Mon
May 20 2013 11:30am
Shall We Begin? Star Trek Into Darkness Spoiler Review

Star Trek Into Darkness spoiler review

Before we start I want to say this about Star Trek Into Darkness: I’ve seen it in both 3D and 2D, and I urge you not to waste your money on a 3D ticket. Seriously, there is nothing in this movie that requires 3D, and it does bupkuss to enhance the experience.

Mind you, this movie is a visual feast, but 3D doesn’t really add anything to the feast except for maybe that piece of parsley that is used as a garnish that you throw away and never eat.

Enough of the tortured food metaphor. I went into STID with very low expectations. As I’ve said in the past, Star Trek is not at its best in movie format, especially in our post-Star Wars world where science fiction movie must equal BIG-ASS ’SPLOSIONS! in order make its box office requirements. At its best, Trek is about the exploration of the human condition, something not remotely on display in either of J.J. Abrams’s films. I figured we’d get what we got four years ago: a visual feast (as long as you don’t mind lens flares), excellent acting, and a script that doesn’t hold together upon scrutiny. My expectations were, sadly, met.

If you want a spoiler-free review, Tor.com’s own Chris Lough wrote an excellent one here. For this review THERE BE SPOILERS HERE!!!! LOTS OF ’EM!

Let’s cover the good stuff first. The movie is fun. Even when it’s at its heaviest (the Harewood family, Pike’s death, Khan’s anguished expository monologue), it never loses sight of the fact that it’s an adventure story. The pace is excellent—the two-and-a-half hours just zip on by—and the script keeps a light touch.

The acting here is first-rate. As with the previous film, the actors embody the characters they’re playing without spilling over into parody. In particular Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto do an excellent job with characters who are both the same and different from their alternate-timeline counterparts played by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, because Kirk and Spock are the characters who were most changed by Nero’s time-travel shenanigans in the last film—the former lost his father, the latter lost his world.

Okay, side note here: the myth that Kirk is a rebel who follows his own path and breaks all the rules is just that, a myth. If you actually watch the original series, Kirk in fact regularly obeyed orders, consistently followed the rules—a notable exception being in “Amok Time,” and even then he was forgiven by T’Pau stepping in. Kirk’s maverick rep is entirely an artifact of the movies, especially The Search for Spock—again, Kirk only breaks the rules when his best friend’s life is at stake.

Anyhow, I mention this because Pine’s Kirk is way more of a rule-breaker than Kirk ever was even in other feature films, and I like the way Pine plays him. The Kirk we knew is in there somewhere, but it’s underneath the angry kid who grew up without a father. (It wouldn’t be a J.J. Abrams film if at least one of the characters didn’t have Daddy issues, after all.)

As for Spock, he goes on a nice character journey here, albeit one with a rather sudden resolution. In the opening scene on Nibiru (about which more in a bit), he pretty obviously has a death wish. He’s practically begging the volcano to eat him. But then he mind-melds with Admiral Pike as the latter dies, and he later admits that he doesn’t want that. And then—well, that’s it, really. I would’ve liked the arc to have completed itself in a manner other than Spock talking about it to Uhura and Kirk in the trading ship. But then, there’s another arc he has to go on after that—which, again, we’ll get to.

Either way, though, Quinto is superb, channeling the Leonard Nimoy of forty-five years ago while making it his own. He’s joined by a strong supporting cast: John Cho is a rock, Zoe Saldana is solid, Karl Urban is criminally underused (but, like DeForest Kelley before him, recipient of many of the best lines and is a master curmudgeon), and Anton Yelchin does the best he can with what he has to work with.

But the standouts here are Simon Pegg as Scotty and especially Benedict Cumberbatch as “John Harrison,” who is soon enough revealed to be Khan Noonien Singh.

Pegg is a delight here, taking the ridiculousness of the Scotty character and embracing it. He resigns on a principle, and it’s a good one, but still comes through to help Kirk and save the day later on. Pegg is a great verbal and physical comedian, and those skills shine through without ever losing sight of Montgomery Scott’s skills and importance to the ship.

But the movie is utterly stolen by Cumberbatch. And it’s not even close. He’s surrounded by some pretty high caliber actors, and Cumberbatch makes them look like a high school repertory company. He absolutely sells every element of Khan—his intelligence, his anger, his passion, his calculation, his fury, his strength, his skill. When he announces to Kirk that he’s “better” at “everything,” it includes acting. Hell, he does more with an intense gaze at Kirk through a window just before he beams to Kronos than anyone else is able to do in the whole movie.

Star Trek Into Darkness spoiler review

(A friend pointed out how impressive Martin Freeman is that he doesn’t let Cumberbatch so completely steal every scene on Sherlock the way he gets away with here.)

I especially like that, while we get a revenge-obsessed Khan à la The Wrath of Khan, the version of Khan that Cumberbatch is playing is much closer to the younger Khan we met in “Space Seed.” He’s more subtle, more conniving, more of a long-term planner. (For all that they spoke of his intelligence in Wrath, he was a lot more reactive and not at all complex.)

The movie is also very pretty, with some stellar visuals. As an added bonus, the Enterprise design didn’t piss me off as much this time (they used Livermore Labs for engineering instead of a brewery, which helped), though the lens flares really have to go.

If only the script actually made sense...

Okay, we start with the Nibiru mission, which is a) the only part of the movie that feels like Star Trek and b) has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film. I would much rather have seen a movie that dealt entirely with Nibiru, establishing the culture, seeing the process by which the crew decided to neutralize the volcano, and then dealing with the consequences of the natives seeing the Enterprise (beyond a fobbed-off joke scene). For starters, that would’ve actually been a Star Trek movie...

Also, why is the Enterprise hiding underwater? Seriously, on what planet does that make a lick of sense? They have transporters, and they don’t want to risk the natives seeing the ship, so why not just keep the ship in orbit where it’s in no danger of being seen? (Because then we wouldn’t get the cool shot of the Enterprise coming out of the ocean.)

Star Trek Into Darkness spoiler review

And then Spock objects to them coming out of the water to rescue him because it would violate the Prime Directive. Except for one problem—just a few scenes later, Pike is reaming Kirk and Spock out for both fixing the volcano and letting the natives see the ship. In fact, Pike seems to think that the volcano tampering is the worse violation—though I think he’s more pissed that Kirk kept it out of the report than anything. Still, if they’re both regs violations, why did Spock start getting all persnickety about being rescued being against regs when the very reason he was in the volcano in the first place was as big a violation of those regs?

Kirk is then demoted to commander, with Pike given the Enterprise back, and Spock transferred to the Bradbury. This might be a really cool development, except it only lasts for six-and-a-half seconds, as Pike is killed, Kirk is given his ship and his rank back, and Spock’s back by his side. What was the point of that whole thing if it’s not actually going to matter?

Meanwhile, we meet “John Harrison” who convinces Mickey Smi— er, that is, Lieutenant Harewood to be a suicide bomber in exchange for Harrison using his magic blood to cure his ill daughter. (For all that the magic blood is the stupidest thing ever, at the very least they put that gun on the mantelpiece right there in the early part of the movie, so we know what the deus ex machina will be.) Points, by the way, to Noel Clarke and Nazneen Contractor, who sell the Harewoods’ anguish just with facial expressions and body language.

Harrison then fires on the meeting of high-ranking officers that always happens when someone blows up a building on Earth. He fails to kill Admiral Marcus, though Pike is killed, and he then uses the magic plot-device long-range transporter that Scotty created in the previous movie because the plot needed to get Kirk back onto the Enterprise. This time it’s used to let Harrison escape to the Klingon homeworld, which he does for no reason that the script bothers to explain. Sure, it’s a place where Starfleet can’t follow, but doing so actually plays into Admiral Marcus’s eeeeeevil scheme to start a war. So why didn’t he go somewhere else? Romulus? Some faraway planet where he could live to scheme another day? Or, at the very least, a planet that wasn’t inhabited with people who wanted to kill him?

Star Trek Into Darkness spoiler review

Scotty then resigns rather than allow the classified torpedoes that he can’t scan into his engine room. Kirk accepts the resignation and puts poor Chekov in charge of the engines, only to come around to Scotty’s (and Spock’s) POV on the mission and deciding not to use the torpedoes that Scotty refused to have on board. So why let him go? (The reason, of course, is because the plot needs Scotty to go to Jupiter and find the Vengeance.)

Skipping over the absurdity of Klingons with helmets (they have cranial ridges, wearing a helmet is like giving Superman brass knuckles),* we then go to Khan’s surrender, enabling him to play Hannibal Lecter for a bit before Kirk needs his help against the Vengeance—a ship that Admiral Marcus has managed to create all on his own, with help from Khan, whom he found shortly after Vulcan was destroyed.

Marcus’s conspiracy is maddeningly vague. Did he do this by himself? That’s not really possible, so how did it gain so much traction? How many other ships like the Vengeance are there? If there’s just the one, it’s not much of a conspiracy, really. Who else in Starfleet is involved? Plus, Marcus himself is missing only a mustache to twirl. His third-rate Jack Nicholson speech to Kirk on the bridge is embarrassingly bad, and the moment where Khan crushes Marcus’s head is something of a relief, because as a bad guy, Khan’s obviously the more interesting one. (Peter Weller is usually better than this.)

And then we have the Parade Of Endless Action Set Pieces. I actually rather liked Kirk and Khan rocketing through space from the Enterprise to the Vengeance, though the debris field was a little too full given the duration of the battle and the damage to the Enterprise, and the scene went on a hair too long—a perpetual problem, as the Kirk-fixes-engineering-and-dies scene and the Vengeance-crashes scene, and especially the Khan-Spock-chase-and-fight-on-the-big-red-thingies-that-only-seem-to-exist-so-people-can-have-airborne-fistfights-on-them scene are also waaaaaay too long.

The script is choked with fan-service, starting with the choice in villain, and extending to quoting/referencing the previous movie that villain was in over and over and over again. Pretty much none of these work. Quoting “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” just makes the Nibiru scene that much more annoying. The insertion of Dr. Carol Marcus into the narrative is beyond forced, and totally unnecessary except as that tiresome fan-service—only it doesn’t work, as the character Bibi Besch played wasn’t a weapons expert (in fact, her objections to the weaponizing of Project: Genesis is a major plot point)—and also to have a gratuitous shot of Alice Eve in her underwear. (I freely admit to enjoying the latter as a heterosexual male, but it really was spectacularly gratuitous.) But the plot wouldn’t be any different if the admiral and doctor weren’t named Marcus, and it’s a pointless callback.

Reversing the death scene from The Wrath of Khan was cute-ish, but mostly just annoying, especially since Khan apparently stepped outside for a cigarette while this was going on, as this lengthy repair/death scene goes on while the Vengeance does nothing.

And then Spock shouts, “Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!” The first time I saw STID, it was in a packed midtown theatre on the preview night. That crowd cheered when “Harrison” announced that he was actually Khan, so this was an audience that was right there with the filmmakers on this.

Star Trek Into Darkness spoiler review

They all laughed when Quinto did his Shatner impersonation. I just rolled my eyes. It was a ridiculous moment.

This is made infinitely worse by the use of Khan’s magic blood to revive Kirk, thus making his sacrifice even more pointless. And it also gives us a resolution between Kirk and Spock that tries to paint their friendship as being as strong as it was in the other timeline, but that friendship had decades to build. Hell, it was already in place when we first meet them in “Where No Man Has Gone Before” (they’re playing chess and Spock is calling the captain “Jim,” they’re already friends), and the bond deepens over the course of two TV series and a couple of movies, so that when Spock dies in The Wrath of Khan, of course it affects Kirk. But Kirk and Spock don’t have anything like that kind of bond yet, indeed, they pretty much have the opposite of one. The entire sickbay scene after Kirk is resurrected by magic blood (I assume Augment blood will become standard issue in Federation hospitals going forward?) falls completely flat because the relationship isn’t convincing.

(Oh yeah, one more thing about the magic blood. If Khan has it, wouldn’t the other 72 guys have it? Why did McCoy need Khan when he had 72 other sources of magic blood right there in his sickbay?)

Some of the fan-service worked. Pine is given two redshirt jokes that work beautifully, especially the first thanks to Yelchin’s pained response. There are two references that are straight out of Deep Space Nine, one obvious (Section 31), the other less so (Ketha, the uninhabited region where Khan takes refuge is also the region where DS9’s Martok comes from). And K/S slash fans must have loved the scene where Carol Marcus reports to Kirk, and Spock acts for all the world like a jealous girlfriend. There are shoutouts to Daystrom (from “The Ultimate Computer”), the Kelvin (from the 2009 film), and the Gorn (from “Arena”), as well as cameos by a tribble and, oh yeah, the mainline Spock, who breaks his own promise to warn his younger self about Khan in a surprise Leonard Nimoy cameo.

Star Trek Into Darkness spoiler review

The Spock-Uhura relationship is still going full bore, albeit with some bumps. I never had a problem with this particular pairing, and anyone who thinks it’s dumb or pulled out of their asses is instructed to go watch “Charlie X” again, with particular note of the mess hall scene where Uhura’s singing. It also provides some of the comedy in the film, particularly Kirk and Uhura’s turbolift conversation on the subject of their relationship strife. (“Are you guys fighting? What is that even like?”)

That midtown theatre crowd I mentioned before enjoyed the hell out of the movie, as did the smaller crowd I saw it with Sunday night. It would’ve been nice if it was a smart movie, but that’s obviously too much to hope for, so we must settle for a romp. It’s a good romp, as romps go, and it’s keeping Star Trek popular after a decade of bad TV shows and bad movies, so I can’t complain all that much. STID is doing what Star Trek did four years ago: making Star Trek enjoyable and popular again.

And hey, maybe next time, we’ll get a script that makes sense.

 

*There’s also the shattering Klingon moon that’s colliding with the surface of Kronos, which is just weird. Is that supposed to be Praxis, exploding a good couple decades too early? Yet another element where the emphasis was on what looked cool rather than what served the story.


Keith R.A. DeCandido did the Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch for this very web site from 2011-2013, and has since moved on to a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch, which runs here on Tor.com every Tuesday and Friday. He’s written a metric butt-load of Trek fiction, including more than a dozen novels, a tremendous amount of short fiction, a few comics books, some magazine articles, and more. And he’s written tons of other stuff, too. Read his blog, follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook, listen to his podcast. You’ll be glad you did.

186 comments
Gold for Petyr
1. Gold for Petyr
I maintain there was nothing wrong with the series Enterprise.
Christopher Morgan
2. cmorgan
No comments on Falling in Space or the fact that a heavily damaged ship with a Starfleet silhouette, ignoring that it's the flagship, warp into a spot even with the Moon along with a massive, previously unknown ship, and no other ships are near the capital of Humanity and a key planet in the Federation?
Keith DeCandido
3. krad
cmorgan: I honestly could've gone on for another 2000 words on the movie, but I think I covered the high (and low) points....

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Christopher Bennett
4. ChristopherLBennett
Some thoughts:

I get the impression that the Enterprise needed to be close to the volcano in order to stay in contact with Spock/the shuttle over the interference from the impending eruption. But they couldn't hover above it because they'd be seen. Hence the ocean. It's a reach, but I think they did try to explain it. (The real absurdity there is the "cold fusion device" -- not only does cold fusion have nothing to do with insta-freezing things, but solidifying the lava on top of a volcanic eruption would actually make things far worse by increasing the pressure of the lava underneath and causing a far bigger explosion.)

Maybe "Harrison" went to Kronos to recruit the Klingons as allies against Marcus/Starfleet. But you're right, that did seem to be playing right into Marcus's hands.

I like the Klingon helmets -- I imagine they could be a way to deal with discrimination against smooth-headed Klingons, equalizing the two types of Klingon by hiding the difference.

As for Praxis, the Narada's attacks may have prompted the Klingons to step up their shipbuilding and energy production, causing Praxis to blow up sooner. Heck, Federation technology certainly seems to have advanced faster in this timeline.

Since the Augments are genetically engineered, it's not unreasonable to expect different ones to have different augmentations. After all, Khan was the leader, so he may have had the best genetic toys. McCoy would've been a pretty inept scientist if he'd assumed without evidence that the other Augments had the same healing ability Khan did. And he didn't have time to defrost another Augment and test their blood.
Gold for Petyr
5. Colin R
I'm not exactly a full-bore trekker, but I think you're basically spot-on here. This felt like a movie that should have been later in a series, when the characters had more time to grow. And the crew just had their origin story in the previous movie, and now they're already being split up and demoted (except not really)?

Where I'll differ is about the two women cast members. They're both criminally underwritten. Still, even if Dr. Marcus has nothing to do with her alternate counterpart, she at least has purpose and motives that are her own. The underwear scene, while gratuitous, at least felt genuine--that is, it felt like there was chemistry between the two, but that chemistry was not the point of the character--she's there to deal with the bombs and her father. Lt. Uhura on the other hand, oy, her role in the story is to be Mrs. Spock. She is almost entirely reactive to his character, always either chiding or encouraging him. Take away those scenes and all you have is her failing to negotiate with the Klingons, and her preposterous assist at the end.

I've only seen about a dozen of TOS episodes, but I could tell from those that Nichelle Nichols was criminally underused. So when they have the opportunity to start over with Uhura, why reduce her to Spock's Girlfriend? That doesn't mean that she can't have a relationship, just that she needs to have something to do other thank talk about that relationship. Kirk manages to have a storyline about his relationship with Spock while also actually doing other things.
Gold for Petyr
6. CPRoark
I'm not sure if it was because I saw it in IMAX, but I have to disagree with your initial comments about 3D. For most films, I don't think that 3D adds much at all; however, after seeing ST: ID, I felt that the 3D technology was finally justified.

From the spears on the opening planet to floating dust and stellar matter, I thought the 3D was fantastic.

I'll disagree with other points of your review (I seem to have liked it a lot more than you), but to each his own. It was a fun film, and as a life-long fan of the series, did enough to satisfy my desire for new Trek.
Gold for Petyr
7. Shanna Swendson
There's a time and a place for inside joke callbacks, but I would say that the scene that's supposed to be the emotional climax of your film is not that place. Instead of being moved, I was fighting off a hysterical giggle fit as I acted out the scene a second before it happened on-screen, complete with the hand gestures. I kept thinking, "They're not really going to go there, are they?" And yep, they went all the way. It came across almost like a parody instead of like a real scene that was really about those characters.
Paul Weimer
8. PrinceJvstin
Okay, we start with the Nibiru mission, which is a) the only part of the movie that feels like Star Trek and b) has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film.

Only the point, I think, was to foreground the relationships. It did feel like a "Bond movie opener" if that makes any sense
Chris La Rue
9. laruechr
Does Khan's origin even make sense anymore? Let me explain.....

In the TOS, and someone please please PLEASE corect me if I am in error here as I haven't seen many episodes in years, they are very non-specific about how far in the future the events are taking place. But by TNG, which is set 100 years after TOS, we are told is is the 24th century. So TOS takes place in the 23rd century, meaning the mid 2200s. However, Khan has been in cryostasis for 300 years since the end of the Eugenics War, which would have HAD to have taken place in the mid-20th century.

Now, the new time-line seems to rely more heavily on having evolved from the current state of the 21st century. The Beastie Boys music and convertible automobiles running on a gasoline internal combustion engine have obviously survived, and the civilian fashions (at least in the 2009 movie) are not radically different. Also, on a technical note, Abrams revised the stardate methodology and made it reflect the year and day of that year (this movie starts on 2259.55, or February 24th, 2259), and this reinforces the idea that this is the relatively near future.

So, how, exactly has Khan still been in cryostasis for 300 years when we don't have the technology now? Nor are we quite there in the genetic engineering department to even create people like Khan?

Basically, as far as I can tell, the whole time frame for the Eugenics War needs to be retconned in order to line up with having World War 3 in the next 50 years before humanity develops warp capability and makes first contact in 2063.
Gold for Petyr
10. matta
I was annoyed with the whole "ship under water" idea in the first place. Its practically ST law that the ship cannot land on a planet. Thus the need for teleporters and shuttles. They are built in outer space because the design of the ship is obviously top heavy and not built to with stand gravity. That's what made Voyager and the NX-01 interesting. If they could go underwater, then why have a space dock at all? Just build the damn things in the water, be a whole lot cheaper and practical.

Who the hell came up with those military hats? North Korea have a garage sale?

the ending? Leap forward 1 year, everythings good, here's the keys and a 5 year mission...uh, ok. Everyone stood still for that year then? Yesh....
Jonathan Baker
11. thanbo
Nibiru bugged us: one volcano to destroy the planet? And it wasn't that big a volcano, either. And, taking off in the visible ship is a problem, but landing the visible ship isn't a problem? Third, salt-water corrosion? If they're underwater, they have shields on to maintain hull integrity under pressure. And we know they can resist major exterior pressure from "Who Mourns for Adonis."

Cumberbatch: great actor, but wrong actor. Khan Noonien Singh is a Sikh name. He was played by a brown person - Montalban. He is portrayed in a Sikh turban in a watercolor in the original episode. What is ths, the film version of The Last Airbender? They couldn't put Cumberbatch in brownface? Also, his Khan came off as an emotionless Nimoy-style Spock, not Montalban's highly passionate Khan.

Watching the ripoff of the ST:II death scene, I said to Debbie, "if he says "Out of danger", I'm going to hit him." And sure enough, he did. The ST:II death scene between friends who had worked together for decades, vs. this one between a K&S who were on thin ice through much of the movie, it felt cheap and empty.

Then there's the lack of Larger Themes, but that's another issue.
Gold for Petyr
12. Tamidon
I agree with you on a lot of the points. One thing that stuck out at me was the design of Vengeance...WTH, it's all black inside and out, completely opposite the entire Federation design aesthetic? Why not put big twirly mustache on that thing too .. Also, the tribble took too long to come back to life, not buying it,should have been earlier.
Charles Foster
14. FossMaNo1
There were really only two things that somehwat stuck out painfully to me. I enjoyed the rest of the movie, and was even able to look past the fact that Cumberbatch was not at all Indian. Still, here were the two things that bugged me:

1. The movie did a good job of trying to portray Starfleet as a military organization--which it is--but this broke down for me in the scene where Kirk assign Chekov as Scotty's replacement. It was as if Scotty was the only engineer on the ship and Chekov was the next best thing. In reality, there would be a whole chain of command beneath Scotty. If the Enterprise were to lose its Chief Engineer, the next in the chain would step up and take over. It made no sense to me that an underqualified kid such as Chekov would be put into that position. Hmmm...

2. It made sense to me that Spock Jr. would contact Spock Prime to ask about Khan. But to do it on the bridge and hold the conversation on the main viewscreen seemed completely ridiculous. The only two who were supposed to know about Spock from the original universe were Spock Jr. and Kirk. Even Scoty, who'd physically met Spock Prime didn't know who he really was. Why would Spock Jr. reveal Spock Prime's identity publically like that? Grrr...
Gold for Petyr
15. Josh Ward1
I have to disagree with you about the level of 3D use in this one. Totally worth seeing it in 3D, as opposed to Iron Man 3.

You're spot on about everything else though. The last thing I wanted to bring up was the destruction of half of San Fransisco by a crazy person flying a starship into it, and then dedicating the movie to post-9/11 soldiers. What the heck?

On the other hand, they just effectively cured death. So maybe all of the people killed in SF can be brought back to life with a vial of Augment blood.... and Red Shirts never need to worry again!
Gold for Petyr
16. shellywb
"He absolutely sells every element of Khan..."

Does he sell how he's a white British guy now? I haven't seen it yet, and wonder how they explain that, or if they just ignore it. I'm already spoilered to the gills, so I don't mind any.
Brian Carlson
17. images8dream
@11: About the whitewashing: On the one hand, it would have been great to find an Indian actor who could pull of Khan given the the domination of white actors in Hollywood. On the other hand, Montalban wasn't Indian either, which seems worse, like the casting department didn't think we could tell the differrence between an Indian and a Spaniard. Regardless of what race casted, there is the excuse that people pick names outside there culture in the future.

Otherwise, I liked the film. To me, these films are like Jackson's Lord of the Rings. You just have to live with the fact that it is differrent. In this case, action spectacle, great character interaction, and skimpy plot.
Keith DeCandido
18. krad
laruechr: If you want a take on how the Eugenics Wars and Khan's timeline work within real history, I strongly recommend Greg Cox's brilliant two-book series The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Gold for Petyr
19. CPRoark
@15- Josh Ward1

I think the dedication works. The larger theme of this picture is that humanity is too quick to turn toward vengence/violence/retribution when we are wronged. From that standpoint, I think it works as a overt critique of USA's handling of international affairs following 9/11. And, in doing so, I guess the producers wanted to thank those who bear the brunt of those descisions.
Chris La Rue
20. laruechr
@krad: I will check them out, thanks for the tip! I did enjoy both the movie (entertaining, but not great, you follow?) and the review, but the fictional history of this plot point just bugs the heck out of me.
Christopher Hatton
21. Xopher
I enjoyed the movie a lot, but it does have plot holes you can drive a truck through. Most of these, IMO, are refrigerator moments rather than flying snowmen.

The biggest exception to that was the dead tribble. What possible medical, scientific, or investigative purpose could conceivably be served by injecting Khan's blood into a dead animal? At that point I could have written a rough outline of the rest of the movie (0r at least key elements: someone will die; tribble will come back to life; someone will be resurrected with the blood), which was really irritating.

Some other things: why didn't they use the super-long-range transporter to go after "Harrison" instead of taking a ship there? Because Marcus wanted to start a war, yeah, but why didn't Kirk think of it?

Also, it would have been really helpful toward the end to tell Khan that his people were still alive. They could have been a bargaining chip for preventing the mass murder he later commits. But no one even thinks of it. They want him to lose his temper, yeah, but after the usefulness of that has expired, they leave him a Man With Nothing To Lose, a notoriously dangerous being. Stupid.

And as usual they gratuitously feed the female-erotic audience while frustrating the male-erotic audience. They have a completely gratuitous underwear scene for Carol Marcus, as KRAD notes, but they didge in a gratuitous blocking object when the camera angle would otherwise quite naturally show us a shot of Chris Pine's ass in skintight Spandex! Would that really have pushed their PG-13 to an R? I don't think so! Maybe his butt just isn't of sufficiently heroic proportions.

And note to writers: when you have a Vulcan in a volcano, snarky punny characters will make cracks. Though as noted above, cracks seem to be edited out of this movie.
Margot Virzana
22. LuvURphleb
My biggest nitpick is the Tribble. The ship literally fell how many kilometers basically tumbling end over end and the Tribble REMAINS in the exact same spot as before? Did the good dr super glue the creature to his desk? And given all the damage done to the ship with its freefall how did the Tribble survive from other accidental injuries?
The Spock yell also felt forced. The original wrath of khan even talked about the age of Kirk and McCoy and Spock. They were remembering past missions and stuff and Their friendship.
Here they spend the whole movie fighting and now Spock is all mad getting revenge? Uhura is seriously underused. I dislike the Spock uhura relationship.
Basically it's a good movie. One I can't wait to see again on Rifftrax. Th acting is superb, the action all that. It's just not Star Trek. It doesn't have the optimism that a real Star Trek would have. Blargh!
And what was with Marcus telling Kirk about section 31? I guess in this reality 31 will be just as we'll known as the tal shiar and the obsidian order and blah blah blah.
So worried about Star Wars.
Christopher Bennett
23. ChristopherLBennett
@9: It's generally accepted these days that, despite what was said in "Space Seed," the Eugenics Wars of the 1990s were a separate conflict from World War III in the 2040s-50s. And novelist Greg Cox offered a Eugenics Wars duology some years back which interpreted the wars as a hidden history taking place behind the scenes of the history we know (although that really only works from an American perspective -- surely the inhabitants of India and Southeast Asia would have been aware of being ruled by Khan Noonien Singh even if we parochial Yanks overlooked it).

And arbitrarily advanced technology existing secretly in the 20th/21st century is a longstanding trope of SFTV, from the spy-fi gadgetry of The Man from UNCLE and The Avengers to the bionics of The Six Million Dollar Man to the superscience of Fringe.

@10: The only reason it was a "law" on TOS that the ship didn't land was because it would've been too expensive to shoot the special effects of the landings. It wasn't a moral stand or anything, just a way to save money. That's no longer an issue today, so there's no reason such a restriction is needed. We had starship landings on Voyager several times.

Besides, a ship that couldn't support its own weight under gravity would be perfectly fine in the water, because of buoyancy cancelling out its weight.

As for the Starfleet hats, Pike had a very similar one in his quarters in the original pilot back in 1964: http://images.wikia.com/memoryalpha/en/images/c/ce/ServiceHat.jpg I think it's a nice callback to have those hats in the movie.

@11: Montalban was Mexican, which is pretty far off from South Asian. A white person might think all "brown" people are interchangeable -- and that was why people like Montalban tended to get cast in various ethnic roles in '60s TV -- but a South Asian could sure tell the difference. And brownface would've been far more offensive in this day and age.

I would've liked more diverse casting myself, but it's been pointed out that since Khan's role was basically that of a terrorist, it would've had some unintended implications if they'd cast a "brown" person in the role. And it's been mentioned to me that Sikh is a religion, not a race; and that Khan was genetically engineered and thus he could've been a mix of ethnicities all along. After all, his name is already an ethnic jumble. "Khan" is more often a Muslim surname than a Sikh given name, and "Noonien" seems to have been the name of a Chinese friend of Roddenberry's.

Of course, there's always the possibility that Khan got cosmetic surgery to change his appearance.

@21: The long-range transporter was a prototype device, probably risky to use, and the portable unit probably couldn't send more than one person. Besides, warp drive seems practically instantaneous in this timeline, so why not use it?
Gold for Petyr
25. Flyxx
Perhaps it was explained somewhere in the movie (or lost in the German dubbing) but I didn't understand the first minute of the opening sequence at all:

Why did Kirk steal the sacred scroll of the
Nibiru natives? Why did he bring the ship's chief mediacal officer on this mission?

Thanks to anyone who can explain that to me. (I think I know the obvious answer: To give Kirk and Bones a reason to jump of a cliff after beeing shot at with big arrows ...)
Gold for Petyr
26. Dwight Williams
Two words invoked by Admiral Marcus in the second act: Section 31. Whether they're Marcus' allies or patrons, it doesn't make much difference, but it does add context to the whole plot.

Also this:

There's no blessed or bloody way those guys were going to let Khan Singh walk around wearing his own face - whatever colour that face was originally - once they'd decided they could get some positive usage out of him.
Gold for Petyr
27. Nerdbliss
I loved the movie even if plenty of points can be made against it. Heck, part of the fun is picking the thing apart as I watch again, talk it over with other geeks and think about it way, way too much.

I did wonder why none of the other 72 could save Kirk, but forgot quickly as I can't get enough of Spock beating the tar out of somebody in a blind passionate rage.

Bit ashamed of myself for not questioning the ship hiding in the ocean. Loved the planet and want more of thier story. At the end of the day, more stories in the Star Trek universe is all I'm after no matter how I get them.
Christopher Bennett
28. ChristopherLBennett
@25: The Nibirans' temple was in the blast zone of the volcano. Kirk stole the scroll in order to get them to chase him so that the temple would be empty when the lava destroyed it.
Marcus W
29. toryx
Such an annoying movie.

I agree absolutely that if they'd taken the first ten minutes and expanded it into the whole film, it would have made a great Star Trek movie. There was so much potential in just those few scenes that I spent the whole movie wishing they'd done that. That's what bothers me most about Abram's Star Treks. He gets certain things absolutely 100% right. And then the remaining movie is just one disaster of mindless space opera/ Transformers action and special effect after another.

Oh well.

I still think that Karl Urban is the best part of these movies. He may be the reason I went back. He's tragically underused but man, he nails McCoy. I think Quinto did a great job with Spock this time and I'm also a big fan of Cho's Sulu. Kirk, not so much. I think Chris Pine is a decent actor and he certainly works hard in these films but I just don't see or hear Kirk from him.

Anyway...these movies break my heart. I try to go into them with low expectations, then they blow me away with the teaser scene, only to crush me with the rest of the movie. If it wasn't for Super 8, I would really hate Abrams.

Oh and one more thing: Cold Fusion took out that volcano? Really? So wrong.
Rich Bennett
30. Neuralnet
@krad - Great review and spot on. A fun movie, but if you looked beyond the eye candy there was so much story that just didnt make sense.

I went in to the movie blind - not knowing Khan was the villian (had to work hard to stay away from spoilers) But I wonder if the movie would have been better served to advertise that Khan was in it before hand. I think people would be more excited to see it if they knew going in that it was a alternate timeline Khan movie.

Did anyone think Kirk was really going to die? That was the beauty of the original WoK... Spock really died. yeah they left the door open with the genesis planet but I remember leaving the theater after seeing wrath of khan just stunned that Spock had died.... you didnt know for sure that he was ever coming back.
Gold for Petyr
31. Dovile
I mostly agree with the review, Pine's Kirk was perfect, although I honestly didn't notice any annoying lens flares. But the scene with Spock screaming 'Khaaan!' was really cringe-worthy and out of character. Actually, that's my biggest gripe with this movie - Spock is way to emotional and doesn't seem to mind much displaying his emotions. Sure, he lost his mom and planet, and he's dating an emotinal human, but that wouldn't make him suddenly loose all the Vulcan conditioning to suppress and hide all emotions. Wouldn't the scene above have been better and truer to spock's character, if, instead of him screaming, we would see him trembling trying to suppress his anger and then a low, angry whisper would come out through his clenched teeth: "Kahn..."

Also, I felt the movie was repetitive in general: an evil villain, Klingons, saving Earth - seen that so many times, that it's become boring, while there are so many other races, places and menaces to choose from. I hope in the next movie we'll actually see the crew doing some real exploration on a some strange new world, not just running away from locals.
Gold for Petyr
32. Wrenn_NYC
Actually, Christopher, they had to defrost another one to use the cryo tank on Kirk. McCoy instructs them to do so - and to keep the Augment unconscious. So they had to have one defrosted almost immediately.

I'd also think that it would be expected that the other Augment would have the same augmentations as Kahn. Given that Kahn considers anyone less than himself (or like himself) inferior and should be killed - as is stated in the film. The others would be like him. He may be the smartest of them, but it could be expected that they'd have the same augments. Start from the same place. And, once McCoy had Kirk in stasis, he'd have all the time in the world to test the blood.

I also had a problem with Dr Marcus - the numerous times the camera dwelled on her, as she mooned at Kirk. Though, it didn't strike me as a case of Spock the jealous one with regards to Kirk. It struck me as Spock being jealous of her with the ship itself; she wasn't needed for the ship, and her appearance cause him to feel unermined as the ship's chief science officer.
And the Vengeance. They could budget for black hull paint... but they couldn't budget for internal lighting. Right.

How about that whole part of Scotty stalling the security guard? Along with the two long travel from the Enterprise to the Vengeance throught he space debris, we had a correspondingly too long conversation between the hulking security guard and Scotty.

I've also never understood the whole Old Spock can't talk to Young Spock about his past. It's not like the timelines will ever converge - it's not 'spoilers' a la Doctor Who. Old Spock could easily give Young Spock some pointers and warnings. Especially when other's lives are likely to be at stake.

The whole magic blood thing... and the 'synthesizing agent' Miracle Ma.. erm McCoy says he made that he used to save Kirk. That extreme a cure within Star Trek? That's a big problem for future Trek. One that I prophesize now will be completely forgotten in any new movies.
Gold for Petyr
33. Kurt R.
I agree with your points. I think my problem with this movie is that now it has to be forever compared to Wrath of Khan. This was too much of a fanboy movie for my liking. Why would you bring back Khan knowing the fans will compare this one with the original. Now this movie can't just be Star Trek: Into Darkness. By the way, what Darkness, the five year mission I'm guessing. This played out like Star Trek: Wrath of Khan part 2. I think that by doing that now all us Star Wars fans have to start thinking that Abrams will give us Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, AGAIN, as the sequel to, Star Wars: The Next New Hope.
This was a good movie but since the story was so loose and Cumberbatch so great, the third one has to have him back. It doesn't make sense to leave him in cryosleep for another 300 hundred years. The tubes have to breakdown eventually so the Augments either die or wake up and start causing trouble.
The magic blood was stupid just stupid. Now Kirk should be part Augment, specifically part Khan. Even the Tribble should have dreams of world conquest since he's part Khan also. And what about Mickeys little girl?
I think Khan going to Kronos was answered in the quote, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".
Now I think for part three we get Khans return after being released by two unknown Starfleet officers. And at the end we find out that one of them looks like Captain Kirk and the other is a Vulcan with a goatee. You may as well call it Mirror, Mirror on the Enterprise.
This could have been better but instead we got some fanboys doing their own version of their favorite movie. It's a shame that Abrams and Lindenlof went down this road. The new timeline thing opened the possibility for new stories and newer adventures with familiar enemies, but this was just rehashing at it's worse. I hope Paramount learns from this and doesn't do it again. And I worry for Disney since this may be what happens to the Star Wars franchise. It's a shame a damn shame.
Chris Bridges
34. cabridges
The move also suffered from the same "only six people can do anything of note" as the original show.

"Hey Chekov, you can spell 'engine,' right? How about you shove all of
Scotty's trained and experienced assistants aside and take over in this
delicate and dangerous situation where we might all die? That'd be
great, thanks!"
Gold for Petyr
35. Scavenger
I'm still formulating my thoughts about the film but I actually didn't see the Kahn Blood/Tribble ->Resurecting Kirk bit coming untill we see Kirk in the body bag.

1) When Kirk dies I was thinking "Abrams hasn't signed on for a third film yet..maybe Pine hasn't...what a challenging and brave thing to do in this movie. I'm always told how awesome a story teller Abrams is and i've never seen it, but maybe here, RIGHT HERE! I'm seeing what people have been talking about all these years.

2) When I saw the blood and tribble (I had forgotten about Mickey Smith earlier) I honestly wrote it off assuming it was just setting up a Trouble With Tribbles post credits gag.
Ryan Sankey
36. squireofgothos
Since this is the spoiler thread, I'll post this thought: So basically for this film they mashed up Star Trek II and DEMOLITION MAN?!?!?
I mean, I liked both in their own way, but come on... Thaw out a bad guy just to shake things up in your otherwise perfect society?
Gold for Petyr
37. treeandleaf
@matta
They are built in outer space because the design of the ship is obviously top heavy and not built to with stand gravity.

I don't disagree that building starships in space makes more sense, but the previous movie already established that starships are built on planets. And if you grant that, then the idea that they can land and take off isn't intrinsically stupid (even if, yes, it should be).

@thanbo

There was a larger theme of sorts; it was about taking vengeance, or choosing not to (see Kirk's eulogy for Pike at the end).
Joel Cunningham
41. jec81
@19. CPRoark

My issue with the dedication is that there was a 9/11-type disaster -- one in which possibly tens of thousands would have been killed (we see multiple WTC-stized towers collapse and the overall damage is far more widespread, and good grief, how big WAS that freaking ship?) and it all goes by with nary a mention for the rest of the movie because all that matters is that Kirk is alive and the Enterprise got fixed up.

Not to mention the thousands that would have been killed in the London bombing, which were only briefly touched on.

Terrorism reduced to entertainment, and then they dedicate it to post-9/11 veterans? Uh huh.
George Salt
42. GeorgeSalt
I haven't seen the latest JJ Trek. I enjoyed the first one when I saw it in the theater, although I was bothered by the gratuitous violence inflicted on the canonical timeline. And somehow it just didn't feel like Star Trek.

The first JJ Trek is in heavy rotation on cable as part of the promo blitz for 'Into Darkness.' I sat down and watched it the other night and for me it really doesn't work on a TV screen. I can't put my finger on it, but without the big-screen theater effects it just felt vapid. From the reviews I've read that might be true of the new one, too. The TNG movies may not have been great films but they are watchable on TV.
Kit Case
43. wiredog
Some of my thoughts, copy-pasta'd from my mini-review written right after I'd seen it:

Zombie Tribbles From Outer Space!


Plot-wise it's a mix between Space Seed and "Dreadnought!" (A novel by Diane Carey which should've been titled "USS Mary Sue Saves The Day"), with a touch of ST:6.

Lots of callbacks to the Original Series, movies, and animated series. I like all the sound effects from TOS that are in there.

The trailers are very nicely cut to show some of the best looking scenes, while being totally misleading as to what is actually happening in those scenes.

Bandersnatch Cummerbund Cumberbatch should get an Oscar nomination. He does an excellent job of playing the role of Khan. Except that Sherlock is a bit pasty white to play anyone from the subcontinent. Maybe it's an unfortunate side-effect of the augment process.

Section 31. The Eeeevil Admiral. Muahahaha!

I think Carol Marcus is really Marla McGivers. Jimmy better watch his back in future movies.

The Spock and Uhura Show would be a fun rom-com.

What do they do with the tails? I suspect some interesting cosplays at future cons.

That Klingon came thisclose to getting filleted by Uhura. It's not wise to annoy her. He was lucky that Cummerbund came along to save the day.

Cold fusion is the red matter of this movie.

I really hope that the zombie tribbles are worked into the next movie, as it's apparently going to involve Klingons. Maybe they could be the basis of a "World War Z" crossover?
Christopher Bennett
44. ChristopherLBennett
@32: Sure, he defrosted one in a few minutes, but testing their blood would've taken a lot longer. And sure, maybe the other Augments had the same properties in their blood, but Bones had no way of knowing that for sure and no time to test it. McCoy already knew Khan's blood would work, so why wouldn't he favor that? Why risk Kirk's life on a guess when he already had a more solid option?

Of course, it's worth pointing out that they probably didn't need Khan alive to use his blood. Although given how little was understood about its regenerative properties, it's conceivable that they could've broken down quickly after his death. So McCoy was playing it safe by insisting he be brought back alive.

What bugged me about Spock finding Carol "redundant" is that surely a ship with a thousand-plus crewmembers (as the Abramsprise apparently has according to some behind-the-scenes info from the first movie) would have more than one scientist onboard.

@33: I think this movie showed exactly why it was worth bringing back Khan, because it used him far better than TWOK did. I hated the way TWOK reduced the intelligent, dignified, borderline-admirable antagonist Khan to a vengeance-crazed caricature. Here we actually got a story that focused on his intelligence, his shrewdness, and his dedication to his people, that showed him partnering with Kirk as well as going up against him, and that did something new and interesting with the idea of the Augments by showing how corrupt forces within Starfleet could seek to abuse their power. I have my quibbles with the execution, but in concept I think it's the best Khan story yet.

@36: Marcus didn't thaw out Khan to "stir up" society, but because he believed war with the Klingons was inevitable and he needed savage minds from an earlier, less peaceful era to rise to the occasion.
Gold for Petyr
45. CHH1701
"Reversing the death scene from The Wrath of Khan" - I'm glad to finally read a review from someone who called this scene out. I was fairly bored with the movie up until that point, but that scene really pissed me off. I hated the movie, largely because of that scene.

Nice job on the review!
Gold for Petyr
46. littlebit_liz
Here's my take on the Kirk/Spock relationship in this film, and why it works for me:

In Wrath of Khan, Spock's death, and the moment between him and Kirk, is really touching because, as you said, they've been friends for a lifetime. In this film, Kirk's "death" worked for me because the two of them were just realizing that they are friends, and were just realizing how much they do care about each other. Kirk spends much of the film trying to get through to Spock about this, as in the scene where he asks Spock if he understands why he went back for him, or when he's trying to make Spock understand why he felt betrayed by Spock's telling the truth about the volcano in his report. So that Spock was so upset by Kirk's death - and I think he was almost surprised by how upset he was, given what he said about trying not to feel, and failing - I took that as Spock realizing that Kirk is his friend, and that, therefore, he does care a lot about him.

That's also why the moment was still really touching for me, even though I was very certain, obviously, that Kirk was not going to remain dead. That said, I really, really hated that moment with the tribble, where McCoy explained how he was using Khan's blood on it. It was incredibly clumsy. Yes, you set the gun on the mantelpiece early on in the story so that your deus ex machina doesn't come out of nowhere, but that had already been done at the beginning of the film, with the Harewoods. All that was needed after that was to explain how McCoy came to know about that, and that 2-second scene with the tribble was just so, so clumsy and obvious. I mean, they literally stuck that right into the middle of another conversation Kirk was having with Khan. It would have been better to actually link it back to the Harewoods - if McCoy somehow found out about their daughter being cured, and figured out Khan's blood was responsible for it. You'd have to take more time with that, sure, but it would have been well worth it to lose maybe one of the numerous action scenes in the film to do so. That was my main gripe with the film. It bugs me to no end.

As far as Kirk's being demoted, then being promoted, then becoming captain again as soon as Pike dies - that also was a little clumsy, but I get what they were trying to do with it. Kirk obviously needed this film to grow into being captain. Really, if a mistake was made, it was ending the first film with his being made captain, because he wasn't ready for it. They made him captain after a single successful incident with these Romulans, even though he basically snuck onto the Enterprise in the first place and had been on academic suspension? That's ridiculous. I suppose, not knowing if they would be able to do more films, they wanted to end with Kirk being captain. But then, coming into the second film, you now have this problem, because he's captain but obviously isn't ready for it yet. We haven't seen him grow into it yet. So, I liked the twist of his being demoted - the problem, as you pointed out, was his being made captain again right away, even if it was because of Pike's death. Since they roll with rulebreaker Kirk anyway, they should have had him take the Enterprise out after Khan against orders, without officially being made captain again. I know that would mess with the whole "But-that-was-Marcus's-evil-plan-all-along" idea, but as you pointed out, that whole plotline had its own problems anyway. They could have totally reworked that.

Anyhow, all that said, I thoroughly enjoyed the film; I've already seen it twice and will see it again for sure. With Abrams, you have to expect some plot holes and clunky storytelling; luckily, if you're like me, that doesn't bother you too much, especially when the characters are so enjoyable. It's why I still loved Lost and Fringe. I'm also just enough of a Trek fan to really love the reboot, but not quite diehard enough to be bothered by all the little inconsistencies. I grew up mostly on DS9 and Voyager; I'd only seen Undisocvered Country and First Contact before the first Abrams Trek film. It wasn't until after I saw that film that I went back and watched the original series, as well as many of the other older films. And I love the original series and those films now (well, the good ones anyway), but I still love the reboot, too.
Gold for Petyr
47. Scavenger
@41: I don't think the London attack was that big...I mean, Mickey Smith apprarantly survives despite being at the center of the blast. (It's said he confesses to the crime but was forced to do it)

Oh, for the record, on the Nibaru (and why use the name if not the context?) scene...there is a comment made about the magnetic fields not allowing the transporters to work which assumingly is why they have to land the Enterprise.....because shuttles aren't useful, i guess.

*************************

On the acting...I'm going to disagree that it was "great". For a lot of it, I felt I was watching a fan film, with people impersonating actors rather than playing characters. For all I dislike about Pine's Fratboy Kirk, he's at least not doing a Shatner impersonation. I see the phrase "Karl Urban just channels DeForest Kelly" and yes, it's a good impression of an actor who played the character. But his first scenes, and several later, it just feels like that...like an impersonator doing lines. I want to see Karl Urban play McCoy, not Karl Urban play Kelly play McCoy (As the movie progresses, he gets better).

I think my favorite of the new crew is John Cho's Sulu. not once did I think he was impersonating George Takei, and not once did I not think he was playing Hikaru Sulu.

Echoing Colin R's comments, I really disliked Uhura here. While I grant Nichelle Nichols didn't do much on the original series, that's due to the time it was made, and she was frankly doing enough just by being there. But it's 2013, and NuUhura did nothing but whine and worry and act unprofessional about Spock. She manages to fail the Betechel Test despite being the only woman on the screen most of the time. Alice Eve, who's playing a character who was literaly created to be a love interest, at least has her own motivation during the story. (I will concede that part of my antipathy lies in that I've never enjoyed a performance I've seen of Zoe Saldana and dread her casting as the Most Dangerous Woman In the Universe in Guardians of the Galaxy).
Joel Cunningham
48. jec81
@47. Scavenger

Mickey Smith did not survive. The last thing he did before the explosion was send a message to the admiral. That was his confession.

Also, the explosion was shown to extend across several highly populated city blocks.

Even still, no getting around that tens of thousands died in S.F.
Sky Thibedeau
49. SkylarkThibedeau
@11 I always thought Sasha Roiz(Uncle Sam Adama) would have made a great khan. He has a great physique like Ricardo Montalban and plays a great villain. Cumberbatch did impress me with his acting. He turned Khan into MacBeth or Iago.

I too was wondering Why there isn't a whole fleet of ships gaurding Star Fleet Command? That was an issue with the other movie too. Are they back to the TOS where there were only 23 Command Cruisers? Where were the Phaser system defense platforms?

Ah Well like Commander Taggart said "It's just a TV show. There is no "quantum flux". There's no "auxiliary". THERE'S NO GODDAMNED SHIP. You got it?"
Gold for Petyr
50. Meowleen
Why was Captain Pike killed off when everyone knows that he was disabled and ended up on Talus 4 with that blond? (Star Trek pilot). They should have used someone else's name to kill off.
Christopher Hatton
51. Xopher
Meowleen, that didn't happen in this timeline. Instead of being marooned on Ceti Alpha Six, Khan came back and killed a bunch of people, including Pike. This is all because Kirk wasn't Captain of the Enterprise in time to find the Augments in space.
Gold for Petyr
52. Scavenger
@50: timeline changes.

Though it does bring up the question...if Kirk is vying for the first 5 year mission..the first deep space exploration..what the heck has Starfleet been doing since Archer's time, what, 100 years before?
Gold for Petyr
53. Meowleen
Thanks Xopher. I am so confused!!! Are we in a totally different timeline now? Does that mean that the TVseries timeline and Next Gen timeline are gone?
Christopher Hatton
54. Xopher
Yes. See the first movie of the reboot: time-traveling Romulans kill Kirk's dad (so he grows up without him and with different personal issues) and destroy Vulcan (leaving SPOCK with different personal issues). Everything is different.

Which is not to say "it's all to do over again," though this movie kinda does that.
Gold for Petyr
55. Meowleen
The 2009 movie is on cable now so I will watch it again. Thanks for the explanation. I was an original Trekker (kid in 1967) so it's hard for me to adjust. This movie WAS exciting in IMAX 3D though.
Sarah Holland
56. SarahHolland
I read one review that referred to "Chekhov's tribble", which set up the resurection scene (and was so glaringly obvious).

I'm likewise going to refer to "Chekhov's underwear" (or possible "Chekhov's gratiutous half naked Alice Eve fanservice") as a setup for film 3, along with that lingeringly look Carol Marcus and Kirk shared after the 1 year break.

I do have a question, though - does anyone else have a little niggle of memory over some sort of SF story where someone kicks an important engine part back into position? I'm sure I remember something along those lines, but can't place it!!!
Christopher Hatton
57. Xopher
SarahHolland, now that you mention it, I do. In my memory I was seeing the person kicking it just like in this movie. Can't place it.
Christopher Bennett
58. ChristopherLBennett
@52: They never said this was the first deep-space exploration mission at all, just that it was the first one of such a long duration, at least in Kirk's lifetime.

Remember that in the first film, the reason Pike wanted Kirk in Starfleet was that he felt the organization had grown hidebound and conservative. Maybe in the wake of the Kelvin incident, and the fears it would've created of a new Romulan invasion (since they didn't yet know the Narada was from the future), Starfleet turned away from exploration and shifted its focus toward defense and strengthening the borders. Maybe once he became an admiral, Pike pushed for a renewed emphasis on exploration, resulting in the 5-year-mission program.

@53: The original timeline is not "gone." The fictional conceit that one timeline erases another is scientifically and logically absurd, and the filmmakers are instead using the more accurate model that different timelines coexist side-by-side. The original universe still exists (and is still being portrayed in the novels from Pocket Books), but these movies are taking place in a different timeline that runs alongside it in parallel -- much like the Mirror Universe or the multiple different timelines glimpsed in TNG's "Parallels." The filmmakers did this so that they'd be free to tell new stories and not be constrained by the original continuity. But it doesn't unmake the original continuity, just coexists with it.
Gold for Petyr
59. Meowleen
Space Cowboys. On the Russian space station and on the shuttle Daedalus.
Christopher Hatton
60. Xopher
Christopher 58: A distinction without a difference. They have no way of getting to that other timeline (absent Mirror, Mirror) and none of that stuff happened in this timeline. The silly part is that Old Spock still exists at all.
Gold for Petyr
61. SparkyP
Did anybody notice the tried-and-true Star Trek paradigm where some contemporary controversial situation (like, oh let's say "drone kills from far away without due process") gets updated, re-tooled, and presented back in a science fiction scenario so that the main characters can mull it over? Spock's condemnation of the practice of launching a photon torpedo from space to kill a single, un-convicted person certainly fits the bill. Bringing fiction and fact together in this manner is one of the main reasons I enjoy science fiction so much, including Trek.
Christopher Bennett
62. ChristopherLBennett
@60: There is nothing silly about Spock Prime existing. He left his timeline and ended up residing in a parallel one -- what's wrong with that?

And yes, it's true that the distinction doesn't matter much with regard to events in the Abramsverse; the key takeaway is that events in these films are not required to go the same way they did before, that all bets are off. But it does matter with regard to the other series and films. Viewers shouldn't think that those series no longer count, that they were somehow "erased" and been rendered irrelevant. It's still possible to watch the original shows and films and accept them as being just as "real" as they ever were. And it's conceivable that some future shows or films could be set in that universe again, just as there are still tie-in books set in it.
Gold for Petyr
63. Jeff R.
As far as I'm concerned, the opening sequence's point was to get you to imagine a world in which we could have a Star Trek TV series such that that would be the ending of a typical episode. (Wonder how many years off that is, technology/cost curves wise).

Also, cinemaphiles of the next generation will constantly ridicule today's films for non-diegetic lens flares and lens effects, and rightly so.

On the list of fanservice references, there's also "The Mudd Incident".

And now I really want to see the story about how reboot-Picard has to deal with a revived Cumberbach Kahn. (Butterflies? What Butterfiles? The Mirror Universe's timeline clearly establishes that no such thing exists in these universes.)
Gold for Petyr
64. Scavenger
@60: That's less to do with fictional constraints (a Scotty experiment with Transwarp sends them into the original Trek universe) and more a basic matter of age of original cast.
Gold for Petyr
65. weaselsniff
Just thinking out loud here regarding Cumberpatch as Khan...

If I'm recalling correctly, when Kirk et al find the Botany Bay, Khan's cryotube was not marked. Khan simply introduces himself.

The same thing happens here (unless I'm forgetting some dialogue were Marcus says that he KNEW it was Khan he resurrected.) What if Cumberpatch was just one of Khan's crew, claiming to be him, maybe to protect the real Khan in some way from Section 31?

You guys have said it yourselves that Cumberpatch is too white, too reserved, and much too British to be Khan in the first place. All they go on is his word...which he offers very freely....

And remember the Khan-man (har) that manned the helm and weapons on the Reliant? He had white hair...but he kinda looks like a certain Brit with a quirky name than Ricardo Montalban.
Christopher Bennett
66. ChristopherLBennett
To be honest, I didn't notice a single lens flare this time.

@64: In the previous movie, Spock Prime recognized the young Kirk and Scotty on sight. So even though they've been recast, they're still supposed to look the same in-universe -- no different from the recasting of Saavik or Zefram Cochrane or Tora Ziyal. So there's no reason you couldn't make new stories set in the Prime universe but starring the new cast. (Heck, I've already gotten into the habit of imagining Bruce Greenwood when I read a novel about Pike. And I've heard others say that they imagine the new cast when reading novels set in the Prime universe.) The main reason not to do it is that viewers might be confused.
Gold for Petyr
67. BrokenImages
Carol Marcus's complete unnecessariness as a character was at least redeemed in my eyes by the scene where she gives daddy the big speech daring him to sacrifice his own daughter to get his way, and he just dismisses it by beaming her off the ship (although that was a very strange-looking beaming). I thought that was a pretty cool counter-climatic trick.
Heather Dunham
68. tankgirl73
I despised all the despicable things already mentioned about this movie. And I loved it at the same time. I'm so confused!

I think I was just hypnotized into liking it by Cumberbatch's Sheer Awesomeness. He was mesmerizing. I don't care that he was white -- it would have been nice if there were some in-universe explanation, like he was cosmetically altered after being awoken, or that he was born in India but had white ancestry, or that he was born in Europe but became enamored of the Sikh philosophies and adopted an Indian name and character on his way to rule. Whatever. I'm willing to accept that there is SOME in-universe explanation even if we're not told what it is, because Cumberbatch was Just. That. Good.

I appreciated the reversal of Spock/Kirk death scene, although the yell was too contrived and too Vader-NOOOO. My husband pointed out how the timeline 'reset' gives them a chance to explore concepts like fate, 'fixed points' in spacetime that must happen in some variation or other. I don't think it was done *especially* well, but I appreciated the attempt.

It was not TWOK. It was Spaceseed, redux. This shows what COULD have happened if Kirk-Prime had *not* figured out that Khan was a bad guy, or had not been able to subdue and maroon him. This is the Khan that could have been, Khan given a chance to actually have influence in his new future.

TWOK-Khan was a one-note villain, (magnificent but one-note), because he had been driven mad by 15 years of isolation and watching his beloved family (including McGivers) die off, one by one. Cumberbatch-Khan is still in his prime.

What I would have liked to see, I think, was Khan's awakening. Even just in flashbacks. I would love to see Benny with the ponytail and going through the breathing and yogic exercises that Montalban did in Spaceseed. Yummy.
Chris Nelly
69. Aeryl
I remember him, same steely eyes.

That's a nice fanwank, but the simplest way to show that, would have been to have an Indian man in one of the other cryotanks, and shown him to the audience, so they'd get the con.
Gold for Petyr
70. Scavenger
@66 My point is.....the only reason you'd do a crossover story is to see the casts meet. It was special having Patrick Stewart meet Leonard Nimoy. Having him meet some other actor playing Spock isn't the same thing by a long shot.
Same with this...the point would be for the two casts to meet, which you can't do for obvious reasons.
Anything else is left to comics and novels which isn't the same as on the screen.

@65 In Space Seed, Kahn's capsule is designed to awake him first when the Botany Bay is boarded.
Heather Dunham
71. tankgirl73
@65 -- CumberKhan is too reserved? Who said that? Spaceseed Khan is very polite, very charming, very engaging - until he's challenged, of course. I see the same thing here. And I'd hardly call him 'reserved' anyway. "Controlled", yes. Emotionally managed, yes. But as soon as he lets loose -- wow. I wouldn't say 'reserved' at all.

As for the red-planet white-pancake folks, the one thing I was left wondering about was... well, in a zone (if not a whole planet) where ALL of the flora seems to be red, with no variation at all... where the heck did they get the yellow dye for their cloths?
Gold for Petyr
72. rich215
Great review. I liked the movie for what it was - an action-packed adventure. All of the convenient plot devices and logic flaws described are completely accurate, yet I found them so much less irritating than those in Promethius, for example. The movie requires double suspension of belief: 1) as to the whole futuristic sci-fi aspect; and 2) what we already know about the whole Star Trek canon. All in all, a fairly satisfying movie.
Gold for Petyr
73. Alright Then
Question:
Maybe someone can answer this, but why did Admiral Marcus want to start a war with the Klingons? Khan said something about him wanting to militarize Starfleet after the destruction of Vulcan, so shouldn't his target have been the Romulans?

Anyway, I enjoyed about half of this movie. There's some impressive acting from Chris Pine. ILM's work is top notch as usual. But the script is a convoluted mess, with so many nods to previous Treks it must have been written by a pack of bobbleheads.

Oh, and someone needs to tell Cumberbatch that making your mouth all rubbery as you speak isn't menacing. It just makes you look silly.
Christopher Bennett
74. ChristopherLBennett
@68: Ethnic questions aside, I did feel that Cumberbatch captured the same kind of presence and performance as Montalban, much as I feel Quinto captures the essence of Spock very well. And I agree, "Space Seed" Khan -- the Khan we got here -- is a far more interesting and flexible character than what they reduced him to in TWOK.

@71: Maybe the plants had yellow seeds. Or maybe they trade for the dye with a culture from another region that has more yellow vegetation. Its rarity in their own region may make it valuable and prized, which is why it's used for important events like religious ceremonies.

@73: Marcus recognized that Klingon aggression and expansionism were on the rise and a war was inevitable (which is consistent with events in the Prime timeline, where a war did break out with the Klingons about 8 years later and only the Organians could stop it). He wanted to make a pre-emptive strike, to start the war on his own terms and thus gain an edge over the Klingons, rather than see the Federation caught off guard by a Klingon first strike.
Christopher Hatton
75. Xopher
Christopher 62: I'm not buying the "time travel creates alternate universes" theory at all. I think that's an incorrect extrapolation of quantum theory. So if Spock goes back in time and changes himself into someone who is never going to end up travelling back in time, the (only, universal) timestream goes TILT, and it doesn't happen (or, of course, the universe is destroyed). That would be a reason for him to avoid influencing his younger self. But he's there to prophesy, not to behave as such a character would.

If it were a simple case of alternate timelines/alternate universes, there would be no reason for Spock not to go straight to Starfleet and brief them on every future threat he knows.

But I see I've missed a subtext on your comments. Certainly, all the old stories are valid; they just never HAPPENED now. They're like the Angels on the Byzantium; they've disappeared from history but their story is still valid and worthwhile.

I by no means think the reboot should threaten the livelihood of writers (past, present, or future) writing stories in the old version of the timeline.

Scavenger 64: I agree with CLB: there's no reason why Pine and Quinto couldn't play the Kirk and Spock from the original timeline as well as their somewhat-different characters in the current timeline. I don't expect that to happen though.

tankgirl73 71: Have you ever seen a bottle of yellow food coloring? It's red. I think the yellow is as much as they can bleach the red fibres.
Gold for Petyr
76. Erehwonnz
About Spock's yell at the end. I don't see that there was anything wrong with it whatsoever. It's only odd because a select group of people (including me) knows what it recalls. The majority of people won't know and will rightly read it as a key moment for Spock's character. I'd maintain that the issue here is not with the movie--which took an awkward, unwarranted, and overacted moment and transformed it into an earned and justified one--but with those of us (yep, including myself again) who recollect the original line.

As for the magic blood, I beleive there's actually some legitimate science to using stem cells from healthy blood to repair radition damage, so it really shouldn't be far-fetched a couple hundred years in the future in a work of fiction. That said, the use of it so soon undermined the emotion of the moment a bit.

Honestly, I thought this was a major step forward for the new series of films. Trek films have never been terribly good and I don't expect them to transcend the action/adventure genre with a couple exceptions (Khan, First Contact), so this worked pretty well against my expectations. We got the right beats (Kirk getting torn down and eventually facing his Kobayashi Maru moment, Kirk embracing logic/Spock embracing emotion), lip service to ethical quandries (reflections on what we have become and what we need to be--not deep, but at least it isn't pretending, as many Trek films do), and a rousing series of setpieces. Mileage will vary, obviously, but I came away pretty entertained, and that's as much as I look for in Trek films.
Gold for Petyr
77. Meowleen
I am a 56 year old Boomer and I CANNOT accept that the orginal and NextGen stories never happened at all now. I grew up with these people! I related to all of the '60s bright colored clothes, hair and makeup and current event related storylines.
You can't take that away from me and all of us Boomer Trekkies. I watched them all "Live long and prosper".
Gold for Petyr
78. Alright Then
@74: Ah, well, that still doesn't explain ignoring the Romulans, but whatever. A better question is: Admiral Marcus, you hid a secret super battleship behind Jupiter... so why keep a model of it on the table in full view of non-conspirator Starfleet personnel? Kind of defeats the purpose, don't you think?
Christopher Hatton
79. Xopher
Meowleen, on September 8, 1966 (and no, I didn't have to look that up) I was a few days from my 7th birthday. IIRC I was allowed to stay up past my usual bedtime to watch this new series because spaceships! Please, Mom, pleeeeeease! One of my ears has the cartilege on the top completely mashed into shapelessness because I tried to "Spockify" my ears.

So when I say "never happened at all" I don't mean they should be discarded, or that we, in our metauniverse, never experienced them or shouldn't be influenced by them (or even shouldn't buy books based on them). HISTORY HAS CHANGED in the Star Trek universe. If that feels like a tragedy, good. It should. Kirk's dad is far from the only person who died outright in that process, and billions of lives were altered irrevocably.

So if it hurts and you feel a terrible sense of loss...that's what JJA and Co. were playing for. Stay engaged and hope the new stories are as good as the old.
Christopher Bennett
80. ChristopherLBennett
@75: I'm sorry, but it's clear from your comments that you don't understand quantum theory at all, so you're really not qualified to judge here. Here are some good links to pages that could help you learn more about the subject:
http://www.hedweb.com/manworld.htm
http://www.arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9709032/
http://www.ipod.org.uk/reality/index.asp

There is no physical way for a timeline to be "erased." That doesn't even have any physical meaning. If an event occurs, it occurs. It can occur differently in a parallel quantum state of the universe, but its occurrence is a part of the wavefunction of the multiverse and it can't be made to un-occur. That's a fictional conceit that has no physical meaning.

The only thing that would even resemble "erasing" a timeline is if two parallel timelines were somehow recombined into one. In that case, quantum information theory would demand that only one of the two contradictory sets of information could survive, and thus the alternate history would be forgotten -- would cease to exist from that moment on. But only from that moment on. If you went back in time to before the moment the timelines reconverged, they would exist side-by-side. Everything that happened in the terminated timeline would still have happened; it just wouldn't be remembered after a certain point. Yet the reconvergence of timelines is effectively impossible for reasons of entropy. It's like all the fragments of a broken glass spontaneously falling back together to become the intact glass, only about a gazillion times harder to achieve. The far more probable outcome is that parallel timelines coexist indefinitely.

Of course, real quantum physics tells us that if you could go back in time, you'd be constrained to experience the same reality you'd previously observed, because you're correlated with that quantum history. So the very idea of travelling into an alternate timeline at all is pure fiction (unless there's such a thing as nonlinear quantum mechanics, but that's a whole other conversation). But if you could do it, there's no reason why you'd cease to exist. That's fiction, not physics.

And you're completely wrong in #79 when you say that Abrams & co. were trying to create a "sense of loss" at the erasure of the old universe. They've said in many, many interviews over the years that they went with the parallel-timeline model, not only because it makes more physical sense, but because they didn't want to erase or invalidate what has come before. Meowleen, don't worry -- the previous series and movies are just as "real" as they ever were.
Gold for Petyr
81. Scavenger
75. Xopher If you're using Quinto and Pine to play 2 characters, what possible reason would there be to have them be the original characters? Because they are such great actors the sublte nuances between the two versions will jump off the film in the midst of the constant split screens and explosions?

I'm not talking telling a story with both versions..I'm talking making a movie. That's 2 entirely different things. If you're going to have nuCrew play 2 versions, you do the Mirror universe. You don't do the "a bit different, but just a bit different" universe.

"So, seen a tribble?" "Yeah, 4 years ago." "Huh, we only first saw them 1 year ago." "Wow, we are SOOOO different."

"How'd you beat Kahn?" "Blew him up with the Genesis Device, you?" "Blew him up with cryrounit-torpedos".

"It's green." "Yep, laddie, It's green."
Gold for Petyr
82. wingracer
@ 71. tankgirl73

Iron oxide (rust) is a common source for black, red and yes even yellow pigments. Should be abundant even on an all red world.
Gold for Petyr
83. SFB
To everyone defending Abrams' decision to cast Cumberbatch (a white man) as Khan instead of a POC:

No.

Just: no.

There is literally no excuse. Not in an industry where POC are grossly underrepresented, where over 80% of leading roles go to white actors (hint: the United States is not 80% white), and where only 1.8% of leading roles go to Asian actors. There is no excuse for taking an iconic role played by a POC, and giving it to a white man. Nope. Not having it.

Yes, Ricardo Montalban was mexican, not south asian, but at least he was a POC. It's gross to act like all brown people are essentially the same, but it's a whole lot worse to give a south asian role to a white actor. Like, those are not comparable offenses. And in one case, Gene Roddenberry *fought* to have a POC playing Khan (the network originally asked that Khan be portrayed as white). You're telling me we can't do better and more progressive casting than Roddeberry did in the 1960s? REALLY?

Moreover, the idea that casting Khan as a POC is problematic because it fits into terrorist tropes doesn't actually pan out, especially if you listen to POC writers who've been covering this issue. As Marissa Sammy of Racebending points out, "In the original Trek, Khan, with his brown skin, was an Übermensch, intellectually and physically perfect, possessed of such charisma and drive that despite his efforts to gain control of the Enterprise, Captain Kirk (and many of the other officers) felt admiration for him. Racebending.com has always pointed out that villains are generally played by people with darker skin, and that’s true … unless the villain is one with intelligence, depth, complexity. One who garners sympathy from the audience, or if not sympathy, then — as from Kirk — grudging admiration. What this new Trek movie tells us, what JJ Abrams is telling us, is that no brown-skinned man can accomplish all that. That only by having Khan played by a white actor can the audience engage with and feel for him, believe that he’s smart and capable and a match for our Enterprise crew."

Having a brown man playing the intelligent, charismatic, capable, brilliant, genetically perfect villain is PROGRESSIVE. It's radical. It's subversive. It goes against everything that casting brown men as mindless terrorists stands for. Brown people don't get to play those parts. So no, it's not okay to pretend that making Khan white is a progressive move.
Moreover, it makes it doubly squicky that Khan is a result of genetic engineering, and is supposedly a perfect human. In the original series, it was again, subversive and radical to propose that the "genetically engineered superman" was a POC, because of white supremacist narratives. Having a white person playing a genetically engineered superhuman just reinforces those narratives. There's nothing subversive about it.

Finally, if JJ Abrams actually was concerned about the brown person = terrorist trope - if he actually cared about how brown men were portrayed in the media - this is possibly the WORST way he could have chosen to avoid or subvert that trope. "Oh, sometimes brown villains are portrayed problematically, so let's ERASE THEM FROM THE NARRATIVE ALTOGETHER."
Brilliant.
If Abrams thought it was too problematic to have Khan be a brown man, he shouldn't have had Khan in the movie AT ALL. Cumberbatch could have been playing a different villain. And then Abrams could have cast a lot of POC in supporting roles (other than the classic ones - Uhura, Sulu etc.) to promote diversity. Or Abrams could have cast Khan as a POC and subverted the trope that all brown men are terrorists by casting OTHER BROWN MEN as interesting, cool characters who weren't terrorists.

Basically: Benedict Cumberbatch playing Khan is not okay. It's whitewashing, it erases a great role for POC and it reinforces white supremacy. The point isn't whether or not Cumberbatch did a good job. The point is that it was wrong in the first place.
Christopher Hatton
84. Xopher
80: Well, that ends any useful conversation you and I might have had. You may regret that at some point, but probably you won't.

81: Oh, I think some good writers could make quite a bit of hay out of the difference. I do agree with you that it's rather subtle, and unlikely to be done as a movie. But just consider how appalled the TOS Spock would be to see the new timeline's Spock pounding the hell out of someone in uncontrollable rage.

But yeah, most of the differences would be too subtle to really make a story. "Sigh. It would have been glorious."
Christopher Hatton
85. Xopher
SFB: a lot of good points there. Do you mind if I link to that comment? This conversation is being held elsewhere, and your comment contains some thoughts I haven't seen before.
Gold for Petyr
86. Scavenger
@84: Oh sure..as a novel, or a comic (DC did a comic with the Movie era crew meeting the TV series crew) you could get a good story out of it (with a good artist who can a) do good likeness and b) do good storytelling)* you could even have nuCrew meet OGCrew with the actors looking like the actors as you would if we could use time travel to make tv shows.

*sadly IDW doesn't seem to employ artists who can do both of those at once.
Christopher Hatton
87. Xopher
Well, I've always believed that it's perfectly valid to have one person script a graphic novel and someone quite else draw it. Not an uncommon practice, in fact. Has it fallen out of fashion? Don't really need one person who can do both, right?

But yeah, there are so many 'sadly's here that it's...well, sad.
Gold for Petyr
88. Alright Then
@83: I agree.

Plus, I don't know of any Indian actors working in American television in the mid '60s, so it makes sense for them to at least get a person of color to play the, for lack of a better word, ethnic Khan. But now there are lots of Indian actors available to Hollywood. And if they're looking to expand their markets to Asia, I hear Bollywood has some popular actors in that region!
Christopher Bennett
89. ChristopherLBennett
@83: Your points about casting equality are well-taken, and I agree it is a problem in the industry. For what it's worth, though, the filmmakers originally looked at actors like Benicio Del Toro, Javier Bardem, Édgar Ramírez, and Jordi Mollà for the role. So it's not as if they defaulted to casting a white person. They were looking for someone of the same ethnicity/cultural background as Montalban, but ultimately went with Cumberbatch instead because his skill as a performer outweighed their ethnic preferences. So while it's regrettable that the film hasn't done anything to increase casting diversity in Hollywood, I think it's unfair to accuse the filmmakers of intentional whitewashing.

@84: I offered you a number of links that you could read to learn more about the subject we were discussing. I don't see why you'd interpret that as shutting down the discussion. If you feel it necessary to shut it down for whatever reason, then there's nothing I can do about that.

@88: I don't know about male actors, but I recently saw a 1965 Man from UNCLE episode featuring an Indian actress named Kamala Devi. I was rather sad for her, seeing her surrounded by a bunch of white actors in unconvincing brownface in a story perpetuating the worst kinds of colonialist assumptions about traditional Indian culture being a dying, violent tradition that was rightly being replaced by Western modernity.
Gold for Petyr
90. surly
The problem with this movie: destruction of the "essence" of the main characters. Spock is a fat-faced crybaby (Cumberbatch would have made a wonderful Spock), Kirk is all id -- it's as if a five year old were given command of the Enterprise.

What I mean about Spock is this: his face is too mobile; he gives in to emotion too freely, easily, and willingly; the open affair with Uhura is completely against his character. A tortured interest that he fights? That would have been interesting and more "Spockian."

Kirk. He has no command abilities and no discipline. In the original series he did -- he just often fought against it. A subtle, but important, difference.

I enjoyed the movie, but I enjoyed it most when Cumberbatch was on screen.
Gold for Petyr
91. Westin Lee
Keith, thanks for the fair look at the movie from an expert's perspective. It's making me rethink my own negative reaction to every plot twist and homage in the film. At first I thought it was me reacting badly to the callbacks to Wrath of Khan and how badly they were handled. Then for a bit I thought I was down on it as a storyteller - it's a pretty messy story, and extremely stupid.

Now I'm starting to think I was just disappointed because, for all its flaws, I really loved the 2009 movie, and this is a wildly underwhelming followup. I loved that they'd seemed to nail these characters in a ridiculous blockbuster setting and it was fun and poignant. This one...not nearly as fun.
Christopher Hatton
92. Xopher
89: You know perfectly well that it was your insulting phrasing I was objecting to. And as you're a writer I can assume you didn't do it out of clumsiness.
Bridget McGovern
94. BMcGovern
Xopher and Christopher Bennett: Please stop bickering. Clearly, the two of you have problems communicating--no need to delve into that any further. If you really feel the need to address one another, person to person (in a non-abusive way), we have shoutboxes for registered users, if either of you care to use them. No need to respond, here, and further muddle the thread--just move on. Thank you!
Gold for Petyr
93. Virus348
Dam I'm glad I dont have all the know it all of ToS, but hell even after learning all that i have tonight I still like the movie. But then again... alternate timeline or reality whatever it is open up your minds ppl and try not to be so fickle you may be happier lol
Gold for Petyr
95. No More Lens Flares
The only good thing about McCoy not thinking to use the magic blood already on board is that it forced them to take Khan alive. One of the recurring elements I hate most about nearly all ST movies in full action-movie mode is the needless death of villains that would have been spared in any ST television series but whose deaths seem to be mandated in the movies. I'm quite happy about Bones' momentary amnesia in this case.

On the subject of lens flares, while they were all over the place in STID (did no one realize the acronym was one letter removed from 'sexually-transmitted disease'? Typical Abrams' foresight), the absolute worse instance occurred during Alice Eve's big scene in which she entreated Peter Weller to call off his attack. The lens flare is so bad it OBSCURES HER FACE IN A CLOSE-UP. This is egregiously bad form, and something you would expect any second-year film student to steer clear of. But not our J.J. -- he just barrels merrily along with his bizarre visual tics, with no one to stop him. Perhaps he is the ideal choice to follow George Lucas on the SW films after all.
Heather Dunham
96. tankgirl73
If going "back in time" cannot change your own timeline, by definition (according to the quantum stuff), then all bad guys who try to go back in time to change the future are wasting their time.

Nero created this new timeline when he did his thing, but it didn't change the 'prime' timeline, because you can't "erase" history. You could say he didn't go back in time at all, but slipped into a parallel universe created by his own actions.

What would that mean to the prime universe, then? That Nero just disappeared? And how does that quantum theory/analysis of time travel jibe with First Contact, where the Earth clearly was shown to become borgified in the prime universe? Does the time-travel-is-parallel-universes analysis mesh with other instances of time travel in Trek canon?

Most other cases of Trek time travel are of the "closed loop" variety... Scotty didn't change the past because the guy was (presumably) the inventor of transparent aluminum. Data's head was found in the cave because he had "already" gone back in time. There was no changing of history -- the timeline unfolded with the time travel already in place. It's like stuff in Doctor Who, or even in Harry Potter -- you know what's going to happen, because it already happened... you're just at a different point in your own personal timeline.

But Nero succeeded in changing things. No closed loop. His change is "impossible" since it means he would never come to be in the first place, an unresolvable paradox without parallel universe. So... by what means does one differentiate, when you're going to travel in time, whether you're going into your own timeline (and fulfilling your personal future as a past which already happened), or hopping into an alternate one?
Gold for Petyr
97. davidmarcus
I think Khan's real revenge took this long to come to fruition. Wrath of Khan was a great movie, but only really worked because of all the TV show had set up and that the characters were at a certain place in their lives. Its popularity, for better or worse, is why we now have Into Darkness -- which, to be honest, I actually rather enjoyed. The reason I prefer Trek toWars is character, and these bright, young things do an admirable job with their characters thanks in large part to their predecessors. The very first Star Trek movie (remember V'ger?) seems more like Trek to me, but it was deemed unsuccessful just as this one seems to be a box office disappointment (opening with a paltry 70 million) so maybe we will have a return to exploration in the next Star Trek movie -- or has Khan won?
Christopher Hatton
98. Xopher
BMcGovern: No problem here. I didn't know about the Shout Boxes, but I feel no need to use one at the moment.

NMLF 95: Sexually Transmitted Infectious Disease.

And yeah, the lens flares drove me nucking futs.
Christopher Bennett
99. ChristopherLBennett
@96: See what I said above in post #80 about timelines reconverging. I used this idea in my novel Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock as a way to reconcile the fanciful notion of timelines being "overwritten" with a more grounded physical reality. The problem is, so much time-travel fiction has perpetuated the fantasy version that most people think it's what's "supposed" to happen and see a more scientifically accurate version as "wrong."

@97: Contrary to popular belief, ST:TMP was not unsuccessful at the box office. Corrected for inflation, it's the only Trek movie that made more money than the 2009 film -- although, granted, that was a time when movies stayed in theaters for many months and thus had more time to make money.
Marie Veek
100. SlackerSpice
@89: So, on the one hand, they were (sorta kinda) looking, but on the other, they still defaulted to another white guy. Not intentionally, maybe, but the end result is still whitewashing.

Color me unimpressed. And having flashbacks to The Last Airbender.
Gold for Petyr
101. weaselsniff
Listen, I get the whitewash complaint. I do find it valid. I think it was just lazy of JJ to use Cumberpatch, great actor he is. But I think we too easily gloss over the fact that Montalban was Mexican...playing an Indian. I can't believe that today's uber politically correct culture would not think that is very racist (ie "They all look the same").

Also, let's please remember one other thing. Khan Noonien Singh does not exist. He never existed in real life. He is not a historical figure who's ethnicity was inconvenient and changed...much like how many pictures of Jesus show a white man. The ONLY reason he was MexiIndian in Space Seed was some writers (who were probably white) wrote him so, OR because they really wanted to use Montalban and decided on an ethnic name to go along with.

Does anyone know any backstory on Montalban's casting
Christopher Hatton
102. Xopher
101: I've heard that there was considerable resistance to using an actor of color in that role, but I don't know any details and haven't seen the sources myself. I think Roddenberry must have insisted.
Gold for Petyr
103. ChrisF
I am still slightly confused by one thing...shouldn't there technically be 73 photon torpedos: the 72 that were foisted onto the Enterprise plus the one that Khan may end up sleeping in by the end of the movie?
Keith DeCandido
104. krad
Quoth Christopher: "To be honest, I didn't notice a single lens flare this time."

Then I question whether or not you even saw the movie. *laughs* Seriously, they were all over the damn place, just like last time....

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
John C. Bunnell
105. JohnCBunnell
#103: Zero torpedoes, seventy-two cryotubes. Recall that Spock -- as Khan asked -- let Khan transport the torpedoes over to the dreadnought, after which there was a dreadnought-shattering KABOOM!!. But we also learn shortly thereafter that McCoy had held onto the 72 cryotubes and their sleeping denizens, because Spock isn't that cruel.

(Although you're right, they do have to pull one more cryotube out of storage in order to stuff Khan into it....)
Gold for Petyr
106. Furr
Simple fact is - this isn't Star Trek, whatever it says on the label; I won't be wasting my time or money on seeing it. The 2009 film wasn't Star Trek either, frankly. I dearly, dearly hope that Jar-Jar Abrams will get so wrapped up in That Other Franchise that he never comes anywhere near Star Trek again.
Gold for Petyr
107. K Trekkie
Enjoyed the movie, or at least the experience of it, the FX were great and I enjoyed the acting. All that being said I can't stop thinking about the many things that don't even make internal sense within the movie itself not to mention the broader Star Trek universe.

- Chekov becomes Chief Engineer because he was interning with Scotty or something. Is there no engineering dept on the ship? Also what's up with Scotty's friend? Is he a crew member? Did he also resign his commission?

- Khan literally transports from Earth to Kronos (a planet which should be 100s if not 1000s of light years away.) Is this what transwarp transporters can do? Why does the federation even need starships any more if they can instantly transport from one planet to another across the galaxy? Also transporters are completely inconsistent in the movie from volcanos making them not work right to not being able to separate McCoy from a torpedo to not being able to lock onto Khan because he is moving, but being able to beam down Uhura onto that same moving vehicle. Essentially it is a lazy plot device that only works as the plot demands it in any given scene.

-Instant communication (transwarp again?) between Kirk in the neutral zone/Kronos orbit(?) and Scotty in a bar on Earth.

- Scotty sneaking into the the super secret base with the Vengeance. How did that work? Why did he expect it to work? Do they literally have no security at the secret illegal base?

- Do Starfleet or the Klingon empire have other starships? Space battles were fought near both planets and no one came to see what was going on. And how is the "edge of the neutral zone" close enough to launch a torpedo at the Klingon home world. Is the neutral zone supposed to be literally in their star system? I feel like with the defenses or lack there of that we see on both Earth and Kronos either planet could easily conquer the other. It also seems like it takes a matter of minutes to warp from one to the other or an instant to transport there…very internally confusing.

- Do shields not work at all in the Abramverse? All they seem to do is occasionally prevent beaming, but I've never seen a phaser or photon torpedo be stopped by one. They also don't stop people flying through space as they jump from ship to ship. Speaking of photon torpedos...I would think that 72 photon torpedos exploding at once inside of a ship would have completely destroyed the Vengeance.

- Is Kirk the last captain and also possibly the highest ranking member of Starfleet left after the earlier meeting attack and the Vengeance crushing SF HQ? Also remember that in the last movie (1 year ago in-universe) Kirk was rapidly promoted (an understatement) from 3rd year cadet to captain of the flagship...because he likes to take risks or is destined for greatness or something. So basically a recent "graduate" with almost very little acutal experience in space or on starships is one of starfleets highest if not the highest remaining officer. Wha?

- Kirk "death" and Spock screaming…terrible moment…I couldn't appreciate the scene for itself because it felt empty, rushed, and surrounded by too much action. The scream also seemed very un-spocklike.

Anyway it was enjoyable as a movie but it could have been so much more. I hope this inspires another trek tv series that is able to channel some of the best from DS9 and TNG. Here's hoping...
Gold for Petyr
108. TK1123
I enjoyed myself much more than in the 2009 movie, which I think can largely be traced to this being much closer to actually being Star Trek- that is, trying to solve problems in the best possible fashion with a bunch of fierce friends on the bleeding ragged edge of a better future in the great starry beyond. The 2009 movie was essentially one of the middle Harry Potter movies- a Very Special Boy with Dead Parents joins the family business, is not especially good at it, and succeeds at defeating a sneering villain with seemingly Manichean motivations with the help of much smarter friends and luck, because, well, Destiny. It's what we ought to have expected when JJ came out and said that he was a Lucas brat and that Trek always seemed too philosophical and talky- which I thought was the whole bloody point. It had sizzle, and a nice cold open, and was pretty dumb.

So, this outting was progress in that sense. The whole opening would actually has made a decent Star Trek episode- I would hope for a better rationale for the swimming (there's not line of sight from geosynchronous orbit? If you can't beam from the water anyway, why aren't you doing the whole bit with shuttles?) and the ice bomb was silly (what is it with rapid freezing effects lately? They don't look that cool, and are always scientifically awkward. They could have drilled other lava vents with super torpedoes or something. But whatever,) but the setup was at least Trek- a moral knot between the lives of the the natives, the crew, and the debatable purpose and meaning of the Prime Directive. Granted, then they flew away and turned it into a footnote, but they at least paid attention to the concept. John Khan is ten times more interesting than Nero- pragmatic, driven by sensible desires- though Nero set the bar at the bottom of a midocean trench. In the end, the refutation of Starfleet as a paranoid military instead of a liberal civil service is in keeping the better Trek moments.

But, once again, it's a footnote. The movie was rife with what felt like fan appeasement footnotes instead of any actual contemplation. Khan being the villain was itself a footnote- he didn't have any characteristics in common with his previous incarnations, who were outgoing, charismatic, romantic figures, while this was an (admittedly watchable) Evil Sherlock, in the chilly and interchangeable Bond villain mode, and his Khan details- being both superior and a relic in age and temperment- literally occupied a single line of dialogue, and after being pragmatic he proceeds to go villain crazy and kill the Enterprise *after* they held up their end of the deal. They gave us Harvey Mudd's ship but didn't give us a reason why Khan ran to Klingon Central Station. They gave us a bioengineered Wolverine/Napoleon and then had him run a Manhattan Project instead of leading soldiers, fighting battles, or breeding super-cousins. They missed the mark on Kirk, too- his defining characteristic isn't being a loose cannon, it's being cagey- bluffing and being a dickhead aren't the same. And, sorry Christopher Bennet, taking another frosty supersoldier out of storage in the same sentence as pointing out they need Khan alive for his mega-platelets can't be papered over without some business on screen- and the bluescreen fisticuffs it primarily worked to enable were achingly dull, in a Trek incarnation that's been predicated on excitement. The meeting setting up the manhunt was in serious need of discussing what "John Harrison" was doing and why he was off the chain, young Carol Marcus isn't a tenth as interesting as her savvy forbear (descendant?,) and while I'm totally thrilled that there's a minority woman in the holy trinity now, this Uhura doesn't have the balance provided by Bones of concern for the common good, sarcasm, and a sense for the perverse- she mostly likes Spock.

And, as I read elsewhere, Wrath of Khan quoted Melville and Dickens and this movie quotes Wrath of Khan- one of those looks like elevating the medium and the other looks like risk-averse cribbing and a source of genre fatigue. There's no quiet, no speeches, and no stakes.

I had fun. I was expecting worse. I'll probably be able to quote it verbatim in not long. But it mostly makes me want real, thinking Trek, probably on cable where it can just be the niche serial it always wanted to be.
Chris Nelly
109. Aeryl
Yes, casting a Mexican as an Indian is bad form, and it would have remained so if Abrams had done what he first wished to do, and that was cast another Mexican actor to play Khan.

Just because what happened previously wasn't progressive by our standards now is no excuse to do worse now than they did then.

In addition, it really bugs me that Khan was given as much sympathy in this movie as he was in Space Seed, but denied in Wrath, and WE JUST CAN'T cast a brown guy to play a sympathetic villain.
Rich Bennett
110. Neuralnet
I am with all of you that there are so many little things that bug me about this movie. But, it is still one of the better Star Trek movies... better than at least half of the other movies I think.
Gold for Petyr
111. Colin R
Ricardo Montalban was the son of Spaniards--I don't know how he self-identified, but typically he'd be considered white hispanic rather than brown. Sikhism is a religion, not an ethnicity; of course, the vast majority of Sikhs are of Indian descent, but there are converts from other ethnicities. It's not clear to me that there's a history of the character being Indian though. I think it's a shame that they didn't bother exploring Khan's identity at all, and I don't doubt that some orientalism went into the creation of his character in the first place; it's hard to believe that the name 'Khan' didn't get chosen simply because it sounded like a 'savage' name. But I do think it's important to keep some perspective--I don't think choosing Cumberbatch is anything but a lateral move in the offense-o-meter. It would definitely have been more satisfying if they had picked a south asian actor though.

Given that Khan is a one-off villain and that his identity is sort of nonsense, I'm more concerned with how marginalized the recurring minority characters are. Sulu basically gets one scene; Uhura gets several, but her role is awful. And let's face it, there have really only been two women with any significant part in two movies. Even TOS had three recurring women characters. It didn't respect them, but they were there.
Steven Halter
112. stevenhalter
This was a fun movie that doesn't bear thinking about too much. In other words the plot was a fairly typical Hollywood outing. The special effects were pretty but really didn't behave like objects in space (the smoke was obviously not in a zero g vacuum).
The acting was good. I haven't watched the Cumberbatch Sherlock and so am not apt to think he stole the show. Khan is a good villan and I would guess this won't be the last we see of that group.
I thought the characterizations of the roles were also well done. Spock is a bit too human for my taste, but that seems to be the general direction they are taking him. It was a good ride. Hopefully they now can get to a really well plotted film next now that the intros are all done.
Christopher Bennett
113. ChristopherLBennett
@104: I'll take your word that the lens flares were there, but I wasn't looking for them, and they didn't stand out enough to distract me.

@111: In the original draft of "Space Seed," the villain's name was Harold Ericsson, playing much more into the Nordic-superman stereotype. (Indeed, Roberto Orci has revealed on Trekmovie.com that Khan's pseudonym in this movie was scripted and filmed as Ericsson, but in post-production they decided it was too much of a spoiler for savvy Trekkers and redubbed it as Harrison.) So changing it to Khan and making the other supermen multiethnic was actually a racially progressive step. Showing that people other than whites could be genetically superior, that successfully improving the breed would require diversity rather than "Aryan" purity, was a potent and subversive message for the day. (And then TWOK completely reversed that by casting the entire group besides Montalban as a bunch of blond Nordic types!)
Gold for Petyr
114. CPRoark
Reading through the criticisms, I think many are valid. As I posted earlier, they didn't bother me as much as some. While I would have preferred at totally new villian, I thought the way Kahn was handled was clever in most places.

The one criticism I don't understand (here and elsewhere) is the idea that this isn't "Star Trek" because it's not an exploration story or doesn't, in some way, speak to a moral message.

To the latter critique, I thought the message of "reactionary militarisim" to be very clear and timely, and in line with other messages Star Trek has provided.

To the complaint of no exploration: While characters themselves often complain that they aren't explorers anymore (Scotty here, JLP in Insurrection), how much exploring have we actually seen on screen?
TMP: Spock "explores" V'Ger, but only to save Earth.
TWK: Primarily a vengence story (Moby Dick)
TSS: Essentially a rescue operation
TVH: Exploring 1986? Again, the crew saves Earth.
TFF: The crew is forced to explore the Great Barrier/God
TUC: Political thriller
GEN: Crew saves another planet (not Earth)
FC: More Moby Dick
INS: Crew saves a people/planet
NEM: Crew saves Earth from mad man
2009: Crew save Earth from another mad man
I know the series and fiction have dealt much more with exploration, but I don't think the movies have. Even most episodes of TOS can be summed up by a single line (like a Friends episode): The one with the crazy satellite, the one in a western town, the one with silicon monster, etc.

I don't mean to downplay the importance of TOS, but I think collectively we have this vision of Star Trek being about exploring the frontiers of space, when in reality, it just doesn't happen on the big screen--or that much on the little screen. I'd guess Voyager did the most true exploring, and to not very effective results. In fact, the movies that seem most like ST episodes (I, V, INS) are some of the least liked.

If we are saying a Star Trek movie needs an exploration of a human problem, the message here was timely and meaninful enough for me.

Again, I'm not calling anyone out in particular; and I think there are problems with the movie. I wished it had slowed down at points, and I was waiting for some Melville quotes.

But I was totally engrossed with this film the entire time and enjoyed it more than 2009. And I think it is as much "Star Trek" as anything else we've seen in the last 20 years.

Respectfully,
CPRoark

PS: As for the lens flares: This hasn't bothered me in either film. It's a technique, and in the future may be as odd as the crazy zooming from the 60s-70s (see Butch Cassidy). However, the one time I did notice it was the aforementioned close-up of Alice Eve. However...I even thought this moment worked. It gave some movement to an otherwise static moment, sort of like cresscendos in long tones in music. Again, this is subjective, and I can see how it is bothersome to people.
Gold for Petyr
115. Colin R
@114

It's hard to take the anti-militarism message terribly seriously, because this is a movie that uses pretty brutal violence not to shock and appall, but to excite the audience. Scores of people are killed, without much impact; meanwhile we're invited to revel in both Kirk and Spock pointlessly pummelling Khan. The pummelling doesn't demonstrate how tough Khan is--we already knew that when he single-handedly took down a klingon patrol. It's there to titillate and drench the audience in their testosterone.
Gold for Petyr
116. CPRoark
@155:

Valid points. It would be nice to see what the lasting effects of the destruction of San Fransisco were. But perhaps, in our time, the act itself speaks loudly enough; we've witnessed enough events of similar magnitude in real life. That said, it does skirt a fine line between trivializing this (albeit fictional) event and making impactful.

As for the pummelling of Khan, this isn't new. Kirk had a long fist fight with Kruge, for no real reason other than for entertainment. Of course, (I think) he tries to save him until he falls off the planet.
Gold for Petyr
117. DianeB
Well, guys, I thought it was a wonderful romp, and now that I'm becoming more familiar and comfortable with this "new" Enterprise crew, I'm liking them more and more. No complaints; I had a ball watching this one.

I'm with Keith on their being no need for 3D.
Gold for Petyr
118. MarvE
Ok, when the Enterprise was warping to earth and the other ship caught up to it and busted it's engines, they were 200k miles short of Earth. Then when they ignite the torpedos, the Vengeance and the Enterprise fall to Earth. I thought Earth was 200k miles away from earth. And, with gravity in space, can you "fall"? Just sayin.
Gold for Petyr
119. Meowleen
@79 Xopher & 80 CLBennett:
Thank you for your comments. I remember watching all of the 1st run episodes in the 60's and I am glad you understand my attachment. I always thought of Star Trek as real since, after all, I was watching LIVE moon landings and Skylab telecasts. It is great to be able to share Trekdom with people who know and care.
Chris Nelly
120. Aeryl
@118, You could fall into a deteriorating cyclical orbit that would end with an impact on Earth, but no, you couldn't "fall".

This is like the sinking chunks of the polar ice caps in GI Joe.
Christopher Bennett
121. ChristopherLBennett
118: Of course you can fall. Falling is simply being attracted toward the gravity of a nearby body. There absolutely is gravity in space; there just isn't weight. Weight is the result of being pulled by gravity against something that resists that pull, something that isn't falling along with you, like the ground or the rear wall of a thrusting rocket. The more accurate term for weightlessness is free fall, meaning that you and the ship you're in are falling at the same rate and so you don't get pressed against its floor.

But if you're in a spacecraft that isn't under thrust, your ship will be pulled toward the strongest nearby massive object. There is no limit to the range of a planet's gravitational pull; it just gets weaker with the inverse square of the distance (so at 10 times the distance it's 100 times weaker, at 1000 times the distance it's a million times weaker, etc.).

When you're in orbit of a planet, or when your planet is in orbit of a star, you are in fact falling toward it. You're just falling sideways fast enough that your path's curvature matches that of the planet surface, so that it curves away from you at the same rate you curve toward it. But if you weren't moving sideways relative to a planet, if you came out of warp at relative rest to it, and if you were close enough that its gravity was the dominant force exerted on you, then yes, you would fall essentially straight toward it. If you were moving relative to it (which is far more likely), then you'd end up in a curving path which, depending on your velocity, could spiral in to impact, go into an irregular orbit, or just loop around onto a different path.

Now, 200,000 kilometers is a bit over half the distance from the Moon to Earth, so it's close enough that the Earth's gravity would be the dominant external force acting on a ship in that position. And since they were heading toward Earth before they were knocked out of warp, it's possible they were drifting in that direction and getting closer, which would've made them fall faster.
Gold for Petyr
122. Zuriel Seven
Keith: Huge fan. Love your Trek work!
Gold for Petyr
123. darkbat
I started reading the reviews, never even made it to the comments. First of all in the story, Kirk was made to seem like a rule breaker. Yes, they did make a faux pas about breaking the directive concerning the volcano and Spock going in to save the race. Was there a Starfleet directive that might have pertained to that? It would have helped if they clarified that. But Kirk breaking directives to save others or for whatever reasons clearly labels him as a stallion for lack of better words. Not a rebel, as he clearly tries to maintain Starfleet directives and protocols, however he has been known to bend or reinterpret them often in the past.

So, that being said. They did kind of poorly set the scene for Kirk being used by Admiral Marcus as a hothead, one who breaks rules or a rebel as you would, to suit the goals of Marcus to set someone up for starting a war. Therefore the preamble to the movie however clumsy did fit the story and was plausible at the least.

That in the past, the rest of the movie followed a nice story with a nod towards the favorited 1982 movie Star Trek II-Wrath of Khan with a reversal of roles with Kirk vs Spock. Where Kirk sacrifices his life to save the ship compared to Spock in the '82 movie.

From someone who enjoyed Star Trek as the series back in the 60's, yes meaning I was watching new episodes in Prime Time. It was never created as a visually explosive sci-fi action movie like Star Wars was, lol, they just didn't have the special effects then. Being creative and relying more on story and character interaction it can never be modernized but anything other than was it was originally created as.

Star Trek has and will always be the intellectual Sci-fi fan favorite. As one who read Asimov, Bradbury, Cook and many of the early Sci-fi authors. It will always be about the story, characters, atmosphere and mostly the science than it can ever be about the visual effects. We've always created the visuals from out minds.

If you look to something concerning science, fiction, fantasy or all combines only for the visual stimulation, then you are not one to appreciate the genre.
James Hogan
124. Sonofthunder
Wow, quite a few comments here! I saw this last Thursday night a with a couple friends - we all much enjoyed this movie. One of my friends was a self-avowed "non-geek" who had only a week before seen the 2009 movie and knows very little about Trek. He came out of it with high praise...and this praise matched my own! I've been a long Trek fan(watched TOS at home with my family growing up) and enjoyed *most* of the Trek movies. Thankfully I was relatively unspoiled for this one, so was quite pleased and surprised when Khan was revealed. I was a bit taken aback by how liberally this movie lifted from TWoK, but didn't necessarily mind. Me and my friend also both saw the "blood resurrection" coming from a mile away. As to the characters themselves, I thought the actors did an outstanding job - both me and my other Trek friend commented afterwards how Shatneresque Pine was becoming - he really stole the show, in my opinion. Well of course Cumberbatch was awesome as well, but I was expecting him to perform well, so no surprises there. Quinto was good, yes, but he's still not my favorite. Probably because he doesn't feel quite as "Spock-like" as I would like. Still, that's always going to be the problem with playing established characters. One more comment before I end this already-too-long post. I do like seeing the differences between these characters and the original characters. It really was a brilliant move to "change the universe" in which these characters live, because any differences can be contributed to multiple factors(destruction of Vulcan = Spock more emotional, more human; Kirk's father being dead = Kirk having less respect for authority, even more of a maverick). Also, having the Khan storyline placed early on(before Space Seed, as it were) enables things to play out differently in a good way. We get to see Khan in his prime, young and brilliant and vengeful but before he becomes bitter and tortured by grief and despair. Kirk's sacrifice will now forever define his relationship with "his ship" and "his crew". He needed that moment. Whereas the TWoK was painting on an old canvas with established relationships, reflecting on the past("It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."), this movie is building a foundation, setting up the ties that will bind these characters closer together. Their experiences with Khan and rogue Marcus have rattled them, but made them stronger and more fit for deep space exploration, to boldly go where no man has gone before. We'll see where the series goes from here, but I have hopes. Final words - great movie. I want to see it again.
Gold for Petyr
125. build6
I was amused that it was Spock going "Khaaaaaaaannnnn" this time around (I'm sure that's what JJ Abrams intended re: audience members who have some slight familiarity with TWoK)

Re: ethnicity of Khan - per the earlier comment about mixed ethnicity. Also, it wasn't until his real name was actually stated that I knew this was a "Khan movie" - I'm thinking this was also intentional. If they'd cast an actual Indian actor etc. then there wouldn't have been even mild surprise. I'm sure there are many people who "guessed" it was Khan (that bit where he singlehandedly wiped out most of the Klingons = "superhuman" ~= Khan) but for people who've avoided spoilers etc. prior to the movie it was nice having *some* mystery as to what's what.

3D - I liked when they were shot into space to board the other ship. That use of 3D felt pretty worthwhile, there.

Agree about the tribble being forced -

@46 - your suggestion about using the terminal-illness daughter was spot on, it would've worked much better. Once they had that bit with the tribble, everyone knew there'd be a heroic death that doesn't interfere with actor contract renewal.
Christopher Bennett
126. ChristopherLBennett
@125: Actually it's been kind of an open secret that it was Khan for years now. The speculations that Khan would be the villain started before the script was even written, based on the tortured logic that if it was the second film in the new series, it should have the same villain as the previous second film. Which was a pretty tenuous rationale, but then we started getting rumors that it would be Khan, and those rumors just wouldn't die. Indeed, the reason I was convinced it wouldn't be Khan was because I couldn't believe the filmmakers would go to such great lengths to keep a "secret" when that secret was exactly what all of fandom already expected. Although your account tells me that at least some people were unaware of the rumors, so it worked for you the way the filmmakers intended.
Gold for Petyr
127. build6
yeah I deliberately avoided spoilers - I can't be the only one who does that?

it sucks going into a movie already knowing what's going to happen.
Chris Nelly
128. Aeryl
@127, I find it does nothing to detract from my enjoyment of a story. But I can recognize that's not the case with everyone. For me, then tension remains in not knowing to HOW or WHY, even if I know the WHAT.

Like I started watching Buffy in season 6, so I already knew Angel lost his soul after sex. But I was still gripped by the story.

It was spoilers that led me to finally start reading A Song of Ice and Fire, because I got spoiled for something in Storm or Swords, and couldn't wait til the show aired to see what happened next(and no, it's wasn't THE BIG THING is SoS that I was spoiled for, still blown away when THAT happened).
Marcus W
129. toryx
I'd been hoping desperately that it wouldn't be Khan despite all the rumors and suggestions. When it reached the point in the movie when there could no longer be any question (long before he actually introduced himself) I was crushed to find that the rumors were true all along.

So open secret or not, I think it was more than possible to be surprised. Especially since they were so careful to keep from stating the truth outright.
Gold for Petyr
130. Tesh
The simple fact that it *was* Khan annoys me. If they are going to go to the trouble of remolding the universe, they should at least tell new stories. I think this Section 31 Augment story would have been *better* without Khan, as his presence serves to tease long time Trek fans while poking them in the eye.

Then again, I'm not a fan of reboots. I think they should have picked up a new Trek crew. Diane Carey's Challenger crew would have been great for a TOS-era romp, if they wanted to stick to that Trek period.
Christopher Bennett
131. ChristopherLBennett
@129: I felt much the same way -- I didn't want it to be Khan, for several reasons including the racial issues discussed above. But I felt they handled it in a way that made it mostly acceptable. They revealed his true identity in act 2, so it wasn't like the whole story revolved around the poorly kept "secret." And they found something new and different to do with the character, instead of just rehashing one of his previous two stories (let's leave that warp-core scene aside). The idea of Section 31 finding Khan's people and trying to use them as a secret weapon against the Klingons was an interesting one, and I felt the film gave Khan more nuance and sympathetic qualities than he was granted in his previous appearances. And it was a nice twist to see him fighting alongside Kirk instead of against him.

And come to think of it... if the villain here hadn't been Khan, then we'd have to put up with 2-4 more years of fans going, So when are they gonna do Khan? Do you think Khan will be the bad guy next time? Ooh, I bet it's Khan. No, they can't do Khan, they should do something new! And so on. Let's face it, Khan is the one really prominent recurring villain in TOS. Like Professor Moriarty, he's gained an importance in popular awareness that outstrips his actual prominence in the series. So fans were always going to be speculating about his inclusion. At least getting Khan out of the way now spares us from having to endure any further speculations and rumors about Khan, and hopefully fandom can finally find something new to talk about. (Although more likely they'll just spend the next few years rehashing the same arguments about how this movie screwed Khan up, or speculating about whether he'll be back for the sequel.)
Gold for Petyr
132. Mark James
Seen it, saw it, was bored to tears with it.

Here's the story line. A 'terrorist' let loose in America and as usual, the creation of the American government and military themselves. Chase into an outer space Afghanistan. Run about space chasing the 22nd century’s version of Bin Laden. Smash up a number of city buildings with an aircraft and then capture the baddie and freeze him just like Dr Evil in 'The spy who shagged me'. Honestly..that's it!! Don't waste your time, money and intellect on such nonsense. Hollywood, make something that has some true meaning and purpose regarding advancement and improvement. The zombie and war fest films are just so pathetic!!!!!
Christopher Bennett
133. ChristopherLBennett
@132: Err, I don't think London is part of America, even in the 23rd century.
Gold for Petyr
134. Sleeper99999
I frankly don't understand the handwave argument that the events of the 2009 reboot film haven't "rewritten" the main timeline. I know people like to mention the TNG "Parallels" episode to support this argument, but that episode only deals with the existence of parallel universes, not time travel within a single universe, so it's not really germane. If time travel into the past wouldn't undo the present, then we have to discard FIRST CONTACT, "City on the Edge of Forever," "Year of Hell," "Past Tense," etc., as these stories all show exactly that happening. It's not that timelines are "erased," they're merely "rewritten." Imagine, for example, you take the novel DRACULA, and early on in the narrative you introduce a new character from the 21st century, who travels to Transylvania and frees Jonathan Harker from Dracula's castle right in the beginning of the story. Or who shoots Van Helsing in the head the moment they meet. Now events will proceed on a significantly different new course. The "original" story is now out of continuity, and may be remembered by readers, but can't really be revisited by the author. That's essentially what the new series is, given the mechanics of time travel as presented in STAR TREK before: the history is being rewritten, and given the number of changes which have already cropped up, it seems unlikely that TNG and the rest can possibly still exist without major retroactive amendments and alterations, if they can exist at all.

However, the filmmakers claim that, no, the original series still exists in an "alternate timeline." Since time travel in TREK doesn't split timelines in two, the only way this would work is if the timeline shown in STAR TREK and STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS was NEVER the original timeline, but merely a mostly parallel one with differences here and there (to explain away the different appearances of technology and character backgrounds). In this case, in 2233 a group of "quantum orphans" appeared, Nero and his crew, relics from a timeline which undid itself, and destroyed the Kelvin. Years later, a final quantum orphan appeared, the so-called Spock Prime. These people were from a timeline whose history unfolded such that it created circumstances allowing itself to be rewritten and "undone," and since these people were present at the point of divergence (or adrift in time) they escaped being negated and remain as orphans in a history that's not their own. (See also, the Enterprise caught in the Borg sphere's temporal wake in FIRST CONTACT, among other examples.) They are basically Marty McFlys, without their images disappearing from the Polaroid: they simply materialize, fully formed and with impossible memories of events which never occurred and will never occur (like climbing the steps of Mount Seleya), and live out their lives from that point. From their perspective, they have traveled in time, but from the universe's perspective, they appeared from nowhere, as the narrative of history has now changed.

I don't know if this made sense to anyone, but I feel better having gotten that all off my chest. Thanks everybody! Be sure to tip your waitress.
Christopher Bennett
135. ChristopherLBennett
@134: Actually it's a common misconception that Trek always presented a consistent model of time travel. As with most time-travel fiction, they were making it up as they went along, and different episodes offered inconsistent views. Some episodes, like "City on the Edge of Forever" or "Past Tense," asserted that time travel could "change" or "erase" a timeline. Others, like "Assignment: Earth" or The Voyage Home, showed self-consistent time travel where the actions of the characters in the past were already part of their existing history. And the animated episode "Yesteryear" did, in fact, use a model very much like that of the new movies, in which an alternate timeline created by time travel was presumed to coexist alongside the original. When Spock went back through the Guardian to try to save his life in the past and restore the history he knew, first officer Thelin wished him luck in his timeline, and Spock wished Thelin luck in his own. He wouldn't have said that if he expected Thelin's timeline to cease to exist.

ST is not, and has never been, a single uniform thing. It's too big and diverse for that. It's a melange of different ideas from different creators, some of which contradict one another. Any interpretation of how the universe as a whole operates is going to have to pick and choose among the conflicting messages.

And one of the strengths of fiction is that it isn't immutable. It's all just pretending to begin with, so it's possible to pretend that something you said earlier was wrong and something different is the case instead. Science fiction often updates or discards old assumptions in light of new scientific understanding. The old fiction that portrayed time travel as "erasing" a timeline was bad science. Just because it's constantly used in fiction doesn't mean there's any scientific legitimacy to it; vampires, zombies, and physically impossible car stunts are constantly used in fiction too. The producers of this movie chose to use better science and disregard the old practice -- just as the makers of ST:TMP chose to give the Klingons a more sophisticated makeup design and ignore the "Space Mongol" look from the original series, and as the makers of the 2009 film chose to make 23rd-century technology look more futuristic than the producers of TOS were able to achieve with 1960s resources. Similarly, there's the way Iron Man 3 chose to retcon the Mandarin into something that wasn't a blatant racist stereotype, or the way the Spider-Man and Hulk movies have retconned their superpowers as the result of genetic engineering, nanotech, and the like rather than just radiation. Outdated ideas in fiction get reinterpreted as knowledge and technology advance.

If you want to reconcile those old stories with the more modern and correct understanding, there are ways to do that. One is to assume that the characters in those stories were wrong to believe their timelines had been erased, and that in fact they'd merely been relocated to a different timeline. Another is to conclude that there's more than one possible way for time travel to work. As with most things in physics, the same underlying processes could produce different results in different conditions and contexts. Time travel under certain initial conditions could result in a new timeline that somehow "overwrites" the old, while under different conditions could instead produce a timeline that stably coexists with the original, and under still others could produce a self-consistent causal loop within a single timeline. Star Trek already gives us examples of all three of those, as I've said. And there's no reason they can't all work within that fictional universe, because that's how physics often works. The same physical laws apply everywhere, but their specific effects differ depending on local conditions. So, for instance, a fire will burn very differently in microgravity than it will on a planet's surface, and electricity will behave very differently inside a superconductor than inside an insulator.
Gold for Petyr
136. Sleeper99999
#135: Thank you for your response! Big fan of your writing. (Unless you're someone else, in which case, good choice on your pseudonym.)

I would argue that there is no inconsistency between those episodes; the existence of apparent predestination paradoxes in some instances (i.e. Kirk and crew rescuing whales) does not mean that all time travel falls into that category. In fact, using that example, I think arguments can be made for both sides. 1) It was a predestination paradox (Kirk and crew had ALWAYS suddenly materialized in 1986, but escaped the general notice of the people of that time, and Dr. Gillian Taylor and two whales had always gone missing that year only to reappear 300 years later; 2) it was an alteration to the timeline, resulting in a technically changed future, but the effects were minor enough that the timeline was not significantly changed beyond a minor hiccup or two (power issues on the aircraft carrier Enterprise, some reports about a break-in, incident reports at the hospital, etc.). The biggest issue is the "invention" of transparent aluminum; in the first model, Scotty had always been there to give the formula to its "inventor," and in the second model, the divulgence of that technology by Scotty was close enough to the "original" history that it did not significantly alter events to the point of unrecognizability when they returned to the 23rd century. I personally see the story as the former kind, a predestination paradox, but I concede that it might be a "harmless" or "seamless" altered timeline. After all, if you went back in time a week, moved the furniture around in your house, then returned, you have technically "altered the timeline" and created a history wherein you apparently lived through an experience of finding your house rearranged, were briefly confused, and that was that. No other lasting effects beyond that initial WTF moment when the earlier version of yourself found his sofa in the dining room. But it's still an altered timeline, just one which every other being in the universe won't notice their history has been "changed." (Maybe your coworkers or friends will now receive a weird phone call they didn't originally receive, during which you ask them if they were playing a prank on you. A minor change to history, to be sure.)

As far as "Yesteryear" goes, I took Thelin and Spock's comments to mean that however things turned out, they wished each other well. Since Spock's return to Vulcan's past would almost certainly have no effect on Thelin's childhood, he would presumably grow up to have a similar history, the major change being he would not be posted to the Enterprise. So he would still be around either way.

I think that while these examples exist, they do not pertain to this issue, since Nero's action were neither predestined nor unimportant to the flow of history. This is clearly a story which falls into the FIRST CONTACT/"City on the Edge of Forever" category, a history-changer (or history-killer, depending on your point of view I guess). Again, if we are to believe that the reboot created a brand new timeline, then these kinds of stories should not have occurred as they did. But they did; we see the Enterprise vanish from orbit around the Guardian of Forever planet, and the Earth transformed into a Borg world, because THEIR timeline has been affected. It has been argued that red matter, that magical and completely unexplained plot device, somehow provides for a completely unique form of time travel where the mechanics we've seen in other stories just get thrown out the window. Okay. I would need to see that stated in canon, i.e. on screen. But there's still a problem with that argument, one which seems insurmountable to me: Spock Prime. Spock Prime did not appear at the divergence point with Nero, but decades later. If Nero's appearance split off and created a second timeline from the "main" timeline, then Spock Prime should never have appeared there at all; he should have appeared in the 2255 of the "main" timeline and split off from THERE, creating a THIRD timeline, should he not? But that is not what occurred. He appeared in Nero's "alternate" timeline. The best and most parsimonious explanation for this is that there is no alternate timeline at work here, that Spock and Nero both traveled back in time in the same universe, their own, and their actions have altered the course of history. They are now anomalous entities, echoes (what I call "quantum orphans") of a defunct history which now will not occur. And either they are from the canonical, "real" STAR TREK timeline, i.e. the one whose stories we've been watching for years, or else they hail from a timeline remarkably similar in many ways but different enough to stand out as a seperate continuum, and THAT timeline is the one which has been changed. Since Abrams/Orci/Kurtzman have insisted that the original timeline has not been "wiped out," I choose to accept this second interpretation. Spock Prime is not "the" Spock but a similar man from a parallel universe. (This to me explains away Spock's somewhat uncharacteristic and nonchalant attitude about allowing this new altered timeline to stand without trying to go back and restore things as they once were, something which is well within his capabilities. It can also be used to "explain" why the characters now look different, if someone absolutely needs a canonical explanation for recasting with younger actors, which I don't.)

Sorry to go on at length, again, but when I start talking about time travel stories I turn into Ted Stryker from AIRPLANE.
Gold for Petyr
137. Scal
Regarding the inexplicable emotional response Spock has when Kirk dies, I think I have a clue. It was seemingly thrown in, and was not referred to or really utilized at all in the movie. We know that Pike saw something special in Kirk. He went out of his way, put his career on the line, to give him chance after chance. As he was dying, Spock mind-melded with him. Is it possible that in that meld, Spock saw Kirk as Pike saw him? That Spock took on Pike's opinion on Kirk's potential, his importance? There did seem to be a meaningful look from Spock at Kirk following that meld, but that is the only result I saw from it. But if not that, why include the mind meld in the story at all?
Gold for Petyr
138. Happytoscrap
Not nearly as good as the previous attempt.

The scene where Khan is gunning down Klingon's will strange face piercings and helmets after they fall from spaceships lowered by ropes resembled more of a Rambo type of action movie or even Xerxes and the horde of Persian doofuses from 300.

Way to vicsceral. Not nearly enough intellectual.
Gold for Petyr
139. Happytoscrap
Can anyone explain to me why all of Khan's men were placed inside of the torpedos in the first place?

I never understood that.
Gabriel Ingram
140. Stone_dog
"For all that the magic blood is the stupidest thing ever, at the very least they put that gun on the mantelpiece right there in the early part of the movie, so we know what the deus ex machina will be."

If I am wrong please correct me, but I don't think it's technically deus ex machina if you hang a gun on a mantelpiece. Contrived, cheap, and transparent? Absolutely.
Christopher Bennett
141. ChristopherLBennett
@139: Khan was trying to smuggle his people out inside the torpedoes, which had been slated for disposal as a cancelled project. So it was basically a variant on smuggling someone out in the trash/laundry.

@140: You're correct. A deus ex machina is an arbitrary solution that shows up out of nowhere and has no basis in anything that was previously established in the story.
Gold for Petyr
142. Happytoscrap
@141

Thanks.
Gold for Petyr
143. SueQ
They named a ship 'The Bradbury'. I had a tear in my eye and a smile on my face over that. The rest was a great, rolicking ride of a movie. It was my first 3D movie, as that was the only choice at the local theatre. I hope the next movie won't take 4 years, but I'll be there anyway.
Christopher Bennett
144. ChristopherLBennett
There was a Bradbury mentioned in the novelization of the 2009 movie... although it presumably would've been destroyed at Vulcan.
Alan Brown
145. AlanBrown
I just saw the movie today, and like the first, it was a lot of fun, with a lot of great acting and good character moments, but as folks have pointed out, there are a heck of a lot of things that don't bear close scrutiny.
My wife accidently sent us to the theater at the time of a 3-D showing, which she and I both dislike, and I dislike it even more when Abrahms is involved, because of his penchant for herky jerky camera work, lens flares and other tricks--the combination is just a bit too much for me.
If I remember it correctly, the divergence in history between this and the mainstream Trek universe started within young Jim Kirk's lifetime. But this new universe seems to have far greater divergences, that go back much further, since it also includes:
- A universe where Starfleet gives command of capital ships to the most junior of junior officers? It is no wonder Kirk is headstrong--he is barely old enough to be a full LT, let alone a CAPT.
- A universe where, because of apparent wildly different technologies, Starfleet capital ships are built on planet surfaces, and can submerge like submarines? (And apparently rise from the ocean at the beginning of movies without any hint of engines that involve reaction mass being released, while later in the same movie having apparent reaction-mass engines on their ventral surfaces to keep them aloft?)
- A universe where Klingons can live on a planet that is still habitable, and apparently stable, despite the fact that it has a huge, half-disintigrated moon attached to its side like a giant goiter?
- A universe where Starfleet wears hats borrowed from a Soviet Navy surplus sale? (except for Kirk, possibly to maintain that perfect hair that Scotty found so irritating) And Klingons wear helmets?
- A universe where poor Sulu apparently sits in the captain's chair in his boss's place for an entire year without a break?
Christopher Bennett
146. ChristopherLBennett
@145: Actually the divergence occurred minutes before Kirk was born -- and the stress of the attack probably hastened Winona's labor by a few days, since in this timeline he was born in space rather than Iowa.

"- A universe where Starfleet gives command of capital ships to the most junior of junior officers?"

We've seen similar implausibilities in Prime-universe Trek, like Picard making Wesley a bridge officer, Sisko making Cadet Nog part of the DS9/Defiant command crew, Kirk being given back the Enterprise after saving the Earth in TVH, and just the general conceit of the same crew staying together for decades and precluding any hope of career advancement from junior officers. ST has never presented officer assignments in a realistic way, although admittedly the '09 movie stretched credibility more than most. But the plot of STID, where Kirk bungles due to his recklessness and is removed from command and forced to earn it back again, feels like an admission that the filmmakers made a mistake by making him captain so quickly in the first film. They and we are stuck with it now, but they tried to make the best of it here.

"A universe where, because of apparent wildly different technologies, Starfleet capital ships are built on planet surfaces, and can submerge like submarines?"

In TNG: "Parallels," we saw a shot of Galaxy-class components being assembled on the surface of the Utopia Planitia facility on Mars. And Voyager submerged in "Thirty Days" and the Marvel Comics miniseries Splashdown.


"(And apparently rise from the ocean at the beginning of movies without any hint of engines that involve reaction mass being released, while later in the same movie having apparent reaction-mass engines on their ventral surfaces to keep them aloft?)"

In the latter case, they were badly damaged, so presumably their main propulsion systems were impaired and they needed to resort to backups.

"- A universe where Klingons can live on a planet that is still habitable, and apparently stable, despite the fact that it has a huge, half-disintigrated moon attached to its side like a giant goiter?"

This seems to be the Praxis disaster happening about 35 years early. The Klingon homeworld did survive that event in the Prime universe, though it was touch-and-go and they needed Federation help. Also, in this timeline it may have caused the abandonment of the Ketha Province, considering that the region is not uninhabited in the Prime universe (Martok is from there).


"- A universe where Starfleet wears hats borrowed from a Soviet Navy surplus sale?"

See the scene in Pike's quarters in "The Cage." There's a very similar cap on Pike's desk, clearly the inspiration for these caps.

"And Klingons wear helmets?"

Why not? Romulans wore helmets in TOS, but not subsequently. Clothing styles change.

"- A universe where poor Sulu apparently sits in the captain's chair in his boss's place for an entire year without a break?"

What are you even talking about? The ship was severely damaged. It spent that year in drydock being rebuilt and refitted. (There are differences in the ship as seen at the end, mainly a different impulse engine.)
Alan Brown
147. AlanBrown
@ 146 At least to me, because of the editing, when they cut back to Sulu sitting in the captain's chair at the end, as he had been during the battle, it just felt like no time had passed at all for him, despite the ship being in refit status for a year.
My tongue was in cheek when I wrote my post, but my general point remains valid, I think--that the divergences between this new universe and the previous one are far wider than can be explained by the single change in history portrayed in the 2009 movie.
And, regarding some of your other points, I am glad you are able to demonstrate that there were events in the rest of the series are just as implausible as events in the new movies! ;-)
Christopher Bennett
148. ChristopherLBennett
@147: Naturally, the real reason for the divergences is because it's made by a different set of writers and producers bringing their own interpretation to the concept. But you know what? The same was true for a lot of previous Trek shows and movies. The old universe is full of contradictions and inconsistencies, sometimes on purpose, like when Roddenberry had the Klingons redesigned in TMP and asked fans to accept that they'd always looked that way. The Wrath of Khan is full of continuity holes -- Khan's people are far too young and ethnically uniform, they have movie-era paraphernalia instead of series-era, Khan knows Chekov, Kirk's "never faced death" despite having lost his best friend, his brother, two loves of his life, and his unborn child in TOS, etc. TNG was tacitly a soft reboot of the universe at first, avoiding TOS continuity for the most part and striking its own separate path; it wasn't until later years that fans-turned-producers began working in more nods to past continuity. And so forth.

So there's always been suspension of disbelief required for the pretense that these different works of make-believe fit together into anything like a coherent continuity. There are plenty of contradictions that we choose to ignore or gloss over. Now we have a new incarnation whose inconsistencies are a little easier to explain since it's meant to be an alternate timeline, but there's still the same need for suspension of disbelief and a willingness to handwave.
Gold for Petyr
149. Erik Dercf
Krad I agree this movie was fun but it was not original. It was packed with homages to other films and film makers.
First the opening sequence is ripped right from Speilberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark. Khan crushing Marus' head straight out of Bladerunner. Then the movie heavily takes elements from Star Trek 2 and 6. I enjoyed the film and the actors very much even Pine. But all this talk about which timeline and that timeline make me wish that this squel had explored new trek ground rather than being bogged down by scripting what ifs and switching elements. Watching the movie makes me glad that Abrams is bowing out and will not likely return for a third. I think Paramount will try to mount a third film but I hope CBS takes control of its own rights to TV trek and launchs a new show in the original Trek timeline. Over all it was worth the ticket but it stands on the shoulders of work that came before it and was truely great.
Christopher Bennett
150. ChristopherLBennett
@149: Well, of course Raiders of the Lost Ark was itself heavily derivative of earlier films, particularly a Charlton Heston film called Secret of the Incas. George Lucas built his entire career on homage and pastiche of the works he enjoyed growing up, so I always find it rather bizarre when people complain about others copying Lucas as if he had been the first person in history to use a given trope. Indeed, every work of fiction employs tropes that have been used in previous works -- sometimes as conscious homage, more often just because the various works are all drawing on a common cultural and conceptual vocabulary.

And Abrams will still be producing the third film and will probably have creative oversight of the writing. He just won't direct. Basically he'll have the same role on the third film that he had on Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol.
Alan Brown
151. AlanBrown
@148 Agree with you that some suspension of belief is required whenever entering the cinema, and when you do that, the new movie is quite a fun ride. All the new actors do justice to the characters they portray. There are great moments throughout. I only wish there was a little more attention to the science and technology of it all. Star Trek in Abrahm's hands feels more like science fantasy than science fiction. But then again, space opera lends itself quite well to the big screen. So maybe that is the best direction for the Trek movies to go in.
Christopher Bennett
152. ChristopherLBennett
@151: Trek movies have usually handled science worse than the shows. TWOK had the magic Genesis Device -- a tiny torpedo that not only had the power to transform an entire planet surface in minutes, but that could also, without being programmed to, manufacture a whole planet out of a nebula -- and apparently build a star along with it, or so the film implied. TSFS had magic rapid aging and mystical soul transference. TVH played fast and loose with the causality of time travel. TFF had starships taking 15 minutes to reach the center of the galaxy, not to mention featuring the incredibly stupid and impractical idea of rocket boots. GEN had the fantasy conceit of the Nexus and pretty much ignored the existence of the speed of light (with supernovae's effects being experienced immediately even across parsecs), and INS had magic fountain-of-youth energy.

So it's not new to Abrams; it's been standard practice for Trek movies all along. The simple fact is, movies just aren't a good fit for Star Trek. The stories in that format usually can't be as thoughtful or as complex, and there's too much pressure to do big, wild blockbuster stuff. Of course the shows often fall victim to those problems too, but they have the room to achieve more.
Gold for Petyr
153. Erik Dercf
I'm well aware that there is little that is original and where these guys get there influences. But the homeages made me remember past films watching the movie. It was an exciting film but felt alike like reshoot not reboot. A reshoot I think is only needed for one Star Trek film and that is Nemisis. There are plenty of stories that could be covered and I look forward to seeing who Paramount chooses for the third film but I hope CBS decides to go another route. I do like how plots are recycled in new shows with new crews but I can't say that for this alt timeline. It is a way of telling new stories yes, but this movie changes old ones when I'd like for it cover new ground. If this film is like a marriage where the bride says there needs to be something barrowed , and something blue, and finally something new and I'm guest I don't think this marriage will last for many years. Now the original timeline that is to death do we part. So Into Darkness was a fun ceremony. Cheers all.
Christopher Bennett
154. ChristopherLBennett
@153: I don't get why people keep saying this movie has a recycled plot. It really doesn't. It does things with the character of Khan that neither of his prior stories did. Sure, there is one sequence that's a close parallel of the climax of TWOK, but it's only that one sequence.

In fact, according to a Roberto Orci interview, the plot of the film was conceived without the villain being identified as Khan. Lindelof wanted Khan, but Orci didn't, and the compromise was to come up with a wholly independent plot that wasn't dependent on Trek history, something that could work as a self-contained movie, and then they decided whether they could adjust the Khan character to fit that story.

Which suggests that, given that Lindelof probably won't be involved with the third film, it has a good chance of being a more wholly original story. Although at this point we don't know if Orci will be involved either.
Gold for Petyr
155. Erik Dercf
I hope Mr Orci finishes what he started but I don't have much faith that this alt timeline will bare any lasting fruit. These days we hear about shows that can be put on the big screen and books that could share TV and film space to continue a story on a grand scale. I'm really invested in the original timeline because of all the work done on it. Now this new timeline is a fresh take, but I don't see it going beyond a third movie. I think Lindelof is less suited to writing with a co writer than Orci and I would have prefered if Orci's opinion had prevailed. The past is an archor to the present but it's really better to hull anchor before heading to the future. I don't think this movie recycled a plot I think it borrowed too many elements from other works and still struggles to be something of its own. I liked the performance of the actors even Pine, but for what is worth I hope the people at CBS see a desire by fans to have something that is going to be more lasting and involed like a TV show. I love trek I'm eager for new worlds and characters but while the movies are all thats new on the screen I'll watch those hopeing for more. Once again I would love a reread section on this site of Trek Fiction. Cheers all.
Gold for Petyr
156. c3
while reading the "plot problems" about spock prime showing up again on the bridge screen -in public... i just thought of a better evil scheme for adm marcus...lol

spock prime.. not khan should be the "biggest baddest" threat to control-- in the new jj verse.... hes from the frakkiin future... -- co created the beaming stuff.. which of course makes the vengeance a silly old toy for dispnesing torpedoes... no that the "future guy" who is older spock..is out of the bag....
wouldnt evil starfleet area 31 be all over him?,, locked up in a tantalus room 24/7 with his mind being sucked dry via tech/paid off vulcan area 31 duded left over from pa gem..lol

khan.who cares... spock prime... now hes the one who who should be in need of rescue.... or did i just stumble upon jjtrek111 the search for spock prime?:)

anyhow... maybe one day someome brought up on star wars will make something original.
Gold for Petyr
157. c3
spock prime.... when questioned by spockjj on how he could help with jj khan.?

"hmm.. where would you like me to transbeam a glob of red matter?"

end scene.

i mean how did an unidentified old vulcan get into the starfleet chambers to see jj kirk get his command, or wander around some shuttles... starfleet red shirts really have become the clone troopers of the galaxy...lol this isnt the vulcan youre looking for....lol
Aaron Moss
158. bruceiv
So, I hadn't seen Wrath of Khan the whole way through before I saw this movie, and, after watching it, the rebooted Carol Marcus *really* bugs me. WoK Carol Marcus, though she still likes Kirk, clearly cares about her research more, and is a strong, intelligent, proactive character. ID Carol Marcus spends most of her time on-screen being flirted with or rescued, and, at least the way I read it, in the only scene where she gets to use her purported intelligence (opening up the torpedo), she gives Bones the wrong instructions (trapping his arm inside), and then panics and rips out a bunch of tech at the last second because it might disarm the torpedo and can't make them any less dead (while all the while Bones is hitting her with cheesy pickup lines). The underwear scene was completely and utterly gratuitous as well (at least the green woman in the 2009 movie provided the excuse of Kirk finding out about Nero from Uhara) - my read of her in that scene is basically "You'gve got a reputation - my friend Nurse Chapel (who you obviously don't remember) moved to the other end of the galaxy to get away from you. Oh, and, hey, I'm not wearing any clothes, but don't look, okay?" (she says to James "the T is for Testosterone" Kirk).

That said, I did think the movie was fun, but I really hope they give her character an opportunity to be a little more badass in the next movie (Uhara at least gets to face down a squad of angry Klingons by herself).
Anthony Pero
159. anthonypero
People seem to be confused about what a new timeline means. It doesn't mean that the old time line never happened, or doesn't count. If that was the case, than Spock Prime would be a paradox. He couldn't come from a future that never happened in order to warn NewSpock. This is an "alternate" timeline, which runs parrallel to the original, not in place of. Spock Prime still existing is the proof of that. The place of divergence happened in the first movie.

So, please, no more talk of "so now the characters I loved never even existed, and what they did never happened." Even if this wasn't a fictional universe, of course it did, and is still happening, and if Paramount wanted to, they could do a reunion episode of TNG, taking that timeline out even further.
Christopher Bennett
160. ChristopherLBennett
@159: And of course the Prime timeline is still continuing in monthly novels from Pocket Books, as is an alternate version thereof in the Star Trek Online MMORPG.
Gold for Petyr
161. Talmida
The Section 31 involvement -- brilliant. Even as far back as the "Enterprise" series, they've had their fingers stirring pots up with other races to protect the Federation's interests. Beaming Khan back to Qo'noS (yeah, one tiny detail that irked me was the "anglicized" spelling -- JJ oculd've earned himself a ocuple more fanboy/girl points by spelling it Qo'noS onscreen ) actually made sense if Section 31 was using Khan for information reconnaissance. Plus, there's a precedent for Augments and Klingons to be involved in the same storyline, as well as have Augments beat the crap out of a swarm of Klingons -- check out the Enterprise's two Augment arcs (Borderland-Cold Station 12-The Augments) and (Affliction-Divergence). It's rather weird to think in this alternate timeline, *Enterprise* is the only series that the JJ-verse has to stay consistent with. Maybe the more emotinal Spock got hit with a dose of trellium-D somewhere along the line...

Fangirl wish -- I wish this Khan would've at least mentioned Arik Soong (played by Brent Spiner, thus indirectly referencing Data) in passing. Their view of Augments as being family were VERY close.

One nitpicky Uhura detail: In Into Darkness, she speaks "rusty" but fluent Klingon. In Undiscovered Country, a much older Uhura has to look up Klingon in a book to talk to them through subspace channels. You'd think a good xenolinguist would be fluent in a major enemy's language. In Enterprise, heck, the *first* episode, communications officer Hoshi Sato can parse out a few words immediately.
What happened to the UT?

And if JJ wanted to really mirror the movies, he should've kept Kirk dead until the next movie. Or maybe Spock has Pike's katra and is going to bring him back in the next one? Either way, in most epics, the old wizrd/mentor figure has to die in order for the hero(es) to advance the adventure. That's just a time-honored archetypical device.
Gold for Petyr
162. Talmida
And oh yeah, Section 31 has a "history" of trying to use Augments for their own purposes (Sloan trying to recruit Bashir in DS9, Phlox getting kidnapped so he can clean up the mess that Augment DNA wreaked on the Klingons in ENT ("a stable Klingon Empire is in the best interests of the Federation"), and Ethan Locke/Bashir in the DS9 relaunch novels). So yeah, maybe JJ did do quite a bit of research.
Christopher Bennett
163. ChristopherLBennett
@161: I don't get why some fans have a problem with rendering Qo'noS as Kronos. Is it any worse than rendering Qang as Kang or tlhingan as Klingon? After all, it was called Kronos first; the Qo'noS spelling is a retcon.

As for Spock's emotionalism, look at how emotionally he behaved in the first two pilots (grinning at the Talosian chiming plants, admitting he felt for Gary Mitchell), and keep in mind that this movie's timeframe is about midway between them. I think people sometimes forget that these characters are considerably younger than they were in TOS.
Gold for Petyr
164. tedebayer
Many of you are way overthinking what is a entertaining movie plain and simple, which is the purpose of any flick. I would argue the only thing wrong with this version of Star trek it that it depends to heavily on borrowing from the old Star trek timeline, which, if we can rewrite the history of the future, why not keep it fresh? Just a thought. Being so obsessed on every silly little detail, perhaps it is time to move out of your parents basements lol.
Gold for Petyr
165. porilias
#164 - I think most here are obsessing on every "silly littel detail" not to be critical so much as to have fun with the details. That's what I like to do.

Other comments:
As for the early "bloodwork" clue, I caught it right away too except for one thing: I thought they were going to use it to bring back Pike. I didn't think they'd kill off Kirk then pull a Lazarus :)

Quite honestly, I'm amazed at some of the things you all have pulled out in your research on this movie! I didn't notice most of them but once I read your comments I realized that you are right. How funny. (for instance, the unmoving Tribble)

I was disappointed that Harrison turned out to be Khan afterall. I really wanted him to be a totally new enemy. But, I think they handled it well.

Thanks everyone - great discussion!
Gold for Petyr
166. tortillarat
Just saw the movie today, and I'm glad as hell my tickets were free. This thing is awful, almost on par with Nemesis. Nothing makes sense, the plot is incoherent and all over the place, the character bantering feels forced...the whole thing is a dumbed down version of Trek for stupid people. Plots don't matter anymore, characterization doesn't matter anymore, canon doesn't matter anymore, intelligence and thoughtfulness don't matter anymore, and the sets and props are all designed to appeal to 12-year-old boys. As long as JJ Lens Flare sits in the driver's seat we will never again see Trek actually be Trek.

The one upside here? The product placement (Nokia, Budweiser) from the first Abrams film seems to be gone.
Gold for Petyr
167. Patrick Aquilone
My son and I reviewed this movie at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLIRj10euV8
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168. Scott Vanaller
JJ Abrams completely DESTROYED the storyline. Gene Roddenberry is probably rolling in his grave. a complete embarrassment for trekkies everywhere :(
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170. bhill
And how is it that Pike died? He was to visit Talos IV later and almost got Spoke court martialed...

Remember the butt headed aliens??
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171. bhill
...Spock...sorry..and why did not the warp core breach when the ship plowed into the city..THAT would have been impressive. This whole alternate time line sucks...One of the reasons Roddenbury tried very hard to stay away from it..5 episodes, but nothing got broke...
Gold for Petyr
172. bhill
To state that any Star Trek movie, regardless of it's "form" as just entertainment is bogus. The Star Trek universe was created waaay back in 1968, TNG, DS9 and Voyager stuck and the movies of the late 70's stuck with the premise of the Star Trek that Gene created long ago....The only thing these 2 movies have in common with the REAL Star Trak universe are the names of the characters....Granted, Gene did allow authors of books written in this genre "some" license, but altering the whole timeline...and leaving it broken...like how Vulcan got broken...was a no no....
Gold for Petyr
173. Ed W
Why in all these comments no one has brought up the fact about the crew tumbling about the ship and falling different directions. This bothered me the most out of everything. Artificial gravity on the ship would be in the floor plates. A ship in space has no up and down. So if the ship tumbles the walls and ceiling do not become the floor. You would also think that the artificial gravity wouldn't be 100%, keeping people from falling and having difficulty in climbing (such as his climb to the warp core, better if there was no gravity in there at all.) If you try and say it is beacuse they were so close to Earth that wouldn't wash either as they would have been in orbit or falling. Both of which would have made them weightless.
This total lack of physical reality ruined the whole movie for me. No other of the previous movies deviated so far from physical reality as this one. I would assume this movie was made for the masses and not Star Trek fans, of which I have been since TOS in the 60s.
Gold for Petyr
175. henry a
Having grown up with the Star Trek world, I have a hard time watching these J.J. Abrams "adaptations" of the show. I have to constantly remind myself that these take place in an alternate timeline, because the people we know so very well are so far out of character that you just cringe with disgust. Are the Star Trek fans so desperate that they will watch anything bearing a Starfleet label, even this piece of trash? That was also the problem with Star Trek Enterprise and the reason why it was cancelled. Gene Roddenberry´s vision of a future filled with dangers and conflicts, but ultimately filled with great hope and optimism, gets buried by writers and directors who do not care about principles and ideals. Just grind out another action flick and put in plenty of special effects. What a shame indeed to waste the talents of Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto in this way. Imagine what a great Star Trek movie they could make given great writing and directing. Lindelof, Abrams and Co. need to go. Let´s get a serious Trek movie showing us the world that Roddenberry imagined.
Gold for Petyr
176. Himanshu garg123456789
@4 it's alright that cold fusion has nothing to do with it.. Bt the other thing about a bigger explosion resulting from freezing lava over there isn't valid.. bcoz volcanoes erupt in places where the earth crust is thinner.. and at times when it is thinner bcoz of tectonic movements or maybe some earthquake.. like that... bt never bcoz the pressure under there is on the rise nd it needs to blow out.. as you were suggesting.. pressure in the mantle is always high bcoz it's hot and fluid.. it's like an inflated balloon.. u put one crack nd it bursts.. u fill the crack before the burst.. you have won a child's smile....
later..
Gold for Petyr
177. San Diego Dave
"I would much rather have seen a movie that dealt entirely with Nibiru, establishing the culture, seeing the process by which the crew decided to neutralize the volcano, and then dealing with the consequences of the natives seeing the Enterprise (beyond a fobbed-off joke scene). For starters, that would’ve actually been a Star Trek movie..."

And, like Insurrection before, it would have been a snoozefest and a box office disaster. ;)
Christopher Bennett
178. ChristopherLBennett
@177: True. What makes a good Trek story and what makes a successful Hollywood feature film are two very different standards. Insurrection would've been a heck of a 2-part episode, but it wasn't very well-received as a movie. That's the whole problem with Trek movies -- they have to be a different kind of story from the sort of thing you can do in a TV series. For instance, as discussed in post #114, none of the Trek movies have really been about exploring strange new worlds; arguably STID is the first feature film where we've ever seen the Enterprise crew on that kind of mission (although David and Saavik did some exploring of Genesis as part of the Grissom crew in TSFS), but even that was just at the start of the film and the intended exploration had given way to a rescue mission.
Gold for Petyr
179. Kevin Lindgren
Ridiculously late review, courtesy of the DVD shelf:

As science fiction:

For an action movie, not too bad, except for the egregious resurrection at the end. Khan’s blood? Terrible. And “cold fusion?” This could have been fixed with a pen stroke. It shows they don’t even want to care about the science. Why? The easiest answer is the old suspicion that Hollywood thinks the public is stupid, and that even the writers thinking intelligently about the science for two seconds would lead them down the wrong path somehow. Scotty actually says, “It’s incredibly stupid to put a starship under water...” It’s like they’re shoving it in our faces.

And what about all those overly-long jumps, where you can see a character leap from a ship or a platform of some kind, and then there’s a cut and you see them continuing the leap impossibly far? Why the cut? Because without it they would look like ninjas or Jedi.
They must think people just don’t notice these things. On the contrary, they put up with them, because they are caught up in the drama. And they love to bitch about them. But it makes repeated viewings increasingly irritating.


As Star Trek:

Not as bad as I expected. The creature on the primitive planet is stunned. In Star Wars it would have been killed. There is committed talk about the prime directive from Pike, and consequences for Kirk for screwing with it. And when Kirk assault’s Marcus’ ship he has his team’s weapons “locked on stun.” This is a solid Roddenberry-esque convention that gives you an action movie with some slight concern for human life. Not too bad.

There are no black or other ethnic main characters besides Uhura, although it is cool that there is an older black woman on the bridge, who is bald. Deltan? A very cool character no one has much mentioned.

Final thoughts:

This movie reveals what suckers anyone is who takes seriously the idea of “the alternate timeline created by Nero,” who, along with changing the look and style of anything and everything across all of time and space, including the way starships are built and how they look and work, also now can be credited with changing the ethnicity, skin-color, accent, and nationality of Khan. And the nationality of Carol Marcus as well! Watch out, “Sound of Thunder!” Don’t step on that butterfly! Please, fan sites like Memory Alpha, scrap these references to a “timeline” and admit that this is a reboot!

On the whole, better than I expected, judging by the hate generated in some quarters, fannish antagonism generated by Abrams’ diddling to the sacred WOK. I’m not that big a fan of Khan. Sure, it had a lot of nice touches, character touches, an exciting story, but it changed Kirk’s character, it messed with the established continuity, it was dumb about the science. It was the second time of the three major times in which Hollywood brought in an outsider to mess up Star Trek. Wrath of Khan isn’t the heart of Star Trek at all. If you want that, in my opinion, go to seasons 1 and 2 of the old show and seasons 2 through 6 of the Next Generation......
Christopher Bennett
180. ChristopherLBennett
@179: Aisha Hinds's character is not completely bald, just very, very close-shorn (which seems to be Hinds's normal hairstyle), so she can't be Deltan. Also, her character name is Darwin. Memory Alpha calls her human.

As for ethnic main characters besides Uhura, aren't you forgetting Sulu? Or, depending on how broadly you define "ethnic," Scotty and Chekov? And of course Khan is theoretically "ethnic," though they failed to cast him accordingly. There was also the Harewood family, the couple at the beginning and their sick daughter. Though they were only briefly in the film and had no dialogue, they were significant roles.

As for the timeline issue, Khan could've gotten plastic surgery and adopted a different accent to conceal his identity. And he's hardly the first Trek character to have undergone an appearance change when recast. And since Carol was born after the timeline divergence, it's simplicity itself to assume she was raised in a different city. Accents aren't genetic, after all. And we know that her father was based in London in this timeline.

And the distinction between an alternate timeline and a reboot is somewhat artificial anyway. Just about every prior Trek revival was a soft reboot of the universe to some degree, with the new creators bringing new interpretations and designs and storytelling styles while pretending it represented a consistent universe. The only way to justify the conceit of the previous five series and ten movies representing a single uniform reality at all is by willfully ignoring or rationalizing a great many contradictions among and within them. It's just that we haven't had as much time to get used to the inconsistencies, reinterpretations, and design changes of the newest incarnation, so they feel more irreconcilable to us, even though they're really no worse.
Gold for Petyr
181. Kevin Lindgren
I forgot Sulu, very bad on my part!

I am generally impressed by the level of people of color in Starfleet in these Abrams films, including the captain of George Kirk's ship in Trek2009, whom I perceived to be Arabic or Iranian or the like--quite a positive choice on their part, at that moment in time, I thought--a tradition that goes back all the way to the earliest days of the old series.

Besides Uhura, we've lately only caught glimpses of the Afrofuturist civilization that seems to exist on Earth, the "United States of Africa," or "Bantu State of United Africa," as I believe Uhura's region is once refered to, the cool African names, references to Swahili, et. It would be a cool place to visit, as opposed to simply San Francisco or London once again, and, given that all parts of Earth are equally developed, advanced, and influencial, there must be interesting things going on there, great scientific institutes, Federation departments, Starfleet centers of various kinds.
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182. Her
"If Khan has it, wouldn’t the other 72 guys have it? Why did McCoy need Khan when he had 72 other sources of magic blood right there in his sickbay?" Yes they probably have 'magic blood' as well, but Khan's the only one that's not a popsicle-so it would make sense that they would go get Khan first. They also established that it would take a careful procedure not to kill the other frozen people in the process of 'defrostration' or whatever you call it.
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183. Gary S SoCal
I have been watching Star Trek since it first appeared on television.

I am an extremely old school fart that hates to see changes. But that being said, this movie / Trek version, is a great crossover to present and future generations while keeping some of the original character, scientific and mechanical flavors.

For the ones that are complaining about the ship floating, etc., are you serious ? Check your warp drive or transport room for a reality check.

It is scientific, space fantasy. You want reality? Go drive your car.

I think Abrams did a stellar job keeping the action ( and sound ) flowing. I think all the crew actors did a great job in renewing and portaying the original ones. The effects were tremendous.
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184. Russell JD
To Keith DeCandido - I believe you miss the point completely. You do realize this is a MOVIE... don't you? It's suppose to be entertaining/fun. (your like talking to Spock - without the intellect) sheeesh!

why is the Enterprise hiding underwater? Seriously, on what planet does that make a lick of sense? They have transporters, and they don’t want to risk the natives seeing the ship, so why not just keep the ship in orbit where it’s in no danger of being seen?

How about because they needed to be closer to the volcano for reasons you may not understand, sensor-ing the volcano from bottom, side or whatever and most important.... BECAUSE ITS A MOVIE!
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185. David J D
Okay, side note here: the myth that Kirk is a rebel who follows his own path and breaks all the rules is just that, a myth. If you actually watch the original series, Kirk in fact regularly obeyed orders, consistently followed the rules—a notable exception being in “Amok Time,” and even then he was forgiven by T’Pau stepping in. Kirk’s maverick rep is entirely an artifact of the movies, especially The Search for Spock—again, Kirk only breaks the rules when his best friend’s life is at stake.
The same can be said about SO MANY myths of Kirk. He didn't chase "space bimbos"; all of his past loves were research scientists, lawyers, doctors, and the women he got involved within the series with were more of the same, including one planetary head of state. When he was with a "slave girl," he was forced there by circumstance, and it's not at all clear he ever even partook.

He didn't break the Prime Directive all that much; in the run of the series, it happened three times. (Picard, in comparison, reached that number before the end of the first TNG season.)

He was exceptionally intelligent, very well-educated, and very much a philosopher.

And no, he didn't shoot first and ask questions later. He gave quarter and tried to talk things out every single time. And, interestingly enough, if you look at the times he directly saved Earth, he did so without killing anyone or blowing anyone up. (Again, contrast that with Picard, whose own Earth-saving record is the opposite -- things went boom, bad guys died, and in one instance, he murdered the Borg Queen -- who was defenseless, helpless -- with his bare hands.)

So yeah, I agree with you; Abrams's Kirk is more like a pastiche of pop culture myths of Kirk rather than the actual character of Kirk.
Keith DeCandido
186. krad
David J D: To be fair, Abrams's Kirk is also a different person -- this is a Jim Kirk who lost his father at a very early age, something that didn't happen to the mainline Kirk. It resulted in him being more of a punk. :)

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
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187. David J D
David J D: To be fair, Abrams's Kirk is also a different person -- this is a Jim Kirk who lost his father at a very early age, something that didn't happen to the mainline Kirk. It resulted in him being more of a punk. :)
Well, I was really just talking about the pop-culture myths of Kirk and why they're not true.

But I think the writers DO write this new Kirk genuinely believing they're writing him just like the original Kirk.
Christopher Bennett
188. ChristopherLBennett
@187: If they'd intended to write him just like the original Kirk, they wouldn't have given him such a different backstory.

The thing to remember is that these films are meant as prequels. The goal is to show Kirk, Spock, and the others growing into the characters that we met in TOS. This Kirk has the potential to become the man his Prime counterpart was, but he hasn't gotten there yet, and the movies are about his journey toward that level.

Diane Carey did the same thing a couple of decades ago in her novel Best Destiny, which we know was one of the inspirations for the films' writers. It depicts a 17-year-old Kirk who's a juvenile delinquent, bitter about his father never being there because he's off exploring space, and on the verge of heading down the wrong path in life, until a shared adventure with his father sets him on the right path. The '09 movie follows a similar pattern, although it substitutes Pike and later Spock Prime in the inspirational father-figure role.
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189. David J D
Christopher, I don't sense anywhere near that level of thoughtfulness in the writing. I mean, you don't copy a sequence from The Wrath of Khan word-for-word if you think you're writing "prequel" characters on a growth arc.
Christopher Bennett
190. ChristopherLBennett
@189: The films are set years before the original series, in 2258-60 rather than 2266-9. The actors were deliberately cast years younger than the originals. The first movie depicted Kirk's Academy years and his first mission on the Enterprise. Everything about these films makes it obvious that they're prequels.

And yes, the TWOK copy scene was a mistake, but it's unfair to judge the entire film, let alone its predecessor, by one ill-conceived scene. It's obvious just from looking at the story outlines that the films are about Kirk's formative years, his growth and maturation.
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191. David J D
If they were supposed to be about his "formative" years, at least in the way you're describing, then they wouldn't have made him captain.

I actually don't judge either film by "one" ill-conceived scene. I judge them by a whole lot of ill-conceived scenes. Like, you know, the aforementioned promoting of a punk, in-hack 3rd-year cadet to permanent O6 captain, to command the premiere veseel in the fleet, over hundreds, if not thousands, of more-qualified, more-experienced, better-trained officers. Everyone was put in their "proper" place by the end of the first film, implication being that everything was set up to mirror TOS as we knew it, and boom, here are your characters as you've always known and loved them, ready to get out there on their adventure.

Put Kirk through his academy days, through his cadet cruises, through his formation as an officer under Garrovick, etc., through command school, through everything a senior officer actually goes through, then you have a prequel about formative years. But when you shortcut through all of that, you're saying here, he's the fully-formed captain of the Enterprise. Especially when you do the same thing in the second movie.
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192. Kopoloko
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who had issue after issue with this movie. I didn't want to pick at it but I couldn't help it.

I'm sorry if it's been mentioned before, but did it bother anybody else, that during Kirks ending speech - the big send off (so to speak) - Kirk says Pike recited the Captain's (code) to him, but then he recites the TOS intro; which is the ship's brand-spanking-new mission, so how in the heck would Pike tell him it, and it doesn't even remotely sound like a code of honour or whatever it's supposed to be.

Sorry, bit of a run-on/rant there, but after a movie of skin-crawling that part just did me in. I barely stayed for the credits.

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