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Star Trek Into Darkness: detailed criticism

As announced on the day of the French preview by Frank Mikanowski and Eric Saussine, here is finally the detailed review of Star Trek Into Darkness on the occasion of its official French release.

As telephoned, sloppy, Manichean, and hollow as it was, Star Trek 2009 had nevertheless ended with a Trekkian promise, that of a renewal of exploration as stated by the mantra of the series original (but declaimed for the second time by Spock-Nimoy). It was therefore permissible to be optimistic about the second opus of the reboot.
Unfortunately, this one will have succeeded in the feat of being even less of a trekkian than its predecessor, if that is possible. For any exploration, Star Trek Into Darkness will have been confined – finally like its predecessor – to the only teaser, but in an abbreviation so simplistic that it falls under soty.

The easy solution would like to refer you to my review of Star Trek 2009: what was written on the first part applies just as much to the second, if not more. Because Star Trek Into Darkness takes the same (characters, recipes, codes, cables, tricks, ideologies…) and starts again… but in “more everything”: more show that rocks, more standardized emotions in kit form, more twists- single-use, more pumping & uninhibited rip-offs, more pre-chewed & ready-to-think, more form trying to pass itself off as substance, more negation and contempt for the Trekkian identity... and finally more manipulation.

As a result, the viewing experience borders on orgasm... which then inevitably results in a painful depressive aftereffect... as soon as the viewer regains possession of his organ... cerebral. Never has a film better illustrated Brigitte Roüan's formula: sad animal post coitum. And never has a Star Trek been so soulless.

Curtain up. The action takes place in 2259, more or less a year after the end of the previous feature film. The scene opens with a chase on the crimson planet Nibiru (modeled in V-Ray). (…) Stop! No need to go back to what had already been described here (chapter "The story" only)
The apparently most trekkian moment - or more exactly the least anti-trekkien - of the film, supposed to constitute an initiation session to the "Prime Directive for Dummies"...does not survive close scrutiny.
Throughout the teaser, Spock will obsessively gargle the Prime Directive to the point of sacrificing his life for it, once again honing in on his famous apophthegm : “the life of the greatest number…” (by dint of being overexploited by the reboot, the most mythical formulas expose themselves to becoming truisms). But if this magnificent abnegation towards the Non-Interference Directive sounds more 24th century (Star Trek The Next Generation) than 23rd (Star Trek The Original Series), it is here accompanied by arrogance insofar as any intervention in development, but also counteracting the natural extinction of a pre-distortion civilization (for example by detonating a cold fusion device to freeze lava from an apocalyptic supervolcano) is in itself a violation of said Non-Interference Directive. The worst failure for any Starfleet officer is to leave an imprint - conscious or unconscious - of his passage on less developed civilizations, and therefore to influence - even involuntarily and unconsciously - their destiny (principle of negentropy). Hence the device of the Prime Directive (and its 47 contextualizing sub-directives).
Even so, the 23rd century of Star Trek The Original Series granted Starfleet captains some leeway in interpreting the Starfleet General Order 1 (like ST TOS 03x03 The Paradise Syndrome). His rape is therefore here above all due to the inconsistency of the method of intervention employed by Spock: let the authors not make us believe that in the hyper-high-tech society of Star Trek, it was not possible to teleport and /or remotely (or delayed) activating the cold fusion device without coming to do a balancing act suspended on a rope above an erupting crater. Rarely has the sensationalist pretext been so artificial...
At the same time, does Baby-Kirk have to be an immature kid to go and steal a sacred scroll from the natives... and finally abandon it to them before jumping into the void! What was the meaning of this package, if not to pay a part of "old school fun" (pre-1940 fashion) to the detriment of the natives? If it was a question of saving an artifact of a civilization on the verge of extinction, many discreet solutions were possible, starting with teleportation. And if - as Baby-Kirk himself suggests - the goal was to drive the natives away from the supervolcano (by running in the opposite direction), this tactic made no sense since the eruption was supposed to be a planetary catastrophe global (and not just local), so a few kilometers of distance did not increase the chances of survival of the Nibirans. In fact, the real raison d'être of this introductory scene was to quote (very awkwardly) the chases by which Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones opens (in particular Raiders Of The Lost Ark), even the recent James Bond .
Moreover Kirk, who is supposed to be a – gifted – graduate of Starfleet, doesn't he know that any immersion within a pre-distortion civilization postulates a cosmetic or even morphological transformation in order to blend into the landscape and go unnoticed? This common sense practice was already in use a century earlier, in the time of Jonathan Archer, even before the Prime Directive was enacted.
And what about the USS Enterprise, which is being transformed into unsinkable, whereas nothing in the franchise had ever suggested such a possibility… a fortiori knowing that in the 23rd century, starships did not even venture into the gaseous fluids of the atmospheres! Scotty's timid protest does not make the initiative any more credible. Of course, nothing formally prohibits Starfleet ships from having this ability, both in the new timeline (since supposedly different) and in the original universe (what is not staged is not necessarily not possible). But it is from the disrespect of Ockham's razor that the implausibility comes: the logistical and technical support of the mother ship would not have been less from orbit or the upper atmosphere, but it would have avoided giving itself for free in show (sound &light please) with the natives when emerging from the waters (and that he managed to submerge himself there in the first place without being noticed is already highly unlikely).
Finally, he will have enough of a single low-level passage in a moment of great confusion (under the volcanic projections) for the natives of Nibiru – supposedly primitive (Pike will say of them that they barely invented the wheel) – to succeed in perfectly reproduce the ship from the front and from the side, like experienced industrial designers. Suddenly, the genesis of myth or religion (even the source of imitation and development) that the film suggests is worthy of an episode of Futurama...
Icing on the cake, the naming of the planet – Nibiru – is the height of ridicule (and has-been),

Thomas & Rima Harewood continues the movement started by the previous part of 2009, which consists in completely recomposing the face of the Trekkian Earth of the future (where the terrestrial motorized vehicles were completely absent and where the cities had nothing in common with the Metropolis of Superman ). Decidedly, the reboot of JJ Abrams sits on the Trekkian specificities to flatter the most trivial collective imagination.
The mysterious commander John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) will offer the Harewood couple a miracle solution to save the life of their daughter Lucille, whose death was announced by the medical profession. But the very perverse counterpart imposed will be nothing less than the suicide as a kamikaze of Thomas, condemned to explode (by means of a water reagent contained in his signet ring) his work environment, officially the Kelvin Memorial Archive (a public library), in reality the cover of an antenna of Section 31 of Starfleet (as the film will later reveal)!
Obviously, the writers went looking a little further afield this time for their Trekkian referents, namely in the fourth season of Star Trek Enterprise and/or in the final two seasons of Star Trek Deep Space 9 (presumably in honor of the series' twentieth anniversary). Unfortunately, this initiative does not in itself constitute a guarantee of relevance... since the concept is poorly digested by the authors. Section 31 is an autonomous and unofficial Starfleet infrastructure, specializing in intelligence, R&D, black'ops, and aimed at protecting the UFP (and Earth) against all internal and external threats, present and future. (i.e. the UFP equivalent of the Romulan Tal Shiar or the Cardassian Obsidian Order). Its staff is hand-picked, and it seems unlikely that one of its members, Thomas Harewood, could have shown such personal vulnerability to outside pressure. Especially when his position allowed him to obtain information about his blackmailer, Harrison, further supposed to be one of his colleagues or ex-colleagues (as the film will later reveal). An individual who is able to put his personal or family interests ahead of his professional commitments does not make a credible Section 31 agent (cf. Luther Sloan in Star Trek DS9).

You have to ignore him – or let yourself be misled by the urban legend – to make Kirk a Casanova, an inveterate fucker. The hero of the original series was at worst a Don Juan, periodically courted by the fairer sex, and resisting him with difficulty. But he almost never took the initiative, except out of professional (i.e. strategic) necessity. Of course, Star Trek Into Darkness is the youth of the hero, it is also and above all another time frame where everything is obviously allowed. Despite everything, it is difficult to recognize anything about the character of Kirk in this portrait of an unrepentant rider and even of a swinger that the reboot tries to sell us with each opus. In Star Trek 2009, the demagoguery involved him copulating with an orionne (strangely a Starfleet cadet). This time, it will be simultaneously with two aliens with feline tails (crypto-Caitians evoking those glimpsed in the pilot of the prequel series). But even if it means being unfaithful to Kirk's typo, you might as well be daring... Because in the era of HBO and trivialized gonzo, the prude scenes of copulation in swimsuits are frankly pitiful, even in PG-13.

Dive into Starfleet headquarters in San Francisco is puzzling. The officers on the ground (in unit?) wear gray uniforms with graded epaulettes (vanity, however, erased in the franchise), matched with military caps (never worn during forty years of Star Trek). And to make matters worse, the latter are copied from those of the Soviet Red Army during the Cold War! So nothing to do with the nice soft blue headgear (NASA or baseball style) sometimes used by the pre-Federation Starfleet of the 22nd century (in the prequel series Enterprise) and whose connotation was very different. The new timeline has a really good back!
Could this be a way of allegorizing the supposedly old-fashioned character of the franchise's uniforms? Mission successful in this case, so much so that it is the very first time in Star Trek that the outfits are clearly oriented towards the past (while those of the original series always remain oriented towards the future, despite their bad reputation as "pajamas"). For the record, even if the Trekverse vessels were designed on the Navy's maritime model (self-sufficient buildings with autonomous command, bridge, engine room, absence or near absence of low-autonomy interception spacecraft, etc.), the creator of Star Trek (Gene Roddenberry) had worked to "demilitarize" the form of Starfleet. There was of course training, advanced skills, a hierarchy, a discipline... But most of the attributes of reification, coercion, and prestige had been erased or reduced (the martial nature of uniforms, the wearing of decorations, ostentation of ranks, rigid caps/kepis, initiation rituals, etc...). Because the vocation of Starfleet was scientific and exploratory (like NASA), and not conqueror or warrior (like the "Earth Federation" of Starship Troopers).
In uniformology, everything is symbol.

Summoned by Pike, Baby-Kirk already imagines that he will be among the few to be selected for the new five-year exploration program. It is from a height that he will fall when he learns that he has been removed by Starfleet from his position as captain of the Enterprise for violating a dozen regulations (including the Prime Directive) on Nibiru (which was not supposed to be be only a monitoring mission and not an intervention). This very written passage could have been inspired, incisive, impertinent, as Pike strikes Kirk his four truths, on his immaturity, his irresponsibility towards his actions, his disrespect for the captain's chair, his contempt for the rules (reserved for others), his presumption of invulnerability ("play God")... in short on his immaturity ("you are not ready")! A marked immaturity earned him to be returned to the benches of Starfleet Academy by decision of Admiral Marcus, Chief of Staff. Apparently, the authors therefore seem to have listened to the grievances of trekkers towards the end of the previous opus...
Unfortunately, once again, the potential flight is weighed down by its crudely utilitarian writing (see next paragraph), as well as its contextual inconsistency. The sanction that falls on Kirk results from a detailed report that Spock sent to Starfleet on the grounds that he wanted to bear sole responsibility for the rape of the Prime Directive, an initiative that Kirk rightly perceives as a stab in the the back of his subordinate & Vulcan "friend", whose life he had just saved. How could Spock, who was an instructor at the academy (in Star Trek 2009), be so unaware that his report was pure denunciation, because in all circumstances, only the captain is held responsible for failures towards the directives in force, a fortiori if the latter then tries to conceal his own actions. After such polarizing events as Nibiru (where Spock narrowly escaped death), how come the two senior officers didn't tune in on mission reports (especially since both knew their divergent inclinations)? And beyond that, just how come Baby-Kirk so grossly falsified his report, then attempted to lie so brazenly and grossly in Pike's presence? If the original Kirk sometimes took some liberties with the Prime Directive (discretionary latitude of captains in the 23rd century that Spock also takes up when he tries to justify himself to Pike), Kirk never failed to assume his initiatives. , and to justify them in its reports. Baby's youth is no excuse for such misbehavior, unworthy of the most unworthy of cadets, unintelligent even before being irregular.
But it should also be noted that Star Trek Into Darkness' relationship with the Directive of non-interference is to say the least singular! It comes from the temporal mix between the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th centuries! On the one hand, Baby-Kirk is even more careless of Starfleet General Order 1 than Archer was a century earlier (even before it was enacted!) and therefore a fortiori than the real one was. Kirk; but on the other (side), the Admiralty of Starfleet sanctifies this doctrine as much as Picard a century later! If such a disparity between orders/directives and their application had existed in ST The Original Series, Kirk would have been fired long ago...

Picking up Kirk in a bar (like Star Trek 2009 where it was also in a bar that he had come to enlist him), Pike announces to him that he has regained command of the USS Enterprise, and that it is to his personal intercession (motivated by an obvious paternal attachment) that Kirk owes becoming his second in command on the Enterprise (instead of returning to the academy), while Spock is assigned to the 'USS Bradbury. From then on, things that were merely predictable become very clear: the thrill of realism will have been so short-lived that it was in fact just a poor alibi for skeptics to use, a poor bone to gnaw launched at trekkers. Kirk's immaturity will have been symbolically sanctioned only to be better inducted, definitively this time. Thanks to the terrorist intrigues of a convenient new bad guy, the superheroic predestination of "The Chosen One" Kirk is now cast, the red carpet rolled out, the mass said.

Admiral Alexander Marcus (Peter Weller) chairs a crisis meeting at Starfleet Headquarters. At the table: the Daystrom emergency session, ten captains of ships from the fleet, accompanied by their respective seconds (thus including Kirk and Spock). Agenda: the 42 victims of the London bombing, its instigator – a Starfleet officer, Commander John Harrison – being identified for having been denounced by Thomas Harewood before he detonated his booby-trapped signet ring. Objective: Eliminate Harrison before he leaves Federation space. It's a pure and simple manhunt, declares Admiral Marcus, adopting for the occasion a language (and objectives) much more US Army than Starfleet.
All the thinking heads of Starfleet come together for intense brainstorming. But of course, only Baby-Kirk instantly understands the situation: attacking a library whose information is public (Kelvin Memorial Archive) makes no sense, and therefore (according to Kirk) it can only be the beginnings of a larger offensive... the terrorist's objective being to provoke this same staff meeting, here and now, in order to be able to attack him (and decapitate the head of Starfleet). Immediately predicted by Kirk, immediately materialized: Harrison strafes the meeting room by means of a jumpship (a sort of single-seat piloted drone without the ability to distort and with a robotic look).
Due to the presence of Peter Weller, famous for playing police officer Alex Murphy, this scene is an obvious nod to the attack on the OCP meeting room by ED 209 (the prototype police robot presented by Richard Jones) in Paul Verhoeven's Robocop (1987).
Of course, during the attack, the only one to take up arms to try to shoot down the jumpship was Kirk, the perfect action hero of his state. He manages to neutralize the ship by throwing a grappling hook into its reactor, which will cause it to fall along the walls of the building... while Harrison teleports away.
Among the victims, Admiral Pike, dead literally in the arms of Spock, while this one practiced a mental fusion to capture the last breath of it (the operation was considered dangerous in the original Star Trek). The discovery by Kirk of the death of his mentor will inflict a violent emotional shock on him... and on the film a rare moment of contemplation, very unusual in the "Abrams system", and constituting probably the least artificial moment of the opus on the field of emotions. But not in the field of script construction alas, because the death of Pike - as touching as it is - has no other function than to fill Baby-Kirk, not with maturity, but with vengeful hatred to make him recover more quickly his captain's chair again.
Still, the session convened by Marcus makes little sense in light of what the rest of the film will reveal (even if it were the official procedure mentioned by Kirk) . Since the Kelvin Memorial Archive actually concealed a branch of top secret Section 31 (which most Starfleet officers are normally unaware of) and the wanted terrorist is believed to be one of its "top agents" , any debate or any round table about it is pointless, because by definition biased with regard to the real situation. Even more implausible, the critical nature of the suspect (agent of Section 31, which is Augment/Improved as the rest of the film will reveal) prohibited a classic meeting, carelessly exposed in front of the vast bay windows of the top floor of a building. Credibility would have dictated that Harrison's head be put on a bounty by Starfleet command without senior officers outside Section 31 (such as Kirk) being invited to discuss it in open session. But of course, placement requires, it was necessary to recycle a rehash of the 7th Art since The Godfather: Part III (1990) by Francis Ford Coppola: the strafing-surprise-at-the-summit.
And if Thomas Harewood sent Marcus a message (to inform him of the identity of the puppeteer) before blowing himself up, so in this case even if it meant betraying him, why didn't he just take the decision to report him to Starfleet without obeying him (instead of obeying him but denouncing him anyway)? With her daughter Lucille saved, was her word to a terrorist worth more than the lives of 42 of her co-workers? A word that Thomas betrayed anyway by his pre-mortem denunciation (which could then result in reprisals on his daughter). But if, on the contrary, the authors suggest that sending the message was part of the contract imposed by Harrison,was it not simpler for the latter to claim responsibility for the attack himself? More generally, when, like Harrison, you have an explosive (the signet ring) that is undetectable by all Section 31 security systems, it would be much more reliable to use it yourself without involving a third party (coercing an innocent to commit suicide is to take the risk of seeing him fail or "betray").

The next day, the investigation of the wreckage of the jumpship allows Scotty to discover that Harrison used the transwarp beam to teleport directly to the only inaccessible place in Starfleet, Qo'noS (aka Kronos), the home planet of the Klingon Empire, located countless light years from Earth (just that!).
Inflated by the death of his spiritual father Pike, Kirk asks Marcus to return the Enterprise to him and his second, Spock, to track down Harrison on Qo'noS. What Marcus agrees to, citing the high regard that Pike had for him, revealing on this occasion the existence of Section 31 and Harrison's membership in it. Then the Admiral orders Kirk not to seek to apprehend Harrison alive (nothing more natural for Baby-Kirk, he had already acted thus towards the crew of Nero in ST 2009), to position the Enterprise in the Neutral Zone Klingon, and to bombard with photon torpedoes (stealth and of a new kind) the uninhabited province of Qo'noS where Harrison teleported.
Suffice to say that Star Trek Into Darkness reaches here one of its peaks of any nawak.

So on the one hand, transwarp teleportation, invented by Scotty more than a century later and brought back from the future by Spock-Nimoy in the previous installment, was supposed to allow the teleport to a warpship while extending its range a bit (on the scale of a solar system like between Titan and Earth in ST 2009). Nothing then let suppose that she was going to become in the following film a magic wand to project herself instantly everywhere in the universe. Certainly, since this is an unknown technology and came from a later era than ST Nemesis, the authors probably feel that they have the field entirely free. However, this is scientifically inadmissible, given that it supposes a simultaneous management of a point of arrival located not only beyond relativistic causality, but even beyond the possibilities of the trekkian FTL (whether it be warp or transwarp, the FTL has never been ubiquitous, except in Star Trek Voyager 02x15 Threshold but with dramatic mutagenic consequences). But the biggest problem is the conceptual repercussions on the very structure of the Trekverse, where such technology is likely to make all notions of distance and travel obsolete, to render theoretical the concepts of distance, effort, price, and risk nevertheless presiding over space exploration and systemic autonomy. Could it be an ideological contamination by the universes of Hyperion (distrans doors), Stargate (ibid), and Doctor Who (Tardis)? Unless it is a sign of the ever-increasing impatience of spectators-consumers who no longer even support the constraints of space travel in the universe of SF (syndrome of "everything, immediately"). When Picard had discovered the iconic space portals in Star Trek The Next Generation 02x11 Contagion (1989) allowing to appear instantly anywhere in the cosmos, the franchise was then careful not to integrate such technology into its panoply, history to preserve intact the challenges of its universe. And so this instantaneous omni-travel technology was presented as being beyond the reach of 24th century humanoids. But it is true that at that time, the authors had a strong sense of responsibility towards the franchise.
On the other hand, claiming to send a Starfleet ship (devoid of any cloaking capacity) into the Zone neutral zone of the Klingon Empire to bombard an entire province (on the grounds that it would be uninhabited) of the capital planet Qo'noS (necessarily light years from the neutral zone, and therefore inaccessible to torpedoes fired from the border, unless they are traveling warp!), this is a bad joke. Already from Kirk, whose surreal key argument is that Starfleet is not allowed to pick up the terrorist on Qo'noS while he can (sic - forget he too is an officer of Starfleet and that its USS Enterprise is the flagship of the UFP?). But even more so when such a "strategy" is approved by the Starfleet Chief of Staff himself, who is also in charge of the dreaded Section 31 (unthinkable double hat in the trekkian utopia), which although sometimes amoral (because the universe is too) had always been characterized in the original Star Trek by an exacerbated sense of responsibility and strategic implacability. To be convinced that a war with the Klingons is inevitable and to use all the resources of Section 31 to prepare for it does not rhyme with wanting it, rushing it, or causing it.Have the writers forgotten that the Klingon are the Federation's most destructive adversary in the 23rd century and inescapably won the game in the 24th century in ST TNG 03x15 Yesterday's Enterprise alternate timeline? In fact, this whole "wanky" operation is akin to a parodic transposition of Zero Dark Thirty, the attack on London and San Francisco in the role of 9/11, Harrison in that of Bin Laden, the Klingon Empire in that of Pakistan, Section 31 in that of the CIA, Kirk & his staff in that of the SEALs, and Admiral Alexander Marcus in that of George W. Bush (unless it is in the role of Barack Obama since it is all the same him who authorized the operation of 2011) . Except that Kathryn Bigelow's film had for its part taken the full measure of the difficulties, the uncertainties, and also the risks of an illegal commando operation in enemy territory, or at least sovereign. But ST Into Darkness believes itself to be smarter, stronger, more expeditious, and it claims to achieve in two days what had taken the CIA ten years. And in doing so, it fails miserably the decontextualization test that befits any self-respecting SF.

Pretty consolation, at least for the eyes: in Marcus' office at Starfleet HQ, the film lavishes a magnificent tracking shot revealing one by one the scale models of all the major stages of the conquest of space, from the 20th century of the real world to the 23rd century (from the new timeline), through the first contact of the end of the 21st century and the Warp 5 program of the middle of the 22nd century. Like a tribute to the superb credits of the prequel series ST Enterprise with successively: the Wright Flyer, the Spirit Of St Louis, the German V-2, the NASA X-15, the USSR Vostok, the Gemini module, the STS space shuttle, the Ares V launch vehicle, Zefram Cochrane's Phoenix, the XCV-330 ring ship, the NX-Alpha, Jonathan Archer's NX-01, ST 2009's USS Kelvin… But curiously, this retrospective history ends with the top-secret USS Vengeance of Section 31 (see below)… which therefore seems to be as much an open secret in Starfleet as the alias "John Harrison" in the trekker community during the publicity hammering of ST ID.

Great childhood love of Kirk and mother of his son David in the original universe (and more precisely in Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan although possibly referred to as "little blonde lab technician" from the second pilot ST TOS 01x01 Where No Man Has Gone Before), Carol Marcus invites herself to Star Trek Into Darkness as British actress Alice Eve. But when Bibi Besch was haunted by her role as a civilian molecular biologist (while her character expressed reservations about Starfleet), the new interpreter is far too bimbo (and a figurehead) to portray a brilliant Ph.D in physical sciences convincingly ( who oddly also turns out to be a Starfleet science officer specializing in weapons!).
She is secretly assigned to the Enterprise under the assumed identity of Carol Wallace (not her mother's maiden), in order to escape the surveillance of his father who is none other than Admiral Marcus. A bogus charade and assignment that Spock won't take long to uncover. Rarely has the introduction of a character from the canon been such a pretext, and all the ingredients of the soap are now united, since Kirk's predestined sweetheart is none other than the daughter of the one who entrusted him with the most unlikely of assignments. After the father (Pike), the sidekick (Spock), the mean stepfather (Marcus), here comes the putative girlfriend (Carol). Micro-universe syndrome: everyone knows each other, and is always everyone's father, brother, friend, or lover.

As soon as he boarded the shuttle bound for the Enterprise, Spock sets out to persuade Kirk of the immorality and illegality of the operation entrusted to him, no Starfleet regulations authorizing in executions without trial. Relevant observation certainly, but how come only the half-Vulcan remembered what should have been obvious to any Starfleet officer worthy of his uniform… Nice additional demonstration – if any. needed one - of the irresponsibility of Baby-Kirk, whose captain's actions seem guided only by self-centered emotions, such as hatred or anger at having lost a loved one. And it's only just begun...
Nevertheless, Spock's pleading will bear fruit (to his great relief) since it is through an official press release to all the bridges of the Enterprise that Kirk, while recalling his desire to to avoid a war with the Klingon Empire, will announce his intention to seek Harrison himself in the abandoned city of Qo'noS in order to bring him to justice. For this purpose, he will use a shuttle (unarmed!) previously confiscated from Harry Mudd (during what the film calls the Mudd incident, an obvious reference to the very mediocre non-canon prequel comics Countdown To Darkness). How not to be struck by the flagrant contradiction between these two objectives. And if the script does not assume the said contradiction (other than by the poor lantern pointed out by Spock, namely the 91.6% probability of being killed by the Klingons), it is that it is just incoherent.

On board the Enterprise, Scotty - still played by the buffoonish Simon Pegg (damn it, what a sad casting mistake!) and still flanked by his little "pet humanoid" (Keenser) - categorically opposes the admission of the 72 experimental photon super-torpedoes provided by Marcus, on the grounds that their contents are classified, unknown to him, and protected by a tamper-evident screen. Scotty even goes so far as to hand in his resignation (which apparently also implies that of his "bipedal doggie" Keenser) rather than obey Kirk's order to sign the loading slip. Could it be a scriptwriting audacity intended to underline Scotty's professional integrity and sharp intuition, or even to reveal the relational fragility of the reboot's fine team? Unfortunately this is not the case, the rest of the film will simply show that victory over a superior enemy in power required the presence of an ally in the opposing camp, which would not have been possible if Scotty had remained on board the Enterprise. The script construction is therefore sadly predictable…

Without his chief engineer, who does Kirk appoint to replace Scotty? Oh not the latter's subordinate in the hierarchical chain of the gigantic and highly populated rebooted Enterprise! No, no, Chekov! Chekov who is part of the staff of the bridge and who does not have any training as an engineer (however "awesome" he is supposed to be according to the previous film). Acute manifestation of the "micro-universe syndrome": key positions, fetishized by trekkers, can only be shared between VIPs known to the public (therefore we take for granted in the rebooted Star Trek practices which, revealed nowadays in the press, would make the public scream). The starfleet revisited by Bad Robot is strictly nepotic, and apart from the dream team, there are only extras...
And to further accentuate the ridiculousness of the situation, as if the clothes made the monk, it it will suffice for Chekov to put on the red uniform and station himself at the Budweiser gas (or beer) factory... to immediately adopt all the overexcited mannerisms of Scotty-Pegg!!! The reboot thus caricatures itself. And it will unfortunately be far from the only time...

Reappearance of Uhura, already glimpsed in the teaser, and whose main function aboard the rebooted Star Trek is to be Spock's official bitch: most of these lines of dialogue (in English from the less) will focus on her thwarted relationship with Spock, on her frustrated expectations as a couple, on her little demands as a spoiled and naughty minaudière, what am I saying, a perfect bitch, yes! Not content with confusing Vulcan typos with human typos, the scriptwriters also visibly confuse the Trekkian utopia with the American way of life. Exit any futuristic change of scenery, the public should love it: they will be on familiar ground, especially since these illegitimate heirs of Georges Feydeau have retained a certain sense of humor, but so bold and agreed that we will rather speak of "fun". In any case, in Star Trek 2.0, the American materialistic and navel-gazing paradigms have well and truly won the game.
The only time Uhura will come in handy is through her knowledge – rusty according to her – of the Klingon language, which will be worth to him to accompany Kirk and Spock in the shuttle of Mudd on Qo'noS, and to try to parley - in Klingon - with the Klingon patrol having boarded it. Curious when we know that in the original universe, if Uhura was very polyglot, she nevertheless did not know much about Klingon, and in Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country she had to resort to a hard dictionary to face to the most basic exchanges.

An inexplicable coolant leak forces the Enterprise out of warp 25 minutes from Qo'noS. Kirk gives command of the Enterprise to Sulu, and orders him to contact Harrison to demand his surrender under threat of Marcus' super torpedoes. Which gives Bones the opportunity to critique Kirk's decision with another incongruous metaphor, this time having to do with poker (reduced to a caricature of what he was originally, McCoy scoops in the reboot the unrewarding role of complainer on duty). Then Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and security officer Hendorff (the same one who called Kirk a "cupcake" in ST 2009) set sail for Qo'noS in the K'normian trading ship (Mudd's shuttle ) which looks suspiciously like a miniature version of Han Solo's Millennium Falcon in Star Wars. All Starfleet uniforms and insignia are removed to avoid a war with the Klingons, says Kirk. Only seconds later (in screen time), the shuttle arrives in orbit of Qo'noS (named Kronos on screen) and spots Harrison in the Abandoned Province, while Sulu sends him an ultimatum from the Enterprise to very authoritative surrender while announcing the arrival of Starfleet officers responsible for arresting and repatriating him. Curiously, the moon Praxis has already been disembowelled (this will only happen in 2293, or 34 years later in the original universe, the arrival of Nero seems to have also turned the Klingon chronology upside down).
Continued from the strategic portnawak ... What is the point of pretending to be civilians with no relation to the official forces of the UFP if at the same time, the Enterprise issues an ultimatum to Qo'noS to surrender and officially announces the Arrival of Starfleet Officers? Aren't the Klingons able to decode a threatening message sent to a province on their planet? And how effective is such an ultimatum that Harrison can't answer anyway? And then, does Kirk believe that the capital planet of the Klingon Empire is a sieve to the point of allowing shady trade shuttles to come and go without authorization?
As for the destruction of Praxis, its only "function" in the film is to constitute a useless nod to the original tetralogy, in this case to ST VI The Undiscovered Country, and as usual in the reboot without any consideration for the gaps in time. But in doing so, the only vector of alliance between the Klingons and the UFP will have been sterilely spoiled. The context should normally have been conducive to a peaceful rapprochement, but obviously, Spock-Nimoy does not give a damn as much as the possibility of erasing the xenocide from Vulcan. Come on, let's play the "reboot fanboy game" for a moment: it's probably Section 31 - Palpatine's version - that destroyed Praxis. Even better: despite the ostentatious visual reference, nothing in the script formally establishes that this is Praxis, so it could in theory be another moon of Qo'noS.

During the three-minute descent into the atmosphere of Qo'noS (which visually evokes Bespin in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back), ST Into Darkness delivers a scene which, on first reading, can pass for the best written of the film, but which, after a more in-depth analysis, turns out to be nothing but a foul manipulation, like the film itself. As part of a household scene (with which Kirk was added for comedic effect), Uhura criticizes Spock for not caring about their intimate relationship when he decided to sacrifice himself on behalf of the Prime Directive on Nibiru, and more generally not expressing enough feelings or caring about her. Spock then feels compelled to disabuse her and move her by invoking the disconcerting experience of the mental fusion with Pike at the time of his death (anger, confusion, loneliness, fear) having reminded him of his dread a hundredfold at the destruction of Vulcan. And then according to his confession, it was the fear of such despair that led him to no longer feel any emotions.
What a pity! These lines of dialogue, however, seemed to want to give weight to the extermination of Vulcan which the previous film had treated with insulting flippancy (particularly ignoring the implications of ST TOS 02x19 The Immunity Syndrome). But ultimately, Spock's preoccupation here is only basely self-centered. The genocide of an entire civilization becomes the substrate for self-pity and the coaxing of others. As for the Vulcan emotional purge, it would proceed – according to Spock-Quinto – from escape, from cowardice, and not from an elevation of consciousness or evolutionary maturity. Once again, as in the previous film, the writers have understood absolutely nothing of the Vulcan philosophy, which they assimilate to an egocentric human posture of comfort. And to make Margot cry, they come – consciously or not – to betray the characters and the systems of thought.

Chased by a D4-class Klingon interceptor (a sort of miniature atmospheric-targeting bird of prey with movable wings), Mudd's ship plunges into the depths of the abandoned city of Qo'noS ( where Harrison is believed to have taken refuge). Then follows a dogfight in the depths of Coruscant (Star Wars, Episode II: Attack Of The Clones) and culminates in the attack of the Death Star (Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope)... allowing Baby-Kirk to demonstrate his skill as a pilot with very high speed engulfments in slots the size of his shuttle... before it is boarded by three Klingon D4s (all in a single sequence shot) . Armed with her exo-linguistic skills, Uhura bravely exits the shuttle to try to explain (in the Klingon language) the reasons for their intrusion to about fifteen warriors in helmets, masks, and armor... as if they had just come out of a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan revamped by the Halloween saga (The Night of the Masks) - a surreal assembly to say the least. Unreceptive to his argument, one of the Klingons removes his mask - revealing frontal ridges on his face - and grabs Uhura to slit his throat with his dagger. But before Kirk intervenes with his makeshift weaponry, Harrison comes out of nowhere, and like a badasse from Assassin's Creed III, eliminates in a few seconds all the Klingons present, saving the life of Uhura (and the detachment of the Company). A fight ensues (with both energetic and bladed weapons) in which the humans take part against several Klingon airborne assault groups, but finally all are eliminated in turn, essentially by the "superman" Harrison (for who knows the nature of the latter, the reference to the Augment arc of the prequel series is obvious, and especially to the ST ENT 04x04 Borderland teaser). The latter then asks the humans how many photon torpedoes are pointing in his direction, and when he learns that there are exactly 72, he surrenders unconditionally (this golden number being obviously the decisive argument!) . Kirk proceeds to arrest Harrison, and in the name of the assassination of his late friend Pike, strikes him with an uppercut, but without succeeding in shaking him. Relentlessness won't change anything, Harrison seems as invulnerable as an outlet punching bag.

Far, very far from the rustic and solemn beauty that Star Trek TNG and ST Enterprise had revealed, the surface of Qo' noS here resembles a Unicomplex borg, composed of an infinity of superimposed metallic and geometric floors, whose nightmarish inhumanity is reinforced by the very mecha character of the D4 Class (the idea is probably to transpose on Qo'noS the Ukrainian ghost town of Pripyat, the explosion of the moon - Praxis or not - then having the value of Chernobyl). As for the Klingons, they are not affected by the humanization (behavioral and physical) inflicted on their species during the 23rd century of Star Trek TOS (causality however much earlier than the temporal divergence of 2233 since going back to ST ENT 04x15 Affliction in 2154 ). However, this is not in itself an inconsistency since it was never established that the Klingon Augment Virus affected all Klingons (and it is also possible that they recovered faster in the alternate timeline). ). More curious, however, is the look and attitude of these rebooted Klingons: primitive brutes from ST TNG 07x19 Genesis or even Orcs from The Lord Of The Rings! Moreover, it is hard to believe that Klingons can put up with hiding their features behind frontal helmets, logically perceived as a form of cowardice or dishonor (Klingon Augment Virus in step). ST 2009 brought us "tattooed skinhead Romulans", and now ST ID is inflicting "pierced albino punk Klingons" on us! One of the only marks of "creativity" (if we can say so) of the reboot is not illustrated by its inspiration or its good taste...
This whole trip to Qo'noS is a debauchery of pseudo- sterile epic, sacrificing to the demagoguery of virtual aerobatics inaccessible to human abilities - the reason why these unrealistic arcade video games had always been absent from the historical Star Trek universe.
Besides, why does Uhura persist in she speak Klingon? Do universal translators no longer exist in the rebooted universe? Are the writers unaware that UTs weren't used in Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country solely because the heroes were trying to impersonate native Klingons? From the historical Star Trek, the authors seem to know only the even films of the decalogy (between the cliché and the commercial study), and they do not cease to be prisoners of it,without succeeding in really understanding them.
As for Harrison - who will soon reveal his "real" identity (Khan of course!) - his physical superiority as a genetically improved person seems largely overestimated for the stage effects, because in the fights from Star Trek TOS 01x24 Space Seed, he wasn't entirely unmoved by Kirk's blows. The latter had even somehow managed to neutralize it without a phaser.

Back on the Enterprise (apparently we leave Qo'noS without any problem even after having massacred dozens of Klingons and having caused the general alert), Kirk sends a message to Earth to inform Starfleet Command of Harrison's arrest (one message left unanswered). McCoy collects a sample of Harrison's blood locked in a cell, but not behind a force field (according to the 23rd and 24th century customs of the franchise), but behind at-will traversable glass (the rebooted 23rd century Starfleet has- is there already 31st century technology - cf. space-time agent Daniels in ST ENT - allowing to pass through solid matter?).
From this point, Baby-Kirk is only the puppet of his prisoner... managing to roughly manipulate him to teleguide him at will. It then becomes clear that Harrison voluntarily allowed himself to be arrested on Qo'noS because it served his interests, while playing the hero's face from his (albeit temporary) prison. The process is an archi-rehash, from yesterday's Arsène Lupin to the latest versions of James Bond (Skyfall) and of course Christophe Nolan's Batman (which ST ID also sometimes tries to ape graphically). And despite repeated warnings from those around him (Spock and McCoy), Kirk persists in not seeing anything, both out of fascination (that the fire exerts on the monkey) and out of gratitude (Harrison saved his life, but it did not occur to the hero that it was not necessarily an act of charity or altruism for which he would be accountable or indebted). Additional proof of Baby-Kirk's crass immaturity... who should never have left the benches of the academy as Starfleet had well understood at the start of the film (and despite what they are trying to show us - very awkwardly - authors).

So Harrison leads the way. He soon reveals to Kirk that he is none other than the upgraded ex-dictator of the Eugenic Wars, Khan Noonien Singh, awakened from his long cryogenic stasis in the SS Botany Bay by Admiral Alexander Marcus shortly after the destruction of Vulcan. ...which would have prompted Starfleet to increase its defenses. And under threat of death from his 72 fellow Augments (held in stasis), Marcus forced Khan to put his superior intelligence to work for Section 31 (under the official identity of "John Harrison") to develop new state-of-the-art weapons, and his (also superior) savagery in the service of a predictable war against the Klingons. But clandestinely, Khan concealed the 72 bodies in stasis in the experimental torpedoes that Marcus had forced him to design, and that's when he was surprised. He therefore had to flee, alone, and convinced that Marcus was going to assassinate his people. But because his family of Augments means everything to him (he will even shed a tear on them), Khan has taken on London Section 31 and Starfleet headquarters to get revenge on Marcus. As for the latter, it is with full knowledge of the facts that he would have given the order to Kirk to bombard Qo'noS with 72 false torpedoes, while sabotaging the Enterprise so that it finds itself immobilized in the neutral zone. in order to be destroyed by the Klingons in retaliation. All in all, Marcus would have hypocritically sent Kirk and his crew on a suicide mission to kill three birds with one stone: slaughter all the Augments, get rid of the uncontrollable Baby-Kirk, and start the war with the Klingons that the Admiral would like so much. Conclusion pulled by force: Khan's cause is just, Kirk must help him, while Marcus is a warmongering criminal who made the mad dog Kirk his pigeon.

Wow! So here is the crux of the whole plot, the narrative argument on which this blockbuster is based!? Appears less incoherent than it seems at first glance, but despite everything very confused in its formulation (a majority of spectators - even native English speakers - hardly grasped the why and how on first viewing), the whole remains particularly capillotracted. We feel that the screenwriters have sluggishly built a very fragile house of cards.
Curiously, Khan presents himself and his fellows as having been genetically created to bring peace to a world at war, then exiled with his peers in space out of ingratitude like vulgar common criminals... which is a dubious retcon of the Eugenic Wars...
It was obvious since 2009 that Khan was going to succeed Nero in the utilitarian function of super-villain-do- worth-a-superhero, since JJ Abrams' team specialized in the most predictable, lazy, and demagogic solutions... the worst of which could only be the return of Kirk's most cult antagonist. But the cast of Benedict Cumberbatch still gave hope for a last-minute surprise, as this excellent ultra-British & ultra-cold has absolutely nothing in common with the Sikh character of Khan, defined by the very Latino and very sanguine Ricardo Montalban. Alas, Bad Robot has no shame. Whether it's phenotype and morphology (let the puritans above all not hypocritically pretend that physical conformity doesn't matter, an audiovisual work is always based on embodiment with all that that implies), speech and accent (British), interior and exterior attitudes... an abyss separates them. And such impersonation cannot be explained by the 2233 timeline discrepancy alone, since the Eugenics Wars are two centuries prior, and Khan was Thawed less than a year before the events of ST Into Darkness. In both timelines, Khan is assumed to be identical. Such a lame, contrived bias (a word that comes up often about this film!) ultimately reinforces the feeling that the reboot is about a universe entirely separate from the original, and not just an alternate timeline born out of the intrusion of Nero.
Only, it is well known that when the scriptwriters lack coherence and imagination, it is up to the most enamored fanboys to lavish it... a hundredfold. And the most motivated of them will probably not fail to convince themselves that the physical difference of Khan 2.0 would result from a plastic surgery operation (for incognito purposes) imposed by Section 31 (called to become a pure MacGuffin in the reboot), or even of a mysterious mutagenic radiation emanating from the "black hole of pulp" (through which Nero arrived in ST 2009) and having hit the SS Botany Bay head-on,or as long as a repercussion of the new timeline (born in 2233) on the spatiotemporal services of Starfleet of the 29th and 31st centuries (crossed respectively in ST Voyager and in ST Enterprise) which would then have (voluntarily or not) altered retroactively the Eugenic Wars (and their protagonists) of the 20/21st century. But hey... nothing is more subjective and flexible than the suspension of disbelief according to everyone's capacity for autosuggestion (or bad faith).
If it is entirely conceivable - and even logical - that the destruction of Vulcan has weakened or even panicked the Federation, leading Section 31 to multiply its security and prophylactic efforts, it remains however absurd that it has pushed irresponsibility to the point of hiring (what is more under duress) an uncontrollable relic of the Eugenic Wars (20/21st century) to make it develop advanced technologies of the 23rd century in less than a year, and even more laughable, to claim to exploit its savagery!!! Quickly familiarizing yourself with the instruction manuals of Starfleet ships (as Khan did in ST TOS 01x24 Space Seed) does not imply sufficient understanding of the sciences of the future to create new technologies on command and in a few months. . For the record, the Augments never invented anything in the original Star Trek, especially since Khan was rightly presented in Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan (The wrath of Khan) as having a strictly two-dimensional intelligence, therefore non-creative. As for wanting to profit rationally from "savagery" (also obtained by coercion), this literally amounts to submitting to it and allowing oneself to be rejected, which directly contradicts the chess methods of Section 31 (taking no risks likely to endanger the UFP and its values).
Worse still, the very vocation of Section 31 is to prevent wars by any means (even amoral - like forcing opportune alliances), not provoke them or precipitate them (i.e. the opposite objective). Under cover of taking into account the consequences (it's about time!) of the destruction of Vulcan, the scriptwriters once again testify to their Trekkian ignorance... by daring to confuse Section 31 with the Starfleet falcons (Admiral Cartwright & ; co) from ST VI The Undiscovered Country!!!
Finally, if the 72 Augments in stasis were the lever that allowed Admiral Marcus to control Khan, what sense would it have had to assassinate them, while knowing the overpowering Khan 2.0 capable of creating 36th century technologies in a few days and free to organize vengeful attacks? And how could Khan hold his co-religionists lost when he had enough leverage in Section 31 to hide them all in Admiral Marcus' top-secret torpedoes? And if Khan was so concerned about the survival of his "family", how could he hide them in the precise place where they had the best chance of being killed at any moment (paltry was the probability that Kirk does not use these torpedoes while carrying out the mission entrusted by Marcus). He who mastered the transworp beam, didn't he have plenty of time to evacuate his companions to another solar system, rather than multiply the sterile attacks?
In short, the mainspring of the film turns out to be particularly wobbly for not to say preposterous. The actions of Khan 2.0 and Marcus are thus hardly more believable than those of Nero in ST 2009. As for the "new Section 31", it does not come out of Star Trek but phantasmagorical delirium on the CIA (and the SD- 6) from the pathetic Alias ​​series by the same authors (like ST 2009's red matter from Milo Rambaldi's Mueller device).
Of course, some will be intoxicated by this worst case scenario bringing together very improbable the most liminal ingredients in an ultra-firefighter cocktail:
A handful of Earth soldiers seem to have confiscated in general indifference the civil authority of the United Federation of Planets, which is supposed to be composed of dozens (even hundreds) of extraterrestrial civilizations. ST 2009 had established that the UFP = Starfleet thus planting the seeds of fascism, and now the UFP's insignificance has become such that ST ID doesn't even bother to mention it!
The conspiratorial hawk is squarely the leader staff of Starfleet, himself directing Section 31 (supreme inconsistency in the concentration of powers!) which he totally diverts from his vocation, trying to exploit the eugenic superiority of Khan, and ready to sacrifice the Starfleet's elite (and the flagship of the fleet,the USS Enterprise) to start a war with the most destructive enemies of the Federation (the Klingons)!
Come on! It's "realistic" to pass off George W. Bush and his administration for cadors.

Star Trek Into Darkness: The Detailed Review

Feetously obedient to Khan, Baby-Kirk contacts – from Klingon space and directly with his communicator – Scotty who is getting drunk in a California nightclub (cool, in the rebooted 23rd century, personal communicators obviously allow you to talk to each other instantly from anywhere in the cosmos, without being dependent on ships or relays, in short, like the ansibles in Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game!) to send him spatial coordinates around Jupiter. Scotty is instructed by Kirk to carry out a clandestine reconnaissance there, and is rehired in Starfleet on this occasion (poor parody of the end of Star Trek TOS 02x09 The Apple). Arrived by shuttle in orbit of Jupiter, he discovers there an enormous metallic cube – morphologically similar to those of the Borg – but which turns out to be a secret construction base of section 31! But how could such a technostructure go unnoticed by the many human and alien ships crossing the solar system? And how do you keep it a secret when so many people are involved?
Taking advantage of the incessant traffic (it's really crowded!), Scotty sneaks into the cube (you enter section 31 like a mill!), and he discovers Marcus' secret weapon there: the USS Vengeance (what a subtle name!), belonging to the new Dreadnought-class (literally "battleship"), dark in color (it accentuates the anxiety), twice as bigger than the USS Enterprise (which is already huge in the rebooted universe), three times faster, incomparably better armed, but with a very small crew (about fifteen people, one wonders what the purpose is the 400+ crew of the USS Enterprise?), and the massive Enterprise E lookalike (from the last three ST TNG films). It's a pure warship, like the USS Defiant NX-74205 more than a century later, except that in Star Trek DS9 it was recalled – in keeping with the invulnerable (yet very compact) Tholian ships of the 22nd and 23rd centuries – that speed and firepower are no big deal (the Defiant battleship is thus one of the smallest ships in Starfleet). But as everyone has understood since 2009, with JJ Abrams, it's always the game of "whoever has the biggest"...

At the same time, Carol Marcus - who embarked on the Enterprise behind his father's back only to unravel the mystery of the 72 experimental photon torpedoes - proceeds to open one of them to check their actual "loadout" (namely Khan's Aug companions, all in stasis ). Dangerous and uncertain operation that will be carried out on a neighboring planetoid (whose surface coincidentally resembles that of the planet Sha Ka Ree in Star Trek V The Final Frontier), with the assistance of Bones (whose hand will become trapped in the torpedo that Carol will defuse in extremis). This sequence will be worth to the beautiful Alice Eve a whore striptease (highly publicized since the first trailers of ST Into Darkness) in front of the greedy eyes of Baby-Kirk, but in the nevertheless very innocuous context of a change of uniform. This will also be the opportunity for the film to give a new forced nod to the original series when Bones reveals that he recently gave birth to octuplets by caesarean section (once again, the reboot has the fatuity to succeed all better and faster, since in the original universe, the first contact with the Gorns will not take place until eight years later and will go very badly)!

As predicted by Khan 2.0, Admiral Marcus comes out of warp with his massive craft. It's literally the Scimitar versus the Enterprise E, directly modeled from Star Trek Nemesis. In response to Marcus who reproaches him for having disobeyed his orders by capturing Harrison alive, Kirk ostensibly shows him that he has established a dialogue with the prisoner and that he is not fooled by the manipulation (illegality of the "executions" without a trial, the USS Enterprise deliberately becalmed in the Klingon neutral zone, fake torpedoes loaded with Augments, the desire to start a war with the Klingons…). Marcus takes the trouble to plead his case (Khan played Kirk, he and his Augments are war criminals who deserve to be eliminated…). Despite refusing to comply with his imperious order to deliver Khan to him (because Starfleet regulations require that he be tried), Kirk heads for Warp Earth (Chekov having somehow repaired the engines) while issuing an SOS to Starfleet. But the USS Vengeance managed to catch up with the Enterprise like an aquatic predator (thus achieving what the USS Excelsior – equipped with an experimental transwarp (The Great Experiment) – had been deprived of in ST III The Search For Spock because of the sabotage of Scotty)… then shoots him with distortion thus expelling him from subspace, and causing the death of many crew members (the scene is spectacular, but it is still a copy and paste of ST Nemesis). The two ships then find themselves in orbit of the Earth's Moon (the Klingon neutral zone travel –> solar system will have been particularly brief, roughly one minute flat, the rebooted micro-universe is getting smaller and smaller, it is bordering on a nightmare of ST TNG 04x05 Remember Me). Knowing the power of the USS Vengeance (confirming that it is an open secret) and guessing her father's murderous aims, Carol reveals to him her presence aboard the Enterprise (then heavily damaged and defenceless). But her courageous initiative ("you'll have to go over your daughter's body if you want to destroy the Enterprise") fizzled out since Marcus had no trouble teleporting her immediately to the USS Vengeance. Kirk then humiliates himself publicly by literally begging the admiral to spare his crew who were only following his orders, but Marcus cynically retorts that he never intended to spare anyone. either. Helpless and desperate, apologizing to his subordinates, Kirk then appears more than ever as the useful idiot of a "fight of Titans" which exceeds him, having transformed his crew into embarrassing witnesses to be slaughtered.
Great is therefore the psychological and screenplay inconsistency of ST Into Darkness! Baby-Kirk was ready to start a war with the Klingons just out of anger and ego, first by "selling" a manhunt to Marcus, then by becoming the perfect sucker for it, and finally by organizing a crude and suicidal intrusion operation on Qo'noS. Isn't this kid ultimately even more irresponsible than in ST 2009?
But the Chief of Staff himself is not left out. Even outside of any moral consideration, Marcus' radicalism appears very over-the-top in view of the number of witnesses (Earth itself!) from which the destruction of the flagship of Starfleet, however unarmed and harmless at this time, will suffer. there. Strange also that no other ship came to assist the Enterprise in the very heart of the crucial and ultra-frequented sector 001 (while a distress signal had nevertheless been sent shortly before in distortion).

Salvation will come from Scotty who - embarked clandestinely - will have succeeded in sabotaging the armament system of the USS Vengeance just before this one annihilates the Enterprise. Informed of this unexpected (but short-lived) respite by Scotty via his communicator without Marcus detecting it (yes, still the "ansible syndrome" of the Cycle of Ender, but where the exception would have become the commonplace!), Kirk decides to temporarily ally himself with Khan (on the grounds that "the enemies of my enemies would be my friends", an Arabic proverb which Spock will not fail to mock with impertinence - one of the rare moments of successful humor in the film) to approach the battleship in the old fashioned way, like a corsair, finally more exactly via space-diving in a pulsed space suit (an explicit reference will be made to the orbital jump in ST 2009, but this is much more 'a new borrowing from ST Nemesis when Data projects from the Enterprise E to the Scimitar). The operation is impressive, especially since the two divers propel themselves at a speed far too high to avoid the numerous debris (probably resulting from the attack on the Enterprise by the Vengeance) which litter the journey. Khan is so Augment that his superiority extends to his suit, invulnerable to the obstacles he hits (Khan 1.0 was genetically enhanced, is Khan 2.0 a mutant?), unlike Kirk whose helmet is cracking to the point of losing its visual guidance system. And it is once again to Khan that Kirk will have to arrive safe and sound to the USS Vengeance and cross the narrow airlock hatch that Scotty managed to discreetly open (at the very last moment). This is followed by an assault on the bridge of the warship, interspersed with a few choreographed fights, facilitated by the superhuman strength of Khan and a crew reduced to a minimum (practice ships of cyclopean sizes with no one inside!). It's a race of speed, because the USS Vengeance is about to recover its firepower... Crossed by a - belated - flash of lucidity, Kirk guesses that it is used by Khan... and against all expectations, he then takes the initiative of the betrayal by ordering Scotty to knock out Khan with the phaser as soon as the gateway is mastered (betraying before being betrayed in short). After incapacitating everyone (including Khan), Kirk takes aim at Marcus and tries to place him in arrest. But he refuses to comply on the grounds that he would be the only one who can protect the Federation from the war that Kirk had undoubtedly provoked by violating Klingon space. Which is worth to Alexander Marcus to release a security tirade which is a pure plagiarism of that of Colonel Nathan Jessup in A Few Good Men (Men of honor) by Rob Reiner (1992). Kirk then prepares to knock out the admiral with the phaser (with the blessing of his daughter Carol)… But Khan comes to himself sooner than expected, and outruns everyone with his bare hands: he knocks out Scotty and Kirk, breaks Carol's legs, and with her mighty Augment hands crushes Admiral Marcus' skull. Pure pumping of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner when Roy Batty assassinates Eldon Tyrell (the founder of the Tyrell Corporation and the inventor of the Replicants, the parallel is obvious).
Good OK, Khan 2.0 is the strongest, the fastest, and the smartest. Even so, Admiral Marcus is the 23rd century NRA gentleman best placed to know his adversary (whom he woke, employed, and blackmailed), and when he learned that Khan had boarded the USS Vengeance, he knew neither her methods nor her intentions. So how come Marcus didn't arm himself with one or more state-of-the-art phasers? Ok, he would have been surprised by the first wave (Kirk, Scotty, and Khan). But at the second, he would have plenty of time to phase Khan once and for all, at least if he had put his phaser in the "disintegration" position (and Augment or simple human, everyone is equal before disintegration! ). It is to believe that the phasers of the rebooted 23rd century no longer know how to disintegrate...

Meanwhile aboard the Enterprise… Bones injects Khan's blood into a dead Tribble (probably killed during the attack on the ship) to measure its regenerative abilities (strange that, usually, such tests are carried out on sick but living organisms, and not deceased…). We discover on the bridge an officer interfaced in a network (with cortical implants worthy of the most trashy cyberpunk) and who answers to the sweet name of "Science Officer 0718" (could it be a fully-sentient android a century before Data, or the version decimal of the Bynars encountered - also a century later - in ST TNG 01x15 11001001?). For his part, convinced that the makeshift alliance between Kirk and Khan is a very bad idea, Spock-Quinto decides to question by subspace Spock-Nimoy established on New-Vulcan (presumably the planet towards which the Yoda of the reboot guided the 10,000 survivors of its defunct world, but ST Into Darkness will not even have the decency to take an interest in their fate, not even to mention them - normal they are only anonymous people whose reboot does not care at all). Leonard Nimoy then appears with great fanfare on the big screen of the Enterprise like a messiah. A real appeal (and dubbing) cameo which all by itself crystallizes the mouth-fucking cultivated by the reboot: when with a learned air, Spock-the-old says to Spock-the-young: "As you know I have made a vow never to give you information that could potentially alter your destiny. Your path is yours to walk and yours alone. That being said, Khan Noonien Singh is the most dangerous adversary the Enterprise ever faced. He is brilliant, ruthless and he will not hesitate to kill every single one of you. », In other words, he puts on the most insolent aporias in the name of "fun". Spock-Nimoy has a really nice game of refusing any assistance, whereas he hasn't stopped intervening since his arrival, starting with the transwarp beam technology now fallen into the hands of Section 31, Marcus, and Khan 2.0. And finally, after doing his bitch on top of his so-called wisdom, he reveals without batting an eyelid some information about Khan 1.0 (which will make the difference in the minutes that will follow). What does it matter, as long as the way to bring it all sounds "fun"... But on the other hand, the only intervention that Spock-Nimoy had morally to accomplish (i.e. restore the timeline as it was it was before Nero's genocidal intrusion), he conveniently avoided it (self-preservation of the Abramsian reboot requires).
Since he could so easily communicate with the outside world, it's heartbreaking that Spock- Quinto did not think of seeking the assistance of the Starfleet fleet, knowing that the ships were necessarily numerous in the immediate vicinity of Earth (capital of the UFP), and that the Enterprise was still in a terrible position facing to the USS Vengeance (a ship that is not officially supposed to belong to Starfleet). Ah yes, it's true, in the reboot, only the title characters save the day...

Understanding that it was only a matter of time for Khan to betray Kirk, Spock decided to extract the 72 photon torpedoes from their occupants in stasis and replace them with explosives . A trap in which the Augment Khan is obviously too stupid not to fall. And it does not miss, since just after having massacred Admiral Alexander Marcus, Khan contacts Spock to demand a crew exchange in return for a lowering of the shields (his companions improved against Kirk, Scotty, and Carol). Apparently no one cares about the crew of the USS Vengeance remaining in Khan's hands (well, they probably don't deserve to live having served under Marcus). After having teleported the 72 torpedoes to the USS Vengeance himself (but without discovering the deception, very curious given the scans that precede - by definition - any teleportation!), Khan keeps his word by sending the three human hostages back to the Enterprise (but in a cell)… only he tries right after to destroy the enemy ship (the armament of Vengeance having been reactivated). Despite several shots damaging (and immobilizing) the Enterprise, Khan will not be able to complete his sinister task, because the 72 torpedoes explode, neutralizing the battleship in turn.

Then, well then, it's the apotheosis of great nonsense. The USS Enterprise which was in orbit of the Moon suddenly and for no reason finds itself falling like a stone towards the Earth!!! Exit Kepler's Three Laws, exit Lagrange points, exit satellization (relative orbital speed) which prohibits any vertical fall in the atmosphere, exit the considerable Earth-Moon distance for a ballistic object... as long as the show rocks. Gravitational force seems to have lost its bearings and its compass races wildly, throwing the occupants of the Enterprise in all directions, but especially towards those that make you dizzy the most (where there is empty what). The evacuation order given by Spock therefore proves to be impracticable. And to say that in orbit, as well as in atmospheric free fall, gravity is subjectively zero, which means that at worst (in the event of a breakdown of artificial gravity for example), the characters should have been floating in the ship ( of course, without the bobsleigh and acrobatics on the suspended walkways of the Enterprise, it would have been much less "fun").
This is also an opportunity for ST Into Darkness to recycle the private joke on the automatic seat belts of the seats on the bridge, and which were part of the deleted scenes of ST Nemesis because duly rejected by Rick Berman on the grounds that it retroactively discredited the original biases of the franchise (obviously the reboot did not had no such scruples, it's even exactly the opposite, since Bad Robot is still built on the back of the historic Star Trek).
So the Enterprise's gateway has lost all control, the motors no longer respond and even the chattering gesticulation of Scotty-Pegg (and his epigone Chekov-Yelchin) is impotent: crashing to the surface is imminent. But what does Earth orbital control do? Already Starfleet should have intervened a long time ago to assist the USS Enterprise in orbit of the Moon under the threat of the unlisted ship of darkness, now it does not even attempt to teleport a crew that is spitting on Earth. It is to believe that these events take place today and not in the 23rd century in orbit of the planet-capital of powerful UFP...

But hey, it was necessary to tinker with a desperate situation to enthrone Baby . Only one solution: to die, so that the Chosen One will be reborn in his glorious body (Gandalf style in Moria). And when imagination and creativity run out, why not plagiarize one of Star Trek's most cult moments in the eyes of non-trekkers? Namely the end of the only film in the franchise that JJ Abrams and his screenwriters really know: Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan! So on the sly, after knocking out Scotty (who of course opposed it, better everyone die than just one), Kirk enters unsuited into the warp core, a kind of gigantic structure full of tricks and indecipherable things (the usual messy decor of Abramsian superstructures what!) resembling a messy and not dry version of the gravitational spheres of the Delphic Expanse in ST Enterprise. And then, after crawling on the casings (!?) of the reactor, with big blows of the batten (we are not waries for nothing!), Kirk restores the energy flow. From then on, the engines restarted and the Enterprise was saved. There's just one catch: trying too hard to copy the end of Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan - where the Enterprise actually needed to reactivate the warp core to warp away from the explosion of the Genesis torpedo - ST Into Darkness gets tripped up in the carpet: in atmospheric free fall, the distortion is of no use, it's the thrusters (thrusters) or even the impulse that have to be reactivated, which has nothing to do at all with the operation (or not) of the warp core (managing the distortion, ie the FTL trekkien). Anyway, these details only interest geeks, the others will be satisfied with the adrenaline dispenser. Especially since in the absence of respect for real and/or Trekkian sciences, ST ID went in search of media support by filming the warp core scenes in the National Ignition Facility (inertial confinement superlaser) of the famous Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California (nuclear weapons research laboratory of the US Department of Energy)... with however a diversion and a visual make-up in the style of the Budweiser beer factories.

The Enterprise tears itself away from Earth's gravitation and emerges from the clouds like the Nautilus. Spock is then convinced that the chief engineer has once again outdone himself... But it is with a funeral air that Scotty summons him urgently to the engine room: Kirk is lying behind high security glass. In short, you know the story by heart, just reverse the roles. Spock wants to open the airlock of the irradiated compartment, but Scotty prevents him from doing so so as not to contaminate the whole ship. There follows a long farewell scene, where all the cult phrases from The Wrath of Khan are very conscientiously reproduced (on friendship, etc.), as are the gestures from elsewhere (the Vulcan salutes overlapping across the glass and all that), all accompanied by nods to the other reality (“I know you would have done the same thing…”). Baby-Kirk dies with his eyes open, like the real one in ST Generations. It took this sacrifice for Spock-Quinto to finally understand the meaning of friendship. And he cries, half-Vulcan as he is, so think a friend of 20 years (oops no, only a year, and still!). And he suffers. And his anger devours him. And it is therefore with the greatest naturalness that he drops the cult "KHAAAAAAAN" of the original Kirk, parodied to the core by American popular culture and the web (like Doug Walker's Nostagia Critic). The agony scene & farewell is long, its silence very unusual for JJ, and the music particularly bombastic (must move the customer). But the effect falls flat, as it's a lavish scam (we'll get to that below). Ironically, each character will have taken turns crying in ST ID, which is probably how JJ Abrams defines emotional "authenticity".

Now it's become a personal matter, Spock has every intention of killing Khan (obviously, nothing distinguishes Sarek's son from a human, and still not the best specimen ). That's good, the USS Vengeance deliberately had a spectacular crash on Alcatraz (could this be a way for JJ Abrams to settle accounts with the humiliating failure of his eponymous series?), the bay, then the buildings of San Francisco (the best-known scenes from the trailers), just to inflict maximum damage on Starfleet headquarters. All in all, a noisy transposition of flights AA 11 and UA 175 hitting the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Paradoxically, the crash of the Enterprise D on Veridian III in Star Trek Generations is less spectacular, but much more believable and convincing. Of course, Khan manages to survive unscathed, and he extracts himself from the wreckage by jumping undamaged from over 30m high (in ST ID, the Augments are the heroes of Marvel and DC!) and then melts into the city. Teleporting close to Khan, Spock begins a punishing chase through motorized avenues, crushing skyscrapers, and flying platforms. It must be said that in the rebooted universe, San Francisco is no longer the city with a human face that the franchise celebrated, that of a world where technology was most often invisible, integrated into the ecosystem, in harmony with the nature. No, in the micro-universe, San Francisco has become an ultra-mechanized megalopolis, evoking The Colony in Len Wiseman's Total Recall (2012), or even Blade Runner's Los Angeles but on the day side. JJ Abrams was probably worried that the Earth of the original future trekker wouldn't look futuristic enough in the eyes of blockbuster consumers...
By the way, if the USS Enterprise has the means to track Khan's progress on the ground and teleport nearby Spock (and Uhura), why don't we teleport Khan directly to a cell in the ship? Chekov may invoke improbable interferences (never in the franchise, teleportation had worked in one direction only, which affects a dematerialization necessarily affects at least as much a materialization), the real reason is that it is necessary to make the show no matter what, and more importantly, offer an epic fight between an Augment and a Vulcan. Well yes, that hadn't been done in the historic franchise, and that immediately situates the level of ambition and creativity of ST Into Darkness.

The strength of the Vulcans is not far from "match" that of genetically improved humans (without however reaching it: 3x versus 5x). Admittedly, those of the reboot seem to be insensitive to the Vulcan nerve pinch (which worked very well in ST TOS 01x24 Space Seed). But hey, the "holy anger" is on Spock's side. And this one ends up slaying the dragon after an interminable fight - as it should be - above the void (copied and pasted from a famous scene from Star wars: Episode II - Attack of the clones, but here in "organic" version). Khan's account could have been settled in a second with a phaser in disintegration mode (cf. the Augment arc of the fourth season of ST Enterprise), but the audience must be given ritualized or outlet duels, even when they contextually make no sense.
It's ultimately Uhura's teleportation to the (flying) arena that will save Khan 2.0's life (by the way, why Uhura? A security officer wouldn't it have been more appropriate to possibly lend a hand to Spock? Oh yes, that's right, VIP-only club!). Uhura therefore interrupts the massacre because the blood of Khan is wanted! Indeed, the most unthinkable, the most unimaginable of the twists of the century literally paralyzes the spectators: the dead Tribble has come back to life, and McCoy has discovered that the blood of Khan (therefore of the Augments) has magic plates which make it a resurrection serum, he calls it super-blood (well done!). Very curious all the same that this Holy Grail of humanity was never discovered during and after the Eugenic Wars, not even by the omniscient Section 31! Whatever, the coup de theater is only greater, and it even deserves its baptismal name: "the coup du Tribble". Well, the blood of any other Stasis-Enhanced might have done just as well, but it was Khan's blood that Bones absolutely wanted to resurrect Kirk (it needed that to snap Spock-Sylar out of his fury vengeful).

Emerging from a black out haunted by the echoes of his past (snippets of Pike's remarks and other excerpts from ST 2009), it is two weeks after Kirk comes back to life, from the outset with his integrity and of spirit (no consideration on death besides, Bones and him immediately start joking, "the fun spirit" is really immortal, and that's the main thing). It took three complete films for the historic Star Trek and a hell of an initiatory journey to somehow bring Spock back to life, JJ Abrams is obviously much stronger, a few seconds of film will have been enough to win the resurrection of Kirk. It's great efficiency.
Khan has been placed back in stasis with his 72 Augments companions (for a return to the next opus?). Whether it is a question of humanism trekkien (expressed since Gene Roddenberry and Gene L Coon by the concern of the heroes to preserve the life of the enemies) or of attempt of redemption (for the execution in commando of bin Laden in the recent news), they are both sadly absent from the equation... which hides a real, almost vampiric utilitarianism. But what does motivation matter when life is saved, right? Like Khan 2.0 who, for wanting to assassinate Baby-Kirk twice, paradoxically saved his life three times (twice by strategy, the last in spite of himself).
A year goes by. Apparently, the trip into full Klingon territory was without consequence, since no war is to be deplored (unless it was as telephoned as JJ Abrams' Star Trek). Kirk solemnly pays homage to his mentor Pike during an official ultra-Americanized ceremony (with the grand speech, the folding of the flag, the uniforms with epaulettes and caps, the Blue Angels, and all that… in short nothing to do with Star Trek ), where he will announce the launch of the USS Enterprise's first five-year mission (would this be another political – and therefore unfulfilled – promise of exploration…exactly like four years ago?), and where he will reveal finally understanding the famous Trekkian motto “To boldly go where no man has gone before” (it was about time, six years after entering Starfleet Academy!). Except that the metonym "no man" has been surreptitiously replaced by a very conformist "no one" (politically correct obliges)! The "club of seven" is back together again, but this time it's joined by Carol Marcus (story that all the teenagers will be branded next time).
Ironically, it's by way of the narrator (Baby- Kirk) that JJ Abrams and his screenwriters admit to having completely lost their way by making two (four) hours of popcorn movie, that is to say a total HS! Should we diagnose a crisis of unconscious lucidity... or the most shameless lantern in the history of cinema?

A few words about the artistic biases and production design of the film (which are generally the only points of interest to press critics):
The staging itself is very neat, with a definite sense of (perpetual) movement, and fairly good readability of complex action scenes. Less camera shake and lens flare than in the first opus - IMAX & 3D (although post-converted) oblige - but still a baroque pictorial saturation flirting with a hypnotic or even psychedelic kaleidoscope. The professionalism and technical competence of JJ Abrams are beyond doubt, even if the lamentable screenwriters (Orci, Kurtzman, Lindelof) with whom he is teamed up constantly pushes him more and more to mechanically pile up the pieces of bravery like a Michael Bay (especially in Transformers written by the same dunces) that lovingly build stories in the style of Steven Spielberg (which JJ Abrams is nevertheless supposed to succeed according to the aligned media).
Even if it is interspersed with far too contemporary third-party pieces to sound trekkien (like the Beastie Boys' Fatboy Slim Remix), Michael Giacchino's soundtrack remains expressive and elegant, without however having the grace and inspiration of the Goldsmiths (father and son). Even if John Harrisson and Qo'noS (among others) benefit from their own themes, it is nevertheless permissible to regret the preservation intact of the scores of the opening and closing credits of ST 2009 whose fixity emulates the credits of television series (where both Star Trek and JJ Abrams are supposed to come from).
The special effects, once again produced by ILM, are truly state of the art at the moment. Very convincing from start to finish.
In spite of JJ Abrams making the organic (as opposed to the digital green screens) his signature, Scott Chambliss's sets are still not very functional: the engine room is a folkloric factory oscillating between the Budweiser industrial brewery and now the NIF of the LLNL, the ship's bridge is an aggregate of alcoves in the colors of the Apple Stores...
The scenes abuse the gigantism created on a green background: the size of the hangars shuttle and engine rooms is such that Starfleet ships would have to be miles long (whereas the rebooted USS Enterprise is supposed to be 725m long), thus involving serious issues of scale between the interior and the exterior (Tardis without knowing it?).
The language, the spoken word, the phrasing of the reboot is totally contemporary and Yankee (British for some performers). Yet the franchise had cultivated a form of optimized, measured, universal, and region-free English, as supposedly produced by Universal Translators (UT). ST Into Darkness even pushes solicitation and vulgarity to the point of placing in the mouth characters of very few "bastard" and "manhunt" trekkers (safe speech from Marcus to all the captains during the meeting at Starfleet HQ) or even "his of a bitch (son of a bitch)" (Baby-Kirk in his official communication to the crew of the USS Enterprise during the Earth-Qo'noS voyage).
The representation (conceptual or visual) of the technologies still remains also disrespectful of the Trekkian hypotheses: the energy shields of the vessels are strictly useless, since the hull of the vessels is systematically damaged (even pierced) at the slightest attack or the slightest shock; it becomes possible to go into warp (distortion) or get out of it near planets (whereas this was never the case in the historical Star Trek in accordance with the gravitational wells of general relativity); subspace still visually resembles hyperspace in the Stargate universe; the galaxy's solar systems are within minutes of each other's distortion (would Earth, Vulcan, and Qo'noS now be in the same solar system...unless the cosmos itself had become tiny ?); the distortion pass leaves behind the vessels two contrails aka contrails (probably intended to reinforce the stereoscopy of the 3D post-conversion); teleportation is still swirling (too bad this feature wasn't reserved for transwarp teleportation alone since it's never been seen before in the franchise); the hand phasers remain pulsed (what sense for a beam weapon?) and manage to seem less powerful than the pistol phases of ST Enterprise a century before; and of course the stardates remain inexplicably Gregorian.

It's hard for a trekker not to feel insulted by this end of the film, which turns plagiarism or a fake ass remake of ST II The Wrath Of Khan. False bottom yes, because ST Into Darkness tries to make believe that it renews the original subject by a vulgar game of permutations and symmetries (a recurring artifice in Bad Robot productions). Is it enough to reverse certain roles and certain lines, to kill those who had survived and vice versa, to sound "new"? Is this really honoring this "freedom" that JJ Abrams' team proudly claimed to justify the clean slate of forty years of canon? If alternate timelines are just that, this is one of the worst storytelling scams out there! Obviously, the real motivation of Bad Robot was laziness and lack of culture, emanating from authors who did not seek to know, understand or love Star Trek. On the other hand, creativity, the real one, thrives on the canons, as Nicholas Meyer had rightly pointed out. Because constraint leads to renewal when negligence leads to copying.
Even if it is perhaps not the best film in the franchise, ST II The Wrath Of Khan remains a success and a benchmark. Because it is an authentic science fiction film that drinks up philosophical questions without imposing stereotyped answers. It celebrates the simultaneously creative and destructive, demiurgic and Promethean power of science (notably by extrapolating the distant future of terraforming with the fascinating Genesis project). So Promethean, moreover, and assumed as such (the reputedly divine power to create life) that it shocked a fringe of the American public in its time. But it is also a film that does justice to the indelible weight of experience, ranging from inexpiable errors (James T. Kirk, Clark Terrell...) to genuine friendships (or enmities) born of seniority. Human error - without malice or manipulation - is the central theme, the one from which all the drama stems (including the vengeful hatred of Khan), making ST II The Wrath Of Khan - despite appearances and its reputation - a film without real "bad guy", so deeply trekkien.

With that come Orci, Kurtzman, and Lindelof. Their idea is simple: everyone knows the key moments of ST II The Wrath Of Khan, so all you have to do is take them, but alter them and switch them around a bit, just to make it look like. And everyone will applaud the illusion of renewal. Or the eternal "miracle recipe" of Bad Robot for more than ten years, repeated ad nauseam. Unfortunately, what the Bad Robot hacks didn't understand is that it wasn't Star Trek that came from its cult moments, but the cult moments that came from Star Trek (no, no, it doesn't is not a new quarrel of the Filioque!). In other words, the cult was born out of the truth and innovation that Star Trek conveyed, both about its themes and its characters. To take the cult out of its context, to reassemble it in pieces in a different order, is at worst Frankenstein's monster that stinks of carrion, at best a patchwork, a medley, a compilation, a parody. JJ Abrams did not seek to make Star Trek, he just wanted to have the name. He didn't seek to bring Khan back to life, he just wanted the related punchlines. It didn't seek to reenact the genuine relationships that existed between the protagonists of the original series (including Khan), it just wanted to enjoy their visible on-screen benefits.
ST II The Wrath Of Khan had was built on the existence of a passive between Kirk and Khan, fifteen years before, a passive which was not an abstraction nor an artifice invented from scratch. That's why it sounded authentic, that's why it became cult. In ST Into Darkness, Khan is a bad guy with a pretext pulled out of the hat at the start of the film, bogus because only made up of borrowings, and whose relationship with the heroes has absolutely no depth (nor historicity). It's just a question of manipulating them one after the other, and especially Baby-Kirk, whose silliness is unfathomable.
Same thing for the farewells of Fontainebleau between Baby-Kirk and Spock: they are also devoid of emotional truth what wannabe antics might be. Because their relationship was not built on fifteen years (as an externalist) and twenty years (as an internalist) of common friendship forged by the experience of service, the front, and fire. They just got parachuted into a blockbuster movie, have only known each other for a few months, and only like each other moderately (just the day before, one stabbed the other in the back). And even death is devoid of gravity, since it is canceled immediately by the "potion of Lazarus" (with a turbo-resurrection which is not even subordinated to the ordeals through which the characters had to pass between the second and the fourth film of the original decalogy).

And yet Bad Robot missed a historic opportunity: to appropriate Khan, to make him evolve differently, to slay the innateism which has nothing to do with Trekking (as with the remarkable Shinzon in ST Nemesis ), transforming Khan into a true ally, showing by contrast that it was Kirk's negligence towards the tragic fate of Ceti Alpha V that had created his own nemesis... But for such a bias, would it still have taken courage , audacity, and a minimum of effort, had it also been necessary to cut the umbilical cord of plagiarizing intellectual comfort, in order to copy less to better reveal. And in the absence of being able to hire an actor who is akin to Ricardo Montalban (not a problem of quality of interpretation but basically of adequacy, for what is all the same supposed to constitute a common core between the two timelines ), there were 72 possibilities to star another Improved, and thus show that they were not all clones… It is precisely to interpret another forgotten face of the Eugenic Wars that Benedict Cumberbatch alias John Harrison would have been suitable. But this exceptional actor (Sherlock, Parade's End…), with such a wide range of composition, was horribly spoiled by ST Into Darkness. Because more than anyone, he would have deserved to play ambivalent roles, all in shades of gray, breaking the benevolent yoke & childish Manichaeism, like the best Trekking figures, such as Garak or Gul Dukat in Star Trek DS9.
Alas, a thousand times alas, nothing like this in Into Darkness. His total and absolute Manichaeism, more exacerbated than ever, advances his face barely masked behind the flamboyant magnetism of Cumberbatch: Khan 2.0 is as primary, as one-dimensional, and finally as imbecile as Nero! Both want to slaughter and destroy just to avenge their "family", except that in both cases the revenge is equally absurd: Romulus is not yet destroyed in the 23rd century (ST 2009)... and the 72 Augments have not not been killed by Marcus (ST ID). While their pseudo-Star Trek is totally bad-guy-oriented, the poor Orci, Kurtzman, & Lindelof have achieved the feat of not having developed a single credible bad guy (reference to the writing and/or the adequacy, not the interpretation). The height.
And this impoverishment - limit zombification - of Khan has something of sacrilege, because ST II The Wrath Of Khan is a sacred film in American pop culture (even if it did not have the budget of a blockbuster). He will have managed to unite around many generations of spectators, for decades and still today. It was provocative and innovative... quite the opposite of ST Into Darkness, which lags behind fashions (like all Bad Robot productions).

For the sake of fairness, it is on the team of screenwriters that the opprobrium of such incompetence should be brought to bear. The staging does not suffer from any lack of professionalism or efficiency, at most from a lack of personality and originality. It is above all the scenario (made up of the story, the dialogues, and even sometimes the storyboard) which is to blame. Only JJ Abrams is one of the handful of protean Hollywood directors who allow themselves the luxury of choosing their scripts… and their screenwriters. But when it comes to JJ Abrams, the nickel-plated feet Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof are never far away. The spirit of Star Trek Into Darkness, like the finished product, therefore represents a collective responsibility, that of the indivisible Bad Robot nebula.

Into Darkness is oversaturated with borrowings, quotes, references and nods not only to the most mainstream doxa, but above all to the most cult moments of the Star Trek franchise (meaning "this that you don't have to be a fan to know"), even more than the first opus had been. The two main victims of looting in order: ST II The Wrath Of Khan and ST Nemesis!
This racket is so systematic that Into Darkness has almost no idea, no concept, no line of dialogue, no scene which belongs to him in his own right: sometimes homage to cream pie, sometimes uninhibited reappropriation, sometimes unassumed plagiarism. Like any potpourri without its own characterization, even more so when the big show has become its own purpose, the final product therefore overflows the five distinct pillars of defects likely to afflict any audiovisual work: inconsistency; entanglement; ease ; disrespect; pumping! But paradoxically, this obsessive need to convince the viewer that he is indeed watching a Star Trek and not a (bad) imitation (or a curtain rod) is perhaps - of all - the vector best able to doubt the real identity of the film. Because an original work (even if it's a sequel to a long saga) creates its own cult moments, instead of contenting itself with stealing them from its predecessors to better smoke out the spectators... and "buy" the fans!
Like ST 2009, ST ID is more akin than ever to an Orthodox liturgy whose officiants know the gestures but do not understand the meaning. Not a "real Star Trek", but a "Star Trek wannabe". It's basically the story of a reboot that doesn't assume itself, and that by wanting to use the codes of the prequel turns out to be a hypocritical remake, bordering on pastiche.

By dint of bludgeoning the public with vain invocations of the Prime Directive, of innervating the film with Vulcan aphorisms torn from the original decalogy (and reduced to gimmicks)… the reboot could well end up trivializing and finally to tarnish with the general public what made the salt of the franchise, and to a large extent the gratification, the reward of the meritorious immersion in 726 episodes and ten films. The original Star Trek took the measure of a real life path, and it was in the twilight of his existence that Spock discovered the limits of logic, it was at the end of twenty years of common friendship that Kirk was devastated by the death of Spock, and it was only after a slow process of research and evolution that humanity succeeded in reducing the duration of its space journeys. But in the reboot, it's "everything, right away". From the 23rd century, androids or interfaced humanoids seem to be commonplace in Starfleet (whereas they were to be only exceptional a century later)(1), ships may even become bigger and more powerful than at the end of the 24th, all solar systems are within minutes of each other's warp, interplanetary (even unlimited range) teleportation normalizes (potentially rendering starships obsolete!), Spock -Quinto claims to accomplish Spock-Nimoy's lifelong journey in less than a year, twenty-year friendships are built in days, etc.
A perverse effect of the culture of zapping and digesting, the public (and therefore the industry) now only has eyes for the pace, that is to say the reaction produced and no longer the reflection induced, no longer addressing the mind but the guts . The perorations of long intellectual journeys are metamorphosed into slogans that can be directly assimilated without digestion, because they no longer result from personal effort and evolution, but from a culture of impatience and the instantaneous, mass-producing "ready to eat".

(1)It should also be noted that in the historical Star Trek, it was more a philosophical (humanist) choice than a technical one not to interface the humanoids of the UFP with the AIs , nor create (or use) robotic minions (thereby making Data unique). But with the reboot, all that is now obsolete: the 22nd, 23rd and 24th centuries are happily and unashamedly mixed together, the police have become robots, some Starfleet officers are interfaced with central units (Bynars or Borgs style), the Earth is eyeing Coruscant, the UFP is controlled by the Starfleet military, Section 31 has become warmongering and putschist... Into Darkness indeed, but not by intrigues and bad guys as the scriptwriters imagine, ains in reality by the starting hypotheses, sociology, and psychology as a whole.

The Abramsian micro-universe has no other purpose than to glorify seven superheroes. Even when a few jolts of realism remind the characters at the bend of rare scenes apparently less badly written than the others (Baby's dismissal by Starfleet Command, the testimony of Spock's mental fusion at the moment of Pike's death, etc.) , the entire narrative construction has no other objective than to return Kirk to the place to which he is (pre)destined. And the screenwriters may well have raised the stakes compared to the previous opus… until they imposed on Kirk the sacrifice of his life (for ten minutes) – in the manner of an echo that is both symmetrical and anticipatory of that of Spock in the original universe twenty years later – the cosmic determinism is all the more supported, and therefore even more artificial. To believe that now the natural laws have joined at random to serve the great design of the universe: the enthronement in glory of the characters. Even the supervillains on duty, respectively Admiral Marcus and Khan/Harrison, feed Kirk's irresistible rise and the consolidation of his Justice League with their criminal actions.
The Bad Robot team seems to confuse the codes and the implications of a prequel with those of a reboot. In a prequel (like the remarkable Enterprise series), the future is bound to come true since the objective is to relate its origin (but as much as possible in a more complex or paradoxical way than we never imagined or fantasized).
Conversely, a reboot is supposed to shape an alternative universe to free itself from a known future, in order to propose a variation, an uchronia... which could itself represent a new exploratory direction. However, it is clear that JJ Abrams is unable to cut the umbilical cord with the original timeline. But what is a natural and necessary accomplishment in a prequel turns into superheroic predestination in a reboot. When no chronological or contextual upheaval manages to thwart the destiny of a handful of characters called to eternally save the day, and literally constituting a point of invariance between all the multiverses. This is the most radical form of superheroism, when the character does not become a superhero by his exploits or his superpowers, but by his sole act of birth, aristocratic and messianic. All in all, the ultimate innateness of the Chosen One! But what may be acceptable in fantasy worlds is by no means acceptable in the highly meritocratic (and agnostic) Star Trek.

Probably in line with the new audience it is now trying to flirt with, the second part of the reboot reaffirms its infantile paradigm, at best adulescent. The characters are all preoccupied with their well-being and their egocentric ill-being, they cultivate rebellions without a cause, for the sole posture ("I love myself and I am the chosen one", "the rules are for the others…"), and are driven only by their individual feelings of belonging: Thomas Harewood is ready to blow up 42 innocent people (including himself) to save his daughter, Khan to kill everyone to save his 72 enhanced companions , Marcus to slaughter the entire Enterprise to preserve its organization chart, Nero to implode planets in memory of his people (yet unscathed) and his wife (not even born), Baby-Kirk to conduct a manhunt for avenge Pike, Spock (half-Vulcan though) to kill Khan 2.0 to avenge Kirk... and the authors to subordinate the whole universe to the preservation of selfish friendships between the seven baby heroes. From Trekkian maturity, originally made up of ideals, structures, and universality, there remain only community or even communitarian circles (all allegedly ennobled by the use of the qualifier "family") immersed in a perpetual confrontation with the scent of vendetta… In short, like contemporary (and past) humanity at its worst!

Star Trek Into Darkness manages to pass itself off as more balanced, deeper than its Star Trek 2009 predecessor. And why is that? Well because every moving action scene is intercut…. not of a scene of contemplation or reflection as was so customary in the "historical Star Trek" (1964-2005), but of a scene of pure soap opera where the couples inflict their domestic scenes and their sticky reconciliations on us, where homies spit on each other and/or declare their feelings of life-and-death friendship, and where enemies manipulate each other and/or proclaim all the harm they're about to do. All with a "fun" lightness responsible for defusing any excess of gravity, a story that no one suspects Star Trek 2.0 of taking itself as seriously as its predecessor 1.0, deemed outdated. But "the fun spirit" is just the latest avatar of firefighters who dons the costume of the avant-garde,

And of Into Darkness, it ultimately only has the title (at least on the scale of the reboot)...like the Star Trek label itself. Because even if he claims to deliver a plea for the use of sores against the demonic inventions that humans would manufacture themselves to protect themselves in the name of the greater good (Khan 2.0 will inevitably be perceived by some as the creature escaping from the lab of the sorcerer's apprentice Marcus, even an allegory of Bin Laden allegedly "manufactured" and armed by the CIA), even if he plays the paranoid card (ultra-trendy) of the danger coming from within (and as long as 'to do from its summit) to flatter a cynical public which does not believe (or does not believe any more) in the possibility of the ideal trekkien, and even if it culminates visually by massive real estate destructions in London and especially in San Francisco (everything is in the trailers) for an audience traumatized by 9/11 and in search of an imaginary conjuration that reality (Zero Dark Thirty) cannot offer(2)< /sup>... Star Trek Into Darkness sells a topos illusorily in tune with the present (via a simplistic rereading & conformist), ultimately pales in comparison to what had been staged (without however assuming it) Star Trek 2009: the extermination of the entire Vulcan civilization so emblematic of the franchise since 1964, i.e. six billion innocent people plunged into a "black hole of pulp", and whose genocide had however never been subjectively tainted with any dramatic connotation on the grounds that the seven baby heroes were safe and reunited. Suddenly, by its profoundly unjustified title, Star Trek Into Darkness drives this nail home, that of indecency and xenophobia: would you have us believe that the paranoid and manipulative propensities of the chief of staff of the fleet, and the deaths of several thousand humans in San Francisco would be darker vectors than the programmed holocaust of several billion extraterrestrials?
This feeling of human-centric racism - where only the human being (allegorically the western man) would really matter - is also reinforced by the sudden (if utilitarian) leniency enjoyed by the human (albeit genetically enhanced) terrorist Khan 2.0 at the end of Star Trek Into Darkness… when the Romulan Nero was mercilessly slaughtered with its entire crew at the end of ST 2009.

And as if to add to the tonal unease, many superficial viewers will continue to perceive the last film worthy of the "Star Trek" label, namely Nemesis (2002), as more "dark" that the two blockbusters of the reboot together. But that's because the real Star Trek always took stock of the dramas it staged, from the most cosmic to the most intimate. It was enough for fate to strike a few anonymous people (and not just the heroes in title) for darkness to invite itself through the front door. Because all the sentients - human or not, VIP or anonymous - were housed in the same boat, and the form was always in keeping with the substance. Every death (Kirk in ST Generations, Data in ST Nemesis, not to mention the TV series...) rang true, as it was never an instrument of pathos to artichoke hearts, but to the contrary to an authentic reflection of the funereal tragedies of the real world. Alas since 2009, this intellectual honesty is no longer appropriate: the reboot testifies to the manipulation that the form exerts today on the substance, where all that is needed is a "fun" atmosphere, a few Hollywood humor, and "cool" characters to pretend to hide the weight of misfortune...
But this fits well into the intrinsic superficiality of "Star Trek 2.0": nothing really matters, its micro-universe video-game is without consequences and without gravity! The extermination of entire species is largely devoid of systemic impact (other than sending an admiral on a safe trip), the betrayals of the Prime Directive and the irresponsibility of his officerships all remain without consequence because the survival and glorification of the heroes are guaranteed by contract, the bad guys – coming out of nowhere or mimicking (very badly) cult characters – all turn out to be virtually interchangeable, and the baraka or the scam of a few blows is always supposed to redeem a perpetual disrespect for natural laws and physical laws.
From the encyclopedic and ontological Star Trek, SF of prospecting, exploration, and introspection, there is now only one MMORPG left for badly behaved brats taking themselves for the kings of the sandbox.

(2)If Into Darkness is a (fake) Star Trek for use by American society traumatized by 9/11, then it is struck with acute redundancy, afflicted in addition to the pathological and inconsequential conspiratorialism of the heartbreaking Alias ​​series (also from Bad Robot). For ten years, all of Hollywood has been trying to exorcise Western anxieties towards a world with more shady and fluctuating contours than during the Cold War... while Star Trek is supposed to be a History of the future with a chronology and evolution totally independent of ours (and resulting from an ultra-devastating World War III yet to come). Of course, the franchise has sometimes sacrificed to educational SF & functionalist of transposition (sole raison d'être of SF in the eyes of the most snobbish intellectuals), but she then offered her own reading of the news, and not a simple rehash of the ideologically correct truisms in vogue. Following the example of the third season of the Enterprise series, which under cover of an obol to the Moloch of the anti-terrorist incantation, had proposed a variant as original as it was disturbing: neither a caricatural renegade coming from within, nor a former betrayed ally in search of revenge, not an external scarecrow out of nowhere, but an unfathomable temporal war questioning the very foundations of causality across the centuries.

The best compliment that some could pay to ST Into Darkness, is trying to see it as a fanfic… of 190 million dollars… since sip to the nausea of ​​all the apparent codes genre, fetishized to the stuffing of gimmicks and in-jokes, but as uncreative as a karaoke session. Alas, at the antipodes of any fan-production, ST Into Darkness rather crawls into the shallows of Asylum - scriptwise speaking. JJ Abrams and his grimauds proudly claim non-membership of the trekker community, and their apprehension of Star Trek is comparable to how the omnipotent kid Trelane (in ST TOS 01x18 The Squire Of Gothos) "understood" humanity. But desperately wanting to please as many people as possible, their feature film finds itself emptied of all substance, devoid of the values ​​and depth of a Star Trek deserving of the name. ST Into Darkness is only the seasonal REMIX by "DJ Abrams": anachronistic rearrangement of the franchise's most salient tracks on a hellish techno rhythm... to heat the room and turn on the audience. Confusing 300 years in the future with 40 years in the past and Trekkian inherence with decorative elements, the impersonation is worthy of a changeling and the decoy is only a counterfeit: a Star Trek-in-name-only!
Probably the most disturbing thing is to think that JJ Abrams' foray into the Star Trek universe will ultimately only have served his own professional rise: namely to "demonstrate" to the Majors (and to Kathleen Kennedy ) that he was able to do Star Wars. But that Roddenberry-Berman's SF universe has become a simple disposable stepping stone, a trivial lobbying springboard, a vulgar career launching pad... to enter the fantasy universe of George Lucas (born thirteen years later) , this is enough to leave trekkers with a particularly bitter taste...

Bad Robot's sense of contempt for trekkers has never been so palpable, so exhibitionistic, and so uninhibited as when Spock-Quinto mimics Kirk-Shatner's iconic "KHAAAAAAAAAAN". At that moment, I instinctively felt like the zoo monkey that Bad Robot was throwing peanuts at. JJ Abrams & co do they really believe that they will satiate trekkers through robbery rhyming with cannibalism? This is a pretentious and haughty disdain that enjoys knowing that it is taken for respect by the most naive (or complacent) component of the public.
By seeking to steal or imitate cult moments rather than earn them, build them, or earn them... Abrams, Orci, Kurtzman, and Lindelof have just proven themselves to be scavengers making money stripping four decades of Star Trek's juiciest offal. But they will not be able to deceive the public for long, as already confirmed by the cooling of the critical meteorology, much less enthusiastic in the USA in 2013 than in 2009. The smokescreen is fading, and the sanitary cordon of politically correct unanimity is about to break.
Bad Robot does not only take trekkers for morons, but now also for junkies, junkies of the lowest extraction, devoid of any requirement, who are scraped in the back alleys, and who are ready to shoot any adulterated dope, as long as it bears the "Star Trek" logo and that the lack effect is skilfully maintained.

JJ Abrams and his hacks are not storytellers, but at best barnums, jugglers, hat players. Unlike those whose works they plunder, they do not linger to contemplate a firmament of which they do not care. They content themselves with turning towards the celestial bodies of the occasion, which they know full well will no longer occupy the same position in the heavens tomorrow, or even have ceased to shine there. Interchangeable heralds of a Galactus who would have the name Paramount, they are tramplers of dreams, extinguishers of stars, like Lovecraft's Crawling Chaos which leaves nothing at the end of its cosmic feast.

Star Trek Into Darkness: where no pumping has gone before!
(Thanks to the film for providing its own self-spoof)

Yves Raducka

Click for the review of the previous opus Star Trek 2009

Click for the report of the "Star Trek debate" at Comic-Con Paris 2013