Now that Star Trek Into Darkness is out on Blu-ray/DVD/streaming, it’s time for me to nitpick it to death. (I should say, “nitpick it to death again,” because this is an updated version of an earlier blog post.)
Don’t get me wrong — I enjoyed Star Trek Into Darkness. It’s fun and looks great with a damn good cast. But Abrams’ Treks are to the original show as Mission: Impossible movies are to that TV show.
The first set of Trek movies were somewhat unique in movie reboots – they were direct sequels to their respective shows, featuring the same characters, the same actors and the same settings. Most movie reboots, like Mission: Impossible, feature “reimaginings” with new casts and new situations.
So I’m fine with the “reimagining” that’s been done to Trek. Paramount needs it to be a big mass-appeal summer tentpole, and Abrams delivers. My biggest complaint is the severe lack of story logic (the same problem as in 2009).
Right off the bat, we have the Enterprise hiding underwater to avoid being seen. Staying in orbit was out of the question? And to beam up Spock meant they had to come up out of the water to get “line of sight” on him? It would have been possible to get “line of sight” on Spock in the volcano from orbit… although that would have killed the shot Abrams wanted to get of the massive Enterprise coming up out of the ocean. Visuals are more important than story logic.
Speaking of Spock in the volcano, are we really supposed to believe that his suit can withstand the heat, but the shuttle can’t? Easy fix: explain that particles in the volcano would have fouled the shuttle’s ability to fly or hover. A two-second line of dialogue. They wasted those two seconds telling us the shuttle couldn’t take the volcano heat, which makes no sense if Spock’s suit can.
Unlike the original shows and original movies, there seems to be no distance in this Trek universe. One can apparently warp over to the Klingons and back in minutes. So Abrams really doesn’t want to sacrifice the high-speed summer action pace with actually having to travel somewhere.
When the Vengeance knocks the Enterprise out of warp, according to what we see on screen they’re right by the Moon. But when the Enterprise loses power it “falls” to earth in minutes. Even accelerating to high speed it took Apollo days to get to the Moon and days to get back… a “free fall” to earth from near the Moon would take a LOT longer, not to mention that the Enterprise more likely would have “fallen” to the Moon if it was falling anywhere. Again, Abrams’ Trek universe doesn’t seem to obey many physical laws of space or location.
Then there’s Khan’s blood being used to bring people (and tribbles) back to life. So does this mean that now when someone dies they just need to grab some Khan blood to bring them back? Now the Federation has a miracle cure and no one ever has to die or be sick? That’s going to take some tension out of future movies.
Speaking of which, why only Khan’s blood to save Kirk? Didn’t they have 72 canisters with more of these genetically-engineered supermen and women waiting around in suspended animation? Doesn’t their blood work too if they’re all engineered the same as Khan?
Lazy storytelling. Granted, you don’t want to slow down the summer action with too much exposition, but in these cases I think spending an extra few minutes on thinking through the plot could have fixed these WITHOUT sacrificing the breakneck pace.