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Look, you're getting very upset, and this is just the first scene.
May 21, 2013 12:27 AM   Subscribe

io9: "After making a mere $84 million at the U.S. box office, Star Trek Into Darkness is considered by some to be a disappointment. Perhaps the problem is that it was a touch confusing. To help our readers better understand it, we've compiled and answered these Frequently Asked Questions about the movie." (Maximum Possible Spoiler Warning)
posted by davidjmcgee (450 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

 
I finally just saw this movie tonight. I'd been rather spoiled for the whole thing but I've never cared about spoilers before, and I was expecting very, very, extremely little. I saw this link going around earlier and didn't click through to it until now. You ever have that experience where you think you had a reaction to something that was maybe a little unique among your demographic, but then you find out that nope, everybody else feels just the same way as you? That is what reading this link is like.

I feel pandered to, and not in a good way. It would have been a more enjoyable experience on mute.
posted by Mizu at 12:42 AM on May 21, 2013 [18 favorites]


USS Killerprise
posted by Avenger at 12:45 AM on May 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


I thought this piece perfectly encapsulated my feelings about the movie, and this other piece was an interesting capture of the writer.

Damon Lindelof is just a terrible writer. He means well, but his work takes you half of the way to the finish line before you realize you're competing in the wrong event. "Wait, if this is a sprint, why am I holding a discus?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:55 AM on May 21, 2013 [24 favorites]


Someone said the movie was not well received when it opened in Australia. No wonder.
posted by Cranberry at 12:56 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, when are people going to realize all this remixing, rebooting and reimagining is just a cynical ploy to extract the maximum amount of money with the minimum amount of risk from that sweet aging geek demographic? Not holding my breath here, just wondering.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:58 AM on May 21, 2013 [26 favorites]


I was going to see Star Trek Into Darkness this week but now I'm not so sure (and I just read the first few paragraphs of the IO9 article). Does it have much of that Damon Lindelof stupidity? I can take the usual Star Trek silliness but Lindelof's brand of deepity - no thank you.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:58 AM on May 21, 2013


I can't figure out what all the criticism is about. I'm not uncritical, but I had so much fun seeing this (unspoiled) movie. I can't help it if the harshest critics sound like snobby cynics. To me it was a roller coaster ride, and I look forward to seeing it again. I just heard a hundred people dropping their tea spoons. (Nerd cred: I liked Upstream Color too. Maybe I just like everything?)
posted by scamper at 1:01 AM on May 21, 2013 [15 favorites]


I don't really have anything to add to the discussion, I'm just posting because I heard this song for the first time earlier tonight.
posted by MattMangels at 1:10 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another SITD thread? Here's the Outlaw Vern review and Overthinking It podcast.

I hate people who nitpick about plotholes. Things in life or film don't need to make logical sense - they need to make emotional sense. The movie held together on that level. I even liked the old Trek blatent political message ("Drones bad. Trials good".) Like I usually like this guy's review, but it's just pointless pedantary for an entire page.

As usual, Vern sums it up:

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.”


I'm waiting for Film Critic Hulk and Plinkett to weigh in too.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:16 AM on May 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't really have anything to add to the discussion, I'm just posting because I saw this for the first time earlier tonight.
posted by mazola at 1:21 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I remember seeing the trailers for the original JJ Abrams Star Trek and thinking "JJ Abrams thinks Star Trek is about the heroic story of James T. Kirk. There's no reason to see these."

Literally nothing has pushed me away from that initial reaction.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:26 AM on May 21, 2013 [43 favorites]


I hate people who nitpick about plotholes.

Nitpick? Even if the hyperbole in this piece goes to eleven, if it's even a little true -- and I don't hear anyone saying that it's not -- this script sounds like an acrid pile of Horta shit.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:28 AM on May 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


I've seen maybe two episodes of the original Star Trek and maybe 3 episodes of The Next Generation and I enjoyed the last movie and this one. I can see how people who actually love Star Trek would be very annoyed but as a super casual to ignorant viewer, I thought it was all right and came out happy.

I hated the 3D though. Never again. (Which is what I said when I saw Iron Man 3 in 3D but this time, I swear it!!!)
posted by like_neon at 1:32 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't really have anything to add to the discussion, I'm just posting because I saw this for the first time earlier tonight.

They did something similar on The IT Crowd.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:34 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Charlemagne In Sweatpants: "Things in life or film don't need to make logical sense - they need to make emotional sense."

What nonsense. It's a movie. By and large folks expect plots in movies, more so in a Star Trek one. People looking for things that don't have plots in them are to be respectfully directed to other forms of more purely visceral recreation, such as drugs and/or blinking lights.
posted by vanar sena at 1:35 AM on May 21, 2013 [51 favorites]


This movie was written by guys responsible for Prometheus, the Transformers movie franchise, Cowboys & Aliens, and the Lost finale. What were we expecting?

Related: Co-screenwriter Damon Lindelof can't come up with an excuse for his scene in which Alice Eve gratuitously strips down to her underwear to prep for defusing a bomb. (Also, he misspells the term "mysogenistic".)
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:36 AM on May 21, 2013 [13 favorites]


Things in life or film don't need to make logical sense - they need to make emotional sense.

Okay, I'm going to try and be calm about this.

I don't mind loosely plotted spectacle movies. I liked "The Avengers" and I am very excited for "Pacific Rim". What I mind is every sci-fi, fantasy, or genre movie being turned into a loosely plotted action spectacle, and I mind "well it doesn't have to make sense" being used as a kind of all purpose plot hole spackle.

There's a real difference between noticing logical inconsistencies and nitpicking. Nitpicking would be questioning why SHIELD has a heli-carrier and how the damn thing flies. A logical inconsistency would be having established that they have a heli-carrier someone from SHIELD talking about how their resources and reach are extremely limited. The former is just the assumption you have to make to enjoy the movie. The latter is the movie just deciding to violate its own logic in order to contrive a situation that the writers couldn't figure out how to get to otherwise.
posted by Grimgrin at 1:36 AM on May 21, 2013 [32 favorites]


You know what has excellent continuity and no appreciation for story?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:37 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Things in life or film don't need to make logical sense - they need to make emotional sense.

Hi Damon!
posted by emmtee at 1:43 AM on May 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'm only halfway through this FAQ so far but it's really confirming everything I expected from a second Abrams/Lindelof Trek: that it would be drivel.

Can we get our TNG sequel series now?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:46 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Charlemagne In Sweatpants: "Things in life or film don't need to make logical sense - they need to make emotional sense."

I think I know what you're saying, if you mean "in the moment, it feels natural and logical, even if a later, more critical viewing shows that what felt logical wasn't". However, (and I need to point out I haven't watched STID, so I'm speaking generally), if plot holes / illogic are big or bad enough, it prevents you from even feeling that something makes sense.

In other words:
If you watch a movie, enjoy it, and afterwards a friend points out a plot hole, which makes you say, "Huh, yeah, you're right", then it's not a big plot hole, and nitpicking is silly.
If you're watching the movie, and during the course of the viewing you're saying to yourself "What?! That makes no...!! But!! WTF?!", then the plot hole is bad, and criticizing it is not nit-picking.
posted by Bugbread at 1:53 AM on May 21, 2013 [26 favorites]


I enjoyed the movie. I'll watch it again. It was way better than the majority of Trek movies and TV episodes. But man, as soon as I saw that Tribble on McCoy's desk I realised that instead of being a homage to Wrath of Khan that this was a fairly straightforward remake of Star Trek 2 and could predict what would happen next from scene to scene. I liked it at the time, but became more and more disappointed as I thought about it later.

But yeah - I enjoyed the movie at the time and I'm sure I'll watch it again.
posted by Foaf at 1:54 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Can we get our TNG sequel series now?

Please no.
posted by Foaf at 1:56 AM on May 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


I have no emotional attachment to the Star Trek franchise, but the fanwank delivers on all fronts, easily trumping the wank over Iron Man 3's big twist. GO TEAM (even though I'm not in your fandom and have only the vaguest idea of what you're wanking about)! Special mention to John Cho's shade.
posted by fatehunter at 2:05 AM on May 21, 2013 [11 favorites]


I was annoyed about the tribble, but generally thought that the movie was OK. Female characters were underused, big time, and Khan isn't supposed to be white, but this DS9 fan was so thrilled by the backstory for alternate-universe Section 31 that I was willing to forgive everything but those two glaring issues.

In the next movie, can we get the alternate-universe version of the Klingons nuking the tribble homeworld, after Bones' tribble gets out of control?
posted by Wylla at 2:08 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I enjoyed this thoroughly as an action flick and have learned to be willing to overlook plot holes. The io9 post hits the main issues I had with it, and it's nice to acknowledge that, but I won't let that take away from enjoying a film with good action sequences, fun sound design, less lens flare, and a twist on the Khan story.

I'd hope that now that we've successfully rebooted through the second film, any subsequent sequels are completely original, since of course you're not going to search for Kirk. So help me if the third Abrams Star Trek has whales. (Although, new Scotty talking to a 1980s computer mouse would amuse me greatly.)

I also got to see this in a theater equipped with Dolby Atmos which was absolutely awesome. (I actually saw it twice and had to leave comment with the theater that my ears were nearly bleeding from the first showing—they apologized and mentioned that it was their first Atmos showing and they were still working on it and had an engineer in based on my feedback, which was nice.)

Atmos, if you're not familiar, allows for 64 discrete channels instead of the current 7.1 standard maximum you'll find in a theater. It includes speakers on rails on the ceiling as well, which makes for some absolutely amazing fading effects and surround effects and atmospheric effects.

Fortunately, this theater also has a huge screen, but is NOT IMAX (sadly, except for...) which means it also wasn't 3D, thank god.

I really dug shooting-in-warp, shooting-a-ship-out-of-warp, people-getting-sucked-out-of-ship-mid-warp sounds, warp-ice-crystals-or-whatever, and some of the other general design coolness.

Here's a fun fact for those of you playing at home: the original series and the original movies had weird plot holes and poorly excused leaps of logic in them too. As a reboot, it was even faithful in including a few of those for you.
posted by disillusioned at 2:11 AM on May 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


As someone who enjoys some kinds of SF immensely, I start with the assumption that you need to set your expectations of an SF film in proportion to the budget and hype. Especially the budget.

I've never really seen Star Trek (or Star Wars, or Doctor Who, for that matter) as anything more than a bit of family-friendly escapist fun. I don't really understand the geek-culture around any of these franchises, but it doesn't offend or upset me. However, I think the collision between these two aspects can be quite messy - the expectations of the average big-spectable-blockbuster-movie-goer (or indeed my wife) are never going to bear much relation to those of the committed fanbase. My wife enjoyed the film immensely, although she felt it was somewhat spoiled by the terrible accents.
posted by pipeski at 2:17 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bugbread: " "in the moment, it feels natural and logical, even if a later, more critical viewing shows that what felt logical wasn't""

A "sci fi" movie that I felt did this well was The Fifth Element. It was a ridiculous film from start to finish, but that didn't matter until after it ended and you had time to think about it a little. By then it was too late - you'd already enjoyed it! You sucker.
posted by vanar sena at 2:18 AM on May 21, 2013 [39 favorites]


Here's a fun fact for those of you playing at home: the original series and the original movies had weird plot holes and poorly excused leaps of logic in them too.

I'm not going to eat steaming horseshit off a shovel just because someone points out that the cheese sandwich I had yesterday wasn't filet mignon.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:21 AM on May 21, 2013 [45 favorites]


The linked-to article is quality snark.

Others have responded to Charlemagne in Sweatpants' statement:
I hate people who nitpick about plotholes. Things in life or film don't need to make logical sense - they need to make emotional sense.

Not to join in a dogpile, but I just felt I should add that I couldn't possibly disagree more. Logical sense is what keeps stories grounded, moored to our experience and reality, instead of floating off into Never-Never Land.

When a story doesn't abide by the rules of logic it isn't playing fair with the reader/watcher, for it is these things, more than the events, characters, or even words, that stories are actually made of. The actions of the characters in the story stop making sense, and become impossible to empathize with. Narrative causation breaks down, and the story becomes about nothing except what a clever boy the author thinks he is. It becomes wankery, a sequence of events strung together for no reason apart from arbitrary "rules of storytelling" and because the writer thinks they're cool.
posted by JHarris at 2:33 AM on May 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


I was generally disappointed, for many of the same reasons described in the linked post - although I felt that the banter and camaraderie among the crew was a welcome change from the incessant doom-and-gloom one sees these days.

However, I often see plot criticisms of STID swept away with the general comments of:

1) It's an action movie, stop worrying about it! And this would be fine if it weren't for the fact that it is possible for action movies to be much more internally consistent (e.g. Die Hard), and that I don't even think STID is a particularly good action movie either. There's certainly a lot of shit flying around and things blowing up in the movie, sure, but that doesn't make it good action.

Let's compare Kirk and Khan's airlock-flight to the Killerprise to the spacedive from the 2009 movie (a comparison that is set up by Kirk himself!). In 2009, not only did it look cooler, but we had at least a modicum of suspense after the redshirt dies. It felt like the spacedive was actually difficult. The airlock-flight, on the other hand, sees Kirk and Khan fly through a debris field, Khan disappear for a moment (do we really think he's dead?), Kirk's faceplate get cracked (do we really think his face will be sucked out into space?), and them zooming into a 4m^2 hole with apparently total ease.

Or Spock's fist-fight at the end. Yes, I liked spotting the nerve pinch and the mind meld and such, none of which seemed to amount to anything, but was it necessary to have it on two flying ships? It reminded me of the fight between Obi Wan and Anakin in Revenge of the Sith, in the sense that it was a lazy way of trying to make a fight more interesting.

I'll be honest - my standards aren't even that high here. I'd love to get action sequences like those in The Dark Knight or Iron Man 3, but I'd settle for a Mission Impossible 3/4 (which you'd have thought JJ could manage...)

2) Most of Star Trek is stupid/mindless anyway. Well, perhaps - but shouldn't we want to see the best Star Trek that could be made? Just because there are hundreds of mindless eps out there doesn't make it OK to make a mindless movie.

Bah.
posted by adrianhon at 2:35 AM on May 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


I caught the premier at the IMAX 3D in London, with JJ and the cast/crew. Perhaps that really biased one's opinion of the film, however I found it to be quite an enjoyable action movie – if not a significant departure from the previous television shows and films. Before the film began, JJ said it was a reboot and there were a few special moments for trekkies. Obviously The Tribble and OG Spock.

Having watched the entirety of the original television and film series, as well as The Next Generation in my youth, I found it not wholly Star Trek, but the foundations were there. Knowing the Trek universe – from things like the Prime Directive to how the 'warp core' allegedly functions – I found it an enjoyable ride. It was action-packed, that's for certain. One of the other attendees said it's like The Matrix meets Captain Kirk, in terms of the fight choreography and editing style.

I'm quite surprised to read all of the backlash against it, for I'm not quite sure what one would expect to result from a JJ Abrams version of Star Trek besides a Big Action Film. This whole reboot theme is a bit of a strange one, for it's all about taking well-known and well-loved stories, and essentially building them out in a completely different way. It's not meant to be an authentic continuation of the previous vein. It's meant to take well-known characters and an accessible 'universe' and present it in a new light.

One could wax poetic either way. Either it's a bastardisation, or an evolution. Really, it's both. JJ said that his films are all about the characters – his goal is to create very strong character-driven films. In that, he has succeeded, for the characters in the film are indeed very distinct. Are they good? I don't know, any more than if Starbucks is good. Lots of people like it. Lots of people don't.

Perhaps the real rub here was the large societal meaning of Star Trek, and how that has been lost in this latest translation. That's not unsurprising though, is it? The original Star Trek came at a time of massive global social change, when people were confronting real issues of racism, sexism, cultures intermingling, and the reshuffle of world power. Gene Roddenberry helped people understand that in a palatable way. He provided a vision of the future which showed that these changes were good things, and the possibilities that could result from racial integration, atomic energy, space flight, etc. Even the original movie series dealt with humanities fears about what exactly the Voyager probes were going to find.

If we look at the subtleties of this film, there are indeed societal fears theres, and we are again managing them. Terrorism. Terrorism x Genetic Engineering. Homeland Under Attack. Abrams has taken the mantle from Roddenberry in terms of communicating with society, holding a mirror up. Only now, the reflection looks very different because the time is very different. We are not at an expansionist phase of Western wealth and power, but in a contraction phase. Simultaneously, the world offers unlimited potential with technology, yet we are also grappling with insecurity and social relevance. Thus, we get a film about technological terrorism and insecurity, wrapped in an action film. Further, action films 'travel' the best, as the nature is largely visual. Comedy is often very specific to specific cultural norms, and whilst dramas can travel, real life may be more than enough drama for a lot of people.

And this was my assessment leaving the theatre. Perhaps JJ didn't give us the Star Trek that we were hoping for, or that long-time fans really want, but he gave us the Star Trek movie that the studio would fund, and would bring a lot of new people into a relationship with Star Trek. For long-time fans, this will be another movie in the compendium. Some are epic, and some are poor. It's not like seeing this film is going to destroy the existing body of Star Trek work. And for a lot of other people, it's going to give them what they're after. A Big Fat Action Movie that is a roller-coaster ride. It's like a lot of the reboots. They're good movies. Not classics, but they do what's intended.

I spent a ten-odd minutes with the Batch at the premiere. "That's a big screen, man." "It's a big screen." "Is it strange to see yourself that big?" "It is strange to watch yourself on that size of a screen. Very strange." He's a lovely guy and he and Alice Eve were congratulating each other. Her parents were there. It was great to see them excited about it. They'd all worked hard on the film, and this was their big public reward.

That weekend, I was sitting outside Cafe Boheme, when two fellows sat down for their Sunday coffee. They spoke about Star Trek at length, comparing notes on both overarching themes and nuances.

One said, "Benedict may very well be the next Laurence Olivier. His versatility and composure really showed through."

To which his companion responded, "He's no Judi Dench. He's better than Di Caprio, that's for sure, but he's not amazing, is he?"

They ended up agreeing that Benedict sat somewhere between between Laurence Olivier and Judi Dench, and Leonardo Di Caprio. And I guess I agree with that assessment of the film as a whole.
posted by nickrussell at 2:37 AM on May 21, 2013 [19 favorites]


I saw the movie when it first opened a couple of weeks ago. I purposefully didn't read anything about it before hand so hand no preconceptions, plus I didn't watch a lot of Star Trek growing up although I did watch, and enjoy, the previous movie a couple of months ago. I really enjoyed this movie. It was fun. Yeah, it was kind of silly and I probably laughed at things that weren't meant to be funny (some of the music choices were rather heavy handed) but I'm fine with that.

I think reading scathing bitchy reviews beforehand would have made me hate the movie so I'm glad I didn't do that. I guess some people like rolling their eyes and writing things off as drivel rather than just enjoying them for what they are, each to his own. I had fun and I'm glad I went to the theatre to see Into Darkness (something that only happens once a year or so) so *shrug*.
posted by shelleycat at 2:40 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


The International Trailer for Star Trek: Into Darkness seems to have been recut into something else - like a personal grudge between Kirk and Khan. And it makes it seem like the protagonist is Khan instead!

This here is a movie I would have liked to watch instead...

Half of Cumberbatch's awesome dialogue in the trailer never made into the movie =(
posted by xdvesper at 2:49 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Isn't this last weeks thing to get angry online about? That mob with torches and pitchforks has long gone. This weeks thing to get angry online about is Yahoo destroying Flickr (by giving users 1TB of storage, the swines). Please keep up with the outrage.
posted by Wordshore at 2:59 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Honestly, the link in the OP only makes me want to watch STID more than I did before, Lindelovian plot contrivances and all. I know it's stupid, but I only have to be smart between Labor Day and Memorial Day, so whatever.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:02 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Haven't seen it yet, but read the link. Now that my expectations are really low, the movie should be quite enjoyable.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:14 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I kind of wish Buckaroo Banzai, Sherlock, and Shaun of the Dead would split off and make their own movie where they go on wacky adventures and fight crime and stuff.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:23 AM on May 21, 2013 [14 favorites]


Here's a fun fact for those of you playing at home: the original series and the original movies had weird plot holes and poorly excused leaps of logic in them too. As a reboot, it was even faithful in including a few of those for you.

It's completely not the same. The sort of half-assitude going on here is well, the kind of partial posterior construction that has happened in other abrams films like the transformers series.

Something rotten happened in the late 90s and early 2000s. The first movies i remember just feeling wrong like this in how unmemorable and popcorn-fodder they were, were probably the matrix sequels. Whatever the hell went wrong that caused some kind of schism in the movie industry and created some sort of rule that all scifi movies that included much of any action had to be crappy in this way happened right around 2000 too.

Compare Men in Black with MiB 2. The matrix with the matrix reloaded. The fifth element, starship troopers, etc all fall on the 90s side of this line, and are all good(even if you aren't a huge fan of them, you have to agree they do this sort of thing well and that a lot of newer movies shit it up). There's newer movies that aren't sequels which utterly fail at this too, but my brain is shorting out trying to remember more examples.

Whatever the hell happened, it seems like it was almost unilaterally decided that blockbuster scifi+action movies had to be made this one very specific way, and now they almost feel robotically stamped out by a machine.

There are definitely legitimate criticisms to be launched at most movies like this made in the past few years. I feel like a lot of people are really frustrated and are lobbing the obvious, concrete seeming reasons that pop in to their head as to why these movies just feel wrong because "It's just not right" doesn't sound like a legitimate answer. The problem is that yes, i agree, the original material and good older movies like this suffer from plot holes and a lot of other problems. But they were engaging, and had real charm that just made you mentally gloss right over and not even really notice those issues.

That all said, i actually enjoyed the first Abrams movie. And i'm like, an actual turbo-neckbeard star trek fan whose brain almost exploded screaming "THE ENTERPRISE WASN'T BUILT ON EARTH WHAT THE FUCK". I stuffed that shit in a box, and sat down and watched something that ended up being decently enjoyable with some charming moments. I'm going to go see this in a day or two and i might even enjoy it somewhat too. But, at the same time, the first movie did stink of crap in the same way that a lot of new movies in this vein do(and hell, personally i think the great gatsby had some very similar problems too... but that's a different thread entirely) and i could easily pull down my pants and shit on it the same way i could most of the stuff Abrams has made.

Because as i said, a lot of the people who are frustrated with these movies have legitimate complaints. And a lot of them are supreme court "I know it when i see it, this just feels wrong" stuff that people are trying to make more defensible. But it really just comes off as something like that mcdonalds "angus" burger that was supposed to be a real burger, like something from five guys or in-n-out or some shit... but it was still a tired mcdonalds burger. You feel what i'm saying here?


posted by emptythought at 3:27 AM on May 21, 2013 [23 favorites]


I guess I should preface this with the fact that the space whales (ST IV) is my favorite Trek movie -- probably because that's the first one I remember watching when I was little, and also, whales -- so maybe my taste is not the correct one, but... dude, I friggin loved the movie. And yeah I was pretty sure Harrison was who we all thought he was but I might have cheered a bit (quietly!) when he introduced himself as Khan, and although the ending was definitely kind of contrived (Tribble? really? That was actually a little too much even for me) I still found it emotionally meaningful. And here, in the rebooted universe, I think it was more of a milestone in the Kirk/Spock relationship than it even was in the original movies.

I consider myself a Trekkie, though there are plenty of Trekkies out there that would probably disagree with me on that point. I don't speak any Klingon, I haven't memorized the details and trivia of all the series, but I have *watched* all the series and still rewatch them, with a great deal of enjoyment, regularly. (Well, not all of them. Some of them. And only some episodes of some of them. But still.) But as the perhaps lukewarm Trekkie that I am, I enjoyed the movie! It was fun to watch! It gave me, as a fan of the originals, a few wink-wink-nudge-nudge moments! It's not meant to be The New Gospel. It's to keep a much-loved franchise entertaining people.

Frankly, as a much more diehard Star Wars fan than a Trekkie, I was very skeptical of JJ Abrams getting the new Star Wars movies. In all honesty I think I'd rather they not be made at all, but if they are going to be made, I actually -- based on what I've seen from the new Star Trek movies -- think I'm okay with Abrams doing Star Wars. In STID, he did the right thing: good guys. A really bad guy. A bad guy who you can kind of be sympathetic to in some ways. Good guys are pro-science and exploration, bad guy is pro-war, sympathetic bad guy is pro-self and pro-"family". Extremely good characters who continue to develop (or re-develop) in enjoyable ways. These are all easy things to figure out and root for or hate on, accordingly, and be able to enjoy the action. No Trade Federations and political mysteries and umpteen different Lords of the Sith and whatever else George Lucas did with those prequels. The original Star Wars had good guys, bad guys, and clear motivations you could support or hate, so the focus was on the action (omg lightsabers!) and character development (Han + Leia 4ever!). I'm sure Abrams will bring the same to the new ones.

If I saw the original Star Wars trilogy now, for the first time, as an adult, I'd poke holes parsecs wide through all sorts of things, be put off by the cheesy dialog and fairly well broadcasted plot twists, blah blah blah. Same with the original Star Trek, or even Next Gen. It's the nostalgia for what we saw when we were younger that keeps us going back. If you try to appreciate the reboots in that sense I think they work really well. So I'm still happily looking forward to the next Abrams Trek movie. And it makes me cautiously optimistic about New Star Wars.

That said, I'm going to bookmark this comment and in 2015 when I start ranting about the Star Wars sequels and how awful they are you can all point and laugh and say "I told you so."
posted by olinerd at 3:35 AM on May 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm confused about what JJ Abrams has to do with the Transformers movies. I mean, Orci and Kurtzman wrote for both franchises, but Abrams didn't have anything to do with Transformers.
posted by dogwalker at 3:38 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I saw this movie with my SO and we both agreed it was entertaining and fun. I have conferred with several others and they have also had generally positive things to say about the movie.
posted by humanfont at 3:42 AM on May 21, 2013


It's not nearly as good as Wrath of Khan but that was really the high point of all Trek and 2003 is just not 1982. I thought that STID did a decent job being as Trek-like as it could given the constraints of having to be a giant international summer blockbuster. As I remember, Roddenberry hated Trek 2 because it was to action based.
posted by octothorpe at 3:43 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


yea, it was mostly fun to watch, but you really need to turn your brain right off to be able to enjoy it. We went last night, and after I started asking my boyfriend questions about all the things that didn't make sense, but he asked me to stop because I was going to retroactively ruin the movie for him. I only got as far as "why did that girl take her clothes off?" the only answer to which is apparently "so we can look at her in her underwear"

Also, why the hell is there so much fist fighting? like, they jet over to the killerprise, and the security guys that come to stop them are apparently unarmed, and we are treated to another pointless round of everyone punching each other out.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:43 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I freaking loved it.

Sure, I had my WTF moments - starship under water and not being crushed, starship being in lunar orbit then plummeting on a beeline towards Earth, portable transporter operating between star systems but we're still building starships - but I had a great time, appreciated the role reflection and what it said about Spock's character development (which is actually the story behind these movies if you ask me), and ...

well...

I could see people complaining about logical inconsistencies with some franchises, but ... Trek? Tetrion Berthold radiation reverse the beam from the deflector array Trek? Two-dimensional picket lines in space Trek? Nanites ugly bags of mostly water where people still live only eighty years despite at least three separate technologies I can see to extend life Trek? I love Star Trek, always have, but logical consistency is not why I love it.

I love it for the philosophy. And this movie was explicitly about choosing to be better people, and rejecting evil, even when it's Really Damned Hard. In old Trek, people are just already better people; there's no introspection about how hard it might be to achieve it - these movies are doing just that. Baby steps, but they're steps.
posted by Michael Roberts at 3:46 AM on May 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


Ultimately for me, I just cannot let Abrams get his free pass regarding the whitewashing of Khan. There was no reason for it except for his well-known reputation for secrecy uber alles and there was nothing especially Khan about the character in the end except half-baked fanservice and murky motivations. I feel like I would've enjoyed this fine much like the last if not for that entirely stupid decision because it throws into relief how little his production thinks about non-white non-male audiences (eg the dudebro explanation for Alice Eve in her underwear), and I'm trying to phrase that without having to appeal to Star Trek's original vision. It's 2013, shouldn't I expect better? And if I can't even depend on the one franchise that at least tried to remember people like me exist, then no thanks.

And when I start getting down that road it's hard to ignore how genuinely stupid the writing was, not just in a sci-fi or Trekkie sense, but just in basic movie scriptwriting.
posted by cendawanita at 3:49 AM on May 21, 2013 [30 favorites]


Re: the whales.

The next NuTrek should have nothing to do with them, but there should be an after credit gag of Old Spock at an aquarium looking at whales, then New Spock comes in and asks, "Why do you always visit the whales?" And Old Spock replies, "No reason." Cut to black.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:52 AM on May 21, 2013 [35 favorites]


Jesus. I thought I was just joking.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:05 AM on May 21, 2013


I think he's wrong about Khan being to blame for the corpsicle-torpedoes, wasn't that Marcus's doing? But that was an amusing read and got even funnier as it went along. Killerprise! Although I enjoyed the movie in part, it had its moments. More so in the first half before the action scenes started to seem quite so endless. I liked the way they lamp-shaded the militirisation of Star Fleet within the plot, and thought, "Aha! It's not just Star Trekwars after all! J.J., I've misjudged you!" But then there were so. Many. Fisticuffs.

I'd still rather this Trek than none. On the plus side it all made a heck of a lot more sense than Prometheus.

And on preview, SNAP.
posted by Coaticass at 4:14 AM on May 21, 2013


This was indeed me during the radiation scene:

/sound of gun being loaded
posted by angrycat at 4:17 AM on May 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Coaticass: "I'd still rather this Trek than none."

Honestly I'd rather no Trek. With no Trek people gradually get more and more restless at the sheer Lovecraftian horror of living in a Trekless universe until the critical mass results in a new Trek series greenlit. These movies are sitting hard enough on the tentacles to keep many people happy and thus probably reducing the chance of a new series, especially an original-continuity new series.

Which is a shame as I thought the post-Voyager TNG-era universe was set up to do some really interesting things. Things which yes, a new series probably would have ignored but hey, I can dream.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:20 AM on May 21, 2013 [11 favorites]


this is also my second reason to hate ol' J.J.

You know the bit in Cloverfield where it's like the beautiful day videotape recorded over by the MONSTER MONSTER DEATH DEATH videotape? That 9/11 callout -- juxtaposing death with happiness -- just like the pictures of the missing on 9/11 were mostly like wedding photos and other happy shit?

Yeah, I loved the first Trek movie, but fuck me if he doesn't just not mind looking for buttons to push and than thwocking the shit out them. It's like, fuck you, asshole, I didn't expect to end crying for forty minutes after a monster movie because you decided to be all 9/11 NEVAR FORGET THE MONSTER
posted by angrycat at 4:23 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


fatehunter > ...Special mention to John Cho's shade.

When this came up on my dash, along with an excerpt of the race bending post, including the fact that Khan was explicitly described in the episode script of Space Seed as being Sikh, I suddenly lost all interest in seeing this movie.

I'm with ArmyOfKittens, I'd rather no Trek too. There used to be a lot of people, from Gene on down, to whom it meant something to make a Star Trek production. Now there's a bunch of suits and algorithms identifying profit centers among the archives, and the only people who care are too far down the totem pole to do much more than zing interviews. Fuck it. See ya never, new Star Trek, I'm out. *drops mic*
posted by frijole at 4:26 AM on May 21, 2013 [18 favorites]


I really enjoyed the first one, and had high hopes for this. Boy howdy were they crushed upon actually seeing it. In addition to everything already said, the scene where the enterprise is falling to Earth and, depending on what way it is oriented, people are falling every which way pissed me off so badly. Two objects falling together would be effectively weightless; humans aren't subject to some special super gravity field. It's one thing to avoid physics for narrative convenience (e.g. Earth gravity isn't so strong where they start, they start a long way from Earth and would take more than a couple of minutes to crash into the planet), but to have an entire elaborate action scene based around a completely confused understanding of basic physics (or too few times spent watching people on the vomit comet) add yet another underscore regarding how lazy the writing was.

That said, tribbles definitely have a life cycle and husbandry needs that would make them an excellent model organism in biology.
posted by Schismatic at 4:36 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Things in life or film don't need to make logical sense - they need to make emotional sense.

This is a dumb opinion in general, since logical sense often lays the groundwork for an emotionally compelling story. But it's even dumber in this particular instance, as the new Trek's biggest flaw was the lack of emotional sense.

My biggest problem with it was that I felt like the dramatic stakes were unearned, and I'm glad to see the lined article touch on that; Kirk and Spock are not lifelong friends who've been wrestling with their aging and mortality when Kirk dies in the radiation chamber. They've only known each other for like a year, and it's kind of unclear from their conversations and actions whether they even like each other all that much (Kirk's major demonstration of "friendship" seemed to be saving Spock from the volcano, which: wouldn't he do this for any crew member?).

There seemed to be more emotional import to the Kirk/Khan relationship than the Kirk/Spock one. Most of it the film, I thought, seemed to parasitically draw emotional energy from STII rather than building up its own world. The recognition of the source material was a little fun, but also a little hollow; I described it to a friend as being like watching some teen do a ukelele cover of a Slayer song on YouTube. Fun and all, but just... not that compelling.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:37 AM on May 21, 2013 [18 favorites]


So when does someone server up the single serving Khaaan! website* with Quinto instead of Shatner?

*Warning: autoplaying Shatner.
posted by octothorpe at 4:42 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


One more problem: what kind of villain misappropriates Federation resources to build a super-secret Killerprise, and then LEAVES A MODEL OF IT RIGHT OUT IN THE OPEN ON HIS DESK AT STARFLEET HQ?






Still, it was better than Star Trek V.


Hey, presuming that this is all a J.J. Abrams parallel universe thing, maybe in this timeline, even numbered Treks do suck.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:44 AM on May 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's getting excellent reviews from critics and viewers. Main problem for box office is a bunch of other movies that are out or coming out soon, so the first weekend is very important and it only matched the first Star Trek there.
posted by smackfu at 4:50 AM on May 21, 2013


Honestly, I was all Grrr about it at first, with a side helping of Meh until I read this in Slate. Also this. Some people still seem to be getting their progressive politcs fix out of it, so that was a relief although I didn't quite feel the same way.
posted by Coaticass at 4:52 AM on May 21, 2013


Lens flares are the Intergalactic Ascended Tribble Masters.

Now watch the movie again and think about it.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:52 AM on May 21, 2013


I was struck by something as I watched Into Darkness. The speech that Spock gives where he "points out to Kirk that it’s both legally and morally wrong to kill even a known terrorist without a trial"? That's pretty much verbatim what I said when the Seals assassinated Osama Bin Laden. My suspicions were strengthened when the Killerprise smashed into a bunch of tall buildings.

I'm sure it's just coincidence. I mean, TOS took on all kinds of political and philosophical ideas as well as current events. But JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof? In a popcorn movie? I'm sure I was just seeing things.
posted by workerant at 5:00 AM on May 21, 2013


The article served to remind me why I don't read io9 very often, even though it's supposed to be the sort of site that should be on my daily reading list. Charlie Jane Anders has already done a scathing review where she compares it unfavorably to Iron Man 3, even though that film is even worse WRT plot holes and gratuitous fanservice. There's also the post about Alice Eve in her underwear which refers to her being "naked", which is a different meaning to the word than I'm used to. And this post... when it starts out complaining that cold fusion doesn't work that way, I almost literally facepalmed. The franchise has always been willing to play fast and loose with science in service of the plot, and if you can get over the idea that "dilithium" doesn't refer to two lithium atoms and that the transporter works in part thanks to "Heisenberg compensators", then repurposing the term "cold fusion" really shouldn't be a sticking point. Unless, of course, you're with a Gawker blog and hoping to gin up some nerdrage in the best "Mass Effect 3 ending GRAR GRAR" manner.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:16 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I mean, TOS took on all kinds of political and philosophical ideas as well as current events. But JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof? In a popcorn movie? I'm sure I was just seeing things.

It's worth pointing out that co-screenwriter Roberto Orci is on record as a 9/11 truther, which goes a long way towards explaining the tortured allegorical logic.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:29 AM on May 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


We enjoyed the movie immensely, but two annoying things - drop the "high school in space" and pick an ending!
posted by Calzephyr at 5:30 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whatever the hell went wrong that caused some kind of schism in the movie industry and created some sort of rule that all scifi movies that included much of any action had to be crappy in this way happened right around 2000 too.

Pretty much, the movie industry discovered that geeks and nerds will throw their money at fuck-all anything that even somewhat smells of geek culture in-general, and comic books specifically. Just keep the action constant, and the CG flowing like an open hydrant.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:30 AM on May 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


cendawanita: "Ultimately for me, I just cannot let Abrams get his free pass regarding the whitewashing of Khan. There was no reason for it except for his well-known reputation for secrecy uber alles and there was nothing especially Khan about the character in the end except half-baked fanservice and murky motivations. I feel like I would've enjoyed this fine much like the last if not for that entirely stupid decision because it throws into relief how little his production thinks about non-white non-male audiences (eg the dudebro explanation for Alice Eve in her underwear), and I'm trying to phrase that without having to appeal to Star Trek's original vision. It's 2013, shouldn't I expect better? And if I can't even depend on the one franchise that at least tried to remember people like me exist, then no thanks.

And when I start getting down that road it's hard to ignore how genuinely stupid the writing was, not just in a sci-fi or Trekkie sense, but just in basic movie scriptwriting.
"

Quoted for truth. I loved the first Star Trek with Pine, et al, but this got to me way too much. Maybe I'll give it a watch whenever it hits Netflix.
posted by ShawnStruck at 5:31 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just when Cmd Hadfield taught me to forgive JJ Abrams the LensFlares(tm), JJ turned Khan white.

On the flip side, he gave the Klingons their bumpy heads.

But I do like the actor they used - he looks like he's going to do a lot of things, I agree with the versatility sentiment above.
It's worth pointing out that co-screenwriter Roberto Orci is on record as a 9/11 truther, which goes a long way towards explaining the tortured allegorical logic.
This explains so much. I was reeeallly pissed at the movie once I figured out they were going to crash the damn ship into the effing city. It's one thing to "reflect moral and societal changes" - quite another to friggin Trutherize the recent past.
posted by tilde at 5:33 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


This article is a ridiculously uncharitable interpretation of the movie. While some of the criticism is valid, most of the "plot holes" they point out are resolved or otherwise made clear over the course of the film.
posted by anifinder at 5:34 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also - I figure since they didn't manage to kill anyone that mattered, they must be saving up the Khan and his people to come back in another episode and then get betrayed.
posted by tilde at 5:35 AM on May 21, 2013


I enjoyed STID as a movie unto itself. It wasn't perfect, but I had a lot of fun. Not nearly enough women, though. I can be okay with a movie having a bunch of men in it if that makes sense, but this is Star Trek, not Glengarry Glen Ross.

The FAQ page overstates many of the problems, but it's still funny, and accurate in parts (e.g. underwater Enterprise, radiation insta-death, OG Spock breaking his own rule yet again).

My biggest issues with the film included how they didn't go nearly far enough in having STID exist in its own universe. Why couldn't Khan be someone - or something - dramatically different from what Khan had been in Star Trek II? For the show Fringe, Abrams and company did quite a bit to create a rich, fascinating alternative universe. Why were they so conservative here?

Deviating more from the canon is a win-win situation. Trekkies would complain less about "OMG DR. MARCUS NOW HAS A DOCTORATE IN A DIFFERENT SUBJECT!!!" if they understood more clearly that Nu Trek is intended to be its own thing and its own thing only. Those who would never get over such differences will always complain, but they will still buy tickets. Either way, don't worry about them. As for non-Trekkies, I'm a geek for other geekery. I've enjoyed some Trek stuff, but my exposure has been fairly limited, so I'm in a middle ground: I dig references to previous canon, but I'm sure I missed many other references. On the whole, I couldn't care less if Nu Trek hews to canon as a whole, as long as it's fun. As for people basically unfamiliar with Star Trek, who are going to be the toughest to sell to, my SO loved the 2009 Star Trek, but she has never seen a non-Abrams Star Trek thing. She got nothing out of references to previous canon, such as "KHAAAAAAN!" and the Vulcan neck pinch. People like my SO won't even know to care if you deviate from the canon.

I also didn't like the Kronos derail. Much was made of war with Klingons. Nothing came of it. Uhura made a big deal about communicating with the Klingons on their own terms, but then it didn't even work! What a wasted opportunity. Uhura could have shown how she was badass in her own way. Instead, it just seemed as if their error was in not having nearly enough pew pew lazer beems. I imagine that this scene must have played strangely to people unfamiliar with the Star Trek universe.

Also, why couldn't this movie have been About Something, even just a little bit? The 2009 Star Trek did a great job of being Nu Trek's Batman Begins. It felt like it was actually about responsibility and teamwork, about how Kirk and Spock need one another, about how Kirk and the Enterprise need one another, about how Spock needs both his Vulcan side and his human side. I'm not sure what STID was really About, except for "Benedict Cumberbatch is awesome", "Simon Pegg is irresistible", and "Spock will fuck your shit up".

I may be turning into Patton Oswalt from Parks and Rec, but this is just me thinking aloud on the internet:

The movie opens with an action sequence showing the dangers of meddling in other planets' affairs. What if they had gone further with that theme, while also doing more to differentiate Nu Trek's Khan from Classic Trek's Khan?

For example, what if there had been a big to-do about sending a ship loaded with torpedos to Kronos, but then Uhura is able to actually negotiate Harrison's extradition from Kronos, using her understanding of their culture of honor and bellicosity?

What if, instead of "being" Khan, John Harrison was instead merely one member of a broader KHAN organization, and that that organization comprised genetically engineered superhumans who were not only ruthless and powerful, but who also sincerely thought that they would do a better job of running the universe than anyone else?* What if, through that conflict, we saw more clearly why it's a Good Thing that Starfleet doesn't go around trying to meddle in other people's affairs?

What if the movie had shown KHAN behind the scenes on both Earth and Kronos, inciting war so as to sow chaos and to create a vacuum to fill with their leadership? KHAN would manipulate both Admiral Marcus and his Klingon equivalent into thinking that war must be expedited, since they and only they would be great enough to lead their people to victory. What if this had led to a scene in which our heroes must save Klingons who are being led into a trap, even though such a rescue would potentially cause a fatal insult to their honor? What if the action of the film had featured our heroes not only beating the crap out of Cumberbatch, but also trying to prevent the genocide of an enemy that hates them? What if the movie had been forced to do more with the idea that fighting Klingons is useless, but talking to them can actually work?

What if Nu Spock consults OG Spock for guidance, but there is mounting frustration and terror as they realize that their universes are far more different from one another than they had previously assumed? What if following OG Spock's advice had led to more problems as a result?

What if, at our heroes' darkest hour, it is the Star Trek II-style sacrifice of a single brave Klingon which changes the tide, leading to a climax in which the Federation and the Klingons team up against a common enemy?

By the end of the film, you could leave the Federation and the Klingons with a momentous but fragile truce**. You could begin with the Klingons as the stock villains of the classic series, but you could leave them as the dangerous but honor-bound warriors of the later series. You could have Harrison dead, but leave either KHAN or KHAN-related activity as still-unresolved.

You could end the film with a conversation between OG Spock and Nu Spock. Satisfied that their are lives are sufficiently different from another, they are more familiar and forthcoming with one another.

And then, for your last scene, as a sequel grab, show something very important happening...in Wales...


*Because they're Neo-KHANs.

**Maybe only I would find this funny, and this might reveal how little I understand the Star Trek universe, but I would laugh if the Klingons who team up with the Federation are hailed by their own people as heroes, while also officially deemed to have gone rogue. As a result, they commit ritual suicide at their very own victory ceremony.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:42 AM on May 21, 2013 [20 favorites]


My biggest problem with it was that I felt like the dramatic stakes were unearned, and I'm glad to see the lined article touch on that; Kirk and Spock are not lifelong friends...

I think it's also worthwhile to remember a couple things about the original KHAAAN! scream.

First, it was in a movie that was set up as a duel between two captains, and it came after Khan had seemingly won his ultimate victory, getting Genesis, stranding Kirk to die in a cave while Khan went to destroy the crippled Enterprise. It wasn't set up as a NOOOOOO scream of loss, it was rage against one's nemesis which they had been earning the whole movie. It also released some of the tension of some actual horrifying things (the dead scientists, the earwig things, the other captain killing himself). (Whereas, man did STID give half of a single fuck about the scores of dead crewman they showed, even after Kirk was so proud of not losing anyone?)

More importantly, though, is that the scream was totally a bluff; Kirk wasn't trapped and the Enterprise wasn't crippled. Kirk was hamming it up to make Khan think he'd won after trying to bait him into a personal fight.

I'm not saying that Into Darkness had to use it the same way, but it highlights how Into Darkness not only doesn't seem to understand its own universe, but doesn't seem to even give a shit about the own story it is telling.

Into Darkness seems dumb because it has no other qualities. It has no wit or charm or cleverness, so the dumb radiates out strongly. The action is not good—it is dumb. The dialogue is dumb. The plot turns are dumb. It's dumb story, dumbly told. Everything is handled in the dumbest way. Great art is usually interesting and first glance and gets better the more attention you give it. Into Darkness starts out dumb and shows its dumbness at every turn. It is a bottomless well of stupid.
posted by fleacircus at 5:43 AM on May 21, 2013 [44 favorites]


This movie just ticked me off. I was careful not to read any spoilers or watch any trailers before it came out, so I had no idea what I was walking into.

I walked out feeling like I had watched a rehash of The Avengers (team is fractured! godlike evil dude is easy to catch! oh no, what are the chances godlike evil dude wanted to be caught?!) that then glommed into a weird hash of Wrath of Khan.

And I probably would have enjoyed it, in a light, popcorny way, if they hadn't stolen the most iconic scene in the entire franchise and made it meaningless. [Spoilers ahead, natch.]

The airlock scene mattered in the original because Kirk and Spock had served together FOR YEARS. It was a culmination. And it appeared for a very long time to be a very permanent sacrifice.

In this version, Kirk and Spock have bickered a little bit for all of a year, they don't know each other, and with that tribble sitting there soaking up magic vampire rejuvenation juice, I knew the sacrifice didn't matter. They would magically fix it in less than ten minutes.

I can roll with all kinds of random logical bullshittery, but the emotional logic wasn't here either. They stole something really special from the original movies, threw it in a blender, then splashed it on screen. HO HO AREN'T WE CLEVER?

Well fuck you, Abrams, no you are not. /overreaction /10yearoldfangirl
posted by headspace at 5:45 AM on May 21, 2013 [16 favorites]


Why couldn't Khan be someone - or something - dramatically different from what Khan had been in Star Trek II?

Because Khan existed before the setting got all Eric Bana-foned in the first movie. Of course, that they re-cast him as a white dude didn't help much.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:50 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


...and the only thing they were accomplishing by denying it was 1) being assholes and 2) insulting our intelligence.

Well, that IS what they do best.

Also, whenever I see the title abbreviated STID, I keep thinking it's some new form of the space clap.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:52 AM on May 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


Because Khan existed before the setting got all Eric Bana-foned in the first movie. Of course, that they re-cast him as a white dude didn't help much.

I understand what you're saying, but I still think it's a mistake to marry Nu Trek to Classic Trek canon. No good can come of this.

Why not just let Nu Spock and the audience realize that the universes are flat-out not the same? Alternatively, they could hand-wavily explain that Bana's time travel has caused ripples both forwards and backwards in time, or that they had previously misidentified the break point in the time lines, or that FIRE EVERYTHING
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:58 AM on May 21, 2013


I will say that I thought the Inside Job Conspiracy stuff was pretty cool -- not because I think BUSH DID 9/11 WAKE UP SHEEPLE, but because it referenced the Section 31 stuff that they introduced in DS9.

In case you're unfamiliar with Section 31, the idea is that there's a small rule in Starfleet's Charter (Article 14, Section 31) that seems like it's meant to be invoked during times of extraordinary threat in order to allow a small group of Starfleet officers to engage in normally-illegal activities. So when all else fails, you have this CORE GROUP of ULTIMATE BADASSES who will GET THEIR HANDS DIRTY and do WHATEVER IT TAKES to SAVE THE FEDERATION. Kind of a secret-but-codified version of the tv show 24.

But! since the Federation is a giant constantly-threatened Space Polity, you could kinda ALWAYS say that it's in a condition of extraordinary threat. Which means you have this group of people who are ALWAYS operaing in secret and above the law. So the writers of Star Trek have always used Section 31 as a way of asking "even if this group is useful, is it actually ethical? And wait, IS it even useful?"

So every time Section 31 gets brought up, it's a really cool in-universe way to talk about how best intentions are often muddled up in immoral actions and egos and appeals to patriotism that ultimately undermine respect for democracy. It's one of my absolute favorite parts of the Star Trek canon, and fairly relevant to our real-life government, so I'm pretty happy it was left in. I didn't see it as 9/11 Truth Allegory so much as a general warning against the kind of secrecy our government regularly engages in.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:02 AM on May 21, 2013 [10 favorites]


Not having seen STID yet, I thought that the essential problem with the first reboot was one of characterisation- I mean, Scotty & Bones were played/written as, essentially, slapstick caricatures. The essence of good Trek is that that main crew members felt like actual people. Sure, funny moments could be derived from, say, Data or Worf doing or saying something amusing but at root they were, at least somewhat, rounded characters. Scotty (especially) in the the first reboot was just 2-dimensional comic relief. It shows up, to me at least, that JJ Abrams & Damon Lindelof essentially don't understand what Trek is really about.
posted by Rufus T. Firefly at 6:06 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why not just let Nu Spock and the audience realize that the universes are flat-out not the same?

That's one point that keeps sticking with me. If this is the case, then why didn't they just make their own space movie with original characters in an original universe with an original name? One is forced to the conclusion that they're just using brand recognition for a cynical cash grab, and I find it kind of insulting as an audience member.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:10 AM on May 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


If I wanted a stupid action-fest of explosions and nonsense, I would watch the Transformers movies. I expected the bar to be set higher for Star Trek, but obviously intelligent sci-fi is not on the menu.
posted by Vindaloo at 6:11 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


from the io9 link:

Look, I know Star Trek is science fiction, but hasn’t Trek always at least nominally tried to get science right? Shouldn’t a Star Trek movie give the tiniest shit about such things?

Haha, no.

But anyway.

The new Trek wasn't great. On its own terms it's an adequate way to spend two hours if you like Star Trek and like things that make Star Trek sort of noises at you for two hours, but it will not change you in any way. Shortly after seeing it, it's the same as if you hadn't. It doesn't age well; it falls apart with even a little examination.

Charlemagne is entirely correct that movies need to make emotional sense more than they need to make logical sense - a movie with no plot holes isn't guaranteed to be an enjoyable movie, and there are any number of truly excellent movies with ridiculous plot holes that the viewer either doesn't notice or doesn't care about because the movie sells the emotional experience well. But, as has been observed, the new Trek doesn't really do much of either.

The plot meanders. The crew of the Enterprise keep experiencing problems with repercussions that threaten to make the movie very interesting indeed, and then those problems tend to be resolved more or less immediately. Kirk gets demoted? Two scenes later he's promoted again. Spock and Uhura are fighting? That lasts all of ten minutes. Klingons show up and shit is very tense? Nope, now they're all dead. Kirk is DEAD? Only for about one scene.

The movie never lets stakes accumulate. It never lets the viewer get invested in the plight of its characters.

And it leans too heavily on callbacks to the original series, which is fine in terms of set dressing, but less fine in terms of recycling plot elements. Altogether it falls pretty flat.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:14 AM on May 21, 2013 [10 favorites]


I also didn't like the Kronos derail. Much was made of war with Klingons. Nothing came of it.

Why even bother to make it the homeworld? Ships go from Earth to the Klingon homeworld and back, and besides the films really muddled sense of location, we also never see a single other spaceship. They tell us the political stakes are really high, but there is absolutely no showing of that at all. No politicians, no ships gathering at the edge of the neutral zone, nothing. It just seems pretty half-assed and lazy. I don't know if they were just copying WoK's two ships out on the edge of space nautical script, or strongly wedded to the War on Terror mindset where there are no armies and no interest in the 'enemy', or just, world-building is hard and expensive. Whatever the reason, what they put on screen felt thin and clumsy.

Uhura made a big deal about communicating with the Klingons on their own terms, but then it didn't even work! What a wasted opportunity. Uhura could have shown how she was badass in her own way.

This irked me too. Why couldn't Uhura take control and be good? Spock admonishes Kirk for not giving Uhura space to try to do it herself, but they also make a huge deal out of how there's no other choice. Then she fails and needs to be rescued anyway. I worry they think that was a girl-power moment.
posted by fleacircus at 6:15 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't mind a future that had at least as many women and people of color in power doing interesting things as in the world right now. We could even imagine a future with more people of color in power doing interesting things because of demographic shifts. At the very least, I would prefer a future that is not less progressive than the present, so that Important Starfleet Council probably shouldn't have been almost completely white guys.

And I know Roddenberry tried and blah blah blah, but it's not like Abrams hasn't previously cast an Indian guy as a smart, hot, morally flexible character. I would have paid to see Naveen Andrews' Khan in 3D IMAX. Benedict Cumberbatch just got me to pay matinee, 2D prices.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:16 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, The Wrath of Khan had so many innovative moments. Genesis. How Kirk's trying to be decent in Space Seed bred a Captain Ahab. The use of Moby Dick. The earwig brain things. Chekhov's resistance to the earwig brain things. The 'by the book' Spock lie/non-lie. Spock's sacrifice that was an actual sacrifice w/o the deus ex machina in the same movie.

The KHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAN is something that Kirk would say. Especially a Shatner Kirk. Spock might KHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAN if he was in heat, but otherwise, no effing way.
posted by angrycat at 6:16 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Scotty & Bones were played/written as, essentially, slapstick caricatures.

I think this is one place where the original movies (both TOS and TNG) benefitted from coming after a television series. Not that a movie can't find ways to give everyone in its ensemble cast nuances, but it's obviously much harder to do so in two hours than it would be over the course of several seasons' worth of TV, where you can do things like devote entire episodes to one character.
posted by chrominance at 6:19 AM on May 21, 2013


It's not even just that they cast a white dude as a character named Khan Noonien Singh. It's that they went from Montalban - who was at least sort of dark tan - to a white dude who is the color of an Irishman's thighs, AND he's a white dude named Benedict Cumberbatch, which is the whitest name I have ever heard in my goddamn life.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:21 AM on May 21, 2013 [34 favorites]


Regarding the plot holes, I'll discuss the biggest one, modified somewhat to avoid major spoilers, though not completely:

If your movie establishes that the villain is trying to wake Godzilla and then goes to Monster Island to wake Godzilla and the hero has to catch him, but then -- ha, ha! sending the hero to Monster Island was actually part of the plot to wake Godzilla by the other villain who's always been afraid of the aggressiveness of Godzilla to the point that he built a special anti-Godzilla robot, then by the end of that movie you'd damn well better show me some Godzilla. Even a stinger of his head rising from the water would do -- goodness knows Toho pulled that stunt enough times.

This movie? No Godzilla at all.
posted by Gelatin at 6:21 AM on May 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


And, yeah, Cumberbatch's performance was one of the best things in the movie, but Kahn's an ever-lovin' Sikh!
posted by Gelatin at 6:22 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


AND he's a white dude named Benedict Cumberbatch, which is the whitest name I have ever heard in my goddamn life.

Oh, no, it gets whiter. His full name is Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:23 AM on May 21, 2013 [14 favorites]


Where were all the women in this movie? Not only in speaking roles but even as extras? Uhura's entire existence in this film seemed defined by her being Spock's girlfriend and then we have Carol Marcus' role all about being someone's daughter. It was the most painful thing that stood out for me as I was watching the film.
posted by liquorice at 6:31 AM on May 21, 2013 [17 favorites]


Assiduously avoiding spoilers, but I have one question:

Is Anton Yelchin devoured by a pack of rabid wolverines within ten seconds of his first onscreen appearance? If so, this may become one of my favorite movies.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:34 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


No good can come of this.

...until the next movie when Riker kicks down the door to the bridge and knocks NuKirk out of the Captain's Chair with a very high leg swing. "I'm taking this ship to save the future of your past," he says. NuSpock tries to fight him, but then like five Datas decloak on the bridge and shit gets real.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:38 AM on May 21, 2013 [31 favorites]


Man I want to see this even MORE!
posted by mrgroweler at 6:42 AM on May 21, 2013


I am so torn on BTCCumberbatch as Khan, because on the one hand I adored him, on the other hand WTF whitewashing classic POC characters, on the other other hand if they hadn't whitewashed him it'd be Yet Another Terrorist Brown Dude as a villain, so. Sigh. I am a fan of a Problematic Thing, and I'm resigned that I'm not going to be able to resolve it properly.

Overall I had a lot of fun with the new film just for how much I love the Nu-Trek characters. I want to pinch their fresh baby cheeks and cuddle them all like eager, fluffy corgi puppies in spaaaace. And for Trek 3 I want Klingons, and more hilariterribble things happening to Kirk while Bones facepalms. BONUS: radiation-&-Khan-blood-superpowered Kirk fights crime and accidentally punches through walls with his faithful, fuzzy sidekick, Über Tribble!
posted by nicebookrack at 6:44 AM on May 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


5_13_23_42_69_666: We are kindred spirits it seems. The changing scene just left me feeling weird, and my first sentence out of the theater was that I felt the movie could have used more punching.

I'm not someone who usually tries to look too closely at big budget movies - they're big effects, good fun, summer excitement and all. I really enjoyed the first Star Trek movie. However, starting with the meeting of all the major players in the prearranged room open to attack, it was impossible not to wonder "what the hell" in many places.
posted by bizzyb at 6:49 AM on May 21, 2013


Other bestest best visual in a movie full of them: Hikaru Sulu rocking The Chair, in frame with the badass bald black crew lady (and the possibly-Latino? crew guy). LOOK AT THIS FUCKING FIERCE POC BRIDGE CREW, STARFLEET. LOOK AT IT.
posted by nicebookrack at 6:50 AM on May 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


Honestly, once they brought out the floating ball of "red matter" in the first movie, it was clear we had just given the fuck up on trying. Might as well follow the Xena script and say "yeah a wizard did it."

Which, fine, whatever. I have never liked the ST movies much, not even TNG ones. They were always like regular Star Trek set on "bloat." But they had a few redeeming features. Some of the Khan movie, including Ricardo Montalban. Some of the space whale movie. V'ger jokes.

And Abrams can't even let that stuff alone, as the review points out. Whitewashing Khan was a dick move, never mind the stupidity of the plot. It served no purpose but to say "Check it out, Hollywood is still run by racist dicks!" I doubt the Sherlock-loving Cumberbatch fans who might maybe see this movie really justify that decision...and frankly, you could probably get as many Naveen Andrews (of Lost) fans if you had used him, plus some cred for using an actor of color.

Oh and there were the many ways women went from relative equality riiiight back to bootylicious eye-candy. That's a big 'ol sexist thumb in the eye to the many many female Trek fans.
posted by emjaybee at 6:50 AM on May 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


I will say this: I went into it with expectations considerably lower than the sub-sub-sub-basement that Officer Mickey descends to in the turbolift. A script from Orci, Kurtzmann and Lindelof? This is a meal of Obvious and Pandering, with a dessert of but-where-did-the-lighter-fluid-come-from. It was better than I thought it was going to be.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:54 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


It was OK, but it was hamfisted in so many ways. Fanservice can be done well, such as the BBC's Sherlock revival, or even the odd Doctor Who shoutout to its past. This isn't done that well.

My test for how good this movie is is if, in 20 years, given a choice between rewatching this movie, or doing something else, I'd just do something else.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:57 AM on May 21, 2013


...until the next movie when Riker kicks down the door to the bridge and knocks NuKirk out of the Captain's Chair with a very high leg swing. "I'm taking this ship to save the future of your past," he says. NuSpock tries to fight him, but then like five Datas decloak on the bridge and shit gets real.
I honestly thought, when we went to Jupiter (to get more stupider ;)) that they were inventing something that would become Borg ... That looks dark, massive, and cubical ... BORG?
posted by tilde at 7:01 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Two objects falling together would be effectively weightless;

I'm all for nit picking bad science, but nope, you're missing a very important factor.

They're not in free fall. The atmosphere is in the way, that's applying an acceleration (via friction) to the Enterprise, which would be felt by the crew -- just as people do when they reenter the atmosphere from orbit today. This can be dramatic -- Soyuz TMA-11 had the propulsion module not separate, which increased the drag, and thus, the friction. The crew had peak accelerations hitting 8g. Much more of that for any decent period of time and you don't survive. STS, IIRC, would peak at about 3 to 4 g, depending on the combination of orbit and landing site.

Of course, the ultimate friction causing acceleration comes at the very end, when you lithobrake from whatever velocity to 0 upon Ground Interface Insertion. This often damages the paint.

If the Enterprise were tumbling, they'd perceive the vector of that acceleration changing -- one of the things that is very important for reentry is to not tumble. For one thing, that means the heat shield is pointing the wrong way, but even if I hand wave that away*, the other big reason is tumbling on reentry is a good way to beat your crew to death.

If the Enterprise wasn't tumbling, then, well, bouncing off all the walls would be bogus. There would be one direction that would be down, everything would fall there and stay there.


* The hull is made of a bolonium tetraflouride composite. TA-DA!
posted by eriko at 7:03 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Thankfully, Abrabs is only in charge of one classic, much loved, Sci-Fi franchise that he can mess up.
posted by Wordshore at 7:05 AM on May 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


There seemed to be more emotional import to the Kirk/Khan relationship than the Kirk/Spock one

Would you care to guess *exactly* how the term "slash fiction" got the name?
posted by eriko at 7:05 AM on May 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


Canon. Pft. Look, the frigging Bible can't do Canon right, and they've been getting repeat business for millennia. Just keep telling the story, backpedal when you have to, brazen it out when you can't backpedal. The faithful will keep coming back; they always do.
posted by Mooski at 7:05 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I dunno. I liked it.

*SPOILER*

When Scotty says, "Spock, better get down here. Better... hurry."

I made a little squeee noise. The guy next to me even looked over like I was a weirdo.

I don't know. I guess I'm easy to please.

*END SPOILER*

I don't know how we're treating spoilers in this thread, but since we started talking about Khan right off the bat, I figure we're just letting rip.
posted by kbanas at 7:05 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


AND he's a white dude named Benedict Cumberbatch,

He's named Benedict because, in the US, all traitors are named that.
posted by eriko at 7:08 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't have a problem with BC as Kahn exactly. I think it is not unreasonable to not have the big bad be a dark skinned terrorist, especially when they talk a bunch about drone strikes/extrajudicial killings are a Bad Thing. But in order for that to be a reasoned decision instead of just whitewashing, you need to show some diversity elsewhere. And there just isn't.
posted by Garm at 7:19 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Khan isn't supposed to be white

"Khan was the worst enemy we ever faced."

"Khan Noonien Singh?"

"What? No, Nigel Khan, from Croydon. Always used his mobile phone to cheat at the pub quiz. He was a douche."
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:19 AM on May 21, 2013 [24 favorites]


I'm not sure what STID was really About, except for "Benedict Cumberbatch is awesome", "Simon Pegg is irresistible", and "Spock will fuck your shit up".

Add to this list "John Cho is a BAMF" and that's all I needed it to be. How did it go? "One man's Peter Criss is another man's Ace Frehley, and that's why they made four solo albums?"
posted by ersatzkat at 7:22 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


ersatzkat: "Add to this list "John Cho is a BAMF""

John Cho is a puff of Nightcrawler's post-teleportation smoke? Er wait, that's an acronym... I am caught up now, please carry on.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:25 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I liked it, quite a bit. Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Scotty, and Khan were all well-realized, to me. I enjoyed that they were both familiar versions of the them that we know, but with differences. I like that the plot did that too. I am ok with this sort of Star Trek.

But I agree with some of the criticisms I've read here and other places. I wish there had been more badassery in the women's roles (I don't mind the underwear scene, but it would have been better, and funnier, and more useful if her character were portrayed as stronger rather than just being described as such. Show don't tell. Can you imagine a movie where the love interest is DESCRIBED as attractive without being shown as such?). I wish Bones, Sulu, and Chekov had had more to do.

But I really did, on balance, enjoy it.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:33 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


If the Enterprise wasn't tumbling, then, well, bouncing off all the walls would be bogus. There would be one direction that would be down, everything would fall there and stay there.

It was also my impression that the anti-gravity was just causing all types of wonkiness by going in and out.

As for the Benedict Khan, it's an unanswerable question, but when we have Iron Man 3 do everything it can to make the Mandarin as acceptable as possible, how would the criticism handle a dark skinned bad guy Khan? Would the premise that Khan is dark skinned in Space Seed and previously existing Canon be an acceptable response to, "Oh, I see, the dark skinned guy is the villain!" or would that be the response to calls of racism, generally dismissed?

Also that he approached Benicio Del Toro for the role implies that at least Abrams' first reaction to casting the role was to go with someone with the same complexion as TOS Khan. After that, to give him the benefit of the doubt, Abrams may have simply thought Cumberbatch could kick ass in the role.

I read the io9 article not long after it was posted and found it the same kind of nitpicking that makes me hate the "X number of things wrong in Y movie" videos.
posted by Atreides at 7:33 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Star Trek still made more sense than that shitty Iron Man 3 disaster.
posted by Windigo at 7:34 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is the key bit for me:

It means that Abrams doesn’t have any original ideas for Star Trek, and is content to rehash the shit people enjoyed the first time.

What a crashing disappointment to watch someone successfully reboot a franchise and then squander the sequel in a ridiculously stupid retelling of one of the franchise's most familiar old stories. For fuck's sake, they had a whole universe out there. What a disaster of a scifi movie.

For one thing, that means the heat shield is pointing the wrong way,

There's an even more basic bit of narrative idiocy: As they're falling to earth, someone says they need the shields up before they hit the atmosphere or they'll burn to death. The ship falls, heats, turns fiery, then is in the atmosphere, then rises from the clouds, and *then*, if I recall correctly, someone says "Shields are back online" or something. The two statements are like a minute apart. They couldn't bother with even that kind of consistency? There were so many slaps to the head like that (recreating the radiation death scene was so obnoxiously stupid I laughed out loud) it was difficult to like the movie, and believe me I was heavily predisposed to like it.
posted by mediareport at 7:35 AM on May 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


2009 Star Trek was solid. The story was pretty tight. I read all of the plot hole accusations, and almost all of them were easily refuted by merely paying attention to the movie. There were some problems, but to quote a reviewer, "welcome to movies."

I will defend that Star Trek as a lovely piece of entertainment and a respectable Trek film. The worst thing I have to say about it is that it felt a bit like a Star Wars movie in Trek clothing. Overall, though, it was fine.

With Star Trek Into Darkness, though, I've got to agree with the haters. The performances were impeccable, and it was visually stunning, but it's torpedoed by a script that is so lazy and indifferent to even basic story fundamentals that it actually makes me angry. It doesn't just insult our intelligence, but displays what I feel as actual contempt for the audience. This isn't just nitpicking -- I'm talking about the kind of flaws that result in ostensibly super-smart characters behaving like complete morons.

I really cannot believe that these guys had almost four years to work on the sequel, and this bullshit is what they came up with. And again, I say this as a huge fan of the previous film.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 7:36 AM on May 21, 2013 [13 favorites]


Dammit, El Sabor Asiatico, I'm a doctor, not a screenwriter!
posted by Danf at 7:38 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


We pick nits only because we cannot physically pin down Chris Pine and fix his ugly ass eyebrows.
posted by fleacircus at 7:45 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


you lithobrake from whatever velocity to 0 upon Ground Interface Insertion

Although in this film they could probably just have switched to Mole Drive and carried on.
posted by Segundus at 7:48 AM on May 21, 2013


Hey, it would have made sense emotionally.
posted by Segundus at 7:48 AM on May 21, 2013 [10 favorites]


Reading this thread brought me to a link which brought me to another link, and I discovered that Benicio Del Toro was originally cast as Khan but bailed at the last minute.

Okay, sure, your lead bails at the last minute and you have to replace him fast to stick to schedule, but...the next guy on your list is the most Anglo guy ever? You decided to go Latin in honor of Ricardo Montalban, you don't at least go deeper and get Gael Garcia Bernal? (Okay, okay, he'd probably turn it down, but hell, there's plenty of other great Latin actors if that's your goal.)
posted by rednikki at 7:50 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


2009 Star Trek was solid. The story was pretty tight. I read all of the plot hole accusations, and almost all of them were easily refuted by merely paying attention to the movie.

I saw it four times (god help me). Literally nothing about it made any sense whatsoever.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:51 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Having a brown terrorist villain and whitewashing Khan weren't the only two options - they could have created an original villain.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:00 AM on May 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think people would be shocked by how small the overlap is between people who are seeing this movie today and those who have even seen Star Trek: Wrath of Khan from 30 years ago.
posted by smackfu at 8:02 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Have we talked about hull breaches and people flying out into space? I get that it was important and a shock in the first JJ, but really, does that button need to be pushed all the time? Hull integrity...
posted by cavalier at 8:03 AM on May 21, 2013


I've probably already seen STID 14 times (not a lunatic, just a theater projectionist --- well, maybe a little lunatic); I've decided I can deal with Brite-White Khan, but Juvenile-Delinquent Kirk just frosts my butt...... Chris Pine has no gravitas at all, and while Shatner's Kirk chased everything in the universe in a skirt, at least he had some maturity to him, unlike Pine's fratboy version.

Uhura is just there to stand around and moon at Spock; Carol Marcus is there for eye-candy. Quinto's Spock is good, but quit already with the Old Spock/New Spock nonsense.

And that opening scene, where Kirk and Bones lead the natives on that footrace to lead them away from the volcano? Yeah, right: like the captain and the chief medical officer of a starship with over 400 crewpeople would be the ones to do that.....
posted by easily confused at 8:06 AM on May 21, 2013


There are probably more black Cumberbatchi than white, incidentally.
posted by Segundus at 8:06 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Saw it. The more I think about it, the angrier about it I get. That's pretty much the opposite of what I want from a movie. My takeaway is that I should avoid anything with the stink of Abrams or Lindelof anywhere near it. Fuck those guys.

I previously thought IM3 would be the worst thing I'd see this spring. STID makes Downey's third Iron Man look like goddamn Citizen Kane.

Of all the sins, though, I'm utterly untroubled by the casting choice for Khan. He carried the role. There was nothing in particular Sikh about the original (who, we should note, was played by a Mexican). There's SO MUCH MORE wrong, starting with doubling-down on the idea that a starship shaped like that would EVER, short of a major crash, even encounter an atmosphere. Let alone an ocean.

Fucking dumbasses. Fuck Abrams. Fuck Lindelof.
posted by uberchet at 8:07 AM on May 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm so glad that everyone else is irritated by this movie because, dude, in the UK, we had it over a week ago and it was SO DIFFICULT to keep my rage quiet for fear of spoiling people.

I decided that Cumberbatch was a super-genetic liar who lies and he's not Khan Noonien Singh, because Khan Noonien Singh was ruler over 25% of the world's population and a total charismatic badass, and Pasty McPastertons probably ruled, like, just England. Hell, not even England. In the great Eugenics Wars, he probably just ruled London. Maybe not even all of London, because I bet there were some fucking awesome superhumans in Brixton.

So Cumberbatch is awakened by Evil Admiral Robocop, and what's he gonna say? "Oh, yes, I was the ruler of Kensington during the great Eugenics Wars because my superhuman genes are awesome, but my charisma and tactical skills are for shit - you should probably wake someone else for your epic warmongering."

No, he's gonna lie like the lying thing he is, thinking of the man he is not even fit to gaze upon the gleaming pectoral muscles of, and say "My name is Khan Noonien Singh. Look me up, I ruled the fucking world. With my genius."

TL,DR: Fuck that guy.
posted by Katemonkey at 8:12 AM on May 21, 2013 [27 favorites]


What a crashing disappointment to watch someone successfully reboot a franchise and then squander the sequel in a ridiculously stupid retelling of one of the franchise's most familiar old stories.

Well said!!

The 2009 ST was perfect, to me. I loved it. It told a familiar story in a new way, and it hooked me in a big way. I think I saw the 09 ST 5 times in the theater, and multiple times when it was streaming on netflix. I had high hopes for this sequel, and I was disappointed. I liked it, but I didn't love it. It felt empty, somehow.

Despite being a LOST fan who *hated* the finale (and the whole last season, really), I've been reluctant to jump on the "Damon Lindelof sucks" bandwagon, but here I am, give me a hand, hoist me up. I"m with you.
posted by MoxieProxy at 8:13 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I kind of wanted to see the movie that Old Spock was in. The whole Battlestar Vulcanica thing. He'd have to realize that reuniting the Vulcans and Romulans would be the only viable path forward: the Vulcans are facing genetic bottleneck otherwise, and the Romulans are going to lose their own homeworld to a supernova in the relatively near future.

Naturally there are plenty of entrenched interests in both races, as well as in Starfleet, who would oppose reunification. If Spock's cunning wasn't enough to counter them, would he risk using his knowledge of the future to guarantee the survival of his people?

(Featuring eleven new songs by T'Pau.)
posted by Iridic at 8:13 AM on May 21, 2013 [10 favorites]


To me it was a roller coaster ride, and I look forward to seeing it again.

People who only expect a roller coaster ride from movies, and find it snobbish to expect anything more, are ruining movies. YOU are ruining movies! There, I said it.
posted by kenko at 8:14 AM on May 21, 2013 [13 favorites]


I should have known better than to click on this thread, but I feel a lot of sympathy for the haters in this thread. You missed out on an amazing time.

Aside from the lack of strong female characters (especially in leadership positions), this movie was AWESOME. It has inspired my husband and I to rewatch the remastered versions of the original series and I can't wait to go see this movie again.

This is from a devoted Trekie who has seen all of the TV episodes, all of the movies etc.
posted by Kimberly at 8:14 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think people would be shocked by how small the overlap is between people who are seeing this movie today and those who have even seen Star Trek: Wrath of Khan from 30 years ago.

That's a fair point in theory but the reboot's demo skews older than usual for action flicks: "73 percent over the age of 25" for this one so far, and 65% over age 25 for the first (compared to the Avengers, say, which was 50%).
posted by mediareport at 8:14 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


People who only expect a roller coaster ride from movies, and find it snobbish to expect anything more, are ruining movies. YOU are ruining movies!

It's all about expectations. If you see Star Trek as the summer tentpole action movie it is, why would anyone expect greatness?
posted by smackfu at 8:21 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you see Star Trek as the summer tentpole action movie it is, why would anyone expect greatness?

I suppose the issue is that it feels like everything has to be a tentpole action movie anymore. It's really created a monoculture in movies where it all looks like it's being sliced off this one, never-ending Loud Loaf-o-CG and Fistfights.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:29 AM on May 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


So I gather it's EPIC and AWESOME and ugh I hate the blob of floating id that is contemporary fandom/geekdom/whatever you call the tribe that on paper is my people jesus christ magpies are not a model to emulate.
posted by PMdixon at 8:41 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you see Star Trek as the summer tentpole action movie it is, why would anyone expect greatness?

The last Star Trek was a summer tentpole action movie, AND it was great(ness).
posted by MoxieProxy at 8:41 AM on May 21, 2013


The thing that bothers me about many of the supposed plot holes is that they are just as easy to explain as they are to point out:

Except that 1) when the volcano erupts, it’s going to kill everybody on the planet, so it hardly matters where they are, and 2) Spock is getting dropped down into the volcano to set off a cold fusion bomb.

They're leading them away from the volcano because the it might erupt a little bit before they can stop it or maybe the thing they're doing to save the whole planet might not be good for anyone right next to it.

They have actual fusion so maybe nobody talks about cold fusion the way we do now. A "cold fusion bomb" is probably something they MacGyvered together on the ship and it's a bomb that uses fusion to make things cold...cold fusion bomb. That would also explain why they could come up with a better way to position it and set it off.

Um, something about the planet’s magnetic field. Although they do beam Spock out of the volcano just a few minutes later, so…

They'd need to really close to beam it down and the native would have seem the ship and it was too far away where they had it concealed.

That’s ridiculous. Even the ship designed to function in the vacuum of space could handle the pressures underwater — which I’m 99% sure it can’t — even if the thrusters could function underwater, which makes no sense — and even if the ship could survive flying out of the water without the insanely large surface area of the front part snapping off like a twig — why the fucking fuck did they park it underwater instead of just hanging out in space like they were supposed to?!

They have shields, they have transparent aluminum and all sorts of crazy stuff that material science hasn't dreamed up, you're assuming the thrusters are based on rocket technology while talking about a ship that can travel faster than light!

They parked it there to make easier for the crew to get back to the ship. It was implied in the first movie that transporter tech it still pretty new, unreliable, and a little dangerous so they do things the old-fashioned way when they can. That's also why we're still building star ships. The trans-warp beaming thing is extra hard.



Sure, they could include quick little scenes to explain all these decision but they add up and we've got an extra hour of the movie explaining every little thing and it's easy enough for most people to come up with an explanation on their own. Or they can just assume there is one and move on.

Especially when the movie has so many other bigger problems. I seriously groaned when Kirk had to go into the core and I rolled my eyes hard when Spock yelled.

I was really disappointed with Uhura's scene talking to the Klingons. I thought for sure she was going to break the leader's arm or something and that was going to be how got their respect. It would have worked just as well, not taken anymore screen time and you still could have had Khan jump in and start shooting to set off the shoot-out. "Uhura had that shit handled until you jumped in there and started shooting." "Well yeah, I could have Starfleet officers forging a relationship with the Klingons even if they were undercover."

I also keep waiting for Kirk to...pause in the middle of a line for no reason. That's how to wink at fans.

I thought Cumberbach was great as Khan. Even when he was cold and calculating I got the sense that was barely contained violence pretty much all the time. I think he got cast in the role because they really wanted him in a Star Trek movie (and also the brown-skinned terrorist thing). When I first saw the trailer (knowing nothing else about the movie) and saw that he was the bad guy, I thought he was perfect to play a Trek villain.
posted by VTX at 8:47 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I suppose the issue is that it feels like everything has to be a tentpole action movie anymore. It's really created a monoculture in movies where it all looks like it's being sliced off this one, never-ending Loud Loaf-o-CG and Fistfights.

The most egregious example of this being The Hobbit.

But if you don't like dumb things, you aren't FUN.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:47 AM on May 21, 2013 [12 favorites]


The most egregious example of this being The Hobbit.

Aargh, yes. 10 minutes of empty CGI peril from mountain giants? You've got to be kidding me.

Still worth seeing just for the Gollum scenes. But that's like 15 minutes out of 170.
posted by figurant at 8:57 AM on May 21, 2013


If they absolutely positively HAD to have a character yell "KHAAAAAAN!" in this movie, they should have had Khan do it, like Steve Holt.
posted by doctornecessiter at 9:01 AM on May 21, 2013 [17 favorites]


This is how film criticism dies: torn apart by masturbatory, self-congratulatory nitpicking.
posted by mgrichmond at 9:02 AM on May 21, 2013


This is how film criticism dies: torn apart by masturbatory, self-congratulatory nitpicking.

I think the films got there first. Especially on the first two.
posted by PMdixon at 9:04 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Another thing...when the ship is failing and heading towards Earth, which is ridiculous because what the fuck is pulling it down, why aren't the other systems onboard failing: antigravity, inertia dampeners, life support, etc. etc. etc. Jebus, the sheer stupidity. I can take some disbelief but this was Prometheus level dumb. I had no idea Lindelof was involved and have now learned my lesson. Always check his IMDB page before considering going to a movie.
posted by Ber at 9:06 AM on May 21, 2013


As someone who watched every...single...episode... (just went into ShatnerMode there for a second) of TOS --AGAIN, IN ORDER-- when it came out on Blu ray a little while ago, I find the attitude of the Darkness haters a trifle puzzling. Star Trek (TOS) was silly more often than it was sublime, and the science was almost always terrible. Why (and I say this as a gigantic nerd fan of the franchise in all its glory) are we trying to pretend that it was high art? Bad sets and special effects, hammy acting, mallet-on-the-head moralizing -- that was TOS. Most of the depth of Star Trek that people talk about actually came from its sequels, TNG and DS9. So if the original is truly to be remade, we have to consider the source material.

That being said, I like what the reboot has done with the material. I feel very much about the new Trek movies as I felt about the rebooted Battlestar Galactica: one can enjoy them on their own terms, but to get the full impact, you need to be familiar with the old material. Just as new Galactica watchers had no reason to feel a small shiver when the Pegasus appeared (and what a delight it was to see how this Pegasus and her captain differed from the heroic one we remembered), casual or new viewers of the Trek reboot are missing some nice moments: Sulu sitting in the Captain's chair for the first time, Section 31, etc, not to mention the big reveal.

I guess I like the theme that is emerging. Perhaps I'm giving the writers too much credit, but it seems the story of the new Trek is of a universe out-of-balance, skewed by the time-travelling of Nero (and Spock as well), towards a more militarized, paranoid version of the original. It's not as bad as the Mirror universe, but the militarization of the new timeline cannot be ignored (The Vengeance, (even the name is off; since when does Starfleet christen ships with names like "Vengeance"?) the drones, the comments about Starfleet more aggressively patrolling its local neighborhood, even the uniforms and the hats Starfleet wears). It is a familiar skew to us, since we've become so fearful after 9/11. I know it sounds pompous, but if Star Trek does hold a mirror up to society, this is probably what we would look like in 21st century America, compared to 60s Trek, 80s TNG and 90s DS9.

Still, the io9 satire is fairly amusing. It covers a basic problem with Star Trek tech: technically, they can do anything: materialize and dematerialize out of thin air, create matter, possess unlimited energy, travel faster than light, etc. How do you make a coherent plot when your characters possess such godlike powers? It's built-in deus ex machina. I think the only answer is not to take the plots too seriously and to instead focus on the characterizations and the themes.
posted by Palquito at 9:07 AM on May 21, 2013 [11 favorites]


LOOK AT THIS FUCKING FIERCE POC BRIDGE CREW, STARFLEET. LOOK AT IT.

On the other hand it was not a good film for Starships of Color.
posted by fleacircus at 9:10 AM on May 21, 2013


I saw the film last night and absolutely loved it. Sure, there were a few plot holes, Khan was exceptionally white and women's roles were not in abundance but I felt that it still made for an enjoyable film.

I'm surprised that everyone keeps getting hung up on the inconsistencies between the reboot and the original series and films. Abrams and Co. gave themselves an out with the whole Nero destroying the fabric of space/time business in the first film. Things are going to be different. Not only does it allow them to make drastic changes like Spock and Uhura being an interracial (interspecies?) couple, it allows them to tweak fan expectations a bit.

I love Star Trek and all of its associated series, films, books and other media far more than anyone should, but let's not act like the original series and the films are high points of realistic storytelling and acting. Star Trek V? For crying out loud. I was 17 when that movie came out and I remember audibly groaning through 90% of it. For all the outrage over Uhura's ineffectiveness in relation to the Klingons and her lack of screen time, just for comparison, how much screen time did Nichelle Nichols get during the entirety of the original film franchise? Ten minutes? And one of her most notable actions onscreen was that godawful fan dance thing? Sheesh! Yes, it's been nearly a half century since the original series and thirty plus since the films began, I think seeing a woman of color as a big part of a large ensemble in a film is a good thing and the fact that she wasn't a wilting flower was awesome. Should we have moved to the point where this isn't a big deal? Damn right we should have, but small victories my friends.
posted by BrianJ at 9:10 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Demián Bichir, Édgar Ramírez and Jordi Mollà were considered afterwards, before Benedict Cumberbatch was finally cast."
posted by Lucinda at 9:12 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


"JJ Abrams thinks Star Trek is about the heroic story of James T. Kirk. There's no reason to see these."

With maybe a few exceptions, more often than not there's nothing particularly cerebral about ST TOS. It's very often simply an action-packed space adventure series revolving around the heroic Captain James T Kirk. If that's what JJ Abrams took away from the original series, he might have missed some nuance but he's not wrong.

People who only expect a roller coaster ride from movies, and find it snobbish to expect anything more, are ruining movies. YOU are ruining movies!

The problem I have here is what you're "expecting more" from. By all means, choose movies to go and see that are more complex and intelligent. To expect that from movies like Kirk-era Star Trek is "expecting more" from the wrong thing.

Fucking dumbasses. Fuck Abrams. Fuck Lindelof.

WORST. EPISODE. EVER.
posted by Hoopo at 9:14 AM on May 21, 2013


I thought the movie was worth the ticket price, but that's about all I was expecting.

One thing that I do like about the rebooted films, that I think was an improvement over what I remember from the "classic" Star Treks was the aesthetics of the engineering section. The warp core is evocative of an actual engine or industrial plant rather than a sculpture in some corporate lobby. This was probably true of the first reboot movie too, but I'd forgotten about it.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 9:16 AM on May 21, 2013


Lucinda: Because there definitely aren't any Indian or Pakistani film actors in the world that they could cast instead of the whitest white boy on the planet, if they were looking outside Hispanic actors.
posted by tavella at 9:16 AM on May 21, 2013


The biggest problem with the movie is still the whitewashing and half-baked female roles, but the Spock "KHAAAAAAAAAAAN" scream was just so godawfully stupid. Approaching "Anakin created C3PO" levels of dumb fanservice.

And in terms of continuity, how the fuck did they end up over Earth? Didn't the Killerprise blast them out of warp early?
posted by kmz at 9:16 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I suppose the issue is that it feels like everything has to be a tentpole action movie anymore. It's really created a monoculture in movies where it all looks like it's being sliced off this one, never-ending Loud Loaf-o-CG and Fistfights.

Not saying all these are stupendous, but:

Moon, Source Code, District 9, Solaris (Soderbergh), Children of Men, 28 Days/Weeks Later, Another Earth, Primer, The Fountain, Sunshine, Inception, Never Let Me Go, Monsters, maybe Contagion, Limitless, Eagle Eye if you have lowish standards, Cloud Atlas, Looper, Safety Not Guaranteed... with Elysium, Gravity, Europa Report, Interstellar, Transcendence... on the way.

If you aren't finding good movies to watch, or even just good SF movies, you are not paying attention. We are in the middle of a golden age.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:19 AM on May 21, 2013 [12 favorites]


There are some decent films coming out, yes, but there's no need for the "golden age" hyperbole that gets trotted out for just about everything these days, it seems.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:22 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


For the me the only moment of pure sci-fi enjoyment came when they showed the Berkeley skyline.
posted by eddydamascene at 9:23 AM on May 21, 2013


No one? Okay, I'll go...

MetaFilter: masturbatory, self-congratulatory nitpicking.
posted by Gelatin at 9:24 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


never-ending Loud Loaf-o-CG and Fistfights.

To be fair, again, TOS was full of fistfights, and their models and sets didn't look all that great so CG works just fine here.
posted by Hoopo at 9:26 AM on May 21, 2013


Approaching "Anakin created C3PO" levels of dumb fanservice.

Whoa. Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Simmer down, now. People get heated and say things they can't take back.

STID has problems, we all agree, but let's not get crazy.
posted by MoxieProxy at 9:27 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure where you guys are getting the idea that the 'haters' are mad because the movie wasn't true to TOS, or even wanted it to be.

The haters are mad because it's a shit movie.
posted by fleacircus at 9:28 AM on May 21, 2013 [13 favorites]


TOS is not exactly a high quality bar to clear and I'd hope that we would be aiming a little higher these days.
posted by kmz at 9:28 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


i thought it was better that they cast a white actor to play Kahn. given the updated theme of terrorism i think having someone brown play Kahn would've unavoidably fed into the narrative of USA vs middle eastern terrorism in a way that i suspect the filmmakers wanted to avoid.
posted by The Wig at 9:29 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Did they ever explain what those trees they were running through at the beginning were called?

Because I'm pretty sure they were Red Facepalms.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:30 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


To be fair, again, TOS was full of fistfights

And sometimes, swinging from a doorframe and kicking with both legs!

I laughed when Kirk swung from a doorframe during a fight scene and kicked someone with both legs. A nice little touch from TOS.

I also sort of laughed when Kirk fixed the engine by swinging off something and kicking it with both legs repeatedly. It felt like the end of The Dark Knight Rises, when Batman is having a lot of trouble getting rid of a bomb, and all I can think of is, "Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!"
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:31 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


MoxieProxy: "Approaching "Anakin created C3PO" levels of dumb fanservice.
Whoa. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Simmer down, now. People get heated and say things they can't take back. STID has problems, we all agree, but let's not get crazy.
"

So .... funny to mention, but I just got back from an early script pre-edit for the next Star Wars, and I think you'll be quite happy to see how J.J. is finessing the frankly chaotic galaxy in Episode 7.

"Superfans" won't necessarily be happy, but the general "fan" populace will swallow anything we throw at 'em (and hopefully even the Skywalker heritage rework we have planned!). So, no yeah, we're not saying that Jar-Jar is Luke's father father (not from a genetic sense, but J.J and Damo have this great plan for emotions and DNA and how the one affects the other and vice versa -- BRILLIANT), but I think everyone can agree that it will be really satisfying when J.J. (Binks!! Not Abrams, lol easy mistake we all do it) finally gets to yell "I AM YOUR FATHER" at C3-P0 and then the Mon Calamari launch all the Super-Nu Star Destroyers they've been building under the ocean of Dac to re-conquer Tatooine, because what better enemy do deserts have than oceans, like love versus fear or emotion versus logic, right?!

The effects are gonna be pricey, but once you see Han Solo standing on the highest mountain of Coruscant and yelling "YUB NUB!! EEEE-CHOP YUB NUUUUUBBBBBB!!!" across the barren plains of that lifeless planet, I think fans will just fall in line with whatever sort of vision we have for the rest of the universe.

They just eat this shit up.
posted by barnacles at 9:43 AM on May 21, 2013 [13 favorites]


I haven't seen the movie. This thread is the first I'd heard that Kahn is the villain. A phrase popped into my head: Grave robbers. Bunch'a lousy grave robbers.

The thing I liked about Trek back in the day was something that was, I believe, right there in the original pitch: Captain Horatio Hornblower in space. The more nautical Trek was, the better I liked it, and it was never more nautical than Wrath of Kahn, and that episode with the Romulan cloaking device that was a rip-off of "The Enemy Below."

I'm not mad, though. I'm through with Hollywood, and Hollywood is through with me. Hollywood has decided that words don't matter.
posted by Trochanter at 9:47 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the Corvette Summer - Star Wars - NuTrek circle will be complete when in SW Ep IX young P. J. Skywalker destroys an enemy ship by driving a Corvette into the middle of it and it overturns and blows up. Because cars blow up in movies when they overturn.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:48 AM on May 21, 2013


an Solo standing on the highest mountain of Coruscant and yelling "YUB NUB!! EEEE-CHOP YUB NUUUUUBBBBBB!!!"

I would watch this movie a billion times.
posted by kmz at 9:50 AM on May 21, 2013


So I've been thinking over the course of the morning about how I would've made ST:ID different, and I think the key is that, just as the first movie had the whole crew but was about Kirk Learning How To Responsible, the second movie should have the whole crew but primarily be about Spock Learning How To Human.

By the beginning of the second movie, we've already got the Spock/Uhura romance established, unlike the Kirk/Spock bromance. So just fucking go with it! Turn up the romance, man! Here's how it shakes out:

Big Change 1: The MacGuffin is Established

In the first scene, Kirk and Bones get the MacGuffin from the Volcano People, only instead of being a scroll, it's some kind of mysterious object -- a crystal, let's say. There's also now a mention that the volcano isn't any ordinary volcano -- it's got all kinds of weird radiation fluctuations happening.

As they're escaping the Volcano People, the Enterprise has trouble beaming the crew off the planet because of some weird energy signature surrounding the crew. They eventually get 'em onto the Enterprise, all last-second-like, by swooping down from space into the atmosphere to get closer to the crewmates (for goodness' sake, let's keep the ship out of the gosh-darn ocean). Most of this plays out similarly -- the aliens see the ship, maybe start worshipping it, the planet is saved from the volcano, the crew gets back alive, and Uhura is FUCKING PISSED at Spock for being so willing to die just to save "the many".

The main difference here is the MacGuffin Crystal. It seems that it's emitting some kind of energy that was barely holding the Volcano's energies at bay, and that's why the Volcano People were worshipping it. Spock has NEVER seen anything like it, he says; it bears further study. Good thing they took it with them.

(plot plot plot just like before, except heck I don't think Pike should die, there's already enough at stake without having to motivate Kirk further. Pike lives. Maybe he gets injured and has to go in the beep-beep-box wheelchair? OKAY)

Big Change II: Whitewashing is Made Explicit

The next big change we make is in the Benedict Cumberbatch Is White dealie. At some point during his monologue about Who He Really Is, he mentions that in addition to giving him a new name, Starfleet also gave him plastic surgery to go with the John Harrison moniker. "They took my face, took my name, and took my talents," he says. "Starfleet uses people, Kirk. And now they're using you."

Later, he reiterates this point, during his bridge-to-bridge dialogue, after headcrushing Admiral BrittleSkull: that Starfleet makes a BIG SHOW of tolerating difference, but only insofar as the difference stays within certain circumscribed boundaries. He gets real scenery-chewy in this monologue, making Harrison Bergeron-esque comments about the FICTION of STARFLEET is that we are ALL EQUAL when some of us are FAR GREATER.

Big Change III: The Sacrifice in the Warp Core

Here, Kirk is not the one who enters the radiation-suffused warp core; it's Uhura, who happens to down there with Scott. She doesn't argue with him, just walks in and somehow uses her linguistic skills to code a hard-to-break lock on the door's opening-mechanism. Scott immediately phones up to the bridge to get Spock down there, in hopes that Spock can talk her out of it. Spock arrives just as Uhura walks out of the little airlocky section and into the main warp core.

Here, let's not do the whole WE GOTTA CLIMB AND KICK thing that Kirk did; Uhura walks over, calmly, deliberately, up a ladder, and just gives the warp core one solid whack to get it back into place. The tension doesn't come from Kirk's frantic pseudo-parkouring; it comes from Spock impotently being forced to watch her kill herself to save the crew. They exchange words as she does this, and walks back over to the door, and it becomes clear from Spock's distress that he's finally internalized why she was so upset at him earlier. Logic may be the Vulcan ideal, but his human side is now acutely feeling the distress of watching a loved one die. Uhura slumps over just as they get the door open, and Bones rushes her off to sickbay. He puts her in one of the eugenic-people's cryotubes to keep her in stasis, but tells Spock it's unlikely he can save her; the radiation was too much.

So here we have Spock doing the KHAAAAAAN yell, but it's Spock; let's make it different. He's no Kirk; he doesn't have that same Turn It Up To Eleven hamminess; let's make it quiet. He whispers it, almost a hiss, like a snake coming for its prey. It should be downright scary; the fury of a man used to suppressing emotion, playing on the audience's knowledge that it's about to be unleashed.

(okay more plot plot plot, Khan dies, Kirk and Spock get their man, okay cool)

Big Change IV: The Healing of the Sacrifice Victim

Now really, I'd like to just kill Uhura for drama, because then we get the same kind emotional resonance that STII had, where the sacrifice actually felt meaningful. But A) the studio's gonna want her to come back, and B) I would feel pretty fucking icky about killing the one black character to ennoble the white men.

So here, instead of Khan's blood (which, as the io9 article pointed out, is now essentially a magic cure-all that can be used forever and ever, fuckin' phoenix down style), the Magic Save Item is the MacGuffin Crystal. Why, it seems the energy signature it puts out reverses the effects of radiation by time-shifting the very quarks of radiated objects BACKWARD through time! Captain, if we could somehow fire a pulse of inverted tachyon energy THROUGH the crystal, we might could just save her but OH it would DESTROY THE CRYSTAL

So here Spock tries to tell Kirk that the crystal is an unbelievable one-of-a-kind artifact, we can't do this, but is clearly just BARELY holding it together, and Kirk gently overrides him: "Mr. Spock, your objection is noted. Dr. McCoy, do what you have to do." And Spock gives him this look that says "thank you" but he can't say it aloud because OH MAN HE IS A TORTURED STOIC VULCAN

The crystal heals her, then blasts itself apart, and Spock and Uhura are reunited, both safe and sound. They are overjoyed as he holds her, and they both say how much the other means to them, and EMOTIONS EMOTIONS LOVE AND LIFE, and Kirk has been instrumental in getting Spock to feel human love so he smirks a little 'cause DAMN that cat is smug.

Big Change V: Why Is Kirk on The Five Year Mission

For the denouement, we have a scene of a bunch of crusty admirals discussing Kirk's conduct. Several of them, including a guy I shall call Admiral Hardass, point out that Kirk has BROKEN ALL THE RULES and is a LOOSE CANNON. But Pike points out that he DOES get the job done. He stopped Khan when none of the rest of us could.

Admiral Hardass: So what do you suggest, then?
Admiral Pike: Let's give him the five-year deep-space mission.
AH: On the Enterprise???? Are you crazy? He almost started an interplanetary WAR with the KLINGONS!
AP: If I recall correctly, he managed to avoid war.
AH: This is NOT the kind of man we want on the Federation's flagship! I wouldn't trust this man to speak for a local schoolboard, let alone Starfleet!
AP: So we send him away from Earth. We keep him away from politics, away from diplomacy. We send him into deep space for five years.
AH: Send him away....
AP: Deep space is mostly empty anyway; what's the worst that can happen?

...And then we cut to Kirk's face in close up, wearing this GIANT SHIT-EATING GRIN, as he is formally awarded command of the Enterprise. And they're off to the GREAT UNKNOWN!

What's Next:

Movie one is Kirk-centric, movie two is Spock-centric, so movie three will be Bones-centric; in addition to whoever they're fighting, the B-plot is that Spock's slowly losing it because of the Pon Farr and keeps getting super aggro at Kirk, whom he perceives to be a rival for Uhura. So most of the movie is Bones trying to keep them from killing each other while wondering What The Fuck Is Wrong With These Fucking Vulcans
posted by Greg Nog at 9:51 AM on May 21, 2013 [108 favorites]


As someone who watched every...single...episode... (just went into ShatnerMode there for a second) of TOS --AGAIN, IN ORDER-- when it came out on Blu ray a little while ago, I find the attitude of the Darkness haters a trifle puzzling. Star Trek (TOS) was silly more often than it was sublime, and the science was almost always terrible. Why (and I say this as a gigantic nerd fan of the franchise in all its glory) are we trying to pretend that it was high art?

Speaking personally, it's because Star Trek (perhaps a bit more the latter shows, but I think TOS as well) tried. Forgiving failures is no problem at all. That's what you get for shooting at the moon. But not even trying to be original, making a shitty thing because it'll sell well; and frankly filing off everything thematic about Star Trek while keeping the superficial layers is different. That's what pisses me off.

I know that DS9 dealt with the whole security state aspect of the Federation, so it's not completely filed off. But DS9 was a response to Roddenbury's mandated optimism and to TNG. This is just using the same storyline as DS9...so it doesn't even get credit for novelty on that ground.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:53 AM on May 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


“Great art is usually interesting and first glance and gets better the more attention you give it.”
&
“Star Trek (TOS) was silly more often than it was sublime, and the science was almost always terrible. Why (and I say this as a gigantic nerd fan of the franchise in all its glory) are we trying to pretend that it was high art?”


Take the mother of all goofiness: The Way to Eden. Bulked out with singing like a poor meatloaf with cereal.
The difference is not that you laugh at them, but how:

'Space hippies? Aw, that's just silly.' :-)

'Lazy marketing gimmicks masquerading as 'tribute?' Aw, that's just silly.' :-|
posted by Smedleyman at 9:55 AM on May 21, 2013


Yeah, if you think I was talking about TOS or WoK when I talked about great art, you read it wrong.
posted by fleacircus at 9:58 AM on May 21, 2013


Greg Nog: "So I've been thinking over the course of the morning about how I would've made ST:ID different ..."

Oh. My. Nog. MARRY ME. NONE OF THE REST OF YOU CAN ASK HIM I ASKED HIM FIRST I SAID IT FIRST We're gonna imzadi the fuck outta this Don't make me bring out the blink tag.

Really, though, awesomely awesomely awesome perfect re-working of the movie, Greg. I was nodding and saying "Fuck yeah!" aloud as I read it.

Helm, sidebar that comment. Warp Ni --- "but, sir, above Warp 5 we risk a" WARP NINE. Make it so.
posted by barnacles at 10:02 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I knew it would suck when I heard that Abrams and Lindeolf were doing it. I doubly knew it would suck when I heard Abrams doing an interview stating that he had never watched Star Trek before. I tribbly knew it would suck when I heard Abrams give an interview stating that this would be "a Star Trek for the rest of us." But I went and saw it anyway because ... well... Star Trek :(

Visually it was impressive but there was no there there. I have hence resolved to never spend a dime and only pirate anything that Abrams or Lindeolf produces (and may it be few) from this point forward. If next year Abrams or Lindeolf come out with "Babyon 5 - The Movie!" starring Patrick Stewart, Bruce Campbell and Elvis himself (!) I'm not going to pay for it - straight to torrent if that.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 10:02 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a thought I've had running around in by head lately and this movie really crystallized it for me: So many movies are really like a ride at Disneyland. Just a collection of impressive scenes held together by a loose narrative, like Indiana Jones or Haunted Mansion. It doesn't matter how the earlier scene is tied to the current scene, only the spectacle and the eye popping visuals. Oh no! A giant snake! Over the rickety bridge! Blow darts! Boulder! Oh Indiana! You're so witty
posted by JARED!!! at 10:06 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


And in terms of continuity, how the fuck did they end up over Earth? Didn't the Killerprise blast them out of warp early?

About four seconds early, it would seem, because they came out of warp close enough to Earth to plummet towards it, just as soon as it was plot-convenient for that peril.

I don't know in what other way the Killerprise was some ultimate new weapon. It would have been the same if it had been any other ship and just popped out of warp right right behind the Enterprise and started blasting. Maybe it could have been done better with trackers and override codes to emphasize how the military was taking control of Starfleet and fucking with the Enterprise's autonomy was like fucking with freedom. It also seems they missed an opportunity to underline how what Kirk was doing was treason.

I also don't know why the Enterprise couldn't just call for help as soon as it was out of warp, right near Star Fleet HQ, or why not a single other ship showed up or hailed them or seemed to exist at all at any point in the movie. I also don't know what was so uber new and terrible about those missile-torpedos, or why people think they are like drones.

Could be I wasn't paying close enough attention.
posted by fleacircus at 10:07 AM on May 21, 2013


I'm really charmed by all the people dismissing the observation that the movie is more racist and sexist than the 1960s original with comments like "masturbatory, self-congratulatory nitpicking." Or explaining that the whitewashing would have fine if they only mentioned plastic surgery. Thanks so much guys. Good to know my concerns are so unimportant.
posted by tavella at 10:09 AM on May 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


So - this is kind of embarrassing - it hurts when I pee and there is a white, mil....oh, sorry, I thought this was the thread about STDs.
posted by BoatMeme at 10:12 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or explaining that the whitewashing would have fine if they only mentioned plastic surgery.

I don't think it's the most ideal scenario, but given the scenario that a darker-skinned actor bailed at the last second, and the studio apparently wanted to go with Cumberbatch, I think it does make more sense to call attention to the race-change in an explicit way, rather than simply ignore it completely.

If we're alternate-universing the making of the film, I agree that it would be better still to avoid that scenario entirely, and to have Khan be the Sikh he was supposed to be. But: I would feel compelled to come up with a larger backstory for him to avoid making him look like Oriental Exotic Villain Man, and flesh out his character a bit more. If you want, I can try to do that? Or you could sketch out how you think it would go? I'd dig hearing you spitball about that.

I mean, I would genuinely love to hear how you would handle the racial tension inherent in having an Evil Sikh in conflict with the Morally-Upright Midwestern White American; I have no doubt it's possible, but I think it'd be tricky, and don't know how good I'd be at this, myself.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:24 AM on May 21, 2013


If you see Star Trek as the summer tentpole action movie it is, why would anyone expect greatness?

Because "everything is good of its kind" is a lie, if the kind itself is bad. Why don't I just quote myself?
I hate it when excuses are made for the shittiness of a work based on the rationale that it’s supposed to be shitty. Observe that it is insultingly stupid, that it is poorly crafted and executed, that its only redeeming quality, if it is one, is that it can be absorbed with absolutely no activity, not even that of actual engagement, on the part of its audience, and be told—well, it’s a beach read, a chick flick, a mindless action movie, a bit of fluff—pap, in other words, not that these defenders are likely to use that word. Certainly, there are books that are easier to get into while on vacation than others, movies that are likely to appeal more to women than to men, and vice versa, but they don’t have to be actively stupid, and to say that a work which is awful in one of these recognized ways is just an instance of a type to which extremely low quality is native is to act as if such a type is just like any other, and to excuse it. (It would obviously not be bad if someone were to say that—to take the example that set me off here—the Julie/Julia movie is (a) a chick flick and (b) a really bad one, since that would not make that particular kind of awfulness simply part of the chick flick type. But mostly that is not what happens.)
Yeah, if you go in to a movie expecting a POS, then, when it's a POS, your expectations aren't going to be disappointed by its not being great. (Holy moving goalposts, by the way, Batman; there's a lot of daylight between a good movie and a great one!) And I take it that "summer tentpole action movie" is shorthand for "POS". (Because otherwise, what's its excuse for being shitty?) If you see the movie as the perhaps entertaining if you remove your critical faculties POS that it is, then you've admitted, just by the description, that it's a POS, so you've rendered yourself toothless in the face of critics who say: "hey, this is kind of a shitty movie." What's your rejoinder? "I know, but I like it anyway"? Then you like a shitty movie. Own it. But don't act as if being shitty is another way of being good, just because you happened to be entertained. We're all entertained, sometimes, by things that we can frankly acknowledge suck.

Let's not even get into the question of why a Star Trek movie would be an action movie: separate grounds for disappointment there.
posted by kenko at 10:26 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I loved this flick. I am non-obsessive about Trek, but have seen all the shows and all the movies. I couldn't find anything bad to say about it after, and I am generally hyper critical of films. I thought this one was near perfect.

I think people are holding this up to a standard that would make all of them fail so far. Seriously, the first movie? Takes like twenty minutes to get the damn ship launched. The second? That the one where they go back in time to save the whales? Third? KHAN! Fourth? Spock hits puberty? Or is that the fifth? Then there's the one where they go to the end of the Universe to find fucking god. The Next Generation movies were like TV episodes. Bah! This movie did what it set out to do. It entertained and gave people a familiar backdrop for a decent story.

I plan to see it again which is more than I can say about the first of the reboots.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:38 AM on May 21, 2013


I'm really charmed by all the people dismissing the observation that the movie is more racist and sexist than the 1960s original with comments like "masturbatory, self-congratulatory nitpicking."

I don't think that's what that comment was in reference to. It was in reference to a bunch of self-congratulatory, nitpicky film criticism.
posted by Hoopo at 10:46 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay, look, there's no getting around it. Pike dies on Talos IV.

This is a travesty.

And inertial dampeners don't work that way, either. And a real starship captain wouldn't leave the bridge all the time...for crap's sake.

Action movies....ah crap. Shotguns in a phone booth. Machine guns in the hallway. Nobody can hit squat, or else they can drop you from a thousand yards with a pistol, and everybody is a kung shooie expert. If I want an action movie I look for Arnie. If I want thud and blunder I'll look up....well, Arnie, too. Okay, maybe Matt. Or Tom....hmmm....they're getting kind of old, but never mind.

I cry for SyFy. We have plenty action flicks already. Generic vanilla action flicks. Genre blending looks like the wave of the future. Too bad.
posted by mule98J at 10:48 AM on May 21, 2013


Big Change II: Whitewashing is Made Explicit

The next big change we make is in the Benedict Cumberbatch Is White dealie. At some point during his monologue about Who He Really Is, he mentions that in addition to giving him a new name, Starfleet also gave him plastic surgery to go with the John Harrison moniker. "They took my face, took my name, and took my talents," he says. "Starfleet uses people, Kirk. And now they're using you."


That's such a simple solution I thought that if Abrams & Co. were truly set on recycling Khan Noonien Singh for their villain as played by Bumbershoot Cumberbund, that would have been the easiest route to take (the racial subtext would be another matter, of course). Instead they dove right through that plot hole by apparently ignoring every opportunity in the script for their choice to make sense.

Just another workaround, of the top of my head: When John Harrison, a eugenics war veteran cryogenically exiled in the "Botany Bay", embarks on his quest for revenge against Starfleet, he adopts "Khan" as his nom de guerre as a way of paying tribute to his old leader (as that's a Mongolian-derived word meaning ruler). Unfortunately, STID lazily refers to him only as Khan and has done with it.

If Abrams & Co. had spent a fraction of the effort they expended keeping the villain's identity under wraps in coming up with a reasonable explanation for their creative choices behind the character, we probably wouldn't be having this thread. Lindelof even mentions an alternate "Harrison Cut" in which whole scenes and dialogue were altered to maintain the "John Harrison" pretense and which was screened early for the press. The press, however, may not be pleased at this treatment, and some are accusing Abrams of "genre bogarting".
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:52 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm going to go ahead and be that guy - what the fucking fuck is wrong with a "Star Trek for the rest of us?"

I say this as someone who's seen every episode of every series and every movie. At this point Star Trek (along with Star Wars, James Bond, Batman, etc.) are just part of the culture. They're our folk tales. They're going to get retold, and you're not going to like some of the re-tellings.

I'm happy that 1) Trek is back and 2) People care. Do we not remember the dark times of Nemesis? That movie sucked AND nobody saw it AND nobody cared. If the worse we can come up with for this one is it sucked, the franchise is already way, way ahead.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 10:57 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm going to go ahead and be that guy - what the fucking fuck is wrong with a "Star Trek for the rest of us?"

Nothing, on the face of it. Although some people might take offense that "the rest of us" don't want anything other than a lightshow for cattle.
posted by figurant at 11:04 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think people would be shocked by how small the overlap is between people who are seeing this movie today and those who have even seen Star Trek: Wrath of Khan from 30 years ago.

I, for one, occupy that small sliver of Venn Diagram space - each time, attended the first weekend.
posted by Danf at 11:05 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think just adding the, "They took my face..." part would have been plenty. According to Memory-Alpha the Star Trek wiki, "Augments produced by the program possessed physical strength and analytic capabilities considerably superior to ordinary Humans, and were created from a variety of Earth's ethnic groups." There is no reason he can't be pale skinned and I've always thought Cumberbatch looks like he's from Venus or something. Just because he was originally played by a Latin actor doesn't mean he needed to be back then and it doesn't mean he needs to be now. If you're mad that this Khan wasn't Montalbán's Khan, you can still go watch the original.

Considering that Cumberbatch already looks like he came here from the Star Trek universe to be an actor and that the original, Latin actor, they wanted for the role dropped out, I don't think the white-washing complaints are valid.

He whispers it, almost a hiss, like a snake coming for its prey. It should be downright scary; the fury of a man used to suppressing emotion, playing on the audience's knowledge that it's about to be unleashed.

This is genius. Even if no other changes were made, this little bit would have made the movie so much better.
posted by VTX at 11:19 AM on May 21, 2013


Just because he was originally played by a Latin actor doesn't mean he needed to be back then and it doesn't mean he needs to be now. If you're mad that this Khan wasn't Montalbán's Khan, you can still go watch the original.

That's really not the complaint, and I'm sure you're smart enough to know that.
posted by tzikeh at 11:24 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I look forward to the reboot of the reboot.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:25 AM on May 21, 2013


Although some people might take offense that "the rest of us" don't want anything other than a lightshow for cattle.

and yet others might take offense that a movie that appears to be fairly well-liked and received overwhelmingly positive reviews is being characterized as a "light-show" and that being one among many that enjoyed it makes them "cattle." We can all play this game!
posted by Hoopo at 11:26 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sadly, this was exactly the movie I was expecting JJ Abrams to make. Sigh.

Go play with those Star Wars toys, Abrams.

Please leave mine alone. You don't love them, and it shows.
posted by KHAAAN! at 11:27 AM on May 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


I look forward to the reboot of the reboot.

Really? Because I thought the Superman previews kind of sucked.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:29 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


The complaint is that they took a role that was played by a minority and gave to a white guy. Or am I missing something?

It isn't that I don't have a problem with all the primary roles going to white-washing, just that I don't think casting Cumberbatch as Khan is an example of it.
posted by VTX at 11:34 AM on May 21, 2013


Again, the whitewashing complaint is not automagically rendered invalid because they originally planned for a Latino actor to play the role. It's not invalid because Benny Crumbles looks like a spaceman so it's okay. The complaint supersedes all these arguments because a genetically enhanced perfect superhuman is now a white dude, and that's fucked up and offensive, not just to the original spirit behind the creation of the canon role itself, but to pretty much everyone on earth who isn't a white dude.

I guess there could be some minimal black humor salvage value if they'd at least made him speak with a comically overdone germanic accent, though.
posted by elizardbits at 11:34 AM on May 21, 2013 [9 favorites]


It isn't that I don't have a problem with all the primary roles going to white-washing, just that I don't think casting Cumberbatch as Khan is an example of it.

Do you know who Khan was, in the original series? Do you know the story behind his existence? Do you understand how this is like, the TEXTBOOK example of whitewashing a character?

(I mean, either no, you don't, in which case, stop opining, because you are uninformed, or yes, you do, in which case... I dunno, man, but you're just wrong.)

On preview: Also what Elizardbits said.
posted by tzikeh at 11:39 AM on May 21, 2013


The most straightforward way to fix this would be if at the end of the final installment they discover it was all a dream.

Or even better, they're all dead and these movies take place in some kind of Limbo afterlife.

Nah, not even Lindelof would come up with something that insane.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:43 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


He's also a ruthless, brutal terrorist bent on revenge and ultimately, the enslavement of the galaxy. They don't mention it in the movie but he was the dictator something like 1/4 of the world. If the original role had been played some exotic looking but pale skinned actor, I don't think we'd be having this conversation.
posted by VTX at 11:48 AM on May 21, 2013


If the original role was named Conrad Verner, we also wouldn't be having this conversation. I don't understand what these hypotheticals are supposed to illustrate.
posted by kmz at 11:54 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


That would be because it _wouldn't be whitewashing_, VTX. And there's a simple solution for 'oh noes we can't have non-white villains because then it's good white guy vs bad non-white guy'. Have a wide variety of non-white characters with agency. Including the good guys.
posted by tavella at 11:54 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sadly, this was exactly the movie I was expecting JJ Abrams to make. Sigh.

...

posted by KHAAAN! at 2:27 PM on May 21 [1 favorite +] [!]

Eponysterical, considering the subject matter.
posted by Gelatin at 11:55 AM on May 21, 2013


Khan was the result of years of eugenics experiments attempting to make the perfect (super)human -- and he was a SIKH INDIAN. (And while he wasn't played by an Indian, he was played by a POC.) In 1967, Roddenberry et al said "let's do a story about a genetically engineered human who is better, stronger, smarter, than anyone else -- and he's NOT WHITE." In 2013, Abrams figured it wasn't a problem to cast a white guy (and not just any white guy--a Brit, who are kinda famous for their colonization of India).

If you can't see the problem here, then I give up.
posted by tzikeh at 12:04 PM on May 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


They could have renamed him Ken Niven-Sims.


KEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:12 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess what I'm saying is that just because the original casting director read the character description and thought, "This should be played by a Latin looking actor." And the new casting director, after their first choice turned it down thought, "You know, I guess he doesn't have to be Latin." That doesn't make this white washing.

Heck, maybe the point is to show us a terrorist who's NOT brown. I never really read anything into the fact that the original character wasn't white so I guess I'm not reading anything into him being white now.
posted by VTX at 12:12 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


That *was* a big deal in 1967, I'm sure.

I never gave it a second thought as a kid seeing reruns in the 1970s, or in WoK in 1982. He was just a superpowered bad guy, more or less. That's probably why, of all the reasons to hate STID, the casting of Khan doesn't even make my top 10. Or top 20. BC is fun to watch. He did a fine job.
posted by uberchet at 12:12 PM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Most of it the film, I thought, seemed to parasitically draw emotional energy from STII rather than building up its own world.

That's a general problem for any reboot, as DC Comics has spent the last three decades proving. The old Trek had collapsed under its weight of history and mediocry, needed to be updated for the nineties, but of course there was the courage to try anything really new. So now you've got the shitty remake of the classic story and of course most of the emotional sense comes from you as fan knowing who Kirk, Spock and Khan really are and what their relationships should be like.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:15 PM on May 21, 2013


BC does a *spectacular* job in the role.

It's still whitewashing.

Both can be true.
posted by tzikeh at 12:15 PM on May 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


John Harrison [...] adopts "Khan" as his nom de guerre as a way of paying tribute to his old leader

Mrs. Example brought this up in a text message earlier today. (Yes, we argue about Star Trek in text messages SHUT UP.)

Her thought: what if "John Harrison" is actually Joachim?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:16 PM on May 21, 2013 [9 favorites]


I never really read anything into the fact that the original character wasn't white so I guess I'm not reading anything into him being white now.

Just to clarify - it doesn't make you uncomfortable that the result of a eugenics program engineered to create the perfect human being created a white dude?
posted by elizardbits at 12:16 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


VTX: Heck, maybe the point is to show us a terrorist who's NOT brown. I never really read anything into the fact that the original character wasn't white so I guess I'm not reading anything into him being white now.

His name is Khan Noonien Singh.

Houston, we have a problem.
posted by tzikeh at 12:18 PM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


If I could, I would change my username to 'eponysterical!', because Jesus Christ, every time I post to a Star Trek thread, someone has to point at my name and say that.
posted by KHAAAN! at 12:20 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought the first Abrams movie was essentially peek-a-boo with Trek fandom catnip.

/initiate lawn sequence, code zero-zero-zero-destruct! zero
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:23 PM on May 21, 2013


And you think that implies what his skin color is when it really just tells you what culture the person who named him is from (and not even always that much). The description of his character is that he is a mixture of a bunch of different ethnic groups.
posted by VTX at 12:25 PM on May 21, 2013


HOOPO: It was in reference to a bunch of self-congratulatory, nitpicky film criticism.

That's correct, I was making a general statement on how film criticism in the age of "nerd culture" can be summed up as "you're stupid for liking things."
posted by mgrichmond at 12:26 PM on May 21, 2013


Just to clarify - it doesn't make you uncomfortable that the result of a eugenics program engineered to create the perfect human being created a white dude?

Not if the developers of such a program were white themselves (see:Nazis). I don't think that race is so much the issue here - it can be argued either way - the 60's and the 10's are very different times with very different social problems. Having a POC of color in the 60's being represented as a perfected human being was somewhat groundbreaking in America - in the 2010's with a POC as President and many in high level positions - not so much.

What makes me uncomfortable is the shoddy and cheap manner that corporate-think has decimated the arts in America so that we end up with "superstars" like Justin Beiber and JJ Abrams and the pablum that they produce.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 12:27 PM on May 21, 2013


If you can't see the problem here, then I give up.

Wait, I thought we were post-racial now? Hey, if Jonny Depp can play an Indian I don't see why Cummberbach can't play one too.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:28 PM on May 21, 2013


i see no potential gain in any possible manner from continuing this conversation

time for cat videos
posted by elizardbits at 12:29 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


At least Cumberbatch didn't cork up for the role.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:32 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's correct, I was making a general statement on how film criticism in the age of "nerd culture" can be summed up as "you're stupid for liking things."

When did criticism become a statement on the consumer? I thought I was reading an article about a movie, not a diss on an audience.

And "this is poorly constructed shiny setpieces and random continuity nods that serve no larger purpose than to spur a comforting feeling of familiarity" is a far cry from "you're stupid for liking things".
posted by PMdixon at 12:34 PM on May 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Okay, so the movie was dumb, but I enjoyed it. I just have to say, while Chris Pine is an acceptable young Kirk, am I the only one a bit disappointed that we'll likely never get to see Michael Weatherly as James T.?
posted by stenseng at 12:34 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I could, I would change my username to 'eponysterical!', because Jesus Christ, every time I post to a Star Trek thread, someone has to point at my name and say that.

ekhanysterical?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:34 PM on May 21, 2013


i see no potential gain in any possible manner from continuing this conversation

time for cat videos


Cats In Space!
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:36 PM on May 21, 2013


I'm going to go ahead and be that guy - what the fucking fuck is wrong with a "Star Trek for the rest of us?"

"Here, let us dumb this shit way down for you cud chewing barely sentient yokels. Open wide for a steaming pile of CGI and references you remember from Family Guy."

That's what's wrong with "Star Trek for the rest of us": it respects neither the original audience nor the sought after new one.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:37 PM on May 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


At least we are not being hyperbolic.
posted by smackfu at 12:43 PM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sorry, KHAAAN!

Just to clarify - it doesn't make you uncomfortable that the result of a eugenics program engineered to create the perfect human being created a white dude?

I'd sure have less of a problem with it if, like the original episode, you showed all (or even some) of the eugenic super-people out of their cryo tubes and thus established that they were of all races and both genders. Part of the problem the movie has that except for a few dim views thru frosty glass, the only representative you see of these "supermen" is the one played, however superbly, by Cumberbatch.
posted by Gelatin at 12:48 PM on May 21, 2013


VTX: The description of his character is that he is a mixture of a bunch of different ethnic groups.

Okay, I've figured out the disconnect here. You don't know/don't care what Star Trek was about, or why it was/is a sociocultural milestone in the ongoing discussion of the definition/importance of race in America (and the world, but really Star Trek was very much about the American view of things). That's all right. I'll stop trying to defend a point based on a premise you don't understand, because nothing will come of it.
posted by tzikeh at 12:50 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


In 1967, Roddenberry et al said "let's do a story about a genetically engineered human who is better, stronger, smarter, than anyone else -- and he's NOT WHITE." In 2013, Abrams figured it wasn't a problem to cast a white guy (and not just any white guy--a Brit, who are kinda famous for their colonization of India).

If you can't see the problem here, then I give up.


I'm not really against the whitewashing argument, but to make this argument you kind of have to gloss over the fact that in the intervening years, a lot has happened to make the idea of casting a dark-skinned guy to play a role of a terrorist with a common Afghan name somewhat problematic in itself.
posted by Hoopo at 12:52 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ok, but if you personally are white, then maybe when people of color say "We are angry that this character was whitewashed because having a prominent pop-culture figure not be white meant something to us," your best response is not "Pff, whatever, it didn't bother me!"

I am surprised to have to say that, honestly.

There are several links here to various blogs, written by people of color and allies, as to why they might actually think it's a big deal. Maybe read some?
posted by emjaybee at 12:53 PM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hoopo: I'm not really against the whitewashing argument, but to make this argument you kind of have to gloss over the fact that in the intervening years, a lot has happened to make the idea of casting a dark-skinned guy to play a role of a terrorist with a common Afghan name somewhat problematic in itself.

Which brings us to the basis of the whole question: why make the villain Khan? ALL of this is moot if the villain isn't Khan. If you're going to make the villain Khan, you can't ignore, you know, THAT IT'S KHAN.
posted by tzikeh at 12:54 PM on May 21, 2013 [9 favorites]


is that a response to me, emjaybee? Because it's kinda not warranted.
posted by Hoopo at 12:54 PM on May 21, 2013


a common Afghan name

It's actually a Sikh name; the approximate Sikh population in Afghanistan is 3,000, compared to the Sikh population of 19 million in India.

posted by elizardbits at 12:55 PM on May 21, 2013


I haven't read through all the comments, Hoopo, I don't know? There were several "Pfft!" comments, I don't know if yours were included.

(If you want to memail, I'm good with that).
posted by emjaybee at 12:56 PM on May 21, 2013


Singh isn't just a Sikh name, it's the Sikh name.
posted by PMdixon at 12:58 PM on May 21, 2013


It's actually a Sikh name; the approximate Sikh population in Afghanistan is 3,000, compared to the Sikh population of 19 million in India.

I was going with what I read on wikipedia:


The communities that use the surname Khan include the Afghans/Pashtuns, Bengalis, Mughals, Muslim Rajputs and Turkic peoples in Central Asia and Northern Pakistan; tribes in Pakistan and their descendents in India, Baloch tribes in Balochistan and in Sindh and various Mongol, Turks, and Tatar tribes in central and northern Asia.

posted by Hoopo at 1:00 PM on May 21, 2013


Oh, okay, we're talking about two different things/names and we are both right. PARTEY TIMES.
posted by elizardbits at 1:03 PM on May 21, 2013


Star Trek (2009) was the first Trek property I watched apart from the odd TNG episode and I liked it. It had its share of clichés, but it was fun. Into Darkness felt like a film by numbers, with annoying colour correction, neutered characters and way more heat than light.
posted by ersatz at 1:07 PM on May 21, 2013


why make the villain Khan?

uh, $$$?
posted by Hoopo at 1:12 PM on May 21, 2013


I'm relatively sure Khan Noonien Singh's surname isn't Khan. If Sikh, I believe the surname would be Noonien, rather than the Khalsa name "Singh", although I understand it can be used in different ways. Pashtun surnames, although not frequently used, also come after the given name. Several other populations other than Sikhs use Singh as a name, although it's pretty much exclusive to the Indian subcontinent.
posted by figurant at 1:13 PM on May 21, 2013


If I recall correctly, "Noonien" was the name of an old friend of Roddenberry, who he hoped would see the show and contact him.
posted by BeeDo at 1:17 PM on May 21, 2013


I honestly have no clue how Sikh names work, figurant. I assumed because everyone calls him "Khan" that was his name. The way the series works, pretty much everyone gets called by their last names all the time.
posted by Hoopo at 1:18 PM on May 21, 2013


Also, haven't seen the movie, but the bad guy should have been revealed to be Gary Mitchell.
posted by BeeDo at 1:18 PM on May 21, 2013


I'm relatively sure Khan Noonien Singh's surname isn't Khan

Yes, agreed. Part of the confusion is that the original incarnation was created back when US-at-large probably had no understanding of non-Anglo names (eg Ilya Kuryakin in The Man from UNCLE; Hikaru Sulu's name - the Sulu bit referring to the Southeast Asian side of things), but however you want to fanwank it, the name is unmistakably Asian. I'm more of the opinion of accepting Khan being his first name - Singh is very much THE surname for the Sikh community (it also having to do with their religious coming-of-age).
posted by cendawanita at 1:20 PM on May 21, 2013


I really, really liked the first ten minutes of Star Trek (2009). It was stunning to look at, even the lens flares made sense, Robau and Kirk Sr. were superb and as long as you accept the silly coinkydinky of J. T. Kirk being born at the exact instant of history bifurcation the scene is exciting, well paced ad rather moving. Also, since we don't know them there's no problem with getting out of character.

That bit would have been an amazing, possibly award-winning short if they'd just left it there. But NOOOO-OH, as Saint Belushi used to say.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:21 PM on May 21, 2013


Oh, and was the fact that vengeful Nero's first strike is against the USS Kelvin a callback to "Revenge is a dish best served cold... it is very cold in space"? I'd like to think so.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:23 PM on May 21, 2013


Actually, I've always thought of Khan as being his title/rank from the Eugenics Wars rather than his name for some reason. No idea if it's backup up in the literature though.
posted by figurant at 1:28 PM on May 21, 2013


Also the Archive Kahn blows are the Kelvin Memorial Archives.

I literally just saw this film and having a discussion with it over the twitters.

Star Trek: Into Narrative, from Mefi's Own Phoebe North.
posted by The Whelk at 1:52 PM on May 21, 2013


(I know you want to differentiate between the movies but I liked the bright and hiny almost mod-like look of the first NuTrek and this one looks like any scifi/action film of the past 20 years, muddy teal and orange, lots of soot and metallics, sigh)
posted by The Whelk at 1:54 PM on May 21, 2013


Hey, if I can ask a genuinely nitpicky question: are there any in-universe explanations for how Khan managed to transport from Earth to Qo'Nos? That seems to be quite a trick, and was one of the two moments that distracted me enough mid-movie to completely pull me out of the narrative. (the other being that it takes place in 2259, and Khan's said to be 300 years old, which means super-blood existed in the 50s?)
posted by Greg Nog at 1:54 PM on May 21, 2013


blah blah Scotty's transwarp teleport equation blah Starfleet is using it without his knowledge blah vampire business
posted by The Whelk at 1:58 PM on May 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


(like draw that plot point out a little bit, a used a series of automatic teleportation relays that depend on Scotty's work from the first movie, which Khan got from working with Admiral Warmonger, and would've had to been set up precisely before hand, there you've established even further this is one big trap and Khan is a super brain.)
posted by The Whelk at 2:00 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


the other being that it takes place in 2259, and Khan's said to be 300 years old, which means super-blood existed in the 50s?

Captain America, duh.
posted by Hoopo at 2:17 PM on May 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


Helm, sidebar that comment. Warp Ni ---

"We are the Knights Captains who say Ni!"
posted by zippy at 2:18 PM on May 21, 2013


Thanks for saving me the time, money, and trouble of going to see this POS. If only the person who wrote that article would have been the person to write the movie...

I think people would be shocked by how small the overlap is between people who are seeing this movie today and those who have even seen Star Trek: Wrath of Khan from 30 years ago.

Yes, because we all know that the collective memory of a society is only 29 years 5 minutes.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 2:24 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


In Spinal Tap: Into Blackness (slogan: "How much more black could it be? The answer is none. None more black.") Captain Tufnel's ship goes to Warp 11.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:31 PM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


A narrative in which Khan is a experiment gone horribly right directly descended from the Captain America super-serum project is so viscerally pleasing to me. I am intrigued and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Of course Kirk must be the Hulk. Not with rage-control issues, because getting rilly rilly mad is not Kirk's angst button. No, poor Kirk hulks out when he's sexually aroused. Ladies. (And gentlemen. And assorted sentient species.)
posted by nicebookrack at 2:51 PM on May 21, 2013


So does that mean Kirk is a really big guy who gets little or a little guy who gets really big sometimes?
posted by The Whelk at 2:59 PM on May 21, 2013


Final thoughts before I leave the thread for the night:

- at least this movie provided me the opportunity to use the phrase 'Admiral Robocop'. (high-fives to everyone)

- it's deeply ironic that between this movie and Iron Man 3, the movie that treated its POC villain in a clever way was not the franchise which created the character in an effort to be progressive instead of just reflecting their times' Yellow Peril.
posted by cendawanita at 3:00 PM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Or that two summer blockbusters have conspiracy theory " remember the Maine!" warmonger plots.
posted by The Whelk at 3:02 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


THIS IS YOUR DAILY REMINDER THAT PETER WELLER IS STILL WORKING ON HIS PHD IN ITALIAN RENAISSANCE ART HISTORY
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:02 PM on May 21, 2013 [10 favorites]


That's Dr. Robocop to you!
posted by The Whelk at 3:05 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Here, let us dumb this shit way down for you cud chewing barely sentient yokels. Open wide for a steaming pile of CGI and references you remember from Family Guy."

That's what's wrong with "Star Trek for the rest of us": it respects neither the original audience nor the sought after new one.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:37 PM on May 21


Star Trek started as this weird Utopian vision that got its ass canceled cause nobody watched the thing, and only became what it is through accidental conditions conducive to its rampant syndication - you think rolling those dice again is going to keep it at the status of Western Culture folk tale?

The only Star Trek movie that remotely honors the "respect" you're talking about is the first motion picture - which was terrible. Star Trek isn't Kubrick. It's not high art. It's pop with a thick coat of philosophy 101 on its lips - really no different than Family Guy, except Family Guy is probably less pretentious in its positioning as mass market entertainment.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 3:11 PM on May 21, 2013


I'm certainly looking forward to seeing the third movie and finding out which galaxy-changing technology the writers introduce (and then discard, never to be seen again) to get themselves out of a plot armpit they wandered into with their eyes closed.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:24 PM on May 21, 2013


I was able to enjoy it but yeah it's more of a Trek-themed action movie, and doing the usual Trekkie analysis of either the pseudo-science or the characters is about as fruitful as examining the physics of Die Hard.
posted by localroger at 3:30 PM on May 21, 2013


Nearly all of these comments say a lot more about the commenter than the movie.

I'm probably going to go see it again this weekend. And I'll enjoy it. Again.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:36 PM on May 21, 2013


What nonsense. It's a movie. By and large folks expect plots in movies, more so in a Star Trek one. People looking for things that don't have plots in them are to be respectfully directed to other forms of more purely visceral recreation, such as drugs and/or blinking lights.

But Into Darkness had a plot, as did Iron Man 3 and every other big geek movie. What they don't have is internally consistent plots that are free from tiny plot holes and respect 50 years of often contradictory canon.

Because that doesn't matter to most viewers! Hell most people don't notice them, and if they do they don't interfere with their enjoyment of the movie.

Kirk was a horny hothead, Spock was logical, Bones was a doctor and not a mechanical engineer. There were Tribbles. It was an enjoyable movie for both me, who had seen WoK and Old Trek, and my sister, who hasn't but enjoyed the slashy bits. Very few people care if the warp core is properly calibrated.

And this goes double for people nitpicking Iron Man 3.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:38 PM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


entropicamericana: "Nearly all of these comments say a lot more about the commenter than the movie."

That one especially.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:41 PM on May 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think I know what you're saying, if you mean "in the moment, it feels natural and logical, even if a later, more critical viewing shows that what felt logical wasn't". However, (and I need to point out I haven't watched STID, so I'm speaking generally), if plot holes / illogic are big or bad enough, it prevents you from even feeling that something makes sense.

No I mean that life itself doesn't make logical sense to me, and its best not explained as a coherent narrative but as a series of disconnected mythopoetic images. Like Eraserhead says more about being a parent than Doctor Spock does.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:42 PM on May 21, 2013


I saw the Evil Dead remake this weekend. I didn't hate it because Bruce Campbell wasn't in it and its stupid that somebody would read from a clearly-evil book.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:49 PM on May 21, 2013


Not to join in a dogpile, but I just felt I should add that I couldn't possibly disagree more. Logical sense is what keeps stories grounded, moored to our experience and reality, instead of floating off into Never-Never Land.

I was annoyed that at the end of the movie Kirk didn't plot a course to the 'second star to the left and straight on to morning'.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:51 PM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think people would be shocked by how small the overlap is between people who are seeing this movie today and those who have even seen Star Trek: Wrath of Khan from 30 years ago.

This unfortunately really hit home for me as being true. I saw Wrath of Khan in original release in 1982, 31 years ago.

If you had told me in 1982 that I should be seeing a movie made 31 years before that, in 1951, I would have laughed at your ancient ass.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:00 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gah, two Star Trek threads? And here I have plans tonight! Sigh.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:01 PM on May 21, 2013


Hey, if I can ask a genuinely nitpicky question: are there any in-universe explanations for how Khan managed to transport from Earth to Qo'Nos?

I'll see your nitpick and add another one: What the hell is KRONOS?!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:02 PM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


for how Khan managed to transport from Earth to Qo'Nos?

Apparently the transporter innovation made in ST:Nu1 makes this possible. That and the fact that J.J. Abrams has no idea how big the universe is.
posted by localroger at 4:03 PM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


its stupid that somebody would read from a clearly-evil book

If I found a super-creepy-looking book that looks like that, there is pretty much no way I'm not going to pick it up and have a look. The stupid thing was the professor reading the incantations aloud into the tape recorder, cuz seriously?
posted by Hoopo at 4:03 PM on May 21, 2013


But Into Darkness had a plot, as did Iron Man 3 and every other big geek movie. What they don't have is internally consistent plots that are free from tiny plot holes and respect 50 years of often contradictory canon.

Because that doesn't matter to most viewers! Hell most people don't notice them, and if they do they don't interfere with their enjoyment of the movie.

Kirk was a horny hothead, Spock was logical, Bones was a doctor and not a mechanical engineer. There were Tribbles. It was an enjoyable movie for both me, who had seen WoK and Old Trek, and my sister, who hasn't but enjoyed the slashy bits. Very few people care if the warp core is properly calibrated.

Into Darkness didn't have characters and had some big narrative holes. Just so stories aren't too intriguing and this massive thread with people who care about such things as well as the poor box office of the film belie your argument. It's not just neckbeards; fwiw ID failed to keep continuity even with the previous film of J.J.
posted by ersatz at 4:06 PM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Was it ever actually explained why Kirk stole the scroll from the natives at the beginning?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:15 PM on May 21, 2013


Star Trek started as this weird Utopian vision that got its ass canceled cause nobody watched the thing,

Not entirely correct. I know. I was alive then and I remember. In point of fact StarTrek TOS did get low ratings - from the Neilson's who at the time were composed of a rather stogy white middle class older set of Americans which apparently did not reflect the actual viewership at large. This is because, after the cancellation (some time ater the first season) there was a massive write in campaign which convinced the network to uncancel the show which, if I remember correctly, was the very first time a network had done such a thing in response to a write in campaign.

StarTrek was a thing back in the 60's back when Peace and Love were a thing. It was written up in a great many places and was noted as being the first mainstream science fiction show that portrayed a diverse future and it's aliens in a positive light. The fact that there was an Oriental crewman, a Russian crewmman and a Black crew woman was unheard of in a Cold War America where "Jap" was a commonly heard term and Blacks were still segregated in different schools and Russians were as suspect as unfortunate Muslims are today. Roddenberry was actually even more radical then that but was unable to get his vision of a female first officer past the network.

Rather than your portrayal of the show being a low viewership oddity, I can assure you that it was a cultural phenomenon, the echoes of which survive half a century later.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 4:41 PM on May 21, 2013 [14 favorites]


Kirk stole the scroll so everyone would chase him to they would be led away from the erupting volcano while Spock disabled it - which is a stupid execution of a really good Early Missions Of James T. Kirk kinda story cause it's revealed that they where supposed to observe a pre-warp civilization, then find out the Volcano will kill them off, then decide to save them in a way that will technically not violate the Prime Directive - and then it all goes horribly wrong.

I mean, that's a good plot summary for a TOS episode! That's a great way to open your movie! The scarlet jungle looked wonderful! But it was just kinda botched in the execution, for a number of reasons.
posted by The Whelk at 4:42 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


But this movie did have a blatant political message! There's a 5 minute sequence where Kirk is like "we'll use drones to kill this terrorist" and his entire crew says "drones are bad, we must bring him in to stand trial" and then Kirk changes his mind because its assumed by the movie that Drones are Bad, but Trials are Good.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:43 PM on May 21, 2013


IMO this film will stand as an important contribution to the body of anticonfluencial cinema in the spirit of the late J.O. Incadenza's famed middle period and the works of Vigdis Simpson.
posted by humanfont at 4:49 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


In point of fact StarTrek TOS did get low ratings - from the Neilson's who at the time were composed of a rather stogy white middle class older set of Americans which apparently did not reflect the actual viewership at large.

Exactly. Moreover, the network just didn't know how to sell ads for it, because they didn't understand the audience they had, and/or the advertisers weren't interested in that audience.

Star Trek was followed by an animated series for kids, and then syndication of re-runs, and then Roddenberry himself was out doing college tours with the Star Trek blooper reels. None of those were the traditional network audience.

No. 1 show in 1967-68? "The Andy Griffith Show."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:52 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kirk stole the scroll so everyone would chase him

I honestly don't remember that actually being said or directly implied.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:53 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


They stop chasing him when he puts the scroll up on display, thus it goes to figure, that's why he did it.

Otherwise he's just stealing shit for giggles.
posted by The Whelk at 4:55 PM on May 21, 2013


Yes, but that's different from "I specifically did X to achieve Y."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:57 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I seem to a remember a line somewhere with Kirk saying something like, "They were all bowing to it so I grabbed it." Or something like that.

It makes sense if you remember Captain Pike saying about Kirk and Kirk Sr. in the first movie, "You know that instinct to leap without looking, that was his nature too..."
posted by VTX at 5:46 PM on May 21, 2013


I'm listening to Cortex's Hellraiser podcast and he said 'this movie is great if you don't pay close attention to it' which is kinda how i watch movies.

man Event Horizon was fun
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:51 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


IIRC, Kirk specifically asks someone on the Enterprise whether the natives are all "clear of the kill zone" or something like that, so I came to the same conclusion as The Whelk.
posted by teraflop at 5:51 PM on May 21, 2013


Sure, everyone says "Admiral Robocop". No one says "Admiral Bill Lee".
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:52 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


he's Buckaroo Banzai

also his evil plot was the same as the plot of Demolition Man, complete with explanation
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:57 PM on May 21, 2013


Piling on to "he stole the scroll to lure them away." It's also a bit of a nudge as to how badly he fucked up that as they fly off, the aliens have ditched their scroll and are drawing a picture of the Enterprise and bowing to it.
posted by localroger at 5:57 PM on May 21, 2013


My internal reasoning for Khan's "whitewashing" was that he was frozen in cryosleep for 300 years and somehow that bleached his skin white.

I have some misgivings about the whole situation (rehashed many times over here), and an excuse in the movie would have been nice but maybe a little awkward.
posted by o310362 at 6:02 PM on May 21, 2013


If you had told me in 1982 that I should be seeing a movie made 31 years before that, in 1951, I would have laughed at your ancient ass.

And you'd have been a major fool for missing the original The Day the Earth Stood Still, which is still worth seeing today.
posted by localroger at 6:04 PM on May 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


And you'd have been a major fool for missing the original The Day the Earth Stood Still, which is still worth seeing today.

Forget all that flashy modern sci-fi and watch Fritz Lang's Metropolis.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:26 PM on May 21, 2013


or Forbidden Planet !
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 6:26 PM on May 21, 2013


Well Metropolis and Forbidden Planet are also must-see TV, but neither was actually made in 1951.
posted by localroger at 6:29 PM on May 21, 2013


On reflection, I think both the original DtESS and FP will be remembered long after the entire Star Wars franchise -- including whatever JJ adds to it -- is forgotten. They won't necessarily be popular but they'll be notorious and conveniently available for viewing by whatever method is current. Trek TOS will probably also be there, and the STTMP director's cut and Khan as capstones, but probably not any of the other Trek series or other movie sequels. It's really funny because I'd have put the original Star Wars on that list except that Lucas probably ruined it with the constant post-release diddling and the sequels.
posted by localroger at 6:36 PM on May 21, 2013


Here's how I make my peace with the scope and tone of the New Star Trek movies: I pretend they're in-universe dramatizations of the events.

Kirk and Spock and Uhura are all sitting in a movie theater somewhere (similar to how Ben Sisko fetishes the historic game of baseball, there's a swath of citizenry that prefers the old-fashioned movie screen to the immersive holodeck), enjoying some replicator popcorn and laughing at how overly dramatic and wrong the movies are. At points, one of them leans over to a grandchild and tells them that the Starfleet and Federation they see on the screen is very different from reality, and movies makes a lot things look different than they really were.

And that's fine, with me.

A lot of credit for this idea goes to the Avatar episode The Ember Island Players, in which the main characters watch a play about their adventures.
posted by redsparkler at 7:35 PM on May 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


Not entirely correct. I know. I was alive then and I remember. In point of fact StarTrek TOS did get low ratings - from the Neilson's who at the time were composed of a rather stogy white middle class older set of Americans which apparently did not reflect the actual viewership at large. This is because, after the cancellation (some time ater the first season) there was a massive write in campaign which convinced the network to uncancel the show which, if I remember correctly, was the very first time a network had done such a thing in response to a write in campaign.

StarTrek was a thing back in the 60's back when Peace and Love were a thing. It was written up in a great many places and was noted as being the first mainstream science fiction show that portrayed a diverse future and it's aliens in a positive light. The fact that there was an Oriental crewman, a Russian crewmman and a Black crew woman was unheard of in a Cold War America where "Jap" was a commonly heard term and Blacks were still segregated in different schools and Russians were as suspect as unfortunate Muslims are today. Roddenberry was actually even more radical then that but was unable to get his vision of a female first officer past the network.

Rather than your portrayal of the show being a low viewership oddity, I can assure you that it was a cultural phenomenon, the echoes of which survive half a century later.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 4:41 PM on May 21


Citation needed. Here - I'll do it for you. Wikipedia says:

Contrary to popular belief among its fans, the show did not have a larger audience of young viewers than its competition while on NBC.[11] The network's research did, however, indicate that Star Trek had a "quality audience" including "upper-income, better-educated males", and other NBC shows had lower overall ratings.[17]:116[22] The show was unusual in its serious discussion of contemporary societal issues in a futuristic context, unlike Lost in Space which was more "campy" in nature.[24]

The enthusiasm of Star Trek's viewers surprised NBC.[11] The network had already received 29,000 fan letters for the show during its first season—more than for any other except The Monkees.[10]:218 When rumors spread in late 1967 that Star Trek was at risk of cancellation, Roddenberry secretly began and funded an effort by Bjo Trimble, her husband John and other fans to persuade tens of thousands of viewers to write letters of support to save the program.[25][26]:377-394[27] Using the 4,000 names on a mailing list for a science-fiction convention, the Trimbles asked fans to write to NBC and ask ten others to also do so.[28]:128 NBC received almost 116,000 letters for the show between December 1967 and March 1968, including more than 52,000 in February alone;[29][10]:218 according to an NBC executive, the network received more than one million pieces of mail but only disclosed the 116,000 figure.[25]


So organically, the show was second to the Monkees in terms of fan letters to the network. The huge outpouring you remember? Orchestrated by Roddenberry. What of the ratings?

While the show initially enjoyed high ratings, the average rating of the show at the end of its first season dropped to 52nd (out of 94 programs).

If it's possible for Nielsen to determine the numbers Trek was getting among particular demographics even back then, then it's unlikely your assertion that Neilsen's rating system was blatantly inaccurate is actually true.

Groundbreaking? Sure. High art? No. There's nothing wrong with bringing in "normal" people to the sci-fi tent. Trek is a gateway drug, designed from the beginning for the most accessible medium. Without it (and without its resulting ecumenical outreach) you simply don't get all the normalization and pervasiveness of sci-fi we see today. Building the most recent invocation "for the rest of us" is exactly where Trek should live - if you want something harder or more pure, there's plenty of other sci-fi out there for you.

Regardless - much of this thread reads as people who are pissed off that their favorite band became popular with broader audiences. You need those people, else big budget properties like this lie fallow.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 7:44 PM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]



A lot of credit for this idea goes to the Avatar episode The Ember Island Players, in which the main characters watch a play about their adventures.


Oddly enough, Prince Zuko in that episode is how TNG treated the Klingons, to the point where I could predict Uhura would say 'Honor' in Into Darkness.

its always Honor.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:18 PM on May 21, 2013


Daily Currant: Ann Coulter walks out of STID, claiming there were too many minorities.

So we're clear, Daily Currant is satire.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:26 PM on May 21, 2013


its satire but half of the facts in that are accurate
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:38 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


So organically, the show was second to the Monkees in terms of fan letters to the network. The huge outpouring you remember? Orchestrated by Roddenberry. What of the ratings?

To my knowledge the write in campaign was run mostly by young fans but even if it had been orchestrated by Roddenberry what exactly is your point? Regardless of who managed the campaign the fact remains that is was a singularly effective one and that a tremendous number of television watchers participated. I was very very young back then but I remember reading about it and talking about it in grade school.

Groundbreaking? Sure. High art? No.
Who said that? I said it was culturally significant. In point of fact it was groundbreaking in that it portrayed a future post-scarcity (and post-capitalist) world when there were not even the words "post-scarcity world" to describe such.

much of this thread reads as people who are pissed off that their favorite band became popular with broader audiences. You need those people, else big budget properties like this lie fallow.

You don't need a gazillion dollars to make great science fiction. See Primer. See Star Trek Phase 2. See Iron Sky. I think fans are looking merely for good science fiction. Depicting a post-scarcity world in the 60's on American television was pretty good science fiction. Depicting a racially diverse and equal future on American TV in the 60's was pretty good science fiction (well groundbreaking really). Magic Kahn blood which revives the dead lead character (Deus ex makahna?? ) is not good science fiction - regardless of the budget involved.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 8:39 PM on May 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Groundbreaking? Sure. High art? No. There's nothing wrong with bringing in "normal" people to the sci-fi tent. Trek is a gateway drug, designed from the beginning for the most accessible medium. Without it (and without its resulting ecumenical outreach) you simply don't get all the normalization and pervasiveness of sci-fi we see today. Building the most recent invocation "for the rest of us" is exactly where Trek should live - if you want something harder or more pure, there's plenty of other sci-fi out there for you.

Regardless - much of this thread reads as people who are pissed off that their favorite band became popular with broader audiences. You need those people, else big budget properties like this lie fallow.


So if I understand you correctly:
1. Star Trek was groundbreaking
2. Star Trek was a gateway to harder scifi.
3. Given that sci-fi is commonplace now, Star Trek should be the lowest common denominator of sci-fi.
4. We (aka most of this thread) are pissed that the band is popular.

But 4 isn't quite right, at least to me. I'm pissed, not that it's popular, but because of #3. I'm pissed that it's giving up on #1, being a franchise that at least took chances and innovated (not perfectly, not even necessarily consistently), and was in fact groundbreaking. #3 is needed for some franchise - there needs to be generic action sci-fi.

But the question is why does it need to be Star Trek? What about STID, thematically/emotionally, is Star Trek over generic action franchise? Not much, to my mind. It's a lazy shorthand for the writers, to avoid proper characterization and world-building. I'm not upset that they're popular: I'm upset that it has properly sold out - dumbed itself down and given up its identity in order to make it big.

Not that I'm overly upset by any of this. Star Trek the franchise has made bad movies before, and will again. But watching this movie kept bringing me back to "how is this a star trek movie?" and I don't have a non-cynical answer.

I am glossing over a lot of...concerns? Issues? things that come up in a multi-generation multi-authour multi-media shared universe. DS9, for example, explicitly violates a lot of the Roddenberry bible/guide that we talked about not long ago. Does that make it Not Star Trek? I personally don't think so, because it's best framed as the writers/Ron Moore replying to the constrictions placed by said Bible.

DWho has the same problem, but kind of backwards. It jettisons all of the actors every few years, including the lead actor. But there are ways to talk about it as a whole, and to view stories within as engaging the shared ideaspace.


tl;dr Star Trek is not its characters. This movie believes it is, and LEMURRHEA SMASH.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:45 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Political Science Of Star Trek
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:57 PM on May 21, 2013


Regardless - much of this thread reads as people who are pissed off that their favorite band became popular with broader audiences.

Nah. Much of the thread reads like people are pissed because their favorite band only ever plays the same three songs anymore. Songs written in the 80s. And only crappy remixes, not the original versions.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 11:11 PM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Regardless - much of this thread reads as people who are pissed off that their favorite band became popular with broader audiences.

The Four Tops

Featuring none of the original members

Playing keytars

posted by zippy at 11:24 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love a metaphor.

I think it's more like, they only play stuff where the hooks and sounds are lifted from their early work, but without the things that made those things good. So, while they seem to spend a whole lot of time in the studio to made something that sounds expensive, there's just nothing catchy or inspired about it. They're not rehashing old tunes or playing the same songs, they're peddling shitty pop with their old flavor, but like they've totally forgotten what made their old sound any good in the first place. They don't seem inspired in any way.
posted by fleacircus at 11:29 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Judge Dredd on the prank that Simon Pegg played on him

also this movie had Judge Dredd and Robocop in it
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:34 PM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


3. Given that sci-fi is commonplace now, Star Trek should be the lowest common denominator of sci-fi.
4. We (aka most of this thread) are pissed that the band is popular.
The idea that Star Trek needs to dumb to be popular, dumbed down to the level of a Transformers, is wrong anyway. Star Trek was already popular and while the original series was more of a cult success than a mainstream success, it built up enough demand in syndication to spawn one of the original sci-fi blockbuster series. Which in turn spawned new tv series and a cultural domination that no other sci-fi series, except for Star Wars, has ever matched.

Now of course over the decades a lot of cruft had built up and getting back to the roots with the reboot in 2009 made sense, but that didn't mean the original canon was a failure or needed to be dumbed down to be a success.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:55 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wasn't crazy when my first glimpse of the Klingons, IN HELMETS, seemed a little weird ...
quv Hutlh HoHbogh tlhIngan 'ach qabDaj 'angbe'bogh.
The Klingon who kills without showing his face has no honor.

'ang'eghQo' quv Hutlhbogh jagh neH ghobtaHvIS ghaH.
Only an enemy without honor refuses to show himself in battle.
I find "ground swell orchestrated by Roddenberry" ie the write in campaign, to be LAUGHABLE. Not sure how he could have orchestrated a way to make so many people write in; there were hardly any fan clubs, newspaper ads would have been ridiculous (even if his audiences did subscribe; I know some of his then-era fans and they didn't).

And even if he had, so what? Asking people, encouraging people, even bribing people to write in, so what? Didn't hold guns to their head, they wanted to do it. He didn't write a million letters himself or have them written by letter mills employing desperate people for a buck or something ...

You say orchestrated like it's a bad thing :)
posted by tilde at 3:53 AM on May 22, 2013


The Braver, Better Movie That Star Trek Into Darkness Could Have Been
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:57 AM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Sorry, that should have been "million" letters I shouldn't do hyperbole without caffination in my system..
posted by tilde at 4:00 AM on May 22, 2013


Ummm, everyone complaining about "whitewashing" Khan, you do realize that Gene Roddenberry actually completely and totally misremembered the name of his alleged Sikh friend, don't you? That "Khan/ Kim Nonnien Singh" is absolute gibberish in all of the world's languages?
posted by the cydonian at 4:57 AM on May 22, 2013


That doesn't take away from the fact that Khan in TOS was of Sikh background as well as being played by a POC which still makes the Cumberbatch casting whitewashing.
posted by liquorice at 5:44 AM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Khan and his people in TOS/STII were a persecuted minority (possibly wronged in some ways, possibly not). Bleaching them out in a world that is still pretty effing not color is a problem, yes, even if Gene spelled the guys name wrong.
posted by tilde at 5:46 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Khan and his people in TOS/STII were a persecuted minority (possibly wronged in some ways, possibly not).

It was my impression that they were a persecuted minority because they were genetically enhanced, wanted to rule the world, and were the cause of the devastating Genetic Wars. Not because they were people with a different shade of skin color (and in space seed, aren't some of Khan's men and women Caucasian?). I don't think Roddenberry ever set out to have Khan and his people exist as stand ins to persecuted minorities in society, persecuted due to race or ethnic background.
posted by Atreides at 6:46 AM on May 22, 2013


I'll see your nitpick and add another one: What the hell is KRONOS?!

This part of the Wikipedia article addresses the issue.
posted by Atreides at 6:53 AM on May 22, 2013


I've been thinking about Greg Nog's suggested changes (which are very, very good), and I'd like to add one more:

Big Change VI: Restore Carol Marcus as a molecular biologist

How about the whole reason they're on Nibiru (good one, Abrams) is so that molecular biologist Carol Marcus can fetch the crystal with unusual power signatures, which she wants to use to power her "genesis device," which in this iteration causes rapid cell regeneration. This gets rid of her whole coup to sneak aboard, the whole "two science officers" dreck (there must be more than one science officer on a given spaceship anyway). While fetching the crystal, Kirk, who seems smitten by Carol, decides they should also save the natives from the volcano--he wants to show off for her what an amazing captain he is, and there's palpable sexual tension between the two. The action largely plays out as Mr. Nog describes it above. Spock still files his report, but as Kirk and Spock are arguing about it it's clear that Spock respects the work of the other scientist.

Kirk and Spock are called before Marcus and Marcus revokes Kirk's command. Kirk is incensed--he saved Marcus' daughter's research, after all! But Marcus says they did nothing of the sort. The genesis device doesn't even work. Both of them seem shocked.

Then Carol Marcus disappears until the last third of the movie.

We find her again when Scotty is running through the killerprise. Daddy's holding her hostage there, ostensibly for her "safety," which by then will emphasize what a nutbar he is. She's a motherfucking grown woman with a PhD and wants to get off this goddamned ship. She escapes with Scotty, is there to help in the airlock scene, meets Khan and Kirk. Maybe there's some sexual tension between Khan and Marcus; maybe it's established that they had some sort of relationship before--a mix of bad blood and intrigue now? KhanPrime was a ladies' man, after all, and this pushes Kirk even further. But then the make it to the bridge. Dr. Marcus takes a more active role in her father's death. This might be a great opportunity to show how the genesis device is dangerous. Maybe she uses it on her father when he attacks Kirk and there's some bad ass crazy CGI to show that his cells are resequencing or something like that.

Then, when the resurrection happens, it's Carol that demands that we bring Kirk/Uhura back (either works for me, really). Bones says this is crazy ("I'm not a mad scientist, Carol"--implying both the "I'm a doctor" and that she may be)--look at what happened to her father. But then Carol reveals the crystal from her bag/uniform/whatever. Her father lied. The crystal works just like it should. It's dangerous but we have to try.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:13 AM on May 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


This part of the Wikipedia article addresses the issue.

That fanwank crossed my mind, too, but c'mon, really. It's clear that the reason they spelled it that way was that they were afraid the stupid audience wouldn't be able to figure it out otherwise.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:14 AM on May 22, 2013


It was my impression that they were a persecuted minority because they were genetically enhanced, wanted to rule the world, and were the cause of the devastating Genetic Wars.

I may have dropped from my head that they caused GW - thought they were merely a violent part of it. It might have been fanfic that cast them as collateral damage from GW, similar to the kids in Ender's Game. (And most of them were white and male, too, changing as the books came down the pipeline, to color in the little plot devices.)

Be that as it may, the guy's name wasn't John Thomas Smythe, he wasn't wearing a suit; granted, BC/Khan had to blend in based on the changed timeline and putting him in his own kind of radical garb would have been as redic as, I dunno, stripping down Dr Marcus to her skivvies or something ...
posted by tilde at 7:26 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, another thing that pushing the Marcus/Kirk relationship to act 1 would accomplish is a chance to actually show Kirk and Spock as friends. As they're arguing about the incident, Kirk could allude to the fact that it was worth it to help her, and maybe Spock thinks this is puzzling--does Kirk actually care about her? He scoffs but then says something that sounds a bit like he's asking for love advice ("Spock, you're a scientist, what do you think?") but since Spock is mired in his own romantic drama right now, the stuff he says is extra not-helpful and leaves Kirk puzzled, too--are Uhura and Spock fighting? This would make Uhura and Kirk's scene in the turbolift a little less weird and give it better context.

Also Khan could at some point taunt Kirk about how he and Carol are from different worlds, how she's brilliant (like Khan) and Kirk will never be able to make her happy. Which would be interesting, because, as we know, Khan would be right about that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:04 AM on May 22, 2013


Guys. Guys.

Eugenics Wars.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:51 AM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I heard that if you say Damon Lindelof's name three times in a darkened room whilst gazing into a mirror, your life will lose internal narrative consistency.
posted by logicpunk at 10:25 AM on May 22, 2013 [17 favorites]


having nothing productive to offer let me say I approve this turn of events. I say somebody crank this out as Star Trek: Out of Darkness or Outer Darkness or Into the Light or something under the new Amazon Kindleslash thingummy.

OR

Given Greg Nog and cortex are invested in this thread, an opera or song cycle or off-off-Broadway musical satire a la Mad Magazine.


OOOOOH KUOW just opened the phones for a call-in on the movie in their Tuesday AM film segment, happening right this very minute.
posted by mwhybark at 10:25 AM on May 22, 2013


The huge outpouring you remember? Orchestrated by Roddenberry.

What? No, it wasn't. It was orchestrated by superfans Bjo and John Trimble:
"The whole Save Star Trek campaign was John’s fault. We had visited the Trek set, about when word sifted down that the show would be canceled at the end of this, the second season. So we watched actors do their stuff beautifully in front of the camera, then slump off looking depressed. On our way home, John said, “There ought to be something we could do about this!” Now, he’d been married to me long enough to know better. By the time we got back home, we’d mapped out a basic plan of action. So we called Gene Roddenberry to see if he was OK with this idea. Gene had just told his staff that it would be wonderful if there was just some way to reach to fans and get their support. So things began to happen."
"Just how involved was Roddenberry in the campaign?"
"Gene wanted very badly to be completely involved, but we said it would only make NBC say it was a put-up job. Years later, in his book, Herb Solow made exactly that claim, in fact. He didn't even pay expenses, but by the time [the David Gerrold book World of Star Trek] came out it was too late to change that impression. I was misquoted on that. Gene did do things like send over platters of food and drink when we were doing a collating of a mailing. At the very last, he paid for postage when we'd run out of funds. But for the most part, fans paid for the Save Star Trek campaign, or it came out of our own pocket."
posted by webmutant at 10:26 AM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


1) To my knowledge the write in campaign was run mostly by young fans but even if it had been orchestrated by Roddenberry what exactly is your point? Regardless of who managed the campaign the fact remains that is was a singularly effective one and that a tremendous number of television watchers participated. I was very very young back then but I remember reading about it and talking about it in grade school.

2) Who said that? I said it was culturally significant. In point of fact it was groundbreaking in that it portrayed a future post-scarcity (and post-capitalist) world when there were not even the words "post-scarcity world" to describe such.

3) You don't need a gazillion dollars to make great science fiction. See Primer. See Star Trek Phase 2. See Iron Sky. I think fans are looking merely for good science fiction. Depicting a post-scarcity world in the 60's on American television was pretty good science fiction. Depicting a racially diverse and equal future on American TV in the 60's was pretty good science fiction (well groundbreaking really). Magic Kahn blood which revives the dead lead character (Deus ex makahna?? ) is not good science fiction - regardless of the budget involved.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 8:39 PM on May 21


1) The nature of the write in campaign goes to your assertion that Trek wasn't some low rated accident, but rather some kind of Truth that resonated across the universe. Um, not really.

2) Trek, along with all the other sci-fi fables, have shown that Utopia in story telling is just not interesting. There's a reason that sci-fi goes to the Dystopia well so often (including, notably, Star Trek itself - see DS9 - or is that not real Trek, either?).

3) Primer sucked. I've seen that movie with people with graduate degrees in high energy physics, who worked on and with the people who discovered the top quark - and if they don't get it without multiple viewings and charitable squinting, then that's not keepin' it real /avoiding the lowest common denominator/honoring an uncompromising artistic vision - that's being a crappy film maker. Primer also had very few people watch it. Dollars grossed isn't a perfect metric - but it ain't a bad proxy, either.

Summer blockbusters are absolutely the wrong place to be looking for innovative, groundbreaking story telling. Period. Expecting that Star Trek should continue to try and go there is ridiculous, and probably irresponsible if you're tasked with keeping that universe of characters alive. We've done the "Keep Star Trek Weird" experiment - and the franchise effectively died. Pretty actors, gratuitous underwear shots, lots of lens flare and pissed off die hard fans? People are talking - and that's good for mass market pop entertainment.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 10:27 AM on May 22, 2013


2) Trek, along with all the other sci-fi fables, have shown that Utopia in story telling is just not interesting. There's a reason that sci-fi goes to the Dystopia well so often (including, notably, Star Trek itself - see DS9 - or is that not real Trek, either?).

well, if by that you mean not interesting to you, point made, well done, and why are you even in this thread?
posted by mwhybark at 10:32 AM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Trek, along with all the other sci-fi fables, have shown that Utopia in story telling is just not interesting.

Which is why it lasted so long...?

We've done the "Keep Star Trek Weird" experiment - and the franchise effectively died.

Just saying, this is a misuse of the word experiment. There are far too many variables at work to be able to say things like this conclusively.
posted by JHarris at 10:41 AM on May 22, 2013


Primer sucked.

FOR THIS HERESY YOU SHALL BE CONDEMNED to be reincarnated as the principal character in a lavishly produced Hollywood movie, portrayed by an incredibly sexy wildly popular superstar, to have millions of fanboys and girls wilt as they dream of being you, in a story written and directed by David Lynch.
posted by localroger at 11:06 AM on May 22, 2013


That fanwank crossed my mind, too, but c'mon, really. It's clear that the reason they spelled it that way was that they were afraid the stupid audience wouldn't be able to figure it out otherwise.

Totally. Though, while I consider myself a moderate fan, I have never invested any time into Klingon as a language, outside of throwing an occasional k'pla at someone for the fun of it. As a result, when I learned that it was spelled Qoa'erla'kjrealS (exaggerated for effect), I was kind of happy to keep the more straightforward Kronos in use.

As a total fun side, since I bought my tickets through Fandango, I somehow got a free download in HD of the 2009 film. THIS MAKES ME HAPPY. I always meant to get it, but couldn't pull the trigger when it came to forking money over.
posted by Atreides at 11:10 AM on May 22, 2013


Primer was two-thirds of a film made for no money. It's also not only the best SF film I've ever seen, it's one of only a small handful of films ever made that's even SF at all in a sense that's comparable to the kind I grew up reading and loving. I think it's barely possible to make a real SF film that will really bank at the box office, and a lot easier to make a shit stupid film that will. Good SF is almost by definition very hard to write, and even harder to get across without exposition. It's almost too much to ask to make it overwhelmingly and crudely stimulating as well.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:19 AM on May 22, 2013


I will say that Chris Pine's reading of the line: 'you guys are fighting? What is that even like?' got a guffaw out of me.

So, that was good.
posted by angrycat at 12:40 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


1) The nature of the write in campaign goes to your assertion that Trek wasn't some low rated accident, but rather some kind of Truth that resonated across the universe. Um, not really.

I have no particular horse in this fight, but I will point out that, if accurate, a 2900% response rate (from above, 4000 letters sent out with 116000 replies) is actually something pretty remarkable. I'm not quite sure why you're insisting on some kind of virgin birth of the campaign as a benchmark.
posted by PMdixon at 1:35 PM on May 22, 2013


I've been thinking about Greg Nog's suggested changes (which are very, very good), and I'd like to add one more:

I like the better Carol Marcus. I tried to riff a little, and it got a bit long. I don't want to spam the thread since people are still talking about other things, so I put it on pastebin for interested eyeballs.

The problem with STID is once you try to fix something you've made a clean spot.
posted by fleacircus at 1:45 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Primer sucked. ... Primer also had very few people watch it. Dollars grossed isn't a perfect metric - but it ain't a bad proxy, either.

Whereas we can certainly agree to disagree on the quality of any given movie, judging the value of a piece of art by the profit that it makes, I must say, is an incredibly shallow perspective. By your reasoning cherry Koolaid is a far better product than Dom Perignon because so many more people have purchased it. I suppose we will have to agree to disagree on what constitutes quality as well.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 1:49 PM on May 22, 2013


So I just saw the movie and was entertained and boy is it big and stupid. I love the idea that JJ Abrams is making fanfic, deliberately so, with all the shoddy writing and horrible fan service and improbably chained events that implies. I mean he's got Spock and Uhura kissing on screen, for fuck's sake, it's just horrible.

I can't wait to see him give the same necrophilia treatment to Star Wars. Maybe some future Sith will come through a wormhole with some Red Force Matter and disrupt the continuity. And it'll be Leia who gets the lightsaber, who kicks all the ass, and Luke stays a dumb whiny hayseed until he magically gets swept to adventure when Leia rescues him from the Jawas. And then they meet Han Solo and his smooth lover Lando Calrissian (played by Benedict Cumbersnatch). And there's a scene where they have to space jump out of the Millenium Falcon right into the Death Star (through a portal no bigger than a womp rat) and basically the whole movie guts the magic and love out of a Star Wars franchise that, in retrospect, was never very clever.

In the meantime I think I only want to watch films made my people a generation younger than me. Because all these retreads of stuff from My Era are getting boring. Bring on more movies like Primer, as flawed as it was. Or Children of Men. Or Cloud Atlas.
posted by Nelson at 4:13 PM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Whereas we can certainly agree to disagree on the quality of any given movie, judging the value of a piece of art by the profit that it makes, I must say, is an incredibly shallow perspective. By your reasoning cherry Koolaid is a far better product than Dom Perignon because so many more people have purchased it. I suppose we will have to agree to disagree on what constitutes quality as well.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 1:49 PM on May 22


Star Trek has always been Koolaid. Pretentious, badly acted, poorly produced Koolaid. Maybe the argument could be made that it aspired to be the best kind of Koolaid on the shelf of network television or big budget movies - still doesn't make it Champagne. All this outrage over how they mixed fan service and high production values into something that was pretty trite and sugary to begin with is silly. It's like saying you don't like the terroir of your Koolaid. There's nothing wrong with the Koolaid - your expectation is wrong.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 4:15 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Primer had a budget of $7,000, and a to date gross of $424,760. If we're judging by profit, Primer was AMAZINGLY profitable. Not quite Mad Max levels of ROI, but close.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:40 PM on May 22, 2013


Trek, along with all the other sci-fi fables, have shown that Utopia in story telling is just not interesting.

Agreed.
My problem with post-TOS, non-ID Trek is that it assumes people are reasonable. People aren't reasonable. We're angry and passionate and weird. You don't get to just wish that away by assigning every negative trait to a race - anger to the Klingons, greed to the Ferengi, etc.

It's like a whole race of the 'good' Kirk from the episode where Kirk got split in two.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:49 PM on May 22, 2013


Pretentious, badly acted, poorly produced Koolaid.

Begone, Trolly McTrollerson! Back under the bridge with ye!
posted by mwhybark at 4:51 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not everyone who disagrees with you is a troll.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:06 PM on May 22, 2013


Koolaid? How about Coke instead? and why I'm arbitrarily assigning a change in analogy: because Coke may be the sugary soft drink pumped full of HFCS, but marketing textbooks make New Coke a cautionary tale for a reason.

There is no reason to describe silliness when it's the reformulation that took the wrong key points from the market surveys and focus groups.
posted by cendawanita at 6:06 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


So who says this most recent movie is New Coke?

People never like the other person's metric. But let's use two:

1) Historical box office numbers for every Star Trek movie - yeah, yeah - I don't like gross dollars as a proxy for quality, even though blockbuster movies have more to do with dollars than art, anyway, etc.

2) Metacritic (Keeping score of entertainment.(TM)) roll up of all Star Trek movie reviews - this is where we whine about critics not being true fans, or the sampling of critics, grade inflation, etc.

Note #2 has both J.J. Abrams reboot movies reviewed better than First Contact, which is reviewed better than The Wrath of Khan. All of those plus the evens (The Voyage Home, The Undiscovered Country, Insurrection) are relatively well reviewed vs. the odds (The Search for Spock, Generations, Nemesis, TMP, The Final Frontier) - which ties with standard Trek dogma about which movies were "good" and which movies were "bad."

To be clear - the average of people who review movies - for a living - think this steaming pile of disrespectful garbage is better than The Wrath of Khan. You mad? Even I think that's a step too far, and I'm the thread's designated Mr. Trolly McTrollerson.

This movie isn't the New Coke you're looking for. I hope the gang beefs up the servers in time for the next Star Wars movies - cause even if those turn out to be the equivalent of The Godfather II with light sabers it's a foregone conclusion that Metafilter is going to be PISSED.

(Also: this whole thread is vastly more entertaining if read in the voice of The Comic Book Guy)
posted by NoRelationToLea at 6:49 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


And then they meet Han Solo and his smooth lover Lando Calrissian (played by Benedict Cumbersnatch).

Hando is my new OTP.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:02 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


To be clear - the average of people who review movies - for a living - think this steaming pile of disrespectful garbage is better than The Wrath of Khan. You mad? Even I think that's a step too far, and I'm the thread's designated Mr. Trolly McTrollerson.

Now this is actually a decent point, fairly made. I think some of the fan outrage is about this exact thing. Abrams made a version of a thing we love which we think is weak and, as you accurately put it, disrespectful. Non-fan viewers can't even see the reasons why it's problematic. I take it back. JJ's the actual troll here.
posted by mwhybark at 7:03 PM on May 22, 2013


Disrespectful? He recreated key scenes from the old movie and show. They only existed as fanservice!
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:10 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Also: this whole thread is vastly more entertaining if read in the voice of The Comic Book Guy)

This really isn't a very kind mode of discourse.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:18 PM on May 22, 2013


To return to your question of, "What's wrong with a Star Trek for the rest of us?" the problem, for me, is that there isn't any new Star Trek that appeals to my tastes, and that frustrates me. I wouldn't be frustrated if there were Trek that I liked which exists simultaneously with this one, but there isn't, and won't be, and that makes me sad because I like old Star Trek. You can say that my tastes suck, or whatever. That's fine. But it does feel like an appropriation of something very near to my heart, and that hurts.

And being called pathetic for articulating that hurt, I mean, shit. If this is what the new wave of "geek" being popular and mainstream and profitable brings in? At least in the old model of geekery fans could be slans together. This just feels like high school.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:24 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


At least in the old model of geekery fans could be slans together.

Yeah, there's nothing elitist or insular about using a term that implies you're actually a seperate species with higher intelligence than the 'normals'. I've read about the 'Fans Are Slans' thing, but I'm surprised that people still use it.

I'm super geeky, and I know much more about Trek than a casual audience. I used to read Trek novels, and my grandmother was a Trekkie, and I've read more classic sci-fi than your average 'normal' (if you want to use that as a phrase). Including Ellison's rant about Trek. But because I don't think it's a GRAVE DESECRATION that the new Trek movie harkens back to the swashbuckling spirit of the original series rather than the 4 series of boredom after it I'm out of the club.

People in this thread are acting like JJ Abrams killed their dog and raped their childhood. Even Plinkett, a guy who complained that the turbolifts went to the wrong places in his Star Trek Generations review, can aknowledge that there are swashbuckling, fun series.

My issues with the movie were that it wasn't swashbuckling and fun ENOUGH - that there wasn't more of the adventure of the (slightly racially problematic) opening series.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:30 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I didn't say the term wasn't elitist or insular. But--gasp--making fun of Trekkies for being humorless or obsessed with canon isn't exactly shocking, new stuff. What's next, telling us to get a life or move out of our mothers' basements? This is exactly the reason scifi fans used that kind of insular language--because they were frequently being flatly insulted to their faces by a bunch of mainstream snobs.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:37 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


But because I don't think it's a GRAVE DESECRATION that the new Trek movie harkens back to the swashbuckling spirit of the original series rather than the 4 series of boredom after it I'm out of the club.

I think you're misdiagnosing the push-back.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 7:42 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


But--gasp--making fun of Trekkies for being humorless or obsessed with canon isn't exactly shocking, new stuff.

I'm not making fun of some monolithic group of 'Trekkies'. I'm getting annoyed at people IN THIS THREAD who got angry because people saw a movie with a different viewpoint and a different set of lenses than they did.

Besides, if the movie was trying to ignore canon, why did it put in references that I had to explain to non-Trek fans? Why did it have that 60s go-go TOS aesthetic? Why did Chekov have that stilly accent and why was the only African-American the communications officer? If anything, it was TOO RESPECTFUL to canon?

Also, let’s just be into things without having to be into being into things
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:44 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Liking something a lot is no good reason to put words in the mouths of people who don't, or question the integrity of their motivations.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:47 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm getting annoyed at people IN THIS THREAD who got angry because people saw a movie with a different viewpoint and a different set of lenses than they did.

People in this thread who are Trekkies.

If anything, it was TOO RESPECTFUL to canon?

It was "respectful" in the wrong ways, the ways that didn't matter, while disregarding those that did.

Also, let’s just be into things without having to be into being into things


Let's not! I'm proud to be a Trekkie, thank you very much.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:47 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


People in this thread who are Trekkies.

The only time I used that word was when I referred to a member of my own family. Whatever you want to call yourself is cool, but that doesn't make you a member of a persecuted, protected class. I could call myself a Marvel Zombie and nitpick about how Tony Stark's armor has the wrong number of bolts on his chest and it would be just as silly.

My issue with 'canon' as a whole is that it gets in the way of good, emotional storytelling. A work needs to be consistant with itself (which was my problem with Prometheus) not with anything outside of it. And it doesn't need to be factually consistant, only tonally and emotionally consistant.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:51 PM on May 22, 2013


The new movie was emotionally underdeveloped and internally inconsistent.

It also had a bunch of canon problems. But the big problem with it that it was emotionally underdeveloped and internally inconsistent.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:54 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


My issue with 'canon' as a whole is that it gets in the way of good, emotional storytelling.

There are people here who believe, in good faith, that STID was NOT good, emotional storytelling.

I think people would be perfectly happy with canon being thrown out the window if it was done in the service of telling a great story. I know I would. But I honestly don't believe that's what happened here.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:58 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wonder if I should start getting angry that this is yet another film that portrays genetic engineering and bettering humanity through it in a bad light, but I guess they barely touched on the main bad guy's backstory like they did in the original.

I mean you could have a version of the show where the endpoint of the Federation is to be come post-human.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:37 PM on May 22, 2013


Disrespectful? He recreated key scenes from the old movie and show. They only existed as fanservice!

Exactly. Pandering is disrespectful.
posted by mwhybark at 8:38 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I could call myself a Marvel Zombie

This actually reminded me of something I'd forgotten which I wanted to mention. The incidental use of canon in this film reminds me of the way that seventies Marvel books (maybe other eras, too, Marvel's not bag) would insert one-line references to prior plot points or whatever. These would be called out with a hyperbolic footnote giving to the issue and series the plot point appeared in. It was a fun way to build audience inclusion and maybe even sell a couple more comics. There's nothing wrong with it, but it is kind of new for it to be used to this extent in a Trek motion-media property.
posted by mwhybark at 8:50 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


...er, not my bag, and giving the issue. Apologies.
posted by mwhybark at 9:15 PM on May 22, 2013


I'm getting annoyed at people IN THIS THREAD who got angry because people saw a movie with a different viewpoint and a different set of lenses than they did.

Which people? Because I think to a lot of us, it looks like you are boxing your own shadow and hoping the rest of us step into the punches. It wouldn't be as annoying if you weren't also trying to tell us just how beat up we were getting.

I think people would be perfectly happy with canon being thrown out the window if it was done in the service of telling a great story. I know I would. But I honestly don't believe that's what happened here.

I think they should have gone even further and thrown out some of the canon from Star Trek 2009 :D
posted by fleacircus at 2:22 AM on May 23, 2013


So, I rewatched Wrath of Khan last night and one thing that stuck with me: That Moby Dick stuff in it? It's reflected in the debate between Khan and his buddy, who is a stand-in for Starbuck. The Starbuck guy is, like Starbuck, saying, 'dude, chill, let's go on our way.' And then Khan telling him, 'He tasks me. He tasks me.'

It was a beautiful moment, and although it is in debt to Melville, it works because it makes Khan into a mult-dimensional character.

Khan in STID is like 'let my popsicle people go,' which, let's face it, they're popsicles why do we care?
posted by angrycat at 5:17 AM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


CAN there be canon issues in movies that take place before the material that established the canon?
posted by Atreides at 6:48 AM on May 23, 2013


Yes, because we have a shit-ton of stories set before the outset of TOS, including a TV series (Enterprise) and several movies (The Voyage Home, First Contact).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:08 AM on May 23, 2013


My issue with 'canon' as a whole is that it gets in the way of good, emotional storytelling.

People talk about Rodenberry's vision and the core of TOS and it gets to sound kind of silly. But among the important aspects of that vision was, for example, the first 'interracial' kiss on television.
There were actual foundational values there that reflected the material being portrayed.
Contrast that to now.

Seriously, the first movie? Takes like twenty minutes to get the damn ship launched. The second? That the one where they go back in time to save the whales? Third? KHAN! Fourth? Spock hits puberty? Or is that the fifth? Then there's the one where they go to the end of the Universe to find fucking god. The Next Generation movies were like TV episodes. Bah! This movie did what it set out to do. It entertained and gave people a familiar backdrop for a decent story.

The first movie was terrible. The second movie was pretty good. That was the one with Khan. The third one set an emotional tone for the entire series concerning loyalty to one's companions, it wasn't bad, but it was meaningful in the sense that it did something beyond entertainment. It created a forward looking structure that could be built on.
The fourth was simply entertaining with whales, but again addresses a social issue (environmentalism, et.al.), but without that it can be argued it's filled with flaws. Where the hell does the whale ship come from?
On the other hand, that line of questioning is provocative. As in - why are we so presumptuous now that we think we know how all life is interconnected? Why aren't we taking more of a look at our own world? etc.
So the internal plot flaws are more by design. But not a great film.
The 5th was ego driven crap and subject to much of the same criticisms STID is. It failed. At least though, again, it was forward looking.

And the rest of them, pretty much the same thing. Flawed in one way or another to greater or lesser degrees. Not too many much better than a blah space opera except perhaps for Star Trek: First Contact which was cute, but retrospective.
But some were trying to build on to the canon. Not all of them. Arguments can be made that a bunch of the films were just cash cows. But the idea of having a canon is to create aspects of it and riff on it. Put something forward that might make another movie or t.v. series or idea better. Or even violate it, but do it as an act of creation and augmentation not as some kind of dodge.

The first reboot did that. This one really doesn't. Whatever its merits.

I watched the Aviator a while back. Excellently made film. Brilliant direction. Outstanding performances. Deep, emotional characters. And that's about all I remember about it.
A film can be solidly made and not tell a story worth telling.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:36 AM on May 23, 2013


The Undiscovered Country was pretty great, I always thought. Might be my favorite, if I think about it hard.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:50 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Where the hell does the whale ship come from?

You mean the ship from the beginning, that was sending out the signal that was harming Earth? I thought that that was a ship of aliens who communicated with the whales rather than a ship containing more whales.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:56 AM on May 23, 2013


whale spacesuits would be extremely costly
posted by angrycat at 8:03 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


OTOH, you can bet the whale spaceship people have good technology for flying underwater. Maybe that's how the Enterprise managed to go submarine in this new movie. In this timeline whales are part of Starfleet Section 32: Atlantis. JJ Abrams is one step ahead of all you canon nerds. Just wait until they open the Stargate.
posted by Nelson at 8:07 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


In this timeline whales are part of Starfleet Section 32: Atlantis.

SQUIDIC
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:13 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


But because I don't think it's a GRAVE DESECRATION that the new Trek movie harkens back to the swashbuckling spirit of the original series rather than the 4 series of boredom after it I'm out of the club.

There's no "club" that you're in or out of. People are expressing their opinions about the movie they saw. To the degree that you may feel excluded, it's because you keep making over-the-top stupid proclamations of what art "should" be, so people are reacting to that.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:29 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Trek fans have problems with starships going underwater? Really? Am I the only Trek fan that remembers structural integrity fields? Is it really necessary to stop the movie for 30-60 seconds of technobabble to explain something that doesn't need explaining? In my book, technobabble in Trek is a big klaxon alarm for "let's talk down to our audience" or "let's pull the god out of the machine."

My biggest problem with that scene was Kirk and McCoy didn't break any bones cliffjumping and may have possibly set a new freediving depth record returning to the big E, but I've accepted that realistic physics and action movies have parted ways many years ago, never to meet again.

(Why in god's name am I arguing about Star Trek on the Internet? I promised myself I would stop 20 years ago.)
posted by entropicamericana at 9:20 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes, because we have a shit-ton of stories set before the outset of TOS, including a TV series (Enterprise) and several movies (The Voyage Home, First Contact).

Point, though, ironically, some of the canon establishment by Enterprise was a source of people's aggravation with the show. How much in those apply directly to Enterprise crew specifically?

The Undiscovered Country was pretty great, I always thought. Might be my favorite, if I think about it hard.

It's probably my favorite, and would have been a jumping point to a deeper fandom of Trek, had my grandmother not passed away the weekend it opened. I had plans to go see it opening day with a friend, who was even more obsessed with Trek than myself, and had that gone down, he probably would have been my white rabbit. There's so much about the movie I enjoy based on what I consider a marvelous combination of themes and direction. I still like to clench my fist at inappropriate moments and bark, "FIRE!" like Kirk does with the modified torpedo.

Where the hell does the whale ship come from?

It's a probe!
posted by Atreides at 9:29 AM on May 23, 2013


The freediving part is easy to explain: they just had some A99 aquata breathers from that earlier movie.
posted by Nelson at 9:30 AM on May 23, 2013


The freediving part is easy to explain: they just had some A99 aquata breathers from that earlier movie.

BUT THEY DIDN'T STOP THE MOVIE FOR THIRTY SECONDS TO DISCUSS THEM AND SHOW THEM PUTTING IT ON. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO ACCEPT THAT? AND WHAT ABOUT PRESSURE EQUALIZATION? I MEAN, IN A MOVIE THAT HAS INSTANT TELEPORTATION, FTL TRAVEL, AND HUMANOID ALIENS, AM I SUPPOSED TO ACCEPT THAT THEY WOULD HAVE SOME SORT OF WAY TO INSTANTLY AND SAFELY REMOVE NITROGEN FROM A PERSON'S BLOOD?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:40 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


(Also: this whole thread is vastly more entertaining if read in the voice of The Comic Book Guy)

This really isn't a very kind mode of discourse.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:18 PM on May 22


We're supposed to be kind now? Consider:

1) Begone, Trolly McTrollerson! Back under the bridge with ye!
posted by mwhybark at 4:51 PM on May 22

2) Nothing, on the face of it. Although some people might take offense that "the rest of us" don't want anything other than a lightshow for cattle.
posted by figurant at 11:04 AM on May 21

3) well, if by that you mean not interesting to you, point made, well done, and why are you even in this thread?
posted by mwhybark at 10:32 AM on May 22


And those are just the ones directed specifically at me. Also: Ctrl-F "pathetic" - no one has used that word except you.

Does no one see the irony of the position that Star Trek (post-racial, Utopian kumbaya) should not be a big sci-fi tent "for the rest of us?" If anything, broadening Trek for the masses is explicitly honoring Trek's original intent. Or is all that is good in Trek specifically reserved for those who are "slans?"
posted by NoRelationToLea at 11:01 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


HUMANOID ALIENS

You know there's a whole TNG episode explaining why there are so many humanoid aliens? It's one of my favorite episodes, both because Picard gets to shine and because they did a nice job making a meaningful story out of retconning a basic TV production necessity. Star Trek's sincere efforts to explain everything with a nod to self-consistency is one of its charming features, even if the only explanation is "modulating the flux capacitors".

Speaking of retconning, how does the new Klingon look fit into the whole Klingon Augment Virus explanation for differing Klingon makeup? That was not one of the writers' better efforts, particularly since the basic inconsistency is such a subject of humor. Sometimes it's better just to shrug and rely on suspension of disbelief.

I can't wait to see what happens with Orac on the bridge in the next movie.
posted by Nelson at 11:13 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


And those are just the ones directed specifically at me. Also: Ctrl-F "pathetic" - no one has used that word except you.

Someone had last night. It appears to have been edited.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:34 AM on May 23, 2013


If it doesn't have a shirtless and flabby Kirk running in a ducking zigzag manner, I don't want to see it.

Also, Kirk's fight music. This is not negotiable.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:35 AM on May 23, 2013


If anything, broadening Trek for the masses is explicitly honoring Trek's original intent. Or is all that is good in Trek specifically reserved for those who are "slans?"

Not if it comes at the expense of the core audience. Trek in many ways represents a place where smart people can do good, where science and exploration matter. I watched The Captains with my husband last night, and there's a scene where Shatner meets with a young gentleman in a wheelchair who is dressed in a DS9 outfit. Even "Get a life!" Shatner treats him empathetically and kindly, and there's precedence for this kind of thing in Star Trek. See also George La Forge. In many ways, the series has traditionally been a haven for those who feel like they don't fit into the mainstream, a safe space. I don't think that courting the mainstream is very utopian at all if it comes at the expense of people who have previously found significant meaning--or at least patches of brightness--in their lives thanks to Star Trek. If the message is "the stuff you nerds want is boring, and don't matter at all because you are unimportant when compared to the masses," then I don't think it's in the spirit of Roddenberry's vision at all.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:43 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Trek fans have problems with starships going underwater?

Seriously, while this movie looks like a steaming pile I have to say I had no problem with that in the trailers -- if you're going to build a starship that looks that spindly and then fling it around the universe you'd better suppose it's going to take some stresses. "The Enterprise is unreasonably and futuristically strong" has always been kind of a given to me.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:45 AM on May 23, 2013


Nothing, on the face of it. Although some people might take offense that "the rest of us" don't want anything other than a lightshow for cattle.

I feel this was poorly worded on my part. My objection isn't that Star Trek now being made for slack-jawed idiots, because I don't think that describes people who saw and enjoyed this movie and certainly doesn't describe everyone outside of a certain subset of fandom. I object to the cynicism of the filmmakers who felt that they could stop the viewer from noticing they weren't watching a very good movie if they just included two hours of nonstop running! and jumping! and explosions! and another CGI setpiece! It's a mindset that treats the viewer as stupid.

Despite that, it's fine to have enjoyed it, and no mark against your intelligence or your critical faculties. Roller-coasters are thrilling and perfectly enjoyable, and it's not necessary to engage with a summer blockbuster on anything other than that level. Anyone who wanted something slightly meatier than that is understandably disappointed though.
posted by figurant at 11:55 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not if it comes at the expense of the core audience. Trek in many ways represents a place where smart people can do good, where science and exploration matter. I watched The Captains with my husband last night, and there's a scene where Shatner meets with a young gentleman in a wheelchair who is dressed in a DS9 outfit. Even "Get a life!" Shatner treats him empathetically and kindly, and there's precedence for this kind of thing in Star Trek. See also George La Forge. In many ways, the series has traditionally been a haven for those who feel like they don't fit into the mainstream, a safe space. I don't think that courting the mainstream is very utopian at all if it comes at the expense of people who have previously found significant meaning--or at least patches of brightness--in their lives thanks to Star Trek. If the message is "the stuff you nerds want is boring, and don't matter at all because you are unimportant when compared to the masses," then I don't think it's in the spirit of Roddenberry's vision at all.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi An hour ago


I don't see how reaching out to more people equates with telling your core audience to go away/we don't love you anymore/nerds are boring/etc. You're perceiving a zero sum game there, but I'd like to see a citation for where exactly Abrams/Lindelof say something remotely like "Fuck nerds. They suck. We're only doing this because we want to hurt their feelings."

I just don't have a problem with people re-telling stories we know - whether that's Spider Man, Batman, Superman, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. etc. etc. Not all of them will be to my personal taste - but I take great satisfaction in the fact that some part of what I loved about any of those fables resonated with enough other people that it resulted in efforts to renew those stories for new, or young, or foreign viewers. People want to treat the originals like the Dead Sea Scrolls or like the Latin language or something - I'd rather these stories not live in a museum, thanks.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 1:24 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't see how reaching out to more people equates with telling your core audience to go away/we don't love you anymore/nerds are boring/etc. You're perceiving a zero sum game there, but I'd like to see a citation for where exactly Abrams/Lindelof say something remotely like "Fuck nerds. They suck. We're only doing this because we want to hurt their feelings."

No, of course not. I don't think they're even cognizant of the ways that what they're writing isn't appealing to the core audience of existing Trek fans (the writing of the aliens, which I talked about on the last Trek thread, is a good example of this). After all, they try to include fanservice and call backs so it should be enough. But most of the people I know who love old Star Trek (no matter how KoolAid you think it is) are really not in it for that kind of stuff. They're in it for other kinds of stuff, which is sorely lacking in the reboot franchise.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:34 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Kirk was immediately taken to a research-torture facility by a group of scientists from Section 31. In a way, I think we all failed to take into account the interest this shadowy government organization, with the resources to build a super-advanced death-ship in absolute secrecy, might take in a serum that reverses death."

-Star Trek Into Darkness: What Came Next
posted by Iridic at 2:19 PM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Perhaps, upon later reflection, we were naive.

That was amazing! Thanks, Iridic!
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 3:33 PM on May 23, 2013


So question for the Trek nerds: is all that cool stuff from TOS like The Red Hour and the planet of gangsters and City at the Edge of Forever 'canon' somewhere? I've been watching DS9 and TNG and it seems the series moved beyond that into retreading conflicts between the same groups of rubber-forehead aliens. Do the modern Trek fans who are so angry even like that freewheeling psychedelic soft Sci-Fi? Because I hope the new franchise brings it back.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:58 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are plenty of freewheeling soft sci-fi episodes in later Trek, like "Area 51," "The Visitor," "Far Beyond the Stars," and "Trials and Tribble-lations" of DS9 and the holodeck and Q episodes of TNG.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:12 PM on May 23, 2013


There are plenty of freewheeling soft sci-fi episodes in later Trek, like "Area 51," "The Visitor," "Far Beyond the Stars," and "Trials and Tribble-lations" of DS9 and the holodeck and Q episodes of TNG.

The Holodeck and Q episodes still fit in that framework, though. Instead of 'Enterprise goes to a new planet, lands in a Twilight Zone episode, needs to escape" we get "known entity (Q, holodeck) does Something Bad that needs to be worked out usually through cleverness, debates, and speeches". There's less of that sense of 'anything can happen, what's going on?' that you get with TOS and Doctor Who.

I mean its a preference thing, sure, but I have trouble seeing the affection for the latter model.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:32 PM on May 23, 2013


There's less of that sense of 'anything can happen, what's going on?' that you get with TOS and Doctor Who.

I disagree. Some of these episodes are really weird, like the one where Moriarty seems to have escaped the holodeck but (spoilers!) is just in another holodeck within the holodeck. Which is a great sci-fi conceit, too. There's also the Hugo winning ep where Picard lives out his entire life as someone else. There are a whole bunch of them on both series, actually, that are much closer to the inventive and surprising soft sci-fi that you're talking about rather than talk and diplomacy--though I honestly like both types of Trek episode. They might not have been psychedelic (well, except for the shiny shirts that Jake Sisko always wears on ds9), but that wasn't really the prevailing aesthetic of the time, and it feels odd to expect it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:48 PM on May 23, 2013


but again, even when they go with that they don't follow through. Darmok is a great concept, but boils down to 'cooperation is great!' instead of going somewhere weird with it (and Gene Wolfe did the concept better in Book of the New Sun). or that episode where the Enterprise gets taken over by another reality/turned into a temple, which was an awesome premise but was killed in the end by the bland Data-ness of it.

the preveling aesthetic of post-TOS Trek is BEIGE, and JJ Abrams doesn't fly with that.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:54 PM on May 23, 2013


But those aren't the episodes I mentioned, which actually do follow-through?

This conversation is beginning to feel very circular. I don't think all of later Trek is beige at all, though I admit I have a fondness for beige, and I actually think you'd like the TNG and DS9 episodes I mentioned.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:58 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Especially the DS9 ones.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:59 PM on May 23, 2013


the preveling aesthetic of post-TOS Trek is BEIGE, and JJ Abrams doesn't fly with that.

I don't know how someone who has actually watched the show could say this. I honestly just don't understand the comment. What are you asking for? What would count as not-beige? And how many not-beige-by-your-standards episodes would I have to point to in order to convince you that you're wrong about TNG and DS9?
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 5:02 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know how someone who has actually watched the show could say this. I honestly just don't understand the comment. What are you asking for? What would count as not-beige? And how many not-beige-by-your-standards episodes would I have to point to in order to convince you that you're wrong about TNG and DS9?

You don't have to point me to anything - like I said, my local station shows them in blocks of 3 every week, so I'll pick up on them.

The Beige is:
1. Negotiation is the key to everything. Not speechifying, not action, but calmly talking things out
2. Lack of weirdness. Even Q looks like a human in a jumpsuit. the Bajorans and the Cardassians are humans with nose-ridges who are analogues to human cultures. the Klingons go from being a mysterious enemy to vikings/romans. the Holodeck conjures up, not new things, but Sherlock Holmes/WWII/whatever costumes they have sitting around. most things are energy beings. there's less of that 'land on a new planet, find crew in bizarre situation, get out of it' formula TOS had
3. Counslor Troi. Guinnan
4. The pacing. It all... feels... so.... lugubrious....
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:07 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Since the conversation keeps dancing around this, how insane it is that anyone would prefer the relatively sedate alien diplomacy and boardrooms of TNG to the more shallow action adventure of the reboot, this is why it matters to me:

My first exposure to Star Trek was via my dad. We went to see The Final Frontier together when I was nothing more than a wee little kid and I remember watching TNG with him and asking what a little boy was doing on the bridge. My dad died when I was eight. Years later, when I was in middle school, when my mother spent all of her time either screaming at me or awash in grief, I somehow inherited my sister's black and white television. At some point, I discovered that reruns of TNG were shown very very late on Sunday nights (followed by TOS). I remembered the show from my childhood and was captivated. And so Sunday nights were for Star Trek--the volume way down low so that my mother wouldn't hear, wouldn't scream at me or hit me, as she sometimes did.

My life was really chaotic. I broke things. Punched holes in walls. I felt trapped. Finding Star Trek was like a door opening up. Here was a world where the environment was safe, carefully paced, but still full of fascinating people of all kinds. Here was a world where you could talk to aliens! A world so much bigger than the one I knew. But it wasn't threatening, though it was occasionally scary. It was a world where you could succeed on your merits, even if you were blind, or strange looking, or if your feelings weren't like other peoples' feelings, a world of reasoned negotiation and adventure both. Do you know how amazing the idea of "calmly talking things out" is to a kid whose life is complete and utter chaos? Do you know how tender and amazing those friendships on TNG seemed to be? How inspiring that prevailing sense of Roddenberry optimism might seem?

Star Trek gave me hope that my life might be better, calmer, and yet still interesting someday. I remember the day I bought my Star Trek encyclopedia. My mother was surprised when I picked it out from the bookstore--she didn't know about my Star Trek habit, not yet. "Your father loved that show," she said. I spent hours studying its pages, this rich and deep and broad history that felt so real. And yet it came from writers. Amazing. I thought, I could do that someday, too. "You know, I like science fiction, too," my mother said. I hadn't known. Awhile after that, we started watching Mystery Science Theater together, every single weekend. She brought home a cardboard cut-out of Captain Picard for me once, begged off some bookstore employee, and took me to see Insurrection in the theater.

It wasn't a total peace. It was a fragile one. But maybe TNG, all those hours spent watching through the static--maybe they're part of the reason I ever had hope for that. Because there was a world, even fictional, where even aliens could talk to one another like grown-ups. We mostly do, these days. We went to see "The Best of Both Worlds" together in the theater a few weeks ago. For me, for us? It wasn't boring--wasn't beige--at all.

It was kinda sorta awesome.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:25 PM on May 23, 2013 [29 favorites]


I really can't speak for anyone but myself, but my very first comment in this thread would show that my disappointment is less about this supposed fangirl raging at the lack of fidelity STID has to the many canonical details of Trek-verse especially TOS. My disappointment hinges on the whitewashed casting of Khan, which is emblematic/indicative of the lack of care this production has on being mindful filmmakers in general, what more the ideals TOS was trying to achieve. There's absolutely nothing wrong in a more action-packed reboot, and I don't mind silliness and handwavy technology, but for me, the whitewashing just got me to notice that the people running this show are dudebros, nothing more, nothing less. Are they dudebros who had no prior interest in Star Trek? Sure, but so was the director of WOK.

I was just as disappointed with the whitewashing of Shyamalan's Avatar - I didn't have to be a deeply situated fan of the IP to be so. But even the dudebro-ness can be merely a problematic trait if I can genuinely enjoy the movie - and I certainly laud Abrams' finesse behind the camera but even his skill cannot hide (for long) just how terrible the narrative of this movie is (for me!). All the supposed emotional payoff wasn't actually handled very well, and I'm of the opinion at this point if there was any thematic subtlety it was accidental. The bottomline is, representing only myself, I am genuinely disappointed as a person who deeply enjoys pop culture and movies in 2013. This was a careless production, and if I were to be upset I'm upset on behalf of the film crew and cast who certainly worked their asses off for a sub-par script.
posted by cendawanita at 5:45 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


reading that Awl article turns Trek into Reanimator. I'm okay with this.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:38 PM on May 23, 2013


I hadn't heard the term "beige" WRT to TNG and DS9 but yes, it summarizes my feelings about TNG. Plots involving Barclay are beige. Practically anything involving someone whose last name is Crusher is beige. Worf's son saying "you don't care about me, all you care about is your honor" is beige. Having not one but two female characters whose entire purpose is someone to share your feelings with is beige. The stilted enunciation of everyone's dialogue is beige. Can't speak much to DS9, I got so bored with Bajorran Cardassian whatever that I stopped watching.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:40 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't really understand why fandom decides to hate some movies so much. We also saw it for The Dark Knight Rises, another movie that seemed to unleash an orgy of hatred on Metafilter.

This doesn't seem to be reflected in mainstream criticism. On Rottentomatoes Star Trek Into Darkness gets 86%, The Dark Knight Rises gets 87%: most critics seem to think these are pretty good movies.

It doesn't seem to apply to everything, Metafilter seemed to love the 2009 Star Trek. The reasons people give for their hatred seem a bit underwhelming.

Complaints about the Enterprise not being able to stand the pressure of being underwater seem to me like people searching really hard for things to be offended by.

In the original series, starship hulls are so strong that even without shields they can withstand atomic bombs. Starships have shields, polarized hull plating, inertial dampeners that can compensate for thousands of g's accelaration, structural integrity fields... but you can't make yourself believe all this technology might make a starship as strong as a World War One U-boat?

If you're going to enjoy a movie you need some kind of ability to suspend disbelief. Bad movies make it hard to suspend disbelief, partly by doing unbelievable things, partly by being dull enough that you have time to think about how unbelievable things are. Maybe a real starship wouldn't be able to withstand being underwater (I think venting waste heat would be the most likely problem, all those shields and fields must need energy which needs to be dumped somewhere, being underwater might mean you can't radiate it away). But believing a starship can survive underwater isn't something that should stress your ability to suspend disbelief, unless you've walked into the theater determined to disbelieve everything.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:39 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bad movies make it hard to suspend disbelief, partly by doing unbelievable things, partly by being dull enough that you have time to think about how unbelievable things are.

I think you answered your own questions. Those of us who didn't enjoy it were not sufficiently distracted by the excitement of the movie to suspend disbelief for the plot holes--there are other kinds of bad besides "dull." It's not that we were determined to hate. It's that we weren't entertained enough. Audience trust is something that has to be earned.

For the underwater thing specifically, it's kind of drilled into your head over and over again in Star Trek that the ships aren't meant to travel through atmospheres. It's in the Trek writers' bible, inherent in the ship's design (not streamlined like an airplane), and in the other technology; the fact that the ship remains in orbit is the entire reason we have both transporters and shuttles. German U-boats are specifically built to withstand the enormous pressure of being underwater. They look like this; they're not held together by thin, delicate parts that could easily be snapped off as a ship moves around under water, breaks through the surface, and then moves through a planet's atmosphere. The fact that the various Enterprii aren't made for land is specifically what makes the ship's various planet crashings so dramatic--it's not meant to ever make planetfall.

Anyway, I think one thing that modern audiences seem to miss about these conversations is that they're integral to the culture of Star Trek. We're not hating. We're discussing a universe that we're deeply passionate about. For as long as I've been a part of it, Star Trek has been filled with fandom wank, micro-analysis, discussions of timelines and science and continuity errors. The reason any of us expend energy on this?

Not hate. Love.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:40 AM on May 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


(Unlike Prometheus, which I bitch about from a place of pure hate.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:44 AM on May 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


The Enterprise has been able to operate in planetary atmosphere in canon.
posted by Uncle Ira at 6:48 AM on May 24, 2013


That was a mistake, wasn't it? Ship slingshots through time and space and falls through atmosphere? Doesn't mean the ship was designed for it, much less designed to go under water which is much, much worse for things like structural integrity.

(My grandfather used to tell a story about being his sub in WWII--something happened, they went too deep and were rapidly flooding. Captain told him to hand out booze to the men because they were going to die but all my grandfather could do was watch the metal walls begin to warp and buckle and close in. The pressure of the ocean is serious business.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:54 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


This doesn't seem to be reflected in mainstream criticism. On Rottentomatoes Star Trek Into Darkness gets 86%, The Dark Knight Rises gets 87%: most critics seem to think these are pretty good movies.

Ok, here is the thing about Rotten Tomatoes: when it comes to movies about which many people have mixed feelings, the "freshness" rating becomes completely arbitrary and next to useless.

Go into the actual reviews that are used to build that rating, and you'll frequently see critics saying some version of, "I liked some things, I didn't like some other things," often with no ultimate thumbs up/thumbs down determination. Someone at Rotten Tomatoes then decides whether to spin that "meh" review as "fresh" or "rotten" -- basically they take a stack of three-star reviews and forcibly sort them into one-star and five-star piles.

Generally, the staff at Rotten Tomatoes seems to be more forgiving of popcor" movies and big franchise tent poles than they are of more "serious" cinema. So with The Dark Night Returns and Star Trek: Into Darkness, all of those "It was okay" reviews get stacked in the "fresh" pile, whereas the equally mixed reception of a movie like Gatsby translates into a heap of "rottens." (A movie I would have put in the fun popcorn category myself, but whatever.)

It's a trend I first noticed last summer, and it's been driving me absolutely crazy ever since. Artificially forcing a competent mixed bag of a movie into "Awesome!" or "Terrible!" is kind of a perfect microcosm of the problems we all seem to have with grayscale discussions of media on the Internet.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:45 AM on May 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think overall my problem with the movie is not that I have a deep connection to Star Trek -- although I do; I musta watched all episodes of TOS, saw the first three movies -- but that this movie (much like Prometheus, surprise) is lazy writing. I mean, who wrote the Wrath of Khan script? Are they getting anything for this?

It was a beautifully made film. I'm glad I saw it in a theater, for that alone. But it's one thing to allude to Moby Dick 150+ after the fact and use it in a completely surprising way; it's another thing to do the same exact thing 20+ after it was originally done and do it (as explained in detail in the FPP) worse.

I mean, it's like, if they cared as half as much about writing something good as they had, say, making all the botany of the first planet as striking red, it could have been a really good film.
posted by angrycat at 8:09 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


For the underwater thing specifically, it's kind of drilled into your head over and over again in Star Trek that the ships aren't meant to travel through atmospheres.

Professor Hubert Farnsworth: Good Lord! That's over 5000 atmospheres of pressure!
Fry: How many atmospheres can the ship withstand?
Professor Hubert Farnsworth: Well, it was built for space travel, so anywhere between zero and one.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:14 AM on May 24, 2013 [15 favorites]


Ok, here is the thing about Rotten Tomatoes: when it comes to movies about which many people have mixed feelings, the "freshness" rating becomes completely arbitrary and next to useless.

I've wondered about the usefulness of comparing, say, the reviews of the older movies on metacritic to modern scores. Are the same reviewers still writing? Did reviewers then judge movies more harshly or by different standards? My perception of movie reviewing even in the 90s was that they did--I remember when Ebert was the really easy-going guy who seemed to like everything compared to other reviewers.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:23 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, who wrote the Wrath of Khan script? Are they getting anything for this?

The screenplay was credited to Jack B. Sowards; director Nicholas Meyer (who was an author and screenwriter before he was a director) is widely understood to have done some uncredited work on it as well. Sowards did in 2007; what Meyer thinks of seeing his movie skimmed and reused, I do not know. Neither of those names is anywhere in the credits of STID.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:55 AM on May 24, 2013


I thought that that was a ship of aliens who communicated with the whales rather than a ship containing more whales.

I have no idea. It was pretty nondescript whatever it was. Probe, whatever. I just meant: where's it from? Outside the galaxy?

It's essentially just a plot device that isn't as important as avoiding being bogged down in detail.
The difference between the sort of "well, the ship doors open in such and such a way through circuit 1372 not through circuit 4215 so that couldn't have happened" sort of "canon" and the more integral to the core of telling the story in a genuine way.

"If the message is "the stuff you nerds want is boring, and don't matter at all because you are unimportant when compared to the masses," then I don't think it's in the spirit of Roddenberry's vision at all."

Yeah, that's the thing. Why not call the film "Bram Stoker's Dracula" or "Frank Herbert's Dune" or borrow any popular title and remake it into whatever story one wants if one is going to ignore the vision of the original work.

In that sense, the work has to bear some relation to what is understood to be the content. Or at least the spirit of the content and the themes.
Starship Troopers offhand. The Running Man. Total Recall - pretty much almost everything ripped off of P.K. Dick (A Scanner Darkly at least bore some resemblance conceptually),

I Robot was pretty egregious.

So let's say we create a "Foundation" series and call it "Issac Asimov's Foundation" and we plan to do 20 or so movies. The first film of course is called Trantor. The entire planet looks like southern california and everyone drives Audi A8s with futuristic little wings on the hoods, uses iPads and drinks Finlandia vodka.
If the hero, John Protagonist, doesn't save his wife and kids from an explosive Dors Venabili, then the evil laws of robotics will reverse human psychohistory and people will be deprived of quality footwear.

At what point can we say that it's not really "Foundation" or that it betrays the themes it presumes to be a part of?
At what point is it just advertising and ripping off the original as a bait and switch?
Because you know they're never going to just come out at say that.

But I don't know, I'm not in Hollywood. I know there's a balance there. I mean you can't ignore everything about Star Trek and slap a "Star Trek" label on something just because you use some of the same names and gosh you really really wanted to make money.

By the same token without fresh content that dares and takes risks you wind up stagnant and rehashing the same old formula. Like the swamp Star Wars seems to have driven into (at least until Lucascorp runs out of ways to milk it).

No matter how well it's done it becomes only a technically different version of the same story.
Some stories are great enough to stand this. Much of Shakesperes work f'rinstance.

But this stuff is serial in format. Part of that means retread. But mostly it means it's mechanical in its creativity. Within a narrow scope. So success is nearly impossible in terms of bringing something genuinely cool and new and exploring socially dangerous themes.
It's always going to be watered down and any genuine love for it is going to be drowned in the ocean of mediocrity that, hey, we really don't need to put forth the effort to put asses in seats.
Star Trek the reality series. Any time now. Because why not?
If there's no reason not to distort a genuine creation (whether the original is 'good' or not) there's no reason to respect any act of creation. Or even create in the first place.

That's been going on for a long time though. And for a brief period there was better protection.
Look at "Don Quixote." Cervantes affects most of the world of fiction. But the work suffers endless knock offs and distortions and you have to wade through a ton of counterfeit garbage to find the original or any worthy translation. And Cervantes lives poor most of his life. Dies unceremoniously. Buried in an unmarked grave. 400 years later Willy Loman/ the angriest of the 12 angry men plays him in a remake of the musical Man of La Mancha to help sell DuPont Chemicals on t.v.

Even the greatest work of art is subject to encroachment, I'm sayin. But let's be clear on the difference between reinterpretation and celebration versus shill.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:59 AM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Darmok is a great concept, but boils down to 'cooperation is great!' instead of going somewhere weird with it (and Gene Wolfe did the concept better in Book of the New Sun).

Can you explain what you mean by this?

Probe, whatever. I just meant: where's it from? Outside the galaxy?

I think it just comes from outside Federation space somewhere, much like V'Ger. At the time, I think known space only extended across a wedge of about 25% of the galaxy, maybe less?
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:13 AM on May 24, 2013


The only explanation I can come up with that makes sense as to why so called science fiction movies like Prometheus and STD keep getting made is that Damon Lindelof and/or J.J. Abrams have a connection to the greatest cache of cocaine in the world.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 12:59 PM on May 24, 2013


And Redlettermedia's Half In the Bag has their STID review up.

(for those who have not been following the VCR saga, don't worry about it.)
posted by cendawanita at 1:39 PM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Smedleyman, well said and completely accurate on all points. Could not have said it better myself.
posted by JHarris at 1:49 PM on May 24, 2013


I never really found myself bothered by the question of "Could the Enterprise go underwater?" I figure it could probably be safely accomplished by the correct retuning of the handwavium generators.

No, the question that bugged me in that scene was, "Why is the Enterprise underwater?" If there was anything that even implied a good reason why the Enterprise wasn't simply up in orbit like it always is, I blinked and missed it.
posted by webmutant at 2:41 PM on May 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


Thanks! cendawanita for that link - it was fantastic.

So ... did anyone else notice that in the panning scene of the Klingon homeworld that the moon appeared to be partially destroyed? Which makes no sense because that explosion happened very late in the Star Trek world and led to the end of the earth-klingon war.

(btw, i blame myself for seeing this movie after I had sworn off Lindelof forever after Prometheus. I truly should have known. Meet the new movie, same as the old movie)
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 2:59 PM on May 24, 2013


There is potentially an in-story explanation for the ship's submersion; one would assume the same magnetic field issues that made it difficult to beam Spock out of the Volcano.
posted by Coaticass at 3:01 PM on May 24, 2013


So ... did anyone else notice that in the panning scene of the Klingon homeworld that the moon appeared to be partially destroyed? Which makes no sense because that explosion happened very late in the Star Trek world and led to the end of the earth-klingon war.

I saw it immediately when they cut to the planet and internally went, "WHAT?! ALREADY? OMG WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!!11" and then tried to keep that thought from distracting me from the movie. Apparently, here's one quote from a co-writer of the film:

Co-writer Alex Kurtzman stated "It certainly was inspired by Praxis, however, it's not specified, so we're leaving it open as to exactly what that moon was." [1]

I guess we'll just say it was Klingon weapon experimentation spurred by the Empire's encounter with Nero.
posted by Atreides at 6:46 PM on May 24, 2013


Coming back to skim this thread every so often I find myself wondering how a potential new Trek TV show set in the new continuity would deal with the groundbreaking inventions/discoveries in the movies. Forgetting completely that neither the anti-death serum or the super-transporter were invented in the old continuity despite an extra hundred years of super-science because that's not relevant to a new TV series, just irritating.

I guess you can explain away the super-transporter by saying that Kirk and Scotty got really lucky, because there's a 40% failure rate on the thing; it would never pass Federation safety requirements. You could have some fun stories where foreign governments who aren't so picky have been using the technology to beam agents into your territory so every Federation ship and planet has to be fitted with new tech to detect these unauthorised beamings, and maybe a war story about an enemy who uses it to transport huge bombs onto other people's space stations. You could make it work but it's the sort of super-tech that looms over every problem the crew get into. Not to mention that the second the Borg get hold of the technology the entire galaxy is basically fucked.

I can't make the anti-death serum work at all, though. Even if it has a 90% failure rate (and if it did then you're basically saying the reason two plot-vital elements that are really unsafe and unstable didn't kill Kirk is because the universe loves him, which is unsatisfying at best) then who cares, it's not like dead people are getting deader. Stack up enough people who donate their bodies to medical science on a small chance of getting revived and sooner or later it's going to be refined and improved. Even if it only worked because Kirk was flooded with rads at the time, great, say hello to the shiny new radiation tube in every hospital and medical bay. It's a story killer: "Oh no! Lieutenant Favourite died! Let's inject her with the serum: if it works then yay, her death had no drama; if it doesn't then boo, the consequences for failure in our stories are arbitrary and meaningless!"

It'd be better if a wizard had done it: at least wizards can be dicks and refuse to help for their own reasons. A transporter or a syringe can't be just out of reach every time they're needed.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:01 AM on May 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Klingon ships that didn't make it into the movie.

And thank god (they didn't). Just nothing very Klingony about them.
posted by Atreides at 12:50 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've not seen a single ship design from either movie that's an improvement on existing designs, tbh.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:23 PM on May 25, 2013


Just saw the movie, it was quite enjoyable, except for killing Kirk and bringing him back. Almost everyone of the complaints in the original article strike me as silly, pedantic and left me worried about the author's observation skills. However, the white washing of Khan was a terrible choice that makes no sense.

A lot of people are missing is that The Original Series has become a comic book. The same story is told over and over, for each new generation, with various changes made to appeal to that new generation. It's understandable that people who grew up with Shartner and the gang are upset about some of the changes. Like growing up with a particular genre of music, it'll always have an emotional resonance with the individual, even as it looks old and dated to the younger.

The rebooted Star Trek is a remarkable cultural signpost of how society has changed. Uhura goes out to meet and talk with Klingons alone. A black woman pilots the Enterprise. Another woman easily fills Spock's role as science officer.

The original Star Trek was startling monochromatic, for a series that purported to be about an enlightened future. Meanwhile, the reboot easily reaches that ideal and casually turns it into a reality. The women may still wear short skirts, but only a fool would focus on that cosmetic similarity while missing the growth and range of female characters (which still needs work).

Upwards and onwards!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:04 PM on May 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Honestly it felt like a step back from the present to me in progressive terms.

The two big moments for Uhura and Sulu were couched with the white guys doubting them, not trusting them with the responsibility, and only letting them do it because they had no choice. Also, they don't do much: Uruha fails and immediately turns into a damsel in distress, and Sulu's brief display of bad-ass attitude has to be acknowledged by a white guy and is not of consequence anyway. I don't remember even TOS, bigoted as it was, being so patronizing.

Earlier Treks were braver in many ways. TOS was a post-WWII/Cold War show: Chekov and Sulu on the bridge meant much more back then. Worf was a similar in-universe nod of subverting the bad guy bigotry by putting a former enemy on the bridge crew. And so on. It's a fine Trek tradition of trying to make the other side of conflict relatable. The Trek pattern would predict that rebooted Trek might have a space-muslim person, but nope. (Ugh and the one Klingon they show just looks like a dude from 300.)

Also, a lot has been said of the whitewashing of Khan, but I think the reboot has denatured Spock's Vulcan side quite a bit. In TOS we had Bones being space-racist all the time to remind us that Spock isn't even human, and they did what they could to portray him as being a part of some alien culture. Spock embraced that culture and defended it, acknowledged it was part of his identity. He was a Vulcan. Rebooted Spock seems just like a redditor who got bullied in Vulcan high school. The mind meld with dying Pike—besides being kind of gross IMHO—felt like a bad shortcut; his nerve pinch doesn't even work. He's an awkward dude with weird ears, nothing more.

The bromance between Kirk and Spock has been prioritized to such a degree that by the end of STID they are literally interchangeable.

It could have been worse, of course, and people come at it from different places. I personally don't see what's encouragingly progressive. To me it just seems pretty weak for a sci-fi movie in 2012, and kind of a step back in Star Trek terms. I hope I will not be insulted for expecting just a little bit better.
posted by fleacircus at 6:19 AM on May 26, 2013 [11 favorites]


a space-muslim person

Fascinating idea! Unfortunately they took the space-Sikh person and turned him into space-WASP. At least they didn't pander and retcon away the Singh name, they simply ignored it.

That would have been an interesting alternate take on the whole Khan story, turn it into a story about religious fanaticism married with genuinely being God's Chosen People, at least thanks to man's meddling with genetic engineering. The Star Trek V: Quest for God movie is one of the worst in the series, but I did like the whole messianic theme.
posted by Nelson at 9:38 AM on May 26, 2013


Abrams' two cover movies have accomplished the impossible: I just don't care about Star Trek any more. Considering what an important part of my childhood it was, the way it connected me with my father when every other part of my life was pulling away from him, that's a big achievement.

Also, I made a barely relevant thing after marathoning Arrested Development while reading this thread.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:54 AM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


LOL AoK. For me the biggest failing in Abrams' interpretation is that he lost the original scope, which was that Star Trek was essentially Captain Hornblower in space. (In later years after the KS ladies got rolling Roddenberry started to hotly deny that, but David Gerrold put it in print at least once.) So the time scale of the series was the time scale of ocean travel, with weeks between ports and nothing much in between. The transporter was a dinghy, never meant to operate beyond a single close-by island planet. The original writers knew it was probably technically infeasible without a booth at the far end, but it was a quick way to get characters from the ship to the scene of the action without wearing out the shuttle prop.

In just two movies Abrams has laid waste to canon conventions that, with a few exceptions, have managed to stay consistent over decades and multiple series, and worst of all he's done so not out of plot necessity but just out of scriptwriting laziness. Both interstellar transport and magic life-extending Khan blood totally alter the background against which the Federation was developed in and beyond TOS.

I think one of the Half in the Bag reviewers at redlettermedia nails it when he suggests that the filmmakers laid out all the set pieces they wanted to create -- the starship crashing into Starfleet, the exploding ring, the wingsuit flight, and so on -- and they then just played "connect the dots" until they managed to fit it all together. The end result is beautiful, well paced, well acted ... but in the end, not really Star Trek. It's very hard to see how this franchise could go on for more than one more film without totally drowning in its own sea of blown continuity.
posted by localroger at 12:05 PM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


The two big moments for Uhura and Sulu were couched with the white guys doubting them, not trusting them with the responsibility, and only letting them do it because they had no choice. Also, they don't do much: Uruha fails and immediately turns into a damsel in distress, and Sulu's brief display of bad-ass attitude has to be acknowledged by a white guy and is not of consequence anyway. I don't remember even TOS, bigoted as it was, being so patronizing.

Interesting perspective. I saw it as Uhura having an actual plan and presenting it to Kirk, who had none, despite specifically choosing Uhura because she spoke Klingon. As for damsel in distress, that would describe all of the Federation characters in that scene, who would have died if not for that nice English Khan.

Don't understand your perspective on the Sulu scene, either. Kirk had no problem with putting him in the chair, it was Bones who worried about it. But with Scotty off the ship, Sulu was third in command, so Kirk was just following the chain of command. Bones apology to Sulu was acknowledgment that he was quite wrong and that Sulu would make a fine Captain of starship, which is established canon.

Not to say the movie isn't without plot or character problems. The movie often comes off as high frat boys with a few good ideas that don't make a whole lot of sense or are never explored. For instance, the Uhura/Spock relationship is an interesting difference, but doesn't feel right. What does she see in the logical Vulcan? What does he see in her? The tribble scene was first year film student clumsy.

If Abrahams is really fascinated in switching roles ala Spock/Kirk death scene, that's pretty low bar. It's a comic book type surface change, which doesn't threaten the underlying product (yeah, I said product). It would be much more fascinating to make Kirk female or a person of color. Hell, that might have been fun just for the mass explosion of nerd freakout.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:27 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


I just thought it was interesting in both cases that the minority person was doubted, even when they were the obvious person for the job and what they were doing was sort of in their competence (Sulu is in line for command, Uhura speaks Klingon), versus for example Chekov being switched over to chief engineer with full confidence despite his own lack of confidence and it seeming like a weird assignment in the first place. (And why would Bones doubt Sulu?)

Wrath of Khan has a similar scene (IIRC) where Kirstie Allie commands the ship out of the docking station, which is probably supposed to be an honor and not necessity. I think Kirk has total confidence in her and another character seems dubious, but even Kirk sweats a little as the ship cuts it pretty close. I don't think STID is a step forward from that, a generation later.
posted by fleacircus at 2:13 PM on May 26, 2013


I just thought it was interesting in both cases that the minority person was doubted...

Sure, by one person, while another thought the minority person would be just fine.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:27 PM on May 26, 2013


It would be much more fascinating to make Kirk female or a person of color.

I saw a Seattle production of "Devil in the Dark" in 2010 that cast Kirk AND Spock with female actors. Scotty was played by a man with profound, nearly Hawking-level physical disabilities, in a motorized wheelchair with an articulated standing-assist feature.

The acting was uneven. The production values were garage as shit. There were sound problems. It was cold and uncomfortable. It was the best episode of Star Trek ever.
posted by mwhybark at 5:19 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've been wanting to ask: Is the touching through the glass bit, and Kirk dying, and all -- is that the climax of the movie?

If it is, I've got a problem with it. It's one thing to pay homage to Scotty by having him say "She cannae take it" at some point, in fact, you almost have to. But to actually have the crux of your movie be no more than a reference to an iconic moment from another movie? One that's been referenced often in the culture for years? That was just referenced in a car commercial?

Like, does Spock say, "I hope one day to have always been your friend?"
posted by Trochanter at 7:20 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]



space-muslim person

Hm. I had hoped Captain Robau might qualify, but no, it's his actor who is of Muslim ethnicity, as is the case for Dr. Bashir.

I guess it's not actually surprising that in a show with (DS9 aside) such a strong anti-spiritual heritage there would not be any easily identifiable Muslim protagonists. Musing about this, I note that in my casual recollection I can't think of any easily identifiable Christian or Jewish characters either. I think the only depictions of actively religious characters or practices we encounter are either instances of actual gods (Apollo, Kulkukan, the DS9 wormhole entities, the guy from the pilot Abrams was trying to redirect us to by lying about Khan, um, Gary Mitchell) or made-up spiritual practices generally associated with aliens (the Bajoran, Klingons) or Earth-native Others (Chakotay).

That is really, really interesting, and I would love to be shot down on this.
posted by mwhybark at 7:33 PM on May 26, 2013


re "made-up spiritual practices," I neglected the IDIC, of course. The error is mine, as logical an oversight as it may be.
posted by mwhybark at 7:35 PM on May 26, 2013


Just saw it and was engaged moment to moment, yet felt so little at the end. It is as if the writers picked just the arias from the Star Trek opera without establishing the why: Kirk vs Khan! Spock vs Kirk! Bones being irascible! Tribbles!

The original, Star Trek II, built upon an existing story that reached back over a decade in the viewers' lives. When Kirk raged "Khaaaaaaaan," it called not only to the beginning of that movie, but to the series that viewers saw in an earlier and more formative phase of life. It resonated.

Here, the Khaaaaaaaan is absent that context, snipped out and pasted in. We don't care about Khan vs Kirk because Khan is just a supervillain asshole, not the existential and emotion-provoking rival from the original, not just Kirk's physical and mental superior, but more of a ladies man!

The original Khan was the villain we loved to hate. That plus when Kirk's buddies in the old movie get hurt, these are characters we've known for a long time – it's like family.

The new movie is a good summer explode-em-up. Keeps moving. The opening scene is gorgeous.

But the writers don't have the advantage the original movie had, that they could work on existing relationships that allowed us to care. When the current movie borrows from the original, it only gets the form, not the substance. And I'm coming to see that as a trait, of not of Lindelof, at least of modern popular cinema.

And Greg Nog's version would be so much better.
posted by zippy at 8:22 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wanted Kirk to stay dead. I wanted to see Nimoy as old Spock giving the eulogy for Kirk.
posted by humanfont at 8:45 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hated this movie, both as Star Trek and as a movie.
posted by Mezentian at 5:28 AM on May 27, 2013


The original, Star Trek II, built upon an existing story that reached back over a decade in the viewers' lives. When Kirk raged "Khaaaaaaaan," it called not only to the beginning of that movie, but to the series that viewers saw in an earlier and more formative phase of life. It resonated.

When I first saw Star Trek II as a kid, that scream didn't resonate with me, because I hadn't seen the original episode. It still worked though, as an exclamation of rage and fury.

The 'KHAAAAAN' scream in Into Darkness didn't work because it was nothing more than a frat boy homage, played for laughs. Or it not, it was badly directed, which is conclusion I'm rapidly coming to for most of the movie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:23 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


We watched Space Seed the other night. It's a fascinating episode, and the ending has a delicious ambiguity. I can see why the writers of WOK returned to it years later.

Most interesting to me, given this conversation, was how much of it takes place around a boardroom table or in a military tribunal. There's a fist fight, sure. But there's also an awful lot of talking. Kirk's ultimate solution isn't an act of anger or vengeance or fear but of empathetic kindness to both his ship's historian and to Khan himself.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:10 AM on May 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Huh. Brian Dunning uses a hypothetical example of Kirk and Spot creating a Cargo Cult in a Skeptoid episode from 2010. I wonder if the film's writers were listening.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 12:39 AM on May 28, 2013


Nicebookrac said this:
Other bestest best visual in a movie full of them: Hikaru Sulu rocking The Chair,

I am still convinced that this could work.
With either Sulu.

Because that was my favourite scene in the film.
posted by Mezentian at 6:15 AM on May 28, 2013


I'm kind of baffled that the RedLetterMedia guys thought the action scenes were good and well-directed. Sure the effect shots were pretty, but all the actual action sequences involving actors were mediocre examples their type, from the blurry jumble of punching and shooting in the Klingon fight to the boring as hell foot chase+fight scene where Uhura breaks a vase over Khan's head as the climax of the whole movie or whatever.

Maybe it's because Abrams and the writers all have done too much TV? They've internalized the budget and time constraints, and think action scenes are abrupt little things they just need to weave one character moment into, which ends up feeling thin when the scenes are stretched out and the stakes cranked up super-high. (Of course those character moments they weave in are not good either, which is another problem.) It's like a very cheap screenplay dressed up with hugely expensive special effects.

I like to imagine a conversation like this between J. J. Abrams and the writers:

ABRAMS: Come on guys let's think of something cool that can happen in a fight on top of this moving vehicle. What's it like?
WRITERS: Hm.... Well, pretty stable, and basically flat on top, like a flying van or something. Sort of featureless.
ABRAMS: Is there a driver? Does it seem to be going anywhere? Does it go really fast or turn upside down or anything? Does it have rocket engines that might burn them? Maybe we can pull things from other movies where people have fought on top of trucks or trains or things like that.
WRITERS: Oh, no, no. It's just a place where they are fighting. It's like a featureless robot truck that doesn't do anything special or have anything notable about it. It doesn't tilt. It can't tilt because of science. Our anti-nitpicker brigade apologist fans will defend us.
ABRAMS: Fair enough. Let's focus on the fight and what our characters do. So they're on this vehicle that's flying through the air, in future San Francisco. What can happen in this fight?
WRITERS: They could punch each other.
ABRAMS: I like it! But they can do that anywhere. This is a spectacle movie, guys, we need to wow the audience. This is our big finish! I need something from you because I don't plan on doing any really cool wide shots or complicated set pieces outside of what the effects guys do. I just want some moment to moment stuff from you guys.
WRITERS: Oh I know! At one point they can jump off onto something.
ABRAMS: Genius! But wait, what can they jump onto?
WRITERS: ... An identical flying van.
ABRAMS: Perfect!
posted by fleacircus at 6:23 AM on May 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm not sure why I was so disappointed by this movie. I guess I was expecting (hoping for?) something higher quality from Abrams, and this movie was such a stinker that now I have no faith in his future output at all.
posted by fleacircus at 6:31 AM on May 28, 2013


I happened to watch Cloverfield again last night. It's striking how much better it is at being a movie than the ST reboots. I was shocked that my wife, who generally dislikes both horror and verite-style seasickness inducing cinematography, sat through the whole thing and obviously enjoyed it.
posted by localroger at 7:25 AM on May 28, 2013


Let's not go crazy now.
posted by The Whelk at 7:35 AM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Since when is Muslim an ethnicity?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:40 AM on May 28, 2013


Since a couple parsecs ago.
posted by fleacircus at 9:42 AM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Relevant: Star Trek: The Old Republic
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:48 PM on May 31, 2013


Plinkett weighs in (also, the actual dude who is Plinkett was on the Half in the Bag about ST:ID)
posted by Sys Rq at 12:12 PM on June 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was hoping for a full review.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:45 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


CiS, I think the full review is that JJ made essentially the same movie; Kirk makes the same mistakes, learns the same lesson, the same relationships falter and blossom, the same set pieces are done and the same plot unfolds. He said lots of nice things about JJ's first ST movie, particularly in comparison to the craptacular SW prequels, but the second movie really doesn't do anything new. Kind of hard to justify another hour long review to get that across.
posted by localroger at 5:43 AM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


On the subject of canon, this new rebooted universe reminds me of the evil Federation from one of the book series and I think also an episode or two of the original series. I don't know if the books are official canon or how that works (but it's nice that the Borg are dead, finally, if so) but I now imagine a future reboot wherein this new universe is actually shown to be the evil warlike Federation and we can be somehow rejoined with the "real" universe just in time for an Enterprise C-era setup with Captain Rachel Garret. Who am I kidding?
posted by feloniousmonk at 7:45 PM on June 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


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