JJ Trek’s New Clothes

I’ve seen that another Trek fan has posted that most people who don’t like Star Trek Into Darkness just haven’t accepted that this is an alternate timeline. I’m going to have to disagree.

My issues have to do with its problems as a movie, regardless of its timeline (or even that it’s Trek). If you like the movie, that’s fine, I’m glad when people like Trek, but don’t dismiss my criticisms with “Oh, you just don’t like it because it’s not Shatner and Nimoy.”

I don’t care that it’s not Shatner and Nimoy (Pine is a fine Kirk and Quinto is a great Spock), and I certainly don’t care that it’s set in an alternate timeline. I wrote an alternate timeline Trek novella for Simon & Schuster. I enjoy alternate timelines, and rebooting the franchise in an alternate timeline was the right decision.

But when I read a book or watch a movie, I want believable characters with relatable emotional arcs, as well as consistent plot points that evolve organically as complications develop from the actions of the characters. Into Darkness misses the mark on much of that.

Major plot points driving the story made no sense to me. Hiding the Enterprise underwater from a civilization without space travel? How about just keeping the ship in space? Hiding cryopods in photon torpedoes? Relying on a madman frozen for three hundred years to design new weapons? Harrison fleeing to the Klingon homeworld? Why would anyone do those things, make those decisions? If there are sensible reasons for those choices to have been made by any of these characters, I’m missing them. And it had little of the fun of the prior film, which made it easier to gloss over the first movie’s own plot holes.

Please continue to enjoy the movie in spite of my comments, I’m not trying to dissuade you. I’m just emphasizing that I’m not making the shallow complaints of a disgruntled fanboy, these are legitimate story-based critiques of the film.

UPDATE: Star Trek Beyond was a ton of fun and had a tighter script.

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5 thoughts on “JJ Trek’s New Clothes

  1. “But when I read a book or watch a movie, I hope for a certain level of quality in the writing. That includes believable characters with relatable emotional arcs, as well as consistent plot points that evolve organically as complications develop from the actions of the characters.”

    There are so many ways to pick apart this movie, but I think that the interrelationships between the characters is one of the problems. One of the positive comments that I’ve heard about the movie is that Uhura is given a character arc. But what is it? She gets one fight scene. But the rest of her character arc is pouting because her man ignored her when he jumped into the volcano. It was a very regressive story arc, defining her almost entirely in terms of her boyfriend.

  2. Yes, THIS. one hundred times, THIS.

    next time someone asks me what I thought of the movie, and I try to politely tell them that it crushed my dreams, I’ll just send them a link to this post instead.

  3. I’m torn about the movie. When I realized in the first new film that it was an alternate timeline, I breathed a sigh of relief. My protective instincts toward canon (that ran riot during the series “Enterprise”) could switch off and I could just enjoy a film. I think my problems with the new film are that it felt like five films crushed into one.

    Plus the blatant “This could be this timeline’s ‘Wrath of Khan'” scenes kind of bugged me. Because it wasn’t Shatner and Nimoy? Hmm..maybe, because in my opinion no one does the “Khan” death scene as well as them. And also because I just didn’t feel any pain when the new film had Spock scream the famous “Khaaaaaan” line. In fact I kinda laughed. ::sheepish blushing::

    As one of your other commenters posted, I love this part of your post: “But when I read a book or watch a movie, I hope for a certain level of quality in the writing. That includes believable characters with relatable emotional arcs, as well as consistent plot points that evolve organically as complications develop from the actions of the characters.”

    And the biggest problem I had was the destroying of San Francisco scene. It wasn’t believable to me, and it felt like an all too familiar trend in action movies these days: let’s kill thousands of unnamed people just to justify a tricky CGI fight scene between our leads.

    So, I’m with you Pearson. It’s not a black and white issue. Looking forward to reading more!

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