There’s my Klondike bar! Mm-mm!
That was it? Don’t they carry bigger bars in the squad room vending machines?
Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, if I find out that you’ve been short-changing me, I am going to make your next week a royal pain!!…. You HAVE!!
I knew it! I KNEW it! You HAVE been buying the smaller bars!
Oh, no, you aren’t getting away that easily! I’ve had something special in mind for you for the past few weeks. Now I get to give it to you.
But while I’m plotting my vengeance, we’ll turn to the topic at hand. What do I mean by the little things? I mean all the cute little touches that J.J. Abrams managed to cram into Star Trek Into Darkness, the sequel to his first Star Trek revamp.
One of the big things (unfortunately I had to have this pointed out to me) is that everyone at Starfleet Academy is going around ‘covered’ in this film.
Come on, DiNozzo! You work for NCIS and somehow forget what covered means?!?
Oh, any excuse. Yes, I do mean that everyone in the film, when they aren’t on the ship, is wearing a hat. In Navy terms, they are ‘covered.’ It’s a very nice touch that adds authenticity to the movie, like a scene in the first Star Trek film. When the U.S.S. Kelvin is adrift after the Narada’s first bombardment the captain and George Kirk head to the shuttle bay as the captain prepares to meet with Nero. On their way they pass a woman in a blue officer’s uniform. She stops heading down the stairs, turns to attention, and stays that way until the captain has passed.
It was a very nice touch, but not quite as good as the sequel with everyone wearing a hat.
On another note, Into Darkness sees Chekov assigned to Engineering. He gets told to “Put on a red shirt.” Our favorite navigator swallows nervously at the idea of the responsibility Kirk has just handed him. Meanwhile, the audience swallows anxiously at the idea of him wearing a red shirt. After all, most of the casualties in the original Star Trek series were guys wearing red shirts!! Fortunately, Chekov survives the experience.
This notable trait of Star Trek is reversed sometime later in the film. Kirk’s old sparring partner, ‘Cupcake,’ and his companion are told to exchange their red shirts for trader uniforms. This may be the reason they survive the film. I wonder if they’ll live through the third one?
I’m not making any bets with you, you cheapskate!! You’d probably run off with all the money. Besides, betting on Hollywood is harder than betting on the weather – at least it is when you’re dealing with good movies and their sequels.
One of the other details I noticed was that the trouble on Starfleet’s doorstep began in London. How appropriate – the actor who plays Into Darkness’ villain is Benedict Cumberbatch.
Not only is the man British, he happens to be playing England’s best loved detective, Sherlock Holmes, in a BBC series titled Sherlock. He also plays Smaug and the Necromancer in The Hobbit films alongside his Sherlock co-star and fellow Englishman Martin Freeman, a.k.a. Bilbo Baggins (Watson in the BBC series).
Speaking of Into Darkness’ villain, he’s called Khan. Early on in the film he goes by a different name, but eventually he drops it. When he tells Kirk, Spock, and McCoy his history he mentions that Admiral Marcus (the secondary villain in the feature) found his ship adrift in space and woke him, holding the rest of his crew hostage to force him to cooperate.
In the original series, Khan’s ship was named the S. S. Botany Bay. The name was that of a penal colony near Botany Bay, Australia, in the 1800’s and should have been a warning sign to Kirk, who was an historian.
Another noticeable homage to the series was McCoy’s experiment on a dead Tribble. Anyone who has ever seen the original Star Trek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles” recognized that this overgrown plush puff would be important later on. The Tribbles have enjoyed fame in Trekdom since their introduction, producing a sequel adventure in the animated show of Star Trek that aired after the live-action series was canceled. The episode was so popular they even had the crew of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine revisit the episode. You ought to watch that one, it’s amazing.
Then there’s this line of Spock’s early on in the movie, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” This weighty Vulcan maxim first saw the light of day in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In that same movie, Spock went the extra mile to make sure the Enterprise was saved, despite the protests of Scotty and McCoy.
This leads up to the most serious detail added to Into Darkness. Spock’s death scene is revisited in the film, but with a twist. Into Darkness sees the role reversed, with Kirk the one who ‘sacrifices’ himself to save the Enterprise.
My one quibble with this scene is Spock’s shout of rage when Kirk ‘dies.’ Quinto must have had to redo this part several times. His voice sounds very hoarse and thin when he shouts, “KHAN!” (A further twist on Star Trek II.)
Whew, that’s it; we’re done with the serious stuff. After Kirk comes back – you didn’t really think that they would let him stay dead, did you, Tony? – McCoy tells him not to get a fat head. “You were only mostly dead,” he adds.
The Dread Pirate Roberts sails again!! If this isn’t a nod to The Princess Bride, then I don’t know what is!!
Hey, no comments from the peanut gallery! (Thief.)
Also mentioned in the film is Nurse Christine Chapel. Carol Marcus mentions her in one scene when speaking with Kirk, saying that, “She’s a nurse now. She’s very happy.” Kirk, apparently, had a fling with her between the films and has totally forgotten the woman.
In truth, I can’t blame him. Nurse Chapel was one of the drippiest characters to ever walk onto the original Start Trek’s platform. In the series she had a crush on Spock that was never reciprocated. It led to a lot of embarrassing, unnecessary scenes in several episodes. That’s not to say that I have anything against Majel Barrett, the actress who played Chapel. She’s a good actress. She just got stuck with a lousy part and had to make the best of it.
Another touch that harkens back to the original series is the regularity with which Sulu is handed the con (command of the ship).
Well, your brain blipped into Neverland when I talked about the characters being covered. How could I be sure it wouldn’t happen again? So I’m going to spell out all navy references to you, just to be sure you understand!
The fact is that Sulu gets to command the Enterprise several times in the film as Kirk and Spock run around saving Starfleet. In the original series and movies, this led to him becoming the proud captain of his own ship, the ‘newfangled’ (Scotty’s polite opinion) Excelsior.
Sulu also gets a little extra characterization when he eyes his new navigator. Sulu was known in the series as a dashing flirt and could be found looking Uhura over a few times. This came to a head in the episode Mirror, Mirror, but not in a way either the original Sulu or the original Uhura would have wanted.
The last and greatest touch to the film is the oft mentioned “five year mission.” Early in the show Kirk expects to be handed this fantastic five year deep space exploration mission, only to have Spock’s honesty keelhaul the idea.
At the end of the movie, though, Kirk gets his wish. Starfleet commissions the Enterprise for her iconic five year mission. And if ever a ship was prancing like a thoroughbred at the starting gate, it would be Kirk’s Enterprise. The ship, by all accounts, left dry dock itching to warp into the unknown.
Now she’s going and there’s no holding her back. Which means MORE movies!!
Bring ‘em on!
Well, time for me to leave. And begin my evil plans.
Beg all you want, DiNozzo!! There is no escaping my wrath. You are so going to regret cheating me of my rightful Klondike payments.