Andy Naylor on why you shouldn’t buy Star Trek Into Darkness….
I am a big Star Trek nerd. I make no apologies for it. I know what I like and Star Trek is what I like. I love the hopeful and optimistic future of the human race, I love the countless aliens featured throughout the show – each managing to feel individual and unique. Despite the setting, I enjoyed the morals or each episode, how each point raised was, and is, relevant to society. And let us not forget Star Trek’s own effect on modern culture and science. The people involved in creating the show wanted it to be as real as possible; they wanted the science to be as correct as it could be and the technology to be advanced but possible. How right they got it. Communicators look like the first mobile phones and sophisticated computers, automatic doors and tablet PCs where envisaged in the show. Even the theory behind warp drive, the manipulation of space and time to produce faster than light travel is currently being investigated by NASA. All of this, every single last reason to love Star Trek, is a reason to not buy Star Trek Into Darkness.
I didn’t mind J.J. Abrams’ reboot of Star Trek. In fact, I really liked it. I thought it was fresh, exciting, sleek and it paid tribute to what went before it without going over the top. The classic fans would get it and the new fans wouldn’t feel lost. Now I can’t bear it to look at it, all because I know the lazy Star Trek Into Darkness follows it. On the surface it comes across as good action romp. A cheerful sci-fi adventure that looks so pretty and dazzling with it’s cool lens flair (after lens flair, after lens flair, after lens flair). But actually stop and think about it for a minute. It’s terrible, it makes no sense. It is so badly or lazily written, perhaps even a combination of the two, that absolutely nothing about the movie has any real depth. Warp drives are obsolete thanks to transwarp beaming, but Kirk is sent in a ship to find Khan. Scotty can wander into a high security installation without anything resembling authenticated orders. Everywhere you look, plot holes.
Let’s start with what Star Trek was meticulous over – the science. It was good, it was so good that every bit of science in the show was scrutinised by a team of experts before it was filmed. It had to be right, or as right as the information at the time would allow. This latest Star Trek helping didn’t give a damn about being right. It did whatever the hell it liked, paying no attention to Trek lore or established science and tried to dazzle the movie going public. It’s like a magic trick. Look at the pretty Enterprise falling through the atmosphere; oh look, Kirk and Scotty are running on walls. It’s physically impossible as they’d be pinned to the ceiling, but whatever. Point is, for a SCIENCE fiction movie, its science is terrible and every Star Trek fan should be appalled by that.
There were many choices in this film that didn’t make much sense, the main being the use of the infamous Khan as the film’s big bad. It was a bold risk that hasn’t come off. Benedict Cumberbatch was one of the small positives to come out of Star Trek Into Darkness, but he is still a poor man’s Khan. His Khan had motive, ability and ruthless aggression, but what it didn’t have was history. In a way he was justified for how he acted and he and Kirk had no real reason to become enemies, so when they did it seemed unnatural and forced. Unlike in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, he wasn’t harbouring a 25 year old grudge with his only aim being to end the life of James T. Kirk. But the biggest mistake made with new Khan is his motivations as a whole. In the original series Khan used people to gain power, in Wrath of Khan he used them to help him hunt down Kirk. People are not Khan’s family, they are his tools. One more note, no one could even come close to repeating the menacing vengeance that Ricardo Montalban brought to the character. Benedict gave it a good go, but came up short.
That leads me onto my next point. This film is Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan chewed up and spat out by Damon Lindelof and his team of writing butchers. Whole scenes and dialog lifted from the 1982 movie, crow-barred into this one with the characters reversed. I bet they were all pleased with that travesty. I appreciate a good homage as much as the next man, but stealing entire scenes and dialogue is not paying homage to what went before. It is lazy and shoddy, especially when compared to the high quality of the movie it took it from.
Please people, for the love of Star Trek and all things good in this world do not buy this movie when it is released on blu-ray and DVD. Ignore it, let Paramount know we expect better! If you can’t do it for Star Trek then do it for Spock. Two films and two homicidal rages. He can’t cope, I fear he may not survive the next one; he will end up killing McCoy, spilling all the “superblood” in the process before being sent back to New Vulcan in shackles. What will happen then hey?! How will they half-arsed kill someone without a dead obvious plot device to bring them back whilst removing any emotion involved in the scene?
Star Trek was a beacon of quality, story, science and characters. Star Trek Into Darkness lacks all of this, it is worse than any original series movie that preceded it – even The Final Frontier. If this is the future of the franchise then I want no part.
Andy Naylor – Follow me on Twitter.