Though I haven't seen Star Trek Into Darkness a second time, I've been having second thoughts. They're really extrapolations of my first thoughts. The most serious has to do with the portrayal of Starfleet in the JJA universe. It's not Gene Roddenberry's Starfleet certainly. Is it Star Trek's?
What I've come more slowly to realize is the significance of this. It's one thing to have a renegade officer who is twisting Starfleet's intent (the Peter Weller part). But it's quite another to signal and suggest that Starfleet itself is a Nazi-like military organization.
Gene Roddenberry and others of his generation would certainly realize what this meant. Though Roddenberry flew bombers against Japanese targets in the Pacific, the ideology of the Third Reich in Germany was a major motivation for many fighting that war. The Nazis were a military machine dedicated to conquest and specifically to subjugating inferior peoples, because they were the Master Race. (More than ironic considering what Khan represented.) Eight million Jews and countless others were actual victims, but the Slavs and other "inferior" humans were the next targets. The threat to American democracy and way of life was felt to be first of all from Hitler.
As you can see, the shapes of the Starfleet hats and the Nazi hats are exactly the same. The high peak is quite distinctive. Nothing remotely as military has appeared as a Starfleet uniform in any previous film or TV show, let alone one that so clearly suggests the Nazis. It could not have been an accident.
Repudiating the Master Race, the ethic of conquest and subjugating weaker peoples, were fresh in the minds of at least some of the Star Trek creators, for the Nazi era was part of their life experience. These elements were likely to be major motivations in Starfleet and the Federation as alternatives, as models for a better future.
The movie eventually supports an alternative to these perceived evils, though the Starfleet assembled to hear Captain Kirk at the end are still wearing those uniforms.
So how far into darkness is this movie suggesting the Star Trek universe has gone? Is it too far to still be Star Trek? And another (and related point): when LeVar Burton recently said that Gene Roddenberry was missing from this movie--by which I assume he meant his vision of the future, and of Starfleet--is this even worse than that? Is it a pointed repudiation? It's hard to look at these two photos and not wonder.
In the news...
The speculation on the new Doctor began quickly, and if the rule holds true this time, you can pretty much forget anybody who is being touted now, they never get the part. For all the sense it makes that it's time for a person of color or a woman to play the Doctor, fan sentiment seems largely for traditional types. A professional poll in the UK affirmed this, and also found that David Tennant is the favorite Doctor of some 43% of those surveyed, followed by Tom Baker at 16% and Matt Smith at 14%.
In "real" universe news, the announcements that the NASA probe Voyager 1 (V'ger to Trek fans, of course) has left the solar system have so far proven to be premature. Now scientists think it really is, maybe. The data has been mixed, suggesting that the edge of the solar system is a more complicated place than human scientists realized. Which led one to utter my favorite quote of the year: “Nature is far more imaginative than we are.”
In that regard, it turns out that the Enterprise wouldn't need to go to alien planets to discover intelligent plant life, or at least plants that can do math and quantum physics. We've got them right here on Earth!
Meanwhile, there's an interesting new essay on that other Voyager, the Star Trek series, as the "Trekiest" Trek of all. Also a very interesting essay on current thought about technologies for interplanetary and intersteller manned spacecraft, pegged on Star Trek tech.
Also in the real world, there's going to be another Enterprise. The U.S. Defense Department announced at the deactivation ceremony for the current Enterprise, that a new nuclear aircraft carrier being built will be the latest vessel called Enterprise. No date was given for its launch, but it's unlikely to be before the 50th anniversary of Star Trek's Enterprise in 2016.