Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), Dir. J.J. Abrams

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), Dir. J.J. Abrams

Why J.J Abram’s ‘Star Trek’s’ don’t work (but I so wished they did).

Shall I destroy you, Mr. Spock? Or will you give me what I want?
— Khan, Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, Peter Weller, Alice Eve.
Directors: J.J. Abrams
Screenplay: Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci.

In 2009 ‘Star Trek’ (2009) was introduced to us all over again. With the brash yet honest captain James T. Kirk, the logical half-Vulcan Mr. Spock, hard nosed Bones, ernest Mr. Sulu, take no shit Uhura, and the loveable scot, Scotty. All the gang back together, but with a twist; they are young and all the things they went through together never happened. It is brand spanking new, but why does it feel like I am watching something very old?

Now first, do not get me wrong, I love references, they are my life source and J.J. Abrams would be a fool and disappoint everyone if he did not bring across so many elements from the original into the franchise reboot. These references are what makes ‘Star Trek’ (2009) so much fun. It is fun, the referencing is fun and necessary to connect the old with the new and to show that these guys are the indeed the guys we know from before.

However there is a fine line between referencing the previous show and then it stepping on the toes of the new franchise. This becomes very clear in ‘Into Darkness’ (2013) in regards to Khan. When Kahn reintroduces himself to Kirk why is there a reveal when there is absolutely no reference to Kahn in this new universe. The dramatic pause makes no sense, Spock’s irrational scream “KAAAAAHHHHN!” when Kirk dies makes no sense at all in this new universe and yet it is still included in these new films.

Kahn is the villain of this piece, but because the film tells instead of shows his villainy there is no real fear in regards to Kahn’s power. We do not get to learn this for ourselves as we are watching but have to be told what he is capable of in reference to the original show. And this is why ‘Into Darkness’ fails to ever get off the ground. The film spends its’ entire time referencing a show that was cancelled almost 50 years ago. It is never allowed to make it’s own statement or own footprint in the ‘Star Trek’ universe, but just reminds us of what we really want to be watching; the original show.