In case you haven’t noticed, there is a new Star Trek film out in theaters. It’s called Star Trek Into Darkness, but it should have been titled Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan Shitty Remake Turbo Edition. It’s basically just a redo of the earlier film, but lazier and dumber. It has all the trappings of a big-budget Summer Shit-Spectacular, and none of the thoughtfulness or intelligence of a good movie. As a world famous blogger, I interviewed all of the main people involved in the creation of this movie. I have included excerpts from my interviews for your reading pleasure.
Interview #1 – Chris Pine
Me: Thank you for meeting with me today, Chris.
Pine: You’re welcome.
Me: Tell me about your approach to playing Captain James T. Kirk.
Pine: This first thing I like to do is really get to the core of the character. I do this by making goofy faces. I try to look drunk or constipated as much as possible. My face is actually quite rubbery, and doesn’t look at all natural. Kind of like a melted latex mask. I think it helps me as an actor.
Me: Is that where your giant eyebrows come in?
Pine: Oh yeah, definitely. The bushier the better. My eyebrows are a lot bigger than William Shatner’s. It’s a sign of virility.
Me: What do you have to say to people who feel that you aren’t Captain Kirk? What I mean is, that you were horribly miscast. That you don’t look, sound, or behave in any way like the original character?
Pine: I tell them “thank you.” I come from a long line of actors in remakes who don’t bother to pay attention to the source material. I think it really elevates it, you know? The original character, who is beloved from the TV series and film series, is not something people want to see respected. After all, this strategy worked really well for Steve Carrel in Get Smart and Will Smith in Wild Wild West.
Me: I think Chris Hemsworth, who plays your character’s father in the 2009 film, would have been a better choice for your role.
Pine: You mean Thor? Nah, he doesn’t have the eyebrows for it.
Me: What did you think about Kirk’s relationship with Spock in this movie?
Pine: I wanted to kiss him.
Me: Kirk and Spock wanted to kiss?
Pine: No, I mean I really wanted to kiss Zachary Quinto. He’s totally hot. I want him.
Interview #2 – Zachary Quinto
Me: Good afternoon.
Quinto: Hi, how are you?
Me: Fine, thanks. I’d like to ask you about your new film.
Me: Do you enjoy playing Spock?
Quinto: I do, I do. He’s a great character. I have a blast portraying him.
Me: Is that why you have a smug look on your face in every scene in the movie?
Quinto: I imagine so.
Me: I thought Vulcans weren’t supposed to show emotion.
Quinto: That’s true, although there can be some exceptions.
Me: Such as?
Quinto: Like when Spock’s planet is destroyed. Or when Uhura makes out with him. Or when his mother dies. Or when he gets miffed that Kirk beat his Kobayashi Maru program. Or when people insult him. Or when he doesn’t want Kirk in the Enterprise’s captain’s chair. Or when he and Kirk get in an argument. Or when Kirk dies. As you can see, it’s really quite limited.
Me: You left out Pon Farr.
Quinto: Pon what?
Quinto: Who are you again?
Me: Moving along… What do you say to people who think that your portrayal of Spock is paper-thin, only held together by the fact that you say “logical” and “fascinating” a bunch of times, and that you sort of look like Leonard Nimoy?
Quinto: Logic is a much shallower concept today amongst the general population than it was when the original Star Trek series was being produced.
Me: Final question. Chris Pine wants to make out with you, what do you think about that?
Interview #3 – Benedict Cumberbatch
Me: Which character do you play in the movie?
Cumberbatch: I play the villain. He’s dark and mysterious.
Me: You’re playing Space Sherlock Holmes, aren’t you?
Me: Are you aware that one of Spock’s ancestors was Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes?
Cumberbatch: I didn’t know that.
Me: Did you enjoy playing Space Sherlock Holmes?
Cumberbatch: That wasn’t my character’s name.
Me: Well, no, but that’s the only character you’re known for, Sherlock, I mean.
Cumberbatch: I have a rather varied resume.
Me: What was your philosophy for playing Space Sherlock Holmes?
Cumberbatch: Stop calling him that!
Me: Fine. What was your philosophy for playing Khan?
Cumberbatch: As an actor, it’s important to emote. So, I tried to emote really, really hard. I wanted everyone to know how much I was emoting. What I did was exaggerate the movements of my mouth. Whenever I had a close-up, I would enunciate everything to the extreme. It looks like my mouth is doing gymnastics.
Me: Kind of like Chris Pine’s face.
Cumberbatch: Yes. He has very sexy eyebrows.
Me: What’s next for you?
Cumberbatch: I’m doing the voice of Smaug in the upcoming Hobbit movies.
Me: So, you’ll be playing Dragon Sherlock Holmes?
Cumberbatch: *throws coffee in BrikHaus’ face*
Interview #4 – Alice Eve
Me: My favorite scene in this movie is when you strip down to your underwear.
Eve: Thank you.
Me: Can I have your phone number?
Eve: Um. No.
Me: What are your measurements?
Eve: Someone get this pervert out of here!
Interview #5 – Robocop
Me: What are your prime directives?
Robocop: *chuckles* You wouldn’t believe how often I get asked that.
Me: You seem very human. They must have upgraded your programming since the 80s.
Robocop: You know, I’m not actually a robot.
Me: What are your prime directives?
Me: So life-like. It’s incredible.
Robocop: Can we please just talk about my new film?
Me: How long did the Detroit Police Department let you out on loan for this movie?
Me: Don’t they need you? That place is riddled with crime! They need their greatest hero to keep the city safe.
Robocop: Are you serious? I can’t tell. Or are you just…
Me: Stupid? No. I get that all the time, though.
Robocop: Can we just move on with the interv-
Me: What are your prime directives?
Robocop: *sighs* Serve the public trust, protect the innocent, uphold the law.
Interview #6 – Damon Lindelof
Me: You are credited as the main writer for this movie. How does that make you feel?
Me: What do you think about the people who feel you are a hack?
Lindelof: I remind them that I co-wrote this movie with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
Me: So, all three of you are hacks?
Lindelof: Next question.
Me: The Star Trek universe has a rich and deep mythology. It spans 11 feature films-
Lindelof: Twelve. You left out the new one.
Me: Okay… 12 feature films, six television series, and 726 episodes. Since it has such a vast quantity of material to draw from, why did you choose to remake The Wrath of Khan?
Lindelof: Khan is a terrific villain. We felt it would be a good way to connect with the original series, and to broaden our rebooted timeline.
Me: Yeah, but that’s not what I mean. With so many possible villains and situations in the Star Trek universe, why did you remake what is arguably the most famous story of them all?
Lindelof: Eh, it seemed a lot easier than coming up with something original.
Me: Couldn’t you at least have made up a new story featuring Khan instead of so heavily stealing from the original?
Me: Then how the fuck did it take you four years to write this piece of shit?
Lindelof: Piece of shit? Hey, man, cool it. This movie took a lot of hard work. I carefully wrote it on napkins and scrap paper in between creating the fantastic ending of Lost, writing the brilliant Cowboys & Aliens, and saving the Alien franchise with Prometheus.
Me: Why did you include Wrath of Khan’s most famous scene, where Spock dies from radiation poisoning in order to save the crew of the Enterprise?
Lindelof: I figured the fans wanted to see it.
Me: Did any fans tell you they wanted to see that again?
Lindelof: Well, not explicity, no.
Me: Then why did you think they wanted to see it?
Lindelof: Consider it fan-service. Fans love that kind of stuff.
Me: Fans like creative nods to past projects, but not stealing stuff verbatim from earlier, better works.
Lindelof: I didn’t steal it verbatim! This time Kirk dies from radiation poisoning instead of Spock! And Spock screams the iconic “KHAAAAN!” line.
Me: Wow, what a twist.
Lindelof: Hey, stop being such a dick! Don’t you know who I am?
Me: A cog in the Hollywood machine of mediocrity.
Lindelof: You’re such an asshole!
Me: How do you manage to keep getting work?
Lindelof: Fuck you! This interview is over!
Interview #7 – J.J. Abrams
Me: The Star Trek franchise has changed significantly since you took control in 2009.
Abrams: I wanted to bring it more in line with modern sensibilities.
Me: By having tons of explosions?
Abrams: I suppose.
Me: And characters without nuanced personalities, which are instead painted in broad brushstrokes?
Abrams: I think Damon Lindelof wrote very good characters.
Me: Yeah, I talked to that dude. He seems a little unstable.
Abrams: I think he was upset because Chris Pine rejected his sexual advances.
Me: Why did you choose to sacrifice the intelligence and moral core of the Star Trek universe in favor of action?
Abrams: I’ve always been a huge fan of Star Wars, and I wanted to make it more like that. Star Wars doesn’t bother with questions of morality or deeply layered themes.
Me: Speaking of that… Star Trek is well known to reference the works of Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, D.H. Lawrence, Herman Melville, and William Shakespeare. Star Wars makes poop and fart jokes. What do you make of that?
Abrams: If you watch this movie, you’ll see there aren’t any literary references. I didn’t want to make this movie too thinky.
Me: That much was obvious.
Abrams: Thank you!
Me: Why did you cast Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan?
Abrams: He’s a great actor.
Me: Shouldn’t you have cast someone closer to Ricardo Montalban, who played him in the original film?
Abrams: I don’t know… he always seemed too… ethnic.
Me: What about the implications of your version of Khan, that a genetically superior, perfect specimen of humanity, is a white British man?
Abrams: Seems OK to me.
Abrams: *grins obtusely*
Me: I noticed you cut back on the lensflare effects in this movie.
Abrams: I try to listen to the fans whenever possible. They didn’t like the overuse of lensflare in the 2009 movie. But I didn’t want to cut it out altogether. It really ties the whole visual aesthetic together.
Me: What was the point of having Captain Kirk lose his rank, only to get it back immediately without having to do anything?
Abrams: I like plot twists.
Me: I’m not sure that really qualifies-
Abrams: There are tons of plot twists in this movie! Plot twists always make everything better!
Me: Like the plot twists in M. Night Shyamalan movies?
Abrams: Oh man, his movies are the best!
Me: I think we’re done here.
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan Shitty Turbo Edition is a movie you should stay away from. It is nothing more than a flashy remake of the original movie, but stripped bare of everything that made the original great. It’s written by people who don’t have a good understanding of the themes and characters of Star Trek. Instead, they made a big, dumb, generic action movie, slapped the Star Trek logo on it, and called it a day.
With the original cast, we grew to love them over several years. In Wrath of Khan, when Spock died, there was a significant emotional weight to that loss. But the new cast doesn’t have years of good will to back them up. They’ve only had one movie. So when Kirk dies this time, there isn’t any emotional impact. And when Spock screamed out Khan’s name, it rang hollow, and made me laugh out loud. Really hard. Seriously, the other theater-goers weren’t pleased.
New Kirk acts like a buffoon and stupidly risks his entire crew time and time again. Kirk Classic could be rash at times, but he wouldn’t be completely boneheaded. Usually, he would have some kind of a plan. It seems the creators of the new Star Trek are determined to make Kirk as big a tool as possible.
The only actor who evokes their original series counterpart is Karl Urban playing Leonard “Bones” McCoy. He looks like and emulates the speech pattern of a young DeForrest Kelley. He also does a good job playing the part. Traditionally, McCoy’s role was that of moral compass, there to let Kirk know when he’s being too reckless, and Spock know when he’s being too coldly logical. This new version of McCoy doesn’t do that. He’s just there for laughs, which is a damn shame. Urban’s talents are being wasted.
No doubt, the new version of Star Trek will continue to make tons of money and garner new fans. On one hand that’s good because it keeps the franchise alive, and will expose these new fans to the better films and TV series. On the other other hand, is this the way we really want Star Trek to continue? As an action movie that jettisons the humanity and occasional profundity of the original? Do we really want to see a continuation of this glossy, soulless version of Star Trek?
Much like how Star Wars fans shun the prequel trilogy, I think the Star Trek reboot series is best left forgotten.