Editorial: Star Trek Into Darkness **HEAVY SPOILERS**

star-trek-2-into-darkness-posterI have attempted to write this article several times…

It’s one of these articles which can come out in a manner of ways. The first is the obvious movie review, the other an editorial expressing my dismay of the film and giving a generous amount of grief about why I think so much went wrong. This approach, which again puts this in the line of editorial, is based on answering another site’s review of the film. Something I do on occasion when I feel something needs to be addressed. In this case, I did feel some of the buckshot that A Galaxy Called Dallas fired at the “whiner fanboys/fangirls.”

First and foremost, I want to inform you all that there are going to be spoilers in this. In order to answer any questions about this, then it has to be known up front that I need to talk about the plot of the film and the “secret” that J.J. Abrams had in store for the fans of the movie. The next point is that this is my opinion and not necessarily the opinions of the other SciFiFX members. The last point I want to bring up is a very firm message to all out there who enjoyed this film, and a great many others. If you liked it, I’m sincerely glad that you did. This isn’t meant for sarcasm or hatred. I’m saying this, because it can be construed that I believe my opinions to be stated facts. This isn’t the case. I’m not saying that you have to agree with me, or like it. I talk a lot about the facts I know and how this influences my opinion. It makes me very choosy about things when I see something out of place. If you’re not as choosy as I am about such things, then by all means enjoy it. No one should be told to like or not like something. Regardless of this, you’re here to get my opinion of this film. That means, good or ill, you’re here to find out if I liked it and get a good basis as to why. And I agree to listen to opinions, if any, as to why you agree or disagree.

This is your last chance to turn back before spoilers start flying. You have been warned.

Let’s start this by saying that I actually enjoyed the 2009 Star Trek. Story wise, they didn’t do anything that I hadn’t seen before in other mainstream stuff. The big change was that it was being done in Star Trek vs. other series. Even at that, I don’t believe that they did it particularly well. What made me want to come back for Star Trek Into Darkness were the characters. I wanted to see what sort of adventures that they would get into. In short, I saw they could get the crew down, now I wanted to see an actual story come out of it. I found that this was far too much to hope for. The argument was made that it’s because certain fans won’t allow for a new timeline. I can agree to this point, only to a certain extent. However, that’s not MY problem with it. I’m a fanboy of many tastes. The idea of alternate timelines have always been of extreme interest to me, because it can turn characters on their ears, within the scope of certain reason. In this case, I didn’t care that they changed it as long as they made a worthwhile film. I feel like I’m still waiting.

That argument expanded to how we can’t be sure how far reaching the time alteration was. To answer that, I can easily tell you how far the alteration went. We know, as of First Contact, that there was an alteration. Now we had Borg in the past, and maybe we were industrious enough to figure out to use that to our advantage and come up with ship designs far in advance to what they should have been. I know enough about Star Trek: Enterprise to know they dealt with some of the ramifications. I expect there were changes made from that, and with better writers I might even give them that they accounted for this. These writers, not so much. Barring any of this, we know that the main point of alteration was when the Narada showed up. It changed the fate of James T. Kirk. I can see where a lot of Starfleet gets changed from there as well, in the face of superior firepower like the Narada. What’s on the screen told me all I needed to know there. Any changes not on screen, cannot hold any sway. That’s a viewer writing out any discrepancy that they see. I’m not the writer of the film, nor am I its director. Much as I’ve said with Doctor Who and a great many other things, I’m not going to do their job in telling the story. That’s what THEY get paid to do.


Abrams Enterprise based on 2009 film

Now that we’ve settled that part, let’s go to the first 25 minutes of the movie. My first concern is the science behind parking the Enterprise in an ocean. This ship is bigger than Enterprise-E . From things I’ve seen, Abram’s ship is supposedly bigger than it was in the first film! Let’s ignore the fact that it’s not built for submarine activities, which it isn’t. Let’s focus in on a little physics of the situation. Trying to put a ship like that into the ocean would be devastating to any coastline. The fact that they put it so close to land in the first place means that there would have been a large ecological nightmare when they put it under the water.  Then, to make sure that they got another blast of horror, they had to get it back out! You want a good idea of how destructive part of one of these ships could be when wrecking into a planet, then watch Star Trek: Generations.  The saucer section of Enterprise- D did a fantastic job destroying many many miles of forest as is slid across the ground.  Granted it was crash landing.  Whether a controlled descent or not, the current Enterprise does not have landing capabilities for land or water. This is why the prime universe built it and the rest of the fleet in space. Science has proven that this ship is best built in the environment in which is would be used. Even if I just give it a pass to the fact that they built in on land, if you look at the scaffolding for the damn thing from the first movie, you can clearly see that this is a bad idea. It’s obvious that a shuttlecraft could have done the job nicely, if they were going to pull this little plan off. Regardless, the Prime Directive is out the window at this point.

Not the sensation you get from Cold Fusion!

Not the sensation you get from Cold Fusion!

Let’s add now that they are placing an ice bomb into the volcano of this planet. Yes, they said cold fusion, that’s a load of crap. This is a quick reference to cold fusion. Start here, work you way up in the reading to far more informative books. Cold Fusion will not give you the sensation of biting into a York peppermint patty. Oh, and this too is in direct violation as it interferes with the natural evolution of the planet.  In any case, instead of setting the ice bomb and preparing to beam it directly into the mouth of the volcano, they decide to use a shuttlecraft and put Spock into the towering inferno of lava. Add to that, he gets to set up the delicate equipment in an environmental suit while the lava shoots out everywhere around him. Sensor readings weren’t great, eh? So they can beam people from Earth to the Klingon homeworld, but they can’t get zoom in close enough to at least beam it into the mouth and remote detonate it? Um… what? I can use Google Maps and see my house with the car in the driveway, and they can’t use a camera to zoom in on that? No… that’s too easy. To boil this down, all this melodrama is so that Kirk can raise the ship from the water, expose it to the natives and get busted by Christopher Pike for his violations. He loses command of his ship for 10 minutes, belittles Spock for throwing him under the bus as often as he can, and then when the big bad rears his head and kills Pike he gets his ship back. To go back to the Prime Directive for a moment, I counted at least 3 violations (which I’m sure there were plenty of others that I’m forgetting offhand). 2 of which Spock was directly involved with. Moral of this part: You quote the Prime Directive, you better damn well understand what it is you’re quoting. Hypocritical quoters need not apply.

Another little tidbit for people is that Abrams and crew blatantly lied about the main villain. For those of you who haven’t guessed, or told you were wrong when you guessed right the first time, Benedict Cumberbatch is playing Khan. Yes, THE Khan. It was part of some elaborate game, and it was meant to surprise us all. There are some schools of thought on that. One is that they didn’t say because then you’re invested in finding it out, even though most people had it on the first try. Another is that they don’t say, because they want you not to make comparisons to the previous version. They hope you will get wrapped into the pace of the film and let this version grow on you. I’m sure it’s more of school 2, with a healthy blend of ducking their heads to make sure that some fans weren’t going to shred their egos on sight for this.

To put this into perspective, I don’t begrudge that in this timeline Enterprise doesn’t get to find Botany Bay. As stated, it’s a different timeline, and no guarantees that they’ll follow the same paths again in view of things that have happened. What I object to in this is that they had a perfectly great chance to tell an original Star Trek story and decided to play in the old toy box instead. Khan Noonien Singh is a nasty customer on the best of days. This is the man that stole the Enterprise away from Kirk, without the help of an outside force. He had read enough to know how to operate a great many systems on the ship. It came down to a fist fight, and if it weren’t for a lucky sucker punch with an object, then Khan would have killed Kirk. In this movie, we have an Admiral who is worried that the Klingons will make their play for Federation space. He discovers Botany Bay, finds out who Khan is, and then gives him the sum knowledge of 300 years so that he can create weapons to eradicate the threat. Do what?

Admiral Marcus is going down in the history of Thunderbolt Ross and all those like him who tried to harness raw power and couldn’t. Marcus had to have Khan’s background in front of him. If he didn’t, then why the hell go through all the trouble to name him Harrison? He created an identity for someone who is obviously in the history archives. In any case, there’s no way he couldn’t see what he was getting himself into.. Khan is marked with high intellect and learns at expedient rates, is 5 times stronger than a normal human, and has far better reflexes. Granted, in this movie you get to see the latter 2 points better illustrated, but the fact still stands for itself.

Now I know people are going to say that Marcus didn’t necessarily get to know who Khan was because of the alterations. Before we get into that argument about original vs. new timeline, stop. The Eugenics War was not changed by a damn thing. No interference from any time travel adventure on TV or film has shown to any degree that this part of Star Trek history has been altered. There is nothing that Marcus wouldn’t have known that Kirk did. He’s a ruler by nature, a predatory beast with a high intelligence to bolster it.  This Admiral, who apparently got his rank on the Wheel of Pips, puts this superhuman war criminal to work designing weaponry. This was begging to go badly.   And if all this weren’t bad enough, they try to make Khan sympathetic for a brief moment.  He’s talking about how he wants his family back.  Yeah, he wants his superhuman family back so he can take over the freakin’ planet.   Give me a break!



I’m only going to go a little further on this, because this is far too long already. Another huge point of contention here is that Khan’s blood is now a cure for death. It cures tribbles and captains. What the hell? If any of you have seen Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan, then you’ve seen many things that have happened up to this point. The switches? Well, Enterprise is now the smaller ship when space battle happens. The Vengeance dwarfs Enterprise for no other reason than to be big and impressive for the big screen. There is no Genesis device, because Carol Marcus is in Starfleet too, and Kirk dies to save the ship in a mirror of how Spock died. This time Spock gets to yell Khan’s name. Nice, eh? Oh, and Kirk apologizes to his crew for putting them into a dangerous situation that might get them killed. Yeah, that’s a change. Regardless, McCoy has a sample of Khan’s blood and injects it into a tribble. I don’t know why he’s doing it, but he does. He discovers at one point that the tribble is alive and well again. So when Kirk dies, and after Spock has his emotional breakdown and beats Khan senseless, he gets to use the same thing on Kirk. Let me ask you this, as plot holes go, apparently this blood is just okay to inject into anyone. If I go with this fact, then what has now happened to Kirk? Is he now a superhuman as well? Those are some strong cells, and it seems to supplant the old ones. So, like a virus, will this stick with him forever? I have to ask this, because I didn’t get the answer from the film. I’m just grateful that they didn’t inject him with the tribble’s superhuman blood. They feed Kirk once and he’s got a dozen Kirk’s running around then. I’m curious about the science behind this. That’s what Star Trek does! It makes me ask to see the science.

Fictional or not, the original Star Trek made pushed future scientists to create the marvels they saw into usable objects in our world. We have so much tech that was inspired by this, that it’s hard to see something like the ship doing it’s sub thing and the blood science and not ask about it. It’s ludicrous at best. At worst, it’s just bad writing. If it is that I’m looking for “True” Trek, it’s because Abrams and company had the audacity to call it Star Trek in the first place. This precludes that they are going to actually use more than the names and recycle old plots to create new stories. They have a cast that can act the parts well enough, when given the material to do so. That’s not what they did. They took Wrath of Khan and turned it into an emo-nightmare. I haven’t even gotten into Chekov’s promotion to Head of Engineering, or the relationship conversation between Spock and Uhura while on Qo’nos. There’s so many points that I could write another article just going down the freaking list.

To sum this up, I realize that when A Galaxy Called Dallas posted the article, they were just expressing opinions, and it was done with lighthearted intent. However, calling people whiners, (specifically called it whinery, but it adds up about the same) and telling people to shut it because it’s not what they expect is a bit harsh. I’m glad he enjoyed the movie, I’m glad that anybody did. Maybe if it had been called something else and did something more creative with the storyline, I might be excited about it. It wasn’t and it didn’t. True Trek wasn’t just a TV show, it was also a host of very fine films. There were some pretty bad ones too. With this one, I was hoping for better. Guess I should have hoped harder.

Sorry to blast the fellow site, but he said to be nice on his page. I couldn’t muster the strength for that.