Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

WARNING: Having enjoyed the freedom offered last time by ditching all attempts to remain vague, I am again packing a review with plot-spoiling material. Leave the mystery boxes to J.J. Abrams. Though seeing as this is J.J. Abrams, you should know by now that this movie has no secrets worth keeping. I leave it to your discretion.

I would like to begin with the customary mention of J.J. Abrams’ excessive use of lens flare techniques.

…That was it.

At this point, I am convinced that J.J. Abrams is the single greatest threat to good filmmaking today. The usual reaction to a statement like that is for people to rush and defend him by pointing out how “not bad” his handful of films are. The repeated use of the phrase “not bad” is really all I need to illustrate my point. Certainly, there are many who genuinely love the man’s work, but the general consensus towards most of what he puts up tends to be “eh, it’s okay”. What’s more, people tend to be surprisingly defensive about how “okay” his films are, and therein lies the hidden threat of J.J. Abrams. He’s just good enough to attract brand loyalty, but not good enough to upset the balance. He’s every investor’s dream come true: a director competent enough to consistently make slick-looking, perfunctorily entertaining hits, but with none of that pesky artistic vision to get in the way of market-tested, focus group-approved moviemaking.

I could go on at length about Abrams’ many shortcomings. The half-formed idea that is his beloved “mystery box” is always a favorite. But foremost in my mind is his gift for detail-oriented mimicry that is crippled by his surface level comprehension of what he mimics. In contrast, someone like Quentin Tarantino also enjoys paying to homage to old movies he likes, but he demonstrates an innate understanding of how and why those movies work, and mixes and matches them to create a style all his own. Abrams, meanwhile, can only recreate, adding nothing of substance to make the endeavor worthwhile. Super 8 was supposed to be his big career thesis statement, and the best he could come up with was a big budget E.T. fan film.

And his repeated success scared the ever-living Christ out of me. Disney has taken some daring and bold risks in recent years: hiring a strictly cult TV producer whose one theatrical film bombed to direct The Avengers? Huge risk, and one that paid off big time. But what happens when one of those risks doesn’t pay off? They’ve already handed the reigns of Star Wars to Abrams over far more exciting choices. What happens if they decide to minimize their risk and replace Joss Whedon, unpredictable visionary that he is? Might they instead put the future of the Marvel Universe in the hands of someone more obedient and by-the-book? I shudder to think. Abrams is a threat because he’s just good enough to make people “okay” with him. He encourages people to settle. Sure, he’ll never blow your minds, but he’ll never disappoint you either. Isn’t that more comforting than some strange, unfamiliar artistic type who’s creative vision might be (*gasp*) different from yours?

Case in point: Star Trek Into Darkness. Passable. Rote. Mediocre. Safe. Like all of Abrams’ films, it neither offends nor engages; it merely occupies two hours of your time. Time that might’ve been better spent on something you might actually remember the next day. Instead of the usual breakdown and analysis, I’ve decided to arrange my thoughts in list form. Why? Because Abrams films don’t put me in the mood to try.

Things I liked:

1. The score.

2. The warp speed effects.

3. The Enterprise rising out of the sea.

4. The fact that one of the ships is called the USS Bradbury.

5. Sulu taking the bridge. Way better character moment than that stupid bit from the first one where fencing == ninja. Sulu was my favorite TOS supporting character, and I always wanted to see him in the chair.

6. Zachary Quinto.

7. The fact that Uhura continues to have far more personality and agency than she had in TOS.

8. Uhura speaking Klingon. Great rebuttal to that rather lame joke from Star Trek VI.

9. Simon Pegg

10. What I think was supposed to be an android on the bridge.

11. Kirk getting worn out trying to beat up Khan.

12. The Klingons finally getting some face time.

13. Alice Eve in lingerie. I’m a pig, I admit it.

Things I loathed:

1. The lens flares, but that goes without saying.

2. Chris Pine’s acting.

3. Chris Pine’s “dude-bro” attitude.

4. Chris Pine’s classless version of a ladies’ man.

5. Chris Pine playing Beastie Boys again.

6. Chris Pine’s dorm room cat-girl threesome.

7. Chris Pine’s stupid hair.

8. Chris Pine’s stupid face.

9. Fuck it, basically everything about Chris Pine.

10. Karl Urban and Anton Yelchin, normally good actors, giving fake, exaggerated impressions of Bones and Chekov.

11. The fact that Peter Weller, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Alice Eve are utterly wasted.

12. The fact that one of the ships is called the USS Vengeance. 

13. The fact that Alice Eve in lingerie is so lazily forced in that I feel even dirtier than usual.

14. The fact that Starfleet apparently has a mobile planet-to-planet transporter that they never use.

15. The fact that the two highest paid writers in Hollywood are so amateurish at their jobs that they actually resort to a starting a line of dialogue with “As you know…”

16. The fact that they give that line to Leonard Nimoy.

17. The fact that Leonard Nimoy is in it. Once is passing the torch, twice is pointless and pandering.

18. The fact that Khan is in it*.

19. The fact that Spock is called upon to lose his cool and act emotional so often than it becomes the norm and loses all impact.

20. The fact that the writers have a really good moment going during the death scene where Kirk asks Spock how he chooses not to feel, but then they have no idea where to go with it, the train of thought peters out, and they go back to recycling lines from Wrath of Khan.

21. KHAAAAAAAAAAN!!!

22. The dead tribble.

23. The fact that the climax is a foot chase.

24. The fact that the tension of said foot chase relies entirely on the need for Khan’s blood, when they have 72 people on board with the same blood already. I usually discourage nitpicking plotholes, but think about your movie for five seconds!

25. The fact that Kirk doesn’t stay dead.**

26. The fact that Kirk doesn’t stay dead.***

27. THE FACT THAT KIRK DOESN’T STAY DEAD.****

28. The fact that this supposed successor to one of the most influential and thought-provoking science fiction franchises of all time still has no interest in exploration and no ambition beyond superficial coolness.

I want to leave you with a quote from that great American, Lex Luthor: “I would rather fail spectacularly than succeed minimally.” True art is risky, my friends. It takes commitment, it takes courage, and it doesn’t always work out. But one thing is still true: it’s always better than playing it safe. You may get a great movie, or you may get an awful one, but either way, it’ll be a memorable experience. More than being annoying, offensive, or painful, the greatest sin a film can commit is to leave no impression at all. J.J. Abrams is inviting you to splash around in the shallow end of the pool, where it’s safe and secure. But you’ve been there before. Dive headfirst into the deep end, and whether you sink or swim, you’ll never be bored again.

*And not because he’s not played by Ricardo Montalbán. Khan is a rare gem among classic cinema villains in that he’s mostly avoided overexposure. Other characters with his level of popularity (Darth Vader, Hannibal Lecter, the Wicked Witch) have long since been mined for all they’re worth with sequels, prequels, remakes, spinoffs, etc. But Khan still felt special and pure because there was so much less of him. The one movie, the one TOS episode, that was it. But now that’s all ruined. And for nothing, since Abrams’ ill-advised insistence on secrecy removed any marketing value the character would’ve provided.

**Because I hate him.

***Because it renders his death pointless.

****Because it defeats what little character arc he had.

TV Show: Star Trek

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  • Simon

    Say what you like about SUPER 8, but at least it felt human and emotionally honest, and Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning were both very good. INTO DARKNESS just felt… well… empty. It was to THE WRATH OF KHAN what SUPER 8 was to ET and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, minus the heart… should’ve been called “No Spark Trek”.

    • I won’t argue with you there. Super 8 is pretty much the only movie Abrams has every made with any effective drama to be found. I quite liked the first two acts, actually, when the focus was mostly on the kids making their zombie movie. It’s the alien stuff and the lame, disconnected way they tried to tie it in to the drama that really dragged it down in the 3rd act.

      • Simon

        Yeah… like JAWS, whatever power SUPER 8 has comes not from the “monster”, but from the characters themselves. There’s a reason why CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is so much better when you don’t see inside the ship…

  • $36060516

    I haven’t seen this movie, and don’t plan on doing so, but it seems to me that a big part of why Khan had power as a character was because it took the happy ending of an original Star Trek TV episode and showed how that was kind of a crappy thing for Kirk to have done in retrospect and showed Kirk having to deal with the repercussions of a possible mistake he made. By introducing the character without that back story between Kirk and Khan it would seem to me it can’t have nearly the depth.

    • Kirk and Khan basically have nothing to do with each other in this version, and it makes the movie feel really directionless. Kirk starts things off in a single-minded pursuit of vengeance that is COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN by the 3rd act. The real conflict is between Khan and Admiral Marcus, Kirk just kind’ve blunders into things. And Khan’s characterization goes all over the place, he goes from sinister agent of chaos to brooding anti-hero, only to randomly swing back to the bad-guy-for-bad-guy’s-sake side when after achieving his goal, he just decides to blow up Kirk and his crew for no real reason.

      • Mark Brown

        Khan wants his crew. He thinks Spock killed them. I’d call that a pretty good reason to be honest.

  • Handsome Pete

    Abrams was right to avoid taking risks for his first Trek. The act of resurrection that the movie dares to attempt simply by existing is risk enough, it does not need to be compounded. But of course, the studios don’t see it that way, and therein lies the problem.

    • $36060516

      Why is “simply existing” adequate for a movie? There are already far more movies in existence than any one person can ever see in a lifetime. We don’t need any more movies to “simply exist.” We need movies that are great.

      • Handsome Pete

        Because it’s already a reboot of Star Trek, with new actors in place of the originals. That’s audacious enough. The sequels can’t claim this though, obviously.

        • $36060516

          Remakes are a common occurrence these days. Not sure it’s that audacious. It’s just a studio trying to squeeze more blood out of their old intellectual property, which is pretty much the opposite of audacious. It’s a corporate business decision. (“What do we own, and what young people can we pay to try to wring more money out of our old property?”) Trying to make something new that can rival the original Star Trek and bring new meaning into the world rather than recycling old story beats that were built by a previous generation would be audacious.

  • bob

    fail review is fail

  • Muthsarah

    So…it sounds it’s EVERYTHING I hated about the last one, distilled and cold-filtered for maximum offensiveness, then watered down into swill for the benefit of those who don’t know what Star Trek is supposed to…taste like…? I don’t know where I was going but I–

    I wasn’t going to see it anyway.

    I’m wondering why you’re giving it a “mediocre” rating, though. It seems like you’re saying “decent effects, I like that half the supporting cast has something to do, but other than that, pure evil.”

    As for your final non-asterisked paragraph, that’s art vs. business. I’ve learned to just avoid that one. It never goes anywhere, it never changes, and it never hurts any less.

    • Sean Tadsen

      I’m thinking it’s because, despite the heaps of bad stuff, there are some genuinely entertaining moments – like, for example, Khan kicking Klingon ass while Kirk, Spock, and Uhura cower in terror, or seeing the Enterprise falling though a layer of clouds only to rise from them again a few seconds later.

      But said moments are few and far between, hence “mediocre”.

    • What Sean said.

      Also, the final paragraph is speaking to the audience, not the industry. Asking that we forgo the familiar more often and reward the risk takers whenever possible. Because if we do, maybe Hollywood will stop seeing it as so much of a risk.

  • $36060516

    There was a scene in the movie “Godzilla: Final Wars” where the alien bad guys send an evil fake Godzilla to fight the real Godzilla. The evil fake Godzilla is the one from the Roland Emmerich Godzilla movie and the real Godzilla satisfyingly nukes its ass with fire breath (unfortunately taking the Sydney Opera House with it). I suppose it’s too much to hope for a future scene where the real Enterprise (either original series or Next Generation) shows up from the original timeline and shoots some photon torpedos up this one’s tailpipe.

  • Sean Tadsen

    As a Trek fan, I felt violated by this film. As you mentioned, Abrams more-or-less just copies stuff from Wrath of Khan without seeming to understand what made those scenes so goon in the first place. And, yeah, I was wondering why McCoy didn’t just take some blood from one of the other mead-sicles – like, say, the one he pulled out of the tube and has laying there in a coma. But no, we have to have our big “exciting” chase scene.

    Yeah, I was not happy. The fact that everyone else in the theater seemed to like it only made it worse.

    • Yeah, being among the few Abrams detractors is a lonely existence. It like you’re the one guy pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes, but nobody’s listening.

      • I just say, “There are FOUR lights!” Leaves folks utterly confused and reinforces my point perfectly. Usually folks think I’m talking about lens flare.

        • Sean Tadsen

          Oo, a somewhat obscure TNG reference. Nice.

          • Yonagonaf

            Yonagonaf is a “Star Trek” fan so the citation “There are FOUR lights!” is not an obscure reference.

            The episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” where Captain Picard says “There are FOUR lights!” is absolutely incredible.

            For a “Star Trek” fan the citation is not obscure.

          • Sean Tadsen

            Okay, when I say “somewhat obscure” I mean “not a reference the average person (i.e. non-Trek fan) will get, and even then there’s no guarantee.” It’s not something that appeared in multiple episodes (like, say, “live long and prosper,” or the “we are the Borg” speech) – it’s in one episode.

            And I believe it being a bit obscure was the point Rogue428 was trying to make – the fans of the Abrams-Trek films don’t really know Star Trek beyond pop-culture osmosis. You’re a fan, so of course you get the reference; the hypothetical Abrams-Trek fans aren’t, and they don’t.

    • Also, I know it’s a typo, but now I really want to start using the phrase “so goon” in everyday conversation. 😛

      • Sean Tadsen

        Ah, crap. I meant “good”. I need to proofread my comments more.

        Oh well. But if that takes off, it’ll make me smile.

        • Bo Cephas

          Also goon: “mead-sicles”

          • Sean Tadsen

            You know, at first I was annoyed by that, but now that I think about it, that should also be a thing – Popsicles made with mead. Jello-shots are already a thing, so why not?

          • 333

            Woah, I would buy the crap outta mead-sicles. Let the R&D beigin!

  • Ebalosus

    Oh great, another WoK remake :/

    Seriously, why do studios think that we need another one? The first one was great, and to make another would be impossible, since there is nothing akin to Space Seed within the Abrams continuity.

    If they were going to reboot Star Trek, the least they could to is have their own spin on things, not just attempting to recycle what worked before…

    • Yeah, that’s the third Khan remake in a row now. It’s like the studio’s think that’s the only Star Trek movie that ever made money and/or people liked.

      • Muthsarah

        At least until 2016’s “Star Trek: More Whales”

  • Alexa

    While I don’t hate Abrams, he does seem to have a good amount of talent, I do see your point with him being unable to go the extra mile and be his own director and take chances. I mean really when did directors stop taking chances and risks, its not really worth it to play safe when all you are going to do to is have people feeling frustrated that there should have been more, but there wasn’t. Or present something really good, but let it fall apart at the seams because you decided to play it safe. This becomes quite glaring after watching a clip from the Hitchcock movie Sabotage from the 30s, where something happened in the movie that was shocking and unthinkable to put on film then, but especially unthinkable and shocking today since mainstream studios would never dare enter such territory today. They lack tact and ambition on many levels, and its sad and infuriating. Let’s just hope really interesting directors like Rian Johnson, who directed Looper, gets more work, and wait for the next Coen Bros. movie is all I can say.

  • I loathed Captain Douchebag in the first Abrams Trek movie. he was slightly better in this, but only slightly. Once again the supporting cast proved to be more watchable than Pine. The story paid some lip service to wider issues about terrorism and such, but alternated between muddled and OTT. Splitting the villainy between two characters diluted both of them, Khan had no personal grudge against Kirk here, or vice versa until Khan killed Pike. The idea of Marcus forcing Khan to use his strength and intellect to militarize Starfleet is akin to using a wild tiger to transport nitroglycerine to put out a campfire, when he could have done a lot more by just using Khan’s magic blood to make super soldiers or something. Oh, and magic blood? Thanks for that, JJ. You pilfer the original Wrath of Khan, and then take away the notion of sacrifice. At least in the original movies it took a whole other movie to bring back the one who died in it.

  • John Wilson

    I feel the same about Nolan Batman. There ok movies but not that interesting. Star trek may be a very different version but its interesting enough that I can separate the two.Same with the world Z movie that coming out(probably) I read the book and the movie still looks fine. Although the biggest thing I have with star trek is Enterprise and maybe Deep space nine(if I’m remembering right)plus some of the video games:) .

  • DavidWilmotLow

    is this all thats left for star trek? take something thats come before, and make it bigger, louder, and dumber? is that all thats left?

    • Thomas Stockel

      Yes. And if this is any indication this is what we have to look forward to with the Star Wars franchise.

      • Muthsarah

        Unspeakably shallow, pretentiously-plotted, badly-acted FX-dependent action vehicles with pointless cameos and fanservice, aimed at a completely different audience from the traditional fan base? Say it isn’t so. However will Star Wars survive?

        • Guest

          It’s been kept going by the folks with a lotta money. Originally only lasts for so long!

    • Guest

      Pretty much.

  • Sofie Liv

    oh… :/

    I had hope in this movie, dunno where that hope came from well.. Benedict Cumberbatch, Zachary Quinto… Simon Pegg. At least the last movie was kind of fun.

    Why the fuck is Benedict Khan? what does it add to the plot? Tell me, does it give any new dimensions to the plot that wouldn’t have been there if he happened to have another name???

    • Not particularly. It really feels like it was there because:

      A: Khan is an iconic villain in the franchise and gives Cumberbatch’s character some romantic power

      and

      B: Abrams had to have a mystery to solve in this story, even if the mystery doesn’t affect anything.

      • Muthsarah

        A) Montelban’s Khan was iconic because he was established as an interesting villain in a completely different story, BEFORE they even made a big deal about him for the film. He was notable in that a significant villain from earlier on in the main characters’ story was coming back. Khan had not been previously established in this new universe, so his being here meant nothing. As far as this new film series is concerned, he was a 100% original character with a 0% original name. Call him Harry Mudd, call him Gary Mitchell, call him Sloan, Annorax, or Picard. It doesn’t change the character one bit; he’d be every bit as romantic/powerful/effective/scary, whatever. So what does “Khan” have to do with anything but 100% superficial marketing?

        B) No he did not have to have a mystery. Abrams is a human being with as much free will as the rest of us and a LOT more creative control over the Star Trek franchise. No mystery was needed to have a good story, but a “mystery” was nevertheless inserted anyway. Anyone with any familiarity with the franchise saw it coming a mile away, and anyone without any familiarity with the franchise wouldn’t have noticed or cared about what his name is or what other character from the Trek franchise he was being lumped in with. If you know about Khan, you knew it was Khan, so mystery fail. If you don’t know who Khan is, what does it matter that it was Khan? Who was Khan for exactly?

        • $36060516

          Oh my god, now you’ve got me dreading the alternate timeline version of Picard. They’ll probably get Vin Diesel and give him a Borg phaser-firing arm.

          • Muthsarah

            Or maybe that guy who played Bane.

            I really don’t know where they’re gonna go now that they’ve already blown through the Kirk-era’s most famous villain. The Klingons just aren’t going to cut it after that. Gary Mitchell’s God-routine is probably too much to put in the next movie (might as well throw in Charlie X and Trelane if they’re gonna do that), so I’m more afraid of them throwing in Harry Mudd. If they replace Abrams with a Schumacher-type, that’s probably what they’re gonna do, and make him an absolute modern-day pimp. Catgirl threesomes for all!

            But if they want to stay on the “Darkness” path….yeah, I am also afraid of them bringing up time travel again and plucking someone or somethings from TNG. That means Picard and/or The Borg. And they’d totally have him utter “the best of both worlds” at some dramatic moment, just to twist the knife. I gotta stop thinking about this….

          • $36060516

            Maybe they’ll send Harlan Ellison over the edge by doing a tween-friendly adaptation of “City on the Edge of Forever.”

          • Muthsarah

            Sure, as long as it isn’t set before World War II. Lots of kids today probably don’t know that was a real thing, and it has to appeal to the absolute lowest common denominator. Again.

          • Guest

            Maybe Abrams with “re-imagine” and “reboot” along a different path: say by re-envisioning and mystery-boxing “And the Children Shall Lead” or “The Way to Eden”. Or perhaps the bad boy Chris Pine et al can be transporting One Direction to a delicate mission to the Klingon home planet (not YET blown up)

          • Muthsarah

            Non-Trek-fans don’t know anything about those episodes, so there’s no way in hell they’ll even be name-dropped. They’ve already done Kirk and Spock, and now Klingons, Khan, and Tribbles, so all that’s left in this highly reduced franchise is the Borg and whales. Then they hit the reboot button again.

        • Oh, I definitely found the inclusion unnecessary and actually more of a detriment to the story than a benefit. I apologize for not making it clearer; sarcasm and text don’t mix well.

        • Guest

          Perhaps we’ll get to Harry Mudd in the next movie.

          Just cannot agree that “he was a 100% original character”. One’s reputation is built upon one’s choices and actions. For the various reasons stated on this blog, Abrams just crassly used knowledge of this not-backstory (!), but with no positive effect. Change the name to “Xenochsis”; the movie would be just that more silly and most of the jokes wouldn’t work.

          There’s just so little thought to the Abrams movies.

          Why for example, would an emergency meeting of VIP starfleet people be held not in a secure location, but in a high-rise with convenient large windows for the device of a helicopter (of the future!) to blast away at stuff?

      • Muthsarah

        EDIT: Actually, I’m not reading your post the same way as I did the first couple of times. I don’t think I disagree with you, unless you thought it was reasonable that Abrams could throw in a pointless mystery or that it was meaningful to this story to add Khan. Consider this comment a more detailed critique along the same lines, rather than a official retort.

      • Guest

        “Mystery Box” = Abrams self- “branding”

  • Mark Brown

    I agree with what you say regarding J.J. Abrams, and yeah Chris Pine sucks, however…

    I fucking loved this movie. High art it ain’t, but I found it thoroughly entertaining and well-paced. Sure, there were holes in the plot, but no more than I’d expect from any action-movie (or Star Trek movie). I liked the call-backs to Wrath of Khan. I liked that Khan wasn’t really the major villain. I liked that you had Khan and Kirk working together to stop Admiral Marcus. I liked Spock’s character arc, and the switching of parts in the iconic scene from Wrath (though it did lose much of the emotional impact without the awesome musical score from Wrath… the scene of Kirk running through the Enterprise to engineering when Bones tells him to get there quick will never be topped imho). I was pretty much going “squee!” throughout the movie! 🙂

    Wrath of Khan is probably my favorite film ever… and maybe the first I really remember seeing at the cinema when I was a kid (can’t be bothered to check if Empire Strikes Back came out before or after). Into Darkness complimented it really well I believe. Not a perfect film, by any stretch, but definitely approaching a reasonable balance between Star Trek ideals and mainstream appeal.

    • danbreunig

      I couldn’t have said it better, Mark–I fucking loved it too. I thought it was fairly balanced with any other Trek film, and the differences in directors, actors, effects, plots, events, and time frames they were made in didn’t distract me from enjoying this one at all. I just took it in as its own film in its own right without “this is not what real Trek is like or about or meant as or…”–so yes, someone who enjoys the original(s) CAN in fact favor the reboots as well. Not everyone, just…someone.

      • Mark Brown

        As much as I like fan/geek culture, it does annoy me at times just how overly critical it can get. It seems at times that people are so determined to hate a film for trying to appeal to a larger audience – or having a director they dislike – that they’ll actively pick holes to justify their opinion, while forgetting that the series/films they hold so dear were imperfect themselves.

  • The_Stig

    It was fun and entertaining, but it sucked.

  • Thomas Stockel

    Thank you. I don’t hate Chris Pine as much as you nor was I annoyed by his performance, but other than that everything else you said. I saw the movie yesterday and I was so…disappointed.

  • JD

    It needed more cat girl threesomes.
    And how many movies before some unlucky functionary “accidentally” releases Khan?

  • Jeff Bradford

    I do not share your opinion. I can understand where you’re coming from on some of it, but the truth is that it was just purely for the entertainment. As far as movie masterpieces go, no it’s not a thought-invoking, deeply meaningful movie by any means at all, but it is still a fun movie to see when you don’t feel like being bombarded by satire or over complication.

  • Clu Gulager Alert!

    The movie has its flaws, but I think this review is a bit over the top. No offense to the author intended, and my appreciation for taking the time to write this.

    2-9 We get it. You hate Chris Pine. At least give him credit for not doing a direct imitation of William Shatner. Moving on…

    25-27: I get the impression that dying and coming back would tend to lend perspective to one’s character, thereby fulfilling the arc.

    18. Kahn may not be the most original pick for a Trek movie villain, but in pop culture he is to Kirk what the Joker is to Batman, and guess who showed up in “The Dark Knight?” I, too, don’t understand the secretive marketing angle, however. Perhaps this is one-use-too-many of the JJ Abrams mystery plot/character tactic.

    14. Who says they don’t use the long-range transporter in some capacity? I don’t recall that ever being said in the movie.

    24. I wondered about this to, but keep in mind that the 72 people in those pods were, for all intents and purposes, innocent of wrongdoing, and violating their bodies would be medically unethical. Plus, there was no guarantee that using anyone else’s blood would have the same effect.

    28. Aarrgh, not this again. Okay, here we go: not ONE Trek movie has ever been about exploration. Of the original 10, four dealt with direct threats to Earth and four others dealt with the machinations of madmen. The exploration side of things was on the TV shows. This is how Trek has always worked.

    The kind of risk-taking you’re looking for has never existed in the Star Trek films. The ones that did “upset the balance” saw those changes immediately reversed. Spock’s dead? No problem, he comes back. Genesis device changes the universe? No problem, it doesn’t actually work. Enterprise gets blown up? No problem, the Enterprise-A is waiting in the spacedock.

    99% of all cinema is just as risk-free as this movie. Trek, as a franchise, is healthiest when it churns out profitable flicks that support more creative/compelling storytelling on the TV side. That’s how we got TNG. Hopefully, once these new movies have run their course, we’ll see more Trek television.

  • Charles Miller

    I never understood the “rave reviews” (by moviegoers) of the first “reboot” (egad) or this 2nd attempt. Yes, Abrams’ first ST movie had a lot of action, but it swamped any thoughtfulness. When it got to the point where Kirk II et al “jumped” down to the planet, I was just worn out.

    The bridge design, with its clutter, lost any sense of command purpose; likewise, Engineering looked more like a sewage treatment plan. Abrams just didn’t bother with any sense of plausible design. Busy.

    And yes, the copying and recycling of material is just effortless and boring.

    I think part of my problem is that higher expectations (from TOS, ST: II, ST: IV) had been set.

    Part of this might be a “passing of the torch” issue: those getting their Star Trek: the Milked Cow experience are now two generations removed and are perhaps just focusing on the action and glitz. I hope not, as it implicates an increasingly short attention span.

    AbramsTrek: Not your grandpappy’s Star Trek. Unfortunately.

    Just my thoughts.

  • I don’t think that all movies have to be art; they can just be fun. To me, the egregiousness of “Into Darkness” is that the damned thing isn’t even any FUN. There’s nothing THERE.

    Spock is one of the all-time great characters, and they’ve turned him into a human with pointed ears. He cries, he screams, he pummels Khan — the writers have totally destroyed Spock and turned him into a Generic Action Hero. We already HAVE a zillion boringly interchangeable action heroes; we have Spock for intelligence and curiosity and emotional constraint and ethical concerns. And if he has to do action, we have Spock for neck pinches and mind melds and Vulcan super-strength. But no, they’re ditching all that, giving him a gun, and making him run really fast. *rolls eyes* *sigh*

  • Brian Shanahan

    “The fact that Uhura continues to have far more personality and agency than she had in TOS.”

    Saldana is so bad as Uhura that the only thing that counts as personality in the new Uhura is her boobs, and only then if you’re a misogynist.

    In a casting choice that only (based on the first film) got one right (Karl Urban as McCoy, he is as acerbic as DeForest Kelley ever was) Saldana was, by a country mile, the worst casting choice they made. She has no personality, little by way of acting skills (and this being further shown up by an awful script), and obviously picked solely because she is good looking. F- for her.

  • Bo Cephas

    Why would they need a MOBILE planet-to-planet transporter?