January 06, 2014

Star Trek into Darkness = hot mess

Another Facebook discussion about Star Trek into Darkness with my concluding thoughts. For my initial thoughts, see Review of Star Trek into Darkness.

** spoiler alert **

Well, Star Trek into Darkness was a hot mess.

I can't even bother discussing the central plot, which was revealed in the movie's central part. Khan hides his fellow supermen in space missiles! Khan turns to terrorism because he's super-mad (angry and insane)! Khan flees to uninhabited part of Klingon...for no reason whatsoever!

Let's skip straight to the movie's conclusion, which many people didn't like:

I'd say the ending was about as bad as the beginning. It started going south when Scotty popped out of thin air to save the day.

On the one hand, you can't say the final third was too slow. With a dozen or so sequences, each lasting a couple of minutes, it was more like a nonstop rollercoaster ride.

On the other hand, nearly every scene had plot holes that raised numerous questions. With some major work, a few of the sequences might've worked. But with one following another in quick succession, it was impossible to take them seriously. I was too busy figuring out the mistakes and contrivances in one scene to appreciate the next scene.

Kirk failed, so promote him

Let's examine Kirk's record:

  • He broke the Prime Directive and permanently harmed an indigenous culture.

  • He personally launched a war against the Klingon Empire. (Landing on Kronos and firing on Klingons should be enough to start a war.)

  • He failed to stop Marcus. (Khan did that.)

  • He failed to stop the super-ship from falling and demolishing San Francisco.

  • He failed to stop Khan. (Spock did that.)

  • He really did only one thing. After his incompetence caused the Enterprise to be damaged, he prevented it from demolishing San Francisco as well. So he batted .500 in terms of not demolishing San Francisco.

    And for that sterling record of accomplishment...Starfleet gives him the Enterprise and sends him on a five-year mission. Yay, Kirk!

    I think a 6.0 of 10 is about the right rating. After the poor start, it got better, then worse. It returned to its initial level of mediocrity.

    When they redo Khan for the third time, in 30 years, it should be McCoy's turn to yell "Khannnnn!!" Right?

    And in 60 years, Scotty's turn. In 90 years, Uhura's turn. Etc.

    Judging the script

    If someone had brought me this script, I would've said, "Like the idea of Kirk hunting a rogue Starfleet operative who convinces him to join forces against a Starfleet conspiracy. A couple of the scenes in the middle with Kirk and the operative are good. Lose the Khan angle, which no one cares about, but keep those.

    "Get rid of the science magic, the contrivances, and the deus ex machina saves. In fact, rewrite everything else completely. Then it might be worth doing.

    "Sorry, kid. With ships falling out of the sky and so forth, this reads like bad fan fiction. You have a bit of talent, but you're probably five or ten years away from writing a good script. Come back and see me when you have some experience."Contrivances is a good word to describe it. It's like they just HAD to include Khan so they pounded him into to the script like a square peg in a round hole. They could have easily done the same plot without involving Khan or eugenics. That would have cleared up about 50% of the problems right there.More like a quarter of the problems, but yes. That would've been my first recommendation. Lose the Khan angle, because it exists only to pander to fans. It's completely irrelevant to the proposed story.

    Are you listening, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman? Do you need me to help you with your screenwriting careers? I'm here, so just ask!Orci needs a square peg pounded into him!

    6/10 is about what I gave it. It's not even the worst Star Trek film, but it's pretty freakin' bad!
    It's down there with Nemesis, Final Frontier, and TMP.

    I can say with confidence that my first script will be better than their umpteenth script. I'd bet good money that any writing judge would agree.I would rank it ahead of only Nemesis, Insurrection, and The Final Frontier.How it got madeMy odd take on the writing process for this film is that it was like Abrams was this clueless guy getting advice from his equally clueless buddies about what to get his girlfriend for Valentine's Day. It went something like this:

    Abrams: How am I gonna top last year? What am I gonna get?

    Orci: What do Trek fans like more than anything? Khan!

    Abrams: Really?! Ok. What else?

    Kurtzman: Conspiracies! And things getting blown up by photon torpedoes!

    Orci: Yes! And huge ships! Remember how much they liked that huge ship you gave them last time?!

    Abrams: But I think they already have a Khan? Won't they get pissed if I get them something they've already got?

    Orci: No! Because this one will be new...and better! And besides it's from you, that makes it special!

    Kurtzman: But just to be safe, give them some Klingons too.

    Abrams: This is going to be the best Star Trek movie ever!
    Yes, unfortunately.

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