Abrams and Eve Address Your [My] Issues With Star Trek Into Darkness

Spoilers and such.
                                                                                                                                                                     

When I came across two articles on Spinoff Online that were interviews with J.J. Abrams and Alice Eve, respectively, I couldn’t believe my luck. I suppose this all had to do with the fact that Star Trek Into Darkness was released on DVD and Blu-Ray today and they had to keep its title in the news cycle, but I was pumped because they addressed a few . . . criticisms that myself and others had with it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Alice Eve

I’m going to start with the less spoilery one, which was helpfully titled “Alice Eve on ‘Star Trek Into Darkness,’ Carol Marcus & That Controversial Scene.” This was a great way of referring to something that most everyone knew about, and I used a similar method of titling in a post I wrote in June, “The Internet And That One Scene In Star Trek Into Darkness – You Know The One.” If you really don’t know what this is all about I can sum it up like this: Alice Eve’s character, Carol Marcus, was featured in a scene where she was standing in her bra and panties; this did not add to the story and made little sense given the context of the scene. 

Eve answered “Yes” to whether or not she believed that a much bigger deal was made out of the scene than necessary. She went on to underscore this point by stating her involvement:

“I was there, after all. I mean, I was there, so I was part of it.”

Now that we’ve confirmed that she was, in fact, the actress front and centre in all of this we can move forward with more of a response to professional critics and nonprofessional bloggers alike. Kevin Melrose, the one who wrote the article, states that she “also suggested it’s possible some of the criticism of Star Trek Into Darkness arose from the fact that the film attempted to highlight her physical attractiveness even as it tried to pair that with her education and intelligence.” This is unfortunate only in that we don’t have this sentiment in her own words.

What we do have, however, is the quote which I believe Melrose extrapolated from, which was:

“I think that maybe was a source of concern or frustration, that she both wore her underwear and had a PhD. But unfortunately, she has to wear underwear.”

I’m struggling with how to approach this without being overly snarky or rude, which is not a tone that I, at least, have wanted to maintain on this blog. People are not upset because Marcus “has to wear underwear.” I also don’t think they were perturbed by the fact that this was a doctor who was showing off her body to James Kirk and, as a result, audiences the world over.

The issue is that, and I may just be speaking for just myself here, the entire thing seemed shoehorned in as a way to stick a little bit of skin into the film and consequently the trailer. It was gratuitous, and did not seem to add much to her character besides her being very comfortable with her body.

Her interview with Spinoff Online ends with Even explaining that the character quality she thought she most needed to communicate was “the fact that she’s a human being and a female in all senses – the underwear scene included. She has a lot of attributes.” I guess I just don’t think her physical attributes needed to be included, or to be more accurate highlighted, in this particular way.

It’s not that you caused me any problems, exactly, it’s that I feel like you’re defending this scene because your job professionalism relies on it. To which I would have to point to John Cho, who played Sulu, who seems to have no issue whatsoever in prodding at the sore subject of the film’s choices with racial casting:

Yes, Alice Eve, “nervous laughter” indeed.

And Now The Man You’ve All Been Waiting For…

We’re diving into straight-up spoiler territory here. To start with, Benedict Cumberbatch is Khan. I realize that Simon Pegg told his fans directly that he wasn’t, but he lied. The world isn’t made of rainbows and fairy dust, kids.

Secondly, in the film Khan’s blood can be used to create what is essentially some kind of revival potion. I want to pull out two sentences from the film’s IMDB synopsis page to reinforce that point [emphasis added]:

“The crew of the Enterprise manage to halt their ship’s descent, as Kirk sacrifices his life to re-align the warp core, dying from radiation poisoning.

“Doctor Leonard McCoy discovers that Khan’s blood may reanimate the dead Kirk.

That’s just to address fans who may say things like, “Oh, but Kirk didn’t die!” To which I would say “Radiation poisoning.” I was going to quote information about what exactly that does to you, but you can Google it for yourselves.

So essentially, and this is what a bunch of very smart observant people have been saying, death no longer exists in Abrams’ Star Trek universe. This is such a big deal that the title of the article on Spinoff Online was “J.J. Abrams on ‘Star Trek,’ Khan’s Blood and Keeping the Mystery Box Closed.” Suffice to say, I clicked on the link and was immensely excited to see how he would explain away the consequences of having a Starfleet crew of immortals.

“I have killed death.”

Todd Gilchrist, the reviewer, referred to Khan’s blood as being a “get-out-of-jail-free card,” and I really like that.  The only problem with this is that he asks his question about the blood solving the issue to Kirk’s death in general, and not its effects as a whole:

“One of the issues that Kirk deals with in the film is facing mortality personally and as a captain. What sort of conversations or concerns did you have in introducing Khan’s blood as sort of a get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to that?”

I wish I could pull quotes about him trying to avoid the question, but the truth is that the interviewer decided not to pin Abrams on it and then title his article in a way that made it appear like he had. Seriously though, the director literally addresses it not at all. In general I’m left with the conclusion that it wasn’t entirely thought through as a plot point, and that Khan’s Blood™ brand Phoenix Down [Final Fantasy reference, if you were wondering] will either disappear completely in the next film or be handwaved away as being unduplicatable due to “science reasons.”

In other words, there’s no answer, folks.

What I do think is fun, though, is that Abrams’ totally threw Simon Pegg under the bus when it came to lying to fans. In a hilariously mean way, too.

 “But if we’d gone forward with it and said, it’s Khan, it’s Khan, it’s Khan, and I never, unlike Simon Pegg, who literally lied to everyone and said ‘It’s not Khan,’ I never said it’s not Khan. He read that he said “It’s not Khan,” and I was like, “It’s kind of Khan, Simon.”

“Wait, what did Abrams say?”

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3 responses to “Abrams and Eve Address Your [My] Issues With Star Trek Into Darkness

  1. The original Star Trek series jumped the shark with time travel so much that the death-defying super blood wasn’t a big deal for me. The underwear scene was stupid and overplayed by the internet.
    Any responses to the other issues surrounding the movie, like Cumberbatch’s ethnicity or the way they’re handling all the different exclusive editions of the blu-ray?

    • My feelings about the whole debacle with Cumberbatch’s ethnicity can be summed up pretty well in the article that Racebending.com did on it. If you don’t want to check that out [I did link to it above] then I can sum it up like this: They had a chance to portray a South Asian actor in an extremely significant role in a summer blockbuster and did not [in part, I believe, for secrecy’s sake] and that was an enormous wasted opportunity.

      I have always been against different exclusive editions in video games, and even more so with things like DVDs and Blu-Rays. Exclusivity is always dumb because it impresses upon the customer that they cannot ever attain the “full version” of something without buying multiple copies. At least in video games there’s the option of DLC, but I don’t see that working in other formats.

  2. Pingback: Considering Star Wars: The Force Awakens [Or: Just Another Drop in The Bucket] | Culture War Reporters

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