Do not read this unless you have already seen the latest Star Trek Movie. It reveals several plot points that will ruin your experience. With is the spoiler alert to the ten millionth degree.
I want to start by saying I am a lifelong Star Trek Fan and much of my own science fiction was inspired by the original crew of the USS Enterprise, so much in fact that I was never really a fan on the Next Generation, and quite admired Captain Sisko on Deep Space Nine for his utter hatred of Jon Luc Picard.
What inspired me the most from the Star Trek the Original Series was its grand vision of humanity’s future. Don’t get me wrong JJ Abrams Star Trek movies are great movies, action packed well crafted films that entertain the audience, but there is something non Star Trek about them. JJ Abrams is admittedly more of a ‘Star Wars” guy, nothing personal to the Star Wars fans but Star Trek is supposed to be about that greater mission, that greater idea about the idea of the future of humankind.
Star Wars operates on many levels, it tells of the perils of power and the necessity to question authority it is the story of little rebellion that could, it takes 1960s counter culture belief and takes those beliefs to the next level. On another level it’s a medieval tale told in the context of science fiction knights and a mystical force that unites all living things, a wonderfully told story, beautifully crafted. But it is an action tale and Star Trek is an intellectual story, it is Science Fiction for critical thinkers.
All of this being said I will not engage in the current trend to dislike a movie because it’s new and different. You should go out and see ‘Into Darkness’ because it is an excellent film that is wonderfully told.
The Action Starts almost immediately as Kirk and McCoy are fleeing from a native culture as Spock is trying to neutralize a volcano to save the before mentioned native population. As Kirk returns to the bridge of the Enterprise he learns that Spock is in the volcano and ready to meet his end. Kirk acts as Kirk needs to save his first officer, violating the Prime Directive, Starfleet’s first law, which basically bars Starfleet from interfering with primitive cultures, allowing them to progress naturally.
So Kirk returns to Earth gets and call, gets awakened by the Beastie Boys leaves behind two tailed alien women, much as James T. Kirk the womanizer must. Let me stop right there, Now this film is centered in Twentieth Century culture, Kirk is a fan of the Beastie Boys, he goes to a blues club, one wonders how the 20th century popular culture endures to this level.
We are introduced to a sick little girl in London, who is saved by a transfusion from a mysterious man named Benjamin Harrison, the cost for assistance is a terrorist attack on a Star Fleet facility, We see several representations of the Union Jack in this scene, Roddenberry was all about the removal of national identity and emergences of a human identity, but I digress.
Kirk and Spock are called into Admiral Pike’s office Kirk believes to be given the ‘five year mission’ that was the basis for the original series. Here is where we learn Spock gave a report where accurately conveyed the actual events of his rescue, Kirk gets in trouble for falsifying a report. Here is where I point out a derivation between Roddenberry and Abrams, James T. Kirk would never falsify a report. This is where we see the ‘Do Not Trust The Man’ component of the Lucas Science Fiction. Kirk would file an honest report but use the angle of saving a crew member is more important than a brief view of what natives could not understand. Kirk is a Captain on the flag ship of Starfleet he would not get to this level by not understanding ‘the system.’ As the story goes they were supposed to observe, and Spock’s crime of neutralizing the volcano was more serious of crime than Kirk’s crime of having aliens see something they could not understand.
In the Story Kirk gets the Enterprise taken away and Spock gets reassigned, soon Pike reveals that Kirk is assigned as First Officer on the enterprise. Soon we go to Star Fleet meeting where senior personnel are speaking about how to get the criminal Harrison. During this meeting Kirk, who knows more and has better instincts than any other Star Fleet officer points out an inconsistency. As everyone cowers during the attack Kirk acts, he improvises in this instance Abrams gets the idea of Kirk, a man of action. During this attack Pike is killed and we learn that Harrison has fled to the Klingon homeworld of Qo’nos, Kronos to the uninitiated. Kirk reveals this the Starfleet’s commander he is given the Enterprise back along with 72 ‘special’ torpedos. People who know the cargo of the Botany Bay don’t think too hard… You might connect the dots. Ceti Alpha six not needed.
Now the adventure begins, Kirk reports to the enterprise, where Scotty must quit, he has to, Kirk accepts the resignation, I do not understand this, why would he accept the resignation of the top engineer in star fleet, this is what we call a Buddhist gift. Kirk and his crew represent that small determined team that are senior officers in a star fleet that also represent sticking it to the man, which they are. So the ship launches, Kirk decided to ignore the immoral orders and get Harrison himself, of course. This is fine and inline with Kirk’s personality in the series the older films, everywhere, this is the man who carries Romulan Ale to feast with Klingons.
So Scotty and his little friend quits, a new science officer is on board, 72 mystery torpedoes and we are off towards Klingon space, The ship stops just outside Klingon space, kirk, Spock, Uhura and two redshirts head to the planet, Action Sequence ensues Harrison kills 30 or so Klingons almost singlehandedly asks about torpedoes and surrenders to Kirk, Kirk throws him in a cell has a brief conversion, where he asks him to look in the torpedoes, Kirk looks in the torpedoes, where we find a cryotube. Now comes the big secret Harrison is Khan, the psychopathic leader of the Eugenics War that nearly destroyed Earth, Now Kirk who revels in 20th Century popular culture to not know about the man who nearly destroyed his planet I find to be hard to believe, then again. You must, as Ed Wood advised, suspend disbelief.
At this point we learn Admiral Marcus the commander of star fleet is using section 31, that deep space nine, voyager incarnation for making Star Fleet a little less noble and a little more like war like organization. Now for Abrams who brilliantly crafts this little attempt to start a war I give many accolades for this scheme. Kirk must ally with Khan now to defeat the greater evil, Uncheck power in the form of military aggression, only if Kirk had flowers to put down the barrels of their phasers would it be more complete of a message. I almost forgot Scotty has snuck on the big mean warship and cuts it’s power. My only guess is that the TSA screeners from the 20th century also made their way to the future.
Kirk Spock and Scotty get to the bridge on the Vengeance or whatever militaristic name the ship has fight a little, scotty stuns Khan, Khan fakes it before arising and crushing Admiral Palpantine’s, I mean Marcus’s head. In the mean time, Spock calls Spock they chat about Khan, because of course Spock who knows everything, has no idea who the most blood thirsty tyrant in Earth’s History was. Anyway he arms the torpedoes beams them over, retrieves Kirk and Scotty, and waits for the Vengeance or the Unchecked Aggression or whatever the ship is called to explode. Considering they just next to the moon and no ships come to aid reminds me why no ever blew up the drill on Vulcan in the previous film. Now we are treated to a juxtaposition, Kirk gets radiated, and dies and much of the dialog from Star Trek II gets re utilized. So to cut through it all Kirk gets frozen while action sequence ensues as Khan crashes into San Francisco, Spock and Uhura get his blood, Kirk gets injected comes back to life. Khan gets frozen again, sent to store room, right next to the arc of the covenant, Kirk makes a speech recites the Star Trek opening and announces the five year mission.
This is a great movie and all movie fans and Science Fiction fans should see it, you see I not only am a Movie Snob I’m also a Star Trek Snob.