I know this movie is old news at this point, but it took me this long to come up with a good way of wording the myriad of things that bother me about Star Trek Into Darkness. I covered some briefly in my little webcomic, but that was just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. (Captain, there be spoilers here)
From the get-go I was worried about rumors that it would be a remake of Wrath of Kahn. I can’t say I’m surprised because Hollywood just finally ran out of ways to lower my expectations. (I think it officially happened with Battleship). But when other rumors of possibly having Gary Mitchell as the villain then I kind of hung on to hope. Not that I was overjoyed at a Gary Mitchell movie, but at least it was a more creative idea than remaking Kahn. Bringing in Carol Marcus gave me even more hopeful ideas of where the story could go given the Genesis project and the loss of the Vulcan planet.
Oh, me of too much faith. I avoided all spoilers, sat in the theater and begged Benedict not to say it. I want to say I should have walked out of the theater right then, but that would take away from how much I wanted to walk out of the theater when I saw Nimoy (whom I love) in this movie.
Let me start with the more obvious arguments I’ve been feeding people. Number one of course is, I hate they remade Wrath of Kahn. It’s obvious why they did it, and I can’t believe I actually hoped for some cool new stories created from this alternate timeline. My absolute dream was that it would be about Klingons. There’s a throw away line in ST 2009 that I now wonder if anyone even thought about what they were writing. According to space transmissions Uhura overheard, the evil Romulan ship nearly destroyed the entire Klingon fleet. That’s a big fucking deal for a race that has so many enemies. I was really hoping this would be a major plot point for reboot 2.
Instead I get a rehash of what’s considered to be the best Star Trek film ever made. I fumed at the nerve of those who thought they could do it better and the utter uncreativity at not trying to make a new interesting story. Mitchell’s story was done in a Star Trek episode, so it’s not that I’m terribly heartbroken I missed out on that one.
I was however very saddened when Carol Marcus, scientist on creating life on planets and mother to Kirk’s son (that’s two mom references) gets turned into bikini babe. Kirk goes from womanizer to sleezeball in 2 seconds. And she’s a bomb expert or something? That’s like the opposite of what her character was. Wait, and they made the actress up to look like Dr. Elizabeth Dehner from the Gary Mitchell episode. Was that to confuse us or are the women in the old series so interchangeable to the makers of the reboot?
And while I’m on a rant on women, here’s something else that made me want to walk out of the theater. In the movie there’s a quick joke about Kirk’s implied sexual involvement with Nurse Chapel having run her off the ship. Now, whatever you might say, to me Nurse Chapel is Majel Barrett, Gene Rodenberry‘s wife. Have some fucking respect for the wife of the creator. Have Kirk run some other unfortunate women of the ship with his sexual harassment dick powers. Fuck.
Moving on, let’s talk about Leonard Nimoy, whom I love. My jaw dropped when I saw him in this movie. After passing on Generations (which was awful) and directing ST:IV (which is awesome) I expected better from Nimoy. But since I love him, I’m going to blame whomever thought it was a good idea for nu!Spock to call Spock!prime whenever he has an issue. Seriously. That kind of makes the whole adventure thing pointless.
That was my major beef and I could keep going, but Honest Movie Trailers kind of hit the nail on the head. Especially about the Nimoy thing.
So I’ll move on to my epiphany today…
A lot of non Trekkies I know liked Star Trek Into Darkness despite the flaws they saw. Why? I think the answer is this: Star Trek Into Darkness isn’t a bad movie, it’s a bad Star Trek movie. And to a hardcore fan, that’s enough to ruin the whole thing. If this was Captain John Smith of the USS Planet Adventures and he went through this entire movie then it’d be a cool SciFi action movie. It’s funny, it’s visually appealing, it’s not bad.
But Rodenberry wasn’t a two-bit writer/director looking to get paid big bucks. I mean, yeah we all want to make money and stuff, but those of us who are really into Star Trek also like that Rodenberry was an idealist, a man who challenged the status quo, a risk taker. I’ve heard fans say that was all missing in ST 2009, and on one hand I agreed, but I was excited about the possibilities that the alternate timeline had. But Into Darkness was just unapologetic in how much it had strayed from the spirit of Star Trek. It’s just another sci-fi action movie.
One thing I felt the movie got right was Scotty walking out on Kirk and the job. I should have left when he did. Gone back to watch the X-men movies, even the worst of those has some heavy social commentary along with all the ass-kicking.
So who’s to blame? Is it Abrams? I don’t know, you tell me. It’s his name so highly attached to the thing. He either doesn’t get it or doesn’t care. At this moment, I’d rather watch Battleship than watch Into Darkness again.