A friend took Owl so we could go to a movie this weekend, so I dragged PH to Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Not because I thought it would be good but because I figured it would at least interest him.
It definitely INTERESTED him.
It also may have shrivelled his soul.
I’m not an original Star Trek fan. As much as I love George Takei, my knowledge of Star Trek starts with Captain Picard.
But PH is a genuine Trekkie, he even owns a detailed manual to the Enterprise, which he consults occasionally, so I was surprised that he was so accepting of the 2009 reboot. He was okay with the ending – he felt it left room for the director to make new story lines instead of simply rehashing old stuff.
So I figured this movie would be about the same.
Yeah, about that…
PH’s brain nearly exploded about two minutes into the movie, and it just went downhill from there. Even I, as a non-Trekkie, was offended.
If you are a Star Trek fan, you probably shouldn’t see this movie.
The funny thing is, when we mention it to people, including people who claim to be fans of the original series, they have all said “What? It was good…” Then PH starts pointing things out, and they go “Oh, well, yeah… yeah… you’re right… that didn’t make sense…”
So allow me to rephrase.
If you kind of liked Star Trek and you like movies that are shiny (like me), you should see this movie.
It is VERY shiny.
If you are a Star Trek fan and consider yourself a PURIST, which I think all true Trekkies DO, you should NOT see this movie.
Nor should you see it if you have an interest in, oh, SCIENCE.
I’ll start with non-spoilers, so don’t be afraid. I’ll warn you before I give away anything remotely important.
Science and Logic Die In Each Other’s Arms in the First Ten Minutes
I can tell you how the movie opens, because it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE REST OF THE MOVIE.
It starts out with Spock trying to lay a cold fusion bomb into a volcano to save a race of primitive people on some far away planet.
And for some reason, the Enterprise is UNDER WATER on the planet.
No, it didn’t crash, they somehow put it there.
…I’m waiting for all of the Trekkies to stop screaming at their computer screens.
Oh, you in the back – you need more time. Go ahead. I understand.
Even I know that in all of the Next Gen I have watched, they never LAND the Enterprise. Why would they? People and cargo can be beamed up, and small shuttles are used for missions where the transporters are for some reason not recommended.
If you even look at the design of the Enterprise, you’d realize it can’t land.
But never mind that, for a moment. Let’s think about landing it IN WATER. You remember that plane in New York that had to do a water landing and managed it intact? There’s a reason they called it Miracle On The Hudson.
Because water is HEAVY. It kills people who fall off of bridges. It RIPS APART planes that hit it. Pilots would rather crash on land than on water, what does that tell you?
And it would crush you like a bug if you went too deep.
Now imagine taking a space ship which is meant for going into the vacuum of space, and imagine putting it under tons of water.
NOT GONNA HAPPEN.
Scientists are deeply offended by the concept and explain in detail why it is completely ridiculous.
And yes, I know that a lot of Star Trek science is impossible, but at least they try to make vague justifications by mumbling things about Heisenberg compensators and such.
But this was just “LOOK THE ENTERPRISE RISING OUT OF AN OCEAN ISN’T THAT COOL?”
So, we’re ten minutes in and Science is dead.
Let’s try to accept that and move on.
…WHY WAS THE ENTERPRISE UNDER WATER IN THE FIRST PLACE?
When we bring this up with people who liked the movie, they immediately respond with “well, they had to hide the ship from the people on the planet!”
You know, Prime Directive etc etc. Can’t have the locals seeing spaceships when they’ve only just figured out that fire is warm.
Okay… WHY NOT LEAVE IT IN SPACE? You know, SPACE? Where the ship belongs? Why not beam people down from well outside orbit? Or send people in a little shuttle?
And then a big hullabaloo happens when the Enterprise has to come out of the water and gets seen by the locals anyway.
If they couldn’t get the ship out without being seen, HOW DID THEY GET IT IN WITHOUT BEING SEEN?
Why is bringing the ship into the atmosphere of the planet and parking it nearby, albeit hidden, considered a stealthier option than leaving it thousands of kilometers away?
The Enterprise orbits planets all the time in the show without worrying about the locals spotting it.
And THEN we point out that submerging something the size of the Enterprise in the water would displace a helluva lot of water.
Even if the locals missed the Galaxy Class Starship, they might notice the TSUNAMI CRASHING DOWN OVER THEIR VILLAGE.
There is no good reason. None. It’s totally ridiculous. And the movie just goes downhill from there.
The Last Twenty Minutes Of The Film Is A Peter Griffin Chicken Fight
Again, this isn’t a spoiler, because I’m not telling you who was fighting who, but basically, if I just replace the characters, the last twenty minutes of the movie looked EXACTLY LIKE THIS.
That’s right. J.J. Abrams used the kind of action sequence that has been mocked by a satirical adult cartoon for years.
But what do you expect from a director who never liked Star Trek growing up because it was “too philosophical”.
Sure, that’s only the WHOLE POINT OF STAR TREK, that it brought up futuristic situations which served as an allegory for ethical issues happening in the present.
But yeah. To hell with intellectualism. Let’s blow shit up.
And Now, The Spoiler
Khan is white.
Khan has blue eyes.
Khan is basically entirely unlike Khan in every single respect except that his name is Khan Noonien Singh.
In fact, other than his name, absolutely no nod is given to the fact that Khan is supposed to be a Sikh.
It’s a damn shame, because Benedict Cumberbatch, who I know as “Sherlock”, is THE BEST PART OF THE MOVIE.
He is freaking awesome. He is snakelike, cold, brilliant, intelligent, savage, vicious, and eminently convincing.
He is perfect in every respect except for this: He’s NOT KHAN.
He shows no sign of the wild craziness of the original Khan and is much more of a cold-blooded killer who is inexplicably able to invent advanced weaponry despite being from 300 years in the past, rather than a crazed Captain Ahab out for revenge… not to mention the fact that he is clearly a white British dude, instead of a brown guy.
And it’s not like you can blame the new alternate timeline. Khan was frozen 300 years prior to that little split. The new reality didn’t retroactively bleach his skin.
Now, it’s not that I wish they hadn’t cast Cumberbatch. His name alone could keep me giggling for days. I loved all the parts of the movie that he was in.
I just don’t get why they made him Khan.
I mean, it is established that there were like 70 other eugenically created, genetically modified cryogenically frozen war criminals. Why not just thaw out another one? A totally new villain with a similar back story to Khan?
Because if they put Khan in to draw the old Trekkie crowd THEY DID IT WRONG.
You can’t just slap a name on someone who looks and acts nothing like the original character to pacify an old fan base.
I mean, imagine someone made a sequel to an old favourite movie of yours, but the main character looked and acted entirely different. Would they attract you as an audience?
Good news! It’s The Princess Bride 2, featuring Samuel L Jackson as Westley!
Sample quote: “Hell no, woman, fetch your own goddamn water!”
Good news! It’s Beauty And The Beast 2, featuring Pinkie Pie as Belle!
Sample quote: “Don’t you think this library would be a GREAT place to throw a super fun party? Let’s just put all those books out into the yard or something.”
Guess what? It’s E.T. The Teenage Years, featuring Megan Fox as E.T.!
sample quote: “Oh, Elliott, you feel so good inside me.”
No. Just no.