Amph JJ Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ulkesh2, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. Souderwan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    I'm going to ignore the rest of your post as, as you say, I'm not interested. Consider it one yawn for another. ;)

    This is the crux of my problem with your response to me. I'd be happy to join in your fantasy world where the color of ones skin is not at all a consideration in the way individuals are treated. But my personal experience has been quite the contrary. When I refer to white males, I'm talking entirely about what one looks like. Appearances matter, no matter how much one might wish otherwise. I'm talking about the very real reality that my son (who looks like a white male) has a generally better life experience in many day to day activities than I do. Despite the fact that I'm financially secure after being born into poverty, am a naval officer, fairly well-educated and have never been in trouble with the law, if my son and I walk into a store, I am far more likely to be followed around and monitored than he. If driving in certain neighborhoods, I'm far more likely to be pulled over for questioning than he. These aren't made up problems. They are very real.

    These problems are only exacerbated by the reality that non-white (looking) people are disproportionately underrepresented in media. When they are purposefully represented--such as when the show 24 had a black president as a main character years before the election of Barack Obama--there are always objectors ready to pounce that it's "reverse racism" and "hollywood liberalism" or some such nonsense. Seeing a brown* face shouldn't even be noticeable in a movie if the population of the movie mirrored somewhat the general populations makeup. In reality, for most movies, it's a surprise. I'm not saying that movies should focus on race when making casting decisions. I'm saying that directors cannot ignore it. Because race is as obvious to anyone walking into a room as weight, height, hair color, beauty, etc.

    Now I agree that we should not categorize each other by skin color. But in the real world we do. And that categorization has very real (generally negative) consequences for everyone that is not a white male. Do white males have problems too? Sure. But there are inherent advantages to your appearance--advantages you did nothing to earn but have anyway. My son shares that very advantage. But you'll forgive me if I'm a bit put off by you, in your position of unearned privilege, choose to condescend to me about my hypersensitiveness and "invented" and made-up non-problems.

    Now. That all being said, I'm generally opposed to this line of discussion because it usually goes no where. I've already written more on this topic than I intended to. I started in on this discussion simply with an observation along the lines of "Man, I loved the movie. But I sure wish they had taken the opportunity to cast someone other than BC for Khan or at least not named him Khan". That remains my position and that isn't going to change. I really do wish that. This thread has long been derailed enough on this off-shoot topic and I'm done with it here. If you really are interested in having a civil discussion, feel free to PM me or start a thread to that effect.

    *I use "brown" because there are lots of shades of non-white-looking people and it's easier than saying "black/hispanic-looking/Native American/Pacific Islander/etc. I assumed you grasped that obvious point.) in media and in the movies needs to be the norm.
    Live long and prosper! \\//
    Last edited by Souderwan, May 29, 2013
  2. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    In closing I'll clarify that despite the accusation, I don't live in a "fantasy world where the color of ones skin is not at all a consideration in the way individuals are treated". On the contrary, I've experienced such prejudicial treatment firsthand, and have seen it inflicted on friends of many ethnicities. Nor do I exist in a position of "unearned privilege". I run in no circles, professional or personal, that would reward me for being perceived as "white". I've received no advantage in my lifetime -- to my knowledge or through my efforts -- for my skin being accidentally pink. My ancestors were subjected to slavery prior to their near-total genocide. I was born middle-class and am now poor.

    Rather, I hold a belief system which objects to 1) Hollywood casting decisions being dictated by skin color, especially in a role that is by definition "of mixed genetic ancestry"; and 2) the racist lumping together of all "white" (whatever that may mean) people under one giant, useless racial category. The real problems associated with race that Souderwan righteously enumerates are not the result of, nor are they perpetuated by, a British actor being cast in a genetically mixed part formerly played by a Mexican actor with pink skin.

    I feel relief that the discussion has been exhausted.
  3. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
  4. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    Strawman, strawmen everywhere.
    Merlin_Ambrosius69 likes this.
  5. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
  6. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Huh?

    When did they ever say "it was the PRIME universe", and then "back away from that"? From what I've seen their position has been consistent. If they ever said anything like "it was the PRIME universe just changed by Spock's actions", it looks like their meaning may have been misunderstood.

    And how exactly is one fictional form of time travel any more objectively "wrong" than any other?

    The nature of Kirk's very birth was never explored in prior canon. All that was said was that he was "from Iowa". Watch the 2009 film - he's still from Iowa. Many people, including myself, do not identify as "from" the place they were born in.

    Bob Orci has hinted on Twitter that Khan's appearance will be explained in the After Darkness comics.
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, May 29, 2013
  7. V-2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    Well I liked Star Trek Into Darkness, anyway.
  8. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    Well, he clearly wasn't born as his mom was fleeing a dying ship. :p

    With regards to Star Trek and time travel, it's not that I think one kind is "wrong" so much as I think the current major societies shouldn't be capable of doing it intentionally because the implications are insane. The films-- except maybe Generations-- are really bad with this. TVH had a stupidly simple "let's go around the sun at warp!" which makes you wonder why people don't do that routinely. First Contact had the Borg suddenly develop time travel capability... which I guess could be handwaved as risky/uncertain and they were desperate, but there's no indication of that. The 2009 film was mostly accidental, but it didn't make sense how in some instances the Red Matter destroyed things and in others it allowed ships to time travel fully intact. I guess it's like the Nexus in that way.
    Last edited by Darth Guy, May 29, 2013
    Darth_Invidious likes this.
  9. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Acting abilities, now? WTF, indeed. ( For the record, I don't need to go to IMDB to find out that he's in films I own. )

    Your claim was that almost no one in America had ever heard of him. That's what I was addressing, not his screen time, acting abilities, taste in fine dining, skills at Scrabble, or whatever. And those that saw AUJ saw his name up there on a giant screen in big letters. I count that as having heard of someone.
  10. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Then you have demonstrably terrible definition of having "heard of someone." Almost no one--save apparently you--uses that phrase to mean that something has literally been encountered at least once in life, at some level of consciousness. Have you also "heard of" all the gaffers, CGI programmers, sound engineers, and make-up artists that did any work on the Hobbit? Can someone plausibly argue you that you are only going to see some movie in the future is because Sharlene Cassidy is going to be an "additional make-up assistant" again? After all, you saw her name for a few seconds in the credits.

    The reality is that most people use that phrase to imply not exposure to, but familiarity with another person. Though someone may have seen this fellow's name on screen (and, for the record, I have absolutely no memory of such), it doesn't mean anything if they couldn't even connect that name with a person in the movie.
  11. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    Why couldn't they have just done a straight up reboot and things be different instead of these mental gymnastics.
    Darth_Invidious and Souderwan like this.
  12. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    What do the words "big letters" mean to you? Or weren't the letters in the phrase "big letters" big enough for you?

    ( But you're right - there's nothing remotely memorable about the name "Benedict Cumberbatch". I must have had five or six of them in my homeroom alone. You literally could not spit in the air without hitting a Benedict Cumberbatch in those days. It was kind of like being Jax Pavan on Coruscant, or something. )

    Is this one of those Star Trek "alternate realities" I've heard so much about?
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, May 29, 2013
  13. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Can you name every single person who appeared in "big letters" in the last four movies you've seen, off the top of your head?

    The stupidity of your argument can't be overstated. You are essentially telling us that, because you noticed the guy's name, everyone else must necessarily have done so as well.
    Last edited by Jabba-wocky, May 29, 2013
  14. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    I pay attention to the people with "C.S.A." after their names 'cause I hate those damn Rebs.
  15. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Are you saying his tail doesn't really swish around like that?
  16. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    So now there's no middle ground between "everyone" and "almost no one"? Did you not notice there were letters up there? Don't you have farmers to eat, or Noldorin swords to hoard, or something?
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, May 29, 2013
  17. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    He shouldn't have even been Khan at all. Just keep him as John Harrison, rogue starfleet guy turned terrorist or something. But making him Khan immediately drew parallels with a much better character and movie.

    And please, keep Orci,Kurtzman, and Lindelof far, far away from Star Wars.
    Last edited by ShaneP, May 29, 2013
  18. Whitey Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 26, 2003
    star 6
    I wanted to see this movie until I heard about white Kahn and now I'm like "eh....." Has Kahn's new ethnicity been discussed thoroughly enough yet? Hm?
  19. Rosslcopter Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 3
    Whitey, I think your username disqualifies you from discussing ethnicity.
    Whitey likes this.
  20. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9

    [IMG]


    That's my response :p

    But seriously, it may not make sense, but that's because time travel doesn't make sense. And traveling to the past especially doesn't make sense based on our current understanding of physics. But neither do warp drives or artifical gravity as portrayed. And as you pointed out, even if it's a nonsensical time travel story, that hardly distinguishes it from other Trek stories, and in fact is very much keeping with the spirit of things.





    No. No one watches the credits, and no random person who just saw AUJ knew who he was just because his name appeared in those credits. Even if people don't stand up and leave right away (which, in most parts of the country, they do), even if they saw his name they'd have nothing to connect it to besides it being a funny name and probably one of the 20-something roles credited in the title cards, along with all the key crew positions, etc.

    Seriously, tell me who the production designer for The Dark Knight Rises was. Or the editor. What, didn't you see that movie? You mean you don't remember that person's name or have familiarity with them?! But... It was in the credits! There were letters and everything!

    Here's a better question... how many people in the USA know who those actors playing the Dwarves in the Hobbit are? I mean, these are actual characters in the film, not just Cumberbatch who wasn't really in it. But I - a fan and filmmaker - can't even name these actors, and I saw the film three times in theatres. I can name Richard Armitage and that's it. But there are 12 other guys there who had way, way, way more to do with that film than Cumberbatch. By your logic, they should all be big name stars that everyone is familiar with because their names were in the credits and obviously everyone watches and studies those closely to learn the names of absolutely every person to appear on screen in a film. But no, they aren't. They are known by a small subset of people, but they are by no means known by anything like a majority or even large minority of people. And neither was Cumberbatch when he was cast in STID.

    I guarantee if you'd polled general Americans in December and asked if they knew who Benedict Cumberbatch was, he'd be recognized by maybe 10% of people. Maybe. That's probably generous. Pretending that he's some big name actor here is just ludicrous. He'll obviously be better known now, but not by any means a guaranteed A-lister or something.

    Cumberbatch is slowly getting to be known in the US, but absolutely was not at all when they cast him, nor when this film opened. The only thing anyone in the US really knew him from on a broad scale was Sherlock, and that is still confined to a sort of nerdy subculture. The vast majority of people I mention that show to in the US haven't even heard of it. And if they have, almost none have seen it. Just because we're nerds and we've all seen it does not by any means indicate this is normal.
    I'm sorry. I am pretty good about granting people when they have a good argument, but this just isn't one. In fact it's an embartassingly stupid argument. Sorry, there's just no other way to put that. Let it go.
  21. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    Well, I can accept the easy time travel if the rest of the story is good. But there are plenty of Trek stories (not movies) where the time travel is accidental and/or are helped along by advanced cultures not usually present in Trek. I would prefer that.
  22. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    Well, here's the thing though: even with something like time travel, if a movie uses it then if it is not consistent with its usage it turns to crap, very quickly. This is something like why Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure works, even with the stupidity of the premise (aided, I would say, in no small part by its charm and actors) and any time Austin Powers attempted it, it was crap (Rob Lowe notwithstanding).

    Things like Back to The Future, Primer, The Butterfly Effect I believe were all relatively consistent within the context of the time travel they were doing. And, this is the kicker, Star Trek (from 1960s through the end of Enterprise and the cessation of pre-NuTrek) was remarkably consistent on both time travel and the whole quantum mechanics thing about alternate universes. However, this is where the Trek reboot "gets it wrong" -- Star Trek canon has adhered to both time travel theory (it uses a mutable theory, rather than immutable) and quantum mechanics in the sense of "alternate universes" (and there are different episodes covering each). But they are not mutually exclusive, and that's how the Trek reboot is treating them, which overwrites the previous way they said it works -- which, when including the previous canon (Spock Prime) makes a bit of a mess. As @solojones points out in the Dr. Who thread "if something would contradict 50 years of how regeneration works, they probably shouldn't do it" -- same general principle here.

    The alternate unvierses already existed, without interference from time travel, as a function of "every decision binary point creates a separate branching universe" as well as travelling to the past in your own universe can change the future of that same universe. And it was further possible to "cross the streams," as it were, in terms of jumping between Universe A and Universe B (or more). But we already knew all this as far back as the 1960s with Mirror, Mirror and City On The Edge of Forever so this should come as no surprise (TNG followed these rules to the letter, as did DS9; I believe Voyager and Enterprise did, but can't swear as I didn't watch them as much due to quality... >.>).

    I also go back to my original point: if they'd just hard-rebooted (no Spock Prime) and made this an alternate universe to begin with -- all avoided! No complaining (well, some complaining)!
    Darth_Invidious and Souderwan like this.
  23. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    *** INCOMING WALL OF TEXT ALERT! ***

    Let me tackle this from a different way, in terms of where my dissatisfaction actually comes from, as this will be more relevant perhaps as we approach Star Wars as well.

    Let's first acknowledge the obvious: yes, there will be people for whom any reboot -- unless it includes digitally-altered Shatner, Nimoy, etc. recreating Star Trek -- will fail and they will not like it. The Onion, quite rightly, mocks these people. I don't think any of us have a problem with this? No? Good, moving on...

    Let us also acknowledge this: objectively, without any baggage, the movie would be entertaining as hell. But let us also simultaneously acknowledge: the movie brings its own baggage with it as carry-on because it uses things like Prime Directive, Khan, etc. as if it expects us to know what those things are, even when there's no basis for us to because... reboot.

    So, on those things -- when creating the Star Trek reboot in 2009, everyone fundamentally had a choice: do we start from scratch or do we stick with the canon. If you want to talk about quantum mechanics, that's the decision point. And they went with a hybridized solution that was inelegant -- which I think leads to the majority of the problems that the rational people are having (not the irrational people mentioned above), though there are others.

    So based on that, I think people basically break down into one of four distinct groups (and sorry, Merlin, if I'm lumping people together too arbitrarily. ;) )

    1) People who liked the movie without reservation or had no Trek background.
    2) People who liked the movie in spite of what they have turned Star Trek into.
    3) People who disliked the movie on the basis of what they have turned Star Trek into.
    4) People who disliked the movie for plot related reasons (e.g. plot stupidity, rather than Trek-related reasons)

    And yes, we're ignoring 5) The Onion article subjects.

    While I have some of 4) in me (I believe we call this "The @Jabba-wocky Effect"), I'm primarily in that 3) group -- and most of my life-long friends are solidly in 2), which makes the observations made about me by academics in Prague that "I'm going to make a fantastic grumpy old man" even more astute. I'm going to discuss this in relation to Star Wars somewhat, so please bear with me (and WDNDSWITJCC), and I'll rely on @The2ndQuest a bit to help me out.

    Canon has always been a tricky issue among fandoms, as longer-term members of these forums can attest. However, Star Trek has actually been remarkably more consistent in its canon policy than Star Wars has, for one simple reason: it declared EU as non-canon and stuck to that policy for like 40-50 years (however long the books have been published). Even though the books attempt to, as best they can, follow the established canon... it doesn't count. However, what this then did is made everything we saw on a screen -- TV or cinema -- actually "happen." Yes, this is still arguing over whether one made-up thing is more real than another made-up thing, but it's at least consistent!

    Star Wars... is another issue. All of the EU is supposed to count (with limited exception) and there's Leland Chee supposedly overseeing everything to make sure everything fits but... it's not working. And Lucas has already shown he's totally willing to overwrite something (e.g. The Clone Wars) to put something else in its place, but that's been a -- thus far -- functionally-limited period of time. There's still a good period of time (between about 50 and 150 years, depending on which EU you read) after the end of Return of the Jedi that mostly fits together, with some continuity spackle here and there -- but the signs of age are showing with monetary consideration and Rule of Cool overriding contiuing the tight control over interwoven plotting. However, given Lucas' previous proclivities and seeing what JJ Abrams has done with this incarnation of Star Trek, no matter how optimistic and positive I am about Arndt and Kasdan -- I am ******* terrified of what they are going to do to Star Wars with an "original story" fitting somewhere into that above period by someone who is not above changing canon without rationale and who, by design, doesn't like philosophical or mystical elements in his sci-fi. Because it's a damn good thing there's no philosophy or mysticism in Star Wars, especially in a time period when Luke should be rebuilding the Jedi Order...

    So, naturally, I like both things -- Star Wars and Star Trek. And I see the writing o the wall for the former, with what is happening with the latter. And it comes down to this:

    1) Plenty of people like the movie. I suspect if you ordered the groups, most of the people are in Group 1 above, with Group 3 second, Group 2 third and Group 4 last. However, I suspect many more people have migrated to Groups 2 and 3 from Group 1 in their opinions from the first reboot film in 2009.

    2) @solojones has a contention that they made Star Trek accessible to the public and made a good summer blockbuster and the rest of us, even those not in the Onion Group, are whiny crybabies who don't like success. Though we can debate on "good" (in terms of risk vs. reward on the budget to income ratio), we can't deny that this is where most people in Group 1 fall. Even @Jabbadabbado, if I am recalling properly, was lured into Group 2 because of the characterizations (admittedly good) if not issues with the plot.

    3) However, those of us who would self-identify with Group 3 -- or maybe just myself -- wonder why we have to choose. And this is the crux of the matter.

    Sex And The City Carrie-Like Episode Narration Question*:

    "Has modern summer blockbuster culture devolved to a point where only the brand name is important and what the brand stood for is jettisoned? Can't it be possible to have a kick-ass summer blockbuster that is both accessible to the public and retains some philosophy and weightier thought from the original brand?"

    You know, something like a science-fiction film weighing in on thoughts of mortality, family, getting old, death, sacrifice in the context of an established brand. Something that would make literary references to Moby Dick and A Tale of Two Cities as surely as it would have epic space battles to a rousing score. Something like that would surely be the most profitable movie in that brand...

    Why do we settle? Why would you settle?

    There are probably some good examples of reboots that totally worked, while keeping the vast majority of the original premise or brand intact. Batman Begins is a good example and surpassed even with The Dark Knight (even if totally falling apart in TDKR, though YMMV); Casino Royale is also a good example, even if then totally derailed by Quantum of Solace. But functionally, these are reboots that are modernizing somewhat and replacing some creaky-elements of the previous brand, but maintaining the underlying core concepts. Maybe it's because those were basically hard-reboots versus hybridized-quasi-reboots (again, probably not a great idea), but it then makes even less sense if you're not truly rebooting then, doesn't it?

    I suspect we may -- though I hope we don't -- undergo another round of this in a few weeks when Man of Steel releases. I'd like to be able to point to that and say "This is what a reboot needs to do to upgrade to modern graphics, effects and showmanship while retaining all of the goodness and underlying ethical nature that is Superman" but time will tell I suppose.

    Superhero films have been a good barometer for this. People want good stories. And they want spectacle. And the fans wanted to be treated with respect. The first X-Men showed that the studios were finally taking it seriously, and that movie overall was pretty serious. The Dark Knight was an amazing story, following a very good reboot, but still very serious. And then The Avengers showed what you can do by building a brand, using sacrifice as a push for character growth but, overall, having fun. There's a reason Star Wars is still 6th on the all-time domestic box office chart thirty six years later. A good story, married to great spectacle and giving the people something they've never seen before... all good ideas.

    And this is what I want from Star Trek.

    Is that so wrong?

    * = yes, I've handed in my man card again.

    EDIT: cc @Souderwan
    Last edited by dp4m, May 30, 2013
    ma_petite likes this.
  24. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    This board has outed me as a detestable and shallow like/quote/tag ho, so naturally I came running. But I just want to clarify that I am a lifelong Trek fan who has no loyalty to any particular Trek style. So, I'm more of a

    1)Trek fan who likes the movie and likes the current direction of Trek despite having a clear sense of the movie's strengths and flaws.

    I object to the "in spite of what they have turned Star Trek into" because previous Trek movies and tv series have at various times made all the mistakes of Star Trek into Darkness, (egregious plot holes, stealing from earlier Trek, whoring out the original cast, relying heavily on effects-driven action, etc.) yet were embraced by fans.

    My chief complaint is that STID weakened the franchise by spending too much money. They gambled on creating a big global blockbuster and failed. It looks to be a poorer return on investment than 09 Trek. (Elysium looks like a $200 million movie from the trailer, yet apparently has a production budget of no more than $120 million). If this movie had cost $90 million, it might have turned a decent profit and would have been free to ass-kiss the core Trek fanbase even more blatantly than it already did.

    In a perfect world, Abrams would be rewarded for his failure by being canned from Star Wars.

    ,,,A good story, married to great spectacle and giving the people something they've never seen before... all good ideas.

    No, but if that's what moviegoers want, then we should reject all franchises en masse, including Trek and Star Wars and embrace movies like Elysium The nature of franchises is to trend toward Transformers: Dark of the Moon - bloated, overbudget messes that people are trained to run and see on opening weekend and then forget.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, May 30, 2013
    Darth_Invidious likes this.
  25. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    That's a fair point. Though I don't think many people embraced Nemesis, as evidenced by its box office. ;)