Star Trek Into Darkness: Fun Summer Flick or Fan Disservice?

posted on 5/17/13

Jim, you don’t rob a bank when the getaway car has a flat tire.

– Leonard “Bones” McCoy

The Latest Star Trek Film, the second of the J.J. Abrams alternate reality reboot of the original Series came out in American theaters yesterday. Without giving up spoilers, the plot deals with old friends and enemies in a complex drama involving conflict within the Federation itself. Scoring a 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, the general opinion is while perhaps the plot is convoluted it remains a watchable and action-packed thrill ride ideal for the causal summer breaker.


To reveal my own bias, I am an unrepentant Next Generation devotee (favoring it to any other film or series) I personally prefer deep moral questions and challenging scenarios to brash spectacles of Computer Effects, but even I realize it must be acknowledged that for a creative franchise to survive, it must adapt and fit context, which the Into Darkness definitely succeeds at in turning the base material into a Modern Summer Action Flick.

According to one forum on Rotten Tomatoes, one critic levels the statement “ The Dark-Trek writers turned that crew of scientists, doctors and captains, into the shallow pool of a College Spring Break Malibu party. They drink and party and squabble like kids (source).” While I don’t necessarily disagree with this statement, I question what is wrong with that? That is to say, what is wrong with turning the Star Trek base material and funneling it into the context of a Modern Summer Action Flick? Undeniably the subtleties of the relationships between the characters were the core of what made the original series watchable and re-watchable, these character nuances were perhaps sacrificed and “criminally unwritten” for the film to succeed as an Action Flick, which is a different beast than a series by far. Furthermore a Summer Action Flick is a genre known for it’s irreverence, sexuality, violence and bombastic ambiance, it is the most easy-going, suspension of disbelief requiring modes of Action Films.


I feel perhaps this is the reason for the reception being is what it is, for to take content which is so richly developed and layered and use it for the basis of a quick action fix is perhaps incredibly appalling to the dedicated fan’s standpoint. It is seen as disrespectful, its like taking your mother’s recipe for homemade pizza and a chain restaurant warping it into a 5 minute grease trap and then naming that travesty after your mother. I suppose at the end of the day, both viewpoints are correct, yes the film may not pay tribute to what was truly great about the original run, but perhaps, it’s not such a big deal because after all, it’s just a Summer Action Flick.

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3 thoughts on “Star Trek Into Darkness: Fun Summer Flick or Fan Disservice?
  1. Stephen Gilbert

    Great summer flick, Lets party man. Okay now that you got that out of your system,, it is time for a reality check. Unless you return the series to its proper timeline, forty sum years of star trek shows and movies have to go in the dumpster, because none of it ever happened. Where the hell is Q when you need him, or Wesley Crusher for that matter.

    1. Anonymous

      Ok, that’s like saying that half the episodes that deal with time travel have to go in the dumpster because it never happened. Remember Voyager: Hell Week? The simple fact is that unless they want an old, fat Will Shatner back as Captain Kirk, and the whole franchise would turn into a bigger joke, they had to do a reboot for the series to survive.

      If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

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