Star Trek Into Fandom

Warning: This article discusses Star Trek Into Darkness and, well, everything Star Trek in spoiler-rich detail.

kirkspockprimesWhen is “old school” just…old?

This question has been lingering in my mind all weekend, informing many a conversation regarding the latest Star Trek movie, our associated podcast, and quite a few rushed emails.

A bit of context: I have always considered myself an old-school fan of Star Trek. I grew up watching reruns of original series as a kid with my brother and dad every night, and saw the movies as they came out in the theaters starting with the first one. I’ve seen every episode of every season at least once, and have been to more conventions than I care to admit. I even auditioned as a marine in Enterprise, a role I lost to what looked like a real, actual marine.

So, I know Star Trek.

[pause]

So what?

Star Trek Into Darkness, it has to be said, is a fun film. The cast is super solid, the character moments are really entertaining, it’s well paced, the special effects are awesome, the ship looks bad-ass, and it’s really great to see Earth in the 23rd century. It also has to be said that the film is a mash-up of “Space Seed” and Wrath of Khan and is, quite possibly, the most frustrating Star Trek film in history.

Basically, if you were not a Star Trek fan, you probably, quite rightly, enjoyed the film. If you are a fan, your feelings are probably a bit more complicated. I am not going to go over that struggle—Conor, Paul and I did that for almost an hour in the podcast. (And then for 20 more minutes after we finished the show that I wish was recorded.) This article comes from what happened after I recorded that show, after seeing the film a second time (3D and Dolby Atmos, both recommended) and after a lot of soul-searching.

Star Trek Into Darkness marks the beginning of a very important generational transition for fandom, one that I am sure has happened before, but perhaps never explicitly discussed before the Internet age.

It marks the moment that older fans like myself realized that the newer generation’s interests have truly supplanted ours.

So what if Into Darkness re-shoots one of the most pivotal moments in Star Trek history? No one cares, old man! There is a huge community of moviegoers who are walking out of that movie right now who couldn’t care less—they did not grow up on Star Trek and do not give a shit that we did. Our precious qualms about Kirk and Spock “deserving” that moment?  Whatever.

Hate to break it to you, grandpa–Superman flies now.

These kinds of transitions happen all the time, of course—musical taste being probably the most obvious example. I remember feeling slightly irritated about how irritated I was getting with modern music, until some kind of age/taste membrane just broke and I just didn’t care anymore.

But this is different. This is my youth, this is my mythology, this is the universe and the family of characters that taught me how to be the person I am today. Star Trek is a huge part of who I am, and helped me think about complex issues at a relatively young age, helped me understand humanity, even though I was completely oblivious at the time and just stoked to see the Kirk and team shooting phasers at really creepy flying sucker-mouth aliens.

In other words: the past.

Being a Star Trek fan, has been, historically, an ongoing conversation between generations of fans because there has been a TV series that has tied us all together, either through re-runs or new broadcasts. There was a Star Trek episode on every week, if not every day, and each show was an opportunity for new and old viewers alike to continue that conversation. Yes, episodes are available on disc and online, but that kind of on-demand viewing is all about the individual experience, which is great and fine, but if it comes at the expense of the shows being just out there, I think it changes the dynamic a bit. When you have to work a bit to watch a show, the relationship you have with the show and the characters becomes a bit more substantive, and makes being a fan a bit more work, thereby strengthening the community.

I talked to a friend of mine at a BBQ this weekend and I asked him if he saw Into Darkness and he said, “Yeah, but I hadn’t seen the first one,” and I replied, “Oh, you haven’t seen Wrath of Khan?” and he replied, “No, the other Star Trek that came out a few years ago.”

We continued talking and I found out that he hadn’t watched anything Star Trek, ever.

spockkirk

And right then and there, it didn’t matter that I was an “old school” fan. I was just some old guy complaining about how this cool new film ripped off some other old film that my friend hasn’t seen and didn’t care about anyway.

Star Trek Into Darkness is not an homage to “Space Seed” and Wrath of Khan. It’s a film that takes moments from that classic episode and that fantastic movie and tells a new story, for a new generation of fans who have no idea who Ricardo Montalban was and who probably will only see the movie once and will probably see the third (and last) Abrams Star Trek movie and get on with their lives.

Which is fine—it has to be. My love of Trek, my desire to go back, week after week, to this cast and their wonderful ship, to go out and explore, week after week, is just that: my desire, a desire deeply rooted in the past, rooted from the fierce belief that Star Trek is, at its core, a necessary television show, the kind of series that if you randomly turn on the TV one Saturday afternoon and find that it is on, smile broadly and sit down and watch the damn show, commercials and all, because that episode means something to you.

I am lucky, in a way. I can do that with a ton of Star Trek episodes.

(I just wrote that sentence and imagined myself in an old folks’ home, shushing other old farts to be quiet so I can “watch my show, dammit, it’s my turn this week!”)

Today is different. The mantle has been passed.

Of course, this mantle of fandom is passed from generation to generation all the time. Look at comics. My frustration with the modern Superman’s personality is shrugged off by younger readers who enjoy Kal-El’s new slightly snotty attitude. I used to watch Japanese animation on rented VHS tapes in the 80s, now anime is a huge part of popular fan culture with fans dressing up in characters I’ve got zero relationship with — it’s been a very long time since I’ve bumped into a Lynn Minmay or Shogo Yuhagi at a convention! I completely missed the boat on the new Doctor Who. And, of course, there will be more Star Wars — which will be, clearly, a new generation’s series of movies.

This is a great time to be alive—one in which we can argue about the merits of a new Star Trek movie and fret about upcoming Star Wars films. It’s a time of enormous change and transition, and for everything we gain, there are things that we lose.

spockisdead

Case in point, the Kirk/Spock scene in Into Darkness. I get that, for some, it is an homage to an earlier time. I guess what is lost in this homage is the emotional honesty that permeated the original scene in Wrath of Khan. When Spock died, that was it. We did not know, as we did going into the movie last Thursday night, that there would be another Star Trek film. When we left that theater, we were truly bummed. Spock was dead. A friendship that had been with us for decades was over. I remember arguing with my friends over and over again, trying to come up with ways to bring Spock back to life. We had to live with that loss for years before Nimoy was convinced to come back and Star Trek III was announced and then finally released. That sadness was true, it was real. It was grounded in the shared time and experience we had with the characters, that the characters had with each other.

The scene in Into Darkness took all of those feelings and exploited them, laying that gut wrenching sadness on top of this new scene, and it just wasn’t fair. On the podcast Conor said it right: that scene wasn’t earned. For old school fans—it wasn’t right, it wasn’t true. This universe’s Kirk and Spock have only been around each other for a few years, and from just a pure audience’s point of a view, for less than a few hours, if that!

For everyone else: it was sad for a few minutes and then the Tribble and the everything all worked out fine. Good or bad, that’s the new way it went.

However, this is not only about old moments getting copied and pasted into a new stories with a quick “find/replace”.

One last point, my last point, the most important point: at the end of the day, Star Trek Into Darkness was supposed to be, finally, our movie, our expression of what Star Trek meant. This was the opportunity for my generation to finally make our Star Trek movie, free of Shatner, free of Picard, free to make what we had to make, leveraging our experiences, our fears, our desires, our wisdom to make a Star Trek film that would forever mark the time that we owned the legacy. The transition was made in 2009, the hand-off from past to present completed, just as it had been done fifteen years earlier in Star Trek: Generations, when Picard and Kirk worked together. In 2009’s Star Trek, Spock Prime and Kirk Pine met, both Spocks had their scene…and it was done. And now, this movie, Into Darkness, what does it do? Instead of doing it’s own thing, it goes back and uses story lines from the original TV series, and the best Trek movie, and brings Nimoy back!

It was time to cut the cord and, instead, we went back into the womb. We did not “boldly go” — we retreated to the comfortable, we retreated to the sure bet.

We did not make the leap.

This is personal for me because I feel like I blew it, somehow. This sounds ridiculous, but Star Trek is one of the reasons I am an actor and honestly, a part of me truly feels like I didn’t work hard enough to be a part of this effort, that I didn’t make a chance to audition, I didn’t make a chance to look at the story, I wasn’t a part of it at all, and I desperately wish I could have been so I could have raised my hand and just said something. So, in a very real way, this is film is not only about my being frustrated with the movie and the folks who made it, but with myself for not being in a place professionally to have been able to do something about it, and that, in a way, my time to make a difference has come…and gone. And if as an actor I was unable to make a difference for something that I care so much about, I find myself wondering if, as a fan, I am no longer relevant.

feelhappy

Star Trek, at its core, is the expression of a generation, a treatise on what our society values and where we dream of going as a species. Star Trek Into Darkness, is a fun movie-going experience, filled with great moments, thanks to one of the best casts to have ever been a part of the franchise (Chris Pine is insanely good), and I wish, from the bottom of my heart, that this was not a movie series but an ongoing TV series that would just go on — there’s just so much potential. But it’s not a TV series and will never be. It is a an entertaining movie that, at the end of the day, fails to live up to the legacy it so brazenly exploits. It is not what it needed to be: a modern day Star Trek. Unlike the best episodes of the series and films, Into Darkness does not express my generation’s yearning to understand ourselves and our humanity. It does not celebrate our thirst for exploration nor does it underscore the challenges we must overcome to fulfill the promise of our shared potential.

The next movie could very well do that — I truly hope it does.

It has to. It’s Star Trek.

 


Mike Romo is an actor in Los Angeles. He’s back to giving the film 3.5 stars and hopes he can be part of the iFanboy Heist Crew again.

 

Comments

  1. I agree but also enjoyed the hell out of the movie. I am history’s greatest monster.

  2. I’m a huge fan of the classic series too and I LOVED this movie. I happened to watch Space Seed and Wrath of Kahn back to back before I went and saw the new movie just in case. I couldn’t have been happier with the film, it gave me everything I hoped for out of the villain and I loved the throwbacks to the original series. I thought it was just fantastic, I REALLY don’t get the negative reaction the film is getting, but then again I didn’t get the negative reaction Iron Man 3 got either.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      We explain the negative reaction in the podcast and in my text review.

    • And also in the above column.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      To be clear, if you disagree with our criticism, that’s more than fine. But people keep saying, “I don’t get the negative reaction” when we’ve been clear and comprehensive in our criticism. In multiple formats.

    • I don’t mean to speak for JokersNuts, but Paul & Connor: I hear your critique and your reasonings for it, but as a long time star trek fan I completely disagree with you. Your views come across as jaded more than anything. That was an amazing movie and probably my favorite star trek film. I feel sorry for the people who read your reviews and decide not to see the movie because of them, they will seriously miss out on a great Star Trek adventure.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Well, the reviews are designed more for those who have seen the film. There are spoiler tags. There’s also an odd misperception that we hated the movie. We liked it. We just have problems and frustrations with it. Some commenters who unabashedly loved the movie seem to be taking all this as an attack. We’re merely doing our jobs and offering reasoned criticism.

      I’m not jaded. I was very excited about the movie and give it a lot of credit for some wonderful performances and set pieces. I’ve simply offered a fair critique of the final product and its motivations, which often seemed problematic in terms of the new series’ mission statement.

    • I wonder if *part* of the reaction of some fans of the film to the so-called negativity has to do with the “Netflix” 5-star rating system. I’ve always found this to be skewed in the sense that the middle rating, a 3, is defined as “I liked it” instead of a more neutral meaning such as “it was okay”. (I’m not actually sure if Paul is using the Netflix system but from the podcast it seems Conor is). So giving it a 3, by Netflix standards is a pretty good rating, but it doesn’t translate well to other rating systems that we’re familiar with: if it were grades, a 3/5 would be 60% or a D-minus. Or if you compare a 3/5 (60) to the current Rotten Tomatoes scores (86 critics, 89 audience) or Metacritic scores (72 critics, 80 audience), the iFanboy reviews seem comparatively “negative.” However, and correct me if I’m wrong, from the review and podcast it doesn’t seem like Paul is saying “this movie was bad so therefore it gets a 3.”

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I’m using the Netflix system as well. I liked it. I keep saying that. Using that same scale, I give the 2009 film a 5. So there’s a lot of room for reasonable criticism. Perhaps my critique sounds overly harsh because that gulf in quality is so frustrating. It’s not a bad film. It’s just a misguided one.

    • ochsavidare ochsavidare (@ochsavidare) says:

      That’s why you shouldn’t just stare at the rating. I mean the text is there for a reason, to give more insight to the rating.
      You always have to question what the rating is rating. Rewatchability? How much the movie made you think? How fun you had during the movie? All of those could potentially give different ratings.

      To me it was quite clear that you guys thought it was an ok movie, with problems.

    • @ochsavidare: I wasn’t simply staring at the rating or suggesting that anyone was. Nor do I think it likely that anyone who is taking issue with the review only looked at the 3-star rating before they commented.

      But the rating is a summative device that is significant and has some power. If Paul’s review had been nothing but a single sentence “I liked it” but he then gave a D-minus rating, it still would have been perceived as a negative review despite his explicitly liking it. This is an extreme example, I realize, but my point about the Netflix rating system is that it too can result in unintentional perceptions. In a 5-star rating system, 3 is the median, and to me, intuitively, this would mean “it was okay: I didn’t really like it, but neither did I actively dislike it” as opposed to the actual Netflix definition of “I liked it.” The Netflix ratings are skewed “positive” with 3, 4 & 5 all representing essentially positive assessments. This is in contrast to the EW or AV Club letter-grade system which seems skewed in the opposite direction (with C,D,F being essentially negative).

      As I said originally, if Paul’s 3-star rating is *part* of his explicitly positive review being perceived as negative, it is only *part*. Most of the comments that take issue are focusing on specific points made in the review or podcast.

    • ochsavidare ochsavidare (@ochsavidare) says:

      I wasn’t accusing you of just looking at the numbers.

      My comment was just saying that a rating is nothing if you don’t know what kind of system the rater uses. I, for example, has a system with 2,3,4 and 5 being positive (the reasoning behind that is that I don’t think it is necessary to rate how bad a movie is), but most often I don’t put a number on it since that fails to capture the full story.

      If people really are focusing on specific points in the review it is kind of strange that they are coming across as thinking that Paul disliked the movie. I mean, he just has to keep telling people he liked it.

      But it could just be a big case of miscommunication, I guess.

    • @ochsavidare: Yes, sorry–comments sections are notorious for miscommunication of tone and meaning. I as well didn’t intend to “accuse you” of accusing me and assumed you were speaking in generalities. I was appropriating your point in a literal fashion (even while realizing that you were not speaking literally–no one is actually doing any staring) to reinforce my next statement about the power of the rating (with no intention of belittling your point). When I read it with the correct tone in my head, it’s pretty innocuous, but then I can see how it might come across otherwise as accusatory, so I apologize for making my point in a clumsy way.

      But I completely agree that being aware of the definitions behind the ratings is important. It may not completely solve the issue though: you can tell a student that a C is defined as “average” and is a good grade, but most students are still not going to see it that way.

      I also see your point about not needing multiple negative ratings. Out of about 1200 Netflix ratings, I’ve only ever given a single 1-star “hate” rating (Birth of a Nation). Still, I do wish there was an option for a neutral “it was okay” rating with Netflix. It’s pretty rare that I expressly dislike a film.

      What I mean about focusing on specific points is, for example, folks taking issue with the reviewers saying the Spock-Kirk “moment” lacked poignancy, or that there needed to be more background for Cumberbatch’s character. The differences of opinion regarding specific points lead to a perceived dichotomy of boosters and detractors, when in reality both sides liked the movie.

    • ochsavidare ochsavidare (@ochsavidare) says:

      Bias towards different rating systems is precisely why I think reviews could benefit from skipping the rating completely.

      I guess that could be the case. People nitpicking the nitpick (if it was nitpicking, I’m not saying it was). The curse of the comment section! 😉

      I also apologize if I was to blunt and clumsy in my comment. Friends again? 😉

    • Absolutely!

    • I understand why you find the movie frustrating but I unfortunately disagree. Into Darkness is one of the best ST movies to date, and I can say better than WoK. On a deeper philosophical level, it talks to the meaning of family, friendship, death and vengeance as much as WoK if not more so since Kirk also lost a surrogate father. What would you do for your family? How far would you go before you could allow yourself to forgive? All great points of drama brought out in this movie.

  3. I haven’t seen the movie yet but am hoping to in the next couple days. Its hard when those movies fail to live up to our expectations. I have known since the “reboot” that these movies…ALL of Star Trek really…would never again be what I wanted them to be. The reboot movie was fantastic and I loved it….and I expect I’ll love this one as well…

    BUT…

    Its never going to be the regular television series we want it to be…It’s always going to have the shadow of a gimmick hanging over it. Further, most of the series we followed after the original: Next Generation, Deep Space 9, and Voyager. All those are by necessity not just slightly different but drastically different in whatever continuity goes forth from here. My guess is we’ll never see those series done in this new continuity format, and I’ll have to be okay with that. I hate to be the guy who says, they ruined my Comic, my TV Show, my Movie, whatever. I’m always the guy who will say you can go back to the back issue bins and read those. Abrams hasn’t done anything different to Star Trek then what DC did with the Crisis on Infinite Earths (or New 52 for that matter). However I’m having a completely different reaction to this then what I have when continuity’s gotten revamped in the comics. Maybe thats because with those comics we get more than 3-6 two hour movies for follow up…we get a universe fully expanded.

    Please don’t misunderstand, I really do enjoy the Abrams movies for what they are. Im going to have fun with this movie the same as I did the last. But there’s something more than just a little hollow to it.

  4. Perhaps Romo’s most revealing article yet. I was a little worried when we walked into a midnight premiere with only about ten other people in attendance. All in all, it is a great movie. It satisfied me much more than Iron Man 3. Some of the enduring friendships do seem a bit strained. I’ve known people for over 5 years and worked very closely with them, but would be reluctant to risk my life to save theirs. A bond like that takes a lot of give and take and that’s something that just can’t be demonstrated in two movies.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      It’s not about the characters knowing each other for only five years. It’s about the audience knowing them for only four hours.

    • @Paul: I actually think it’s both. The first time around, these were middle-aged men (well, maybe not Spock) who had served together for 20+ years. There’s a lot more emotional weight in that.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      True.

    • I understand the criticism but i think there was a much different emotional weight in this new film. Spock is realizing throughout the film how much Kirk cares about him and just when he fully understands how far Kirk is willing to go to save not only Spock but the whole crew he loses him. It’s a different kind of loss but I think it still has merit.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      In theory. But I think there are a few elements that directly undermining that potential impact.

    • @paul Maybe so, but I didn’t notice them. As someone who loves Wrath of Khan more than any other Star Trek movie I though this was fresh approach to those friendships and how they were built . I also hope for the next one they do something completely unique and don’t go back to the well at all.

      Also it could just be that i saw it with the right crowd. If summer movies have taught me anything over the years it’s that the audience I see my first viewing of a film with greatly impacts my enjoyment.

    • The film fails because you are mapping your history with the franchise onto this film, and its depiction of the relationships and the emotional impact desired by the filmmakers should drive that on its own.

  5. As a long time fan, I found myself ‘liking’ it, but not LOVING it the FIRST time I saw it. I have a ritual with Trek films, one that started w/ Nemesis: I go see the film by myself first. This started off as necessity, seeing as none of my friends are fans of Trek…but some of that has changed now.

    So upon my 2nd viewing of Into Darkness, I took some commentary I read from commenters on the inter-webs and kept it in mind… and along with a clearer understanding of the Admiral Marcus plot, I realized this film is a lot better than I originally thought. I had this weird roller-coaster ride where I was ok with the film, then down on it as I thought about it, then suddenly LOVING it as I thought about it even more. Some of whats ‘cleared’ up for me is touched on in your article.

    Here’s what made me really change my mind about the film:

    – Its still an all-new story. How is it a ‘mash up of Space Seed and Wrath of Khan’? Its NEITHER of those things. I do have issues with a ‘2nd’ Trek film having the same villain… its too obvious and keeping it a secret came with a payoff that makes one groan. Space Seed, in this timeline, NEVER happened. Space Seed occurred during the Enterprise’s 5 year mission, which in this film, they haven’t even confirmed such a mission exists, only in rumor, and thus not yet assigned to (until the end). This means Khan and the Botany Bay were discovered a couple of years earlier than in TOS. And where in Space Seed did a war-mongering Admiral want to secretly use Khan’s great skills to design weapons? It took me a moment to accept this, but this is NOT a remake. A re-imagining is the better term, but the re-imagining of Space Seed here really is back story thats told through a paragraph of dialog… we’re not watching the discovery and awakening of Khan. We’re watching the results of what happens when the WRONG person discovers and wakes up Khan

    – The Inverted Death Scene. Originally I thought this was cheesy too. It wasn’t ‘earned’ like you all said, I agreed with that at first. Then I read this amazing comment on another website. If I could meet the commenter in person, I would want to shake their hand because they saw something here that I never could have.

    The Wrath of Khan is 20+ years of the same crew on the same ship… it was a lifetime friendship that ended here. It was a sad moment, it was the END (or at least so we thought at that time). Spock’s quote in that scene, which is NOT in Darkness: “I am and always will be your friend”. Why doesn’t one of them say it in Darkness? Because they are NOT friends yet. The whole intro to Darkness was to establish that, much to Kirk’s chagrin, he and Spock were still not quite bro’s. So while The Wrath of Khan was about endings, the JJ Abram Treks are all about BEGINNINGS. No, the emotion of the death scene wasnt earned… but that’s the whole point. It was this moment, Kirk dying and Spock having to watch him die, that finally made Spock learn the message Kirk had been trying to send him the whole time. We’re not witnessing the end, we are watching the true BEGINNING of their life-long friendship.

    The major problem with all that are us ‘old timer’ Trek fans who couldn’t get past it… so it somewhat failed on that level because a lot of us just didn’t get that and are still complaining about what is ‘earned’.

    – The Admiral Marcus ‘Conspiracy’: This, I will admit, was a complete FUBAR goof on my part. Call me stupid, I don’t care, but it took the 2nd viewing to FULLY connect the dots.

    See, I thought the ENTIRE movie, every little thing Khan did, was at the direction/orders of Adm Marcus. That includes the bombing, the attack on Starfleet Headquarters and fleeing to Kronos. I thought Marcus manipulated Khan into doing ALL those things on purpose, to fulfill some master conspiracy to start a war with the Klingons. I just didn’t get it… then why load the Enterprise with Khan’s people (which ultimately led to Marcus’ downfall, as Khan surrendered knowing what was in the torpedoes). It seems like one of those half-baked “1 Million Dollars!” schemes.

    From the 2nd viewing, I realized my mistake entirely. The summary of it is: Marcus discovers Khan. He has Khan help design new weapons, using Khan’s frozen people as a dangling carrot. Finally fed up with everything, Khan tried to smuggle his people away in torpedoes, but was caught by Marcus, who took all the torpedoes. Pissed off and no longer going to take it, Khan commits acts of terrorism, then flees to Kronos. Knowing he has to cover up his mess, Marcus takes advantage of the situation: Not only can he take out Khan and all of Khan’s people, he can start the full on war he wanted at the same time. So the idea of torpedoing Kronos was more spontaneous, not the pre-planned conspiracy I mistook it to be. Again, I freely admit that misunderstanding all that was entirely moronic on my part.

    Now, there are still little bits here and there that don’t make sense, but those are the ‘movie magic’ bits. Like how does a 300 year old, pre-warp Eugenic able to design such futuristic weaponry? Or why one stun from Scotty on the bridge of the Vengeance knocks Khan out for a minute, but a Vulcan nerve pinch plus 4 or 6 stun blasts from Uhura and he’s still fighting?

    I’m glad I saw it a 2nd time, it really debunked a lot of ‘wrong’ thoughts I had and made me realize how fun and good this movie really is. Honestly, no other Trek film has been THIS fun since First Contact.

    • Just a few things for you:

      I doubt Khan just immediately started creating those weapons – I’m sure he spent half an hour catching up, then quickly surpassed them. He’s better. At everything.

      I’m pretty sure he was faking it on the bridge of the Vengeance, letting Kirk, et al have their moment, planning his next moves.

      If I have a major problem with the movie it’s that Khan wasn’t developed especially well – he’s characterized almost entirely through Cumberbatch’s performance, which is great, but everyone should have recognized him the same way we would recognize Hitler or whoever. Maybe a few minutes less of people hanging from things and a little more discussion (or even flashbacks! then we could have seen his crew in action!) would have helped immensely.

    • Even in the original episode where Khan first appeared, he read voraciously and quickly mastered what would take normal humans months or even years learn. I got the distinct impression that Khan has been awake for a long while. At least a year or two. The perfect genetic specimen catching up on 300 years of technology is not surprising given that time frame.

      Khan deliberately faked his being stunned by Scotty. He wanted to play Kirk and Marcus off against the middle to achieve his ends. There’s even a little scene where you can almost seem Khan’s eyes open up. It was subtle but it was there.

  6. I’m an old-school Star Trek fan. The 60’s series and TNG are MY Trek shows. I grew up with them. I hated Babylon and Deep Space 9 and all the other crappy shows that have followed. Just not for me.
    I’ve loved all the movies except for Nemesis, it was just ok. I went and saw Into Darkness this weekend and it blew my mind how good it is. I had only seen the teaser previews and had no idea Kahn was going to be in this until I pieced it together while watching, which was fun for me. Definitely enhanced the experience. I loved the Spock/Kirk reverse death scene. To see Spock overcome with emotion and then scream “Kaaaaaaaaaaaahn!” really hit a high note for me and brought a tear to my eye.
    When I read all of the “old guys” overall displeasure with the film and how it doesn’t measure up to past films and how moments weren’t earned, I have a flashback to Gollum holding the original Star Trek films and chanting “my precious”. Same thing with the people who love the original Star Wars trilogy, but hate everything else Star Wars. Guys, it’s not that we’re getting old, it’s just harder to view things with a completely open mind like we use to because the material has become TOO precious to us and clouded our judgement. It’s a hindrance that only serves to obstruct your movie going experience.

  7. I’m an “old” Star Trek guy. I’m 47. I saw multiple reruns of TOS as a kid, I had the toys and Mego action figures, THAT was my Star Trek. That said, I loved Star Trek Into Darkness. I didn’t have the problems other are expressing with it. I appreciate them turning things on their heads with the death scene change, just like the destruction of Vulcan in the first JJ film was a huge surprise. Otherwise, it’s just a remake with pretty young actors and prettier effects.

    My only initial complaint was that they resolved Kirk’s death so quickly. It wasn’t a cliff-hanger like Spock’s death in Wrath of Khan, or Han Solo’s abduction in Empire Strikes Back. But that’s OK, because this is 30 years later. Movies are different, just look at the pacing of films vs. ones from that era. Audience expectations are different too, and so are audiences. And at the end of the day, I am OK with that in this case.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      It’s not exactly okay because it’s 30 years later. It’s sad that it’s seen as okay 30 years later. That’s resignation.

    • I think it’s OK for it not to be a cliffhanger because it didn’t need to be a cliffhanger. Modern movies still do cliffhanger endings between films, but this one decided to leave the viewer with an uncomplicated, happy ending. And honestly, I don’t see a problem with that.

    • I don’t think it’s resignation so much as I don’t think it’s a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Trust me, it isn’t. You are free to have a differing opinion though!

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Well if you’re gonna bring world hunger into the equation. 😉

    • Well, it’s a summer action movie. I try to keep that in perspective. I think Shatner said it best on SNL – “GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it’s just a TV show!”

  8. In 10 years or so – long enough after the Abrams Trek cast members have left the franchise and gone their separate ways – Paramount will then produce Trek films & TV series set in the future of the original timeline where Next Gen / Voyager / DS9 left off, and the Abrams Trek “reboot” will then be seen as just one entertaining side branch of the continuing grand mythos. Ultimate Trek will have made the studio lots of money… but it’ll be time to make more money off 616 Trek, yet again.

    In other words? Don’t be too frustrated, legacy fans. Your feelings of irrelevance are simply temporary.

  9. Great, heartfelt article, Romo.

    As one of the “new” fans seeing the film, I’ve had a hard time understanding the reactions from the OG’s. Until, that is, I listened to the podcast and read this article. I can completely understand being disappointed and frustrated at a movie for stripping a classic favorite for parts and reassembling them into a twisted Frankenstein.

    For me, however, having not seen Khan prior, this was a fantastic film. The Kirk/Spock moment felt earned, because we watched them earn it over two movies. Sure, that’s not the same as 3 seasons, but it was affecting none the less. To me, it was a new story, and it was a supremely satisfying one.

    P.S. — Immediately after seeing Into Darkness I came home and watched Space Seed and Wrath of Khan, both for the first time. Space Seed was an excellent hour of television.

    Khan was very good too, but hilariously, it had almost all of the same problems identified in the podcast about Into Darkness, i.e. No solid Kirk/Spock relationship development, and no explanation of who the hell Khan was for the uninitiated.

    • “Khan was very good too, but hilariously, it had almost all of the same problems identified in the podcast about Into Darkness, i.e. No solid Kirk/Spock relationship development, and no explanation of who the hell Khan was for the uninitiated.”

      That’s silly. The relationship between Kirk and Spock (as embodied by Shatner and Nimoy) had been developing, as we said on the podcast, since 1966. And in the movie world you had characters who had been best friends for decades. Which is why that death had weight.

      And the entire introductory scene with Khan in WRATH OF KHAN explained who he was both to Captain Terrell and the audience that hadn’t seen “Space Seed.”

    • I think it matters less WHO is playing Kirk and Spock, it’s the fact that it IS Kirk and Spock.

  10. Regarding the relationship: I meant in the movie alone. If you’d been watching the series, I definitely agree. If you just watch the film, not so much. Again, this is a new fan’s perspective.

    Regarding the intro scene: In fairness, I only saw it once, but the scene was Khan explaining to Checkov’s buddy that he was a genetic experiment, dicked over by Kirk. A total of about 3 sentences, roughly the same as he is given in Into Darkness.

    I’m just sayin’. If you haven’t watched the series, the movie doesn’t do a great job of setting things up. It’s still good, though.

  11. That’s the best article about fan generational divide that I’ve ever read.

  12. “Is it possible that we two, you and I, have grown so old and so inflexible that we have outlived our usefulness? Would that constitute a joke?”

    – Spock. Star Trek VI. The Undiscovered Country.

    I think the article above is less a review of the film, and more a melancholy realization that sometimes things we love in pop culture painfully remind us that they are bigger than we are, and they often grow past us. It’s a double-edged sword, because on the one hand, we want these things to live on without us and continue to inspire and entertain future generations. On the other hand, it can be difficult to watch something evolve to the point where it barely recognizes it’s infant self.

    When the ’09 Trek came out, I read a lot of folks on the web bemoaning the idea that the film “wasn’t for the fans”. At the time, I didn’t see their point. I still love that movie for what it is; a modern Trek for modern audiences. With this one though, I’m starting to get it. I’m not as hardcore as Mike, but Trek has been a constant presence in my personal lexicon, and I felt oddly excluded the more I thought about it. Maybe we are doing it to ourselves, but the fact remains that (for a lot of people) being a fan of the franchise was detrimental to the enjoyment of the film. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that if you loved the “homage” moments, you’re not a real Trek fan, but I do think the more personal those original moments are to you, the harder it is to accept or justify their presence here. In attempting to appeal to the fanbase, they ended up shoving a lot of them out of the turbo-lift.

    Come 2015, I just hope we don’t see Luke Skywalker reach out and tell someone “I … am your father.”

  13. Apology accepted sir(s)… 😉
    I think accepting change comes with time tho, I remember when I got back into comics in the late 90’s and realized that most of the art style was totally different to the point of looking very cartoony, which didn’t sit well with me on certain characters, mostly Superman(2000-), comparing that to the realistic Kerry Gamill and Ordway etc. wasn’t easy and it made the books seemed goofy, but going back and reading them over the years it’s like I have been brainwashed.

    Movies are a different cup of tea, Green Lantern, Superman Returns, and majority(I guess) of the heavily criticized , even Fantastic 4(not the Corben), don’t ask me to point out the flaws, I see little to none, my point is it doesn’t have to be like the comics or whatever route is deemed to be fanboy worthy.

  14. As a non-Trekkie I think this best sums up Into Darkness:

    As an action, sci-fi movie it was average at best. It had some pretty good action sequences but the story was a mixed bag. At worst it had terrible characterization, a terrible story, and the fandom brought at the end of the film adds nothing. The big twist on ‘Kahn’ and the flip on the infamous scene in ‘Wrath of Kahn’ hurts the film because it was never earned. Again I’m not a big fan but decades of Shatner and Nimoy made Spock’s death heartfelt and emotional. Unlike in this movie where Pine and Quinto has only one movie to work a friendship.

    So yeah….In a pretty dreadful year of movies this is better than most. But overall it’s an average action flick that I will quickly forget about by the end of the year.

    • As a “non-Trekkie” you sure are relying heavily on knowledge of the previous films and TV series to justify your point. I realize it’s almost impossible to separate characters who are such pop culture icons from the baggage that accompanies them. But you really have to pretend like the previous material never existed to fairly judge this film.

  15. Mike, I wish I could shake your hand. You just summed up exactly how I feel about this movie. I enjoyed myself, I thought it was fun, but…

    I now have two “Greatest Misses” moments in movie history: Vader’s “Noooooo!” and New-Spock’s “Khannnn!”

  16. I’m not a huge fan of the “old school” star trek episodes and associated movies. Most of what I know about them is from my dad and your basic Google search. I have seen a couple of the star new generation movies; embarrassingly I watched them to impress a guy I liked. He wasn’t impressed and neither was I (with the movies).
    As for the modern/remakes I really enjoyed the 2009 star trek film; it was fun and well put together. The latest movie was not good in my opinion. I actually agree with a lot what you said in the podcast. There are actually a couple of plot holes that bugged me that you did not even mention. Furthermore, my brother and I laughed at the death scene in the movie, and saw it coming a mile away. Many of the actors did a fine job; a few not so much *cough*. Again, in my opinion, the script was flawed being remarkably simple in one moment and overly complex in the next.
    All that being said, I am not judging anybody for liking this movie. My own list of favorite movies, as well as, guilty pleasures could not hold up to the scrutiny of the masses. I just did not enjoy “into darkness” as much as I was hoping too.
    Fingers crossed for Superman.

  17. That scene just completely took me out of the movie. If you know where it came from, how could it not?

  18. I see what you’re saying about we haters being the old curmudgeons, and that the new generation, without all that baggage, will see things differently. My wife, not a huge trekkie, but with some affection for The Next Generation, and no memory of Wrath of Kahn, liked the movie very much. She liked it far better than the previous movie even. But when I explained about the part that was ripped right from WoK, she got it instantly. Then she just kept saying, “but why would they do that?” “How could that do anything but piss off the fans?” and the like.
    The idea that we aged Trek fans are not the target audience has merit. Except for the fact that that whole section of the movie from Spock’s appearance to Kirk’s death came across to me as pure fan service. It’s just a service that many of us did not want. If they weren’t at least hoping to appeal to we aged Trek fans, that whose section seems completely unnecessary or, at worst, lazily plagiarized. I can’t bring myself to believe that it was put there hoping that most of us would not recognize it for a blatant parroting of the original. It was the forced deliberateness of it that pulled me out of the movie. It was disappointing, not because I felt that I was a curmudgeon, too mired in the past to “get” this scene, but because it felt like this scene was deliberately aimed at me, and I did not want it. I wanted to be the new fan who could see this without the baggage. I can’t help but think that the scene(s) in question were meant for us without realizing how many of us would react.
    It’s like getting socks for Christmas. Fuzzy, pink socks that you will surely get beat up for wearing.

  19. Having just read the article and responses, in my opinion, this is exactly the reason I refuse to discuss anything with fellow fans of any medium. I am also an old school fan of Star Trek, but with one important exception. I do not pick everything apart to satisfy some itch that will never be scratched. The podcast people say they liked the movie, yet ( and I did not listen to their podcast) it would appear that they deconstructed it for over an hour. If you can spend that much time picking nits, maybe you need to admit that you just did not like it. But this has always been my experience with fans and why I will not engage them, it is just frustrating. Their entire viewpoint is nothing but picking whatever it is apart, piece by piece and that is why they will never really enjoy anything the way they did in the past. When you were first exposed to Trek, did you spend hours picking it apart? Of course not, It is impossible to like something if you can only see its flaws. That means it is time to move on to something else.
    Personally, I thought Into Darkness was great and can’t wait for it to come out on Blu-Ray. Yes, the death scene was earned. Kirk met old Spock and mind-melded with him in the 2009 film. Old Spock was clearly a dear friend of his Kirk. That would weigh on me if I was in young Kirk’s place and would be thinking about striking up a friendship with my Spock. The scene between the two Spock’s about “a friendship that will define the both of you” came into focus when young Kirk died. It wasn’t twenty years worth of continuity, but it is a connection establishing a friendship that was clearly presented to them as being important and this film showed it’s beginnings. Which is something that wouldn’t be missed if old fans did not spend all that time on a critique as the movie is unfolding.
    Take some time and think about why you begin to like something in the first place. If most of your time is spent tearing it apart, maybe you don’t like it, if you spend some time talking about how much you enjoyed it, then maybe you did like it. Just my two cents worth. Thank you if you read it, but you will never hear from me again. connerytl out.