What’s wrong into Darkness ?
I just went to see the movie Star Trek Into Darkness. This is the second movie of the rebooted Star Trek happening in an alternative universe as Spock travelled back in time and a lot of things changed. This is all happening in the first movie Star Trek.
Star Trek Into Darkness is the first movie resuming the original storyline. One of the main reason why this is a great movie is because of the presence of Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain which is supposed to be… Khan. In this introduction, I’ll say that the movie is a good entertainment. But it may fail to convince the Trekkies who are attached to their universe. Also, to be a fun entertainment there are a lot of plot holes. This is what the article is all about.
But beware if you want to go further, because as you may expect, the rest of this article is a major spoiler !. You’ve been warned.
Plot holes and other inconsistencies.
Into Darkness is full of plot holes and inconsistencies. Lets start with the beginning.
Everybody questioned the opening scene. Why a spaceship is hidden underwater while the team is sent in the volcano in a shuttle that cannot resist to the heat and lava ? Also, how did the shuttle get from the ship to the volcano unnoticed ? Instead, why didn’t they stayed into space, right above to volcano to beam up and down Spock as the alignment seems so important ?
During this Opening Scene, Spock reminds the First Directive and refuses to be saved from the volcano. But later, we’ll learn that the Enterprise was only supposed to observe this planet, not save it from the volcano. So why Spock didn’t opposed to that and was the one willing to freeze the volcano ?
Oh, certainly because if he did, Kirk wouldn’t have lost his command. Kirk is not a senior officer, isn’t he ? So loosing his command turns him into the first officer to Pike and allows him to be at Starfleet Meeting. With Spock who didn’t knew he was reassigned… So they are senior officers ? What the h… ???
At this meeting, how did he made the link between a bag on the picture (that will not be mentioned anymore, but nice 3D picture…) and the fact they are all gathered in the room ?
The room… I am not into this kind of situations, but when government or military officers are gathered for a highly important meeting during a crisis, they should not be on the last floor of a building, opened to any kind of air attack without any protection (come on, not a single guard, no restricted area for any aircraft ? ).
Khan shot the building from a single-person helicopter-like aircraft (or whatever). Once disabled, the aircraft crashes. Then, Scotty finds the teleportation device, shows it to Kirk and Spock to find out the coordinates… Wait a second… Khan just shot the top Command of Starfleet and nobody secured the crash site ? Anyone can wander around, search the wreckage and go away with a loot ?
So in the next scene, Kirk convinces Marcus to let him chase down Khan, but sending a Starfleet ship to Kronos is a highly dangerous mission as this is Klingon territory. Wait, Khan teleported on Kronos… Why send a ship with an exploration team and not teleport a military commando there ?
By the way, is it “Kronos” or should it be Qo’noS ? The later is pronounced “Kronos” in English and is the homeworld of the Klingon specie and capital of their Empire… Did Khan teleported there and is Starfleet organizing a raiding party against the capital of the Klingon Empire ?
When the Enterprise arrives next to Kronos, they have an engine malfunction. We’ll learn that it was sabotage. But no suspicion of any traitor aboard ?
On Kronos, Khan shows himself as a super-soldier, has the advantage against the Enterprise crew and surrenders when he is said they have 72 highly lethal torpedoes. Torpedoes that Scotty didn’t accepted on board. And no one wonders what is IN those torpedoes until he suggest to open one ???
While on Kronos, this was the landing party, 2 anonymous red-shirt guys came in. Big fight. No one died on screen ? Come on, where is the anonymous and expandable red-shirt dying guy ???
By the way, did you noticed that there was two red-shirt crew in the detention block, both turning their back to the cell of the most dangerous enemy to Starfleet ? Privacy ?
Ok, so, they open the torpedo on a remote planetoid, which is exactly what should be done. A planetoid on which they do not need a space suite. Same gravity as earth, fresh air, no solar threat… Ok…
By the way, those torpedo are moved with a winch on the Enterprise, but on the planetoid, it is out the shuttle and there is only McCoy and Carol Marcus… Did they carried it ?
I still don’t understand why McCoy had to put his hand into the torpedo when Carol Marcus finally defused it from another panel by simply tearing everything out… Yeah, they really needed that weapon specialist…
In the meantime, the plot asks for action near Earth. Who’s on Earth ? Scotty of course. How do we ask him to go there ? Well, make a phone call with the intercom… What is Uhura station again ?
So, Scotty will go to that secret coordinate with a shuttle (how did he got it ? ), get there unnoticed (no radar, no scanner, no guard, yes, this is a secret military station ready for total war against the Klingons…), join the incoming fleet with no question asked and get onboard the USS Vengence…
So, here come the USS Vengence near the USS Enterprise and the enterprise escaping to earth in Warp Speed. How fast is Warp Speed ? Not really because the Vengeance catches up the Enterprise and slows down, but mostly because after shooting it, as the Enterprise get out of Warp Speed in a way that the ship would literally disintegrate, well the Vengeance is slowing down next to it… So warp speed is just having blue lights around ?
Ok, then, shooting again, and then of course, the only hope is Carol Marcus as her daddy wouldn’t kill her. The Enterprise is heavily damaged, the shields are down, the communications are visual, why nobody figured out that the Vengeance will teleport her onboard at the moment she would talk ???
Ok, time to destroy the Enterprise. Eh, no… Scotty was onboard and shut down the power from the blasters. Only from the blasters. Why only now ? We’ll see that there is barely no one on the ship, he could have done it before and spare the life of several dozen of digital crew members thrown to outer space.
And of course, Scotty reveals himself to Kirk and no, the Vengeance does not spot the transmission.
As in any movie, we saw that space if totally approximative. So is time. As the power will be restored in 3 minutes, this includes a one minute run to the hangar, the flight of Khan and Kirk from the Enterprise to the Vengeance (why didn’t theEnterprise moved closer ??? ), taking off their suite, going all their way to the bridge with at least one fight, and getting there at the last minute. 3 minutes…
Oh yes, about the guard who threatened Scotty. First, why was he there ? Second, why didn’t he reported his finding as the power source of the blasters have been turned off ? Do you really ask to an unknown person in a restricted crew battle ship who he is ? Third, is pulling the trigger longer than turning around to punch a button ? And finally, as the door opened, how does it comes he didn’t got into Khan or Kirk ?
So, Kirk takes control of the Vengeance… Hem, no, Khan takes control of the Vengeance… He demands that the Enterprise lower its shields (ok, where did the power source came from to have any shield now ? ) so he can teleport his crew on the Vengeance. Time, approximation, you remember ? How long is it supposed to take to unload 71 torpedoes, safely open them, take off the survival chamber, rearm them and reload them in the tubes ? According to the movie, less than a minute…
Kaboom, yeah, great, is it over now ? Well, no of course, the engine is so damaged that the Enterprise is falling on Earth because of the gravity. What ? Yeah, remember, the Enterprise got out of Warp Speed at 237,000 km from earth. That is an impressive number, but you know what ? The moon is 384,400 from Earth…
So, all this fight took place at a distance from Earth closer than the moon and no one sent a message to Starfleet, or took a phone call… Or simply teleported on Earth !!! Similarly, no one on Earth noticed two Spaceships fighting each other ? Guys, if you cannot spot a vessel less than 300,000 km from Earth, how do you expect to fight a war against the Klingons ?
So, now the Enterprise is trapped into earth gravity and is falling down like an elevator. This is also a fun fact about time and space described in details in the next section. Lets just say for now that they have to save the ship by restarting the engine while everyone disobey the captain’s order to abandon ship (how, saucer separation ? And why should they save the ship ? Why didn’t they abandoned as the Vengeance blasters where dismantled ? ). So here comes the run trough a really amazing Spaceship. This is a better design than any cruise ship. And to go from the bridge to the engineering, you have to go trough something that looks like a refinery with a load of dangerous tanks, pipes, and of course, trough footbridges and dangerous stairways. Is this a spaceship or a platform video game ? Or was it designed the same way as the NSEA Protector in the movie Galaxy Quest (great one, if you haven’t seen it, you have no excuse anymore).
Of course, one of the action is to push a lever which is on a control panel but under the main board which must be dismounted… Have you seen the size of that switch which is not a main switch on a simple control panel ?
When Kirk dies after saving the day in the highly contaminated engine chamber while no one suited up to help him, McCoy has the great idea to use Khan’s blood. Of course, he tested it on a bull of fur earlier, saying that the blood has the power to revive dead cells. Ok, so first, they found a cure against death with Wolverin’s… Sorry, Kh’ans blood ? Hem, no, forget that… The fun part is that McCoy asks that one of Khan’s crewmen is taken off his cryogenic module but kept in hybernation (how can they do that ? ) to preserve Kirk’s body. But earlier, when they discovered what was hidden into the torpedoes, McCoy said that they are not able to… How did they learn ?
Meanwhile, Khan decides to crash the Vengence on Starfleet Command. Not while the Enterprise was falling, but right after so they can pursue him. So yes, the ship crashes in San Francisco Bay, destroying several buildings, certainly killing thousands… And Khan jumps out of the ship, unquestioned, runs away in the rest of the city where no one seems to have noticed the crash of a large Spaceship and the destruction of several buildings…
And of course, we have to finish with the useless last fight and the dozen of stun shots unable to stun Khan even if a single one was enough on the Vengeance. How to knock down a very tough Khan ? Just take a solid object in your hand…
By the way, congratulation Chekov. You where unable to beam up Khan as he moved to fast, but was able to beam down Uhura on a fast moving aircraft…
So yes, there are a lot of plot holes in this movie. You really don’t have to take care of most of them, but some are really annoying. Oh, and more specifically…
Fun with maths
Sheldon Cooper would love those facts. So, at the end of the movie, the Enterprise is caught in Earth attraction and, because of the gravity, starts falling. Well, the first question is why in the future, Starships needs power to stay still near a planet rather to enter an orbit so they would not need such power. But lets say that out of the orbit, the ship is falling down. They are 237,000 km from Earth, 2/3 the distance between the Earth and the Moon. How long would it take to reach the earth ? Well, lets see how long the journey from the Moon to Earth took for the Apollo 11 mission. 30 hours… Would the gravity be stronger than a propelled spaceship ? Otherwise, they have 20 hours left, where’s the rush ?
On the other hand, how long was the fall ? 15 minutes ? 30 ? Lets give them 30 minutes. That is an average speed of 111 km/s or 111,000 m/s. That is not totally insane as in orbit, the speed of our satellites is approximatively 7,500 m/s but they have to slow down to 100 m/s when entering the atmosphere. Even if we suppose that the Enterprise does have a strong shield that prevented it from disintegration at that speed, when entering the atmosphere, they are only 100km high. At the speed of 111,000 m/s, they have only… one second left before the crash…
Time, space, movies… Who cares ?
Plot ? Oh, should we have a scenario out of the action scenes ?
As we saw, the villain here is Khan Noonien Singh. But the movie is based on the Wrath of Khan movie and rewrites the awakening of Khan. So, the crew seems not aware of the Eugenics Wars and the danger of this character. There is nothing to suggest the real ambitions of Khan. So, how to reveal this to the crew ?
Well, lets make a phone call to a Friend, especially the one who is aware of all the spoilers… As there is no much time left between all those action scenes, Mr Spock will explain everything to Mr Spock…
Even if it is nice to see Leonard Nimoy again, I think that this is the most ridiculous way to try to link to the original story.
Useless half naked charcter
What is the purpose of Carol Marcus character ? For this movie, she is a weapon specialist which is not that useful to defuse a torpedo (as she just tear everything out). We can also assume that Scotty would have inspected the torpedoes. As the Admiral daughter, she is a great asset for the negotiations to spare the Enterprise… but she’s teleported on the Vengeance within a minute which makes that scene useless.
Actually, Carol Marcus is a major character in the original Star Trek as she and Kirk where in love and had a son. David Marcus along with her mother will work on the Project Genesis, which is a secondary but important plot in both Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock movies. Without this background, there is no need to introduce this character. Oh… Yes, there is one…
Of course, there should have been the girl in her underwear scene. This is essential shot of Alice Eve as this would be the teasing picture of any blog post. After all, you wanted to see it, you had to go all down the post 🙂
Into Darkness and the original chronology
Most viewers know Khan from the acclaimed movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan released in 1982, but Khan first appeared in the episode 24 of the original series, Space Seed, released in 1967. The plot of Into Darkness is close to the movie, so the Enterprise didn’t found the SS Botany Bay (it was found by Section 31) and this is the first encounter between Kirk and Khan. As in the original story, Khan was awake by the crew of the Enterprise, in this version, he was by Admiral Marcus. So, in this version, Khan seeks vengeance against Marcus, not Kirk. Also, Khan still haven’t got the chance to reveal himself as the conqueror he should be. This is why this story is unfortunately far less complex as the original one. This and the other stories such as the relation between Kirk and Carol Marcus.
Among others, there is a detail that was kept in the scenario : Khan is 300 years old. Into Darkness takes place in the year 2259 so 300 years means the second half of the XXth century. If this is consistent with the original story, as the Eugenics Wars took place between 1992 and 1996, that story was written back in 1967 and 1982. Today, in 2013, this timeline does not fit anymore.
Finally, the most obvious reference to the Wrath of Khan movie is the sacrifice in the engine chamber. Of course, inverting the characters is a good idea which definitely does not work. All the meaning of this sacrifice is point out Kirk and Spock’s friendship which had no time to establish in the reboot. When Spock dies in Wrath of Khan, you are affected as you are loosing one of the best character. You still don’t know that the Genesis project will save Spock. In Into Darkness, you saw Khan save a girls with his blood, you heard McCoy speaks about it. You know that Kirk will be saved, and because the franchise is only at its second movie, he must be.
Into Darkness is not a bad movie. It is a good entertainment, really. It is if you do not consider it as a Star Trek movie. Because it is a very bad Star Trek movie. Even if he is a white british guy, Benedict Cumberbatch is a very good Khan, unfortunately, in a very bad scenario. Unfortunately, J.J. Abrams seems to totally ignore all the Star Trek background, focusing only on some cool spots. Beware Star Wars fans, you are next…