Star Trek: The Missed Opportunity

Star Trek. Well, where to start.

*********************************************************Here Be Spoilers*********************************Spoilers**********************************************************

It had a really terrific cast. Chris Pine has definitely grown into the role of Kirk. Quinto is amazing as Spock. Benedict Cumberbatch has become one of my favorite actors working. Unlike many I like the Spock/Uhura pairing. There’s something enough off kilter about it that just works for me.

This might just be childhood fondness for original Trek, but I think it was a slightly better movie than Iron Man 3, but both films suffer from the “missed opportunities” syndrome. Just as there was a powerful film lurking in Iron Man 3 there was a genuinely interesting movie lurking in Star Trek: Into Darkness. Unfortunately it got lost. The decision to use Khan and make a pale imitation of the original film seemed like a decision borne more out of laziness then calculation.

I really enjoyed the first half of the film. I had avoided any information so at first I thought this really was a movie about a disgruntled Star Fleet officer who becomes a terrorist and I was interested. What had happened to this guy? Why is he so angry? But then it turned out he was Khan, and my enjoyment and interest slipped significantly. They gave themselves elbow room by creating a new time line. Why not use that? And there were way too many nods to the old show that felt more like pandering and less like an homage.

Watching Kirk be unready for command was a lovely theme, and the interactions with Pike were excelleint. His critique of Kirk was powerful and spot on. “You don’t respect the chair.” What a great sentiment. I could have done with more of that.

I liked the subplot with Scotty, and Simon Pegg did a great job with that character and his moments. But again confusion reigned. There were all these shuttles going into the hanger of the dreadnaught, I guess. Scott slips in with them, and then there are like 7 people on the ship? Who was piloting those shuttles? And about that giant dreadnaught…. How did this get financed? If it was done in secret then somebody should have checked out Marcus’s petty cash requests, and how would you have silenced the construction crew building the behemoth. Finally, if it was authorized by Star Fleet then that sort of blows holes in the whole “we’re not a military organization” thing.

Then we had the villain problem. Who really was the problem in this movie? Marcus? Or Khan? The result was that neither one ended up seeming very threatening and Marcus’s motivation seemed moronic. I’m going to force a war with the Klingons because there’s going to be a war with the Klingons. Yeah, because you caused it.

Khan’s motivation seemed to be that he wanted his people back, but then he devolved into a mustache twirling bad guy. The original Khan was a complex, interesting man. This guy was just either robotically evil or scenery chewing evil, but he wasn’t very interesting. Cumberbatch is a superb actor — check out his understated performance in Tinker Tailor Soldier, Spy — but he was wasted in this film.

And they made our people stupid. When Perky Blonde turns up nobody reacts. And once Spock finds out who she is why wasn’t thrown in the brig until they were absolutely certain she wasn’t a threat? And the underwear scene? Really? What was that about? I had thought she was going to be the crew member who becomes fascinated by Khan as was the case in the original episode Space Seed, but instead she had very little reason to be there at all.

I know what they were trying to do by having a mirror image of the scene from Wrath of Khan only having Kirk dying rather than Spock. A sort of space/time entanglement, but it didn’t work because there was no emotional impact. In the 1982 film we had watched these men interact for years on television and in two movies. We had witnessed the growing friendship. I believed that Spock’s death was emotional agony for Kirk. In this new film they have known each other only a brief time, and part of it was spent with Kirk as a student and Spock as a professor. They have only served together for a year or so. And when Spock does the “Khaaaaaaaaan” bellow — I confess it, I giggled.

Kirk’s death also had no impact because I knew he was going to be resurrected. I had known it from the third scene of the movie because they telegraphed the twist, cheat — whatever you want to call it — of Khan’s blood in a fashion that was way too on the nose. Contrast that with the lack of foreshadowing about Marcus to make his motivations believable.

Final note. A problem that I see consistently with Orci/Kurtzman films is that the Big Problem would be solved if anybody ever talked to anybody, or took a really simple action. This goes back to the first Transformers where the Transformers desperately need these glasses, but Sam has put them up for sale on Ebay. Optimus Prime couldn’t scrape up a few bucks to just buy them?

In the first Trek film the pissed off Romulans chase after Old Spock and blow up Vulcan. Why didn’t they just go home and warn their planet? “Hey, ya’ll the sun’s going to blow up in 17 years. Maybe we ought to move.”

And then we come to this current film. All “Jon Harrison” had to do was blow the whistle on Admiral Marcus and the story is over. Clearly Khan has escaped from Marcus — how we do not know — but he could easily have given the story to the New York Times that there was this crazy, militaristic admiral who was holding Khan’s crew hostage to force Khan to help Marcus build a giant dreadnaught so the admiral could provoke a war with the Klingons. I’d call that a scoop. Granted Khan and his folks were viewed as dangerous 300 years ago, but dude, hire a good lawyer. Instead he blows up a library then shoots the shit out of the assembled admirals. If Khan had managed to kill Marcus how would that have helped him get his people back? And somehow putting people in torpedoes strikes me as a very bad idea. Even if they don’t have explodie stuff inside it won’t do the corpsicles much good to get smashed onto a planet.

There was one more thing that I liked that grew out of the whole terrorism, 9/11 call backs that littered the film. The final scene of Khan and his 72 people in cold storage was an interesting analogy to Guantanamo. Without trial or hearing they have been condemned to cold sleep indefinitely. That’s, if you’ll forgive me, rather chilling.

Bottom line. It’s not a bad movie. It just could have been a really good movie. And that disappoints me because I love original Trek.

26 Responses to Star Trek: The Missed Opportunity

  • Melinda Snodgrass says:

    I couldn’t figure out where to put this in the post, but there are a couple of other things that really bugs me about the reboot. You’ve got a machine the size of a bread box that can transport you anywhere. No way would tax payers agree to ever pay for another ship. Granted if somebody else built ships and came to bomb you, you’d want ships, but the tech is just too powerful.

    Same with Khan’s blood. You’ve just eradicated death. I remember begging them not to do the Pulaski transporter script because once again death is banished forever, but they didn’t listen.

  • Melinda Snodgrass says:

    One more thing. The klingons were really wasted in this movie. I guess they were stuck in just to set up the next movie, but I didn’t need the big fight scene in the abandoned city. It seemed to be there just to show how awesome Khan could be.

    And what was with Uhura pushing to have a discussion about relationships while they were going into a potentially deadly situation? I need these people to be professional. I shouldn’t feel like I’m back in the cafeteria in high school.

  • Darlene M. Stapp says:

    Good review Melinda. You pointed out things that I missed or just couldn’t put my finger on so I’d see the weakness’. Maybe the action was moving too fast for me to recolonize a flaw slipped passed me. I’m a little dim at times, but I make up for it by donning my wide-eyed surprise look in the hopes that no one asks me, “What did you think?” Humm, duh! And so on. I have to confess to as you did to us that I love the original Star Trek. This evening during dinner with friends at Chuy’s Star, Trek found its way into the conversation as did many things from our youth. “I remember sitting in your living room Ruth watching Star Trek with you and Darlene.” Then she added, “Your family was the only one at the time that had a color TV.” My viewing of ST was usually on the B/W, but every so often I ended up at Ruthie’s and with Effie bringing that up reminded me that I thought Spock was green because the color was off. Oh my, how we have advanced we now have HD quality and the color of the 60’s reminds me of the differences between silent movies and such technology we have today. Anyway, again you gave a great review and I agree with it now that I have thought about what was presented. Yep, it was good but it could have been better. Thanks.

  • Why was the Enterprise underwater instead of in orbit? Why were the cryopods in photon torpedoes? Why does Khan go into “hiding” on Qo’noS when that just fits into Marcus’s plan? Why does Marcus need input from people from 300 years in the past to simply build a big-ass ship with big-ass weapons? Why does anything in this movie happen the way it does?

    This script feels hastily assembled from a drunken brainstorming session where any idea, no matter how nonsensical, is included without revision. “Wouldn’t it be cool if the ship were underwater? Yeah, let’s do that. Now, let’s see, why is it underwater? Ah, who cares just put the thing in the drink, that’ll look wicked in 3-D.”

    None of this has anything to do with being an old-school fan. This is just lazy writing. They don’t even try to have believable motivations or plot points. It’s just a bunch of noise and effects and people running around and none of it really makes sense.

  • My biggest issue with Uhura’s character during this film is that she had no powerful scenes. The one potentially powerful scene is when she went out to talk with the Klingons. It would have been so much more powerful IF she got them to listen…and then Khan opened fire. Instead, she just looked weak walking out there, getting her face squeezed, and having to be saved by a man.

    Overall, I did really like the film, but it truly requires “suspension of disbelief” in order to not get a little annoyed with some of the plot holes. However, my favorite thing is going to be watching the development of the characters and how they change from their original-selves.

  • Laurie Mann says:

    I completely agree with the io9 reaction to the movie (http://io9.com/star-trek-into-darkness-the-spoiler-faq-508927844). While I’m not that much of a comic movie fan (since the old Superman/Spiderman movies), I preferred Iron Man 3 to Star Trek 2. I’m beginning to be very worried about the Abrams version of Star Wars. The casting may be OK, but the writing may be very shaky.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      He might actually be better for Star Wars. He’s a fantasist by nature, and even hand waving at science seems to bore him. The Force really is magic and there are swords. 🙂 The movie looked great. But there were no words or emotions to support the pretty images.

      • rand says:

        Here’s my 1 problem w/ the costume, production & set design of the film. Everything, while meticulous, w/ the possible exception of the ship uniforms, the bridge & brig, was so…GRAY. The buildings, the civilian outfits, the dress uniforms (which to me looked nearly identical to the Imperial Officers in “The Empire Strikes Back” & “Return Of The Jedi”) were almost completely without color. I know Star Trek’s origins date back to when color televisions were just coming into the market so there was a push to make everything colorful, but the overall design of this movie expressed an antithesis of the philosophical optimism that Trek is supposed to embody. It took a great deal away from its theme for me. Even the title, “Into Darkness” spoke more to our current zeitgeist (so many movies of the last year & those coming like “Thor: The Dark World” have some element of the word “dark” in them) of negativity than what Trek is supposed to be about.

        • Melinda Snodgrass says:

          I actually liked the dress uniforms, but then I tend to go for clean, elegant lines in clothing. The old red ones from the early movies always seemed sort of bulky, and I hated the unitards they wore on Next Gen. They never looked good, and the actors were always having to tug them when they sat down. Patrick did it so often that we writers dubbed it “The Picard Maneuver”.

          Interesting point about the titles. I hadn’t really thought about that. I was going to title my next Edge good The Edge of Darkness, but as I approach the end I’m not thinking The Edge of Dawn actually works better. I’ll take you point into consideration as think about that.

          • rand says:

            Please don’t misunderstand, I LOVE these dress uniforms. The Admiralty’s uniforms, as they seemed to be a nod to the dress uniforms in ST:TMP– a movie, while deeply flawed, had fantastic ideas & moved away from being just another space opera shoot ’em up– were extra special to me. These designs certainly made the crew look extra tasty (the pops of color– Uhura’s wetsuit, even Kirk & McCoy’s– were very comely not to mention flattering). It’s the palette in relation to Trek’s oeuvre that I question. I wish they had considered TOS dress uniforms which reflected the wearer’s respective department. Not to mention Scotty’s kilt.

            The Picard Maneuver– Brilliant! Better than Corbomite! ; )

  • As good an actor as he is, Benedict Cumberbatch is not Khan. Khan is a Sikh warrior. Ricardo Montalban was Mexican, but he could play exotic characters and in “Space Seed” he was made up to look Sikh. For good measure, Marla McGivers painted a portrait of him as he looked in his prime so we knew.

    Cumberbatch’s Khan is a classy Brit. Why would a classy Brit be named Khan Noonien Singh?! Made no sense.

    You mentioned “Transformers.” One critic wrote that this was the “Transformers” version of “Star Trek.” I agree. Check your brain at the door.

  • Good critique. I also thought that the Kirk/Spock relationship is way too advanced for where they are in the new timeline. As you say, the emotional impact of the past relationship is lost here.
    Khan is a fairly cutout type villain here and his actions don’t make much sense. Since they didn’t kill him or the rest off, maybe they can use them again in the future for a more well thought through film.
    Every time they showed the Enterprise with smoke billowing out in a very non-vacuum/non-zero gee fashion I winced a bit also.
    All that said, it was fun to watch. Just disengage thinking very much.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      I tried to write a pilot once where there was no sound in space. That notion lasted through one meeting, and was chucked out. I understand we’re making entertainment not a documentary, but the image of a ship slipping silently through space is also very powerful.

  • Mark Breuer says:

    Excellent review, Melinda. Thanks. I just knew you would highlight the good and the bad. I’m definitely forwarding anyone who wants a good, honest review of this movie here to your blog. I’m still pissed that not only is this move a pale imitation of the original film, but even more that Khan is literally a pale imitation of the original Khan. You are so right that Cumberbatch could have done wonders if they had kept with the disgruntled Starfleet officer storyline they started with. Even if he was a genetic superman from the late 20th century eugenics wars, he didn’t have to be Khan. And the size of the Vengence was just stupid.

  • Melinda Snodgrass says:

    I completely agree about Uhura, Erin. There were only 2 women in this movie who were featured in any way. Perky Blonde who didn’t do anything, and Uhura who wanted to talk relationship with Spock at a really stupid time. And she ultimately doesn’t do anything.

    The Enterprise was underwater because it was an awesome CGI scene even it didn’t make any sense when you have transporters.

    Cumberbatch could have given us a wonderful villain. But it should have been something different and appropriate to his talents and skills.

    I just hate wasted potential and there was so much potential here.

    • kadajawi says:

      About the ship being underwater… I expected to hate it, ended up liking that scene. Yes, they could have used the transporters, except that in TNG there were a ton of times where they couldn’t, because of some tech tech messing up with the tech tech. Ok, shuttles… they couldn’t use those, because some other tech tech. Didn’t they actually explain it? We can’t use a shuttle…

      They weren’t deep underground, it’s reasonable that the Enterprise could withhold the pressure of being just beneath the surface. And the Enterprise coming out of the water, being observed by the natives who begin to pray to a drawing of the Enterprise, and then the transition to the real deal… that was a wonderful, beautiful scene that really made a point about following the Prime Directive. Totally worth it.

      Many other scenes unfortunately not, especially Harrison being Khan. It was just not necessary, he could simply have been one of the other guys from the Botany Bay. They looked British or American enough, and they too were genetically enhanced. Marcus could name drop the Botany Bay, and we could see a look into one of those torpedoes where we see Khan (the real one), with a name tag underneath. Much more subtle, makes more sense, not too on the nose, and it doesn’t rely on the audience knowing who Khan is.

  • Notes to Melinda…

    It had a really terrific cast. Chris Pine has definitely grown into the role of Kirk. Quinto is amazing as Spock. Benedict Cumberbatch has become one of my favorite actors working. Unlike many I like the Spock/Uhura pairing. There’s something enough off kilter about it that just works for me.

    I thought the casting was superb. Everyone did their jobs wonderfully. And I loved Spock’s description of what he felt joining his mind to Pike’s as he died. But let’s go backwards a bit here. In the first Star Trek movie series Spok is resurrected. Hence “death dies.” He is resurrected by the weaponized planet creator device made by Kirk’s son. And all of Spock’s personality and “spirit” is implanted in Dr. McCoy’s head! So not only do they conquer death, but they can regenerate a full personality! You’d think the scientists would be on that like points of a Vulcan’s ears. So what is the difference between that and Khan’s super blood?

    This might just be childhood fondness for original Trek, but I think it was a slightly better movie than Iron Man 3, but both films suffer from the “missed opportunities” syndrome. Just as there was a powerful film lurking in Iron Man 3 there was a genuinely interesting movie lurking in Star Trek: Into Darkness. Unfortunately it got lost. The decision to use Khan and make a pale imitation of the original film seemed like a decision borne more out of laziness then calculation.

    J.J. Abrams was on the Colbert report and said right out he was not making a film for Trekkies, Trekkers or Fans. And he said some of them (us?) might not like it. Instead he wanted to make a film everyone would enjoy. I felt he was securing Rodenberry’s original vision to a large extent, for future movie – goers who are going to look at the Old Star Trek like we view the old Flash Gordon serials. Hokey and not worth watching. In a sense Abrams has allowed for Star Trek to continue. They could now remake every episode as a full length movie. As he said, they had a slightly larger budget than the original Star Trek. But he has maintained Spock as a brainiac, Kirk as a sex drenched fightin’ captain, Scotty as a brilliant engineer, and the rest of the crew are all ready to take their places in movie history now.

    I really enjoyed the first half of the film. I had avoided any information so at first I thought this really was a movie about a disgruntled Star Fleet officer who becomes a terrorist and I was interested. What had happened to this guy? Why is he so angry? But then it turned out he was Khan, and my enjoyment and interest slipped significantly. They gave themselves elbow room by creating a new time line. Why not use that? And there were way too many nods to the old show that felt more like pandering and less like an homage.

    Well now, when the first scene was on we could see that this guy was NOT a disgruntled Starfleet officer. He had something in his blood that could cure the child. And he had a ring that when place in water exploded with the force of a small nuke! I considered he was an alien. I’d already hear hints that Khan would appear in this film last year. So really, I think I figured it out pretty quickly that there was going to be a big mystery revealed in the movie.

    Watching Kirk be unready for command was a lovely theme, and the interactions with Pike were excelleint. His critique of Kirk was powerful and spot on. “You don’t respect the chair.” What a great sentiment. I could have done with more of that.

    I liked the subplot with Scotty, and Simon Pegg did a great job with that character and his moments. But again confusion reigned. There were all these shuttles going into the hanger of the dreadnaught, I guess. Scott slips in with them, and then there are like 7 people on the ship? Who was piloting those shuttles?

    They were workers going to work on the Dreadnaught. They didn’t need them as a crew. The thing was being built in a docking area on the far side of a moon of Jupiter. Most likely Marcus took only a small crew. And left the others behind.
    And about that giant dreadnaught…. How did this get financed? If it was done in secret then somebody should have checked out Marcus’s petty cash requests, and how would you have silenced the construction crew building the behemoth. Finally, if it was authorized by Star Fleet then that sort of blows holes in the whole “we’re not a military organization” thing.

    That’s a whole other story. Of course if we had that it would have been too much like the last three Star Wars episodes, which seemed to be more about Roman Senatorial Drama, than the first ones. Who knew what when? Where did they get the money for all those clones? We know that if someone says: “Hey congress, I need a huge budget for this nuclear energy facility and then spends the money on a doomsday machine, it won’t come out for ten years. By which time the “Cheney Rule” would apply. “OK we were going by the best available intel. But then things got weird and we were at war and so we spent the money on this instead…”

    Then we had the villain problem. Who really was the problem in this movie? Marcus? Or Khan? The result was that neither one ended up seeming very threatening and Marcus’s motivation seemed moronic. I’m going to force a war with the Klingons because there’s going to be a war with the Klingons. Yeah, because you caused it.

    My take on this was they were both contenders for Most Evil Villain. Just because Marcus didn’t have a giant brain doesn’t mean (And wasn’t it nice to see Peter Weller again!?) he didn’t have a giant evil. He wanted to foment a war with the Klingons and win it. In a sense he wanted to BE a Klingon, which was how we are still now…and how Rodenberry didn’t want us to be in the future. A lot of people said Marcus was based on Dick Cheney. I think this is correct. People can now accept such a character, back in Rodenberry’s day, Pre-Nixonian meltdown, it wouldn’t have been accepted. An American Vice President causing a war so he could get rich? We had had Citizen Hearst. But he wasn’t a trusted official. In this case I think Marcus had the blacker stain on his soul, since he actually used Khan to build a weaponized-war machine Star Fleet. I am certain at some point Khan would have taken it over. Sort of like playing Star Wars Darth Vadar to the Emperor. For all Khan’s brains he would have never been able to take command of Earth until he had the firepower to conquer it.

    Khan’s motivation seemed to be that he wanted his people back, but then he devolved into a mustache twirling bad guy. The original Khan was a complex, interesting man. This guy was just either robotically evil or scenery chewing evil, but he wasn’t very interesting. Cumberbatch is a superb actor — check out his understated performance in Tinker Tailor Soldier, Spy — but he was wasted in this film.

    I feel differently. I feel he did a great job of never letting on that he was a despotic, evil mustache twirling villain. He wasn’t concerned about his people. He knew that if he could get accomplished what he did as just one person, imagine the power they would have together. They were a family all right. A family of conquerors. Like having Adolf Hitler, Ghengis Khan, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mussolini and that whole group as a CREW that were also superhuman! That was in the back of his head. He felt they were all SUPERIOR to all other races and they all had dedicated themselves to destroying anyone who was not superior. Sorrowful when a great mind goes into the gutter. But that was ALWAYS Khan’s problem, even in the original.

    And they made our people stupid. When Perky Blonde turns up nobody reacts. And once Spock finds out who she is why wasn’t thrown in the brig until they were absolutely certain she wasn’t a threat? And the underwear scene? Really? What was that about? I had thought she was going to be the crew member who becomes fascinated by Khan as was the case in the original episode Space Seed, but instead she had very little reason to be there at all.

    Well perhaps you are right. However Spock quickly discovered she was Marcus’ daughter. And he would be the one NOT to screw around with Marcus, since he was so bound by rules. He probably figured she was a spy for Marcus. Neither here nor there, without her aboard, Marcus would have obliterated the Enterprise. She is the deux ex machina.

    I know what they were trying to do by having a mirror image of the scene from Wrath of Khan only having Kirk dying rather than Spock. A sort of space/time entanglement, but it didn’t work because there was no emotional impact. In the 1982 film we had watched these men interact for years on television and in two movies. We had witnessed the growing friendship. I believed that Spock’s death was emotional agony for Kirk. In this new film they have known each other only a brief time, and part of it was spent with Kirk as a student and Spock as a professor. They have only served together for a year or so. And when Spock does the “Khaaaaaaaaan” bellow — I confess it, I giggled.

    Huh…well I thought it was poignant. It showed Spock really was half-human. He really did love Kirk, and Uhura and Scotty and the whole crew. In the old Trek you always wanted to see Spock melt down and become human. All the shows he did this in were the best. Because you see him change. You don’t think working a year in space with these people, in all sorts of dangerous situations would not bond all of them? It actually takes a few days! I’ve been in situations where I will ALWAYS love the people that helped me out and bonded with me and stood beside me. Spock was totally trumped when he found Kirk actually wanted him as science officer on the mission to the Klingon world. Humans always surprise him because they get under his Vulcan skin way easy.

    Kirk’s death also had no impact because I knew he was going to be resurrected. I had known it from the third scene of the movie because they telegraphed the twist, cheat — whatever you want to call it — of Khan’s blood in a fashion that was way too on the nose. Contrast that with the lack of foreshadowing about Marcus to make his motivations believable.

    Just like we knew Spock would be resurrected! Of course. I knew it the moment I saw Dr. McCoy playing with the tribble. But again, we knew it from the very beginning when Khan’s blood saved that girl’s life.

    Final note. A problem that I see consistently with Orci/Kurtzman films is that the Big Problem would be solved if anybody ever talked to anybody, or took a really simple action. This goes back to the first Transformers where the Transformers desperately need these glasses, but Sam has put them up for sale on Ebay. Optimus Prime couldn’t scrape up a few bucks to just buy them?

    This is the problem with ALL fantasy films…You’ve got to suspend your disbelief. Like on the old Trek when you see someone killed by a foam rubber boulder…it’s just pretend.

    In the first Trek film the pissed off Romulans chase after Old Spock and blow up Vulcan. Why didn’t they just go home and warn their planet? “Hey, ya’ll the sun’s going to blow up in 17 years. Maybe we ought to move.”

    And then we come to this current film. All “Jon Harrison” had to do was blow the whistle on Admiral Marcus and the story is over.

    Khan was intent on taking over the earth. He could have done it by destroying Star Fleet and having the Dreadnaught at his command. Once he knew Marcus was going to kill him. He invented a new reindeer game. Seems you got caught believing Khan’s nonsense about how much he loved “his people.” Sort of like the Republicans LOVE the tea party! because they think those pathetic nuts will help them take over the country again…

    Clearly Khan has escaped from Marcus — how we do not know — but he could easily have given the story to the New York Times that there was this crazy, militaristic admiral who was holding Khan’s crew hostage to force Khan to help Marcus build a giant dreadnaught so the admiral could provoke a war with the Klingons. I’d call that a scoop. Granted Khan and his folks were viewed as dangerous 300 years ago, but dude, hire a good lawyer. Instead he blows up a library then shoots the shit out of the assembled admirals. If Khan had managed to kill Marcus how would that have helped him get his people back? And somehow putting people in torpedoes strikes me as a very bad idea. Even if they don’t have explodie stuff inside it won’t do the corpsicles much good to get smashed onto a planet.

    He was going to load the torpedoes on the Dreadnaught and take over the earth. Most likely he would have been made commander of the Dreadnaught. He had them made before Marcus figured he’d make his play by starting a war with the Klingons. Seems Khan was outsmarted.Because Marcus got wind of the doublecross. So he sent Kirk to the Klingon world to shoot those torpedoes, they wouldn’t have killed Khan, but they would have destroyed his aspirations because his people would all have died. That’s why he needed to get to those torpedoes. But when you are a despot, like a Hitler, you can easily get outsmarted, because you are over –focused.

    There was one more thing that I liked that grew out of the whole terrorism, 9/11 call backs that littered the film. The final scene of Khan and his 72 people in cold storage was an interesting analogy to Guantanamo. Without trial or hearing they have been condemned to cold sleep indefinitely. That’s, if you’ll forgive me, rather chilling.
    Really? After what Khan did, you would think they’d have incinerated the whole bunch by shooting them into the sun! Of course, where would be the sequel in that!?

    Bottom line. It’s not a bad movie. It just could have been a really good movie. And that disappoints me because I love original Trek.

    I loved the original Trek from the first time I saw it premiere. I thought the movie was brilliant. The special effects awesome. I nit-pick the idea of someone fixing a warp engine starter by kicking it. Or people being able to figure out which way they are going in a star ship spinning out of control. Things like that. But I loved the movie, the interplay between the new cast and the old…Loved seeing Nimoy again. (Best never let Pine- Kirk see Shatner-Kirk! He’ll slit his wrists when he realizes how old and fat he will get!) And I was amazed that people applauded in the theater. That’s always a good sign.

    David St. Albans

  • Melinda Snodgrass says:

    You obviously liked it a lot more then I and many others did. And I didn’t object to messing with Canon, I objected because the script was nonsensical. And I don’t buy the “It’s just for fun, so who cares?” defense. It is possible to have a terrific movie that makes sense. Aliens, Die Hard, the first Iron Man, Spiderman 1 & 2 just to name a few.

    And you are offering explanations for things that were not in script or were so opaque as to be invisible. If you can fill in the blanks like that then, great, but I remember the adage I was taught — if it ain’t on the page it ain’t there.

    Cumberbatch could have given us a complex, fascinating villain. Instead he’s just “evil”. And ultimately that’s boring.

    I’m not a person who is tied to staying “true” to the original. GRRM and I argue about it all the time. But at least be clever when you deviate. They had a new universe and time line. Why they hell do a remake?

  • Max says:

    Generally speaking the only function of Klingons in the ST universe is for people to kick their asses to demonstrate how badass they are. It is really hard to find examples of Klingons winning fights except against other Klingons.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      That’s a funny insight. Most militarized culture in the galaxy, and they just kept losing. Maybe that’s why they bluster so much? 🙂

  • i haven’t been in a hurry to see this one, because the one before it left me unsatisfied.

    The original series, and to a varying degree most of its successors, combined three different appeals: physical action and danger, character relationships, and sensawunda—the impression of a big, strange universe, “new life and new civilizations” and all that. Star Trek had the action turned up and the wonder turned down. But the wonder was the real heart of the old show, for all that Roddenberry & Co. sometimes went after it in clumsy ways. You can tinker with the secondary ingredients in a recipe, but skimping on the primary ingredient is really hard to make up for, even if the secondary ingredients are good, as many of them were.

  • To be honest … I find myself looking forward more to what the Star Trek Phase II (AKA New Voyages) folks put out this year than this movie.

    http://www.startreknewvoyages.com/

    The acting may not be all that great, but they use writers who can write and they don’t blow things up as an excuse to do 3-D.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      I’m getting really tired of the 3D thing. Unlike Avatar and Hugo it’s just “sprayed” on in most movies and so not worth the cost.

  • Scott Seldon says:

    What a fantastic review. I referenced it on of my blog posts about this wreck (http://seldonsf.blogspot.com/2013/05/broken-plot-why-star-trek-into-darkness.html). I’ve been collecting reviews that delve into its issues and yours is by far the best.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      Thank you. It was a tricky review because the movie wasn’t horrible, it just wasn’t very good and it really could have been good. So much wasted potential — story and cast.

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