think it’s entirely fair because that’s in fact what this story is all about. Weller is using the Kryptonian fate of Vulcan as an excuse to rattle sabers, he’s trying to militarize Star Fleet and purposely start a war with the Klingons. He’s the bad guy. Kirk, meanwhile, learns the lesson of not listening to assholes like that. He takes the mission for revenge purposes (or wrath) but Scotty (still Simon Pegg) tries to talk him out of even having torpedoes on the ship and then resigns because of it. A conscientious objector. And not as a joke, he turns out to be 100% correct and also saves the day by not being aboard the ship because he resigned.

On the other hand, it is true that in the climax Spock fills in for an indisposed Kirk by abandoning his logical, emotionless ways to run around with a laser gun and kick ass. So that sort of betrays the larger message of the movie that problems should be solved with intellect and careful consideration. And although they perfectly set it up for the next one to be about exploring and not about military conflicts you can imagine that fans of the first two might be thrown off by that.

It was good to see this cast again, including Bruce Greenwood as Kirk’s tough lovin’ mentor. It’s kind of weird though that they keep talking about “do you remember when I convinced you to join? it was in a bar just like this” and stuff like that. Guys, this is not part 7, you don’t have to remind us of the beginning. This is only the second one. We can rewatch the first one. You don’t have to give us so much “previously on Star Trek” business.

I do think Bones (Karl Urban, DREDD), Sulu (John Cho) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana, COLOMBIANA) get a little short changed in this one, they could use a little more to do. Uhura at least gets a cool scene where she negotiates with Klingons in their own language, something she picked up while signing autographs at conventions, no doubt.

Oh yeah, and Chekov (Anton Yelchin, li’l Michael Biehn from TERMINATOR SALVATION). I forgot to even list him, he was in this one so little.

I know what you’re thinking. You don’t care about any of this. What you care about is where was Tyler Perry? That’s what I want to know too. I don’t think his character is in this one. A little trivia: apparently the alien sitting in front of the holding cell was played by Heather Langenkamp from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Also Amanda Foreman is in there somewhere, she previously worked with Abrams on a television show called “Felicity” according to research that I did. I don’t think she’s the one with the hip blond haircut though, I don’t know who that was.

In conclusion, I enjoyed this movie, but it’s not as fun as the first one. If the next one’s not any better I think we can write this series off. And if STAR WARS isn’t a whole hell of alot better I got some villagers on call and I’m buying them all pitchforks.

viewing format: Real Imax, fake 3D. There’s really not an organic way to watch this since some of it was shot Imax, but none of it was shot 3D, and you can’t watch it in 2D Imax. The 3D is more noticeable than many conversions, but sometimes gives them bizarre head shapes and stuff. The worst part is the opening action scene which has lots of whip pans and shakiness that probly read fine in 2D but in fake 3D left my eyeballs spinning like a cartoon car crash.

 

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2013 at 12:20 am and is filed under Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

123 Responses to “Star Trek Into Darkness”

  1. Yeah i dug the fact that this wasn’t boring trek but had enough callbacks to the old ones. liked the big anti-drone message too. otherwise, it was pretty average.

  2. I really enjoyed this one, up until the point where they just started to imitate WRATH OF KHAN in the worst possible fanfiction way. (“We just let the same shit happen, but reverse the roles. Ain’t we clever?”) And it really pissed me off when because of this, the supposedly emotional climax of the movie turned into an unintentional joke. (Yeah, just let Spock repeat the Trek internet meme #1. That will make NOBODY in the audiencelaugh, right?)

    When the long foot chase happened afterward, I gave them credit for showing something simple, that for any reason never happened in STAR TREK before! Seriously! They never seem to run after each other! But to be honest, after the shit that happened before, I just couldn’t enjoy it. Maybe I like that part better on 2nd viewing.

    Apparently many viewers have a problem with how Kirk gets re-animated, while to me it makes sense. We see what the blood can do right in the beginning (and seriously. Producing super soldiers whose blood can cure anything makes an awful lot of sense to me) and I know real-life stories of people, who got re-animated up to 15 minutes after their death. Okay, they got a brain damage, but you can’t tell me that superblood can’t fix that too. Not to mention that Bones was smart enough to put Kirk on ice. So yeah, I was okay with that one.

    But I wasn’t okay with how its death defying qualities were introduced. If you remember, there was a scene when Kirk was holding Con at gunpoint and then Bones apparently got bored and decided to do some shit with a dead Tribble. You can’t tell me that their wasn’t a better, more organic moment available to show him doing Frankenstein shit with dead aliens.

    I really, really loved the new Beastie Boys moment though. A wonderful FUCK YOU to the people, who hated it in the last movie, only that back then Kirk just turned on the radio and accidently SABOTAGE was playing. Here he is playing a vinyl! How awesome is this? I mentioned here a few times how much I like the idea that in the new timeline, people are not just listening to Bach, Beethoven & Co when it comes to “classic” music, but also to the Beastie Boys. After all what is for us classic music, was the popmusic of its time, so why can’t our popmusic be the classic music of the future? And in this timeline, Kirk is apparently a collector of classic music from the late 20th century and the devices that were used to play it. (And I love that not just the Beastie Boys, but also Fatboy Slim won’t be forgotten in the future! )

  3. Great review, Vern.

    i think these two new Star Trek movies work as a origin story. i don`t see see a reason for third one though.
    Into darkness sets it up for future adventures to be set in the actual Trek trough space, which i think would be more suitable for a tv series, rather than a stand alone film or film series.

  4. I am just so tired of all “Star Trek”. 12 movies, 6 TV series, books, games, etc., I say enough already.

  5. Whatever happened to the Action Comprehensibility Rating Chart?

  6. I honestly found the all-action-all-the-time approach to get quite wearisome and frankly boring. I also find JJ’s visual style in this movie quite ugly. The cast are game, and Cucumberpatch is pretty awesome at acting so I enjoyed watching him. I very much doubt if I will see the next in the cinema, but will happily rent it.

    Vern, F&F6 has been out here in the UK for a few days. Can’t wait for your review, which I assume will be pretty quick after it’s US release. I loved it.

  7. How the hell did Engelbert Humperdinck get himself hired as a STAR TREK baddie?!

  8. it’s good, but not great, I think the first one is a bit better, than in of itself is disappointing because I was hoping for greatness, but I was still reasonably entertained and don’t regret seeing it, however as a lead up Star Wars it makes me a little worried, does JJ really have the chops?

    I’ve been thinking about Super 8 lately, I have not seen it since theaters and have been meaning to re-watch it, but thinking back as soon as you get a good look at the alien the movie deflates like a ruined souffle pretty much, the build up is great but the movie does not strike the landing, in many ways it’s classic Hollywood of the 70’s and 80’s bumping into lame CGI present day at the end, it does in fact do a good job illustrating what’s wrong with many movies today

    Super 8 is still a pretty good movie, but it could have been GREAT! and the same goes for Into Darkness, what Star Wars absolutely fucking needs is GREAT GREAT GREAT, not pretty good

    anyway the Alice Eve underwear shot is indeed blink and you’ll miss it, I’m not surprised you didn’t see it Vern and now that got me thinking, am I the only one that finds that really fucking strange? why was it only a second long? it’s not she was naked, she was just in her underwear, has Hollywood really become so prudish these days that even a woman in her underwear is too hot to show but for an instant?

    like, I’m serious, what the fuck is going on? I think we’ve talked about how nudity has become rare before but this is a new low, in age when anyone with an internet connection can access endless porn instantly it’s endlessly ironic

  9. Rob Bricken’s FAQ of the film is a work of beauty.
    http://io9.com/star-trek-into-darkness-the-spoiler-faq-508927844

  10. I liked it. I’ve only been a Trekker for a few years. I watched a few episodes of Next Generation when I was growing up, but never followed any of the shows. It’s only recently that I decided to watch through the series. All of the serieses. I’m nearly done with Voyager.

    Anyway, I guess I’m not a “real” Trekwar because I really liked this film. Maybe I’m just lowering my standards, but I know that they’re never going to make another slow, talky sci-fi film about philosophical concepts. It’s just not going to happen. Star Trek is now about big, fun action-adventure! And I’m okay with that! It’s fine! These are enjoyable movies! And I liked this one more than the last. I thought it had a more compelling storyline and fewer plotholes. The last 30 minutes was kind of lame, but I’m glad that Khan is still alive.

    And Vern, I have to disagree with you when you say that this film doesn’t set anything up. I think that’s what it did best. At the end it basically promised that the next film would be about them exploring deep space and dealing with some crazy sci-fi thing like the old show. And leaving Khan alive promises that they will eventually do a straight-up remake of Wrath of Khan. I can’t wait to watch both of those movies.

  11. The expectation that the movies become more philosophical is just idiotic. Even the original movies motioned towards complex ideas rather than fully engaged with them. I think the obvious drone parallels in this movie is about as deep as the original films, and it showed that the filmmakers were trying to respect the essence of Star Trek. I’m a Trekist myself, I’ve watched everything up until about halfway through Voyager before I really gave up, and I didn’t have a problem with the movie supposedly betraying the spirit of the original. For the more engaged philosophical aspects of Trek, you really need to turn to the TV show.

    I enjoyed the movie, but the more they tried to parallel Star Trek 2, the more it took me out of the film. The first movie does a great job of wiping the slate clean so they can do anything, and they decide to restage a scene from a much better Star Trek movie. It just seems like a bad idea from the start, and I’m surprised that no one making this film thought so.

  12. I liked it. I know I’m the guy who threw a hissy fit about the EVIL DEAD remake recreating scenes from the original but with a twist, but I don’t know, it didn’t bother me. Those two guys have good enough chemistry that I bought into the drama of the hand-on-the-glass scene, even if it was pretty obvious that everything was gonna be alright. I like these characters, I like this world, I like the style of action and derring-do. It’s not too dark and not too jokey. It’s just right.

    I do think that J.J. is basically a fraud, in that I don’t believe that he actually believes in any of the themes that his stories pay lip service to. I think he’s just a talented mimic, able to replicate the beats that work and assemble them in an entertaining but pretty hollow way. These aren’t stories he needs to tell, they’re just stories he figured out how to tell. And I’m kind of okay with it, if the results are as fun as this.

    RJ brings up a good point, though. Despite the callbacks to the Big Emotional Scene, this isn’t actually a remake of WRATH OF KHAN. This is a remake of the episode from the original series when the Enterprise first met Khan and he was unfrozen and then Kirk banished him to some shithole planet, where he stayed for 20 years until returning to get his Wrath. The new version of that is that he’s back in cryostasis, waiting to be awakened to get his revenge, only this time it’ll be Spock, not Kirk, he comes after, when they’re all middle-aged and doing desperate things to prove they’ve still got it, like wearing toupees and really low-cut shirts to show their pecs.

    But really, who gives a shit what I have to say? Where’s asimov?

  13. I thought it was somehow…pointless.

    Yes, it’s solidly put-together, the special effects are great, and I didn’t even have a problem with the whole Cumberbatch is Khan thing. But seriously, it ends EXACTLY like the first one. I thought they were off on their 5 year mission already. Do we really need a whole movie to tell us how they got that job?

    And what is it with that romance-like development between Kirk and Spock? When a dying Kirk asks if Spock knows why he saved him from the volcano, I honestly thought they were gonna go for: “Because you love me”. In the old show, Kirk’s far more buddy-buddy with Bones, and the two of them are smug assholes making fun of Spock’s stick-up-his-ass stiffness all the time.

    Anyway, the thing that annoyed me most was the fact that the trailer showed me bits of almost every fucking scene in the movie, up to the end. Going in, I thought that the Spock-Khan stuff would come at the beginning and not that it was the climax of the entire film.

  14. “Party’s over, though. Trekkos want their shit back. ”

    Vern – oh ENOUGH.

    Not at you directly, but in general I’m fucking sick already of this fight online between Trekkies and non-Trekkies over this movie. I’m a proud Trekkie, I liked this movie, the Trekkies have some good points (if too pissy and cherry-picking in their overall judgment) and the non-Trekkies forgive perhaps way too much. It’s goddamn annoying. To quote Captain Kirk on SNL: “Get a Life!”

    What do I mean? Trekkies you all must realize that Star Trek at its core was always an adventure show, albeit one that wasn’t merely monster of the week as most sci-fi programs were at that time. ST like all good science fiction also tackled ideas as well while having a good time, sometimes to make a 1960s progressive political stand or/and fire up your imagination with the implications of ideas introduced. But it was adventure, mixed with ideas. You guys nodding with me? Good.

    But that Star Trek died for a reason: NEMESIS was terrible and flopped. Same with INSURRECTION. Both VOYAGER and ENTERPRISE for me were nearly unwatchable. That property had the same cooks operating that kitchen for way too long and producing too much mediocre work for a good long stretch. (Didn’t help that good hands like Ronald Moore were locked out of creative out of pure ego and studio politics. As a result he left, which was a big fateful loss for Star Trek in general if you ask me.) OK even if you liked all those movies/shows I mentioned, you can’t argue with me about how Trek died a slow and quiet death by the time ENTERPRISE got cancelled.

    As for you non-Trekkies, the movie is decent but don’t get mad when people point out the plotholes and logic gaps because they do exist. That’s just how Abrams and Lindeloff and those boys roll, for better or worse. Yes Abrams brought back STAR TREK and my problems aside at that movie (pointlessly convoluted plotting, too much STAR WARS remaking), it was a very invigorating reboot this side of the new DOCTOR WHO. But you know what? They got too settled. That might Abrams’ core weakness: He doesn’t either have the guts or the imaginative capacity to go the extra mile, to boldly go where most don’t filmmakers don’t go or even consider and elevate your material to the next step. (In short I don’t think he has an EMPIRE STRIKES BACK or DARK KNIGHT or hell, even a WRATH OF KAHN in him.)

    So good news this means EPISODE 7 we know for sure will be good decent entertainment, but nothing more. Which is fine since that’s a step up from the SW prequels.

    I mean you know what my biggest disapointment in retrospect with STID is? Spock and Uhura’s relationship taking a big backseat. The only time that comes out is simply to add early 1st act “dramaz.” Otherwise it might as well not exist. How is that interspecies relationship going? What are the difficulties of dating a half-alien who’s logic-dominated? Alot of more interesting things you could do with that element. But that’s ideas, and Abrams is sorta allergic to that. (I almost get the feeling that the 9/11/War on Terror mood is something he didn’t pursue as much as following a trend already well established by Nolan and Greengrass and others for the last decade. Abrams is a good follower, not a leader. Might explain why nobody rips his movies off.)

    And CJ Holden is absolutely right, that climax does suffer for being a lesser dervative. (Why is that chamber THAT big anyway?)

    Also Vern, I’m surprised you didn’t bring up that criticism at whitewashing casting for the villain. I thought Cumberbatch did a great job in pretty much a new version of that character, but I can’t blame folks upset that a role owned by a Latino act got replaced by a white guy. Can you? (Imagine if they had gotten an Indian, since that was the character’s ethnicity in the first place.)

    OK enough of me bashing Abrams and his ST or else I’ll start sounding like AsimovLives. I digged that scene when Kirk just pounded on the villain, and its a total waste of time. A good scene that says alot without saying one word. Hell I even liked that moment with Kirk and villain getting to that ship’s bridge and Kirk the supposed lesser intellect figures out the villain’s obvious plan beyond their goal and acts upon it. Shows that Kirk isn’t a total dummy. (Except when given 72 proton torpedoes, he doesn’t ask why 72 specifically and why that much overkill to destroy just one guy.)

  15. Also I made a typo. I meant to write “to boldly go where most filmmakers don’t go or even consider and elevate your material to the next step.”

    I wish comments had Edit functions.

  16. Not to sound like Asimov but just seeing Bad Robot on the poster is officially now a red flag for me when it comes to upcoming movies. These guys are just the geeky Platinum Dunes. I fear for Episode VII.

  17. Broddie – That’s harsh and I must disagree with it. Whatever qualms I have with Mr. Abrams, he is a competent entertaining filmmaker. 2 adjectives never used together for Platinum Dunes to my knowledge.

    I actually want to agree with the current Geek theory out there that if Abrams/Paramount had revealed that villain’s identity, its OW box-office would’ve been higher and people primed up even more instead of just resting merely ony brand name power. (Which wasn’t that wise for a movie produced 4 years after the last one, a very fucking long time now.) Plus for a movie full of surprises beyond that identity, you deny the Internet something to keep snooping on. You’re just inviting trouble.

    Or look at IRON MAN 3. While Latino Review and other websites were chasing that non-existent Guardians of the Galaxy tie-in because of a fucking toy* and the marketing painted a DARK KNIGHT remake, Marvel slipped in a plot twist that genuinely surprised people. (Which pissed off a good many so I guess you can’t win.)

    *=Don’t be shocked if someday its revealed that Marvel is behind many of those leaks. Classic misdirection.

  18. Yeah that io9 article on this movie is hilarious, even though they STILL missed a ton of stuff to nitpick. That’s how sloppy this movie is – it’ll probably take three articles to nitpick your way through it. But yeah, it does hold up better while you’re watching it than part 1 or Prometheus – man, how many franchises is Abrams/Lindelof going to dip their fingers in before they’re done?

    I don’t think we’ll ever get the “old” Star Trek back again – I tried to make my lady friend watch Wrath of Khan the other day, and she was bored to tears through it. It has a decent amount of action, a plot that actually makes sense and doesn’t try to distract you with stupid sleight-of-hand twists, tons of mega-acting, and it’s like 15 minutes shorter than the JJ Abrams ones, and she still couldn’t wait for it to end. I think we’re unfortunately stuck with “Enterprise fights big bad and lots of shit blows up” forever now, even though I would absolutely love a Star Trek IV-esque lighthearted adventure film with the new cast. (not going to happen)

    Then again, part of me wouldn’t be surprised at all if they rebooted this shit AGAIN 8 years from now, but even darker and even grittier, and the two JJ Abrams movies will be remembered like the Schumacher Batman films, where people claim they hated the first one the whole time.

  19. RRA – Yeah I don’t get at all why they just didn’t say the villain was Khan right off the bat, in the marketing or in the movie itself. I mean, seriously, why couldn’t Weller have just said “we think the man behind this bombing is the terrorist Khan” instead of this whole “rogue starfleet officer John Harrison” business. It’s like this pointless twist layered on a twist that’s becoming Lindelof’s classic trademark. (The REAL twist for me was the 10 or so minutes where Khan and Kirk team up, which I kinda wish was the whole movie instead of more misdirection)

    And yeah, for marketing that’s really paranoid about surprises being spoiled, I like how most of the climactic Khan/Spock foot chase has been given away in the commercials, as is the final shot of the cryo-coffins, as is the damn “hands on the glass” shot that the trailer gave away. I do have to give them credit for editing it to make it seem like Khan is in charge of the big-ass ship instead of Weller, though.

  20. Haven’t seen it yet but when are we going to get the giant Klingon vs Starfleet space battle sequences?

  21. Don’t be shocked if ST3 goes for the trilogy conclusion with a big bang: The Borg.

    I didn’t say it would be a good idea.

  22. I’m pretty sure they’re setting up the Klingons for the third one. Which makes sense, because they didn’t appear in the original film series until the third one.

    I’m not exactly sure what was gained by keeping Khan’s identity a secret, but it was explained in the movie. Weller couldn’t just come out and admit that he was employing a war criminal (or whatever the hell Khan was back in the day), so he made a fake identity for him. It was a decent reveal but not strictly necessary.

  23. I think the next one will either be vs. The Klingons or The Borg (I think they may have been hinting at this with them leaving on a journey into uncharted space).

  24. Also put me in the camp of Trekkos, who think that Trek’s overall status of an “intellectual” Science Fiction show is bullshit or at least absolutely overrated and romanticed.

    It had some clever and actually very visionary and subversive ideas for its time, like showing the absurdity of racism by having the protagonists ignore each other’s races completely or having stories where two black/white guys hate each other, because they aren’t equally black/white. But it still was a pulp show with often mind numbingly stupid episode plots and the movies weren’t any better. A very entertaining pulp show, with lots of enjoyable banter between the three main protagonists though, but that’s a label that you can apply to Abrams’ movies too.

  25. “Which makes sense, because they didn’t appear in the original film series until the third one. ”

    Except THE MOTION PICTURE where they got wiped out by that Evil Cloud, but I get what you were trying to say.

    As for that plot twist you’re defending, Mr. M how about instead he was Khan and revealed as such all long from the start?

    We must remember that in “Space Seed,” Khan was well-known in this future as an infamous tyrant from the past. Imagine if Hitler tomorrow was revealed to be still alive, and not aged a bit? That sort of shock would scare the hell out of the populace, especially that this guy is now doing bad terrorist stuff and getting away with it.

    If you want him still connected with Weller, how about Khan was his false flag operation? Weller wanted that war with Klingons, and gave Khan tactical/material help that he needed. (Its like sorta STAR TREK VI where both Federation and Klingon officials conspired to sabotage peace.) Of course like every other movie where somebody thought they could control and reign in the supervillain, well bad things happen.

    No wait, that would be IRON MAN 3 again wouldn’t it?

  26. Saw it in 2D IMAX at the Air and Space museum out by Dulles Airport. Vern, come to the other Washington to see films like this in all their 15/70 glory (and it was visually glorious).

    I have a bunch of nitpicks but they’re just that, nitpicks. My biggest issue with the film is that it throws away the possibilities of the first film. With the alternate timeline you can now do anything, unrestricted by previous canon. So what do they do for part two? Take other characters from the canon and mix them up and show how they would be different in this new timeline. I thought we already covered that in the first film.

    Or if you’re going to do that, do it in a way that’s unexpected and interesting, preferably tied into the narrative of the film itself to enhance the theme (Iron Man 3 and how they feature The Mandarin).

    I don’t agree with those who think this team doesn’t honor Trek enough, I think they are honoring it too much (Superman Returns). Let loose guys! Let’s see what you can really do with this hot rod you’ve built on the open road, not the road already traveled.

  27. RRA – I don’t find anything he’s directed competent or entertaining at all. Just derivative of the works of better directors. I tried to watch his CLOSE ENCOUNTERS meets ET ripoff and it was so generically & obnoxiously Spielberg lite I couldn’t make it 20 min into the thing.

    I saw M:I 3 and it was shot like it was a TV movie. No real atmosphere or tone just ripping off everything from TRUE LIES to MOONLIGHTING and seeing what sticks. It bored me to the point that I have now written that franchise off forever.

    The guy has been in the industry this long and STILL has no style to call his own (unless you count lens flare abuse) and his writing buddies have conceived some of the dumbest and most hackneyed shit I’ve ever seen and have dropped the ball way too many times (How do you fuck up 3 TRANSFORMERS movies AND a new Ridley Scott ALIEN entry?) for me to NOT consider them as hacky as Platinum Dunes.

    The works of Abrams and his pals just really aren’t for me at all. I think genre cinema has actually regressed since they’ve become the go to guys in Hollywood for genre fare. I won’t go all AsimovLives though. This is the last I’ll ever comment on this guy and his work because I have no interest wasting anymore of my time justifying my opinion on his body of work. There are better things to do with my free time.

  28. “I don’t agree with those who think this team doesn’t honor Trek enough, I think they are honoring it too much (Superman Returns). Let loose guys! Let’s see what you can really do with this hot rod you’ve built on the open road, not the road already traveled.”

    THIS! They pushed the reset button to tell new stories, but instead they still try to (unsuccessfully) please the fans with homages, cameos and remakes of earlier stores.

  29. Broddie – you might have a point about Abrams’ style. Unlike Nolan, nobody is (or has been accused of) ripping off Abrams’ films because what exactly is there of his own (arguable) creative voice to steal? Not to bash Abrams intentionally here, but I’m reminded of Paul W.S. Anderson.

    Bobby Lupo – There are many Trek elements to play with potentially.

    Locals might hate this, but I wouldn’t mind Q getting reintroduced. What if God actually existed? He would probably be an annoying, obnoxious know-it-all dick like Q who (sometimes) tries to prove a point to these humans.

    Sadly the Borg I think are like the Daleks in DOCTOR WHO. They’ve lost their power because they got played to death*. Your nearly invincible monsters tend to lose respect when they lose repeatedly, and really how can you bring them back to that level?

    *=I actually know DW fans who actually wish the Daleks would get retired for a good long vacation, several series in fact. I can’t blame them.

  30. I honestly hate doing this, I tend to avoid commenting in reviews of movies I haven’t seen and prefer not to derail, but RRA brought something up that I just can’t agree with so I am innocent, innocent as a new-born lamb.

    I am not a Trekkie, but from being around here it usually seems like I’ve seen far more Trek than anyone else, even those claiming to be some fashion of Trek enthusiast, be it Trekker, Trekkie, whatever. RRA said, “you can’t argue with me about how Trek died a slow and quiet death by the time ENTERPRISE got cancelled.” Thus I must argue.

    At the time of ENTERPRISE’s cancellation it was actually on an upswing, smaller in terms of ratings than acknowledgment by the “community”. Manny Coto had taken the reins in Season 4 and went on to produce a number of episodes that were the best television Trek ever aired. I could argue about the effect of UPN’s overall ratings implosion, the “community” debate over choices made in Season 3 and the Xindi arc, even the effect of media “death wishing” the franchise. There is plenty of ammunition to argue away the “quiet” part of RRA’s assertion, not so much the “slow” part.

    For those unfamiliar with the situation the “quiet” part might make sense as well. VOYAGER launched with much fanfare beside the launch of UPN and represented the return to “network” broadcasting from the nebulous zone of “syndication” where THE NEXT GENERATION and DEEP SPACE NINE had flourished. But network television had radically changed, and as THE WB and UPN were shown to be failed attempts at expanding over-the-air television choices, Star Trek’s fortunes on TV waned as well. Was this the general fatigue with the franchise people often bring up? Perhaps, but that’s more of a comment on the public than the creative team behind Trek, so you can read the use of “quiet” two ways: a quiet death because no one was listening, or quiet because the showrunners left little to talk about.

    If anything ENTERPRISE’s upswing started a portion of the fandom to start speaking up again, enough for there to be “calls to arms” to save the series. Revisiting the series can also show some of the inspiration for the direction taken with the reboot, for better or worse. Cotto decided to take a prequel series where many thought it should have gone in the first place, dealing with elements of Trek lore while also delivering social commentary and the nuts and bolts exploration. He dealt with the emergence of the Federation, the Eugenics Wars, the inconsistencies in Vulcan behavior and the reason for Klingon physical appearance changes. And he did it by wrapping all that lore together in a number of short arcs also laced with action and humor. Most stealthfully he brought a callback to DS9’s Founder paranoia to close out his contribution to the series (before the lame Berman/Braga finale).

    These weren’t quiet moments, they raised debate both about the choices and the fact these issues were finally being addressed at all. There was no love-fest for sure, but for me the fourth season of ENTERPRISE can stand up to any other season of any of the other series. There was no quiet surrender, there was actually a measure of hope that his success is raising the rating while also remaking the series into a different beast would allow it to continue.

    A lot of complaints about the reboot are tied to a perception that it was an action spectacle rather than “intelligent sci-fi”. There’s no reason you can’t have both as for many the Dominion War during the run of DS9 was Star Trek’s finest hour. That multi-year run showed you could have your philosophical debate (In the Pale Moonlight) and action (Sacrifice of Angels) and it could be delicious. ENTERPRISE was more upfront about it, and I think elements of the Romulan arc can be seen in the reboot. The difference, of course, was ENTERPRISE brought the action, tension and humor while fitting it into canon which the reboot successfully avoided.

    So no, Star Trek the franchise didn’t go out slow and quiet with ENTERPRISE. It may have rattled its saber to a mostly empty room, but it did raise a call to arms for those few it was talking to at the time.

  31. I just have to disagree with you on ENTERPRISE. Didn’t you think the series finale was lackluster though?

    I’ll take your word for it in terms of ratings for E and VOYAGER. But remember ENTERPRISE was the first Trek series since TOS to get cancelled, and before that NEMESIS flopped hard. Trek was “dead” mate.

    I do agree with you on praise for DS9, which is why I didn’t trash it by name. Intelligent, multi-season storylines, nuanced take on the ST universe. I loved it. First Trek in general to tackle religion, if I remember correctly.

  32. I’m sometimes surprised by how much hate Abrams gets. He’s a competent filmmaker. I enjoy his movies while I watch them, even if they are easily forgotten. My most damning criticism is that he’s like the cliche of the prodigy pianist who can hit every note perfectly but somehow the music is absolutely devoid of feeling. Lots of people here have said pretty much the same thing. He understands how a movie works, for the most part, but he doesn’t do anything unique or especially interesting. Still, he knows how to make a film entertaining, which is more than can be said of other filmmakers.

    Clubside – I’ve heard a lot of people defend the last couple of seasons of Enterprise. I’ve caught maybe three episodes over the years, and I wasn’t all that impressed. Still, it’s hard to judge an entire series from three random episodes. If someone were interested in watching the series, where should he start?

  33. “real life Harry Potter character Benedict Cumberbatch”
    love it.

    Just saw it in 2D and enjoyed it a lot, but not without several issues. It’s an exciting and lively movie, not quite as dark as trailers would make you think, and has plenty of fun and awesome moments. Kirk and Spock’s interactions are very engaging and entertaining again, the other crew members acquit themselves pretty well (though some more so than others, especially in comparison to the previous film), there’s a bunch of things for fans both old and new, and Benedict Cumberbatch is an awesome villain.

    However, and this is where we go into SPOILER territory:

    -Compared to the first film, there doesn’t actually seem to be that much meat to its story. I know that’s hardly fair with how the first movie spans decades and makes a point of reintroducing a lot of elements of Star Trek, but even so, the plot is basically”Terrorist Attacks. Kirk tracks him to another planet and captures him. Takes him back to earth. Gets ambushed. Turns tables. Tables are turned on him. Tables are turned back on Terrorist.” It feels rather small despite some grand attempts to make it otherwise. There’s some tantalising things introduced that only get the briefest of exploration, primarily the Federation/Klingon Cold War, which I thought was going to be more important to things than it was. Also, when Harrison’s backstory and motivations are revealed, it’s done in such a “getting the plot out of the way” manner that it loses a lot of impact for me. With what he’s talking about, we should have gotten VISUALS to go along with it. Flashbacks of his past and the recent present. That could have given it more weight rather than just blah blah.
    -As I said, Cumberbatch is great…but his characterisation is nothing like Khan. Khan is charismatic, charming if he needs to be, and theatrical. Cumberbatch’s Khan is cold, creepy and cerebral. It would have fit better if he’d simply been a different Augment to Khan that was revived instead. The plot would have been 99.9999999% identical, and you could have avoided the controversy of Casting a white actor in the role of an implied Indian previous played by a hispanic actor. Ow, my head.
    -Homaging the end of Star Trek II was kinda of clever, but kinda TOO clever for its own good, as knowing how the original went meant that while I recognised how well the actors did it, it was kinda going through the motions at the same time, even with the role reversal. Also, Spock’s “KHAAAAAAAAAAAAN!” was a step too far and actually had me laughing a little. Oh, and as soon as Bones injected a Tribble with Khan’s healing power blood it was obvious someone would die and be saved that way, so that also undermined the emotional impact of the scene.
    -That said I liked Spock getting to become the pissed off action hero after Kirk does the logical thing, and as such I REALLY think he deserved to use The Wrath of Spock to actually beat Harrison by himself, and not need to be saved by his girlfriend. That was kind of unsatisfying, and it continues to bug me that in the name of female empowerment the SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER has to be shoehorned into action scenes. Uhura has an important job, but in movie land, you’re not worth shit unless you’re kicking ass.
    -Carol Marcus…was she really necessary? Spock even points out that as Science Officer they don’t need her on board, and her being the daughter of the secondary villain didn’t seem to be needed(really, the fact the torpedoes were shielded would have been enough reason for Kirk to investigate them), so what role was she filling that Spock couldn’t? Sexual tension included.
    -I was a little confused about what Kirk’s arc was meant to be. At the beginning it seemed he had to learn to stop being so reckless and respect the rules a little bit more, but then it became about not letting vengeance dictate your morality, and THEN it was about learning to put your crew ahead of yourself…which I don’t think was a lesson Kirk needed to be shown learning, given how he’s depicted as leading assaults and going on away missions himself all the time so his crew don’t have to.

  34. Is this the movie with spaceships? I don´t get it.

  35. I’m kind of horribly curious as to what the Arbams Trek version of the Mirror Universe would be like in the third one.

  36. Ok not only was the “KHAAAAAAAAN!!!” thing a huge unintentional laughter moment, it also made no sense since Marcus was really the guy who caused all this shit, not to mention Khan wasn’t really getting away or anything, he was stuck on a sinking ship, and the only reason he survives is because the script requires it. (By the way, that ship was so badass that SEVENTY TWO torpedoes all exploded at once inside it and it’s still relatively intact! SEVENTY TWO!!) Just like previous Orci/Kurtzman/Lindelof movies, it seems they wanted certain pieces and images – a twist on the the end of part II, the “Khaaan!” moment, some 9/11 imagery of ships crashing into skyscrapers, a foot chase, and just figured they’ll string it all together in the most basic way possible with no care for rhyme or reason.

    But, i forgot that we should all apologize a little to Star Trek because we all bitched and moaned that it looks like Khan gets captured on purpose like The Joker and Silva and Loki, but that wasn’t entirely true. Or at least I don’t think it was- motivations and plans were so muddled I have no idea what his or Weller’s plan was.

  37. Yeah, I laughed at KHAAAAAAAANNN!!! It was a bad idea, poorly executed, but it was amusing.

    God, I’m such a hypocrite. That’s exactly the kind of pandering nerd-bait I lambasted EXPENDABLES 2 for.

  38. To suggest that INTO DARKNESS has an imbalanced ratio of action:talking is blatant revisionism and only works if you take the most superficial view of the new film possible and ignore much of what characterized the older stuff.

    When GALAXY QUEST came out everybody acknowledged that it was a spot-on Star Trek spoof, not least because of it’s cartoony action which featured the Captain doing characteristic shit like rolling around on the ground and ripping his shirt. This stuff was the bread and butter of TOS, along with: larger-than-life characterizations of our main 3 heroes, galactic politics, ethical quandaries, egalitarian idealism… I would argue that all of this stuff plays just as significant of a role in the new Star Trek as it did in the old.

    I can’t believe people act like it’s just a bunch of loud action sequences. The action sequences are 100% character driven. The airlock-to-airlock maneuver is composed mainly of closeups of the actors’ faces as they struggle to make split-second tactical decisions in the face of outrageous danger.

    The film is not a remake of WRATH OF KHAN. There’s maybe 120 seconds of the film that directly references it! WRATH OF KHAN is about the Genesis project and Khan seeking his revenge against Kirk for shit that happened earlier in the TV series and Kirk reuniting with his son …

    If some of the character beats in the film struck you as cheesy or silly or unearned or fan-service, that’s totally understandable. But these other allegations seem totally off base to me. It’s no more cheesy or plot-hole-ridden than Star Trek’s ever been; it’s also no less focused on the iconography of its characters and ship than Star Trek’s ever been.

    Can you imagine if the Star Wars prequels had received this sort of reverent, true-to-themselves treatment? In fact, it’s probably because of our collectively damaged, cynical psyches that we can’t recognize how lucky we are to see a beloved franchised so righteously revived.

    The Phantom Menace is why you don’t love Into Darkness.

  39. Ugh, this seems to me like just more evidence that poor J.J. Abrams loves the right things, but doesn’t understand why they work. Just like SUPER 8 assembles all the correct ingredients of a Spielberg 80’s monster movie without really following through on any of them. Just like STAR TREK fastidiously cultivates a million tiny details from the original series, as if what really matters in a space fantasy is the names and accents of the main characters. And you just can’t expect to make a real movie by assembling the pieces of things you liked from other movies (unless your name is Quentin Tarantino). You actually have to understand how those pieces worked together to actually establish some meaningful content. That’s what Abrams lacks. There’s nothing wrong with his TREK movies, they’re perfectly fun fluff. But can you seriously imagine people going to conventions and obsessing about them 30 years later? Not a chance. In fact, I heard a hilariously awkward interview with Zachary Quinto where the interviewer asked him if he was having trouble with the “Notoriously obsessive” Star Trek fans, and he just kind of said, ah, no, I think people these days don’t get as deeply invested in things. Right, it’s PEOPLE who are different, not the movies?

    Renfield — The Phantom Menace is why you don’t love Into Darkness. Actually yes; PHANTOM MENACE, flawed as it obviously is, taught us that some franchises have the balls to really surprise you. Abram’s STAR TREK films are the films STAR WARS fans *thought* they wanted — superficially complicated but internally dull space fantasy which entertain and are immediately forgotten. I guess we won’t know, but I have a strong suspicion that Abrams TREK films will be long forgotten in ten years while the Prequels are still watched.

  40. I hate to be a guy who invokes the name of He Who Does Not Like Abrams, but this may be the time I agree with him, whether he’s seen it or not. This was a noisy mess. I honestly turned to my girlfriend in the first minute and had to shout to ask what everyone was saying and she had no fuckin’ idea either and my ears were ringing when I left the cinema.

    I really like Abrams, and I am a fan of the last STAR TREK but this was a shambles to my eyes and an assault to my poor ears (granted that is the fault of the cinema). They had a tremendous opportunity to revisit and reappraise Khan and play with him, make him an ally with justification and a decent motivation, anything different, and they blew it and decided to have a drama free movie that climaxed with a zombie birth and a punchup on a hovercraft instead. And Simon Pegg’s accent was worse this time. As a Scot, I feel qualified to say so, however he does go up to the line in swearing and cut off the way we do, so I thank Pegg’s wife for that wee bit of authenticity.
    But my biggest (and stupidest) gripe was the sheer number of frickin’ uniforms. The costume designer must have really wanted to play with the budget. And why the hell was Peter Weller, a member of Starfleet, wearing his own evil uniform with sinister shoulder pads? For fuck’s sake.

    Well, I didn’t totally hate it (it was very shiny), but it seemed like a pretty pointless waste of time to me. I’ll probably buy the DVD just so I can see it with subtitles to find out what it was about.

  41. “The film is not a remake of WRATH OF KHAN. There’s maybe 120 seconds of the film that directly references it! WRATH OF KHAN is about the Genesis project and Khan seeking his revenge against Kirk for shit that happened earlier in the TV series and Kirk reuniting with his son … ”

    Renfield – this exactly is the sort of argumentation some of the non-Trekkie folks are using to defend that climax. If you liked STID and that climax, fine whatever it worked for you. (It wasn’t a dealbreaker for me.) But that defense is bullshit bullshitting, son.

    CJ holden was right, its the same climax just roles reversed. AND THAT WAS INTENTIONAL.

  42. Y-you think the Star Wars prequels are better? They had balls? I don’t know how to respond to that without the conversation devolving rapidly.

    Disregarding the prequels (maybe we can avoid going down that rabbit hole), I really feel that the ways in which these Star Trek reboots succeed is anything but superficial. It understands the heart and soul of what makes the characters work and deploys them to great effect.

    Little moments, like the way Kirk, despite his bullheaded need to do everything type-A personality, must rely on Spock to be background-checking Khan and putting contingency plans into effect, and taps a semi-alienated Mr. Scott for intel in the meantime. I beam with pride at how much more respectfully these new films portray Chekhov than the original run ever did (less impressed with Uhura). That it has a villain (the admiral) that actually will elide Bondian monologuing and kill you (when he materializes in the warp field and IMMEDIATELY starts bombarding them with fire, eg).

    Look, I’m not denying that the film is riddled with stupid shit (Mr. Scott sneaking into that top secret military installation was the moment that most made me pull a Picardian facepalm), but that’s simply because it had its priorities straight. Inception or Primer are great examples of how to do sci-fi plotting such that it stands up to scrutiny, but you miss out on the opportunity to perform the operatic feats I want from my Star Trek.

  43. “this exactly is the sort of argumentation some of the non-Trekkie folks are using to defend that climax.”

    Look, I get the whole warp core role reversal thing. Are you saying that makes the entire film a remake of Wrath of Khan? Doesn’t a lot of it have more to do with Space Seed?

  44. Oh, and was anybody else bummed that Spock didn’t mirror the single tear shed by Pike when they were mind melded? Missed opportunity.

  45. I’m leaning toward Broddie’s wavelength here.

    Maybe I’m a hypocrite like Mr. Majestyk, too, but for opposite reasons in this case. I do want to be part of the discussion, but I don’t think I can do this. I like 2009’s STAR TREK, but I’m getting really bad vibes from INTO DARKNESS, hearing bad things, and that ending credits tribute thing sounds like something that will make me deeply uncomfortable (or maybe I’d enjoy being pandered to???).

    And I really really don’t want to give my money to the writers behind this thing. (AsimovLives would support my stinginess here, I bet.) Orci, Kurtzman, & Lindelof — Their “success” baffles me. I’ve liked one or 2 of the things they helped write, but, on balance, I feel like they owe me back a few hours of my life. Okay, that sounds too nerd-ragey, but the point is, I can’t encourage these assholes to keep making COWBOYS & ALIENSes and PG-13 Michael Bay atrocities, and the best way for me to stop them is to keep my wallet shut and just make this STAR TREK a home Netflixxer in a few months.

    And I really enjoy THE WRATH OF KHAN, starring Ricardo Montalban’s pecs, so I’d hate to sully that memory just yet.

  46. “Orci, Kurtzman, & Lindelof”

    Sigh. See how brave I’m being guys, passionately defending a movie made by these guys?

  47. “Look, I get the whole warp core role reversal thing. Are you saying that makes the entire film a remake of Wrath of Khan?”

    Renfield – You should be a politician. You’re good at changing the subject when on the defensive.

    None of us ever said the whole film was a remake. NONE OF US. And you know your defense of “this is instead more a remake of THIS!” is not exactly saying much for your cause.

    Renfield, are you really AsimovLives?

    Mouth – I would recommend STID, in spite of my problems with it. Its good summertime spectacle entertainment. Its not outstanding, and (for me at least) it didn’t age well in reflection when initially I thought it was better than the first film. Now I think its weaker.

  48. Mouth – Lindelof was the same one who recently trashed MAN OF STEEL for being too dark, though he at least admitted he had no right to complain considering his ST movie.

  49. RRA, this is your post:
    ——
    “The film is not a remake of WRATH OF KHAN. There’s maybe 120 seconds of the film that directly references it! WRATH OF KHAN is about the Genesis project and Khan seeking his revenge against Kirk for shit that happened earlier in the TV series and Kirk reuniting with his son … ”

    Renfield – this exactly is the sort of argumentation some of the non-Trekkie folks are using to defend that climax. If you liked STID and that climax, fine whatever it worked for you. (It wasn’t a dealbreaker for me.) But that defense is bullshit bullshitting, son.
    —–

    I said it wasn’t a remake. YOU changed the subject and started talking about the climax. Check your facts son!

  50. I think I might just be over Abrams’ shtick. The whole manufactured mystery BS about which character The Cumberbatch would play actually really turned me off. I feel like any time JJ pulls out his marketing mystery box, it means I’m going to be given a highly anticipated movie with some really great moments but which ultimately just ends up being OK… Oh, and the big marketing mystery ends up having been completely unnecessary to enjoying the movie and, if anything, hurts the experience.

    It started with Cloverfield for me. I know he didn’t direct it, but I suspect he engineered a lot of the misdirected clues and crap in the months leading up to its release, all of which ended up being a pointless waste of time because the movie itself was actually a pretty straight forward giant monster movie (albeit shot in Fad Footage style). I know a lot of people, including myself, who walked out of a perfectly serviceable monster movie (depending on your take on the style, of course) feeling disappointed simply because the mystery that was used as guerrilla marketing turned out to just be marketing and had zero bearing on the film itself.

    For this it was different, but again pointless and detracting. In this case, I think it was a case of trying to be a little too cute and smug. What would be the point of not releasing the name of The Batch’s character if he was anybody other than Con?!? I consider myself a casual Trek fan. I’ve seen most of the movies and the original series, bits and pieces of others, etc. Anyway, as a casual fan, Con is the only enemy you could say simply by name and I’d know who you meant.

    The good news to me is that it has been said that there will not be any Mystery Box BS for Episode 7. In my opinion, the more straightforward JJ is about the movie he’s making, the less chance I see of being disappointed.

    Anyway, I think this version of Trek will probably start to peeter out now. I believe I read that it had underperformed. They’ll definitely make one or two more, but I think the next one would have to be amazing for them to make it to number 4.

    Either way, I’ve always gotten the impression that Abrams is really a Star Wars guy deep down (hence the criticism by some die hard Trek fans who think his movies are too action explodey), so his attention will mostly be focused elsewhere.

    Sorry. This was long and a little rambling.

  51. Also RRA, Vern in his review says:

    “But STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS aka STAR TREK 2: THE [SPOILER] OF [SPOILER] ”

    Was I seriously coming out of left field by objecting to the film being thought of as a WoK remake?

  52. I just wanted to say that I’m sad now that everytime I watch a movie I instinctively go to Roger Ebert first for a review, but now it’s Outlaw Vern (and then Harry over at AICN just for the pure LOL of the talkbacks)

  53. I hope the next one has Kirk played by Adam Sandler and his farts as Spock. Lets go full retard and get it over with. I hate that this is killing the Star Trek vs Star Wars nerd debate as now they are both the same level of dumb.

  54. remember when people thought The Matrix was going to be the next big nerd franchise?

  55. SPOILER FOR THE THING WE ALL KNEW ABOUT ANYWAY

    in this brief appearance on the monitor, OG Spock tells new Spock about Khan Noonien Singh, so it is Khan, unless Nimoy misunderstood Quinto’s pronunciation of Con.

    I sort of admire the balls of Abrams and co. just doing WRATH OF KHAN anyway.

    This brings up a new phenomenon of reboot series never getting to the point. The last one set up the crew for their mission, but this one set them back. Bond did that too by continuing CASINO ROYALE with QUANTUM OF SOLACE and using SKYFALL to bring things back up to speed. Maybe the fourth one will be the Bond movie CASINO R promised, and maybe STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK AGAIN will get to the five year mission or just say they’re still not quite ready yet.

  56. Darth Irritable

    May 21st, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Vern, I think the fundamental problem is that The Wrath of Khan was lightning in a bottle, and really captured the hearts and minds of nerds (myself included).

    That was fine, but what it did was created the template that all the other films tried to replicate – the warmongering supervillain. If you wante to point to this trend, that’s where it started. Prior, individual episodes would have a megavillian (e.g. Space Seed), but they were a rarity. Post Khan, that all changed.

    Not that that’s a bad thing, but it is what it is. I’m super interested to see how Abrams picks up and runs with the 5 year mission.

    Misjudged Khan parallels notwithstandin, this was an excellent movie. I loved it when Uhura teleported down and started stunning the shit out of everything in sight. She should have just blasted his balls. Even Khan would get dropped by stunned balls.

  57. Darth Irritable

    May 21st, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Fred – not to be pedantic, but this wasn’t Wrath of Khan – this was Space Seed – the series precursor to WoK.

    Old Cumberbatch is going to have to get started on the bench press now to match the chesticles of Mr Montalban.

  58. spoiler. Fred: Li’l Spock only asked Oldie But Goodie Spock if he had encountered a guy named Con. Old Spock’s mind jumped to Khan, because he had encountered that guy. It was all a time travel communication misunderstanding.

  59. RRA you like what you like of course, and I mentioned the lame finale, but I’ll maintain that half of Season 4 is the best Trek ever on TV.

    As for recommendations RBatty024, I have to do a dance since very few people’s TV watching aligns with mine, mainly in terms of volume lol.

    If you’re a fan of Star Trek in general there is no option other than starting with the Pilot and watching it all the way through. There are a lot of bumps in the road through the first two seasons, but there are more than a handful of really good ones, and the absolute duds have some amusing qualities. If you’re not “plugged in” to the Star Trek Fan Experience, you can still observe from a safe distance and that’s how I know how despised Rick Berman and Brannon Braga are. Berman took over for Roddenberry and Braga gets a lot of shit as the worst regular writer is series history. Both are big fans of time travel bullshit. Berman and Braga had the least influence on DEEP SPACE NINE if that tells you anything. Ultimately ENTERPRISE is only four seasons, one of them is an extended arc which could be good or completely off-putting, and one is jam-packed in a way no other Star Trek series has ever been.

    If you’re a Star Trek nerd then you wouldn’t be in this position, as you would have at least hate-watched it. I forget when hate-watching began to be a thing. Whatever. If you have nerd sensibilities you’d want to watch the whole thing but POSSIBLE SPOILER CAVEATS the extended time travel under-story can really piss you off and lead you to pound on doors seeking people to listen to you scream about inconsistencies and general frustrations that may then be acted upon in ways that will sacrifice your place in polite society; Vulcan characterizations are supported by canon fiction, but still cause arguments; the third season features an extended mission to find an enemy that has hit Earth hard and is planning to destroy the whole planet, yet something so momentous was never referenced in future series so what were they thinking, etc.; the fourth season features a ton of reveals and later-series connections that may or may not be to your liking END SPOILERS.

    If you are just curious to check out the stuff in the fourth season that I’m touting, watch the pilot since it’s decent and you’ll get a sense of the characters, though obviously stuff evolves over the intervening three seasons. Then watch VAGUE SPOILERS SIMILAR TO TV GUIDE EPISODE SUMMARIES episodes 4-6, the Augments arc, which brings in Brent Spiner for an excellent turn, has an Orion slave market, and pays homage to STAR TREK II THE WRATH OF KHAN in a way you may smile at, or see you searching for where you left that axe; episodes 7-9, the Vulcan arc, with Gary Graham reprising his excellent Vulcan ambassador, Jeffrey Combs again bringing it as the Andorian commander, Vulcan backstory and a lot of cool stuff; episodes 12-14 for the Federation arc, more original series species, a great Romulan story that maintains the original series myth of never having seen them before, and some great reveals; episodes 15-16 for the Klingon arc, where an explanation for the physical appearance in the original series versus all the other shows and movies is explained in a way that ties to earlier ENTERPRISE events in what I thought was a brilliant solution END SPOILERS.

    So as to limit this derailment I’ll leave it at that for now.

  60. this was such a great read

    vern, you’re a great critic

    because you have humor, and the most important element of being a critic, not taking yourself or the material that seriously

    i can’t recommend this site enough

  61. It seems like if you like the old Star Trek you’re supposed to hate this and if you like the new stuff then it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, I love the old Star Trek with captain Kirk and I also love The Next Generation with Picard. I loved the last movie because it was highly entertaining and I thought it was clever how they started a new timeline. This movie was terrible to me in every way, not because of any bias, but because it played like the cliff notes version of the last movie and wrath of khan. It’s one of those movies that never stops moving but still feels boring. When the movie ended I felt complete indifference, but after thinking about I really dislike it in every way. I’m glad that Vern mentioned that Khan never said his entire name because that’s pretty much how the entire movie is. It jumps from one subject to the other without every giving you any real substance. All of the so called “emotional” scenes were completely unemotional and cold. Who watched this movie and believed that any of the main characters were ever in any kind of real danger? The scene with Kirk in the radiation room was about as dumb as they come. Spock screaming Khan was like something out of a bad SNL skit. There was zero weight to anything in this movie. It’s surprising to me that so many people actually like this garbage.

  62. It’s weird to me how “small” the universe seems in the Abrams Trek films…I know they’re off warping around for indeterminate periods of time, but everything seems so close by and all intergalactic roads apparently lead to San Francisco…

  63. Clubside – Thanks for the advice. I consider myself a Star Trek nerd, but Voyager really did me in. With the exception of Robert Picardo, who is always great, that cast was so bland. It may have been the actors or it may have been poor writing, but I cannot remember a series that had that many boring characters. There are problems with the show beyond the characters themselves, but I think that was the worst sin the series committed. I might check out Enterprise one of these days when I have the time.

  64. “Berman and Braga had the least influence on DEEP SPACE NINE if that tells you anything. ”

    clubside – Indeed.

    You know I wish we would get a new Star Trek series. Set it in Abrams’ world if you want, or go bold and set it a century after VOYAGER and have a brand new, tossing the chess board over Trek status quo. Whatever.

    Point is if the original STAR TREK series went bold for 1960s standards in its ethnic casting, then how about go bold for the 2010s? Maybe have an Arab/Muslim/Middle-Eastern character as your heroic captain? Maybe a gay character? Or hell a transgendered one? Have more Latinos, have a German or whatever. I mean really, why not?

    I was angered when Abrams said having a gay character in ST would be too “distracting.” Strangely the Left let him slide on that.

    RBatty024 – Its funny but you mentioned Picardo who was great but also illustrated VOYAGER’s chief flaw.

    From the handful of episodes I saw of later seasons, Picardo’s hologram character came into his own as a sentient being, risk himself for his friends, kick ass, all that. I dig that character arc, which I’m sure was always intended. The problem is he was the only relatable character on that show. Whether because of his acting (of lack of it in rest of that cast) or the writing, he was the only person that made you care or want to watch the program despite the fact that the premise (crew marooned hopelessly far from home) you would think would make this naturally relatable. But it doesn’t. You don’t give a shit.

    I vaguely seem to remember an episode where his character went into some planet’s war simulation for its soldiers to murder and hunter and all that (without actually killing “real people”) and revealed that the holograms feel the pain and suffer every time they’re “murdered” and well the Doctor won’t stand for that shit. I liked that.

  65. Saw this a second time – it’s still stupid as hell and non-sensical, but there’s actually some decent filmatism I didn’t notice the first time around, mainly in some impressive, heavily cgi-assisted long tracking shots. Plus I could kind of appreciate the acting in the radiation room scene, whereas the first time I saw it I was just shaking my head like “are you fucking serious?”

    Chitown – I was just about to say I don’t know if many people are actually liking this one; most online opinion, like this board, seems pretty negative (a skewed demographic, to say the least). I seriously wondered if there’s a person alive who actually LIKED the ridiculous ending. But then I saw how much the crowd liked it last night, and how it has a fucking 8.3 on IMDB (Rated #159 of ALL TIME – above all other Treks AND The Terminator and Rocky and Jurassic Park) And how Entertainment Weekly gave it an A. Not even an A-, a fucking A. These are the same guys who kept writing about Star Trek ’09 being a dark horse for the Best Picture Oscar, so it’s not like I pay them too much mind, but yeah, I’m starting to worry about society a little bit when stuff this brain dead gets this big of a pass. (I know the ASS movie or whatever it was from Idiocracy gets mentioned alot in reference to Michael Bay films, but I think Abrams might actually be the more appropriate director because his stuff is gussied up to seem way more intelligent than it is)

    ducki3x – Not only does the climax arrive in an entirely unarmed and vulnerable San Francisco AGAIN, but it took me a second viewing to realize that almost the entire final third (after they exit warp) takes place in Earth’s orbit! So yeah, I’m glad the Federation doesn’t think it’s weird that two of their ships are engaged in a firefight right above Earth, and doesn’t even send anyone to help when they both get disabled!

  66. [spoilers] The more I think about it, the more I kind of hate this movie. Like the first one, it has almost no life of it’s own outside referencing other things. Virtually every high point is just a reintroduction of something we already have positive associations with, or a cute twist on a well-worn plot element. Despite it’s slick production and charming cast, it’s just a movie which barely even exists on its own. So much of it seems awkwardly shoehorned in as fan service, the most embarrassing being old Spock dropping in to provide exactly zero plot development but serving to explicitly remind you to think about an old, better movie. Other than references, the movie has almost nothing at all going on. I mean, what is the character arc for anyone here? Kirk starts off by claiming he was right to buck the rules and do the right thing, and by the end of the movie… he does the exact same thing and is again proven right. Spock is by the book and emotionless, but by the end, he learns to chase bad guys and punch them (which for some reason works this time, even though we’d explicitly seen that punching doesn’t affect Kahn?)? I mean, where is the actual narrative arc, I ask?

    Even worse, Kahn ends up not even being the real Villain. He has a stupid master plan to park a flying car outside an office building and shoot randomly into a room at the beginning, and then spends the rest of the movie running away or helping them. Peter Weller is the real villain here, but he gets killed off right before the final act, and then they act like it’s somehow Kahn’s fault that the engine room is fucked up and Kirk has to temporarily die before being revived by Kahn’s magic blood. Why does Spock yell his name? Kahn shot the Enterprise like a grand total of two times. Spock should yell, “PETER WELLLLEEEERRR!”

    I’m with Asimov, wherever he is: this is just stupid, lazy writing. It’s about as independently substantial as a SCARY MOVIE sequel. If these jokers don’t try harder on STAR WARS, I will be joining the pitchfork contingent.

  67. neal2zod – Mate the disparity between Internet and public opinion, we just went through that before with IRON MAN 3. I lost count of nerds at CBM or AICN or CHUD or whatever bitching bitching bitching bitching about the Mandarin, how they ruined a character, too much comedy, blah blah.

    And this same movie got a “A” Cinemascore (STID got the same grade) and made a billion bucks and still raking in the money and got I think a 77% on RT. STID got high 80s, but either way very good (in STID’s case, spectacular) grades for summer blockbusters. People to enjoy both movies, and if the new FAST FURIOUS movie is any indictation, they’ll love it too.

    Could this really be the best movie summer since 1982?

  68. Dikembe Mutombo

    May 25th, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Also Amanda Foreman is in there somewhere, she previously worked with Abrams on a television show called “Felicity” according to research that I did.

    Hahaha.

    I enjoyed this movie, not as much as the last one but mostly for the same reasons. The cast chemistry is so cool and fun that I feel like I could watch them just hanging out not doing much of anything and I’d dig it. The actors are so good that they sold me on a lot of scenes that they probably had no business selling.

    I really like how dynamic and colorful the images are, Abrams’ directorial style is a bit like a calmed down Michael Bay (I actually mean that as a compliment). Some of the shots he came up with in this and the previous Trek movie really impressed me with their sheer graphic power. And he’s a pretty good action director too. I also really appreciate his feel for pacing.

    I will say that once Khan got aboard the Enterprise the movie started to go downhill, and it didn’t really stop. Rehashing WRATH OF KHAN holds little allure for me, especially when you just flat out don’t do as good a job. The longer the movie goes on, the more the missed opportunities and moments that don’t quite work pile up.

    Griff – I’m pretty sure the underwear shot’s only in the movie so they could put it in the trailers and commercials.

  69. I am a pretty big Star Trek fan and as this is movie nr 12 in the franchise – I can now safely say that for me it is also the absolute worst, bottom of the barrel out all the ST movies.

    A lazy script built with the copy paste function from a bunch of previous Star Trek material (not just the obvoius), lazy ending (Spock vs bad guy chase = Super Mario filtered through Gears of War), incompetent space battles (ships seem to be metres from each other, standing still and firing), re-using ICONIC elements from previous ST without any understanding of what made them be iconic (it takes more than just “names”) and overall insulting ti Star Trek fans.

    A few qaulity moments (painfully few) between the actors, some great acting all around from EVERYONE and some damn high quality CGI get drowned in a script that is absolutely idiotic, insulting which resorts to “Just add explosions” or “hust reuse this star trek moment” every five minutes or so. All directed by someone who clearly was out his league or didn’t care.

    Abrams did well on MI 3 and Super 8 and better than average on Star Trek 2009, but into darkness is by far his worst.

    Into Darkness? More like into the trash heap.

    And no, I am not a “fanboy”, I’ve spent the past 3 days thinking about this movie. But as it was the first time ever that I’ve wanted to leave the cinema midway through a film, I cannot be more positive than this.

    Just watched a bunch of Season 3 eps of Deep Space 9 which is comparable to a gourmet meal while into darkness is expired crap from the garbage.

  70. please excuse the double post and poor spelling. i typed it all up on a tiny phone.

  71. Darth, interesting distinction. I haven’t seen Space Seed. Does this film have more in common with that episode than WRATH OF KHAN? If so then the nerds are mad for all the wrong reasons.

  72. Sigfried Trent

    May 25th, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Original Trek is one of my personal touchstones. And for me, the heart of original Trek is the main characters and their friendship and comradeship.

    Since this move dives deep into Spock-Kirk and explores the meaning and nature of their friendship, it really can do no wrong for me. I loved the reversal of Spock Kirk roles from Wrath of Khan. It was really about these two learning to understand one another and having the respect to use each-other’s philosophy when in a situation where it was needed but the other wasn’t available.

    Anyhow, those tow are like my yin and yang of heroism and what being a good person is all about, and the writers nailed it pretty well. Kirk is a bit off from the Kirk of the original, but Spock is absolutely dead on. Clearly a different individual, but the spirit of the character is just perfect.

    I can recognize the plot moves a bit fast and a bit loose and there isn’t much science in the science fiction here, but overall it was a very satisfying character driven story with some of my all time favorite characters.

  73. @franchise fred
    i for one am fully awarw that it sort of links more to space seed than Wrath of khan, but it still doesn’t make this a good movie. in fact all the good ideas about remaking space seed were thrown out the window by forcefully inserting references to wrath. for every good small step this movie takes it takes giant leaps backwards. the point is that if you know star trek then this movie is an insult, at least it was to.me and if you don’t know any trek then most of what takes place lacks the emotional and storytelling impact it needed. honestly, not just as a fan of st did i find this movie lacking massively, but also as a film afficionado in general. it rehashes ideas from 90% of previous st without bothering to ask why those things had any value in the first place. it just throws empty reference after empty reference and name after name and it removes all intelligence, structure, emotion and meaning and replaces everything with empty explosions and action. this is not star trek. this is almost as if it was made by a marketing council.

  74. Mr. Subtlety – Scary Movie is a perfect reference to make – when Bones said “damnit I’m a doctor not a torpedo expert” and the whole audience was like “BWAHAHAHA!!” i realized this whole series is just one step removed from Scary Movie/Epic Movie, where instead of actual story beats/jokes, it’s just references to old shit that the audience recognizes and feels smart about recognizing.

    Like during that whole radiation room scene, there was SO MUCH whispering in the audience, where you could tell dudes were explaining to their dates “you see, this is what happened in part 2, but it was the other way around!”

    Oh, and this thought has been festering with me for a while – even though I at first liked the acting as a whole, a second viewing made me realize that (sorry nerds) – if the internet didn’t have such a raging hard-on for Simon Pegg, they’d realize Scotty is practically Jar Jar Binks in this thing. Every line, every scene is some adorable wide-eyed bumbling comic-relief shit (except for the radiation scene where he finally gets serious and says lines from WOK verbatim). Speaking of wide-eyed, Chekov and Bones aren’t much better – mugging insufferably throughout the whole thing – they’re not characters, they’re doing SNL impressions of what they think the original characters were like. I actually like Sulu and Uhura because they play it straight, and of course Cumberbatch, Quinto, Greenwood and Pine are good. But man, those comic relief characters…

    And as someone else said, no matter what we thought about the SW prequels, they at least tried to tell a story that was more than a checklist of fan service in-jokes and recycled characters. Sure, the same shit and characters showed up (the shoehorning of Bobba Fett), but they went more out on a limb in trying to do something different.

  75. yeah, I’m afraid my opinion has soured on this movie a lot, it’s one of those movies filled with enough flashiness that you can be fooled into thinking you’re watching a good movie at first, but the more you think about it the more you realize you had no idea what the fuck was going on it

    so yeah, it sucks, it’s your typical modern Hollywood clusterfuck of nonsensical storytelling, just one handled with slightly more grace than usual thanks to JJ’s direction

  76. I can’t believe anybody can ha ve anything good to say about this Abrams Tek movies. Should say a lot about the powers of JJ Abrams as an advertizer. His true talent, advertizement, not filmmaking, and his TV and film career is a more then perfect example of that. You can go a long way by bullshitting your way to the top.

    One doesn’t need to be a trekkie to find this Abrams Trek movies insulting. They are bad in their own right, filled to the grills with dumb plot holes and questionable plot, characterization and aestetic decisions that more then makes one suspect of the lack of talent of the people involved in this pictures, actors aside.
    And even the poor actors, most suffer from a bad case of wring casting. On their own they are all dcent actors, but save for Bruce Greenwood and Karl Urban, none seems to belong there. I used to defend Zachary Quinto as NuSpock but now even i got weary of him and his way playing the famous vulcan character. Not entirely his fault, he is directed that way, but he just doesn’t sound like Spock, has no imposing presence like Nimoy had, and he’s just so soft sounded! Funny thing is, the newer movie has an actor in it that would make for a dead perfect new incarnation of Spock: Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays this movie’s non-indian version of Khan.
    And i can’t stand Saldana as Uhura. There’s a bitchiness to her way of portaiting the lady of space that is just beyond my endurance. Both the script don’t help her, making her constantly moaning anf bitching about the most banal high school romance shit imaginableand do it in the most inapropriate times, and not helpe by the hair of bitchiness that Saldana can’t helpbut exude when she plays the character. I recently watched some episodes of sadly canceled Tv show CULT and in it i saw this young black actress who would make a perfect new version of Uhura, the canadian actress Jessica Lucas. And it’s not like she doesn’t have connections to Team Abrams, she co-stared in CLOVERFIELD! She’s 100 times a far more sympathetic screen presence then the highly overrated Saldana.
    And Pine is just wrong for Kirk. Nice guy, pretty decent actor, totally wrong for the role, totally wrong approach for the character, and to call him an anoying fuck who makes one which for the villains to win is an undestatement. He says he bases his interpretation of Kirk as playing a version of Han Solo. There’a all kind of a dozen wrong things about it in that single short phrase alone.

    I don’t need to be a Trekkie to see the wrong of this movies. All i need is just to have some respect for the show and understand what they were. Yes, they were adventure shows. But they were also thinking men adventure shows. Once our estemed webmaster Vern said there is a difference between being entertained and being entertaiend well. This is the thing about this Abrams Trek movies, they might entertain on a basic level, but they don’t entertain well. They are not thinking man entertaiment movies that ST should be, they are mere michael bay movies, and the second with pretences of themetic importance with an insulting reference to 9/11 and the War On Terror the the hunt for Bin Laden, insulting in it’s shalloweness of presentation in a pathetic atempt at topicality. JJ Abrams shouldn’t try to go political, he has no mind for it, leave the War Of Terror subjects to smarter and far more capable directors like Katheryn Bigelow. “Visionary, pioneer” Abrams surpassed by the director of POINT BREAK!

    It can be made an entertaining and high quality film from Star Trek that can both engage the fun and the smart intellectual twin nature of the show. If it has been found lacking before Abrams tenure is not due to the very nature of the franchise but that as of late they have yet to find a director capable of fully exploring both sides of the show in one complete satisfying package.

    I resent the notion that some people use to defend this film as if ST had died. Were it truly dead would Paramount invest 160 millions on th first film, making it by far the most expensive ST movie ever made before STID? No, that’s not the actions of somebody who thinks soemthing is dead. Star Trek never died. Nothing can be considered dead if it’s still referenced in culture and by the public in general, even by people who only have a suprficial knowledge of the show. Even when there’s still people know, scientists, engineers, astronauts, teachers, ect, who were inspired to their jobs and calls in life by this little show that started life in the 60s and became a wordlwide phenomemum. ST never died. That’s mere publicity stunt from the peopel behind the Abrams Trek movies to justify their poor man’s version.

    This movies are bad. By all standards a movie is bad, this ones are. On their own and as Star Trek. And even as a non-trekke, i dare question anybody’s claim to be one and still enjoy this Abrasm movies. It so seems, like with the SW fandom, some people are attracted by a given SF franchise not so much due to the spirit of it but because of the circus behind it, the cosplay, the funny aliens, the hot babes, the cool starships and the eventual space battles. It’s a bread and circus approach to a franchise that i’m sure is highly enjoyable, but it does betray a bit the very spirit of ST. As this Abrams movies do all through.

    There is a silver lining in all this, however: The movie is underperforming to expectations at the box office, and no one at Team Abrams, from JJ himselt to lindelof and Orci and Kurtzman are showing much interest in continuing. in fact, they seems to now start a game of blaming others for the faults of the newer film. It’s obvious that JJ’s heart is in the new Star Wars movies to be, and Paramount itself is not too thrilled to continue using Team Abrams as they have proved to be making highly expensive movies that constantly underperform to expectations. JJ’s move to Disney for the newer SW movies might even be seen as traitorous in Paramount’s eyes. There’s signs that there might be a reboot of ST coming, and that i say is good news. Next time, please, get somebody, get a team that actually understands Star Trek and can deliver on it’s promise, both entertainment and food for thoughs. To entertain WELL.

  77. Hold onto your butts.

  78. Are we doing this again?

  79. Wow. Did JJ Abrams rape and pillage your village or something?

    And as a person who has watched every episode of the original series, TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, and all the movies, I refute your claim that no one can call themselves a Trekkie and have enjoyed these movies. Maybe, next time you shouldn’t paint with such a broad brush, huh?

  80. I don’t like Into Darkness, but I still mantain the 09 Trek is a solid movie

  81. I’ve been wondering what Asimov thought of this. I know he can come of as a little crazy to some people but I generally agree with him on this. Remember a few years ago when we all agreed with Vern that it was ok to expect more from summer blockbusters, now it feels like people are making excuses for why it’s ok that these movies are so stupid. The Fast and Furious movies are made with more wit and love than this.

  82. “and the second with pretences of themetic importance with an insulting reference to 9/11 and the War On Terror the the hunt for Bin Laden, insulting in it’s shalloweness of presentation in a pathetic atempt at topicality.”
    Yeah, because pre-reboot Trek NEVER used obvious analogies or metaphors for topical issues, even in the critically successful efforts. Nope, nothing about THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY evoked the end of the Cold War. THE VOYAGE HOME didn’t have ANY sort of environmentalist message. That episode of TOS that had one group with white and black skin warring with the other group with black and white skin, no thuddingly obvious message about racism there!

  83. I’m not making excuses for the film. I happened to enjoy the film a lot. I know people who loved it, and I know people who hated it. That’s fine and dandy. The issue I have is when anyone says if you like/dislike a certain film it’s a reflection of you as a person. Asimov’s comments had the same look-down-your-nose tone that Ebert’s review of The Raid had. Why not just say you didn’t like the film and leave it at that, instead of going on to insult the people who did?

  84. Michaelangelo: Asimov always takes it a step too far, but this is one of his more focused and on-point anti-J.J. rants. I actually don’t disagree with anything he said (except for dragging unsuspecting audience members into it) but I still find these movies enjoyable.

    Asimov: Good to have you back, buddy. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been waiting for your thoughts on this one. While I still have fun with these movies, I do think I’m coming more over to your side. My respect for Abrams is dropping with every project, though. His filmmaking is great minute to minute. He builds tension, gives characters time to shine and room to breathe, and films some colorful and imaginative set-pieces. But man, over the long haul almost nothing in these movies stands up to scrutiny, and his characterizations are all over the map, at least with our three main stars. The other guys are doing entertaining caricatures that manage to just avoid offense by nailing some inner quality of the original actors, but I just don’t know who Kirk, Spock, or Uhuru are anymore. They’re whatever each scene needs them to be: vengeful warrior, humanist hero, comic relief straight man, nagging girlfriend, steely professional. I just can’t get a read on them. Also, I agree that I’m liking the new Spock less and less. He’s just too [epic Shatnerian pause] human. Nimoy had an imperious presence that indicated a truly alien mind at work, but Quinto is just too soft and squishy to be a believable Vulcan. I was thinking what you were when Cumberbatch showed up, that he actually would have made a phenomenal Spock. He’s opaque but charismatic, which Spock should absolutely be. Quinto brings it all too close to the surface for me. But you’re right, that’s no doubt the way he was directed.

    I’d like to see this cast continue under new management. What’s Shane Black up to?

  85. the fundamental problem with Into Darkness is that it goes no where, the whole movie is nothing but a repeat of stuff we’ve seen before, including from the 09 movie

    ok, so the 09 movie was the origin story, right? Kirk learned to be a leader and Spock learned that sometimes emotions are good, so what is Into Darkness about? Kirk learning to be a leader and Spock learning that sometimes emotions are good, THE EXACT SAME FUCKING CHARACTER ARCS!!! everything else in the movie is just a hodgepodge of shit from previous Trek movies, containing nothing new

    I mean Cheez-Its Chris, how fucking lazy can you get when it comes to screen writing? it boggles the mind and it worries me that JJ is the kind of director who does not have the balls to stand up and say “uhhh, guys? can I have a better script?” or worse, thinks the script was just fine, the guy may have some directorial chops, but let’s pray that the guys who wrote Into Darkness stay a million miles away from Star Wars

    what really curls my mustache is the missed opportunity of it all, Into Darkness was the chance to really blow our socks off with something new from Star Trek, instead it’s your typical “second verse, same as first” rinse and repeat bullshit

  86. You know something is quite bad when people are defecting to AsimovLives’ side, even Mr. Majestyk.

    AsimovLives – I’m impressed.

    Stu – Yeah I agree that’s a trivial complaint. I think more than anything else, we might have seen Abrams’ limits as a filmmaker. He doesn’t have an EMPIRE STRIKES BACK or DARK KNIGHT or fuck even a WRATH OF KHAN a movie that’s better than the previous entry. Whether because he lacks the balls or talent/intellectual compacity to do that, who knows.

    I’ll say this in Asimov’s defense: Who the hell rips off Abrams the filmmaker? What is there really to rip off? He’s not that unique or remarkable of a filmmaker. (Whatever you think of Nolan or his work, Hollywood likes to rip him off.)

  87. Off topic but who caught the VENTURE BROS. season premiere tonight?

    I won’t spoil it because I doubt CJ Holden gets to see it yet, but man….home run. That’s all I’m saying.

    Welcome back Publick/Hammer.

  88. Thanks for not spoiling it RRA, but I am going to watch it today and believe me, I can’t wait!

  89. I would argue that X-MEN FIRST CLASS would not exist if not for Abrams’ STAR TREK.

  90. CrustaceanHate

    June 3rd, 2013 at 1:12 am

    I didn’t hate this movie when I saw it but over time I’ve come to like it less and less, and I have to admit that Vern’s flippancy towards the fans’ complaints in the opening couple of paragraphs chafed a little bit. You can make cracks about them going back to the same talking-in-a-conference-room approach they had for “the past 20 years”, but come on, you can introduce heady themes AND make it entertaining. It’s difficult, but when faced with that kind of challenge you need to strive for excellence, not throw out the baby with the bathwater and make a movie that is just empty calories and retains barely anything that made STAR TREK such a groundbreaking series.

    I had the same reaction to this movie that Vern had to THE MUMMY; it just felt like someone banging a gong in my ear nonstop for two hours. I heard a lot of complaints about how IRON MAN 3 had these lulls in action where it just meandered around for a while, but for me IM3 was the superior movie because it had those lulls. INTO DARKNESS just felt exhausting and kinda boring by the end.

  91. Vern – How so?

  92. RRA— Not meaning to be a buttinksy (yet doing so just the same), but it seems like Star Trek 2009 is a tripod movie of sorts, with equal parts redux, emperor’s new clothes, and glossy sheen… perhaps with the deliberate intention of employing a surfeit of style to mask its woeful lack of substance. It’s like an artificial imitation substitute for the original movies with Shatner & Co.

    And once it played out that a buck or two could be turned from this watered-down, prequelized version of Star Trek… why not roll back to the origin days of the X-Men and do the same thing? Ch-CHING!

  93. Larry – Eh I guess, I thought the prequel approach for X-Men was done because (1) Fox didn’t want to pay fortunes to retain the old cast, who (2) were also getting older. And this was before reboot became as shameless knee-jerk as it is now or else they would’ve restarted the whole Wolverine era and shit. Not to mention Fox was still interested in doing more Wolverine movies with Hugh Jackman, so…Prequel!

    It’s possible.

  94. Crustacean – You say I was flippant, but I feel like I was fair there. Those are my honest feelings: if Star Trek fans prefer movies like STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT and that whole run of movies then I think that’s a legitimate request, and also I wouldn’t go see them.

    RRA: I could be wrong but I believe the FIRST CLASS approach was modeled after the STAR TREK approach and also made more acceptable to the audience by it. Yeah, we’ve seen prequels before, but what other precedents are there for major, not-DTV complete recastings like that? And then the sequel appears to follow the other side of the STAR TREK premise of using time travel to change the timeline as well as unite the two casts.

    Other than that example though I agree with your point about Abrams.

  95. While I do agree that 09 Trek made audiences and studios more open to the idea of a movie like First Class, I personally believe that from the creative team’s perspective was more along the lines of what RRA says. Also, I think they were intentionally setting up the upcoming Days of Future Past.

    For 1st Class, new cast members helped lower the budget. Plus, it helped everybody get rid of the bad taste in their mouth after X3. It makes a ton of money, they move onto DOFP which allows them to cast newbies and X vets side by side. Plus, the nature of the story allows them to retrofit anything about X3 that they don’t want to keep in the continuity.

    I agree that ST 09 helped grease the wheels or pave the way or whatever, but I’d argue that Singer has been eyeing the DOFP storyline since day one considering that it’s probably the second most popular XMen story from the comics (the first being the Dark Phoenix saga, which X2 set up and X3 took a shit on).

  96. well, hell, I mostly agree with you on this one Asimov (especially about Saldana, but I think Pine is terrific as Kirk), although I couldn’t decode wheteher or not you had seen ST(into)D. But I will keep giving Abrams another chance because I wouldn’t want people to give up on me when I screw shit up.

    At least it means the wait for STAR WARS will be interesting. I’m actually hoping (while being careful what I wish for) that STAR WARS will be a different beast from what it was in the past, giving each of the trilogies very unique identities. That may not be a bad thing.

  97. Vern – Its an interesting thought. I don’t know if I quite buy that, but its possible.

    The biggest reason why I can’t buy your argument was that I remember a Magneto prequel many years ago (before Trek ’09) being openly talked about, along I might add a Storm spin-off that didn’t happen. That Magneto prequel I’m pretty certain mutated into FIRST CLASS ultimately.

    I always wondered what if Singer made his X3 (assuming it was better than the X3 we got), what would they have gone from there? Again you had the $$$ problem with those contracts up, but damn too much money to leave sitting on the table. They probably would’ve gone the same course as they would in our universe. But I don’t know.

  98. Also maybe I’m snobbish, but on the same day that the Internet is up the ass about Benicio Del Toro-may-or-may-not-play-Thanos, I was more impressed that Lloyd Kaufman is making an appearance in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

  99. With Troma’s #1 son James Gunn directing? Of course he is. Gunn put Lloyd in SUPER and SLITHER as well. It’s like Demme and Dante putting Corman in their movies: a show of respect for the man who got them there.

    It’s a weird world, though, where the mainstream comes closer to Troma, not the other way around.

  100. I wonder how many millions and millions of people are gonna see that movie and have no idea how Lloyd Kaufman is

  101. Griff— I neither know who Lloyd Kaufman is nor what Guardians Of The Galaxy is. Which probably means that the Total Geek Tractor Beam has no effect on me. That used to be a good thing, but these days it’s a mark of dirty shame.

    I find it both vastly amusing and deeply poignant that Asimov Lives, once regarded as a village idiot of sorts ’round these parts, is now a budding prognosticator. And if Abrams should somehow deliver an Episode VII that strays too far from the SW ethos or otherwise maligns The House That Uncle George Built… then Asi’s gonna be promoted (grudgingly or otherwise) to the status of full-blown movie geek Prophet Elijah. Cool.

  102. I remember FIRST CONTACT being much more my kind of action film than either of the Abrams efforts; well constructed set pieces with tension, suspense etc.

  103. plus First Contact has Patrick Stewart going mega (“and IIIIIIIIII will make them PAY….for what they have done!”)

  104. “I find it both vastly amusing and deeply poignant that Asimov Lives, once regarded as a village idiot of sorts ’round these parts, is now a budding prognosticator. And if Abrams should somehow deliver an Episode VII that strays too far from the SW ethos or otherwise maligns The House That Uncle George Built… then Asi’s gonna be promoted (grudgingly or otherwise) to the status of full-blown movie geek Prophet Elijah. Cool.”

    A man goes to the doctor for a routine check-up. Afterwards the doctor tells him: “I’m sorry, but you have only one more week to live.” Completely devastated the man walks home, but one week later he sits in the doctor’s office again, telling him: “I know you said I will be dead by now, but I feel great!” So the doctor does another check-up and then says: “Okay, yeah, but now you really have only one more week to live.” And guess what? The patient is sitting in the doctor’s office again next week and feels great, so the doc does another check up with the same diagnosis of “One week left.”
    And so it goes for the next 60 years, until the man dies from natural causes at the age of 99. And at his funeral the doctor says: “Y’know, just last week I told him he will be dead by now.”

  105. Larry – Really? You never saw THE TOXIC AVENGER? What a shame. We all need to see a movie where Mexican restaurants have decorative samurai swords and people’s arms get ripped off and then used as a weapon.

    Pacman/Griff – FIRST CONTACT was basically Die Hard in Outer Space minus Guy Pearce. (Or I guess more like UNDER SIEGE than DH to be accurate.)

  106. “And if STAR WARS isn’t a whole hell of alot better I got some villagers on call and I’m buying them all pitchforks.”

    That’s awesome, I wouldn’t have expected you to jump into this fray. I of course realize my expectations cannot be lived up to, but I cant’ agree more. I will get back to my pitchfork stabbing exercises now.

  107. “I would argue that X-MEN FIRST CLASS would not exist if not for Abrams’ STAR TREK.”

    Mr Vern, i think you mean to say if there had not been for BATMAN BEGINS and CASINO ROYALE there wouldn’t be X-MEN FIRST CLASS. Those two are the fathers of the reboot fashion of today.

  108. The Limey, i did really watched STID, for my sins!

  109. asimovlives – I think we all want to know: Have you seen MAN OF STEEL?

  110. Not yet, maybe this weekend, with some luck, if i can get my freinds and usual theater going company to agree to go. Also, the movie only gets it’s theatrical release this weekened here in Portugal. So there’s that too.
    By the way, RRA, how have you ben? long time no chat. You have a facebook page by any chance? Here’s mine:
    https://www.facebook.com/carlos.saraiva.1694

    I hope you show up soon, i long for our chats.

    And everybody is welcome to check it and chat with me as well, of course.

  111. Any thoughts on Justin Lin helming STAR TREK: TALOS DRIFT?

  112. He is perfect! Just because of how his gazillion dollar car fetish action movies are 100% uncynical, value friendship, family and hope, are about a large crew trying to get out of shitty situations with their brains and the technology they have and play even the dumbest concepts 100% straightfaced, while being totally aware if their ridiculousness.

  113. I can’t wait. The thing I like most about these movies is the charismatic cast, and Lin has already proven that he can take a diverse group of people and give them each individual moments to shine while also making them feel like a solid family unit. Also, he has experience coming in to save a franchise on a part three. Throw in a true connoisseur’s eye for what makes action involving and exciting and he’s the perfect choice for this fun, colorful but kind of dumb version of the franchise.

    If he could as his first order of business make Spock less of a weiner, I would be pretty psyched. I think he can do it. Look what he did for Brian O’Conner.

  114. RIP Anton Yelchin. I think we can all agree 2016 is the worst.

  115. Oh no! I really liked him. He had a lot of talent and charisma. The last couple of weeks has really sucked!

  116. I only remember him from an episode of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM.

  117. That’s just fucked up. Not just that he died, but also HOW he died. Damn. I liked him. I had some trouble with his interpretation of Chekov, but in general he was a talented actor, who would have most likely had a career as successful character actor in front of him.

  118. Especially after Green Room, it felt like Yelchin was going to have one of those careers where he bounced from big budgeted Hollywood films to indies and that it was going to continue for a long time. I was always happy to see him show up in any film, no matter how big or small the role. He was a great audience surrogate in Green Room and absolutely contributed to that film’s success.

    It’s sad to hear he died, but to hear of the way he died is especially heartbreaking. What a shocking reminder that we live in an indifferent universe.

  119. Very sad. I guess he’ll mostly be remembered as the new Chekov, but I liked him a lot more in TERMINATOR: SALVATION (one of the few bright spots) and especially as Cage’s partner in DYING OF THE LIGHT. Major cool points for participating in the protest over the butchered cut of that too. I’d like to honour him by watching that cut, but as that is not an option I’ll have to try and find ODD THOMAS instead (GREEN ROOM isn’t available over here yet)

  120. He was perfectly cast as Odd Thomas.

  121. Crushinator Jones

    June 20th, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    It really is an awful shame. In addition to being a talented actor he had such an interesting life and interesting experiences…I was looking forward to reading his autobiography when he got older. In any event, RIP Anton, you were a young talent who will be seriously missed. What a lousy fuckin’ year.

  122. I just saw BEYOND and first a word of warning: AVOID 3D! Many scenes in the first half, including 2 theoretically super exciting action scenes, takes place in the dark and you spend a lot of time guessing what the fuck is going on because you can’t see shit. I guess In a normally lit theatre or home video, it will look better.

    Apart from that, I will wait till the official review, but let’s say it’s not as awesome as the last 1 1/2 movies, but also not as frustrating as the 2nd half of INTO DARKNESS. In the end, it feels a lot like a classic Trek movie and that’s not always a good thing. (Personally it reminded me a lot of SEARCH FOR SPOCK, since the crew spends an awful lot of time on a planet and are threatened by a villain who is kinda scary, kinda not.) It’s still a lot of fun. Just not as much as some of the best Trek movies.

  123. Also I just learned that Joe Taslim was in the movie and if he played who I think he played, they definitely used his talents better than his THE RAID buddies were used in THE FORCE AWAKENS.

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