This is my current review for Star Trek: Into Darkness on the Rotten Tomatoes website;
It doesn’t matter if it premieres the resurrected Great Bird of the Galaxy himself, I won’t be going to see this film in a theater. This will be the first film in Star Trek history that I’m actually hostile about before I’ve even seen it, and one of three that I loathe ever having been created (FYI, it’s the last three) I cannot express the level of revulsion that I feel when I contemplate what kind of depraved acts will be enacted on the corpse of one my most cherished memories from another time. Better to just pretend it isn’t happening, I guess.
I did catch a “edited for television” version recently. It was every bit as bad as I imagined it would be, and then some. Somehow the internet haters really failed to communicate just how ridiculous this farce of a film was. I’m not sure how this is possible, but it is. Magic blood. A Khan that isn’t South Asian. Starfleet officers engaging in conspiracies, taking the lives of their own people when they fail to submit to aggression.
That Khan failed to pervert the crew of the Enterprise in the TOS episode “Space Seed” because future man is no longer susceptible to terroristic threats of this kind is a philosophical achievement lost on the creators of nutrek and the Abramanator himself.
The number of violations of Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future are almost uncountable. They will remain uncounted by me. It was enough for me simply to confirm that the film was bad and not just bad Trek.
My apologies to the ghost of Gene Roddenberry for having witnessed this narrative of depravity.
The film rates half a star on the 5 star system. I can’t rate it lower than that or I would.
Having failed to keep up my end of the bargain and actually never watch the film, I felt I had to come clean and admit to my transgression. However, this article isn’t just about Star Trek: Into Darkness. I haven’t been a Trek fan for quite a few years. I quit following the show or hanging around with fans of Nutrek ages ago, not long after declaring Star Trek dead in 2009. I have no interest in being an internet hater. I have even less interest in spending time in the presence of people who like things that I think are unforgivable violations of the intellectual property of a long-dead inspiration.
I am quite happy sitting here alone in my office. I am forced to revisit this subject because the abramanations continue, and the general movie-going population remains vacuously enamored of J.J. Abrams’ tripe. I sat down and watched Star Wars VII a few weeks ago with the Wife. We had planned on watching that film on the big screen and we missed it because it left theaters within a month of coming out, it left screens and moved to video release quicker than any other Star Wars film in history. I distinctly remember saying, when it was announced that J.J. Abrams would write and direct, that Given what George Lucas has done to Star Wars, I can hardly imagine how J.J. Abrams could fuck it up more than he has. Having now watched Star Wars VII I can honestly say I owe George Lucas an apology.
I owe George Lucas an apology because Star Wars VII is just Star Wars IV told even more poorly as a story, while millions upon millions more are spent on meaningless effects sequences. It is a marvel to watch from an effects standpoint (much like Mad Max 4) while being almost incomprehensible from a plot and story perspective (also like Mad Max 4) And since George Lucas filmed Star Wars IV with less money and with no example to script by, I have to conclude that his is the superior intellect when contrasted with the abramanator.
It is nice to be proven wrong on occasion, even when the proof takes a few hours out of my life and a few yards out of my intestines due to the indigestion caused by stress. Stress caused by having to watch bad filmmaking being rewarded so lavishly.
I blame LOST.
I never did do a post series write-up on that show, even though (as the link illustrates) I was quite the fan, following all the crumbs and clues and waiting for the next episode and the next season with breathless anticipation. Until the story stopped making any sense at all, sometime during season four. I doggedly continued to catch every episode even then, and bought the DVD collections for each season, trusting that somehow it would all make sense in the end.
Except it really never did. LOST is singularly the worst written story arc ever to be completed in a television show. It is the only show that, having gotten to the end, I really wanted all my invested time back. Not only does the story not make any sense, but the finale attempts to make every possible fan prediction about what the island was, and how the characters survived, be true simultaneously. It is the series that best manifests the truism trying to make everyone happy is the surest way to piss everyone off.
Every season following the third season became harder and harder to watch. Far from being the finale that ruined the show for me, it was the reliance on tropes and heuristics to ‘sort of’ move the show along to the conclusion that most of us saw coming years before the confirmatory finale; the finale which so deflated everyone’s expectations about the meaning of it all.
Why season three? Remember the season three cliff-hanger ending? (I despise cliff-hanger season endings. Loathe them. What happens if the stars die or back out of their contracts? Just pretend the viewers weren’t left hanging?) Charlie’s big sacrifice? Didn’t mean anything. It might have meant something if the Oceanic 6 hadn’t then gone on to… What? Go home, become helpless invalids? Fail to raise children and then return to the island? Return to the island in the past (a past that the smart guy in their midst says can’t be changed) Return to the island and be blown up by a nuclear explosion (an event that historically didn’t happen) which traps them in a time bubble. For all eternity. With people they hate as well as the friends they love.
I hate to break it to this guy, but if you have to explain what the ending meant in order for people to get it, then it really wasn’t closure of any kind, much less a good ending for a series. The only reason people still talk about LOST is because J.J. Abrams is Hollywood gold for some inexplicable reason, and so people feel obliged to say nice things about the series that launched him to success.
I watched in disbelieving horror when Damon Lindelof was paraded out a few years back on The Nerdist, which was airing on BBC America at the time. Damon Lindelof paraded out and held up as some kind of authority on time travel stories, horrified as I watched him taking apart what were, in my estimation, more interesting stories that used the story-telling vehicle in question.
Damon Lindelof? An authority? An authority on time travel? An authority on time travel as a storytelling vehicle? An authority on stories about things which most scientists will tell you are theoretically implausible, which is about as close to impossible as you can get a scientist to go. The mind boggles.
Let me put it this way. My reading of time travel stories and watching time travel movies, my being obsessed with the concept of time travel for as long as I can remember. My discovery of Doctor Who in 1972 on a hotel television screen in Denver, Colorado (on a channel called PBS that I’d never heard of) makes my left testicle more of an authority on time travel than Damon Lindelof or J.J. Abrams himself. They so screwed up time travel as a story vehicle in every episode of LOST and in the Abramanation, making the story vehicle a distraction from rather than the method of telling the story that I can’t even begin to explain how they might fix it other than to tell them to go talk to actual speculative fiction writers about what they did wrong.
Which brings me to the real reason I started this post. I ran across a clip on Youtube (see, I said it was bad news) advertising an HBO series that riffs off of another movie and story that I grew up on. That would be Westworld.
This is one of those rare films I was allowed to go see as a child. What is most interesting to me looking back at it is this; Westworld and Andromeda Strain mark the beginnings of my exposure to Michael Crichton, a lifelong dance which ended with his death in 2008 and the novel State of Fear, a novel which many people mistake for non-fiction. In the middle was Jurassic Park as a high note and the poorly adapted Congo as a low note (the novel was much better than the film) it seems that his imagination has served as punctuation marks along my journey through science and speculative fiction.
I liked the original film. It is quite campy now and probably barely watchable. I don’t know for sure. I haven’t rewatched it in at least thirty years. What I do know is that J.J. Abrams is highly touted as having a hand in the HBO series.
J.J. Abrams having a hand in the series creation spells doom for the series from the outset, in my less than humble opinion. I doubt that most people will agree with me since most people think that Star Wars VII is a good film. However, I’ll stand by this equation,
The watchability of any media offering will be in direct inverse correlation to how much actual control J.J. Abrams has over it.
Westworld could be a good series, but I won’t be holding my breath. I won’t be able to watch it anyway until it hits Netflix or some other third party site since I don’t pay for HBO any longer. That is one fine trailer though. Gunshots and partial nudity. Deep bass vibrations in the music to amp up the fear. Lots of famous actor cameos. It hits all the marks that advertising executives require. Just like the trailer for Star Trek: Beyond. Haven’t seen that Star Trek either, but I might watch it. I might even pay to watch it. Someone else wrote and directed it, so it might be OK as an experience. Remember, an inverse relationship to Abramanator control. The Star Trek trailer sports the Bad Robot logo, though. Not a good sign.
HBO is riding the crest of a wave that they hadn’t expected to be on. Who would have thought that George R.R. Martin would hit it big on television, with HBO as a backer, creating the adaptation of his long running A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series which only people who live in caves without the internet won’t recognize as Game of Thrones. I am now obliged to offer an apology to George R.R. Martin as well as George Lucas. Not just because I’ve first mentioned him in this article about the dreaded Abramanations; but also because, unlike the rest of the family and probably the rest of Austin if not the entire US, I haven’t seen, read or listened to his stories. I can’t name one title of his I’ve read even though I distinctly remember sharing a table with him at an Armadillocon somewhere in the murky past. For that, and for mentioning you here, I truly am sorry George.
But HBO is the channel riding the wave now, as AMC was riding the wave of popularity following Breaking Bad and the first few season of The Walking Dead. We’ll just have to see if AMC continues to ride the wave with the next seasons of The Walking Dead and Better Call Saul (which I like more than Breaking Bad, but my liking things is usually bad for their continued existence. Just a word of caution) After the lackluster reception for the cliffhanger ending season 6 of The Walking Dead, they’ll just have to keep their fingers crossed.
Since Westworld isn’t likely to include nuclear weapons or time travel, it is probably a safe bet to watch it. A safe bet for HBO to back it. I’d be on the lookout for the Abramanator to find some way to include those devices in the show, if I had money on the line. If he does, take your money, run and don’t look back. You’ll thank me for it later.