I just recently watched Star Trek Into Darkness. It had the usual blockbuster feel to it, but as a long time fan of Star Trek, there was a lot of things that J. J. Abrams did wrong. Here’s the list.
9: Those are Caitians? No they’re not!
This scene gets the distinction of two nods on the wrong list, the first is more a technical aspect. Abrams is trying to put his own stamp on things, but sorry, Star Trek has been around longer than you have. Those twins on the screen shown to be having a trist with Kirk, those aren’t Caitians.
Even the fact they were made to look more exotic by making them look “oriental” is kind of a slap in the face. Adding a tail to something doesn’t make it the thing you want it to be. This strikes as being incredibly lazy, because Caitians look like this:
Naturally, the above image is from Star Trek: The Animated Series and pictures M’Ress, the very first character in the Star Trek universe to be identified as Caitian. The second image is from Star Trek: The Voyage Home and is an Admiral talking with an Andorian while at James T. Kirk’s court martial. Caitians have fur, they have ears elevated closer to the top of their head. Star Trek Online actually made a great representation when adding Caitians to the playable race list.
8: Kirk is not a massive sex machine.
So far in both Abrams’ attempts at reboot the original series, he’s made Kirk out to be a massive creepy letch who wants nothing more than to sleep with anyone who has boobs and a vagina. See above, where Kiirk is in bed with two “Caitians”. Also, see the previous movie when Kirk is sleeping with an Orion (that’s coming up in the list). Kirk sleeping with women is a trope that is used way too much, and downplays the other qualities he has. Kirk didn’t have this kind of libido in the original series, but it gets used as one of the (if not THE) main characteristic. This version of Kirk is the kind of man who would have been ushered out of Starfleet thanks to numerous sexual harassment suits.
7: Use what’s been done before.
There was a lot of unnecessary stuff added to the reboot. The Klingons are a big example. From the way they look to the way their ships are designed. The “new” Klingons look completely different than what has appeared in past incarnations. We even got a big explanation for why they lost their cranial ridges in Star Trek Enterprise. If this is to be a reboot of the original series, then lose the cranial ridges to follow cannon. The ships chasing the Enterprise shuttle pod (really, that was a shuttle pod?) didn’t really look like Klingon cruisers. Even the bat’leth’s looked weird. Bottom line, there’s been stuff done before for over 40 years. Use the cannon that’s been made, don’t reinvent the wheel.
6: Orions are NOT members of the Federation.
While Orions exist in the Star Trek universe, and yes, there might even be an Orion who might join Star Fleet, it’s incredibly rare. Orions are members of the Orion Syndicate. And if that sounds like the title of a criminal organization, you’re not wrong. The Orions are basically charming and efficient space pirates (as opposed to brutal and destructive Nausicans). And it may not be very well known, but Orion is basically a highly deceptive matriarchal society. While Orion women are often sold in slave auctions (another very telling aspect of Orions) and seem incredibly seductive and somewhat willing to pleasure their new “masters”, Orion women are incredibly deceptive. They give off pheromones which affect both male and female members of a ship, and create chaos (as seen in Star Trek Enterprise). The goal is for Orion pirates to take over the ship much more easily, strip it down and take the crew to be sold at auction. Even Orion males are lulled into a very suggestive state by Orion women. The entire system of the Syndicate was completely developed by the women of the Orion homeworld.
So while it’s not so odd to see an Orion in Starfleet, by this time Starfleet would have ensured that she would not have had a roommate (in order to ensure that Uhuru didn’t go nuts around her), or would have developed a medical treatment to make sure that the Orion woman’s pheromones didn’t cause mass chaos. We even see an Orion woman walking calmly down the street just before the crash landing in San Francisco. This suggests a common occurrence of Orions visiting Earth, which in reality is incorrect.
5: Stop using overused tropes.
This one is more about Abrams reboot attempt as a whole. Stop glorifying the tropes and showcasing them. So far, in four hours of movie, that`s exactly what has been showcased. The original series was so much more than just the overused tropes. If you actually took the time to watch them, that is. Or even read any of the technical history. Abrams’ Star Trek strikes me as though Abrams and a team just looked on Tumblr and took all of the memes as what came before. Admittedly, if that was the case, then we`d most likely see a more homoerotic relationship between Kirk and Spock.
From Kirk’s sexual libido, to Chekov’s appearance only so he can speak with a “Russian” accent, to Scotty’s love of whiskey. Each and every one is an over used trope, and if that’s your movie then it’s nothing but a trope.
4: Get the spelling right!
Obviously someone decided that spelling things in the Star Trek universe was the last thing needed, or that no one would know how to pronounce things. Abrams, here`s the thing; you`re making a Star Trek movie. Trekkies will know, and those who don`t, they`ll be going to the theatre with a Trekkie so the Trekkie will inform them. Don`t play the audience like their stupid. What am I referring to? The title shot of the Enterprise shuttle pod flying down to a planet. The title shot says “Kronos” at the top. Any Trekkie worth their salt would spell it like “Qo’nos”, which is how it was originally spelled.
3: Was this really necessary?
Remember the scene where Marcus and Kirk got into a shuttle to… do something. And Marcus tells Kirk to turn around? Was that scene even necessary? Did we really need to see that scene? Why does that scene exist? Who thought “this would be really cool, ’cause BOOBS”? Because that’s all that scene was about (and adding to the trope of Kirk’s over inflated sexual libido that seems to be the only thing about this version of Kirk, Hey Abrams, did you even watch the original series).
2: Misuse of the Prime Directive.
While captains of different Enterprises have indeed bent the rules of the Prime Directive, they never did it as flagrantly as in Star Trek Into Darkness. And those who have, usually get shuttled out of Starfleet never to return. Oh, Kirk has bent the Prime Directive in the past (ST: Voyage Home), but he did it in order to save the planet, thereby saving the United Federation of Planets. And the idea of dropping the Enterprise into the ocean to hide… really? There’s already a place where the ship could hide. It’s called IN ORBIT! If this is a pre-warp civilization, then it’s doubtful they have space-faring technology, so hiding in orbit would probably be for the best. This version of Kirk would have been shuttled out of Star Fleet because the risks he and his crew take are beyond unacceptable.
1: All About Khan.
So, I understand that Abrams wanted a throw back to the original series by retelling one of the most important episodes in Trek, which revealed the character of Khan Noonien Singh. If that name sounds odd attached to the face of Benedict Cumberbatch, then you’re not wrong. The name is very Indian or Punjab sounding (Punjab considering the last name Singh is very similar to names taken by those who are followers of the Sihk religion). The original actor was Ricardo Montalban, a Mexican actor (and a person of colour). Recasting Khan as Benedict Cumberbatch is really a slap in the face to what has been shown before. In all seriousness, the Eugenics Wars and the awakening of Khan could have been saved for something else (as Into Darkness takes place ten years before Space Seed in the original series). Cumberbatch’s character could have been an Augment with the name John Harrison and you still would have had the same feel for it. You could have even avoided the calling to New Vulcan and getting Old Spock to fill in the blanks. Khan and this entire series of events could have been avoided completely to tell an original story while at the same time calling back and giving a nod to Space Seed and Wrath of Khan. The aspect of having Kirk die in the same manner as having Spock die in Wrath of Khan (right down to Kirk decking Scotty whereas Spock gave Scotty a Vulcan nerve pinch) was incredibly lazy. If you wanted to rewrite Space Seed or Wrath of Khan, why didn’t you do that. Or even better, just don’t because those two original pieces held up way better.