A surprise announcement was made at yesterday’s Course Heading: Star Trek convention held in Nuneaton, UK, where Star Trek actor and writer Simon Pegg made a surprise appearance alongside current franchise runner Alex Kurtzman to announce the next Star Trek television project: ‘Ambassador’.
Hijacking the main stage immediately after the afternoon panel discussion, Pegg excitedly described the new show at this early conceptual stage:
PEGG: “It’s so brilliant to be here in front of all of you, really, and to have this amazing opportunity to talk about the new show, ‘Ambassador’. I think you’re all going to love it, I know some of you will be dubious at first, but as it comes together I think you’ll be really, really pleasantly surprised.
Pegg went into further details about the show’s setting and its main character:
PEGG: “It’s called ‘Ambassador’, and we’ll be going back in time a little, to the Enterprise C, that’s where we’re taking the name from, for the Ambassador-class ship. I honestly love ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’, it’s one of my favourite episodes, and for me it’s the perfect jumping-off point for a new show.
“The reality of creating new material for a historical franchise like Star Trek is that, commercially, we really have to deliver something recognisable and familiar to the fans, you just can’t escape that if you want to compete against so many other brilliant, original shows. What’s perfect about this setting is that it allows us to lift something familiar but that’s not really been explored before, and run with it, do our own thing with it without breaking canon.”
Alex Kurtzman was alongside Pegg for the announcement, but passed very few comments. Asked on his involvement with the project, he responded:
KURTZMAN [laughing]: “No, no, I’m not in on this one, this is all Simon’s baby, I’m just writing the cheques.”
PEGG [to Kurtzman]: “Keep them coming! [laughs] Honestly, though, this is actually going to be a scaled-back production. It’s easy to over-spend with these sorts of shows, and focus on big actiony set pieces, but we actually want to scale it back, keep it more narrative-driven.
“From a business perspective, the studio wants a more modest, more affordable show, but for me, that just means we focus more on dialogue and story and character development. We really want to get to know the characters, see them at work and at play, y’know, see them tackling issues and problem-solving with each other, proper back-and-forth between them.
“It keeps the pressure of Alex’s chequebook, and gives the fans more of what they want, more of that classic Trek problem-solving, especially around negotiation and diplomacy – ‘Ambassador’ means more than just the ship, y’know?”
On the subject of characters, Pegg described some of the show, but specified that many details are yet to be confirmed, and may roles have been outlined but not yet filled. He did, however, identify the show’s star:
PEGG: “I’ve literally, just yesterday had confirmed from her agent that Jessica Chastain’s agreed to come on board as Captain Garrett. This is amazing, Jessica’s a proper A-List talent, she’s amazing, and she’d done so many amazing roles already. Honestly I couldn’t believe it when I was told we might be getting her, and when I heard I was floored.
“Rachel Garrett’s only on screen for a bit but she’s this amazing character, with this cool, steady authority but, like, real grit, real tenacity and courage, Jessica’s perfect for that.
“She was amazing in ‘The Martian’, where Matt Damon’s stranded on an alien world, and incredible in ‘Interstellar’, where Matt Damon’s stranded on an alien world. [laughs] I don’t think we’re getting Matt Damon in though, are we, Alex?”
KURTZMAN [laughing]: “No, I don’t think so! You kidding? We just blew our budget on Jessica!”
PEGG: “Maybe we’ll get him in for an episode… maybe he’ll guest as another captain, this time he’ll rescue her from a planet for a change. [laughs] Maybe that’ll convince him, a chance to turn the tables.”
Pegg went further to discuss this new version of Garrett in the show:
PEGG: “We’re setting it a few years before Narendra, before the Romulan attack, which means we know where their story ends up, but that’s actually kind of liberating, in a way. It means we don’t have to work in “will they live, will they die?” action scenes all the time, because we know what happens to them, so instead, we’re going to go back to episodic stories. Each episode will be its own story, and we get to focus the tension on the current problem.
“So, y’know, one of our early stories, we’re setting it on this war-torn planet where a Federation ship has crashed, and it’s up to Garrett and the Enterprise to force a ceasefire so they can rescue the survivors. It’s not, like, end-of-the-universe stuff, it’s a bit more simple, but it means we can set the stakes at a more basic level: do they rescue the survivors? Do they help create peace? How do they negotiate between these two factions, what sort of compromises are they willing to make? Is one side more righteous than the other?
“Part of that is developing Garrett’s backstory. This’ll be a reboot of sorts, because we’ll be really fleshing her out as a character, because we know so little about her. So she’ll have a background as a lawyer, in fact, still Starfleet, but she trained as a lawyer for the JAG office. But early in her career she gets forced into duty aboard a starship, and starts rising through the ranks from there.
“So she’s bringing this very measured, very analytical approach to command, to how she does things, very controlled and reasoned. I think it’s going to be really interesting, because she’s not, like, a romantic hero like Kirk, or a statesman like Picard, she’s more of an advocate, very driven, very quick to point out holes in other peoples’ arguments and spot gaps in reasoning – y’know, precise but witty, and sharp. She still sees herself as a lawyer as much as an officer, so she’s always looking at the evidence, she builds a case, builds an airtight argument so she always knows that what she’s doing is justified.”
Other casting decisions were announced, including Garrett’s first officer, along with a few other crew members and a high-ranking Starfleet admiral:
KURTZMAN: “We’re so excited to have Jessica on board to play Geralt -”
PEGG: “Garrett. Rachel Garrett.”
KURTZMAN: “Sure, yeah, Garret, right. So, we’ve got Jessica Chastain with us, which is amazing, but we’ve also got a few other big names. You want to tell them, Simon?”
PEGG: “Don’t mind if I do, thank you Alex. So, we’ve cast Grace Park as a new character, Commander Valerii. Grace was absolutely amazing as Boomer in ‘Battlestar’, so it’s great to get her back into sci-fi for ‘Ambassador’. She’s Garrett’s first officer, and she’s going to be much more old-school Starfleet, really headstrong, very motivated and heroic. We think it’ll be great, she’ll be this ambitious young officer butting heads with her captain. Garrett will be looking at the measured approach, building the case, whilst Valerii will be pushing to just charge in, do the right thing but leap before looking. It’ll make for a lot of friction, a lot of debate.”
PEGG: “And then we’ve got Archie Panjabi in as the tactical officer Lieutenant Sharma. Archie’s got this fierce energy to her, this intensity that’s really compelling, and we really want to make the most of that. And we’ve got Nesta Cooper, she’s fresh out of ‘Travelers’, we’ve got her as the science officer, she’s wonderful, really is. And then to round off the main crew we’ve got Malcolm Barrett as the ship’s doctor, the chief medical officer. Malcolm’s another wonderful actor, he’s got a great range on him, but we really want to tap into that, that slightly insecure, fairly nerdy sort of performance that he did so well in ‘Better Off Ted’ and ‘Timeless’.”
PEGG: “Finally, we have, and this is amazing, but we’re finalising talks with Viola Davis to guest-star in a few episodes as an Admiral, as Garrett’s commanding officer. We all love Viola’s sheer, raw talent, and she’ll be an absolutely fantastic element of the show, as the contact point with Starfleet and the Federation. We’re just in the final stages of negotiation, so I don’t want to jinx it too much, but yeah, that’s the real joy for me, is getting to work with incredible skilled performers like her.”
Pegg rounded off the announcement with a few mundane details – the show is scheduled for release on CBS All Access in two years’ time, giving the new Picard show and the ‘Lower Decks’ animated show time to bed in and develop their own audiences.
Crowd reactions were positive, with plenty of cheering and applause. No time was given for questions and answers, but Pegg did offer an impromptu “FAQ” section at the very end:
PEGG: “Okay, I know this is a lot to take in, and I’ve been – ooh – I’ve been going on for a bit now, but just to get some stuff out the way:
“Yes, we’re going to be keeping those classic red woollen tunics. They’re gorgeous we all love them, and – look, I know it’s not era-appropriate, but we’re going to bring back the woollen turtleneck. It’s so iconic, and honestly, I always thought it just looked weird without it.
“And yeah, I hate to say it, but we’re updating the sets and the computers. It’s such a hard decision to make, but we need the show to appeal to new audiences as well as old, and part of that is making it look like a modern show. We’re going to try and keep the technology the same, and the ship’s going to be identical, we’re working really hard to really authentically reproduce the original design with CGI. But yeah, the computers, the consoles, the screens, they’re all going to be a little snazzier than they were. Just the realities of commercial TV, it has to look good in the trailers.
“And finally, no, there won’t be any cameos, I’m afraid. I won’t even be in it – no Scotty in this one! We really want this to be its own show, we’re using the Enterprise C and ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’ as a jumping-off point, but we don’t want to be tying ourselves down with links to existing characters. I dunno, maybe we’ll see a young Nechayev as an ensign or something, or Admiral Satie in her heyday, that could be good fun for an episode, but in general, no, we want this to stand on the strength of its stories.”
With that, the announcement drew to a close, with just a few passing remarks from Pegg and Kurtzman before departing:
PEGG: “Thanks all, it’s been wonderful to speak to you all today, and to share our news with you! It means so much that you’re all here. Y’know, we live in such an amazing time, both for Star Trek, and for the world, really, and we want to reflect that positivity and celebrate it with this new show.”
KURTZMAN: “We do, we really do. Which is why I’m so happy to hand the franchise over to these other amazing creative people like Simon, to take it forward into a bright future. This is a job that he was made for, and I’m glad to have him with us.”
PEGG: “Absolutely, and thank you, Alex. I mean, can you imagine if I wasn’t here? If you had to run this all by yourself?”
KURTZMAN: “I know! [laughs] Who knows what that would be like? Knowing me, there’d be a lot of fight scenes!”
PEGG: “Yeah, lots of fight scenes! You love them! You’d probably be bringing Spock back, but with, like, long hair and a beard, and have him running around and smiling at everyone.”
KURTZMAN [laughing]: “I might, I might! I mean, I’d probably never have come up with anything like ‘Ambassador’, I’d probably be doing, I dunno, a dark nasty spy show, like Section 31 or something.”
PEGG: “Yeah! Something awful like that, about a bunch of black ops spies led by, I dunno, some kind of fascist as the hero or something. Can you imagine?”
KURTZMAN: “Nah, I’d never… well, maybe. But that sort of thing just wouldn’t fly these days. Not since Hillary won by a landslide, and after Trump’s imprisonment for treason, people don’t want that nasty stuff anymore, they want optimistic, thoughtful stories that reflect the real world.”
PEGG: “Yeah, exactly. Y’know, I’m British, and I was so glad when the Brexit referendum failed 82-18. Waking up that morning and seeing that Remain had won by such a margin, and I thought ‘Wow, can you imagine if you lived in a world where your own country was sabotaging its entire future due to a bunch of privileged politicians and businessmen, and the only thing you had to look forward to was some kind of pessimistic, miserable take on Star Trek about war and religion and evil robots?”
KURTZMAN: “It’d be so grim, Simon, so grim. Every day I’m grateful, grateful to have amazing Star Wars spin-offs like that Boba Fett movie directed by the guy who did ‘Dredd’, and not some pointless and un-asked-for Han Solo origin story. Grateful to see anti-monopoly laws being so effective at preventing Disney from absorbing every single popular creative copyright in existence.”
PEGG: “Right! And, y’know, and speaking of that, we’ve seen all those sensible copyright laws come into effect, protecting content creators all across the internet and taking power away from these monolithic corporations. I think it’s really all down to the sweeping electoral reform we’ve seen across the globe, replacing first-past-the-post systems with true proportional representation that allows every vote to count and restores public faith in democracy.”
KURTZMAN: “That’s one of my favourite things about this reality! That, and also the time we took all the anti-vaxxers and put them in a big rocket and fired that rocket into the sun, before vaccinating everyone in the world who can be safely vaccinated and eradicating preventable diseases once and for all.”
PEGG: “That was such a good day. Such a good day. I mean, can you imagine a world without all of these incredible developments? Where we didn’t even have a progressive take on Star Trek? Where minority representation was just used as a marketing tool by corporations to push their product rather than being seriously utilised as a means of democratising the entertainment industry and stripping away prejudice and inequality? Where you ended up with completely abstinent, loveless gay couples, or non-white female lead actors who needed close ties to existing white male characters out of fear of alienating the core audience base?”
KURTZMAN: “Yeah, I mean, it’s so great being able to see you write strong, charismatic black female protagonists who stand on their own merits, and don’t need tying into the existing lore or given fate-of-the-universe backstories to justify their inclusion in the franchise. And it’s great that, although the realities of commercial TV come with certain attachments, they don’t serve as handcuffs on your creativity, and that you’re still able to exercise creative freedom to write compelling narratives that don’t have to pander to the drooling masses who need a six-minute punch-up in every episode to be entertained.”
So, ‘Star Trek: Beyond’, the film that was almost suffocated at birth by the Jovian-magnitude mediocrity of its own marketing campaign, which consisted of a trailer that was more damaging to public mental health than an outbreak of airborne CJD, followed by a cringe-worthy apology by Simon Pegg that made you just want to wrap him up in a duvet and give him hot food and clean clothes.
First of all: forget about the motorbike. It’s not that big a part of the film, and it’s used in a relatively sensible, creative and, dare I say it, “Star Trekky” fashion. It doesn’t just make vroom-vroom and shoot the pew-pews and it’s far less offensive than, for instance, the “Argo” of ‘Nemesis’ fame.
Speaking of “Star Trekkiness”, ‘Beyond’ is the “Star Trekkiest” Star Trek film since ‘Insurrection’. Sadly, ‘Insurrection’ was also a big smelly puddle of wankscrement, so I’ll go as far as to say that ‘Star Trek: Beyond’ is the Star Trekkiest Non-Wank Star Trek Film since ‘Undiscovered Country’ or ‘First Contact’ – take your pick based on preference. I know ‘Generations’ was pretty Star Trekky, but it was Star Trekky in a bad way, a kind of non-sciencey stupid-space-magic Doctor-Who kind of a way, so I prefer to just ignore it.
‘Beyond’ manages to present a vision of the future that’s actually optimistic, with advanced technology and peaceful coexistence and openly gay people, rather than the vision of the future from ‘Into Darkness’ which was actually just a vision of 1950’s America but somehow with more hatred of women. ‘Beyond’ features female admirals, female character development and even women wearing clothes and not removing them – it’s as though the future will actually be egalitarian, rather than a crypto-fascist state run by middle-aged white men who pat themselves on the back for being “enlightened”.
Speaking of ‘Into Darkness’ and how much it ruins everything, ‘Beyond’ now fully enshrines the proud tradition of enabling fans to simply ignore the shittiest parts of the Star Trek franchise. Just as ‘The Final Frontier’ can be completely omitted when watching the original films in order, so too can ‘Into Darkness’, because nothing that happens in it is referenced or even relevant to the events of ‘Beyond’. No discussion of Kirk’s functional immortality, Carole “Attractive-And-Screams-A-Lot” Marcus, or the fact that Starfleet is made up entirely of munitions-grade arseholes. The only thing you now need to watch from ‘Into Darkness’ is the first ten minutes and twelve seconds, which should cover the excellent opening scene right up to the point that the “Star Trek” title appears, and right before the stupid “Into Darkness” subtitle fades in stupidly below it. Ten minutes, twelve seconds – I timed it.
Indeed, ‘Beyond’ feels very much like an apology to the fans for the capital crimes that ‘Into Darkness’ committed against the franchise. Hell, ‘Beyond’ actually styles itself as the spiritual successor to ‘Wrath of Khan’, the very same film that ‘Into Darkness’ tried and epically, fucking catastrophically failed to emulate.
All of the characters are back doing what they should be. Kirk now feels like a capable leader rather than a dribbling idiot. Spock is back to being a resolute source of rationality, rather than an unstable sociopath with a history of violence. Scotty is more than just comic relief, Chekov is a valuable all-rounder, McCoy acts as a capable Second Officer and shows off his medical capabilities without resorting to dangerous, non-consensual and completely sporadic experimentation on living subjects. Hell, Sulu is the actual fucking pilot this time, rather than a cardboard cut-out that Kirk places in the captain’s chair whenever he needs a cigarette break. And they even gave Uhura stuff to do that wasn’t completely stupid and pointless.
To go further, I’m going to have to get specific, and specific about spoilers. If you want to avoid the spoilers, come back here after you’ve seen the film…
Is It Actually Any Good?
The first thing that stands out in ‘Beyond’ is Simon Pegg’s influence. The script is filled with self-awareness, geeky references to the franchise and enjoyable dialogue. It’s refreshing and is pretty much exactly what was needed to cleanse the palette of the knuckle-dragging blockheadedness of the previous installment.
The second thing that stands out is that ‘Beyond’ is very much a sequel to the 2009 reboot film. As mentioned earlier, there is absolutely no fucking reason to even consider ‘Into Darkness’ a Trek film anymore. The themes of ‘Beyond’ tie in directly to the themes established in 2009 – specifically, Kirk’s absent father and the destruction of Spock’s homeworld.
‘Beyond’ parallels elements of ‘Wrath of Khan’ pretty wonderfully, setting up Kirk’s journey during a quiet birthday celebration with McCoy. Kirk starts this film lost, almost depressed, unsure of his purpose, living in the shadow of his dead father – where in WoK the older Kirk was living in the shadow of his own reputation and old age. The set-up mirrors the classic film in exactly the right way, toasting “perfect eyesight and good hair” – a Simon-Peggian nod to the same scene in Khan, where McCoy gifts a pair of spectacles to a hairpieced Shatner.
This little scene exemplifies the real strength of ‘Beyond’, which is the characters. Throughout the film, we see the cast being proactive, tenacious, solving their problems with ingenuity and co-operation, and they all feel like an actual team working together. When the crew was faced with catastrophe in ‘Into Darkness’, they waddled around the sets flailing their arms like Kermit the Frog before solving their issues with punching, explosions and violence. ‘Beyond’ still has plenty of action but it’s always framed around a desire to save others from danger and prevent disaster, rather than brutally murdering the latest bad guy of the week. Gone are scenes such as Spock hitting someone with a rusty piece of metal like a drunk football hooligan on fucking mephedrone, or Uhura manically ranting about her relationship issues during a firefight like the worst Hollywood female stereotypes.
On the subject of relationships, this film manages to get them right by not really showing any. Uhura and Spock continue their troubled relationship predominantly off-screen and in a mostly sensible fashion that actually makes them both seem fairly normal, and there’s no other silliness to do with romance throughout. I was worried that the ‘Jaylah’ character would end up being a standard love interest for Kirk, but they avoid that misstep successfully throughout.
And on the subject of missteps, you’ve always got to be careful when it comes to blowing up the Enterprise, but ‘Beyond’ arguably has the best Enterprise-demolition scene of the franchise. Compared to ‘Search for Spock’, in which the ship goes down mostly as an afterthought, and ‘Generations’, where she mostly gets done in by idiocy and a pair of cartoon villains, the demise of the flagship in ‘Beyond’ manages to be painful, almost wrenching, as she is slowly torn apart by a vicious swarm of enemy vessels. It’s an emotionally significant sequence for both the characters and the audience, and it’s really a shame that it was revealed in the trailers, as I feel it would’ve had even more impact on me if I hadn’t known it was coming.
The film is filled with traditional Trek solutions to problems – even, yes, the bit where the Beastie Boys save the day. The crew pulling technobabble out of their arses to beat an otherwise-unbeatable villain is precisely the most Star Trek thing you can put in a film besides rubber ears and nacelles. Of course, in the older series they’d have used bloody Bizet or Da Ponte or some other pretentious fucking sequence of vowels instead of a New York hardcore punk band, but ‘Sabotage’ actually works well in the sequence, especially for a younger audience.
Indeed, when bullshit technobabble is employed throughout the film, it always results in at least some exciting visuals, and that was not always the case in other Star Trek productions, where a made-up problem would be solved with some made-up “science” resulting in some dweeb in pyjamas tapping a few glowy buttons and then suddenly the peril is gone. Looking at you, ‘Voyager’, you sloppy monument to mediocrity.
The final element that I really liked in ‘Beyond’ is Spock’s storyline. Reflecting Kirk’s lack of direction, Spock faces a choice between two destinies, incompatible with one another. It’s mostly a side-plot, but it acts as a very touching tribute to Leonard Nimoy, and uses the presence of the old Spock from the previous timeline exactly the way it should – to inform the character of the new Spock, and frame his development and his arc.
The most positive thing I can say about the film is that it was enjoyable. It wasn’t offensive, I don’t feel, to existing fans, and it was generally lively and exciting enough to simply be good fun. Of course, the same could be said of ‘Into Darkness’, that suppurating open wound on the franchise, but ‘Into Darkness’ mixed its stupid storylines with a hubristic attempt to invoke ‘Wrath of Khan’ and a toxic obnoxiousness that left a bad taste in the throat. But ‘Beyond’ seems genuinely to be a good film, and certainly the best of the ‘Reboot’ timeline films so far.
Nah, But Seriously, It Was Crap, Wasn’t It?
Well, no, not really. I mean, okay, there are some crap bits, it’s a Star Trek film, that’s congenital, like my obesity. But there’s no major fuck-ups that I picked up on.
But let’s get picky, eh?
First off, the special effects are pretty much spectacular, except for the odd moment where they suddenly look shit. Almost like they ran out of time and money, so contracted specific shots out to a cadre of six-year-olds equipped with Microsoft Paint. And I hate to call a Star Trek production out on its visuals, I really do, but ‘First Contact’ got it pretty much bang-spot-on twenty years ago, and it’s only ‘Insurrection’ that has dropped the ball since then.
Secondly, whilst I must laud the inclusion of women in this film, Uhura basically gets the sexy lampshade treatment. She’s fairly pro-active, but in a very inconsequential way, and primarily serves as an exposition device. I feel for the writers on this one, because they gave Uhura three qualities in the first film: Being Attractive, Being A Language Nerd, and Being Spock’s Girlfriend. The first one is always active, like my liver, but the second one only has so many applications. As communications officer, even the original Uhura was a relatively minor part of things, because… I mean, she only pipes up when they’re being hailed and then returns to her slumber. And as for being Spock’s girlfriend, well, that’s pretty much the definition of a “shitty female role”, especially when the filmmakers intentionally dodge the draft on romantic subplots.
The weakest part of the film as a whole, for me, was the villain. He was suitably threatening, but he is essentially a ‘Nero-clone’ – an angry villain intent on destruction, but with minimal motivation at first, elevated to “tenuous” motivation following some forced exposition. Idris Elba does a fantastic job, obviously, and the character manages to mirror Kirk’s arc throughout the film, adequately crystallising his personal dilemma. But Captain Skull or whatever the fuck he calls himself is no fucking Khan. He’s no fucking V’Ger probe.
And, actually, that’s kind of fine. Weak villains are almost a staple of the series, and the focus is and always should be on the obstacles they present to the crew. This is best exemplified by ‘The Voyage Home’, where there isn’t even a sentient villain, or by ‘Darmok’, where the villain is LANGUAGE ITSELF. These stories are about “people overcoming”, and ‘Beyond’ certainly captures the essence of that.
So, if you haven’t seen ‘Star Trek: Beyond’ yet, you really should. If nothing else, if this film does well they may end up making more like it, rather than spray-shitting a load of Star Trek references onto a rejected ‘Die Hard’ sequel script like they did with ‘Into Darkness’.
Just bear in mind that it’s extraodinarily silly. I mean, Star Trek has always been silly, but the special effects these days really amp up the silliness to the point that there’s no way of getting past it. I enjoy the ridiculousness of it all, though – it’s almost refreshing, in an era of cinema where Superman is a violent murderer and Robin Hood is a boring arsehole. Embrace the silly. Revel in it. Because the closest you’re going to a quality silly film will be the next surreal fantasy that Tim Burton cookie-cutters out of Depp and Bonham-Carter.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.”
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.
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…
I 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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Yay! People punching each other! Spock doing a nerve pinch! STAR TREK!
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…
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.
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 learned that Carol Marcus is most definitely very attractive.
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.
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.
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’:
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.
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.