4:18 PM CDT, May 27, 2013
“Star Trek: Into Darkness” bothered me in a number of ways. A warning: if you haven’t seen the movie, spoilers lie ahead. If you read on, get ready for a nerded-out rant, the likes of which you’ve never before seen (unless you read anything else I write about movies).
Movie-going in general
This is more of a general complaint about the movie-going experience. With the advent of unbelievable home theater systems wouldn’t you think that theaters would be attempting to make the movie-going experience more pleasurable and not make us all sit there getting advertised to for thirty f***ing minutes before the movie starts? Even once you get past the ads, you have to sit for another ten minutes while AMC advertises itself in a infinite regress of thirty second spots for AMC. I realize that by lodging this complaint I’ve firmly entrenched myself as a surly old man, but so be it.
Damon Lindelof’s shit writing Part I
Obsessive readers of this blog will know that I consider writer and producer Damon Lindelof to hold the position as The Worst Living Writer in Hollywood. Lindelof, a hack of epic proportions, is responsible for such trope-riddled abortions of logic like the final season of “Lost,” “Prometheus,” and “Cowboys & Aliens.” Maybe it was just me, but I felt like the dialogue of “Star Trek: Into Darkness” went beyond typically weak action movie boiler-plate and actually reached to some higher epoch of suckiness. Jokes ranged from, “Ha, Spock doesn’t understand a character is being literal, so he says what they’re doing isn’t logical! Ha!” to other iterations of that same joke.
Damon Lindelof’s shit writing Part II
If I set out to count the number of stolen plot points riddling “Into Darkness” I’d have to write an entirely new column, but here are two that bugged me the most.
First, the whole “the bad guy wanted to be captured so he could execute his secret plan” hit its peak with Chris Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.” Now we see this trope in all the super-villain movies, most recently the new Bond, “Skyfall.” If you can't think of new things to happen in your movie at least crib from less obvious source material.
Second, the entire premise of “Into Darkness” revolves around a Federation admiral resurrecting Khan (yes, that Khan) to help him build a fleet of super-weapons, so the Federation can go to war with the Klingons. As this excellent EW article points out, this would be like resurrecting a Mongolian warlord to help the U.S. military build a new fleet of drones, but no matter. The worst trope recycled here is that Kirk dies (in an inversion of the one truly great Star Trek film, “Wrath of Khan”), but of course Dr. McCoy can resurrect him with Khan’s genetically-engineered superblood, which can bring people back from the dead. The superblood resurrecting trope is now so well-worn, I can’t even think of all the movies that have employed it. First of all, if this guy has superblood that will save humanity, why are you freezing him back in his cryogenic chamber? F***ing save the f***ing universe with that shit, you stupid twats! Except for Hollywood writers who can't think through even the most meager implications of their fictional devices!
In order to keep it a secret that the villain was Khan, J.J. Abrams cast some lame British fop named Benedict Cumberbatch, which incedentally the name I would call a British guy for being a fop. Cumberbatch, however, is not even really playing Khan but just another unmemorable, generic super-villain who could have gone by “Harry” or “Damon Lindelof.” Speaking of which, Hollywood, do you notice how now basically every villain you give us is just Osama bin Laden? Like come up with a new motivation for a villain, please. “Star Trek: Insurrection” the worst, least viewed Star Trek movie ever where the Next Generation crew discovers a planet with magic healing capabilities (not Khan’s blood, though), had a more interesting moral quandary at its villain's emotional center than “Into Darkness.”
On the way out of the theater, I overheard a mother explaining to her young daughter about the original movie featuring Khan. “Oh, she hasn’t seen ‘Wrath of Khan,’" I told her. “This movie will make way more sense to you after you see that.”
But what I really wanted to say to the girl was, “Also, in that one Khan isn’t some wannabe Hannibal Lecter pussy. He’s Ricardo Montalban, and he’s badass as shit, little girl.”
Did no one else notice the 9/11xAMillion of San Francisco?
Okay, so at the end of the movie, the entire city of San Francisco is destroyed when Kahn kamikaze crashes a new super-ship into it because, well, because. The crew of the Enterprise is patting themselves on the back for their clever thinking (Oh, Spock thought to use Khan’s cryogenically frozen compatriots against him by blowing up the torpedoes in which they were stored. How clever! And Captain Kirk learned about the true meaning of leadership! And Uhura and Spock talked things out! And Kirk came back to life when McCoy injected him with the Khan magic blood!) And meanwhile hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people are dead in the worst terrorist atrocity of the 23rd Century.
The lesson being that Kirk should never have had his flash of conscience to go capture Khan, and instead should have taken Admiral Marcus’s mission seriously and blown Khan up with one of these drones—er, torpedoes (Speaking of which, why did the Admiral put Khan’s 72 frozen comrades in torpedoes? Was Kirk supposed to fire them all at the planet? He only needed to fire one to kill Kahn anyway, right? So the other 71 would still be lying around with bodies in them. This is a plot hole so gaping, it’s almost gross to look at, so your brain just kind of shoves it aside.)
The moral argument the film makes is that the rule of law and due process that Spock and Kirk hold dearwill cause the holocaust of San Francisco. It’s a plot that could have been written by CIA chief John Brennan.
Does anybody anywhere have an original idea anymore?
Here were the previews before “Into Darkness”:
• “Despicable Me 2,” a sequel
• “Anchorman 2,” a sequel
• “The Hangover III,” a totally unnecessary, unwanted, unwatchable sequel
• “Man of Steel,” the Superman retread, which appears to feature aliens attacking Earth, a plotline we haven’t seen in upwards of, oh, twelve minutes.
• “Last Vegas,” which is “The Hangover” starring old guys instead of young guys.
• “The Internship,” which is “Wedding Crashers” set at Google
• “World War Z,” which is penned by none other than hack extraordinaire Damon Lindelof and is going to miss the point of the fun and inventive novel on which it is based so thoroughly that it’s like they just bought the rights to the name and then recycled the plots of every other zombie movie made in the last decade.
In summary, you make me f***ing sick, Hollywood. See you at “Fast and the Furious 6.”
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