“My name is Khan.”
When Paramount asked JJ Abrams and his team behind the 2009 Star Trek reboot to get started on a sequel, they took a while trying to break the story. From interviews, it sounded like they had well over 50 iterations of the story before they finally came up with the idea they went with. With all that time and those iterations, though, it struck many people as odd that they ended up deciding to tell a story that brought back Khan Noonien Singh, the antagonist from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, as the villain. While the film is entertaining, it also feels unfresh because it’s retreading familiar territory. But that didn’t stop it from making its money back at the box office as it quickly earned the highest gross of any Trek film. But does that mean it’s good or just successful? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we get near the end of our Star Trek series with JJ Abrams’ 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness.
We talk about our problems with this film and try to evaluate why they may not be problems for those not as familiar with the earlier Trek lore. We look at how, at least for long-time Trek fans, this script makes it feel less like an homage to great elements in the past and more like a ripoff of a better story. We discuss our frustration with elements in the film, such as the treatment of female characters, the lack of understanding of the Prime Directive, the reliance on screenplay tropes like the departure of a betrayed friend, and more. We also look at elements of the film that we really like, such as the incredible world that starts us off, and the trip from ship to ship. And we dig deep into the opening sequence, introducing us to a primitive culture on a really cool planet.
While this film frustrates us on a number of levels, it still makes for a great conversation. So check it out, then tune in! The Next Reel: when the movie ends, our conversation begins.