D. James Quinn

Q
D. James Quinn

22 Reasons Why J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Falls Flat on its Tattooed Romulan Face

The prime jerks directing Star Trek 2.0.

How many times is Kirk going to fall to his death or teeter on the brink of destruction? That's all there is to Kirk in Star Trek 2.0. There's not much time for chitchat when everything's exploding every ten seconds.

Yay! Abrams delivers slipshod TV triteness on the big screen once again! And now we have a sullied Trek legacy to look forward to. Thank you J.J., love and kisses! Here are 22 reasons why the movie that endeavors to call itself Star Trek utterly fails.

1. Time travel. It’s kind of like playing the Nazi card in an argument. Once you’re there, we know you got nothing left.

2. A flimsy, needlessly complicated plot that requires the Architect from The Matrix to explain in under three minutes, because if it took any longer, we’d realize it makes absolutely no sense. Plain old lazy screenwriting, if you ask me.

3. Sentimentality. How many fathers and mothers need to die before you think sheer sentimentality will distract me from the bogus time-travel plot? I know there’s this “backstory” for this whole horrible “2.0 universe” that originates with this comic, forking off Star Trek Nemesis. But we Trekkies aren’t allowed to judge this film in the context of the greater Star Trek universe, right? This is a reboot—an alternate reality, yeah? We have to analyze this movie without referring to a comic that nobody knows about, correct? Well apparently nobody told Abrams. Do we NEED more Romulan badguys? Did Abrams even watch Star Trek Nemesis? Hello: it sucked. I’d rather watch the whale movie again.

3. A sneak-attack supernova.

4. LAME Romulan badguys. A lamer badguy than Darth Vader in the Star Wars prequels. How dare you even attempt to compare Nero to Khan! The guy looks like a Wiccan tattoo artist and his name is NERO. Of all the Roman names to choose from, Nero? Really?

5. Sensationalism. Bullshit that a film can’t succeed if it has to “appease the fans.” Maybe this is true financially, but we have yet to even find out. The simple fact of the matter is that every Hollywood reboot that’s been put out in the past ten years (with the exception of Batman Begins and its sequel, which arguably adheres to the spirit of the Dark Knight more than it ever departed from it) is trash for the simple fact that Hollywood refuses to appease the fans. (I’m looking at you, Marvel). Of course, it’s silly to bring this up because Hollywood isn’t interested in making good movies, it’s only interested in making cash off a sheepish, “Lost”-induced audience.

6. Forgettable dialogue. Not a single memorable line and you’re working with some of the richest characters in scifi history. Too many one liners borrowed shamelessly from the classics. How dare you have Nero yell “Spooock!” in a pale imitation of Khan, who manages big screen gravitas across the ages, despite man-boobs and a Conan the Barbarian fur coat.

7. Senseless militarism. Yeah, let’s shoot at Nero when he’s already imploding and completely defenseless for absolutely no reason! Go peace-loving humanist Federation!

8. A sneak-attack supernova.

Khan

9. Hand-holding. How many times do we have to be reminded that Spock has emotional problems because he’s half-human, and Kirk is a indefatigable jackass? And that they’re destined to be bestest buddies even though they hate each other for 95% of the film? We get it already, stop TELLING and start SHOWING.

10. Canon flip-floppery. You can either jettison the canon or stick to it. There’s no inbetween: if this is an alternate reality created by time travel (via the Many Worlds Theory) or traveling through a black hole into a parallel universe (whichever, because it’s never made clear), then this isn’t Trek anymore. It’s Abrams “Trek.” You can’t have it both ways.

11. Uhura. McCoy. Scotty. Disgraceful caricatures of their classic counterparts. Perfect cardboard cutouts for The Next Generation of gee-whiz scifi and endless remakes. Wait, did I just see a Star Trek prequel or Starship Troopers? I don’t remember.

12. Sneak-attack black holes. Yes, multiple ones. Do I really need to explain this? Any self-respecting Star Trek fan would understand why this is ridiculous.

13. “Red matter” ahahaha.

14. Roller coasters. How many times is Kirk going to fall to his death or teeter on the brink of destruction? We just stop caring after awhile. He’s an indestructible jackass. We get it. That’s all there is to Kirk in Star Trek 2.0. Besides, there’s not much time for chitchat (i.e., character development) when everything’s exploding every ten seconds.

15. Insincerity. Total failure to elicit even slight nausea when Nero drops the Khan-bug into Pike’s mouth. Good job completely failing there with cheap imitations of the real thing.

16. Star Wars reboot cartoon aliens. How did the aliens from the Mos Eisley Cantina find their way aboard the Enterprise?

17. Sneak attack supernovas!

18. Plot holes. Okay so why did Spock not just explain the situation to Heroes Spock in the first place? Yeah, don’t try to explain it. Yoda, like Abrams, acts in mysterious ways.

19. That Hoth beast. It was designed after the muscles in a rectum. I’m not kidding, read the article in Wired. The artist actually studied assholes to design its lovely, tentacled mouth. Too bad Kirk missed Luke on the way down to Yoda/Spock’s ice cave.

20. Young Kirk. Kirk is just a jackass with an entitlement complex, plain and simple. We have no reason to applaud his so-called heroism, or ever take him on his word, because he never earns it. There’s nothing at stake for Kirk, unlike Heroes Spock, whose parents get dangled before us every other scene.

21. Shallowness. No larger moral consequence. No spiritual underpinnings. Basic Trek essentials, blatantly lacking.

22. Thematic emptiness. Zero philosophy, zero emotional appeal. Yeah I know, this ain’t Gene Roddenberry, may he Rest in Peace. Just shut up and watch the sexy explosions.

Hopefully there won’t be a sequel, but see you next time in case there is.

Discussion

  • mike

    awwww poor baby.

    i think everyone else liked it though.

  • dquinn

    Lots of stupid people like a lot of stupid things. Not sure what you’re getting at.

  • Well put. It’s nice to see someone speak out against JJ Abrams’ work. So many people are sheep.

  • dquinn

    Word.

  • hank

    I’ve finally found someone who didn’t like it!
    Here is a list of problems I had with the movie that I wrote right after seeing it opening day:

    Entire plot line
    * Almost exactly the Xindi story arc from Star Trek: Enterprise: Xindi want to destroy Earth first because they believe Earth will destroy Xindi in the future = Nero wants to destroy Federation to stop it from destroying Romulus in the future

    First Romulan attack scene:
    * I never even knew they were Romulans until later in the movie. I’d forgotten that somewhere along the line, Romulans switched from a Roman-like regimented, militaristic society into a biker gang with a fondness for long leather coats.
    * Did you see all the shuttles? The original enterprise had like 4, and this one seems to have dozens. And why exactly couldn’t the Romulans just pick them off?
    * Would the captain, even for his pregnant wife, really keep a live channel open for that long during a huge battle where he’s theoretically having to single-handedly pilot the ship during battle? And how convenient how it all fit
    exactly into the number of seconds before he plowed into the Romulan ship. WAY overdramatic.

    Kirk being dropped off on the ice planet, etc.
    * My first thought: “oh, he’s on Hoth”
    * When he’s chased by monster #1, and then monster #2 eats #1, it was totally that scene from Star Wars I when Obi Wan and Qui-Gon are traveling on Naboo underwater. I heard in my mind Qui-Gon saying “there’s always a bigger fish”
    * If (old) Spock knew the Federation post was there, why hadn’t he ever gone there before. You’d think at a minimum he’d warn them about the Romulans out there.
    * The mind meld was silly. Spock said he needed to do it to tell Kirk the story, ’cause it was so long. Well they told the audience just fine in the same amount of time as the mind meld. Also very forced. It’s an example of bad writing that
    they just had to stop and basically say, “okay, here’s all the background of what’s going on because our writers couldn’t figure out a way to write it into the script more naturally by this point in the movie.”
    * If the Nero wanted Spock to see Vulcan’s destruction, why didn’t he just keep him on the ship? It made no sense that Spock just happened to be standing outside his ice cave on a fortuitously sunny day looking up in the sky for the 6 minutes
    that it took for Vulcan to be destroyed.
    * Scotty’s assistant was the silly little required comic relief character that I so loath in many shows (can you say Jar-Jar?)

    Scene on Vulcan during attack:
    * When the transporter starts its whirly-gig, it’s always had the person. If there was trouble it’d usually be loss in the matter stream. The long, drawn-out Spock reaching out to Winona, and then her falling, despite being in the transporter lock for so
    long, was yet another example of changing a basic Star Trek concept just to artificially create drama. It didn’t even jive within the movie. When Kirk and Sulu were hurtling to the ground, Chekov got them almost instantly. And that was with them
    plummeting to the ground like rocks. Winona and the Vulcan elders were just standing there. Why the huge difference? Just to create that contrived dramatic scene.
    * The “drill” blocks communications and transporters. Why? Makes no sense. Another example of bad writing. “Hmmmm, it wouldn’t work if they could communicate with Star Fleet or beam around. Let’s just say the drill blocks that! Yeah, that’s it!”

    Scotty in the water tube
    * OMG. That was so Willy Wonka (Jeff thought Galaxy Quest). Scotty in the TV show and movies had comic elements, but he was also a serious Star Fleet officer. In this movie, he was 100% goofball. No depth of character.

    Dropping onto the planet from space:
    * SOOOOO contrived. What was with all that screaming out the altitudes every few seconds? Had no purpose plot-wise other than to artificially create tension and drama. Again, bad writing. A good writer/director would have created a
    scene with action/tension/drama that made sense. And it was totally like a scene from Reign of Fire.
    * They plug so much how technologically advanced the Romulans are, and then Sulu & Kirk fight, with swords? Just a way to showcase Sulu’s retracting sword (which was cool, I have to admit)
    * After all that, regular phaser rifles were enough to destroy the drill?? Why, then did they need explosives? Seems their own weapons would have worked fine. And if simple rifles could destroy it, why didn’t they just shoot it from space?
    And all of Vulcan had no ground defenses or ships or planes to try to take out the drill?

    The Enterprise
    * Why did it look different? In the movies, when it looked different from the original Star Trek they at least came up with a reason.
    * In the battle scenes, it always looked small and flimsy and flitted about like a gnat, not the gallant, proud ship of the movies and tv show.
    * The bridge looked all plasticy and WAY too bright.

    Red Matter
    * “We don’t want to think about some clever way to destroy things, so we’ll just talk about ‘Red Matter’ which conviently creates black holes without any explanation. And it looks cool!”
    * If Red Matter can create black holes, why drill holes? a black hole on the surface of the planet would have the same effect. Oh, but we need to artifically create some situation where you might need to free-fall from space.

    Nero on viewscreen
    * Really? What real viewscreen shows huge face close-ups filling an entire wall? Again, just artifical contriving “bad guy”-ness. “Look, he’s big and has tatoos! He’s mean!”
    * And like, really? The viewscreen stays on for the Enterprise crew to watch Nero’s demise?

    Caught in black hole
    * So they’re all just sitting there watching Nero die, and no one thinks, “hmmm, we’re near a black hole, maybe we should move.” Again, contrived drama that makes no sense.

  • dquinn

    lolz: “a biker gang with a fondness for long leather coats.”

  • romster

    man, all real trekkers liked it as a popcorn-movie but it’s def not a trek movie. nevermind the casual bullocks like mike and dquinn, you aced it out. thanks for that!

  • When I watched Star Wars: The Arrogant Kirk Brat in 2010, I decided that the crossover wasn’t my cup of tea.

    Firstly, the director included none of the Star Wars plot, only the special effects and blow-it-all-up mentality. There was an improvement on the Star Trek effects, I admit, but if he was going to scheist the planets, creatures, and weird plastic masks, why not have some of the good characters, like Han Solo? Better yet, why not take some of the villains, like Darth Vader, Palpatine, or even Maul?

    And when the director nicked the Star Trek characters, why didn’t he watch TOS beforehand, instead of stealing the characterization from some poor twelve year old on fanfiction.net?

    The Amazing Apparating Wormholes were a prime example of Deus Ex Machina that should go on TV Tropes. Very good job of not taking yourself too seriously, director.

    I do have one serious criticism. Star Trek is a cult TV show–meant to appeal to those who prefer plot over flash, diplomacy over machine guns, and sentimental idealism over sex. Some of that should have carried over, even into a crossover. Where was it?

    Or did I just miss it through all of the lense flashes?

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