‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Is Now Being Run By an ‘Into Darkness’ Writer and We Should All Be Afraid

Right off the bat, I need to express some sympathy for the writers of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ who, it turns out, were not only hostage to the whims of their capitalist overlords but were also working in a pretty fucking hostile work environment, according to this Hollywood Reporter piece.

I would also like to personally apologise for this piece of trash that I wrote a while back, for which I now feel quite guilty.

But here’s the thing with ‘Star Trek: Discovery’: it was a deeply flawed finished product that grew from a seed of warmth and greatness. If it had stayed true to its conceptual heart, it could’ve been magnificent, but it was a victim of either its writers’ ambitions or, more likely, the meddling of arrogant executives.

Take Captain Lorca, the Mirror Universe interloper. That is a fantastic and fun storyline that could very easily be a classic episode of Star Trek. It’s a great subversion; normally, we follow our heroes trying to blend into the brutal Mirror Universe, and seeing the twisted mirror of a Prime Universe captain trying to do the same would have been wonderful – for one episode, or a two-parter at best.

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But any writer worth their salt should have known that it lacked the substance for a series-long subplot. If you have to do it that way, at least show the aftermath. Show Admiral Cornwell dealing with the betrayal, or Saru questioning all of his loyalties and the lessons he had learned. Don’t just ditch it and move onto the next GRIPPING PLOT TWIST.

Or have a look at the series as a whole, and the casting of a black woman as the main character, and a Malaysian woman as her mentor. That would have been fantastic, if they had not then literally cannibalised Michelle Yeoh and given Sonequa Martin-Green an unsympathetic character with no personal goals or motivations. And then made conversations between women a rare treat for the audience.

The show even gave us Trek’s first on-screen gay couple – and then kept them celibate for nine episodes before treating a kiss between them as a mid-season emotional climax. Almost as though two men in love kissing each other should be a strategic missile deployed for maximum twitter hashtags rather than a normal, everyday occurrence.

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My point is that I genuinely believe that ‘Discovery’ was germinated with a soul of progressive love. I can only assume that it is that soul that the show’s die-hard fans cling onto, despite the fact that only mere glimmers of it appear in the finished product.

Which brings me around, rather circuitously, to my main point:

Alex Kurtzman, one of the writers of ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’, has just taken over ‘Discovery’ as its show-runner, and I have never been more worried about the franchise.

If ‘Discovery’ was a failure born with a spark of good intentions, ‘Into Darkness’ was a nightmare destined to malice from its very conception. ‘Into Darkness’ possessed no virtuous intent nor hidden beauty, neither from its beginning nor through to its very end.

If you haven’t read my previous treatise on ‘Into Darkness‘, or if you have and would like a reminder, this was the film that:

  • Constructed a two-minute scene to end with Alice Eve undressing, so that a shot of her in lingerie could be included in the trailer.
  • Cured death by having Dr. McCoy inject a tribble with human blood (and then, obviously, never revisited that concept or its repercussions).
  • Had a Sikh character with an Indian name, originally portrayed by a Mexican, played by a British white man (the cultural distaste of which can be understood by typing “British Empire” into Google).
  • Featured Spock, a character famous for remaining in control of his emotions, ragefully beating a man with a lump of metal.
  • Established James Kirk as someone who sexually harassed a member of his own crew into relocating to a distant part of the galaxy.
  • Followed the most mind-numbingly stupid plot that has ever been written, featuring six dozen torpedoes which either are or are not deadly weapons depending on which scene you’re watching.
  • Turns both Uhura and Spock into a bickering teenage couple willing to jeapordise a mission for the sake of having an argument.
  • Refers to the iconic, expository speech “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise,” as an “oath”. Like when a U.S. President gets sworn in with the oath that goes “America: the big country. These are the times of the United States.”
  • Is generally just so painfully stupid that thinking about it again has me burning with a hot anger that I usually only feel when I stub my toe or when I watch scenes featuring Captain Holt from the first half of the second season of ‘Brooklyn 99’. HE WAS A THREE-DIMENSIONAL CHARACTER, DAMN IT, AND THEY TRIED TO FLANDERISE HIM, THE BASTARDS.

(As a side note, I once had someone tell me that ‘Into Darkness’ is a great film, but you need to read the accompanying comicbook to appreciate it. Which was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard, until the same person said in the next sentence that the comic book was amazing because it also featured a crossover storyline with DC’s Green Lantern.)

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No, really.

One thing to bear in mind is that Alex Kurtzman has written for some well-loved projects, including many JJ Abrams collaborations such as the first Trek Reboot film, ‘Fringe’, ‘Alias’, and even ‘Xena’.

He has also written for such classics as ‘The Amazing Spiderman 2’ (the second Andrew Garfield one), ‘Transformers’, ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’, ‘The Island’ (“You’re a v-v-v-v–virgin?”) and the Star Trek video game.

It’s also important to remember that he’s been involved with ‘Discovery’ since the very beginning with both “Creator” and “Executive Producer” credits, but crucially not involved in the day-to-day creative elements except for the pilot, and now as a director of the first episode of the second season.

Now, however, he’s apparently heading up both the show itself as well as the writing team. And I genuinely, and with the greatest of sympathy, hope he creates a much more positive atmosphere for the people of ‘Discovery’. But it’s still a scary development for a fan, such as myself, who wants to see Trek shift away from ten-minute long fight sequences and back towards a marginally more intellectual pursuit.

Because the Star Trek that Kurtzman seems to insist on creating is a creature with no soul. The 2009 reboot film just about managed to get away with it by keeping its ambitions grounded – it was created to be a lightweight action adventure film, and it broadly succeeded. It didn’t need to be meaningful or deep, it just needed to be inoffensive.

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Then ‘Into Darkness’ comes along, and decides against finding any kind of meaning in the rebooted franchise, but instead goes for the “Shocking Plot Twist Every Minute” trope that would be picked up by ‘Discovery’ (but curiously not by ‘Beyond’, its cinematic successor). John Harrison is secretly Khan; Dr Wallace is secretly Dr Marcus; Admiral Marcus is secretly evil; the torpedoes are secretly people; McCoy is very obviously an evil Nazi scientist.

And it was this kind of storytelling that really torpedoed ‘Discovery’s first season. We could never have an episode without a shocking cliffhanger or a surprising reveal. We could never sit back and enjoy the universe, watch the characters really grow and develop, without shaking everything up every five minutes with a shocking and ultimately predictable “surprise”.

And that was a real shame, because the cast of ‘Discovery’ is fucking on-point. None of the performances are lacking and the characters are all solid foundations for development. And, despite my clear reservations about what we know of Season 2 so far, I was genuinely, and very deep down, hopeful that the show would somehow move on from its crass and ill-made beginnings and find something positive to do with itself.

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But Kurtzman’s track record destroys that hope. He is not a master of nuanced storytelling, and has demonstrated that repeatedly in the projects he has worked on. And that’s alright, that can work for a two-hour movie or the odd episode. But an entire season of high-octane emotional shouting and fistfights is absolutely the last thing ‘Discovery’ needs to become.

A character like Saru, for instance, is never going to grow past being “the guy who is scared all the time until he isn’t” until we get a more sedate, thoughtful story that can show us a more rounded character in less intense situations.

A character like Tilly is never going to be able to grow fully into a capable and responsible officer if she only has experience at dealing with betrayal and explosions.

And Burnham is never going to turn into the compelling protagonist we need her to be if all she can do is get outraged at and then solve every new devastating problem the crew faces before getting thrown into the next exciting action climax.

We didn’t fall in love with Spock because he once fought Kirk with big fancy blades. We fell in love with Spock because he finally cracked into a broad smile when he realised his best friend was still alive before immediately regaining his composure.

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We didn’t fall in love with Data because he was a metal badass who broke Borg necks. We fell in love with Data because we watched his friends debate in a quiet courtroom his autonomy. And also because he tells his cat that he is pretty and good.

We didn’t fall in love with Sisko because he could punch Jem’Hedar. We fell in love with Sisko because he loved baseball nearly as much as he loved his son, and because when we first meet him he resents his posting to a backwater like Bajor, and by the time he leaves us he’s planning the house he’s going to build there.

We didn’t fall in love with Harry Kim. And that’s okay, because as soon as he opened his mouth we could just tune him out and think about The Doctor instead.

And this is it. Right now, I don’t really care about any of the crew of the Discovery. But I think I could, if they were to get a few decent stories under their belt with plenty of time to wander around and simply be. It was great to see Burnham and Tilly chatting shit whilst on a run through the corridors – it was a simple scene that didn’t need to go anywhere or be plot relevant. But it was nearly unique in that regard, because you can’t leave room for scenes like that when you’ve got so many “secret identity” plotlines and brutal killings to squeeze into a limited number of episodes.

It would be great if we could get an episode in Season 2 where, I dunno, where they’ve got to transport some sound-sensitive alien ambassador to a summit or something. And everyone has to go around the ship unable to shout or scream, they just have to have normal conversations with one another and emote at a reasonable volume. And nothing much really happens, but Saru meets the ambassador and they talk about their shared sensitivity, and Stamets tries to teach Tilly how to calibrate the engine but Tilly starts teaching him because she clearly knows more about it than he does, and Burnham and Detmer sit down to finally reminisce over a bottle of whisky about their time on the Shenzhou whilst getting steadily more drunk, toasting fallen shipmates and singing ‘Jerusalem’, and then they get carried away and end up getting shouted at for being too loud.

But with Kurtzman now firmly at the creative helm, I doubt we’d even get a quiet scene in a turbolift. I doubt a character could even pour themselves a hot earl grey without something bursting into flames or a war being declared or the earl grey revealing that it was evil mirror-universe fruit tea ALL ALONG.

Star Trek: Discovery, Section 31, and the Death of Creativity

A cold, blustery day. Dark clouds turbulate overhead. Throughout the city, people look up the definition of “turbulate” and discover it’s being used incorrectly, but their lives continue unhindered.

Atop the city’s tallest building, at the very edge of the roof, stands a man. A writer. Lacking purpose or place in the world, he gazes down at the streets below and imagines his long descent and his messy, pavement-strewn end at the hands of gravity.

“Jon, don’t do it!” a woman’s voice calls. “I love you!”

“I know, Emily Blunt, and I’m so grateful to you for giving up your family and your life in Hollywood to come and live with me as a full-time ‘Roll for the Galaxy’ player,” he says, expositionally, “but it’s just not enough anymore. Besides, it’s weird that I never got past the point of calling you by your full name. You’d think that’d be step one, really.”

Hans Zimmer’s ‘Elysium’ from the ‘Gladiator’ Original Soundtrack can be heard non-diagetically. Jon stands, motionless, his arms outstretched, the cool breeze dancing across his open palms. It’s really dramatic and emotional.

Jon continues. “It’s just too much. All of it. Brexit. The #ihave hashtag. Trump. My literal emasculation. ‘Altered Carbon’s Saturn award. Matt Smith getting paid more than Claire Foy. My parents still being alive – the actuarial tables really fucked me over on that one.”

“But Jon!” Emily Blunt shouts, “it’s been confirmed! Season 2 of Discovery! They say Section 31 is going to be a major plot line!”

Jon sighs, closes his eyes, and steps backwards, away from the ledge. His arms drop. “Fine, then. I guess I’m still needed for a little while longer.”

Emily exhales deeply, her relief audible, her hand resting at her throat.

Jon wrings his hands to stop them from shaking. “Get me my keyboard and a shitload of codeine. It’s going to be another tough year.”


I loved ‘Deep Space Nine’. I really did. But Section 31 wasn’t half a mistake.

Within the series itself, it’s fine. Section 31 is a fringe group, maybe even just one man, the implication being that they operate well beneath Starfleet’s radar. And they only feature as part of Bashir’s arc – a direct reflection of his life lived undercover by necessity, and his desire for life of more overt subterfuge.

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“Don’t worry about her, this is a James Bond holoprogram, she’s not a real person.” “You mean because she’s a holographic simulation?” “No, I mean because she’s a woman.”

Bashir idolises Garak’s life of secrets and deceit. He craves the excitement and the drama that it offers. That we learn that Bashir is something of his own secret agent, a product of genetic engineering that’s been illegal for centuries in the Federation, is a dark revelation. Bashir has spent his life undercover, hiding who he really is, unable to use the full extent of his abilities for fear of discovery. But this is a mundane deception, born out of necessity and survival rather than duty and intrigue.

Then one day, we meet Section 31. A shadowy, sinister organisation, allegedly part of Starfleet Intelligence, offering Bashir the chance to realise his full potential whilst living out his greatest fantasy. He refuses, because he finds their methods abominable. They melt back into the shadows, reappearing infrequently to do more dastardly deeds in the name of protecting the Federation.

There’s an implication that Starfleet Command is aware of Section 31 – maybe even some sort of agreement in place, especially in the latter stages of the Dominion War. Which to me, made sense. The Federation, on the brink of annihilation with an unrelenting enemy, starts making deals with the Devil himself. I mean, they’d brokered an alliance with the Romulan Empire, and they were just as culpable of state-ordered murder and oppression as anyone else.

The thing is, Section 31 were ambiguous, and nebulous, and unknown. This remained the case when they were revisited in ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’ a few years later, acting as an independent organisation beyond Federation oversight.


A decade later, fucking Damon Lindelof shat out another of his movie scripts, this one called ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’. In it, we get a brief mention of Section 31, except this time they’re apparently part of the fucking infrastructure. They’re no longer some small, discrete fringe group. Now they’ve got a cavernous subterranean base beneath London, their head is a Starfleet Admiral, and they produce battleships on a whim.

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This is the worst interpretation of Section 31. This is why it was a mistake.

Y’see, the Federation really ought to represent a higher form of government, a better society than the one we have now. A post-scarcity Utopian state of freedom, discovery and responsibility. And I’m fine with the darker necessities of such a society being explored. I like seeing what happens when a society like that is taken to the very edge. For me, that’s what DS9 did so well – it took all of these fucking future-hippies in uniforms and pushed them to their very limit – and showed them (mostly) keeping it together and staying loyal to the cause.

Section 31 can’t be a legitimate part of that society. You can’t have a secret organisation of genocidal assassins in a culture based around peaceful exploration – not without completely compromising everything that such a bright view of the future stands for.

Obviously the Federation will still have its spies. Starfleet will have its own intelligence service. Enlightened liberty doesn’t mean reckless naivety. There will always be some call for espionage, even if only to counter the espionage attempts of your enemies.

But ‘Into Darkness’ legitimised 31 in a way that just annoys me. It brings them front and centre, makes them something bigger than what they should be. They ought to be a minor part of the Star Trek tableau, a part-time boogeyman brought on when you need to strain Starfleet’s purity a little. They shouldn’t be major players in galactic affairs – they should be off on the sidelines, at the corner of your eye, never quite in focus.


So, let’s talk about this dumb scene, that was cut from ‘Star Trek: Discovery’s finale. And for good reason:

Let’s get all the obvious stuff out the way:

  • Fuck off with your lapdance comments.
  • Seriously, Emperor Georgiou gets given a free pass by Starfleet down in the caverns, and the best she can come up with is wandering upstairs to the brothel and settling down as a small business owner?
  • That bloke claims Section 31 was able to find Georgiou “because they’re more resourceful than Starfleet.” Gee, you really must be, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to track down the only human on Qo’Nos, who happens to wander around in plain sight in a public business. It must have taken at least half a dozen Google searches. Maybe even some Google Maps to find the right place.
  • Section 31 is so secretive that nobody’s heard of them. Hence they have their own badges, and they decide to hire, as their next agent, a woman who looks exactly like one of Starfleet’s Top Five most decorated officers.

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  • Also, what is the point, exactly, in giving her a black badge? What, is she supposed to wear it? Does she use it to identify herself to other agents? Are there no better ways to keep track of an espionage network in the future than to flash a really, ridiculously distinctive emblem at each other?
  • Also, we already saw Section 31 on board the Discovery way back in ‘Context is for Kings’. Were they not Section 31? Is the black badge actually just a Starfleet Intelligence emblem? If so, why does Emperor Georgiou need one? Won’t Starfleet Intelligence notice pretty quickly if one of the most famous captains ever is suddenly wandering around dressed as one of their own?

Okay, it’s pretty fucking dumb. Then, there’s the below quote, from this interview with the Neo Nazi Trill bloke from that clip:

Like I can’t say anything about this Section 31, but I don’t even know anything! Like, I’m going into Season 2, and I know it’s a massive part of Season 2…

My chief concern with this is how ‘Discovery’ is going to handle a subject matter that really ought to be handled with subtlety and nuance. Let’s just say they haven’t earned my confidence quite yet.

The thing is, Section 31 just isn’t that interesting. They work for an episode, or two, when they drop in, and the audience’s response is “Wait, who are these arseholes all of a sudden?” and then they’re gone.

It’s a bit like the Mirror Universe. Except that, where the Mirror Universe becomes more ridiculous the more you explore it, Section 31 becomes more mundane: “Oh, cool, it’s a super-secret cadre of badass spies. Oh, neat, they’re questioning the compromise between principles and survival, how original. Oh, is it a CIA allegory? Some Cold War stuff in there too? Oh, well I sure hope this doesn’t get too predictable too quickly.”

It just seems like the standard go-to whenever you want to make your Trek dark and edgy. Which is basically what Section 31 is. Sloan himself is essentially an edgelord, a power fantasy of pubescent white boys with anger issues. He comes across as all suave and cool – and yet his final appearance in DS9 is, very deliberately, a deconstruction of his entire persona. He’s revealed to be a small, suspicious man – vindictive and insecure.

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Somehow, I suspect that we will see little new from a ‘Discovery’ sub-plot about Section 31. Obviously, they’ve not even finished writing the next season yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me to find that, by the end of it, we will have seen the standard “but what are you willing to do to save paradise?” conundrum, rejected by the crew who will hold to their principles via some stupid plan that will send 31 scampering, and will inevitably make no sense on reflection.

It feels cheap to bring Section 31 back into the show, re-treading old concepts that we’ve already dealt with.

Especially when there’s a much bigger, much more interesting concept ripe for exploration, and which is spawned from the same origins as Section 31: namely, genetic manipulation.

Right now, in the modern world, we’re starting to hit upon a genetic revolution. Tools like CRISPR may be putting us on the cusp of exploring our own genetic destiny. And Star Trek happens to feature the Federation, a culture in which genetic modification, or eugenics, is strictly forbidden.

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This thread has even been alluded to in the first bloody season of ‘Discovery’ itself. Stamets genetically modifies himself with space bear DNA to allow him to interface with the bullshit drive. Admiral Cornwell chews Lorca out for allowing it. And in the final scene we even get Stamets explaining that Starfleet is ditching the spore drive because of the eugenic implications.

A series that focused on genetic manipulation of humans would be really interesting, and really relevant to stuff that’s just on our own horizon. It would make the show modern, provocative, even. Especially because of the moral issues around eugenics as a concept.

Eugenics is one of those things that unreasonably gets a bad rap because of its association with the Nazis, rather than very reasonably getting a bad rap because of all the other horrible aspects to it. After all, the Nazis were also fans of Volkswagen, and it’s not as though that association informs on VW’s moral standing.

I’m super, super disappointed that Section 31 is apparently the most creative, original story that ‘Discovery’ could pick for its second season, when so much other material is out there, waiting to be explored. A Section 31 storyline is going to be difficult to keep from feeling stale and redundant and old fashioned. And it’s not like this writing team has risen to such challenges in the past.

I simply can’t help but think that this is less about there being a natural vacuum for an original story which compliments Section 31, but rather another low-hanging fruit on the path to making Star Trek the dark, edgy show that nobody really wants it to be.

Everything Stupid in ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ (2013)

Alright then, a little background. There are some films that I just don’t enjoy or find very engaging. Maybe they’re bad, maybe they’re the wrong film for me, maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind at the time, whatever. It’s allowed. I could talk to you about everything I don’t like about ‘Public Enemies’ (2009), for example, but it basically all comes down to subjectivity.

There are some films, however, that are Offensive to me. ‘Prometheus’ is a good example. Any of the Star Wars prequels another. These are films that are objectively bad, and in a way that is particularly annoying. ‘Revenge of the Sith’ grinds its shitty boots all over background established in the original trilogy, ‘Prometheus’ promises cerebral thrills but devolves into B-Movie shoddiness.

‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ falls into this category because it tricked me. It dazzled me with stunning effects and exciting action and Alice Eve’s breasts and at first, I really enjoyed it. So much so, I watched it a second time, but then I started seeing the flaws. The third time through, I was angry. I was livid.

I was hurt.

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Consider this a metaphor for my feelings.

Now, it’s payback time. For no reason other than my own bitterness, I’m going to eviscerate this mess of a film in as precise and surgical a manner as an incoherent frothing scouser can manage. I’m going to do far more than kill this film; I’m going to hurt it. And I wish to go on hurting it. I’m going to leave it as it left me, as it left all of us, angry and confused.

This is the fucking Wrath of Jon.

Scene by fucking scene.

Some rules, though:

  • I won’t be comparing this to other Trek productions. This movie’s failures as a ‘Star Trek’ movie only cloud the issue of it being a shit story. This film has plenty of issues beyond its loyalty to the brand.
  • No complaints about subjective matters. Namely, how a line is delivered, choice of music and so on. This is based on objective quality, not preference.
  • No examination of science/physics/realism. ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’ already gave us characters hearing ships flying by in THE VACUUM OF SPACE, so as far as I’m concerned Star Trek now has as many “hard sci-fi credentials” as Star Wars. Or ‘The Hobbit’.
  • All three of the above rules will be broken at least once in the article. Blow me.

So, I’ve got the lighting just right, got food and drink to last, and my stretchy jogging trousers on for maximum comfort. Let’s do this.


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Excitement! Alien planets! People running! Star Trek!

On the planet Nibi… Nbu… N’bir… On an alien planet…

‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ has a great opening sequence. It’s exciting. It has some great moments, like the reveal of the ship underwater, or the excitement of Spock descending on a grapple line into the heart of a volcano. Even if it would have just been easier to drop the “cold fusion device” in there from the air. Wouldn’t it?

I mean, once Spock’s down there, all he does is drop the bloody thing. It’s not like he’s fiddling with it right up until detonation. So, why did he need to go down there dressed as C-FatPO? In an incredibly dangerous environment? They beamed him out, couldn’t they have just beamed the device in? Or, just lowered the device on the grapple and left Spock out of it?

They even go so far as to state that the device will in fact kill Spock. So, why was he down there at all? Except to get put in a deadly situation which then requires a lot of drama and emotional tension? Drama which, given this is the first ten minutes of the movie and Zachary Quinto’s face was all over every inch of the marketing material, doesn’t exist?

For that matter, why do they wait until the volcano has destroyed all the poor ash-faced aliens’ temples and homes? Couldn’t they have detonated the device, like, a lot earlier than that? Or did the crew want to emphasise the extent to which the poor, backwards species’ fate is in their hands? I for one value any display of technological superiority and dominance, so I’m fully behind it if that’s the case.


In London, in the future…

Well, no matter, they beam him out, cue epic music, all very good fun. And – wait, who’s this guy? In London? I thought the only city in Star Trek was San Francisco? Anyway, London, sad-looking couple (the bloke’s actually from ‘Doctor Who’, poor bastard) and they have a dying daughter? Abrams is a master of telling a story without dialogue, and I mean that genuinely, this entire sequence is really well done.

Oh, look! There’s Sherlock! And he’s solved ‘The Mystery of the Dying Daughter’. Hmm. I’m sure there won’t be any negative consequences to his involvement, given how friendly and sincere he looks.


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The one character who comes close to not doing anything stupid in this entire movie. And it’s the Vulcan on the right. Naturally, she’s still guilty of being a little bit stupid by being in this movie.

In San Francisco (told you it was the only city in Star Trek)…

So, a bit of characterisation for our two leads later and we’re in Admiral Pike’s office, and he’s now reprimanding Kirk for having broken Starfleet’s “Prime Directive” and then lying about it on his official report. Presumably, Kirk implicitly trusts all of the hundreds of his crew to never speak a word of an incredibly controversial action, and now that he’s been found out, he’s presumably going to be Court Martialed and booted from the service, right?

Oh, no, apparently he’s getting a “tribunal” and has lost his command. Shouldn’t he be, like, arrested or something? They’re sending him back to the Academy? Why aren’t they putting him in the brig? They do have brigs in the future, don’t they? Or is risking hundreds of lives in an act of gross negligence not an issue if it’s your first offense?


Back in London…

Okay, so Sherlock’s blood instantly heals Sick Daughter. Neat. That was nice of him. Wait, that easily? It wasn’t even a full transfusion, it was just a small vial of his blood. Whatever, maybe it’s a plot point. Maybe he’s Wolverine.

So, the dad of Sick Daughter just blew himself up and the base he works in. Impressive. The tiny ring in the cup of water demolished half of London. But, he was wearing it, so… what if he sweated? Like, clammy palms, on the grounds that he’s about to suicide-bomb a bunch of his colleagues, wouldn’t that set the ring off?

And it’s clear that this is part of the bargain. Sherlock offered to save his daughter if he blew up the building, I guess, but, like, unless the dad was already a terrorist, wouldn’t he just raise the alarm as soon as his daughter was healed? Like, put the blood in the tube, watch her get better, then immediately phone, like, Starfleet Headquarters and say “There’s a creepy dude with Wolverine-blood who wants me to blow up my office, you should come and arrest him.”


In a bar in San Francisco…

Here’s some nice character stuff between Pike and Kirk. And Pike reveals that Spock’s been “transferred”. Transferred? He was Kirk’s first officer, he’s just as fucking culpable as Kirk. Surely Kirk didn’t violate “dozens of regulations” without Spock’s knowledge? And wouldn’t it be Spock’s exact job to call his captain out on breaking the rules, and stopping him from doing so where it would endanger the ship?

Plus, Pike takes Kirk on as his second-in-command, because he “believes in him”. No offense Pike, but you’ve got a gammy leg; doesn’t that mean you’re going to rely on your first officer even more than most captains? Especially on away missions? And so, doesn’t that mean that having an officer you have literally just hours earlier told is incapable of command run counter to that? Are you a moron? Did they make you Admiral out of sympathy or something?


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The face of brutal, unsurpassed intelligence.

Starfleet Headquarters…

Presumably after a coffee and a cold shower, Kirk’s now back in uniform and blaming Spock for losing his captaincy because… Spock wrote a report dobbing him in? Kirk must be one of those arseholes who will drive through a 30-zone at 80mph and then blame the speed camera for him getting caught and fined. What a bell-end.

Oh, and he says that you shouldn’t stab in the back someone who saved your life. But Spock’s life wouldn’t have needed saving if Kirk had done his FUCKING JOB and not allowed a horrendously dangerous mission to take place that then demanded Spock’s life be saved. Jesus Kirk, just walk around wearing an “I’m a Wanker” t-shirt, you could probably get away with it since there’s so many different bloody uniforms nobody would be able to tell.

Further, Spock is clearly a Vulcan, he’s got the ears and everything. I mean, he’s mentioned at least a dozen times already in this film that he’s a Vulcan. So why does Kirk keep expecting him to act like a human? What, does he expect children to fill out tax returns, too? Is Kirk’s point of view actually that, in a galaxy full of weird aliens, anyone who looks mostly human should also act human, otherwise they’re just being an arsehole? What a prejudiced moron.

Apparently, Sick Daughter’s Dad sent a message to Admiral Robocop confessing what he was about to do, right before doing it. If he felt that guilty, couldn’t he instead have sent a message saying “Someone is trying to make me blow up this base, please arrest him, he’s right outside?” and then not blow up the base? Like, we don’t see Sherlock acting with anyone else, so what did he have on Sick Daughter’s Dad, exactly?

God, this scene is full of stupid. So, apparently protocol means they all assemble in that room in the case of an attack on Starfleet. So, why isn’t that room shielded? And armoured? And guarded? And thirty miles below sea level? WHY DO THEY HAVE SECRET MILITARY MEETINGS IN HUGE SKYSCRAPERS WITH MASSIVE WINDOWS THAT ALLOW THE ENTIRE COMMAND BRIGADE TO BE KILLED BY ANYTHING? Fuck, these people deserve to be invaded. I hope the Klingons come and sort them out.

Meanwhile, Sherlock’s objective is to kill them all, right? I mean, I’m guessing he’s not shooting lasers at them to express his feelings of affection? So, why not just launch a large explosive into the room? He’s been firing these lasers for aaages now, and he’s still barely killed any of them!

Wait, he’s transporting out of there? Then why didn’t he transport in? Or even better, transport a MASSIVE FUCKING BOMB in there! That’d kill everyone pretty neatly and quickly. Then he wouldn’t even need to be on the same fucking continent as the rest of them. I thought Sherlock Holmes was meant to be smart. Apparently he’s a moron, too.

I’m actually getting angrier at this film.

Oh, and the only person of note to get killed in the attack was Pike. Like, the others didn’t even get scratched. Or even any dirt on them. That wasn’t a very effective attack.


On the streets, after the attack…

Scotty was the one investigating the wreckage? They seriously don’t have CSI teams in the future? Maybe they don’t have crime in the future… Is this a ‘Minority Report’ sequel or something?


In another glass building completely exposed to outside attacks…

Kirk just ran up to Admiral Robocop and asked for “his command [to] be reinstated.” And rather than telling him to fuck off, the Admiral dismisses all the other admirals so he can talk to Kirk. Is he a moron, as well?

“Is he defecting?” IS HE DEFECTING??? HE’S A FUCKING TERRORIST WHO’S KILLED DOZENS, IT’S A BIT LATE TO “DEFECT” YOU BLITHERING IDIOT.

And they’re still holding their meetings in buildings made of glass, despite having no idea of where Sherlock Holmes is. Christ, even SPACE would be a safer bet. Do you guys just not have a word for “security” in the future, or what?


kirkmarcusspock
The face of disappointment. And disappointment is certainly very attractive.

On board a shuttlecraft…

They’re ready to head to the Enterprise, and Spock is NOW objecting to their mission. Yeah, you can do it now, Spocky, but not when it comes to the Prime Fucking Directive? Jesus.

Also, they’re openly discussing their secret espionage mission of assassination in an enemy’s sovereign territory, in a shuttle full of randoms? There’s all sorts of people wandering around! Including bloody “Science Officer Wallace” who is, it turns out, THERE UNDER FALSE PRETENSES. And she just walked in on their conversation? Do they also not have a word for “secret”?

This new girl is fairly attractive, though.


Aboard the Enterprise

Okay, Scotty’s annoyed because he can’t scan the fuel compartment on the torpedoes. That’ll be important for later.

SIX DOZEN TORPEDOES? Yeah, not so sure about keeping this one under the Klingons’ radar when you nuke two-thirds of the surface of their planet. Fuck, talk about excessive force.

Also, Spock and Uhura are shagging. Isn’t that, like, a major issue, for two senior bridge officers to be in a relationship? Wouldn’t that cause, y’know, issues in matters of life and death? Eh, what do I know, apparently Starfleet isn’t so much a formal organisation as a great big party-bus full of idiots.

Apparently, Chekov’s been “shadowing” Scotty, so he’s taking the role of Chief Engineer. But, surely there are other officers in engineering, who maybe have more experience than none-at-all? Isn’t it kind of insulting to them to put a kid in charge? A kid who is very specifically NOT a member of engineering? Well, we can just add that entire department to the list of people about whose feelings Kirk doesn’t give a shit.

Wow. Spock just said he would be “happy” to risk his life helping Kirk on a suicide mission, and Kirk responded sarcastically with “You, ‘happy’?” Jesus Kirk, there’s gratitude for you. Are you literally competing for “Biggest Dickhead In The Alpha Quadrant”? Were you bummed out when you lost it last year to the alien with an actual penis and scrotum growing out of the front of its head?


 

Down in engineering…

Here’s a great exchange:

“What are you doing, doctor?”
“I’m just -”
“You misunderstand, what are you doing aboard this ship?”

NO, SPOCK, YOU LEAVE HER ALONE. SHE DIDN’T “MISUNDERSTAND”, YOU ASKED A STUPID QUESTION. AREN’T YOU A VULCAN? AREN’T YOU MEANT TO BE LOGICAL? Maybe Spock’s so Beta-Male that he only acts like a prat when Kirk’s not around to out-prat him.

She’s very attractive, though.


scotty
That guy, there on the right? He’s pulling the exact same face I pull all the way through watching this movie. Also happens to be the same face I pull during sex, but for entirely different reasons.

In general…

If I worked on this ship, I’d be fucking pissed off with all of these arseholes acting like adolescent shitbirds all the fucking time.


On the bridge…

Holy Shit. Okay, so, their mission is secret, right? And Kirk just said that there can’t be anything tying their mission to Starfleet, right? To avoid starting a war? So Sulu just fucking up and transmits a message to the Klingon homeworld TELLING Sherlock that they’re sending a Starfleet team to come and slip a bag over his head. Man, I sure hope the Klingons don’t have radios, or this whole espionage thing is FUCKED.

Oh, and he says that they’ll fire SECRET long-range torpedoes at him if he doesn’t surrender. Yeah, nice job, Sulu. Next time, just write down all of Starfleet’s military secrets in a Microsoft Word File, save it to a USB and just send it in the mail to Kronos, it’d be easier and quicker and less dangerous than sitting on the edge of Klingon space to do it.

“Remind me never to piss you off” is such a dull, cliched line it makes my balls retract to my stomach every time I hear it.


Aboard the confiscated merchant vessel…

Spock calculated the odds of Sherlock trying to kill them as “91.6%”. Can I see your working on that, Spock? You can honestly estimate someone’s behaviour down to accuracy of one-over-a-thousand based on the fact you saw his face, maybe? Yeah, what are the odds that he has a foot fetish? How much should I bet on him being a Scientologist? Is it safe to assume that he has a fear of lampshades? Or are you, Spock, just a charlatan? What are the odds on that?

Oh, and, I love the idea that Spock has somehow done a pyschological analysis on this guy, but still can’t recognise a joke when he hears one, or understand that when Kirk says he’ll miss him, he should respond in kind. Yeah, Spock really strikes me as someone with a lot of psychological nouse.

Wow. Uhura’s choosing the start of a deadly suicide mission to vent her feelings. Way to advance the feminine gender, Uhura! It’s definitely worth playing into female stereotypes and sabotaging the morale of everyone involved for the sake of “character development”. Fucking arsehole.

Also, it’s a shame that Sulu wasn’t here to fly this shuttle, I bet he would’ve been great at it. Nah, much better to leave him on the bridge making pointless threats. I mean, you can’t have an action sequence that doesn’t revolve around Kirk or Spock, right? Right.


On the bridge…

Huh. Sulu gave Sherlock “two minutes to confirm [his] compliance.” It’s been, like, five minutes. Why hasn’t he nuked Sherlock already? Careful, Sulu, if you don’t nuke a person after you say you’re going to nuke them, you’re in danger of looking like, y’know, a shit-eating cretin. Too late, I guess.


On the Klingon homeworld…

Uhura goes out to speak to the Klingons, since she’s such a talented linguist, apparently. But then Sherlock turns up and starts shooting them anyway, so she doesn’t actually achieve anything except getting strangled a bit. Maybe she’s into that. Maybe it’s misogyny.

Kirk just started assaulting an unarmed prisoner because he was angry, I guess. Yeah, what an enlightened future this is.


In the brig…

Why is McCoy’s first impulse to take a blood sample from the prisoner? Is that, like, a fetish or something?

So, Sherlock just acknowledged that their engines were fucked and they were stranded far from Earth. Then, to convince Kirk of his trustworthiness, gave him a set of co-ordinates… near Earth. Did he know that Kirk had a drunk engineer hanging around with nothing better to do and access to a shuttle? If not… what’s the point in handing over the co-ordinates? “Take a look.” Really, Sherlock? How, exactly? Got a Palantir handy? You wanker.


Back on the bridge…

Right, now, listen, just, shut up a moment and listen. Spock just said he was going to tell Kirk about Carol Marcus’ deception and sneaking onto the ship under a false identity “when it became relevant”. Hmm, true, guess it did only just become relevant now, when they need to examine the torpedo, and definitely not WHEN THE ENGINE GOT FUCKING SABOTAGED. Jesus Spock, did someone chemically lobotomise you without you knowing? “Hmm, well, she is an impostor and the ship did just get stranded mysteriously, but nobody’s actually said the word ‘sabotage’ yet so I’ll just keep about my business and assume we’re all fine.”

She is quite attractive, though. She’d probably get me all confused, too.


carol1
This scene was absolutely necessary to advance both the plot of the movie and the opening weekend ticket sales.

In a shuttle, for… some reason…?

How is it “clever” for Kirk to make the assumption that, after Admiral Robocop made the torpedoes disappear from the official records, that he then handed them to Kirk? I mean, Kirk literally has them loaded in the firing tubes, so, did he think… what, that the torpedoes stayed disappeared? And that he just loaded a load of GHOST TORPEDOES into the tubes? What?

Anyway, Carol asks him to turn around, then when he asks why, says “just turn around.” Seems this was so she could get undressed down to her underwear and appear in the trailer, as there is literally NO REASON for her to invite him into the same room whilst she’s getting changed, unless she somehow needed another character to be in the room so that there’s an excuse to film a scene of her getting changed which can then make it into the trailers. Fuck this movie.

She is really rather attractive, though.


mccoymarcus
At least one of these people is a war criminal. Hint: it’s definitely McCoy.

On some random planet that just happened to be close enough to reach by shuttle…

Did McCoy just call Carol Marcus “sweetheart”? Hey, enjoy life back in the ’60s, McCoy. Maybe you could get a gig on ‘Mad Men’.

Also, they just had this whole fucking scene with the fake peril of McCoy getting his arm trapped, just to have Carol Marcus unlock the damn thing and open it up anyway. Did we really need that extra bit of tension? Was that plot-relevant?

So, inside the torpedo is a person. But, they’re in the fuel compartment. So, do the torpedoes run on people? If not, how are they “long range”? Wouldn’t Kirk just launch them, and they’d float in space uselessly? They’re not much bigger than a person anyway, so it’s not as though the fuel is stored somewhere else. So, what’s the point in having the torpedoes?

You know before, how I said that the fact that Scotty couldn’t scan the fuel compartments of the torpedoes would be important later? Well, this is it. The torpedoes’ fuel compartments aren’t fuel compartments at all, they’re people-tubes, so what the fuck are these torpedoes using for fuel? Are they really meant to travel lightyears with no fuel?

I know I said I wouldn’t bitch about technology and such, but these torpedoes have so far formed about 60% of the plot of this movie! Knowing how they work is important! Jesus, what’s the point in having them at all? If you make a fuss of them being long-ranged torpedoes, then IT BECOMES RELEVANT WHETHER THEY’RE LONG-RANGED OR NOT BECAUSE OTHERWISE THE FUCKING PLOT DOESN’T MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE YOU APES.

Carol Marcus is startlingly attractive, though.


Somewhere near Jupiter…

Hm. Scotty’s just flown up to the super-secret base near Jupiter. A base which is so secret that they don’t bother with sensors or scanners, as Scotty literally flies right up it. Literally, twenty yards from it. He wasn’t expecting a secret base, so it’s not like he could avoid its scanning area. He didn’t have any clue about what he might find! So how did they not detect him?

Okay, now he just flew into the shuttle convoy. But, right in front of loads of other shuttles. Wouldn’t they see him? One of the biggest features of these shuttles is the ENORMOUS WINDOWS on the front, how the shit did they not see him, never  mind the fact that they had sensors?


In sickbay…

Okay, Carol Marcus (she’s just so, so attractive, though) just outright said that the the fuel compartment had been removed prior to the people-tubes being added. So, no fuel. So, what, it’s just a warhead with a people-tube attached? How were these meant to help kill Sherlock?

The technology is “beyond” McCoy, even though it’s “ancient”. So, wait, you can’t figure it out, McCoy? Aren’t you meant to be clever, or something? What, you can’t figure out the sequencing? Just fucking scan it or some shit!


admiralmarcus
This man’s motivations are as transparent as they are relevant to the actual story.

Back in the brig…

Why did Sherlock put those people in the torpedoes? He just said he put them in the Admiral’s super-special torpedoes. Why? Wouldn’t the Admiral notice?

Yeah, why would a Starfleet Admiral need a three-hundred-year-old frozen man to help him design better ships? Did it really take a “warrior’s mind” to say “BUILD IT BIGGER AND GIVE IT MORE GUNS”? Could, could Starfleet not figure that one out? Like, is that the best Sherlock has?

“Hey, what about advanced tactics and new strate-”
“NOPE, BIGGER, MORE GUNS.”

Stupid shitbags.

Wait, so, Admiral Robocop gave Kirk the torpedoes to fire at the Klingon homeworld to start a war. So, did he know the torpedoes had people in them? Wouldn’t he have checked the torpedoes were working first? If Sherlock knew he was going to do this, why did he hide people in the torpedoes? Did he really retrofit all seventy-two torpedoes AND hide people-tubes in them without ANYBODY noticing?

Does this make sense to anybody?

Hang on, hang on, so, Sherlock hid the people in the torpedoes, but was discovered? So, Admiral Robocop did know about the torpeoples?

But, then, why did he give Kirk torpedoes that wouldn’t work? Because Kirk couldn’t fire them at the Klingons if they had no fuel, could he? So, why did Robocop give them to Kirk?

I’m so confused.

I’d also like to point out that this entire fucking plotline is delivered through exposition. The actual story that Sherlock tells could actually make for a decent movie. Instead, it’s several minutes of background bullshit in a story that makes no sense.


Uss_vengenace
Starfleet’s latest vessel, bravely built out of Lego, apparently.

On the bridge…

Alright, Admiral Robocop has just confirmed that he did know that there were people on those torpeoples. Torpedoes. Whatever. He wanted them dead, so he gave them to Kirk to fire. But, what if Kirk only fired, like, three of them, and thought that was enough? Or what if Kirk didn’t need to fire them at all? Wouldn’t it be easier to take the people out of the torpedoes, and just kill them the good old fashioned way, by smothering them with a pillow or pushing them down the stairs?

Hang on, did Admiral Robocop know that Sherlock would transport to the Klingon homeworld? How could he? Did Sherlock tell him beforehand? Because that’s the only way he’d know.

If he didn’t know, then how does keeping the people in the torpedoes in any way contribute to starting a war with the Klingons? That’s what the Admiral wanted all along, right? But what if Sherlock instead transported to, say, one of Saturn’s moons, or something? Or just somewhere else on Earth? How does keeping the people in the torpedoes help with that?

How does keeping the people in the torpedoes help in any way at all? Doesn’t it just increase the chances of something going wrong? I mean, if you didn’t have people inside of them, you wouldn’t need to shield their contents presumably, so then Scotty wouldn’t have to resign when he refused to allow them on the ship because he’d be able to see inside them in the first place!

What the hell is the point of the people inside the torpedoes? I mean really? Why are they in there? Is everyone in this movie, and everyone involved with this movie, some kind of, of, ah… special person?


Still on the bridge…

love that Admiral Robocop straight up beams his daughter up so he can carry on annihilating the Enterprise. Turns out he is capable of making sensible decisions. Winner.

She is astonishingly attractive, though.

Robocop does lose a lot in the way of sympathy as a villain when he decides to kill all of Kirk’s crew, though. Hell, even Khan in ‘Wrath of Khan’ was classier than that, and he – shit, that’s one of the rules broken.


Wandering through corridors…

So, Kirk puts Spock in charge, then Spock joins Kirk in immediately leaving the bridge, meaning that as they face a deadly enemy bent on destroying them… nobody’s in charge? Come on guys, I know you’re not military, but that shouldn’t mean you’re also braindead. Jesus Christ.

“It is my function aboard this ship to advise you on making the wisest decisions possible.” Really, Spock? That’s really your function? Seems like, y’know, you may have DROPPED THE BALL A FEW TIMES on that one, do y’think?

“The Enterprise and her crew need somebody in that chair who knows what he’s doing, and that’s not me.” Kirk just spoke the most sensible line of this entire fucking movie. Congratulations, Kirk! You win the prize for “Most Self-Aware Character In A Cast Of Narcissists!” Then he ruined it by saying that duty belongs to Spock. Yeah, not so sure about that.


mccoytribble
“Does anyone else want to eat this Tribble? I want to pour some bleach in its eyes first, see if that does anything.”

In sickbay…

Hah! McCoy’s continuing his character arc of “Shelley-esque Crazed Scientist” and injecting a dead Tribble with Sherlock’s Wolverine Blood. Yeah, apparently he’s a graduate of the Mengele Academy of “Medicine”.


In Spaaaaaaaaace…

So, huge space battle less than three hundred thousand kilometres from Earth (which, despite the visuals, is actually closer than the Moon) and NOBODY from Starfleet has come to help? Not even a shuttle? What, is it a Sunday or something? Do they not respond to violent clashes between Starships on Earth’s front doorstep? Is Starfleet really that carefree? In the wake of a series of terrorist attacks?

I mean, Admiral Robocop didn’t expect Kirk to fly back to Earth, so it’s not like he would have ordered all of Starfleet’s vessels away in anticipation of his villainry, is it?


Aboard the Vengeance

The great big doofus pointing a gun at Scotty heard the communicator as clearly as Scotty did then asked “What is that?” I mean, he knew the ship had just been sabotaged, is he so incapable of abstract thought that he can’t figure out that this EXCEEDINGLY NERVOUS GUY doing suspicious stuff and with an active communicator to another ship MIGHT BE THE ONE HE’S LOOKING FOR?

“That person counting down, what is that?” THIS GUY IS A FUCKING ASSHATTING PANTS-ON-HEAD-WEARING RETARD. I’m sorry, I don’t like that word but COME ON, SERIOUSLY? HOW ARE YOU EVEN HOLDING THAT GUN THE RIGHT WAY ROUND? DO YOU TIE YOUR OWN SHOELACES OR DO YOU STICK TO SLIP-ONS? FUUUUUUUCK.


spockfire
An image of Zachary Quinto, presumably trying to figure out how they’re going to have a Star Trek story ever again now that Old Spock is, ah, *unavailable*.

Back on the Enterprise’s bridge…

Mr. Spock just called Mr. Spock for a quick chat. I mean, is now the best time, Spock? Really? With only thirty seconds until the enemy ship starts firing its guns again? What were your tactical priorities again? Who put you in charge?

Oh, wait, Kirk did. I take it all back.


On the Vengeance

One of the crew on the Admiral’s ship just reported an unauthorised door opening. The Admiral knew it was Sherlock straight away. How, exactly? Sure it wasn’t, like, any of the computers fucking up, which is something that’s just happened? Or maybe one of the hundreds of other crew members aboard the Enterprise? Eh, if it wasn’t Sherlock then you wouldn’t be able to say “Sherlock” in that dramatic fashion right before the camera cuts away.


Enterprise bridge again…

So, Spock is asking Spock about Sherlock. Why, exactly? Shouldn’t he instead be asking him about the actual immediate threat, Admiral Robocop? Or, like, really powerful Federation warships? Why Sherlock, exactly? Spock, WHY SHERLOCK? ANSWER ME, YOU FUCK.


Bridge of the Vengeance

“IF I’M NOT IN CHARGE, our entire way of life is decimated!” spake the Admiral. Admiral Robocop. Did you really mean that? As in, 10% of our way of life will be destroyed? Are you sure you didn’t just mean “destroyed”? Or “devastated”? Or “demolished”? Or “disintegrated”? Or “denatured”?

Sherlock just broke Carol Marcus’ leg, and she screamed. Then he killed her dad, and she screamed again. All she’s fucking done this movie is lie and scream. I thought Trek was done with all of its denigrating of women in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s? Is it still going into the 2010s, now, too?

She really, really is super-dooper attractive, though.


Aboard the Enterprise…

I quite like the torpedo deception that Spock pulled.

Although, was that scene the whole reason for the fucking Torpedo palava?

Also, got to love the fact that McCoy fills all of his hospital beds with frozen people in tubes who would do just as well in a cargo bay, whilst his own crew gets blown to bits. Pretty sure most of your shipmates would appreciate those beds so they can lie in comfort as they die from explosion-related injuries, McCoy.

Hah! Who am I talking to? He’d only stick pins in their eyes or shove hamsters up their rectums whilst they suffered. All in the name of Science, of course.


star-trek-into-darkness-damaged-enterprise
Once again, the Enterprise finds itself an unfortunate victim at the hands of the script writers.

Still Enterprise

So, Spock orders the crew to abandon ship, and Sulu decides that they’re all going to stay on the ship with him.

Like, the entire crew all unanimously agreed to die for no reason? Really? Nobody thought “Well, Spock’s cool, but I really kind of miss my family, I might jump into this escape pod right here and, y’know, not make orphans out of my children.” They’re all just willing to die because Spock’s staying behind?

Man, Starfleet’s not a party bus, it’s a God damn Cult.


Down in engineering…

Okay, this is the bit that really pisses me off. Like, in a deeply personal way. Kirk’s “sacrifice”.

First off, apparently the warp core just got knocked out of its clips or something, so Kirk wanders in and kicks it into place. Okay, so, that’s how technology works then, I guess, fine. But, the warp core’s not damaged, just misaligned. So, it got jolted enough to fall out of its slot, but not enough to get damaged. Does that sound well-designed to you? For a starship intended for long journeys? Hm.

Anyway, then Kirk is dying. ‘Cause of radiation. Like in ‘Wrath of Khan’, except it’s Kirk instead of Spock. So, okay. Right. Then they start parroting dialogue from ‘Wrath of Khan’. I guess because it’s poetic, they rhyme, I guess.

So we have this really bad, insulting recreation of a wonderful scene from ‘Wrath of Khan’, a scene which normally brings me to tears but which here is driving me to homicidal tendencies. Because, apparently these characters have grown, or something, but nothing they did is based on lessons they actually learned during the film. It’s just mirroring stuff they did right at the beginning.

And then That Bit. That Scream. Spock, having watched Kirk die, screams out Sherlock’s name. How dramatic! How emotional! How…

Wait, why, exactly? It’s not like Sherlock specifically killed Kirk. Most of the damage was done by Admiral Robocop. So why all the Sherlock hate all of a sudden? All he was doing was getting the hell out of dodge. But, y’know, you wouldn’t be bastardising classic Trek if you weren’t pointlessly parroting lines with nowhere near the same emotional impact.

kirkkhan
This single frame contains more story, character development and emotional depth than the entire two-hour run of ‘Into Darkness’. Also more Shatner, which can only be a good thing.

Y’see, in ‘Wrath of Khan’, Kirk screams Khan’s name after Khan has just stranded him in the heart of a dead planet, to die along with his friends, his former partner and his son. Khan promises to destroy Kirk’s ship and his crew, all out of spite for Kirk. All simply to hurt Kirk. All entirely personal and merciless and vindictive.

So when Kirk screams Khan’s name, it’s out of anger, frustration, vulnerability, self-pity. There’s all these things going on emotionally, all caused by Khan and his quest for vengeance. In that moment, Khan has truly defeated Kirk, and mocked him and taunted him for it, and all Kirk is left with is empty rage.

In this film, I mean, sure, Sherlock’s a villain, but he’s kind of incidental to this whole affair. I mean, I guess he killed Pike, and Spock’s mindmeld with Pike in his dying moments probably made this a little more personal, but it’s not like Sherlock actually put the knife into Kirk. Hell, by this point it’s been five whole minutes since we last saw Sherlock at all.

So when Spock screams “Sherlock!!!” it’s not really all that personal. Certainly not for Spock and definitely not for the audience. It’s not even like this was all part of Sherlock’s plan. This is just incidental damage. It could’ve been anyone killed by that radiation. And for all we know, the damage was done by Robocop, not Sherlock.

Shoddy, shoddy story-crafting, of the worst order.


Oh well, San Francisco again…

Sherlock’s ship is now crashed, and now Spock is on a blood rampage of vengeance, I guess? I mean, Kirk’s whole thing was saving Spock at any cost; Kirk didn’t swear to take vengeance on the volcano. So, how are these arcs linked? Spock’s now just a violent thug, really.

Also, why did Sherlock aim his crashing ship at Starfleet headquarters? What was he trying to achieve, exactly? He’s already killed the man he had a grudge against, so now… I guess he’s going to finish off the rest of Starfleet? On his own? What’s his plan, exactly? I mean, he’s meant to be super-intelligent, so what’s he up to here?


McCoy’s House of Horrors Sickbay…

Hah! The Tribble came back to life. Incredible. Apparently human Wolverine blood is capable of resurrecting Tribbles. Are they even mammals? They’re hairy, so I suppose they must be…


San Francisco…

Yay! People punching each other! Spock doing a nerve pinch! STAR TREK!


sherlockspock
This, too, is a face that I regularly make whilst having sex. Usually right before I burst into tears for half an hour.

Sickbay…

Wait, why does McCoy need Sherlock alive? His blood BRINGS PEOPLE BACK FROM THE DEAD. Like, he took the blood out of Sherlock, and hours later it resurrected a Tribble, it’s not like once his blood has left his body it suddenly becomes inert. And it’s not as though it’s going to suddenly become inert as soon as Sherlock’s heart stops, is it? Couldn’t you just kill him and then immediately exsanguinate him?

Or does McCoy just want someone really resilient on whom to carry out his experiments? Someone who won’t succumb to pain as quickly as all of his other victims…


San Francisco…

Wait, blasting Sherlock in the heart with a phaser won’t down him, but knocking him about the head a few times will? You’ve literally been punching him in the head for the last six kilometres, why does he suddenly now have a glass jaw? Maybe he was tired.


… Somewhere? Probably some Earth hospital? I don’t even care by this point…

HAHAHA! And just like that, McCoy cures Death. Damn it, Bones, you’re either a scientific genius or, more likely, a reckless medical necromancer. Christ, now his experimental subjects can’t even take their own lives to end their suffering, he’ll just bring them back again and again. “I must scream and I have no mouth, because McCoy has surgically replaced it with a third kidney.”

Tell you what, though. They’ve cured death. That’s sure going to take the drama out of any sequels.


San Francisco…

Can someone explain to me how “Space: The Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise” constitutes an OATH? Like, what are you swearing to? Which duties are you promising to uphold? Can, can you take me through that, please? He says “The Captain’s Oath”, so, all captains have to swear to this? Even the ones who aren’t captains of the Enterprise? What the FUCK?

Also, they’re sending their most powerful ship out on a five-year mission of exploration? I know they’re meant to be explorers, but don’t they want to maybe hang around a bit, in case the Klingons really do want to start a war? Like, have they learnt nothing from the last two hours of dreck?

I did.

I learned that Carol Marcus is most definitely very attractive.


In summary…

This is why ‘Into Darkness’ is such tripe. It’s that the story itself, and the motivations of its characters, just don’t stand up to scrutiny.

Kirk and Spock, our two leads, are both entirely unlikable and, for all of Spock’s “logic”, they are irrationally unpleasant to the people around them. All Spock seems to have learned by the end is the value of revenge – he only lets Sherlock live because “they need him alive”. That doesn’t seem like a very positive character arc for someone who’s meant to be a hero.

Kirk himself doesn’t exactly get much of an arc. He’s told at the beginning that he’s unfit for command, and he doesn’t actually do anything throughout the movie to change that. He’s as poor a leader at the end as he was at the beginning – the only thing he’s done is sacrifice himself, I guess, because he was going to die anyway.

Uhura is kept on to do nothing more than bitch at Spock – they jimmy in her “language skills” for the Klingon bit, but Sherlock turns up and kills all the baddies anyway, so what was the point?

Chekov just runs around reminding everybody how unqualified he is as chief engineer (reflecting more poorly on Kirk than on himself), Sulu makes empty threats and then does nothing, because in the one bit where his piloting skills would have been useful, Kirk’s doing the flying instead. All Sulu does is keep telling everyone else that the ship’s been dropped out of warp.

McCoy is just so, so terrifying in this film. His priority is “doing stuff to people that they didn’t ask for.” I mean, on what grounds would any trained physician deliberately inject a person’s blood into a completely different species from an entirely distant star system? The fact that it works doesn’t reassure me…

Scotty at least gets to do some stuff, and he sticks by his principles. He comes across as the most sensible part of the team, but he’s written so comically that it’s difficult to take him very seriously. I’m so sorry, Simon Pegg, you really deserve better than this script.

Carol Marcus has the sole job of wearing underwear for the trailer. There is very, very little else that her character actually accomplishes, aside from getting captured, getting injured and lying about stuff. At no point does her presence actually advance the plot in a way that couldn’t be accomplished by one of the established characters. I mean, I suppose she unlocks the torpedo, but given that she just ends up ripping the circuit board out because she doesn’t actually understand it, I’m pretty sure Chekov could’ve managed much the same.

Her father, Admiral Robocop, is just as pointless. He just seems to be Villainous. Like, that’s his character trait. He’s paranoid, aggressive, cruel, pretty stupid and he has no redeeming features in any way. He’s more of a cartoon villain than any one in, say, Star Wars. His motivations are unclear beyond “WAR IS GOOD” and I have no idea how any of his actions were meant to achieve any of the things he claimed to want beyond mere coincidence.

Sherlock himself is just so poorly done. He could’ve been a fantastic villain, and would have worked as a paranoid, aggressive, cruel character bent on domination. But he’s just so random himself. He’s focused on revenge, sort-of, against Robocop, but given that Robocop is actually more villainous, why should we as the audience care about that?

The rest of the damn plot is just moronic. Things happen merely to conveniently wind the movie onto the next scene; nothing actually flows from A to B to C – from Klingons turning up because they “were on a random patrol” (wow, great) to them then being dispatched by Sherlock anyway – why have that sequence with the Klingons at all? It doesn’t do anything to actually advance the story!

This film is a mess. It’s a painful, attractive mess that just doesn’t work. Forget its heritage, forget how “Trek-like” it is – it fails as a story long before it fails as a Star Trek movie.

 

A Review of the ‘Star Trek: Beyond Trailer’ (2015)

I have “opinions” about Star Trek. Opinions strong enough to be facts in my mind. Opinions such as, but not limited to:

  • Arguments about the “Best Captain” are as pointless as arguments about the “Best Alcoholic Drink”.
  • Being proud about knowing the technical details of pretend spaceships is like being proud of a fungal infection.
  • About 60% of Star Trek is abject dreck.
  • About 5% of Star Trek is some of the best Sci-Fi you’ll ever experience.
  • Riker’s Beard is a more compelling character than most of the cast of ‘Enterprise’.
  • Unless you’re talking about The Original Series, the first two seasons of any Star Trek show are crap.
  • ‘Wrath of Khan’. Just, ‘Wrath of Khan’.

You might disagree, and that’s fine, other people’s opinions mean very little to me.

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They’ve changed the uniforms AGAIN?

I also have “opinions” about the latest film to be released, ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’. When I first saw it at the cinema, I loved it. It was exciting. It was dramatic. Great opening scene. Brilliant cast. Fantastic directing. Delightful music.

It was so good that I went back to watch it a second time, and the cracks began to show.

I bought the DVD and by the time the credits were rolling, so were my eyes.

‘Into Darkness’ is bad. Like, really very bad. All of its components are superb, except one: The Story.

People who say that the reboot films “aren’t like Star Trek” have probably never seen an episode of the Original Series. For those of you haven’t, the Original Series is that one with Kirk in it, where he laments having a woman as his yeoman and where most of his clashes with aliens are resolved with punching and karate-chops.

‘Star Trek’ (2009) succeeded as a movie because it was fun, it was exciting, it had a simple story that didn’t warrant too much scrutiny and it was fresh. I hated its interpretation of the Kobayashi Maru test, but that’s mostly because I bum ‘Wrath of Khan’ so much that hearing the first five bars of its soundtrack gives me an erection.

‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ failed as a movie because, and I’ll keep this concise because I still haven’t talked about the trailer for the new film yet, but ‘Into Darkness’ failed because most of its plot is told in exposition, and that plot makes as much sense as a vomit-flavoured chocolate suppository.

Here’s a list of things you need for a Star Trek production to be ‘Star Trek’:

  • People.
  • Aliens (who might be people).
  • At least one spaceship.

That’s it. That’s all that the collective Star Trek franchise had consistently through its entire run prior to J. J. Abrams taking the helm. Seriously, go back and check. That’s what has always constituted something being “Star Trek”.

Now, here’s a list of things you need for a Star Trek production to be ‘Crap’:

  • Stupid stories that make no sense.

I mean, other things might make a crap Trek, but mostly if you get a good story going, you won’t go far wrong. And that’s why I’m still hopeful for ‘Star Trek: Beyond’.

‘Star Trek: Beyond’ has done something revolutionary, which even Ridley Scott couldn’t conceive of: it has told Damon Lindelof to fuck off.

Damon Lindelof is the “mind” (that word used with artistic license) behind such incredibly bewilderingly baffling stories as ‘Prometheus’ and ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ and the ‘Lost’ television series. He is the hackiest of hacks, the dickiest of heads, a fraud, a villain and a charlatan.

And he’s now gone. In his place is British hero Simon Pegg.

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A film about a British police sergeant turning an English village into a wild west shoot-out and it still makes more sense than ‘Into Darkness.’

Mr. Pegg has written some of the cleverest movie scripts in the last ten years. He’s got huge “nerd” credentials, he cares about the material, and he’s proven himself capable of writing stories that are both entertaining and comprehensible.

The first trailer of ‘Star Trek: Beyond’ is little more than a series of bright and colourful images, with a couple of good lines of dialogue thrown in. It shows McCoy being McCoy, it shows some fun action, humour, and what looks like the bridge of an old starship with some startlingly, reassuringly familiar design touches.

But it doesn’t hint at any pointless references to the rest of the franchise; we’re not getting “Benedict Khanabatch” with this one. Neither has it flashed us with gratuitous shots of Women In Underwear, a level of titillation truly mundane since the invention of both the Internet, and clothes shops.

It hasn’t simply shown us a string of scenes of people screaming emotionally, and it hasn’t particularly made any huge promises about sprawling, in-depth storylines. Indeed, the story as best as I can make out is: “Crew must survive without their ship”, and that seems like it could be really cool.

All this film now has to do to avoid annoying me to the point that I’m spitting spinal fluid is to Keep Things Simple. ‘Into Darkness’ attempted a complex espionage plot and failed appallingly due to a lack of any espionage and an absence of higher brain functions in its lead writer. ‘Beyond’ just has to stick to formula, give us the characters we love doing exciting things and I’m sold.

Yes, there’s a motorbike and yes, it looks almost identical to ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ but, let’s be honest, what did you think was going to happen? Picard set the precedent for off-road vehicles in Star Trek in the abominable ‘Nemesis’, and ‘Guardians’ was popular enough that of course new sci-fi trailers will be shaped to draw in a lot of Marvel’s audience.

For now, I am going to maintain hopeless optimism that Star Trek is still capable of producing quality content.