Since it’s the weekend, let’s have a bit of pop-culture fun picking away at one more thing about “Star Trek: Into Darkness” that bothered me. It’s a spoiler, so even though the movie has been out for weeks, if you haven’t seen it and want to remain spoiler-free, click away now.
An aside to give the spoiler-averse time to bail: isn’t it a bit ironic that the IRS used “Star Trek” as the setting for one of its ridiculous, wasteful training videos? Granted they set it during the Kirk-Spock era when they were still using credits, getting into drunken fistfights with aliens on a regular basis, shagging every humanoid female they encountered, and other manly pursuits, but by the time Jean-Luc Picard took over, he made a point of boasting that the Federation doesn’t have money any more. They had turned their back on the acquisition of things, you see, in order to pursue personal fulfillment. So what’s the IRS like in Kirk’s era, let alone Picard’s?
So, anyway… Khan Noonien Singh is a whiter-than-white British guy who talks like he’s trying to make himself heard in the cheap seats at the Old Vic now? Not that I envy anyone asked to fill the boots of the mighty Ricardo Montalban, but what the hell, J.J. Abrams? Was Javier Bardem unavailable? (I wonder if there’s a blooper-reel scene where New Spock wraps up his conversation with Old Spock by describing Khan, and Leonard Nimoy says, “He looks like what, now? Nah, that’s not the same guy at all.”)
This seems like an abuse of the blank check Abrams wrote himself with his first film’s time-travel idea. He’s got a huge opportunity to play with any aspect of Star Trek canon that occurred after Captain Nero returned from the future and blew up Vulcan, but instead he’s got to mess with Khan’s identity in a manner clearly inconsistent with established Trek history from long before that point in time. (By which I mean Khan’s appearance, behavior, and personal history, not so much the way he was discovered in cryo-sleep by Nutjob Admiral Robocop’s minions, rather than the Enterprise. Although come to think of it, how does Nero’s alteration to history explain that?)
All the cool stuff Abrams could be doing… and he had to dig up a character who was just fine as he was, and retell a story that was much better the first time.