Trek Week: The Movies

By Shamus
on Dec 5, 2014
Filed under:
Nerd Culture

Now that we’re at the end of Trek Week, I have a confession to make: I really like parts of the Abram’s Trek reboot. Sacrilege, I know. How can I – Admiral of Starfleet Continuity Audits and former captain of the USS Nitpicker – tolerate these stupid movies that are riddled with contrivances and plot holes and mostly serve as a showcase for fanservice, explosions, and tits? Why am I not burning with outrage at the travesty that Trek has become?

The truth is: Abrams didn’t make Trek into dumb action schlock. Trek had been dumb action schlock for years. He just made it into good action schlock. Generations was a lame and awkward attempt to pass on the Trek legacy via fisticuffs. First Contact was a bit of fun, but it was also more than little silly since it had to mess around with both the Borg and time travel to tell its story. Insurrection was offensive, sanctimonious, idiotic, regressive, shallow, and cheap looking. Nemesis was stupid, joyless, and ugly. The last good Trek movie was Undiscovered Country. In 1991.

Abrams didn’t kill Trek. Trek has been dead (as a movie franchise) for twenty years. He just finally shoved the corpse out of the room and hired a replacement.

I admit I’d love it if the Trek movies tried to approach sci-fi more like Gattaca, Moon, Inception, or Pandorum and less like an action movie with an aging cast and cheap effects, which is what we’ve been getting. Good sci-fi would be nice. But if the series is going to be yet another ephemeral action franchise, then it might as well be fun ephemeral action.

If you can’t make it good, make it gorgeous.

I know it’s popular to mock Abrams, but the guy is really good at his job. Compare him to Michael Bay: Both guys start with a script that’s barely worth filming. But Abrams has great cinematography, wonderful castingI don’t understand why everyone complains about Chris Pine’s acting. Isn’t he supposed to be a replacement for SHATNER?, interesting set design, action scenes that make sense, jokes that aren’t gross/offensive, good pacing, a firm grip on tone, and occasionally some interesting dialog. If Abrams wasn’t brazenly slapping the Star Trek name on these things, we’d probably be celebrating them as fun sci-fi adventure along the lines of Fifth Element.

And underneath all the annoying plot holes, continuity errors, and ridiculous contrivances, there are parts of the new movies that I really enjoy. Every single scene with Pike is pure gold. His dialog with Kirk in Into Darkness is a conversation I’ve always wanted to hear: Someone calling Kirk out on his rule-breaking and risk-taking. Simon Pegg is a delight to watch. Karl Urban’s only sin is that he needs more screen time.

I don’t begrudge people who hate the reboot movies. The TV shows are all done, and nobody seems eager to make more. If you’re a Trek fan, this is all you have left. If the reboot had happened twenty years ago, I would have been outraged too. But I’ve had a long time to let go of Trek. I went through the seven stages of grief after Generations. Then First Contact got my hopes up so the last two movies could dash them forever. Trek was already over for me. Let Abrams have his fun. His movies aren’t intellectually challenging, but they’re vastly more enjoyable than what we’ve been getting.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:

[1] I don’t understand why everyone complains about Chris Pine’s acting. Isn’t he supposed to be a replacement for SHATNER?


A Hundred!A Hundred!2015235 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?

From the Archives:

  1. gunther says:

    I felt that way after the first one but had trouble making it through Into Darkness. Sure, it was slickly made and directed; the cast was good, the CGI was shiny and the action was action-y, but that script… Jesus.

    I’d go as far as to say Michael Bay’s Transformer movies have fewer plot holes and contrivances. NOTHING in that film holds up to even cursory examination.

    • Grudgeal says:

      I read an article online that claims the film is an analogy for 9/11 being an inside job.

      Whether it’s true or no, the script *is* about as coherent as the average conspiracy theory so at least the article had that going for it.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        Thats not fair. Conspiracy theories tend to be much more coherent that your typical Orci / Kurtzman.

        The Amazing Spiderman 2.

        Thats all I got to say about that.

        And Into Darkness had a lot of the same problems.

        I like the way those two writers go for big and exciting and funny but they need someone with some discipline to rein them in and help them put all those cool moments together into a coherent story (which they did on the first Star Trek. I forget the guy’s name.)

      • Tom says:

        That’s a rehash of an older conspiracy theory; there used to be one that Stanley Kubrick made the footage used to fake the moon landings, using the film 2001 – A Space Odyssey as cover, then put a hidden confession of this in The Shining.

        http://news.discovery.com/space/faked-moon-landings-and-kubricks-the-shining.htm

    • And Abrams (or the writers) keep giving even more magic tech to the Star Trek world that should wreck most plots moving forward. Galactic transporters, anyone? Why do you need starships anymore?

      • boz says:

        Galactic transporters

        This. Forget every other thing about the movie. The existence of galactic transporters fundamentally changes everything about the universe.

        • Felblood says:

          Yes. How can we have Star Trek, now that it is no longer necessary to trek across the stars?

          • RCN says:

            Well, for one the Transporters seem to malfunction every other use on short-distance beaming. They’re already less reliable than shuttle transportation, even though not only it is basically their FUNCTION to technically be more reliable than shuttle, the shuttles on Star Trek also already have a reputation for not being exactly up to OSHA standards.

            I for one am strictly in the McCoy/Pulaski field: Transporters for organics is a bad, bad idea and the person who came up with it should hang. At best, it should only be used in emergencies. (Though this means Enterprise is the only Trek to use Transporters responsibly… and that would just be silly…)

        • gunther says:

          Forget the galactic transporters for a second; what about the magic blood that cures death that’s just casually dropped into the film to lazily resolve the plot… as if it isn’t the biggest deal in the history of anything ever? Why is every character not running around screaming “HOLY CRAP! WE CAN CURE DEATH!!” in every scene following that?

          And now that’s reminded me of the most awkward foreshadowing scene in the history of film; where McCoy, for absolutely no reason at all, injects a dead animal with Khan’s blood. If the screenwriter had walked on screen and shouted “pay attention to this bit, I’m setting up something for the ending!” it would have felt about as natural.

          • Zekiel says:

            Absolutely. I hated that scene. There’s no reason for that injecting-an-animal bit to be there, so it immediately made me thing “ah this is going to have plot relevance later”. And it did. And I was disappointed.

            What is to frustrating is that they could just have fixed this by making the injecting-an-animal bit into a joke (somehow, I don’t know). Then we’d have felt “ah that bit was a joke” and it wouldn’t have triggered the “why is this bit here it must be foreshadowing” alarms.

            Still, the magic blood curing death is inanely stupid anyway.

            • Hitch says:

              Could have had a Dr. Phlox cameo (since Enterprise is the only canon Trek series, now) and doing something that silly would have been perfectly in character.

            • RCN says:

              I’d fix it as thus:

              McCoy examines Khan’s blood and find some odd properties about it. He suspects they can rejuvenate old cells. He starts a battery of tests on different test animals, going for older ones to see if there’s any reaction. Some time later, he finds out that most of the test subjects died out of rejection and he simply strikes it out as being 100% lethal.

              After Kirk dies, McCoy notices one of the test subjects spontaneously resurrects, he notices it was one that he had tested with anti-matter radiation before (not exactly very professional, but let’s say he didn’t have much options to choose from and also wanted to test if it worked with radiation poisoning). He has a glimpse of inspiration and does like it happens in the movie giving it to Kirk, with the token “One in a million chance, but it is better than nothing.”

              It’s not perfect, but it makes the blood be pretty much poison and only work at curing a very specific form of radiation poisoning instead of just curing death outright.

          • Ironically, we should be able to “cure” death, aging, and just about every other problem with our physical form via the regular transporter. It’s often done to fulfill plot requirements, but for some stupid reason it isn’t utilized for everyday medical purposes.

            I can only assume due to the lack of lavatories seen on the ship, the transporters are used to beam waste out of the crew.

            • Tom says:

              They did exactly that in Space Quest V, the most overtly Trekky of all the Space Quests up to that point; a case where the parody perhaps did things better than the original?

          • guy says:

            There’s kind of a reason sfdebris has Lazarus of the Week as a category.

            • venatus says:

              true, but at least in the trek shows the thing that brought someone back is usually something that can’t be re-produced (usually a time anomoly or cloning).

              super blood from someone who is at their core, an ordinary human with a carefully constructed genome, is not something that should be difficult for starfleet. really they should be able to figure out some way to produce it on mass (whether replicator or engineering a new lifeforms to produce it). and at the very least they can get a large amount from kahn and his crew.

              • Dev Null says:

                “super blood from someone who is at their core, an ordinary human with a carefully constructed genome, is not something that should be difficult for starfleet.”

                Like – oh, I dunno – running some through a transporter and then hitting the “print last job” button a couple of million more times. For instance.

                • Ravens Cry says:

                  Transporters don’t work like that. Apparently, you can’t make copies without additional trekobabble. Interestingly, the closest things we have to actual transporters actually also have a ‘no copying’ limitation.
                  Replicators can, but they are ‘lower resolution’, and can’t make live life forms.

                  • Commander Riker and his transporter clone would like some words with you. :)

                    • Ravens Cry says:

                      ‘Without additional treknobabble’ I said. In short, conditions that are likely not practical to replicate, if you want to get Holmesian

                  • Felblood says:

                    Transporters are wired to purge the buffer as they print for ethical reasons. There’s literally no reason that the less scrupulous races can’t have replicated armies.

                  • Alex says:

                    Transporters do work like that. That it is even possible for one to malfunction in such a way as to create a fully functioning human proves that it does.

                    Star Trek transporters do not transport people. They’re just designed to hide the bodies.

        • Zekiel says:

          Not only galactic transporters – in the 2009 film Scotty manages to beam himself and Kirk onto the Enterprise *when it is travelling at warp speed*. What? Even if he can transport that far, how on earth does he know where the ship is?

          • ? says:

            But… that’s exactly why there is galactic transporter in second film. They explicitly say that they used technobabble equations given by Spock to Scotty in first movie to develop this technology. This is why Scotty leaves Enterprise because he is not okay with Starfleet using “his” invention like that and without his knowledge. This is just continuity. Also a retcon since those equations were formulated in original timeline by Scotty, so TNG, DS9 and Voyager all should have this tech.

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              Remember, Scotty was trapped in transporter stasis until season six or seven of TNG (“Relics”) and in expanded universe materials had many years of adventures after that. Its implied in the lead up material that Scotty came up with the formula years after “Relics”, possibly after the end of DS9 when Voyager was already in the Delta Quadrant.

              • ? says:

                Oh, I guess I remembered that he was trapped in some anomaly and showed up in TNG, I didn’t remember if he survived that episode (maybe I subconsciously mixed it up with Kirk’s fate). Still, Spock giving him that info seems even less responsible with that in mind. “You will eventually discover that, with over a hundred years of unprecedented scientific progress, but who cares… do you want to invent an android? ‘Cause I have schematics for that too”. Shame they won’t do a movie where Old Spock is a villain trying to form a threat that will “prepare” Federation for wars with Borg and Dominion…

                • venatus says:

                  that’s actually starting to sound like a good movie (at least better then the last two) the only problem is that it seems out of place for spock to be doing that, but then in TNG it was shown that spocks dad had some sort of condition that caused his mental state to deteriorate (primarily in the feel emotions sort of way but it seemed there was bit more to it).

                  so just show old spock succumbing to the early stages of that disease and now not only can you justify him behaving that way but he still has audience sympathies since he’s just sick and there’s no treatment.

                  ok still a lot of problems with it and it kinda insults previous trek lore and spirit, but still less then into darkness did.

                • Felblood says:

                  The script was clearly written such that they could decide to kill him off or not after all his scenes had been filmed.

                  Thankfully, they opted to keep the option of future cameos on the table, and sent Scotty off with his own ship.

            • Zekiel says:

              “?” – I feel you may be replying to the wrong post. My point was that it stretched my suspension of disbelief too far for Scotty to somehow be able to transport onto the Enterprise when it was at warp speed – since he’s have no way of knowing where it was (at the very best it would have been an educated guess about its position based on where it was going and when it left).

              By comparison Benedict Cumberbatch transporting from Earth to Qonos (sp?) in the 2nd film is not so ridiculous since presumably you could know accurately where it was.

              TLDR: I wasn’t complaining about the galatic transporter’s use in the 2nd film, I was complaining about its use in the 1st.

      • Grudgeal says:

        …Someone inventing anti-teleportation systems?

        Hey, it worked for Schlock Mercenary.

        • Felblood says:

          Star Trek and Schlock Mercenary are really both stories about their FTL technologies and their respective benefits and drawbacks. They are very different tonally, in no small part because their FTL technologies are so different.

          In SM exploring space is trivially easy, and it’s populous, civilized areas that are hard to get into.

          Now that this has been done, there can be no Voyager or DS9 type stories, because those stories depended on the difficulty of warp travel to get new episodes to pass by the regular cast.

          • Grudgeal says:

            I would argue the use of present tense for describing differences in tone between those two universes, really. At this point, movie Kirk could start quoting the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates instead of the Prime Directive and I wouldn’t bat an eyelid.

            • Mechaninja says:

              Tonally, you may have a point.

              Howard is, however, a far better writer than any we’ve seen evidence of having worked on Star Trek.

              • 4th Dimension says:

                And Schlock Mercenary is a lot harder SF than Star Trek, and races in it are ussualy quite different from humans.

                • Ravens Cry says:

                  I’d love to see another Trek animated series. As bad as the ol’ Filmation series’ animation was, it really set the plots free to do some really exploratory science fiction with in-human aliens and settings.

                  • A lot of those plots came from scripts/ideas for the actual series that never made it to air.

                    • Ravens Cry says:

                      Oh yes, but there’s no way they could really have been made at the time, or even now without a bank breaking budget. There is a reason why those plots weren’t used: money.

                    • I always wondered about the one where the Enterprise finds a planet with magic, complete with Lucifer running the place. Maybe the writing wasn’t good enough for live-action, maybe they’d already done the “magic” thing in another episode (the one where the wand gets broken and the wizard & sorceress are revealed to be tiny aliens), or maybe the FX would’ve broken the bank.

                      But having Sulu move something via magic by standing in a pentagram? That’s classic Saturday morning cartoon material! :)

                      Not that I’m objecting. I’m just amazed. Kind of like how “Inhumanoids” made it to my TV screen.

                    • Ravens Cry says:

                      Oh yes! I can’t believe they got away with that. ‘Satan is actually a good guy’ would be a tough sell for a cartoon even now.

            • Jeff says:

              Okay, now I want JJ Abrams to make a Schlock Mercenary film.

              Can we Kickstarter this? Star Trek (2009) only needed 150 million, right? :P

              • 4th Dimension says:

                Oh God no. SM has rules that explain how SM tech works and as such it’s almost super hard SF (it only introduces couple of tech’s by writer’s fiat).

                • Ravens Cry says:

                  I wouldn’t call it super hard science fiction, but it is conceptual. It follows its own rules and looks at the implications of its impossibilities, which, in my opinion, is more important than a slavish attention to the laws of physics as we know them.

                  • Deoxy says:

                    It follows its own rules and looks at the implications of its impossibilities, which, in my opinion, is more important than a slavish attention to the laws of physics as we know them.

                    Considering that, for the vast majority of even the hardest sci-fi, breaking the laws of physics “as we know them” is kinda the point, I’d call that a pretty good definition of “super hard science fiction”.

                    The laws of physics as we know them seem to apply quite well in Schlock – the stuff that has been added has been applied on top of them (like adding elements to the periodic table).

                    About the only thing that is not really explained much is their transportation devices (gates and/or teraporters), but even those follow their own rules quite consistently.

        • Anti-transporter systems are usually called “shields,” unless the plot requires someone learning their “frequency” or whatever to allow transporters to function.

          The problem is not in stopping Galactic Transporters, the problem is that they exist at all, unless you want humans to have the pop-in-pop-out abilities of Q all the time.

          • SyrusRayne says:

            Maybe the galactic transporters actually create an army of evil clones?

            • Heck, you can do that already by multiple canonical flavors of transporter “accident.”

              If a person’s pattern can be read from a “buffer,” there’s no reason you can’t just dump energy into said pattern and “beam” as many copies into life as you want.

          • Felblood says:

            The military applications of galactic transporters are the smallest part of the problem, and the ones we are best prepared to solve, thanks to having done most of the groundwork nerfing the regular transporters.

            One of the perennial tropes of Star Trek stories are people arriving “too late” to prevent some disaster, or the heroes having little (but just enough) time to prepare before the threat arrives. All of these paths are now closed to future ST writers, unless they decide to take the traditional out, and jut ignore this miraculous game changing technology.

          • syal says:

            I kind of like the “Q did it” explanation.

            “Yeah, there’s no such thing as a Galactic Transporter. I just told him that because I thought it would be funny. He’s over there pressing his buttons, and he doesn’t even realize that all they actually do is beep.”

  2. Angie says:

    I’m with you on the casting. I think everyone in the main cast was brilliantly cast, definitely including Chris Pine. And for me, the time travel thing made (most of) the changes work, because it’s not the same timeline as we saw the first time. I went into the movie expecting to be resentful and snarky about just the changes we’d seen in the trailers, but the time travel gimmick changing the past made most of it work very well — or at least made it a lot more believable than I’d expected before I saw the movie — and the rest of it I can live with.

    I also agree about the earlier movies. I’ve seen them all at least once, but I watched the first four multiple times. After that it want from “Yay?” to “Whatever,” and without really thinking about it, I’ve never bothered to re-watch any of them. I have some plot/story quibbles about Into Darkness (there are major changes to the timeline that the time travel doesn’t explain) but it was a fun movie. And unlike everyone else I’ve seen commenting about it, I loved the reverse-parallel through-the-door scene. Awesome stuff. :P

    Angie

    • Mike S. says:

      I like all of the cast except Pine. Urban channels DeForrest Kelley, while Quinto does a different interpretation of Spock that’s still recognizably Vulcan. Saldana’s only problem is that they make her a central character while not giving her enough to do other than relate to Spock. (Pegg’s kind of a cartoon, but it’s not as if Doohan’s Scotty had a lot of depth or even consistent characterization, going from doting lover in one episode to misogynist enough to be suspected of it leading to murder in another.)

      But Pine’s Kirk feels like someone doing Kirk’s Flanderized reputation rather than actually playing Kirk. Sure, the differences in their history explain any differences. But this Kirk comes across as a heedless jerk to me (albeit one who’s inherently competent enough that he can get away with it without working). The original was a responsible officer (who’d been mocked as a bookworm at the Academy) who genuinely tried to balance the competing interests of his mission, his crew, and the people he was encountering.

      (The Kirk of WoK rigs the Kobayashi Maru because he’s desperate to prove there are no no-win situations. The 2009 Kirk smugly does it to show up Spock, like a Delta House brother messing with Dean Wermer.)

      I also really hated the instant promotion to captain at the end of the first movie. Which was completely unnecessary. It’s four years between films, and Pine was playing the first movie’s Kirk as younger than he himself was anyway. Pine as of Into Darkness was almost exactly the same age as Shatner was when TOS started. So if you say that Kirk was ~22 in the 2009 movie and closer to the actor’s actual age in the sequel, there’s plenty of time for him to make youngest captain in the fleet without being ridiculous about it.

      All that said, the 2009 Star Trek is well towards the top of the list of Trek movies– better IMHO than any of the TNG outings and a number of the TOS ones. Into Darkness, I liked less– they killed off Pike, who I liked much better than Kirk, misused Khan, made Starfleet look like chumps (two starships dueling inside the orbit of the Moon, and no one even notices) threw in callbacks that didn’t make sense in context, and shared with Man of Steel the decision to use horrific human loss and destruction as a backdrop that affects the characters not a whit.

      • Mechaninja says:

        I haven’t seen Into Darkness yet, but … who didn’t notice the starships fighting?

        If Starfleet didn’t notice, that’s a problem. If a bunch of non-starfleet didn’t notice, that’s pretty reasonable.

        • Deoxy says:

          If Starfleet did notice, then their response time is far past the point of utterly useless.

          The largest human battleship ever made has a fight with another top-of-the-line (4ish years old) human main-line ship, the smaller one escapes (VERY briefly) to warp, then falls out inside the moons orbit, fights it out with the big ship again, they are both damaged to the point of being disabled, and they have time to FALL INTO THE PLANET EARTH with no response from Starfleet.

          I left out some very important details there so as to avoid spoilers that are overly serious, but it gives you an idea of what people mean by Starfleet being useless/incompetent there.

      • Zak McKracken says:

        “The Kirk of WoK rigs the Kobayashi Maru because he’s desperate to prove there are no no-win situations. The 2009 Kirk smugly does it to show up Spock, like a Delta House brother messing with Dean Wermer.”

        Haven’t seen into Darkness but in WoK he did it not to prove a point but because he couldn’t stand the thought of losing. He was afraid of the thought that there could ever be a no-win situation. Very much the only thing he was afraid of, and very much in keeping with his general hot-headedness. This is the optimism that allows Kirk to get himself into difficult situations without panicking. The the Kobayashi Maru test could have wrecked that.

        … judging by your description, though, if he did it to impress people in ID, that’d be a major break in character from the earlier movies.

  3. RTBones says:

    Simon Pegg is brilliant, on this we agree. I think my problem is that almost any sci-fi these days is, IMO, over-encumbered by special effects. I miss the original simplicity of the original star wars movie (and for its day, that movie was ANYTHING but simple). Models, real explosions, etc. I appreciate movies (non-sci-fi) like Ronin because the car chases you see are, you know, actual car chases.

    I suppose I’ve never felt attached to the reboot of Trek. They are fun, brainless movie eye candy, they just never felt like Trek to me.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      What you mean there is cg effect.Explosions,models and such are still special effects,but practical ones.

      And I agree with you.Cgi has become a crutch of sf today.And not just sf,since its being used in every other genre,to simulate vomit and shit in comedy,blood in action and horror,and even rain for fucks sake.Its just ridiculous.

      • If you notice it, it’s ridiculous. Most of the time, we don’t, since it can be used to film otherwise mundane stuff without the need for locations, permits, etc. I’m not saying that’s good, I’m saying it’s got quite the potential to be bad if abused.

        I find I really hate it more not when it’s fake-looking, but when it makes the realistic look utterly preposterous. There’s a clip they released for the disaster movie 2012. Plot aside, it was a sequence where John Cusak and his family escape oncoming peril in the form of collapsing buildings & roads to make it to safety. While that could be an exciting sequence, CGI and other FX made all the close calls resemble a Road Runner cartoon instead of something from an actual movie (a lot like the Quarterback running at the camera in The Dark Knight Rises, actually).

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          I think most of the time we do notice it actually.Especially when it comes to liquids.Its not like in the early days of cgi(for example terminator judgment day)when there was a blend of practical and computer effects and cg was there to enhance,not replace the practical effects.

          The worst offender,for me at least,is still episode 1.That one was just atrocious(episodes 2 and 3 were not as bad,but were still really bad).And I do blame the prequels for the state today because they ushered in the era of crapy sci fi.

          • Phill says:

            I’m still slightly surprised if I ever have the misfortune to catch Episode I on TV, to discover that it is live action. There is so much in the writing and less-than-awesome effects that is so very cartoony in feel, that in my memory it keeps turning into some sort of animated film.

            I wonder what is says about me or the films that when I was thinking of an animation style to compare it to (since it clearly isn’t a cartoon in the bugs bunny style for example) my mind jumped to the Barbie animated movies. The curse of having a small daughter…

            (Not to derail this entirely, but one thing that stood out in the re-release of Episode IV for example was that the shiny new CGI stuff looked significantly less realistic than the 70’s model based special effects alongside it).

            • It took Harry Plinkett to point out something even worse about Lucas-style CGI: The soundstage itself limits what can be done by the real actors. Since most of Episodes I-III were shot in a green-colored room, there often wasn’t any space to run very far. Ergo, even if two characters are discussing something urgent, they’ll just walk at a normal pace, since they can only go about 20 feet before smacking into a wall.

              • Greg says:

                Yes, I always felt like critics were just being nostalgic Luddites. I just watched Plinkett’s reviews of episodes I-III. They really helped me understand what critics meant when they complained about the lack of practical effects in movies these days. That scene where Grievous (sp?) does crazy, dangerous lightsaber moves inches from Obi-Wan’s face and he doesn’t react in any way reveals most of the problem. Ewan McGregor was just looking at some green fabric, how could he react appropriately to the situation.

                Then Plinkett showed how George became so reliant on the CGI that he forced almost all of the dialogue to be just two or three people walking and talking. They can never interact with the environment because the environment is never really there. It keeps the world from feeling real.

          • I beg to differ, if you’re including digital insertion of elements into a scene as part of the background. Things like Jar-Jar stick out like a sore thumb, but I’d bet most people don’t notice when an entire skyline in a “real world” drama or movie has been assembled from footage shot elsewhere or even completely created from the polygons up.

            My point is not the CGI characters being unnoticed. It’s the little stuff that makes up a ton of a scene’s more mundane things.

          • guy says:

            No, you think it always sticks out because you’re only aware something is cgi when it sticks out. It’s everywhere in movies but you only see it when it’s bad.

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Overall I agree with you.The new trek is not great,but its not awful either.And hey,even Chuck agrees with you,and he is the ultimate trek authority.

    So now you will talk about video games,right?I mean video games are your niche.

    • venatus says:

      I’m sure the next thing shamus talks about will be video games. after all there are a lot of star trek video games like the free to play star trek mmo. or the game that looks like it’s the most earnest attempt at a star trek game but doesn’t have the rights artemis

  5. mzlapq says:

    I liked the first Abrams Star Trek, but I still don’t understand the need for a reboot. Does Starfleet consist only of the Enterprise? I remember that not so long ago, on this very site, people conversing about a time that Star Trek did something that did not include the Enterprise and was quite successful.
    Instead of Yet Another Time Travel Plot, would it have been so hard to create new characters, how they wanted them to be now and not how a 60’s TV series portrayed a spaceship crew?
    The second Abrams Star Trek is awful, and a large part of its awfulness is because they wanted to remake an earlier Star Trek film.

    Also, what does Inception, a movie with video game logic plot and rules of the world governed by the needs of the script, doing near Gattaca and Moon (haven’t seen Pandorum)?

    • It’s worse than just wanting to remake an earlier Star Trek film. Abrams is not a Star Trek fan. He just looked at the movies and TV shows, picked the bits he liked, and slammed them together because they seemed cool, not because they made sense or would be interesting/compelling.

      He completely didn’t understand who Khan was or why he was a neat character beyond “he’s a super-human that I can make do all kinds of anime villain stuff!”

      • Muspel says:

        Abrams is the director, not the writer.

        • Again, as noted below, he had a lot more creative control over the film than “here’s your script, start filming.”

          • Blackbird71 says:

            As I understand it, his control over the script extended at least up to the point of declaring Khan the villain of the movie (the writers had originally picked a different character from Trek’s past, Gary Mitchell). But of course, not being a Star Trek fan, and being unfamiliar with anything out of the TV series, Abrams insisted that they use a name he could recognize.

      • Brandon W. says:

        But here’s the thing. Even if Abrams wasn’t originally a Trek fan, the first Star Trek reboot felt like maybe he was. I thought Into Darkness was a weak punt, but the first reboot film was pretty good, and far better than anything since Undiscovered Country.

        I really think the re-imagining of Khan was weak, and I REALLY hated having Spock yell “Khan!” at the end. Not only was the yell kinda poor (no Shatner lungs on that lad), but it also felt like the cheapest way to pay homage to the original. There were many more ways to pay homage to a much better film that with a little instance of sad turnabout.

        • Blackbird71 says:

          Aside from window dressing, the first Abrams movie lacked anything that actually made it Star Trek; it had none of the substance that was the heart and soul of the franchise. It may have been a decent action flick, but it was not Star Trek. Abrams himself has said that he never understood Star Trek, and his foray into the movies has made that abundantly clear.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Also, what does Inception, a movie with video game logic plot and rules of the world governed by the needs of the script, doing near Gattaca and Moon (haven’t seen Pandorum)?”

      It was dictated by the rules of dreams.Basically the whole movie(or almost all of it)was a dream.

      • This.

        Nerds don’t get upset when technology or macguffins are so wildly futuristic they’re practically magic. We get annoyed when said macguffins break the rules the writers established going into whatever the story was.

        If Green Phlebotinum does X, Y, and Z, then having it suddenly do C for no good reason angers a lot of the audience.

        • Ivan says:

          I feel a very strong urge to say this twice, because somehow this seems really hard for a lot of people to understand.

          This also applies to video games, and whenever someone complains about something being “unrealistic” what they mean is that it is unrealistic within the reality established by the creator. The creator is free to set up any rules they want, but once they do they had better follow them, or at least explain why or acknowledge that the rules suddenly have an exception that wasn’t mentioned before. Like Aeris dying in FF7 it’s never explained very well why you can’t simply bring her back to life with a Phoenix Down, leaving a lot of players feeling like they were cheated in some way.

          I will say though that we can go a bit overboard when complaining about things like techno-babble. I mean the writer obviously isn’t putting much thought into it and so it doesn’t really deserve the level of analysis we give it. But then sometimes you can fault the writer for trying to explain their miracle-machine in more detail than was necessary.

          • Right. Explanations often aren’t entirely needed. Isaac Asimov once famously noted that he just called his macguffin a “Positronic Brain.” He set up the rules for what it did, but the why (including why positrons were involved) he left for others to speculate on.

            His Laws of Robotics are also a great example of a rule framework. If the story says a robot violated the First Law, then there should be (and is) a good explanation for it. It’s the Laws themselves that often set up what the story will be about, as well as what the problem to be solved is.

    • Felblood says:

      Whoa, whoa, whoa.

      Whoa!

      I agree that all of these things are problems, I just don’t see how we can blame Abrams for them. Some faceless committee of meddling executives at Paramount must have wrote this script. Even the writers guild has higher standards than this.

      “The Enterprise is the only ship in range” has been a politically mandated act of stupidity in essentially every movie since the original Khan. It got so bad that even the otherwise tone-deaf Nemesis took time out to lampshade and justify it. (Nemesis was another crappy attempt to remake Wrath of Khan, really. Complete with a villain who starts out with motives and then suddenly starts doing things “because he’s evil”, so the final battle can happen more like the end of Wrath of Khan.)

      JJ is clearly a competent film maker, with a solid grasp of how to structure an act or character arc, etc. Even if he isn’t a fan of the original characters, he knows how to show off a character. Ergo, I must conclude that this script simply gives him nothing at all to work with.

      If the man has a flaw, it’s that h will shoot literally any script for enough money. While I have to admire the fact that he seems to bring his A game to this train wreck (where most directors would call the whole thing a loss and just phone it in), it’s really bad for his brand identity. With some directors, if they do a movie you know it’s good, because they would never accept a script in this condition, but with JJ, the only thing his credit tells us is that the directing and camerawork are going to be rock solid. There’s plenty of room for bad scripting or editing to ruin all of his hard work.

      Take that scene where Khan dual wields those giant phaser cannons. JJ Abrams and Benedict Cumberbach are both selling the hell out of that scene, but even then, only the most deeply invested viewer is buying in. This script is pants-on-head retarded, with a side of clown shoes, and I defy you to find another pair of actor and director who can come closer to making that scene watchable.

      • Joshua says:

        Except if you read any of the interviews at the time, J.J. was not handed a script and told like it or lump it… he was intimately involved in the process of creating it from day one. It was his vision. http://collider.com/damon-lindelof-star-trek-2-into-darkness-interview/

        • Joe Informatico says:

          So I have this mixed view of Orci & Kurtzmann. The films where their names are attached as writers, I find the writing almost universally terrible. On the other hand, their work as television writers and producers is often entertaining, with fun character work, if not necessarily brilliant.

          So I gravitate towards this theory from Badass Digest that when it comes to their film work, where writers don’t usually get respect anyway, they’re just a couple of yes-men who will follow whatever notes the director or execs give them. But I’m wondering with TV, where writers are far more respected, if they have a much freer hand to do what they want, and thus produce something decent.

          Because according to that link, O & K wanted to use Gary Mitchell (Kirk’s best friend who must be stopped after becoming a psychic god in the “Where No Man Has Gone Before” pilot) as the villain of Into Darkness, but Abrams and Lindelof wanted Khan because they’d actually heard of him.

          I mean, that first third of Into Darkness, up to when Khan attacks the Admiralty, is pretty damn good. The cast is the strongest part of this reboot, and that first third is mostly scenes with the characters talking about the Prime Directive and the nature of friendship and loyalty versus orders and procedure, and it’s pretty good. It’s not worse than a lot of Trek’s take on the subject, and it’s definitely better than any debates in 3/4 of the previous films. Once Doctor Carol Fanservice, Khan-berbatch, and Admiral Robocop show up, with their poorly defined motivations and actions, the plot just goes to hell. We see more of these three than most of the regular cast, and all the dialogue changes from engaging and fun to just idiotic.

        • Felblood says:

          –except every director always says that.

          Announcing that you don’t like the script, but the other producers threatened to pull out if you didn’t keep their shoehorned conspiracy theory subplot is a great way to get the produces to pull their funding. Even if they stay, the bad vibes will cut a chunk out of the boxoffice take, part of which is going into the director’s bank account.

          This is the type of thing that we only learn about through rumor and speculation, because no one close enough to speak definitively will ever admit it, at least until the DVD sales have petered out.

    • Vincent says:

      The franchise needed a reboot for the same reason the new Star Wars needed to dump the Expanded Universe: by now, both universes are crippled with an enormous backstory that only hardcore fans care about, and there are not enough hardcore fans of either series to justify making a less-accessible (and less marketable) version.

      Jettisoning the bloated, sometimes contradictory and mostly stupid backstories of both universes is just a narrative bonus to a financial decision.

      • Lucas jettisoned tons of the expanded universe when he did his prequel trilogy. Look how that turned out.

        The problem with Star Wars, I think, wasn’t so much its expanded universe; It was the person(s) in charge of the canon and the subsequent movies. I think comic book movies have done a lot of good for movie adaptations of stories, and one of those things is considering each form of a media IP its own semi-separate sandbox. I don’t think the current Marvel films would be anywhere near as good if the Ultimates hadn’t been written to give a more modern, streamlined, and coherent look at the Marvel U.

        Were I running the SW reboot, I’d probably cherry-pick any EU ideas that worked or were interesting to incorporate. Of course, Abrams did that with Star Trek on a pretty much superficial level and we got Into Darkness. However, his metric for success appears to be “don’t suck as bad as Episodes I-III,” so the bar is pretty low to begin with.

        • ehlijen says:

          The prequels weren’t bad because they didn’t stick to the EU (much of the EU was just as bad if not worse). They were bad because they weren’t well made. They failed (as good writing) entirely on their own accord.

          • I’d say it helped, though Lucas showed himself to be completely inept on his own. Even bad EU tended to be less bad than Lucas post-Jedi (even taking the Ewoks into consideration).

            For example, the Mandalorians went from being kick-but warrior dudes to being nothing, pretty much. Also, I’m not 100% certain on this, but I’m pretty sure whatever lore existed on The Force never said it was a virus.

            • John says:

              The word Mandalorian is never so much as uttered in the original trilogy. Somebody invented the term later to describe Boba Fett’s toy. You cannot ruin that which does not exist.

              • Counterpoint: Lucas called it canon. Everything in the EU was pronounced canon by Lucas, up to and including the (ugh) Christmas Special. He did this for years, with every bit of EU material having to pass muster. The fans pretty much expected this out of their supplementary Star Wars, even if it wasn’t to their liking.

                • John says:

                  I assume that George Lucas also gave his stamp of approval to the coloring books. Are those canon too? And if so, why should I (or George Lucas) care?

                  I generally don’t bother with licensed novels, Star Wars or otherwise. What little experience I do have with them is mostly from Star Trek novels, which are mostly not very good and contradict each other and the show all the time. To regard them as canonical or to want them to be canonical seems bizarre to me. By all means, swipe the best stuff for the movies if it’s good and also appropriate to the story, but why import the dreck along with it?

                  • But that’s my point: Lucas did neither. He had years of EU to draw from, things the fans liked (or sold well) and things he could wisely avoid, but he just plowed in as someone who nobody could apparently give advice to or edit. Maybe he figured all this stuff he’d been approving all these years wasn’t up to whatever he thinks are his standards and started over.

                    Comparing it to Star Trek’s IP is really an apples-to-oranges thing, since the Star Trek books never really were seen as canonical by Gene Roddenberry as far as I know, and were put out with enough editorial control such that they weren’t as off-the-wall as something from a fanfic site. This jibes with it being a decades-spanning TV show made by multiple hands as opposed to three movies which was owned lock, stock, and lightsaber by a single person.

                    • John says:

                      Just as squares are all rectangles but not all rectangles are squares, fans of the EU are all Star Wars fans but not all Star Wars fans are fans of the EU–or are necessarily even familiar with the concept, for that matter.

                      Actually, I’m not even sure what I’m arguing about any more. I guess I just don’t get why you seem to feel that there ought to be some relationship between licensed tie-in novels and the prequels.

                    • Because Lucas established his EU stuff was canon.

                      Because Lucas decided to discard said EU stuff, even though quite a bit of it was far better than what he came up with for Episodes I-III.

                      Because Lucas made the equivalent of the first three Marvel Phase One films and then decided to write a prequel trilogy where it turns out Nick Fury was Howard the Duck rather than draw on years of established comic book stories.

                  • Blackbird71 says:

                    It’s your choice, but you’re missing out. I too found much of the Star Trek literature to be pretty poor, but the Star Wars books had a much more thorough vetting process. A few bad ones snuck through, but a lot of the Star Wars books were really high quality stuff. You can’t go wrong with any of the books by Timothy Zahn (though it’s best to start with his trilogy which begins with Heir to the Empire; then you can follow up those three with Spectre of the Past/Vision of the Future, and throw in Outbound Flight somewhere along the way). I also particularly enjoyed the “X-Wing” series; especially because instead of trying to recreate the familiar characters, it instead takes a few characters that we’ve seen very little of in the films (Wedge Antilles being the big one), fleshes them out a bit, and adds a new cast around them.

            • Vellan says:

              If we’re talking about EU and Mandalorians, then I have to mention how much I love Karen Traviss’ Republic/Imperial Commando series.

              They’re written with a maturity and empathy that is pretty much missing from Star Wars as a whole. It’s appropriate that they are cynical of self-interested governments and undeserved authority, but the vision of a culture free racism and sexism (while not being perfect) is to me more realistically optimistic than what Star Trek can offer. They are books where soldiers are actually people and jedi are faced with problems that the force can’t solve.

              The really heartbreaking thing about these books though is that the final one does not exist. I remember reading that ‘they’ (LusasFilm? Rostoni?) wanted Traviss to change the previously agreed ending to bring it into line with the Clone Wars TV series. She refused, and ended up quitting instead of cheapening what she had already done. But they are still worth reading.

              • Alex says:

                “If we’re talking about EU and Mandalorians, then I have to mention how much I love Karen Traviss’ Republic/Imperial Commando series.

                They’re written with a maturity and empathy that is pretty much missing from Star Wars as a whole.”

                No, they’re not. Karen Traviss is the worst thing that ever happened to Star Wars. Sure, others like Anderson might be incompetent fanfic writers, but at least they do not advocate murder as a cure for their inferiority complex. Karen Traviss literally used the Nuremberg defense as an excuse for committing genocide, and expected the audience to agree with it!

              • ehlijen says:

                I haven’t read those, but I must say Karen Traviss’ depiction of Mandalorians and Jedi in the later era books is downright disgusting.

                The proud/stubborn warrior/mercenary tribes are more morally exemplary AND combat capable than a superpowered monk order dedicated to Pure Goodness(tm) ? (And they happen to find more anti-lightsaber Awesomanium on their planet making them a convenient new superpower because fuck the jedi, of course.)

                From what I hear about her writing, she loves tearing down established good guy factions and shoving in her own superior goody two shoes as better and purer.

                She’s not that bad at writing and the star wars EU was never terribly good, but she seems to have a strange urge to destroy established settings even when the fans have been shown to like them the way they are.

                • guy says:

                  Apparently her designated good guys in Halo are ONI.

                  It’s worth pointing out that they’ve committed high treason or crimes against humanity in pretty much all their previous appearances, including experiments on the Flood and likely revealing the location of Earth to the Covenant through their blatant disregard for the measures in place to avoid doing that.

                  Though I guess she isn’t changing their characterization, because they opted to nuke an allied head of state to destroy a friendly power.

                  Edit: wait, sorry, I misremembered. They gave nukes to terrorists to destroy a friendly nation.

                  • Cradok says:

                    And let’s speak briefly of her treatment of women. In Star Wars, every woman who encounters one of the special, super awesome clone troops – be it Jedi, exotic dancer, intelligence agent, banker, whatever – she falls in love, gets married, and becomes the doting housewife on Mandalore. Without fail. And then there’s the rape camps in Gears of War…

                    • syal says:

                      I know it’s true sometimes, but it always amuses me to read that someone thinks a woman doesn’t portray women well enough in her stories.

          • Joshua says:

            It was mentioned earlier, but if you haven’t seen them yet, go to YouTube and check out Plinkett’s reviews of the Star Wars movies. Stay for his reviews of the Star Trek movies (the TNG ones, anyway).

            I was never really that impressed with First Contact, although I would label it under mediocre as opposed to bad. I certainly don’t think it proved the rule about “even” numbered Trek films.

            Plinkett talks about a lot of the problems that I had with the movie (and then a lot more). However, he really, really hates Generations much more.

    • Dev Null says:

      “I still don’t understand the need for a reboot.”

      Perfectly simple, really. Various monied of Hollywood consulted the entrails of an ad agent, decided it was time for some space opera so – incapable as they are of conceiving of the existence of a new idea – they flipped open their card catalog of previously-successful space opera films, noted that the rights to Star Wars were an impenetrable legal quandry, and took the next on the list by $ amount of merchandise sold.

      Ta-da! The “need” for a reboot. (I too enjoyed it as an action film. Said enjoyment does not detract from the fact that this is still the only real explanation for rebooting it…)

      • On the flip side, there was a kind of “need” for a reboot, though this could apply to most classic sci-fi properties:

        1. It’s earliest incarnation is rooted around 1969. The future it depicts isn’t really relatable to our own present anymore.

        2. The later incarnations of ‘Trek are so full of godlike technology, convoluted plots, and nonsensical characters that (like a lot of comic books that have been around since the dawn of 4-color printing) their collected continuity wouldn’t hold up to casual scrutiny by a 10-year-old.

        As stated elsewhere, some fans could see a reboot being kind of cool, updating the mythology to have military uniforms, more realistic technology, and maybe avoiding some of the missteps the series has made over the decades. Instead, we got a lot of the things that made the show campy turned up to 11 with more explosions.

  6. arron says:

    Have you ever considered some of the ‘fan remakes’? Some of them are really high quality productions and they’re not at all bad.

    USS Exeter

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkuJG1_2MnU

    Star Trek:Second Phase

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWWR9z71CFI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uybWdnrcvps
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejyVZKcsn3w

    Prelude to Axanar KS film.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W1_8IV8uhA

    With production values like these, I’m not so sure that Star Trek needs to be dripping out of a single faucet any longer. Just needs official blessing and a box of cash, and you could have many different stories done by people who are passionate about Star Trek.

    • Around the era of DS-9, some friends of mine and I wished Paramount would stop making new ‘Trek series out of nothing and try something we called “The Star Trek Movie of the Month” for a while.

      Different writers and casts would make 2-hour TV movies set in the Star Trek universe. After at least 1 year of this, if Paramount was dead-set on putting out a new show, the best movie would be picked as the pilot for a new series. Alternately, the best characters from these films could comprise a new cast for an altogether different series from the movies that spawned them.

      This, of course, would have recycled sets, props, and models, but Paramount had a big ol’ Star Trek garage sale a while back, so there goes half the budget savings.

  7. MichaelG says:

    I really wonder how directors think about scripts. If there were any mistake in the effects or garbled dialog or some prop breaking in a scene, they’d fix it. Yet horrible stuff in the script passes through like it doesn’t matter. Just words for the actors to say between explosions.

    Some of this stuff would be so easy to fix. In the first new Trek movie, have Spock assign Kirk to help out on the moon (rather than kicking him out in a pod or whatever.) When he gets to the moon, have them be completely evacuated with nothing to do. Scotty is the only one left. Have Kirk and Scotty meet then. Have Scotty tell Kirk there’s some kind of signal out on the ice. Go check it out. Then he can meet Old Spock. Instead of accidentally crashing right on top of his location.

    And instead of beaming around the galaxy, which has never been done in any trek ever (I hope), have Old Spock tell them how to do trans-warp or something and catch up to the Enterprise.

    Now is that hard?

    • Felblood says:

      Hollywood likes to pretend that a directors pure vision is stamped on every frame of a movie, but the fact is, there are a lot of things out of the directors hands.

      At the end of the day, directing is a job. When you read a script and sign the contract to film said script, you are making yourself beholden to some group of people who have also read this same script, and seem to think that it’s good, for some reason.

      Every single change you make to said script is going to have to be approved by those same people. If the script is particularly terrible, you can rest assured that one or more of those decision makers wrote the worst parts of it, and has invested some of their personal ego in it. Diplomacy is called for. –at least, if you like having a job.

      This is one of the many reasons, why news that a movie is seeking a new director mid-production, is considered a red flag. Maybe they fired that guy because he was shooting a bad movie, and maybe they fired him because he refused to shoot a terrible script. Either way, it’s not a good sign when you fire a movie director mid-shoot.

      • Yet we know directors can and do make changes before, during, and after shooting. Is there a breakdown of stuff Abrams was responsible for and what the suits were in charge of wrecking?

        • Felblood says:

          No, there isn’t.

          –and that’s really my point.

          JJ Abrams get’s all the flak, but hundreds of people worked on this thing, and I’d wager that the majority of them are at least partly responsible for how it turned out.

          Abrams and Orci probably had their share of responsibility, but it’s not like they summoned this film out of the aether by sheer dint of will. They were beholden to a lot of other people, making this show, and each of them had their own interests.

    • Matt Downie says:

      “In the first new Trek movie, have Spock assign Kirk to help out on the moon (rather than kicking him out in a pod or whatever.) When he gets to the moon, have them be completely evacuated with nothing to do. Scotty is the only one left. Have Kirk and Scotty meet then. Have Scotty tell Kirk there’s some kind of signal out on the ice. Go check it out. Then he can meet Old Spock. Instead of accidentally crashing right on top of his location.”
      Your version would be several minutes of unexciting screentime. The Abrams version is quick and punchy. “Get off the ship, Kirk!” “Aah! I’m being attacked by a monster!” “Hi, I’m Spock from the future!”
      If an Abrams movie ever slowed down to the extent that you suggest, the audience would start to notice the plot holes. Of course, you could remove all the plot holes, but you’d probably be left with something sedate, like the first Star Trek movie.

  8. gtb says:

    I’m pretty firmly in the “New movies aren’t great, but they aren’t terrible like the last bunch” camp. I think the new cast is spot on, the plots are nonsensical but fun, I get my nine dollars out of it.

    But they’re not as good as the original movies. I go expecting a fun action movie, not an awesome trek film.

  9. ehlijen says:

    I have trouble figuring out who these new movies are for, especially Into Darkness.

    They’re full of references to the old Trek (Kahn, Section 31, Pike’s wheelchair, tribbles) and deliberate inversions (Kirk dying to save the ship, Spock yelling KAHN!, Uhura defeating Kahn), but if you get the references, that means you’ve seen the old trek, presumably liked it and thus have seen a, in your opinion, better version already.

    If you haven’t seen the old Trek, none of this will mean anything to you and the obvious hamfisting of references will just strike you as odd.

    It’s as if this movie was made for someone who watched the old trek and thought, what if we made this louder and brighter? And if that’s truly a large demographic, ok, sorry for doubting. But is it? I wouldn’t have thought so.

    Watching the new movies I felt like I was being pandered to by someone who watched one star trek parody and incorrectly concluded he understood both the original and me, when neither was truly the case.

    Abrams absolutely didn’t kill Trek. But I think he tried to resuscitate the wrong corpse.

    • Mechaninja says:

      Yeah, this right here is what was going through my mind as well.

    • Regiment says:

      It’s really weird how they decided to make Khan the villain, having never mentioned or seen him, except maybe an odd passing mention in the TV shows, since 1982, in a movie that’s now an alternate universe. If you’re not a long-time fan (and therefore you are the target audience for these movies), you won’t know who Khan is or why Old Spock keeps talking about him like he’s a huge threat. The fact that he’s Khan winds up being completely pointless, and yet it’s treated as a huge reveal.

      I will agree with the opinion that the reboot movies are decent sci-fi movies (I’d even call the first one pretty good), but crummy Star Trek.

      • Blackbird71 says:

        They’re not even decent scifi though – good science fiction provides a perspective from which to view ourselves; it makes the audience think and consider some aspect of the human condition, or the possible effects or consequences of a piece of technology on society, etc. There is substance to it; these movies had none of that.

        Too many people these days (JJ Abrams included, I think) misunderstand what science fiction is, and instead revert to “it has lazors/spaceships/robots/aliens, therefore it must be science fiction.” The setting does not determine the genre; it just sets the backdrop. The story itself is what makes a movie science fiction, or comedy, or romance, or action, etc.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      I remember a description of the 90s Birds of Prey TV series, an adaptation of the comics, that said: “The Birds of Prey TV series was made in such a way that only fans of the comics would know what was going on, but guaranteed that they would all hate it.” I kind of feel that way about Into Darkness.

      With Man of Steel, I don’t really care about comic book continuity, so any divergences from canon didn’t concern me. It just failed for me as a film. With STID, I am a huge fan of Trek, and have much love for TOS, but I’m mindful of its flaws and limitations. After Trek ’09 I was willing to be open-minded about this fresh new vision. The cast was good, it moved along pretty nicely, and though the plot and villain were pretty idiotic, it’s not like Trek hasn’t been that dumb before. STID, instead of actually exploring their fresh new vision, just took some elements from one of the high points of the old franchise, and warped it into something with none of the emotional resonance of the original. And in service to a non-existent plot.

      I’m not going to claim Trek was always the brilliant SF it’s often held up to be. But at least it usually tried to be idealistic and something a little more smart. If you’re just going to make a generic big-budget SF action roller coaster, just make one. If you’re going to put the Trek name on it, can you at least try to make it feel like Trek? Just set your aim a little higher?

    • Felblood says:

      They are for film investors.

  10. Mormegil says:

    I really didn’t like Generations, mostly because there is already a much better Kirk meets Picard story out there. There’s a novel (I think it’s called Federation) where the new Enterprise meets the old Enterprise. They can’t communicate and find themselves in a situation where each can guarantee their own survival if they sacrifice the other (plus a 3rd ship) but if they just blindly trust each other they’ll probably make it. Obviously Kirk decides that a star fleet captain is a star fleet captain no matter the era and puts his faith in Picard without ever talking to him. It’s a little easier for Picard since he knows what sort of person Kirk is.

    I liked that idea of the two captains never actually meeting or talking but still understanding each other.

  11. Zeta Kai says:

    Okay, confession time: I absolutely, unironically LOVED Star Trek Into Darkness. My wife & I watched it, finished the credits, & then put the DVD back in & watched it all over again. I really don’t get what all the hate is about. It’s a fun, smart, exciting movie; it’s well scripted, well paced, well acted (Quinto is a sublime Spock), & well shot. It’s everything that I could hope for from a Star Trek movie. I could hope for some deeper ideas, but I can’t remember a Trek movie ever being a cerebral experience. The first one was good enough, better than I had expected, but STID was better than I could have dreamed. I honestly hope that they make them like that for a long time to come. I know that makes me a heretic in the eyes of some other fans, but I have to be true to my own opinion on this issue, & in my mind, the majority of the fan base in unpleaseable anyway.

    • Matt Downie says:

      I agree with all of that except for ‘smart’. It’s full of stupid ideas (see above, below, and all over the internet) that can easily be overlooked due to the fast-paced editing.

      • John says:

        Editing really matters. I liked First Conact a lot while I was still in the theater watching it. It wasn’t until I got in the car to go home that I started saying “Hey, wait a minute…” to myself.

    • Blackbird71 says:

      You’re at least partially right in that most of the Star Trek movies did not present a purely cerebral experience (although some included elements of it, such as the ethical dilemmas surrounding the Genesis device and the military potential to turn an invention of creation into a weapon of destruction, the need to overcome personal grudges and set aside past fights in order to embrace peace, the importance and value of sacrificing worldly achievements and trappings in the name of true friendship, etc.); the more cerebral stories were better told in the series. But that’s another failing of the Abrams movies; the previous movies had the support of the series behind them, and were written for the fans of those series. Abrams’ Trek chucked the series out the airlock, and so had no such support to fill in the gaps or to build memorable characters and their devoted fans.

  12. Alex says:

    “Compare him to Michael Bay: Both guys start with a script that’s barely worth filming.”

    Comparing Abrams to Michael Bay is the problem. What idiot looked at the Transformers movies and said “Who wrote that script?! I want him on our team yesterday!”

    I hate New Kirk. He’s an awful person, and not even a charmingly awful person like Kenpachi or The Boss from Saints Row 2. New Kirk uses the death of Spock’s mother as a tool to seize control of the Enterprise, and I cannot respect him as a character after that.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Because earth was in danger and he thought spock would fail to save it.I forgot how the sequences played out and if his assumption was correct though.

      • Rick C says:

        “Because earth was in danger and he thought spock would fail to save it”

        Uh, yeah, and Spock Classic thought New Spock wasn’t up to the job either. It’s not as if Kirk did that on his own.

    • Here’s another question: What is Bay responsible for vis-a-vis Transformers? As I understand it, he’s guilty of a lot of the sins we see on screen. For starters, he started putting Transformers 2 together with the robot designs, not the script.

      • Blackbird71 says:

        For a movie based on a cartoon series that was basically a half-hour toy commercial, I can forgive this.

        For movies based on one of the most acclaimed science fiction franchises in entertainment history, I expect more.

        • Except for being just a toy commercial, the Transformers series managed to be better than it had to be. It was the first series I knew of where (via TV to animated movie and back to TV), the leader of the good guys dies, is pulled out of his tomb (full of a lot of other dead primary characters), and turned into a zombie-robot, basically. I never watched Beast Wars, but I hear it had some fairly deep stuff going on for, again, a toy commercial.

          I believe the reason for this was that brand management wasn’t quite as iron-fisted as it is today. The toy companies basically threw the designs and what text came from the back of the box at a bunch of coked-up writers and said “go nuts.” The results could be mediocre, but for a few toy-based shows and comics (see ROM: Spaceknight), some pretty decent fare was to be had.

          Also, it takes a special kind of dumb to make a film out of a toy-based cartoon and somehow make it less intelligent & thought out than the cartoon itself, especially with that much money involved.

          • RCN says:

            G1 and G2 Transformers is unapologetically dumb compared to Beast Wars.

            Beast Wars Megatron is one of the most terrifying villains I’ve ever seem (considering the setting). He manipulates his subordinates into scheming among themselves. Knows full well who is loyal and who is not among his soldiers and push their buttons accordingly, abusing the hell out of the loyal ones. He talks to himself mainly because he doesn’t consider any of his minions to be worthy of giving him ideas (and even the fairly competent Tarantulus is often ignored because he knows any scheme from him ends with him deposing Megatron). And later he becomes a goddamn Dragon.

            Meanwhile the Maximals (BW’s autobots) are far more complex than the good guys usually are in those shows. Rattrap in particular is not only the most competent of the team, he is easily the most dedicated to the maximals cause bar Optimus. And yet his speciality is infiltration and sabotage, and his animal form is a rat, and he’s got every bit the personality quirks you’d expect from those traits (namely, cowardly, snarky, nasty in several ways, duplicitous and unreliable about following orders).

            Then there’s Dinobot. One great case of a “heel face turn” (bad guy turning good guy). He turns in the very first episode. Not because he “sees the light”, but because he accuses Megatron of betraying the predacon cause and incompetence, he also (rightly) believes Megatron will gladly sacrifice any underling to further his cause and doesn’t want to be on the shittier part of that equation. He initially joins the maximals only out of necessity, but first tries to claim leadership. After figuring Optimus is a better warrior than him, he submits, but tries to apply predacon values whenever possible to the team. He’s got a sense of honor that’s actually a bit bloodthirsty. And in the end he ends up pulling an “Optimus” (that is, sacrificing himself for the greater cause).

            Sorry for the spontaneous info dump and squee. It is just that I originally watched Beast Wars (Reboot, from the same animation studio) and only later would I be introduced to the original series and realize how lucky I was to get the better written one first. And Rattrap is by far my favorite character in all Transformers lore.

          • Dev Null says:

            “It was the first series I knew of where (…) the leader of the good guys dies, is pulled out of his tomb (full of a lot of other dead primary characters), and turned into a zombie-robot, basically.”

            Don’t watch a lot of soap operas, do you?

          • Alex says:

            IDW’s Transformers comics are also really good. Not Regeneration One and Transformers vs. G.I.Joe, which are complete crap, but the others I’ve read are great. More Than Meets The Eye #4 and #5 are particular highlights for me, being a story about a doctor who has a mid-life crisis as arthritis starts interfering with his ability to perform surgery, with the backdrop of a murder mystery, as told with million year old war robots.

  13. Zukhramm says:

    As a non-Star Trek fan one of the things that annoy me about these movies (other than being not very good) is that they’re not going full reboot. Why can’t they be their own thing? We don’t need to have a time-travel alternate universe to explain why thing are different. Just let them be their own thing.

    Instead, they literally have the characters call Spock from the future to ask about how to solve the movie, because in the future he’s already been in it.

    • Hear, hear.

      I was hoping they’d take the classic characters from Star Trek (use the same personalities) and give it a more modern-day origin. I wanted to see the characters on an Enterprise that had its genesis in our modern day, not the late 1960’s. A lot of this would be aesthetic (like not having day-glo uniforms and mini skirts), but would also be reflected in the technology, the politics, the interior design (i.e. not having the bridge look like an iPod), and maybe even with a little more attention paid to having the tech make sense and/or not get out of hand to the point of being ludicrous.

      Abrams basically did the opposite of this, which seems to mean the franchise can only get more over-the-top-sillier instead of at least having stories about the human condition, if not “big ideas” in space.

    • ehlijen says:

      And, to my memory, future Spock doesn’t even say anything helpful!

      That Kahn was dangerous, clever and shouldn’t be underestimated were clear no brainer conclusions at that point (in addition to being pretty bad ‘tell, don’t show’ character exposition/gushing too late in the movie).

      • Joe Informatico says:

        And what would Spock Prime know about this Khan anyway? The Khan he encountered in “Space Seed” was a Sikh (played by a Mexican, but it was the 60s), and a genetically engineered tyrant from the 1990s, but he wasn’t a genocidal maniac–Kirk, Bones, and Scotty all respected him because “there were no massacres under his rule”. Is Spock Prime going senile? Did he confuse Khan with Colonel Green?

    • John says:

      Because it is much easier to market things that people have already heard of than it is to market new things. You will get slightly more people to show up for “an exciting new direction for your favorite characters” than for “the adventures of an all-new cast of characters.”

      And because it is easier to market, you will also get a bigger budget. I could go on.

      • Joe Informatico says:

        That’s too bad, because the story of John Harrison, rogue Section 31 agent, sounded a lot more interesting than the story of Khan, whitewashed 1990s genetic superman with both a power upgrade to Super Saiyan and a villain upgrade from Alexander the Great to Hitler.

        • ehlijen says:

          But section 31 is still an old trek reference (DS9 rather than TOS, though).

          Why call it that instead of ‘starfleet black ops/intelligence/RnD’? That’s what it is and calling it for what it is is a lot clearer than using a non-descript name only fans will have heard of.

          • Because it was supposed to be a secret, even to many higher ups in Starfleet. Also, “Section 31” sounds a lot more sinister.

            It makes you wonder what happened to Sections 1 through 30, but one assumes Section 32 was in charge of Baskin-Robins ice cream flavors.

            • ehlijen says:

              To me it just sounds bureaucratic. Section 31 of what?

              If it was ‘section 31 of Starfleet intelligence’ that’d mean something.

              • guy says:

                It’s not supposed to mean something. It’s a nondescript name that shows up somewhere on whatever the Federation has instead of a budget with no explanation beyond CLASSIFIED TOP SECRET. Probably it’s the 31st segment of the government that reports directly to High Command.

                It’s like how the NSA used to be a mystery acronym.

                • ehlijen says:

                  The way it was name dropped in the movie it was clearly meant to mean something, but not explained.

                  So it gave some of the plot away to DS9 fans while confusing everyone else. Job’s a good one?

              • John says:

                If I remember my DS9 correctly, the name Section 31 is supposed to be a reference to the Federation charter–which has only 30 sections. The implication is that Section 31 is the Federation’s deniable, black-bag, dirty tricks organization.

                It’s unclear just how close the ties between Section 31 and the Federation political and military leadership are. Admiral Ross seems to know about and cooperate with them to some extent, but that’s the only definite example in the show.

                I’ve never thought about it before, but you could say that Section 31 is to the Federation as Cerberus is to the Systems Alliance–except that Section 31 seems to be fairly competent and is not, so far as we know, planning either a coup or galactic domination.

      • Zukhramm says:

        They don’t have to make new characters. It can just be Star Trek: Reboot, without time travel.

        • John says:

          Yes, they could do that. I wish they had. But when you consider it from the producers’ perspective, it makes a lot of sense to toss in a few non-critical or token references to the older material. Some of the older fans who come to see the new movie are really going to get a kick out of them. The marketers and internet apologists can use the references as evidence that the producers really (no, really, see!) care about the older material. If they do it right, the new viewers will neither notice nor care. The references may infuriate a few people, but those people were probably going to be furious anyway. It’s a no-lose proposition.

    • Blackbird71 says:

      As I Star Trek fan, I was looking for the same thing, so I guess in this regard Abrams’ Trek failed both groups of viewers.

  14. MikhailBorg says:

    After the magic of people like Jeffries and Probert, the design for the reboot Enterprise is… ah… well…

    Let’s be positive here. I *love* the new cast. There’s not a one of them I’d replace, and like you, I’d watch an entire movie with Karl Urban’s McCoy as the main character. If we could just have some of the thoughtful, intelligent writing that was Trek at it’s best, I’d be completely on board, warts and all.

    Instead we get more explosions in two hours than happened across the previous 45 years, a once well-oiled team always at each others’ throats, physics that don’t even pay lip service to reality or Trek logic, uninteresting villains, an engine room that looks like a brewery because the director got lazy and it actually is one, redshirts dying like flies…

    Ahem. Positive. I’d be lying if I said I was upset that they brought the miniskirts back for the ladies.

    • Neil W says:

      Instead we get more explosions in two hours than happened across the previous 45 years…

      Yes. Every time they’ve got an interesting question, and the characters are thinking about it, they get distracted by explosions and action and fighting and more explosions! Here’s the difference; in old Trek at it’s best, the explosions are part of the problem. In Abrams Trek, the explosions occur instead of a solution.

      Also; every thing is turned up to 11, so a moral dilemma becomes a wacky legalistic melodrama and Kirk, the man who is absolutely confident in himself and his crew, becomes an arrogant prick. It’s not that these weren’t present in the original, it’s that these were the (soft) failure modes rather than the best choice.

      Still, not terrible. Kind of fun.

      • Dev Null says:

        “Kirk, the man who is absolutely confident in himself and his crew, becomes an arrogant prick.”

        I know right? I mean say what you like about the plots, but they really nailed Kirk-from-TOS in the reboots.

        • MikhailBorg says:

          That’s the weird thing about being a TOS fan. Kirk *wasn’t* an arrogant prick in the original episodes. Sure, he could be a bit smug sometimes, but he was sensitive, caring, intelligent, and a good leader. His crew looked up to him and his friends enjoyed his company. He seduced many women, but they never looked like they minded much the next day.

          Everyone “knows” he’s a jackass, though. Which is weird.

  15. bigben1985 says:

    You know, after a bit of outrage on my part because of the excessive shinyness of… everything on the new Star Trek, I think that the first movie was okay. Nothing more, nothing less. But Into Darkness… it doesn’t work for me, the fact that it imitates and inverses scenes and themes from my favorite Star Trek movie ever is just a no-go. And when Spock had his KHAN! moment, I rolled my eyes and just… wrote off the reboots. This is’nt what I wanted, and like you said Shamus, it hasn’t been Trek for a long time. Abrams can’t do (my) Trek, and he apparently can’t do his own. I just hope he does a better job with the Star Wars movie(s).

    Speaking of which, anyone else got the suspicion he tried to make Trek more Star Wars-y?

    • bigben1985 says:

      Oh, and a random thought to one of your arguments. You said something along the lines of Abrams got rid of the corpse that is the old Trek and hired a replacement and then argued that Chris Pine is a good choice because he can’t act and is therefore like The Shat. Wouldn’t it be better to just hire a good actor instead of mimicking the old one?

  16. kdansky says:

    I really liked the new Trek movies, apart from the script that clearly did never see an editor. It would not have been hard to fix most of the glaring plot holes! It’s not even the number of them, it’s also their size. Every single plot problem with Star Trek manages to bring down the whole story by itself.

  17. Thomas says:

    I haven’t actually seen any of the old Star Trek films. I don’t really like Star Trek (2009) simply because, it’s really not that good?

    At best it’s a really standard not-good action film that you forget about immediately after watching. It feels like Terminator Salvation in terms of quality.

    The visuals are an absolute mess, often obscuring actors faces and the action in the scene with the lighting. The sets are the most ridiculously non-sensical sets since the Star Wars films, but unlike the Star Wars films with seen “alien bad guys lair” looking stuff thousands of times by now. Heck the final Star Trek 2009 location looks like a knock-off of the collector-ship from Mass Effect 2.

    The bad guy even gives me Battlefield Earth vibes
    http://s3.amazonaws.com/auteurs_production/images/film/battlefield-earth-a-saga-of-the-year-3000/w448/battlefield-earth-a-saga-of-the-year-3000.jpg?1294119764
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ZWluAjZ3ty8/UZ-TXOxXkBI/AAAAAAAAFDU/CqK9mjRNl4c/s1600/nero.jpg

    The plot is so contrived it actually pulled me out of the film and I wondered if it was about destiny or something. You _cannot_ strand a guy on a random planet and then have him wander into a cave and find his mentor from the future just happens to live there.

    I mock JJ Abrams because he’s never made a film that I’ve actually enjoyed watching. They’ve all got these airbrushed vibes with scripts that have a lot of trickery but no emotional foundation or genuinely clever themes behind them.

    I am hopeful for Star Wars, I hear Alias was good and parts of Lost were great (along with other parts that were awful). But given that he’s never made something better than “decent”, I feel like he’s only competent at his job. Not good at it.

    Sure he’s better than Michael Bay. But you’re comparing him to the worst thing around. There are plenty of directors making films at the moment other than Michael Bay. When you compare JJ Abrams to Sam Mendes or Ridley Scott or Gareth Evans or Joss Whedon or even Christopher Nolan, can you say he’s really good at his job?

    However bad The Dark Knight Rises was, at least you can actively think about Memento and The Prestige and maybe even Inception years after they’ve been released. What’s Abrams done that was worth remembering as soon as the credits rolled?

    • You might consider watching The Wrath of Khan. It’s by far the best of the series. If you feel compelled to continue, III has its charms, one of which being Christopher Lloyd pretty much defining what a Klingon is like from then on. IV was good, though it does involve time travel and was written to have a lot more humorous scenes (which worked, to its credit).

      Avoid V. Unless Rifftrax is playing in the background, it’s painful to sit through.

      VI is another one that seems to divide fans. It has a lot of much-needed world-building in defining the relationship between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, but it also does have some fairly silly scenes here and there (i.e. a phaser that destroys a cooking pot but leaves the potatoes, a bit too many references to Shakespeare, etc.), but I liked it. It was also the film where Kirk was supposed to die stopping the Evil Plot(TM), but Shatner’s ego wouldn’t allow that. It’s still pretty obvious to see where it was supposed to happen. It would have also been a more dignified demise than what we got in Star Trek: Generations (which you should also avoid, along with every other film except for maybe First Contact).

      • Mike S. says:

        I’ve watched Wrath of Khan relatively recently, and mostly it really does hold up.

        It’s also pretty amazing to realize that even though Kirk and Khan spend the entire movie at odds and trading barbs with one another, Shatner and Montalban never shared a soundstage during the filming.

      • Joe Informatico says:

        …Christopher Lloyd pretty much defining what a Klingon is like from then on.

        Sadly, not for the better IMO. I’m fine with Lloyd’s Kruge as a lone, piratical Klingon captain of a crew of scumbags. I’m not a fan of that kind of chaotic-stupid evil typifying the whole Klingon civilization.

        • Sorry, I should’ve been clearer: It wasn’t him being a homicidal lunatic I was referring to. It was the more gutteral speech and demeanor on display that appears to be so iconic. To be fair, some of his actions were more in line with being a kind of black ops commander (get the info, kill anyone who has seen it, even your agent understands this is how things are) with a big fat nationalistic streak than being mentally deficient. Besides, this was a doomsday weapon his potential enemies had built. It’s not like I wouldn’t expect someone like him to be willing to pretty much sacrifice everything to get it and/or wreck it for Kirk & Co.

          Besides, even if you disagree with that sentiment, being chaotic stupid is usually a quality shared by anyone of any race on a ship hostile towards the Enterprise, no?

    • venatus says:

      as much I dislike trying to defend the abrahms trek movies (I would like them if they weren’t pretending to be trek) people saying kirk was stranded on a random planet that just happened to have old Spock has always been a bit annoying.

      it wasn’t a random planet, it was vulcans moon, old spock was put there by nero so he’d have to watch the destruction of his planet and kirk was sent there because it was the nearest thing with an atmosphere after vulcan had been destroyed.

      yeah I know that doesn’t help too much since they were apperantly a short walk apart so it’s still really contrived, it’s just something about that complaint puts my inner nitpicker into hulk mode.

      • RCN says:

        I too had no problem with them being on the same planetoid (if it is a moon, it is not a planet), but that second part is the one that really pushed my buttons. The moon is obviously big enough to not only have an atmosphere, but also sustain life. This means it is ridiculously big, as in planet-comparable big, instead of just being like one of these small moons with only several kilometers in diameter. Even if you discount that Kirk and Spock would both end on the side of the moon facing Vulcan, it’d still be like falling on earth at a random spot and landing right next to Osama Bin Laden’s house when the entire world were looking for him.

        It only turns infinitesimally slim odds into astronomically slim ones. Not much of an improvement in my book.

    • Blackbird71 says:

      Alias wasn’t bad up until Abrams decided to abandon it in order to work on another project (Lost as I recall); then it really went off the rails into nonsensical stupid-land. I guess maybe that’s saying something for Abrams’ ability to make something good when he actually cares about the material. Unfortunately for us, Abrams (self-admittedly) never liked or understood Star Trek.

  18. Mortuorum says:

    I think we can all agree that the absolute best Star Trek movie wasn’t even brought up. I am, of course, referring to Galaxy Quest. Has there ever been a better Trek character than the delightful Fred Kwan/Tech Sergeant Chen (Tony Shaloub)?

    • krellen says:

      This is the consensus of my Trekkie family. Galaxy Quest is my father’s favourite movie. I think GQ was the reboot Star Trek needed.

      • MikhailBorg says:

        I had to be dragged to Galaxy Quest. I couldn’t bear the thought of 90 minutes of sneering mockery of my fandom.

        Then it turned out to be 90 minutes of the same affectionate mockery we’d been doing amongst ourselves for all those years, and I immediately fell in love with the film. Galaxy Quest is to Star Trek what The Princess Bride is to fantasy.

        • Lanthanide says:

          “Galaxy Quest is to Star Trek what The Princess Bride is to fantasy.”

          No, not really at all. Galaxy Quest has jokes in it that are bets appreciated by those “in the know”, and is really mocking Star Trek fandom. The Princess Bride doesn’t have jokes like that and doesn’t mock anything.

    • Grudgeal says:

      Galaxy Quest: The best Star Trek film that wasn’t.

      I love that film.

    • Tulgey Logger says:

      I freaking love Galaxy Quest. Even as stand-alone sci-fi it’s at least as interesting as Trek. Even the friendly tentacles aliens are more genuinely alien than most of the Bumpy Foreheads of the Week. Not that it’s some sci-fi magnum opus; it just has good qualities that hold up quite apart from its appeal as an affectionate parody of Star Trek.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      Rewatched it recently, because my fiancée had never seen it. I still love it, and so did she.

    • Kathryn says:

      I came here to say just this – Galaxy Quest is definitely in the top three Trek movies. Very clever and very funny. I think it was underrated by critics.

  19. krellen says:

    When I am watching the first reboot movie, I can’t hate it. It’s only when I think about it after the fact that my ire grows.

    Into Darkness was complete crap, though, as I knew it would be. Without “Space Seed”, there is no reason for a Khan, and trying to pigeonhole in a Khan was doomed to fail from the start.

    • Zekiel says:

      I totally agree about the first movie. I think its a great example of a film that is fun to watch, but think about it afterwards and it really begins to irritate me. It reminds that good characterisation can go a long way to make up for huge plot holes.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Havent you learned anything from voyager?You should not think.

    • Blackbird71 says:

      Which is really the same problem Nemesis had; trying to fabricate and shoehorn in a villain who was supposed to literally be a character’s nemesis, without any of the backstory to build it up.

      • Blackbird71 says:

        (I hate replying to myself, but for some reason the edit feature doesn’t work for me)

        Nemesis was really trying to recapture Wrath of Khan, but in doing so it made the mistake of forgetting that Picard already had his Wrath of Khan, First Contact. The Borg had always been Picard’s nemesis in the way that Khan was Kirk’s (and with several more recurring episodes to build that antagonistic relationship).

  20. Zekiel says:

    However bad Abrams’ films might be regarded as, they can’t compare to my dislike of Insurrection, a film that decided Patrick Stewart needs to be an action hero and had verisimilitude-destroying inanities for the sake of cheap laughs like Data being inflatable and Riker flying the Enterprise with joystick. It was like it was a parody film.

    Couple that with Generations being a big disappointment and Nemesis being completely forgettable, and I would gladly, gladly sacrifice First Contact in the service of having All Good Things… being the last we ever saw of the Enterprise NC-1701-D. It was a perfect send-off for them.

    • Directed by Jonathan Frakes. Written by Rick Berman.

      I think that’s most of where the problems came from.

      • John says:

        Jonathon Frakes is a perfectly competent director. In fact, that’s actually his job now, although he mostly does TV shows rather than movies.

        The above should not be construed as a defense of the film, and you may slag on Rick Berman all you like.

        • Oh, I definitely know which one carries most of the water on that (Berman, after all, gave us Enterprise, minus most of Season 4).

          Frakes may be competent, but I don’t think he’s got the clout to change stuff like other directors. I can’t see him thinking the joystick was a brilliant idea, and I find it odd nobody pointed out that the Enterprise really couldn’t fly off into the sunset at the end of the movie since they’d used their warp core as a bomb.

          • John says:

            Yeah. Frakes is probably not one of those auteur directors. I also doubt that he brings a lot of financing with him.

            I hated that joystick bit. I think it’s a freaking Logitech. I have one of those. I use it to play Tie Fighter. The idea of using one to “pilot” a capital ship hurts my brain.

  21. Grudgeal says:

    I consider the new Star Trek, excuse me, Generic Space Action Films With Spock In Them films to be Abrams trying to build his CV so he could be allowed to work on something Star Wars-related down the line. Strip away the names and the films are about as much thematically linked to Star Trek as Pacific Rim is to Neon Genesis Evangelion.

    (disclaimer: I liked Pacific Rim. It was stupid fun. I may have liked Abrams’ films better too if he’d had the clout to do what del Toro did and just make a new IP out of them.)

    I feel I should be happy for Abrams; he is finally getting to use the correct noun, the one he *wanted* to use, for the Star films he’s been making. I just feel that nearly thirty years spent being a fan of the universe he was *supposed* to be making films in makes me faintly unhappy with what he had been doing up to this point.

    • Tulgey Logger says:

      ST 09 is basically what people wanted out of the Star Wars prequels anyway. It was a fun romp without a lot of ponderous politics, and the actors moved around physical sets in an exciting way, as opposed to walking around a green screen room in a boring way. Minus the lens flare, I wish Abrams had directed the prequels. I am a bit sceptical of the new Star Wars—the Dark Side seems to have a fondness for goofy lightsabers, the spaceships think they’re snowspeeders, and the Stormtrooper bits look like they’re shot like modern day military porn—but I also realize the thirteen year olds it’s basically for are going to love the hell out of it anyway.

      • Blackbird71 says:

        I never understood the idea of continuing to pander these films to 13-year olds, when the older and existing fanbase of the originals are the ones with jobs and money to spend.

        • ehlijen says:

          After getting over my disappointment that the guy who in my mind killed any hope of Star Trek ever being taken seriously again (it had died before him, but the reboots have now firmly shoved in the camp comedy hole) also being given the reigns to the other great Scifi franchise, I also came to the conclusion that JJ’s style is lot better a fit for star wars than it ever was for trek.

          I don’t expect greatness, but at least a lot less disappointment.

          As for pandering to 13yo instead of 30yo: if you don’t recruit new fans, your fanbase is going to die off eventually. And I can tell you that 13yo loved the prequels and are thus a lot easier to please then us 30yo nitpickers. Economics are not against kids movies.

          Making movies for kids does not have to mean making stupid movies, either. But making movies only for adults is a mistake for star wars, I feel, especially if disney is serious about its long term plans for the franchise.

          • Blackbird71 says:

            I always appreciated Walt Disney’s philosophy of making movies that kids could enjoy, but were entertaining and intelligent enough for adults as well. Here’s hoping that the studio bearing his name can figure out how to apply that same philosophy to this franchise they have acquired.

          • As a parent, I can tell you that the watered-down kiddie versions of things aren’t what grab and hold their imaginations, more often than not. I’m not suggesting we start a kid on sci-fi with Robocop or Starship Troopers, but I can tell you my kid is more into things like Star Trek & Star Wars spaceships than he is into the Rocket character in “Little Einsteins.”

            • ehlijen says:

              Absolutely. I merely meant that kids should not be neglected in favour of the old fan base. In fact, I think the breaking with the EU was a good move that will make the franchise more approachable to new comers, kids and adults alike.

        • Felblood says:

          They hooked us when we were 13, and we’re still giving them money.

          It’s a vulnerable age when it comes to selling your eternal loyalty for a few hours of genre film entertainment.

  22. Kourosh says:

    I think the first 10 minutes of the first reboot movie was gorgeous and fantastic — the best sci-fi origin story ever. Tell me I’m wrong.

  23. SteveDJ says:

    This post is supposed to be covering “The Movies”, and you mentioned a few titles — but only of TNG movies. And of course the Abrams movies — which everyone seems to be talking about.

    What about the TOS movies? You left those out of the conversation.

    I think the original Wrath of Kahn movie is one of the BEST Trek movies, or even episodes for that matter, ever done!

    (and no, we won’t talk about TOS movie V)

    • Purple Library Guy says:

      Wrath of Khan just isn’t controversial. Like Galaxy Quest. Everyone just agrees they’re awesome and then there isn’t much to talk about. If only we had someone around who would be willing to argue that WoK was overdone crap . . . except the resulting flame war would be too intense and Shamus would have to can it.

      • Kathryn says:

        Well, I never cared for WoK all that much, but I’m not prepared for a flame war as I haven’t watched it in years and remember very little about it. Let me put it this way: The only Star Trek movies I’ve more than once deliberately sat down to watch (as opposed to landing on them when flipping channels) are The Undiscovered Country and Galaxy Quest.

        As long as I’m confessing unpopular opinions, I never thought “The Inner Light” was all that great. I think the best Picard Episode is “Darmok”.

    • John says:

      The wounds from the reboot are still fresh.

      TOS movies were hit or miss, much like TOS itself. The first TOS film I saw in a theater was Star Trek V. (Ha! I’m talking about it!) It is commonly judged the worst of the TOS films, mostly (I think) because each frame is stuffed-unto-bursting with pure cheese. You know, like “Spock’s Brain.” The next film was actually really good and involved Klingons. (It’s my personal favorite, though a majority of Trekkies probably prefer Star Trek II.) You know, like several episodes of TOS whose titles I can’t remember just now and come to think of it may never have actually known.

      The TNG movies got off to a really rocky start with Generations. We didn’t hope for too much after that one. First Contact is the best one, but its plot is dangerously vulnerable to nitpicking. I don’t remember the details anymore. I liked it while I was in the theater, but when I got to the car I started having second thoughts.

      I’m sure that when each film came out there was rage and nitpicking aplenty, but, well, it’s been a while man. Also the TOS and TNG films are recognizably Star Trek, even when they are not very good. I mean, that’s Kirk or Picard, right up there on the screen. The reboot is full of strangers with familiar names. It can be hard not to regard them as impostors.

      • Some reasons Star Trek V is often called the worst by fans:

        1. The forced comedy of camping in Yellowstone. Yes, Star Trek IV was funny in a lot of places. However, V relied on the characters interacting with the unfamiliar instead of rocket-boots with cartoon physics (Spock’s jet-powered feet are able to point straight up while in mid-air before he starts to descend).
        2. Emotional Vulcan relative out of effing nowhere.
        3. Uhura doing a sexydance. This was demeaning to her, her character, and the audience.
        4. “The Great Barrier” being relocated. In the series, said barrier is at the edge of the galaxy, not the center, and makes no sense in either case, really.
        5. Emo-goth Klingon brat-captain.
        6. Shatner’s demands, ILM not being able to work on this film like previous films, a 3-month window to make all the FX shots (about half the time as most movies), and budget cutting by Paramount made the visuals… not as good as previous movies.
        7. Shatner directing and coming up with the film’s concept. Somehow he managed to come up with something lamer than TekWar.

      • krellen says:

        Star Trek V contains my two all-time favourite Trek moments:
        “Dinna worry, Captain, I know this ship like the back of my hand.” *clong*

        and

        “What does God need with a starship?”

        (I know a lot of people hate the first one for making Scotty look like a dunce, but I laugh every time. The latter is the most Kirk moment ever. Nothing sums up Kirk better than that – I think a lot of people forget that this is a man that actually had argued with a god before – albeit a Greek one.)

        • John says:

          I always liked those bits, particularly “What does God need with a starship?” The best part is when Kirk gets zapped for being a smart-ass and McCoy kicks in: “You didn’t answer his question. What does God need with a starship?” McCoy is awesome. Oh, and the bit with Sulu and Chekhov getting lost and lying about it also made me laugh.

          I think it helped that I was still pretty young–and a heck of a lot less picky than I am now–when I saw this film in the theater.

        • …and there are the only two remotely good lines from that hideously awful movie.

          If we want to get uber-nerd here, I just LOVE the scene where Spock uses his rocket boots to get Kirk and McCoy up the turbolift shaft. Apart from the fact you can see the shadow from the rod holding him to the wall, I’m hard pressed to find the shaft in the tech manual that’s a completely vertical line from the secondary hull, up through the “neck,” into the saucer section, and then ending anywhere remotely near the bridge. Not to mention as he goes whizzing by, they can’t even keep the numbers in a sequential order. Not to mention no turbolift cars were in the way for some reason. Not to mention the rocket boots were a dumb idea to start with.

  24. Tychoxi says:

    One of my main problems with the new movies was that they didn’t do a complete clean sweep. By this point Trek is so full of silliness, camp, atrocious storylines, contradictions, unkempt technobabble and etc. that the main canon is just baggage. Why can’t you update and distill the best out of the franchise without relying on the past in a direct manner?

    Star Trek: Star Trek was fine, a generic space action-adventure but the presence of our favorite characters made it enjoyable and lens flares aside JJ is a good director, it didn’t need any direct tying into the original canon (yet there it was). Then came Star Trek: Into Darkness, which aside from having an atrocious script relied on the original canon even more! I had hopes for that one, another fun romp but this time with no ties to the original canon? Count me in! What a disappointment.

    Also, death to all who hate The Motion Picture!

    • krellen says:

      TMP is a lot better than people give it credit for. I think the Enterprise reveal bit gets ragged on a bit because something like that would never fly in a modern movie, but that shot was actually a big fricking deal for the fans that saw the film in the theatre, and if you keep in mind the point of the scene is to show off some cool new practical effects (a way better Enterprise model than ever existed in the TV series), it’s a lot easier to take in today.

      • ehlijen says:

        I’ve always considered it a decent TOS episode stretched out by a factor of 2 to movie length, nothing more, nothing less.

        It is too slow paced to hold up, by a long shot, but what content it had wasn’t bad. It was just not great enough, in my opinion, to make me rewatch it.

        • Mike S. says:

          And the TOS episode in question was “The Changeling”, with a bit of “Doomsday Machine” thrown in for flavor.

          (I respect what TMP was trying to do, and I don’t hate it. But I’ve given it multiple chances since 1979, and the pacing just doesn’t work no matter how prepared I think I am for it.)

          • Tychoxi says:

            Did you watch the directors cut?

            • Mike S. says:

              Yes. It’s improved, but I still find it cold, ponderous, and too convinced that the way to get their money’s worth out of the effects is to spend too much screen time on them. Though I nonetheless wish that the sequels had shared its science fictional ambition.

          • MichaelG says:

            I saw that movie when it first came out, on opening day. It was at a huge theater in Houston, and we had all waited in line for an hour. There were people in costume, etc.

            I thought the movie was great. It wasn’t until I dragged someone else to see it that I realized it was so dead. It’s perfectly paced for a showing where the audience cheers for a minute after every line or every appearance of a character. Or during the whole reveal of the Enterprise….

  25. John says:

    I watched the first reboot movie. I will never, ever watch the second one because I am afraid that my hate will grow so dense that it will collapse in upon itself and turn me into a black hole of hate from which no positive emotion can escape.

    I don’t hate the reboot because it’s bad Star Trek. It is much less important to be good Star Trek than it is to be a good movie. The reboot is most emphatically not a good movie. The problems are almost all writing-related. (Lens flare? I didn’t notice. I was too busy seething.) Every single character in the film who makes a plot-relevant decision has an idiot ball grasped firmly in each hand and another securely strapped between his ears. Starfleet Command are dunderheads. Kirk and Spock–Spock!–are petulant, easily-distracted morons that I wouldn’t trust to walk my dog, let alone command a starship. I hate those people. I hate them so much.

    Right. Sanity. I’ve got some around here somewhere. It’s funny though. Now I’m trying to imagine the film with all the names changed. It’s SpaceForce, not Starfleet. It’s, I dunno, Biff Smirkface, not James Kirk. Would I still hate the film? I can definitely say that I wouldn’t like it, but I think that I only hate the film because I am still–despite the fact that I’ve had nearly two decades to learn my lesson–emotionally attached to Star Trek.

    I used to think I was over Star Trek. (Except for DS9. DS9 is my show.) I quit Voyager halfway through the first season. I decided to give Enterprise a miss after watching the pilot. I barely noticed when Nemesis came out, having been utterly underwhelmed by Insurrection. If I had only skipped the reboot too, then I might still think I was over Star Trek. (I watched it with my wife. She likes to watch the occasional effects-driven blockbuster and is way, way less picky about things than I am.) Well, I guess I know better now. The Buddha (Yoda?) was right. Attachment causes suffering.

    Incidentally, Shamus, I’m pretty sure that the reason that Trek films have been trending toward dumb action-spectacle is the increasing irrelevance of Star Trek in popular culture. At this point, Star Trek might as well be the Transformers, GI Joe, or, of all things, Battleship. It’s just a name that people recognize and that will probably put a certain number of butts in seats on opening day. If you’d asked me ten or fifteen years ago I would have told you that people were just suffering from a bit of fatigue. All anyone needed to do was let Star Trek lie fallow for a while. Give the writers a chance to recharge their creative batteries and audiences a chance to actually miss Star Trek again. Don’t come back until inspiration strikes. Then all will be as it was. I still hope that’s true. It’s just harder to believe it now.

  26. Blackbird71 says:

    “But Abrams has great cinematography,”

    Two words: Lens flare.

    “wonderful casting[1],”

    Nope. In the few cases where they did actually cast well, the characters were written or directed badly and/or the talent of the actors squandered.

    “interesting set design,”

    The Enterprise bridge as an Apple store? Well, I suppose if you’re using the definition of “interesting” as characterized by the old curse “may you live in interesting times,” then you may have something.

    “action scenes that make sense,”

    A sword fight on a platform dangling in the upper atmosphere in order to disable said platform, when a simple phaser blast from the ship would have done the same job? Kirk getting chased by Cloverfield? Clearly you have a very different opinion of what “makes sense.”

    “jokes that aren’t gross/offensive,”

    Turning Chekov into nothing more than an accent joke was highly offensive (yes, the TOS movies occasionally poked fun at the accent, i.e., “nuclear wessels,” but it was never to the point of degrading the character or making him appear useless or incompetent; there was always so much more depth behind him). Swollen-face Kirk was an insult to the audience’s intelligence – humor in Star Trek was always more subtle and classy than a Three Stooges slapstick act.

    “good pacing, a firm grip on tone,”

    Were we even watching the same movie?

    “and occasionally some interesting dialog.”

    Finding the occasional bit of tri-tip steak in the middle of your turd sandwich really doesn’t do a lot to improve the overall experience; it just makes you realize that it could have been so much better.

    Disclaimer: I only watched the first Abrams movie; after that I had no stomach for anything else he could churn out, so if any of this changed with ST: ID, I have no idea. I actually went into the first movie hopeful, if a bit skeptical (I’m always a bit concerned when characters that have been virtually created and developed over years by specific actors are handed off to others, as in my experience it is rarely done well).

    In my opinion (for what that matters), TOS, TNG, and DS9 were Star Trek done right; Voyager and Enterprise were Star Trek done badly, and the Abrams movies were not Star Trek at all, but merely your average action flick/special effects extravaganza, that rather than rely on its own creative merits decided to try to make more money by buying its popularity and slapping the name of a well-known franchise on the surface. Abrams’ abomination had none of the heart or intellect that made Star Trek what it was, and it did a great disservice to the legacy that Roddenberry created.

    Abrams has admitted that he was never a fan of Star Trek, and it shows in his work as he clearly has no respect for the characters. As mentioned before, Chekov became nothing more than an accent joke. Sulu was entirely characterized by an event that happened in one TOS episode (running around the ship with a sword, and worth noting that he wasn’t exactly in his right mind at the time). Scotty was just Simon Pegg being Simon Pegg. He couldn’t even get the origin of McCoy’s nickname right (“sawbones” is an old nickname for doctors; McCoy was called “Bones” by his friends as a throwback to this affectation, partly in reference to his old-fashioned mannerisms and opinions). Yes, Kirk was brash and unruly at times, but he still had the restraint and discipline necessary to become a good commanding officer. And Spock making out with Uhura?!?! I believe the character Sheldon Cooper put it best: “Live long and suck it, Zachary Quinto!”

    I’ll give Shamus the point that the quality of Star Trek movies had deteriorated somewhat towards the end (although I’ll disagree on the quality of “Generations”; it was not the best of Trek, but it was far from “lame and awkward”). Even so, is that any reason to accept movies that lower the bar even further, or is it all the more reason to demand something better that is true to its origins?

    Also, the previous Trek movies had the benefit of something that Abrams lacked: they did not stand on their own, but were supported by their respective series. We had years of episodes to get to know and love the characters and the world they lived in. When the movies came along, they could be largely forgiven if they failed to live up to standards of cinematic greatness, because we watched them for the characters we already knew (I’ll even sit through Star Trek V now and then if for nothing other than the campfire scenes with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, which were both humorous and poignant). The TOS and TNG movies never carried the same burden because at the core, Star Trek was always the series; the movies were really just an extended fanservice, a way for fans to relive some of the good times.

    Having eschewed and rewritten all that came before it, the Abrams’ movies lost any such foundation to build upon. In trying to stand on its own, to be a successful Star Trek film this movie needed to encapsulate the character and world development that would have normally built over a series. Yes, it’s a bit of a tall order, but that’s the result of the path these movies choose to take when they decided to hit the reset button. We had no idea who these new characters were; sure they bore familiar names, and wore the same color uniforms, but the world and events that had shaped them changed, they had been written differently, and they were something entirely new. As such, we never had the chance to get to know them before our love of them was put to the test, and it was a tough test.

    By way of analogy, if someone does something you find incredibly annoying while on your first date, it is much more likely to make a difference in your relationship then if they do it after ten years of marriage. Abrams’ movie was the equivalent of the girl you barely know stealing food off your plate because she thinks it’s cute or endearing; at that stage of the relationship most people would probably agree such behavior is a bit awkward if not wholly inappropriate. But if your long-time spouse does the same thing, even if you are someone who still finds such behavior annoying, it doesn’t really matter because by now you’ve learned to overlook their faults in favor of all the better qualities you know they have.

    I would also argue that even at their worst, the TOS and TNG movies always had at least some semblance of a reasonable plot or story, while the first Abrams movie had no actual plot to it at all. The entire movie was a contrived excuse for why everything in potential movies to come would be different (and as an excuse it was an incredibly poor one). We knew it was a reboot going into the theater; we knew everything would be different. I would have much rather that the movie had simply acknowledged that without bothering to try to address it or explain it, and instead would have spent two hours to actually tell an interesting and compelling story. I would have been much more forgiving of some of the liberties taken with the franchise if there had been some depth to the plot; something beyond “everything’s going to be different than what you knew before, because reasons.”

    In a nutshell, to me the Abrams movie (again, I haven’t seen the second one, and can only go by what I’ve heard related from others, so I’ll avoid lumping it in here) was just mindless drek that insulted the audience’s intelligence and had no respect or real grounding in the source material, paying it lip service at best. It built it’s entire reputation on flashy effects, big explosions, and misplaced humor. Star Trek was none of this; the franchise had it’s low points, but at its heart it was true science fiction, it was thoughtful and cerebral, and it celebrated the best that mankind could be. I can only hope that Abrams, as a fan of Star Wars, treats that franchise (and its fanbase) with greater respect than he gave to the franchise he openly disliked.

  27. Otters34 says:

    Just watched the Wrath of Khan a couple days ago, I was shocked at how…breezy it was. How simple, uncomplicated, focused it was. It was a movie about aomething, how you deal with the prospect of death and how that affects the way you live, and it stuck to that for its entire running time. The sparse subplots? Part of the main story, tying into and augmenting the narrative rather than distracting from it.

    I had no idea THAT was what used to be almost the normal. At times it really does feel like a big-budget episode from the first show, the characters are all loosely sketched, it’s not nearly so profound as thoughtful, but it was so…convincing. Star Trek has never been VERY deep, but it was often much deeper than it needed to be, and that’s wonderful.

  28. Joe Informatico says:

    I guess I can sum up my feelings about Into Darkness with this long quote from SF Debris (from the preamble of his review of the first Michael Bay Transformers):

    Part of the ire felt towards blockbusters, especially blockbusters that are from existing fanbases, is that problem: what we’ve been waiting for has been displaced by something that fits a predetermined formula. Trekkies saw it with the Abrams reboot 5 years ago, and its sequel. And the questions that are asked of fans who feel this way are, “Are you just being uptight about this?” Maybe. Yes, sometimes. Another is the comment, “Fans just have this sense of entitlement, like they have some kind of ownership of it.”

    I won’t presume that I speak for all of fandom, but I think I speak for quite a few when I say, I don’t own it. But I do own the feelings that it has created within me. The things that I loved about it. The things I hated about it. The things I was embarrassed about it. The musings and arguments and fun I had with others about it. That’s what made it special. Why I might be uptight, maybe, yes, sometimes. I’m not joining a shrilling chorus with an endless stream of profanity, punctuated with nitpicks over every deviation because that’s no better than being an explosion-watching drone.

    But if I tell I don’t like it, and why. If I feel it’s dumb, and why. If I say you’re missing the soul, and why. That’s not entitlement. That’s the part of it that I do own. What it means to me. And to handwave that away pretending that it’s something wrong with me—that’s entitlement. That’s arrogance. You don’t have to agree with me, and some degree of dismissiveness is probably necessary for the sake of one’s sanity, but don’t pretend there’s something wrong with people who are disappointed. Because how ever proud you are of that Snickers bar you made, well it’s no different than one cranked out at any of the other factories.

    So what I’m saying is: there’s nothing wrong with a blockbuster, and your partnership with science fiction. But the thing about that genre you might be missing is the question, “What if things were different?” So I ask you, about the formulaic blockbuster mentality that has been fused onto science fiction, can’t things, sometimes, be different? Because as I hope some of the films I’ve covered this year have shown, it can be done.

    • Exactly this.

      When I see the ‘Trek reboot (as well as a lot of other sci-fi movies), I know they’re successful more for their action setpieces than they are for the actual plot. My issue is that the plot is often a fairly easy fix via script changes and editing. Getting better dialog and fixing plot holes, even with handwaves, is cheaper than re-shooting a space battle. I just wish more directors/producers let someone competent fix their movies for a few bucks so more people could enjoy them.

  29. Corpital says:

    In space sci fi and horror, I usually prefer to have some entity or situation that is, if not alien, at least alienating.
    Judging from everything I’ve read about the reboot, they have managed to alienate a lot of people, so…well done?

  30. RCN says:

    Hate him or love him, Shatner had (well, still has, frankly) one undeniable trait: Presence. And Pine simply doesn’t. At all. In literally every scene he’s in he’s outshone by everyone else and delivering no contrast. He talks to Pike? Pike comes off as wise and experienced, Kirk comes off as a blank slate. He talks to McCoy? McCoy is witty and grouchy. Kirk is paste. He talks to Scotty? Scotty is smart and sarcastic. Kirk is a plastic bag. When Shatner was in a scene it was difficult to focus on anyone else but Shatner.

    I also don’t have anything against the new movies. I also actually like them. But I certainly watch them despite of Pine, I watch them literally because of everyone else in them.

  31. Chris says:

    “Karl Urban’s only sin is that he needs more screen time.”

    This is so very true. I’d have to say I’d rather see this actor in anything other than Abram’s Trek movies. He was fantastic in “Judge Dredd”, “Red”, and even “Doom” and “Riddick”. (I’ve just got the series “Almost Human” on DVD. He is great in this show!)

    Regarding Abrams, I watched his Tedd talk about the “Mystery Box” and felt rather insulted by it. Its not enough to lead an audience on by giving them a sense of anticipation unless you are fully prepared to deliver something worth the anticipation. Plan ahead and don’t disappoint the audience by hand-waving away the plot, dammit.

    It is kind of funny that the original death of Spock required extensive effort to bring the character back. Meanwhile the death of New-Kirk takes a syringe and a minute.

    • Further, the magic technology that brought him back was unwieldy, hard to create, and even when it “worked,” it had a pretty massive down side. That’s how you make a one-use macguffin, as opposed to Abrams’ life-blood and galactic transporters.

  32. NotDog says:

    Not going to lie, I was scared you were going to talk about the original Star Trek movies and dump on Star Trek IV.

    People might complain about the space whales and 1980s San Fransisco, but that movie was my childhood dammit!

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Why would he dump on that one when its one of the better movies?Granted,its not great,but compared to the bad ones listed here,its brilliant.

      • Ebenzer_Arvigenius says:

        I still consider IV the only one really worth watching with the first Abrams taking second place.

        The rest were more or less forgettable (literally – Wrath of Khan had decent pacing and good character chemistry but the only thing I can remember about it are the Spock death scene and the bad nebula effects).

    • Trek IV was a high point. The humor didn’t feel forced, Nimoy directed, and it even had a pretty good title theme.

      It was good enough to help audiences forget V and give VI a chance.

      I also like the fact that they never revealed what the whales said to the alien probe, or what the probe was broadcasting when trying to make contact. Leaving that a mystery was a good move on the writers’ part, since so many sci-fi movies want to info-dump everything, even when it’s not necessary, often ruining the wonder for the audience.

  33. Rick Tacular says:

    The best Trek movie was “Galaxy Quest”.

    Also, the problem with the nuTrek films is that they’re both pale rehashes of The Wrath of Khan. Ah, well.

  34. Blake says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the JJ reboots, I felt they were the best Star Wars films since Jedi.

    But honestly I don’t think Trek can do much more than that on the big screen, not unless you want to make it inaccessable to anyone who’s not already a Trekkie.
    Most Trek movies are pretty terrible, the recent ones have been absolutely watchable.

    As for “The TV shows are all done, and nobody seems eager to make more.”, a bunch of ex-Voyager types (as well as Chekov) are trying, I’m not super exactly optimistic of their chances, aren’t sure about the whole ‘darker edgier’ thing, but am still hopeful they can manage something decent (and any more screen time with the Holodoc is always welcome): http://startrekrenegades.com/home/

  35. Deoxy says:

    Trek had been dumb action schlock for years. He just made it into good action schlock.

    This is why I enjoyed them as well. To essentially every complaint I have heard about the movies, I feel the urge to say, “How is that different from any other Star Trek?”

    Seriously, it’s more of the same, only more enjoyable.

  36. Iunnrais says:

    I really think I need to post a link to the Onion review of the first of the Star Trek reboot movies: http://www.theonion.com/video/trekkies-bash-new-star-trek-film-as-fun-watchable,14333/

    The title says it all: “Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As ‘Fun, Watchable'”

    And that’s it really. It’s a fun action packed summer blockbuster hit, and a lot of fun. As redlettermedia says, I like my scifi either really exciting, or really boring. Mixing the two just doesn’t work.

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>