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Given my seriously low expectations based on the 2009 film - which had been little more than an ignorant, irrelevant, and corrupted taxidermist's idea of Star Trek - the only reason I went to see "Star Trek: Into Darkness" is that I came into a free ticket.  Everything about the new film's trailers and other advertising seemed to be promising a continuation of the same travesties, from the title to the emphasis on what seems at first glance like a juvenile, Transformers-like obsession with action over story.  Now that I've seen it, I stand corrected.   Star Trek - actual Star Trek - has returned in spirit.  A spoiler-free analysis below the fold.

What made the 2009 film so contemptible to many fans can best be encapsulated in a single statement made by Captain Pike describing Star Fleet as a "peacekeeping armada."  That such a fundamental mischaracterization of the entire fictional universe in which the film occurs was allowed through, and that it wasn't even the most egregious example of sheer ignorance, made it seem to me as a Trekkie that the people making the film had a basic disdain for the source material.  

Star Fleet's core missions are science and diplomacy, and their ships are only armed at all as an emergency hedge.  The TV series all make this abundantly clear: Star Fleet is not a military.  Their combat training, while an important set of contingency skills in a dangerous frontier, is a pretty distant priority for the Federation compared to science, peaceful technological development, contact with new advanced civilizations, building on diplomatic relations with known ones, and the maintenance of the Prime Directive (hence, why it's Prime) to protect less advanced civilizations.  None of that made any appearance whatsoever in the 2009 film.  If any of it was mentioned at all, it was treated like a joke.  

Instead, Star Fleet in the original reboot was portrayed as the US Navy and Marine Corps set in space, and there was no story at all: "Aliens" consisted of throwaway monsters and bafflingly motivated villains with no attempt to explore them, their culture, or their experiences in any way, shape, or form other than to make them Evill.  What existed of the technical aspects of the so-called "plot" were sheer nonsense, and I don't merely mean they were scientifically problematic - I mean there was no science-fictional value to them whatsoever by which to judge them.  They were pure MacGuffin with no connection at all to reality or intelligent thoughts about it.  

With the exception of some brief moments of curiosity surrounding Vulcan culture and Zachary Quinto's admittedly stellar performance, the 2009 film as a whole was just plain stupid, hollow, ignorant, and painfully abusive of the source material and the audience, and it was not Star Trek by any stretch of the imagination.  It was The Fast and The Furious with some space-y special effects, and the token references made to the source material to throw a bone to fans - e.g., a Leonard Nimoy appearance - were as gruesomely out of place as they would have been in any random action movie.  

So in that context, I had little expectation for "Into Darkness" other than what the 2009 film delivered: Some intriguing special effects and a few moments of wit, but mostly just another insult.  Sometimes it's awesome to be so spectacularly wrong.  The new film certainly does have great effects - in fact better ones, and more of them, than the 2009 entry - but they in no way detract from the story, with the fact that there even is one being one of the biggest surprises I ran into.  And it's not something trivial and preposterous painted on to the action as an excuse, but an actual reason for the action: Identifiably human (and I suppose Vulcan) motives for it.  Motives that make sense in Star Trek rather than in Action Movie Land.

In the initial parts of the movie, you think they're headed on the same ridiculous lines as the first reboot - you think you've seen this script before in other forms, and that they've merely dressed it up in Star Trek clothing.  But then it jams the wheel in a totally unexpected and salutary direction, and you start to realize with dawning enthusiasm that you've stumbled on to a real, bona fide Star Trek movie.  You realize happily that this is the Federation you know; this is the Starfleet you recognize; this is a future that is better than our present, and a civilization with stronger moral fiber and specific principles reflecting the best in us.  I take back every mean thing I said about J.J. Abrams after the 2009 film: Apparently he and his team are people who listen to fans, and they have succeeded where before they failed.  They have brought Star Trek back to life.

Personally, I think the title is ironic: Star Trek was already in darkness, and had been since the post-9/11 paranoid psychosis that was season three of Star Trek: Enterprise plunged a dagger into the heart of the franchise, but this film finds the light again.  How rare is it, and how wonderful, to find a movie advertised as dumb and ugly to appeal to the basest instincts, and instead find something decent?  The performances are also more advanced than they were in 2009, more character-full.  And as I saw it in Imax 3D, I found a number of scenes viscerally exciting, and unlike 2009 wasn't too busy retching in general disgust at the fundamentals of the film to appreciate them.  Instead, I found that most of the movie works and fits together nicely into a complete whole, and you're allowed breathing room to appreciate each thing on its own level.

That said, I have a few quibbles.  First - and I realize this is tradition, but it will always bother me - are the sounds in space and the aerodynamic behavior of things in vacuum.  I hope some day Star Trek grows out of that, and once again creates inspiration from intrepid exploration of possibilities rather than fabrication of fantasies.  Part of the value of Star Trek, at least on TV, was as an educational series that made people aware of ideas and concepts they wouldn't encounter anywhere else, and the set of such scientific ideas that have yet to be explored in visual media science fiction is still vast.  

Hopefully some day there will be more TV series, and they will not only show space as we already know it to be, but explore some of the odder aspects of the environment that few people outside of space science and technology know about.  I wouldn't ask a blockbuster movie to be so detailed, but it could at least make clear to people that space is a strange environment that doesn't follow human-intuitive rules of action.  Into Darkness doesn't go that far, so it's not my dream fantasy of Star Trek, and in fact I doubt the film medium can handle that - it would have to be on TV to rigorously explore things.  But it is a return to philosophical form, and that's the heart of the matter.

Secondly, what's with the jarring, forcible injection of Beastie Boys music in both the 2009 and this film?  They weren't that good even when they were relevant, and in a Star Trek movie - which operates on a totally different aesthetic wavelength from rap and hip hop - their presence is obnoxious, not to mention anachronistic.  No one has ever declared the Beastie Boys to be "timeless" music, or to address profound themes that would appeal across time - precisely because they're not.  It takes only a few years - a couple of decades, tops - to know whether a piece of music has staying power, and how profound its appeal is.  All due respect to their fans, but the Beastie Boys, while distinctive, are musically trivial.  They will not be known in the 23rd century the way that Beethoven is known today, and they wouldn't belong in the Star Trek universe even if they were.  If their inclusion were an aesthetic judgment, it's a very poor one.  

I don't know if it's just someone with authority over the films conspicuously injecting their personal tastes into it, or if it's some Byzantine corporate decision by the studio suits trying to promote some content deal or other, but either way it sucks big-time.  I give them credit for being less egregious this time around than the infamous Nokia ad jammed into the 2009 film, so it's just a moment of irritation blotting an otherwise damn good movie.

Now, it doesn't return completely to form: The story is still very much human- and Earth-centric, without a lot of what could be deemed "exploration" going on (though some), but the film explicitly promises that the franchise will soon enter that phase.  But it makes up for the relative lack of scientific exploration with the moral and philosophical examination that had made Star Trek so brilliant in the first place.  So, I highly recommend seeing it, and if you can afford it and have it available in your area, recommend going for the 3D Imax version.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hmmmm..... (14+ / 0-)

    I thought 'Star Trek Into Darkness' had some really great moments of spectacle. I really liked the movie's opening and thought it conveyed both the "awe" of "Star Trek" (e.g. the looks on the alien faces as they watch the Enterprise rise from the ocean) and also said a lot about the characters & how far they'll go to help the people they care about. The main theme of the movie is Kirk learning responsibility, and arguably this Kirk faces death in a way that Shatner's Kirk didn't confront till he was an old man. And one of the pivotal moments of the film is when Kirk turns over control of the Enterprise to Spock because he realizes that Spock would be the better person to sit in the center seat at that particular moment.

    However... when I left the theater, overall I generally liked the movie but I was disappointed with it because I thought it could have been much better.  

    I had huge problems with the main story, the massive plot holes, and the choices that Abrams & his writers decided on for this sequel. One of the virtues of a reboot is that you're open to take the characters in any direction. And this film not only takes the characters down an all-too familiar path, but they have the gall to try to recreate one of the most famous moments in the franchise's history & it doesn't really work.

    • The Villain: There's really no inherent reason why Khan had to be a villain in this movie other than to have a reveal. But you could probably have plugged another character (or created a new character) into his position in the story and it could have been just as well, since unlike "Space Seed" or "Wrath of Khan" the main tension of the story really isn't a contrast of Kirk & Khan, or of the average man versus the programmed superman. In fact, the film is trying to be more an allegory for the "War on Terror" with Kirk & Spock representing an idealized Starfleet of "TOS" versus a more militarized Starfleet that's reacting out of fear to all of the threats that might be lurking in the darkness of space. And Khan is more of a secondary villain for a good part of the film.
    • Old Versus New: Benedict Cumberbatch is an amazing actor, and he has some very menacing moments in this film, but he in no way eclipses Ricardo Montalbán. I bought Montalbán's anger as Khan, for what's been done to him & his crew, much more in 'Wrath' than Cumberbatch's performance in 'Into Darkness.' Also, this film seriously retcons Khan's backstory in order to wedge him into this film & make him more villainous. For example, it's stated that Khan & his followers were attempting genocide against all non-genetically engineered people, while that wasn't part of the original incarnation & he just wanted to rule over everyone. It's also said that he was banished & sent into space to die after being defeated in the Eugenics Wars. However, in "Space Seed" and 'Wrath,' Khan is said to have "escaped" to space with his followers. And then there's the new addition of his magic blood...
    • Apparently, We Cure Death By The 23rd Century: The blood transfusion at the end of the film is an ass grab that makes little to no sense. I guess Khan has Type O (universal donor) super-blood, which is also somehow compatible with Tribbles??? And why do they need Khan when there are 72 other frozen bodies on the Enterprise?
    • Warp Drive Makes No Sense: The use of the warp drive in the story doesn't match anything else in "Star Trek." It's almost as if the writers were unwilling to add any dialogue or scenes that might convey some passage of time. The Klingon homeworld can be reached in less than a day? (During the climax, Scotty says he's only been gone a day when trying to fix the warp drive.) Not only that, it takes Kirk, Spock, Uhura & the away party 20 minutes to reach Kronos from the place the Enterprise breaks down. It literally only takes the Enterprise 5 minutes at warp to go from Kronos to Earth's moon, while running from the Vengeance. It actually takes the Enterprise more time to go from Earth to Vulcan in the first film than it does to go to the Klingon Empire.
    • The Needs Of The Many: My biggest problem with the movie is its attempt to recreate this moment. Yes they switch Kirk & Spock's places to put a new spin on it, but these iterations of the characters haven't "earned" that moment yet. The reason why that scene works in 'Wrath' is because it has the weight of Kirk & Spock's friendship behind it. You know that Kirk & Spock have had each other's backs for years, and each would walk through fire to help the other. So when Spock dies, it's an utter defeat of Kirk, the man who usually turns death into a fighting chance to live, & Shatner and Nimoy sell it. This time around, Kirk's death is supposed to be the moment where Kirk realizes what responsibility really means & Spock realizes the depths of Kirk's friendship. It's not that Pine or Quinto are bad in the scene or that it isn't moving. It's just that it blatantly steals from 'Wrath of Khan,' and comes off as inferior when placed side-by-side to it. Also, Spock's scream of "Khan!!!" at the end comes off as goofy.
    •  All valid criticisms. (9+ / 0-)

      I think I was just too happy to see that this was a real Star Trek movie to notice all that other stuff.  And I was pleasantly surprised by the new look of the Klingons - I thought it would suck.  It didn't.  

      Cumberbatch's icy menace was definitely an odd choice for the passionate, charismatic tyrant Khan.  And his pasty Englishness is a little weird to attach to a South Asian man.

      I was a little annoyed that they directly copied the Wrath of Khan sacrifice moment with the roles reversed.  But again, too happy to be watching a real Star Trek movie rather than a damn Michael Bay flick to be too irked over it.

      I'm still a little in shock that the characters choose to do the right thing instead of the stupid action movie thing.  That's rare in the film franchises, which are packed with morally deranged decisions for the sake of action.

      Process defines product.

      by Troubadour on Thu May 23, 2013 at 12:35:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I thought Cumberbatch was seriously underutilized (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JR, SilentBrook, Troubadour, BachFan

      He seemed to have been constrained ... probably by the director. His character had none of the intensity Cumberbatch brings to other characters. Since it's clear from his previous work that he can bring much more depth, he had to have been told to remain cool.

      I absolutely hated the needs of the many moment. It was not only poorly done, but highlighted all the other derivative moments in the film, which I'd been able to ignore/forgive prior to it. (I won't list them in case folks haven't seen it, yet.)

    •  Instant Klingon invasion - add water and stir! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trumpeter, SilentBrook, Troubadour

      With the almost instantaneous Warp Drive they have in the new ST movies, you have to remember that the Klingons would have it too - which means they could attack Earth any time they want to, with no warning.

      And all the 'transwarp', and much more advanced technology that the Federation has from the original series at the same point in time, is part of the HUGE backstory that was never shown in the first movie; when Nero and his boiz appeared from the alternate future, they had 'jacked up' their ship with stolen Borg technology that they had stolen from a Romulan research base, and when they attacked the USS Kelvin, the Kelvin scanned the ship, learned the technology, and transmitted it back to the Federation before it was destroyed - allowing the Federation to have access to not only future Federation tech, but also Borg and their 'transwarp' tech.

      BUT after Kirk's father, the Mighty Thor, destroyed the Kelvin and damaged Nero's ship, Nero and his ship were taken captive by the Klingons and kept prisoner by them for 20 years (which explains the huge gap in time between their appearance in the first movie and why they didn't appear again until Kirk/Spock were adults), which allowed the Klingons extensive research time of the future-tech themselves, so they also should have at least as advanced tech as the Federation - allowing, as I mentioned, 'transwarp' drive to do an instant invasion. (BTW, Nero and his crew somehow managed an escape from the Klingon prison they were held at, and ALSO somehow restole their ship from the Klingon research facility.) WHEW that's a lot of nerdity.

      Of course, unless you're an uber-nerd, you have no inkling of any of this, which to me is a HUGE failure of storytelling in the new ST universe.

      It has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here, what better time than now? - Guerilla Radio, Rage Against The Machine.

      by Fordmandalay on Thu May 23, 2013 at 06:59:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I couldn't agree more with your last point. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JR, SilentBrook, Troubadour, BachFan

      When I saw TWoK in 1982, this scene had such weight and heartbreak because we knew how much Kirk and Spock had gone through together over the years, how much they had shared, sacrificed for each other. We knew that the beginning of their professional relationship had been shaky but had evolved into a deep friendship as each learned to trust the other unconditionally.

      In the re-boot, Kirk and Spock are still in the first 18 months of their service in Star Fleet, and still don't know each other all that well. I am not even sure if, at this point, they even like each other very much.The 5 year mission is just beginning at the end of the movie - the mission that will hopefully begin to forge that friendship the way it did in Star Trek Prime

      Thus, it's absolutely spot on that this penultimate moment wasn't "earned".

      This is not to say I didn't enjoy the movie - I did, and I am looking forward eagerly to the next. I love the actors and believe they are doing a wonderful job of recreating my favorite characters. A few years ago, I would have considered that idea heresy.

      _Let's dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people. Robert Kennedy_

      by bogieshadow on Thu May 23, 2013 at 09:17:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the review (5+ / 0-)

    I was gonna skip it... now I won't. Of course, being a cheapskate I'll wait for Netflix.

    Some days it's not even worth chewing through the restraints!

    by SpotTheCat on Thu May 23, 2013 at 12:31:19 AM PDT

  •  This franchise was always more than (15+ / 0-)

    an inane and stupefying portrayal of some so-called action heros.

    Star Trek has attained the stature of being part of the western mythos; it is a promising look over the horizon towards a glorious and benign future rather than the cosmic continuation of the malevolent human condition of the last few thousand years.  

    It is a promise of hope rather than the dystopian vision of the inevitable human decline due to ubiquitous hate and constant turmoil.  It shares the hope of common fellowship through understanding and acceptance of things unknown.

    The adventures help us understand our own journeys towards our own private Ithacas.

    •  Beautifully put. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBL55, FiredUpInCA, SilentBrook

      Process defines product.

      by Troubadour on Thu May 23, 2013 at 01:33:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yup. As Roddenberry said, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mortifyd, SilentBrook, Troubadour

      it was initially modeled along the lines of a Wagon Train to the stars.

      "War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate." ~ Al Cleveland & Marvin Gaye (1970)

      by JBL55 on Thu May 23, 2013 at 05:57:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That was pretty much (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour, BachFan, JBL55

        how he sold it to the studio chiefs, who (as is the wont of studio chiefs) had the IQ of month old cabbage.

        It wasn't how he saw it himself, and he said so more than once.  He had a much grander vision than simplistic episodic TV.  That's why he brought in the writers he did - to get away from simplistic twaddle.

        I have not seen either of the Abrams films, but have read the scripts.  Abrams understands nothing Trek, IMO.

        One of my writer friends is current doing a couple of Trek novels, and when I asked him about the Abrams-verse, he told me that writing there is verboten.  The only ones allowed to write in that universe are the people assigned to do the novelizations... and then we discussed how to get lens flare onto the written page.

        I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

        by trumpeter on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:28:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm afraid i don't agree at all (9+ / 0-)

    I think JJA does Rodenberry a great disservice in this movie.  There was none of the hope and optimism.  
    .  
    Also i've had problems with the casting since the 2009 movie; not the actors, who are all doing a really good job, but with their ages and connections.  Look at TOS: Scotty and McCoy are both a decade older than Kirk; Spock was Captain Pike's First officer a generation before Kirk et.al. came along. Even in an alternate time frame you can't change these things...

    But set that aside... Into Darkness takes original Khan who was charming, charismatic, intelligent and strong and turns him into an icy British psychopath.  Cumberbatch was totally wrong for this role. They had an opportunity here to cast an Asian actor to play the roll and instead went with an up-and-coming name actor.

    Not one female captain or admiral, srsly? that's crap.

    Hats??? Hats! why the heck would they be wearing hats let alone anachronistic early 20th century hats!

    My biggest problem though is in portraying Kirk as an imbecilic petulant boy instead of a strong leader who is intelligent as well as instinctive.  He never so egregiously violated the Prime Directive as in the opening of this movie (and what a waste! they create a really interesting planet and throw it away on a plot device).  

    They turn the character of Carol Marcus into a cheezy strip artist...

    For summer popcorn movie it was fine.  For Zachary Quinto who continues to do an amazing job as Spock and all the rest of the cast who have embraced their roles very well, fine.  But the sense of fun, of exploration, of camaraderie and of family that was TOS and Next Gen... Abrams totally misses the mark.

    •  +1 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SilentBrook, Troubadour

      It almost seemed at times like JJ and Damon--neither one possessing a real sense of what Trek was--were watching all the original movies and somehow got "Starship Troopers" mixed into the pile without noticing.

      "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

      by JR on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:23:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can't agree that there was no hope. (0+ / 0-)

      The whole trajectory of the film has decisively turned toward hope and optimism.  Kirk's crucial moral decision was all about that.  You're correct that the form of the film still carries massive baggage from the 2009 disaster, but they've signaled a change in attitude.

      Process defines product.

      by Troubadour on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:02:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  my bigget issue has to do with the distances. (7+ / 0-)

    Stars are far apart. And stars with planets are even farther apart. We're talking about hundreds or thousands of light years. So the idea that a future being would be able in a few months or a few years to hopscotch from one solar system to another is not just science fiction, it is imposible fiction. Technology and engineering may be insanely better than today, but no massive object is going to be able to approach the speed of light, let alone exceed it. I don't mind the alien creatures, because they could exist. But in our universe, the kind of travel done by the Enterprise will never happen, ever. Physical laws are immutable, no matter the technology.

  •  The only sci fi series (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBL55, Mortifyd, BusyinCA, Troubadour

    where the ships behaved even remotely in accordance with the laws of physics were Babylon 5 and to a lessor extent the reboot of Battlestar Galactica.

    They at least had the ships in a vacuum able to change their heading without changing their vector.

    Just about every other series has depicted space ships banking to turn like WWII fighter planes.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Thu May 23, 2013 at 04:14:35 AM PDT

  •  Bullshit. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kingsmeg, Illinibeatle

    JJ-Trek is Star Trek like Obama is a Progressive.

    Not. At. All.

    Abrams is the perfect corporate formula drone, providing eye cocaine without causing the audience to fire even one brain cell.

    Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

    by The Dead Man on Thu May 23, 2013 at 04:37:45 AM PDT

  •  Wow, there was a front page diary here (0+ / 0-)

    a few days ago about how much this movie sucked.

    I suspect that going against the DailyKos-Powers-that-Be on such an important issue like this is very, very close to being bannable.

  •  I cannot read diary as I haven't seen movie yet (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBL55, Troubadour

    But I trust you to know that this is "real" - we fans know what we're looking for, and if this has it then I look forward to seeing it - maybe tonight. That said, I did not care for the slight adjustments to the theme song in last one, though overall a good movie.  I hope the whole package pleases - film, score, everything.

    "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." -- JC, Matthew 6:24

    by Chi on Thu May 23, 2013 at 04:57:41 AM PDT

  •  i can't believe ppl complain about these reboots (11+ / 0-)

    lol i swear.....INGRATES!

    lest we forget, this franchise was dead - D-E-A-D - before Abrams came along. The fact that we even GOT the first Trek film worth a warm poo since First Contact (1996, man) should be celebrated. Nemesis? Resurrection? we had a full decade of terrible, horribad, MST3k worthy Trek films, ok? VOYAGER. SCOTT BAKULA. Don't talk to me about how bad Star Trek was when that ish was like There Will Be Blood compared to the last decade of Trek cinema. The idea that "it isn't Star Trek" because there's no G.I Joe public service announcement at the end asking you to Recycle angers me. What was the progressive "moral" of Wrath of Khan again? There's always been room for relatively simple, apolitical, escapist action-adventure in Star Trek too. (and if promoting Progressive Values meant liking bland badly written sci-fi stories, I would've joined Free Republic 10 years ago LMAO.)

    Star Fleet isn't a military? Yeah....sure......okay. I'm sure that the in-universe apologists for the Federation's crimes believe that lol. The reality.....er......."reality"......is that diplomacy has often failed miserably and left the Federation neck-deep in terrible, bloody interstellar wars. Klingons and Romulans were just the easy ones. The Borg and The Dominion were/are mind-bogglingly existential threats. In the case of the Dominion, you're talking about a war where the death toll is basically only rivaled in fiction by the 61 billion dead that Paul Atreides' Jihad produced.

    Star Fleet's PRIMARY objectives are always Science and Diplomacy, but dammit, they also subscribe to Malcolm X's definition of "intelligence":

    I don't even call it violence when it's in self defense; I call it intelligence.

    That's why Star Fleet's capital ships - in addition to being fully functional science and diplomatic outposts - have always functioned as warships too.

    Hell, Kirk has usually been depicted as a warrior type. That's why conservative Trek fans LOVE him and HATE Picard - Picard is a weak European that believes in that "diplomacy" crap. Jonah Goldberg actually wrote a whole piece in NRO about it. (that douche, obviously Picard is the superior officer)

    I'M ARGUING ABOUT STAR TREK ON DAILYKOS WHAT THE HELL HAVE I BECOME???

    "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

    by TheHalfrican on Thu May 23, 2013 at 05:20:04 AM PDT

    •  Absolutely. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour
      Star Fleet's capital ships - in addition to being fully functional science and diplomatic outposts - have always functioned as warships too.
      I say, when in doubt, go back to the source.  

      Roddenberry served in the Navy and those traditions are all through the original, from the bo'sun's piping to the officers' titles to you-name-it.

      "War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate." ~ Al Cleveland & Marvin Gaye (1970)

      by JBL55 on Thu May 23, 2013 at 06:06:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh the ingratitude at being served crap... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SilentBrook, Troubadour

      No matter if it's entertainment, the food we eat, and policies that govern us... we are all ingrates for using critical though and hoping for something better.

      Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

      by The Dead Man on Thu May 23, 2013 at 07:01:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I didn't like Wrath of Khan either. (0+ / 0-)

      I generally dislike Star Trek movies.  But since movies are all we've got now for new visual media content, I was happy to see that they've at least resurrected the basic principles of the Federation and Star Fleet.

      Process defines product.

      by Troubadour on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:11:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  well, they learned (5+ / 0-)

    with "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" that story over action doesn't exactly work either.

    Then what happened??

    KHAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I think the 2009 movie was excellent, and was geared primarily to bring into the fold, new fans.  To kind of bring them up to speed in an entertaining way.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Please, let's not play the "purist" thing too hard.


    "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster." - Nietzsche

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Thu May 23, 2013 at 05:20:15 AM PDT

  •  This graf is entirely wrong imo (11+ / 0-)
    Star Fleet's core missions are science and diplomacy, and their ships are only armed at all as an emergency hedge.  The TV series all make this abundantly clear: Star Fleet is not a military.  Their combat training, while an important set of contingency skills in a dangerous frontier, is a pretty distant priority for the Federation compared to science, peaceful technological development, contact with new advanced civilizations, building on diplomatic relations with known ones, and the maintenance of the Prime Directive (hence, why it's Prime) to protect less advanced civilizations.  None of that made any appearance whatsoever in the 2009 film.  If any of it was mentioned at all, it was treated like a joke.
    You are conflating the Enterprise and its "5 year mission" with Star Fleet as a whole. Star Fleet was military as its confrontations with the Klingons and the Romulans made clear.

    The Enterprise was a military vessel engaged in the "science and diplomacy" thing.

    In addition, the Primer Directive was NOT "to protect less advanced civilizations." IT was to not INTERFERE in them.

    I don't think these errors impact the rest of your diary, which is quite good, but as a fellow Trekkie, I could not let those errors pass.

    •  Thank you. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Wednesday Bizzare

      You just saved me a whole lotta typing and ranting.

      "War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate." ~ Al Cleveland & Marvin Gaye (1970)

      by JBL55 on Thu May 23, 2013 at 06:08:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You have a point, but only to the extent (0+ / 0-)

      of something like the Coast Guard.  The TV series make it clear over, and over, and over that Federation ships are not designed for combat - they're designed for travel and exploration.  That was the whole lesson of that arc in TNG where they go into the alternate universe where the Federation is at war with the Klingon Empire, and the repeated complaints of DS9 characters about the Federation's limp peacefulness, and also in this new film.

      As to Prime Directive, I think we're just haggling over semantics.  It IS to protect less advanced civilizations, precisely by not interfering with them - and also to protect the rest of spacefaring society from the consequences of such interference, such as a culturally unevolved species acquiring high technology.  The fear is tons of Klingon Empires tearing the galaxy apart.

      Process defines product.

      by Troubadour on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:20:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A few random thoughts (5+ / 0-)

    I've seen it - I'm a long time Trek fan - saw TOS in it's original run starting when I was 9 years old.  

    I'm mostly upset with what they did in the first one - I know they were trying to re-boot the series, by having Nero destroy Vulcan it entirely changed the time line.  But to destroy VULCAN?  That just makes me crazy.  

    But some of the characters (Khan) existed before the time line was disrupted (I believe in WOK or Space Seed he said he was 300 years old at the time they found him).  By establishing that Khan existed, before Nero wrecks everything, does it also disrupt the First Contact time line?  You can see Zefram Cochrane's ship in the models at the Star Fleet office - so first contact was apparently still made with him / by him, but was it still made with the Vulcans?  Were ALL the Vulcans on the home world, except Spock and the handful he saved that were on the council? Or were some out there traveling in space - I sure as hell don't want Vulcans becoming extinct!!!!  

    And why would the Khan character change so much because the time line was disrupted?  Are they trying to say that the time line disruption was retroactive at least 300 years?  That Khan played a different role in the eugenics wars, then he was surgically modified in order to become an agent?  His CHARACTER was of middle eastern descent - he just happened to be played by Ricardo Montalban (of Mexican descent) with great flair.  Since they are all still in the cryotubes, there is obviously a plan to use them in future stories.  They're not dead (yet).  They better explain how Khan in TOS / WOK became this Khan - he can change his appearance, but not his heritage.  

    I'm still having trouble with Spock being more emotional than Spock Prime. True, still at Star Fleet & just beginning his career, he's young and he's learning and he joined Star Fleet, mostly because he felt he would fit in there better than on his home world, while he struggles to keep his Vulcan half in control of his human half.  I get it that having his home world destroyed in this time line (and the loss of his mother) may have altered how he deals with things as opposed to the Prime Time Line of TOS, but still... also not crazy about the Uhura / Spock relationship.  But that could be jealousy :)  I still have those "oh, darn, he's gay" moments with Zack - but I guess it's OK if I still have a crush on him :)  Had a crush on Nimoy nearly 50 years ago (still gasp when I see him - that was the only good part of the Star Trek reboot - I loved that he was there, just as I loved him showing up in Next Gen - some of their best episodes).  

    That being said, Zack Quinto is a wonderful Spock and I can even dig Chris Pine as Kirk - although he's still got a lot of growing up to do (but they're just now starting out on their first 5 year mission, so obviously he's younger now than he was in TOS and they met Khan much earlier in their careers in this new timeline).  Karl Urban & Simon Pegg are OK - I'm getting used to them - and they are older than the other actors.  Urban was in LOTR - gosh has that been 10 years already?  I'm not sure what to think about Scotty's sidekick that he brought from his last base.  And who are the new aliens / androids on the bridge (the gold lady and the guy with the compass dial in his head?)  Are they going to be regular characters?  

    I'm not crazy that they killed off Admiral Pike so soon.  I was hoping, with the time line disruption, we might see more of him.  I always wanted to know more about him after "The Menagerie / Cage" aired.  He obviously had a longer back story what with ending up with the radiation burns and all that.  But they killed him off - I'm wondering if the mind meld Spock did will come back into play later.  What did Spock learn during those last moments (other than the obvious)?  

    I hope they get back to their Trek philosophy and thinking - not just all this action movie stuff.  Some people who didn't grow up with Trek might like it, but I think a lot of us want the thought provoking Trek.  

    "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

    by Ricochet67 on Thu May 23, 2013 at 05:28:06 AM PDT

    •  Me, too. (5+ / 0-)
      I'm still having trouble with Spock being more emotional than Spock Prime.
      His motivation to maintain his Vulcan side should be (IMHO) even stronger in the re-boot given the destruction of his home planet and all its inhabitants.    

      He's practically all that's left of the Vulcan people, except for the relative handful of other Vulcans away from home at the time.  Seems to me the diaspora of Vulcans who can never go home again would lead to the kind of stronger-than-ever adherence to tradition that often happens among exiles.

      His struggle is an integral part of his character -- dare I say it, his soul -- and I am concerned that the increasingly excessive sentimentality of our current age is encouraging the ST writers down an unfortunate road.

      "War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate." ~ Al Cleveland & Marvin Gaye (1970)

      by JBL55 on Thu May 23, 2013 at 06:17:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Haven't seen the new movie (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JBL55, SilentBrook, Troubadour, Ricochet67

        But in the first Abrams movie, the actor played Spock "logical" while engaging in non-Vulcan stuff, especially the romance thing.

        It was incoherent.

        •  I don't mind a Vulcan romance, in principle. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SilentBrook, Troubadour, Ricochet67

          After all, where else would little Vulcans come from, specifically Spock, whose Vulcan father's attachment to a human woman was downright illogical.

          But in the first one it was a bit too ... well, "light" is the only word that comes to mind.  Or maybe "casual" -- and I mean that in the sense of a lack of a sense of privacy.  Emotions are not meant to be put on display, and that first casual kiss between him and Uhura was jarring.  All I could think was, "Are thee human, or are thee Vulcan?"

          Perhaps that's his human side coming into play, but a little goes a very long way.  

          "War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate." ~ Al Cleveland & Marvin Gaye (1970)

          by JBL55 on Thu May 23, 2013 at 06:33:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Pon Farr (7+ / 0-)

            With the destruction of the Vulcan home world in the reboot, what happens with the Vulcan sexual cycle.

            "Amok Time" made it clear that there is a biological drive hard-wired into every Vulcan - or at least the males. He/she must return to Vulcan every 7 years, take a mate or die. Now that Vulcan no longer exists, what effect does that have on Vulcan biology?

            I've been worrying about this. Clearly, I have way too much time on my hands.

            _Let's dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people. Robert Kennedy_

            by bogieshadow on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:03:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Mostly agree. They should just ignore the 2009 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ricochet67

      film going forward, the way that it ignored everything before it.  Just make up some hand-wavy shit like introducing the Q a century earlier than the original timeline and having them recreate Vulcan and all its people.

      Process defines product.

      by Troubadour on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:25:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Beastie Boys... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, Mortifyd, Wednesday Bizzare

    may very well be "timeless."  Maybe not Beethoven or Mozart timeless, but still...they sold over 22 million albums in the U.S. alone, which means there will be a lot of them floating around even 200 years from now.  Add to that a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, and they are still part of history.  People will be listening to their music for a long time, just like any big selling artist.

    Cake or DEATH? Oh, I'll have cake, please.

    by wmtriallawyer on Thu May 23, 2013 at 06:11:54 AM PDT

  •  Apparently, you can't have any action movie (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, SilentBrook, Troubadour

    without the wholesale destruction of an urban area, ala the crashing black enterprise, involving thousands of deaths with hardly a whimper.  For me, that was a "Really, we have to do this again?" moment.

  •  Some reasons for disappointment (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, SilentBrook, Troubadour

    I had enjoyed the 2009 film because there was an enjoyable de ja vu in watching the old characters so skillfully recreated as their younger selves.

    But that's no longer a novelty in the new film. "Into the Darkness" lacks the last film's freshness, and there were three things about it I found especially irksome:

    1) Khan, even when played by Benedict Cumberbatch, remains the most tiresome of all Star Trek villains.

    2) It's a bit much now having BOTH Kirk and Spock miraculously cured of radiation poisoning after sacrificing themselves in the core chamber.

    3) Using the final battle to drag American audiences back into 9/11 self-pity is cheap and dishonest. We need to stop living in the past ruled by our own terror.

    •  I disagree that it's about 9/11 self-pity. (0+ / 0-)

      At the end, Kirk makes a speech that should have been made after 9/11.  And given that 9/11 played such a role in destroying the franchise due to the madness of the 3rd season of Enterprise, this is something that may need to have been exorcised from it.

      Process defines product.

      by Troubadour on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:37:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hmm Now I might give it a chance. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook, Troubadour

    You highlighted my major annoyances with the first film:  The morphing of the Federation into merely a military unit, focused on killing people and breaking things.

    That was NOT what Star Trek was about.

    So far all I've seen people (even Phil Plait) talk about is how great the action is.   Frankly that is secondary to me.   After reading your review, I might actually give it a chance now.  

    The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

    by Beelzebud on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:08:59 AM PDT

  •  I can't remember ever disagreeing with you more. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trumpeter, Troubadour

    And I've read a LOT of your diaries.

    I spent the last 40 minutes just waiting for it to be over, and had to watch "Space Seed" and ST2:TWOK as soon as I got home just to get the taste of the mediocrity and lazy writing that they force-fed the audience out of my mouth.

    "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

    by JR on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:16:26 AM PDT

    •  I think it's just a matter of (0+ / 0-)

      seeing that they've brought back the spirit of the franchise.  So regardless of problems with the details of this particular movie, having that spirit resurrected promises improvement.

      Process defines product.

      by Troubadour on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:39:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i LOVED the first reboot Star Trek... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    ...and i really enjoyed the new movie for many of the same reasons you recount. but i didn't hate on the first one. llap

    "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

    by poemworld on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:35:49 AM PDT

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