Orci Responds to “Star Trek Into Darkness” Criticisms

Blu-ray-Osleeve_Template [Converted]While Star Trek Into Darkness did a solid business at the box-office and garnered solid critical reviews, some fans were not happy with the latest journey into the final frontier.

Fans gathered at the recent Las Vegas Star Trek convention ranked the film dead last among the cinematic Treks and TrekMovie’s Joseph Dickerson recently ran an editorial about his perceived issues with the film, and steps he felt could be taken to fix the franchise.

Dickerson argues, “The best episodes of Star Trek never lost sight of this very simple statement, and still provided excitement as well as provocative ideas,” and he goes on to say that the franchise needs “has to once again be about exploring the unknown, about going beyond what we are comfortable with. About moving forward, finding out what’s “out there.”   Dickerson asserts now that the first two films have “put the band together,” that it’s time for the franchise to begin the task of exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new life and new civilizations.

As expected, the commentary has set off quite a bit of debate among Trek fans, and wading into that debate was one of the writers of the last two big-screen Trek outings, Roberto Orci.

In the comments field, Orci says, “I think the article above is akin to a child acting out against his parents. Makes it tough for some to listen, but since I am a loving parent, I read these comments without anger or resentment, no matter how misguided.”

He goes on to add, “Having said that, two biggest Star Treks in a row with best reviews is hardly a description of “broken.” And frankly, your tone and attidude make it hard for me to listen to what might otherwise be decent notions to pursue in the future. As I love to say, there is a reason why I get to write the movies, and you don’t.”

To help defend the latest Trek, Orci invokes statements made by Trek star Simon Pegg this summer in response to fan criticisms of the film.  Pegg said that fans who didn’t like the film could “Frak off.”  (Pegg used a more colorful metaphor in his comments).

Orci also debates several other fan comments about the film, calling several of them “poopy” (again we’re using a different colorful metaphor than the one Orci does because this is a family site) for the criticisms leveled against the film in the comments.

We can understand Orci’s frustration with fandom, but do you think this forum was the correct venue to engage fans?  And should Orci have made the comments he did?  What do you think of the entire debate?

Orci has since issued an apology for his statements via Twitter, but his account @boborci seems to have been shut down and removed now.

Some of his tirade and apology has been preserved in other articles:

Salon.com: “Star Trek” writer unleashes Khan-like wrath on Trekkies
Tor.com: Bob Orci Blows Up At Star Trek Fans For Not Adoring Into Darkness
Blastr: Roberto Orci says he’s sorry for telling Star Trek fans to #@&! off

Fans will get their chance to review the latest Trek feature as it hits home theater today.

However, the release isn’t without its own controversy.  According to several on-line sources, the extras on the disc are scant.  And while Paramount reportedly filmed extras on the making of the latest cinematic Trek for the Blu-Ray release, those extras are scattered across multiple, store-specific releases.  For example, the commentary for the film is not on the physical disc but is instead only available in the digital download on iTunes.    In order to get all the extras, fans may have to buy multiple copies of the film (both physical and digital) from several retail outlets.


  1. Mouldy Squid says

    Orci can say whatever he wants, just as I can say whatever I want (and I say Into Darkness was complete, purile, thoughtless crap that put slick effects over actual story). His tirade, however, smacks of an ego bruised, the whining of a wounded artist who’s work simply “isn’t appreciated by anyone”. Go stomp your feet and have your tantrum, Mr. Orci, the Trekkers have spoken and they have declared STID to be STUPID.

    Yes, it made hundreds of millions of dollars, but so does McDonald’s, and no one would ever declare their food to be good.

  2. Jake says

    Hopefully CBS will “frak off!” and put Star Trek to bed like they were going to do after Nemesis and Enterprise both flopped like a fish. Leave the classics alone. Please stop with all meddling with all these wonderful moments in time because you’re too dumb to come up with something original.

    • Mouldy Squid says

      If only they would. I am tired of reboots and re-imaginings. Do I love Star Trek? Yes. Do I want more of what they are serving me? Absolutely not. I would rather they just kill the franchise and leave us with wonderful memories and re-runs.

      It’s far past time for something original to be done in SF film and television. Too bad no one in Hollywood has the balls, the talent or the imagination to pull it off. No more comic book movies, no more sequels, no more re-boots. Let’s get something new.

      • Kurt in St. George says

        I don’t have a problem with reboots or remakes, it’s crappy reboots and remakes I have a problem with. If there were no reboots we would never have gotten the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight movies. For that matter, we wouldn’t have got the Dark Knight graphic novels either.

        I’m a fan of classic movies, not just science fiction and fantasy films. Have any of you seen The Maltese Falcon (1941) or Wizard of Oz (1939)? Those aren’t the first version of those movies. The Humphrey Bogart Maltese Falcon was the third telling of that story and the first two pretty much sucked. The 1939 WoOz was a reboot and 1925 silent version is too bizarre (and pathetic) to describe in a couple of sentences.

        It’s not reboots that are a problem. It’s the failure by movie makers to understand what made the first property or the original story it came from, compelling to begin with, then finding a way to make it their own.

        Maybe it would be accurate to say that there are too many hacks going for the quick buck that rebooting older successful properties can offer because they’re not talented enough to do more than that.

      • says

        And Magnificent Seven was a wonderful remake of Seven Samurai, and Fistful of Dollars was a masterful remake of Yojimbo. Alas, these days we don’t have a deep enough talent pool of storytellers in Hollywood who can compare to Sturges (either of them) and Leone, and many of the other great directors who understood the importance of the story when making a film, not when the same 5 or 6 writers and directors have their fingers in every big movie because of their reputation for box office results rather than story telling.

        And now you know why I’m more than a little concerned about the next set of Star Wars movies being in the hands of writers and directors who might be more interested in the personal glory of getting to make their mark on the franchise rather than creating the best possible story.

        While the stories Lucas crafted may not have been perfect, he at least was he was internally consistent with wanting to tell the story he wanted. Doesn’t mean he had a sense of story continuity at all, but he was trying to be faithful to the universe he created (even if it pissed the rest of us off).

        What the hell. I’ve become a Lucas apologist in order to grumble about Abrams and to bash Orci around. Gods help me. At least I still have my original trilogy to watch when I need to.

  3. says

    The big thing that astonished me was finding out that both Orci & Kurtzman were not fans of any of the ST tv series, had no real clue about the history or the characters, and apparently seemed none too interested in learning what the core of Trek meant to Gene and the fans so they could come up with a new way to tell stories within that framework, instead of just writing “Die Hard on the Enterprise” 1 & 2 and telling all Trek fans they should be grateful for his deigning to sully his brilliance by playing with the franchise.

    Also, while Orci has opened his mouth many times in the past and proved that thoughtfulness just isn’t one of his strongest qualities, now he’s totally blown all the cred and benefit of the doubt with me that he’d built up from those years of writing on Hercules & Xena. Finding out that he could be working on Locke & Key just disappoints even further.

    • says

      Not true Summer. Both Orci and Kurtzman were fans of the TV series. Orci been a fan from TNG onward.

      From Memory Alpha:
      Orci considers himself a Trekkie, having grown up with a Trekkie uncle (who actually assisted Orci while he was working on the script for Star Trek). Orci has collected a lot of Trek memorabilia over the years and owns many Trek novels, with his favorites being Prime Directive and Spock’s World. Although he enjoys all of the Star Trek series, his favorite (and the one through which he really started getting into Trek) is Star Trek: The Next Generation, which he called “the best television show from [his] lifetime”.

      “There has never been anything on TV that has made sci-fi as relatable and respectable as The Next Generation. The humanity of the situation was never lost in the technobabble. The sci-fi and the character was always intertwined brilliantly and it is an example of how to approach all genre. All genre needs to have as big a character component as it has a genre component; be it sci-fi, be it fantasy, whatever.”


      Kurtzman admits to being more of a Star Wars fan then Trek, but has stated that while he isn’t a Trekkie like his writing partner, he is a fan.

      JJ Abrams has made it clear on more than one occasion that he is a dyed-in-the wool Star Wars fan and only came to love and appreciate Star Trek after sitting down and watching every episode of TOS several times to prepare himself to direct Star Trek.

    • says

      Given from what I’ve heard from some Trek fans, were they drinking a lot while watching the shows? :)

      Collecting a lot of memorabilia does not a true fan of the mythology built up make… I wouldn’t hesitate to collect a lot of cool stuff from Farscape and SG-1, but I know I don’t know the story as deeply as others out there do. And the fact that Orci calls TNG the best TV show of his lifetime kinda proves he needs to get out more. In the late 90s he was writing for a series that was better than TNG (as a whole).

      Nope, not giving him a pass on this one anymore.

  4. says

    I just rewatched the movie today after it arrived via UPS at my home. I have to say, I still like it, and certainly don’t consider it the worst Trek film ever made like those in Vegas evidently did. The film wasn’t perfect, in fact I have only seen three perfect films in my entire 65 years of life, no, make that four – Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia and Blade Runner. So, I am under no illusion as to what makes a great, near perfect film. Of all the Trek movies, of course I am in agreement with most that Wrath of Khan was by far heads and tails above the others in the lineup, but that too was not a perfect film – just near perfect. I can expect that the next one will be what most are looking forward to – going where no man, no one, has gone before, seeking out new life and new civilizations. Why? Because Jim Kirk said so at the close of Into Darkness – and while Jim may exaggerate at times, he will not lie to his friends, family and crew.

  5. says

    I actually rather liked Into Darkness. It wasn’t the best film, but it most assuredly wasn’t the worst. It reminded me on an episode, in that it was short and unepic. But that being said, it was quite watchable. Anyone who says it’s the worst Star Trek film clearly hasn’t watched all of the Star Trek films.

    I admit, it’s not a film I’d go to watch again in a hurry. But it’s not a bad film. I’ve watched bad films, this is not one.

  6. says

    I’m not a Trek fan, everyone knows that, so I had absolutely no interest in seeing either of the new films. In fact, the only Trek movies I’d ever seen in theaters was Wrath of Khan and Search for Spock and the only reason I saw Spock was because of how epic I thought Wrath of Khan was. To this day, Wrath of Khan is the only Trek movie I’ve bothered to watch more than once, and I’ve never been interested in seeing any of the others, and hadn’t planned on watching any more of them, ever.

    The only TNG movie I saw in theaters was Generations, because a Trek fan friend dragged me along. Also, Malcolm McDowell is awesome, and I was a little curious where they’d take the characters. Literally the only moment I remember from the movie is when Picard is walking up the dirt road to where Kirk is chopping wood, because my friend said, out loud so the entire theater could hear, “…Captain’s Log…” which got everyone cracking up. I can’t even recall anything specific about Kirk’s death.

    That said, the big problem Trek fans repeatedly state about the movies is that most of the stories aren’t worthy of being big movie events, that they feel like average or better episodes of the TV series put on steroids to fit on the big screen… it’s artificial, and after the initial wow of seeing them on the big screen, you realize how they were just okay and not everlasting awesome.

    I don’t think it’s wrong for the fans to be annoyed with the studio spending several hundred million on a movie when that money could have given them a few seasons of a new TV series and they would have made that much money and more back on advertising and home video sales.

    How much more “unepic” Trek has to come along before the fan base gives up on any new movies, no matter how shiny the wrappings?

      • Kurt in St. George says

        Hell, I am a Star Trek fan and I can’t remember Kirk’s death either. Didn’t he fall through a hole in the Enterprise or did something fall on him, or was it both?

        The best thing I can say about Generations is it’s success at the box office allowed First Contact to be made, which while far from perfect hit all the right emotional notes for a Next Gen movie

  7. Sean From Edwards says

    I rewatched this last night after borrowing it from a friend, thinking, hey maybe I missed something in the theatre. Nope, still sucks donkey sack. I am not even approaching this as a trek fan, I am not one, but as a fan of sci-fi and well written stories to begin with. My issues with the latest trek films is not that they “disrespect” the trek franchise or heritage but with the poor writing and plotting. The first one was basically Star Wars crossed with the first Star Trek movie but without the heart of either. The sceond one was a blatant rip off of Wrath of Kahn, but with none of the backstory to give it the emotional impact.

    The movie had plot holes in it large enough to fly V’Ger through. Even then another writing pass could have corrected a lot of those. Heck these are some small changes I proposed long ago that would have greatly improved the movie:
    1) At the beginning to do not have the big-E under water, aside from the issues of putting a space ship under water, and having people swim down hundreds of feet, it makes no logical sense to land a starship with teleporting ability on a planet. Instead have the Big-E make an atmospheric insertion to rescue Spock from the Volcano due to the interference caused by the ash cloud.
    2) Get your technobabble right, Cold Fusion is a form nuclear power generation that can be done at room temperature, not a something that freezes lava, and that is just one example.
    3) Instead of Starfleet demoting Kirk, simply have Admiral Pike transfer his flag to the Enterprise. Remember Kirk is the hero who saved Earth, a demotion, especially in the wake of a terrorist bombing would be a huge moral blow to all. Have Pike explain that he will be there to watchdog over Kirk and keep his decisions on the right track. Also when they meet up in the bar, have Pike make reference to Kirks service before joining Starfleet, maybe on a merchant ship as second or first officer, closing that gaping plot hole from the first film.
    4) When Harrison attacks the HQ have help arrive sooner, this is Starfleet HQ after all, and when he teleports out make the device burn out giving only a rough vector that he teleported out on. This can then be used to state that he used Scottys tech to teleport onto a passing freighter outside of the system, like maybe a Tellerite, Orion or other race. Harrison then hijacks the ship and takes it to the Klingon Home World. State that it will take the ships x number of days to reach Kronos, say 4 days, but that the Enterprise can catch them if they leave now.
    5) When loading the torpedoes onto the Enterprise let Scotty still protest, and make it clear that Kirk is upset because they have already lost a day waiting for the torpedoes to arrive and all supplies to be loaded. Introduce Carol Marcus (via Alias) at this point as being the expert in charge of the weapons, still have Scotty “quit.”
    6) Give chase to Harrison, but he reaches Kronos ahead of the Enterprise, Enterprise intercepts the freighter and borrows one of their shuttles to capture Harrison, giving them a cover story. Insert a throwaway line about how Kirk has time to cool his head and not fire the super torpedoes, instead opting to capture Harrison because he is realizing that something is rotten inside Starfleet.
    7) All Kronos scenes can remain the same but make reference to the area they find him in being irradiated, either from an accident or war, so they must limit their time there, even the discovery of what is in the torpedoes as the Enterprise is heading back to Earth.
    8) Dont have Bones inject the tribble, that is just bad science, instead just have him make reference to Kahns healing ability, stating that is why he was able to stay so long in the irradiated zone of Kronos where they found him.
    9) After Harrison/Kahns interrogation, where he reveals the location of the Vengeance shipyard, have Kirk contact Scotty, quitting was all a ruse as Kirk was suspecting something amiss before they left, and had Scotty stay behind to investigate. Scotty then uses the experimental teleporter, which he repaired to teleport into the space dock of the Vengeance undetected, and as a little joke a small beagle appears right after him, he picks it up to see that the tag reads Porthos III the dog that he teleported prior to the first film, which got him exiled.
    10) Have the Vengeance intercept the Enterpise on their way to Earth, and give chase, culminating with the battle over Earth. Even have ADM Marcus taunt Kirk that he sent the fleet away to reinforce the border and prepare to strike Klingon targets, ADM Marcus will be the real big bad in this.
    11) Still have Scotty disable the Vengeance allowing Kirk and Kahn to board, even have Kahn still kill Marcus and teleport Kirk, Scotty, Carol and Porthos back to the Enterprise. Have him teleport the torpedoes back aboard, but once they explode have Kirk, whose ship is crashing towards Earth appeal, to his humanity, like he did for Nero, and promise Kahn to help his people if he helps Kirk save his ship.
    12) Kahn then makes the noble sacrifice to repair the warp core of the Enterprise before it can crash. Have Scotty make reference to how long he was gone, a week instead of a day. As the Enterprise is lifting away safely have them try to stop the Vengeance from crashing, but they dont have the power and are too damaged, so all they can do is slow the impact, limiting the damage, otherwise that crash would have been an extinction level event.
    13) Have Kirk make good on his promise shipping Kahn and company off to an out of the way world, Seti-Alpha V, and either show them sometime in the future with Kahn still alive, having healed himself, or as they are being sent off show him smiling in his cryopod.

    What these changes do is make the story more a retelling of Space Seed than Wrath of Kahn, with some TWOK reference still thrown in for good measure. It also allows for a real TWOK type sequel down the road, and for the timeline to do one of two things, given that JJ Abrams is leaving Trek, and allows whoever picks it up after him to make the choice.

    1) It puts Trek back on the track towards the original timeline with minimal changes, SF realizes that things are amiss and really looks at itself and how to fix that.

    2) It allows the series to continue to diverge, but in a more controlled manner, ie. Scottys transwarp teleport is for the most part a one shot deal, they cant use Kahns blood to cure death (the biggest Pandoras boxes they opened in this one), etc There was no way this movie could have made everybody happy, but things could have been done to make it a really great movie, it just kept slipping off the mark.

  8. Kurt in St. George says

    While Mr Orci comes off as an ass, on one level I can understand his frustration. Let’s say you were one of the credited writers or Director of the recent Tom Cruise movie Oblivion. (I haven’t seen it yet, I’ll probably get around to renting it eventually.) That movie’s reviews generally weren’t as good as Into Darkness, and it made less money at the box office. Yet none of the writers or Director of Oblivion has a group of dedicated fans posting to blogs, message boards, saying on podcasts or at conventions how much they hate this movie and how the film makers let them down.

    Of course if Mr Orci was truly a fan of Star Trek as he claims to be, he would have realized that his work would be judged by more than just the usual critics and box office numbers. He would have known about the legion of dedicated Trek fans who would scrutinize his work. At the very least he would have been mentally prepared for the kind of critical judgement he has faced from some of the fans. Reading his petulant reaction to fan criticism makes me doubt he was ever anything more than just a casual watcher of any Trek series.

    My personal opinion is that STID is not the worst Star Trek movie ever made, that dubious award goes hands down to Star Trek Insurrection. It that turkey had been released a few years earlier it could have had an episode of MST3K made from it, its that bad. IMO Into Darkness was the movie equivalent of cotton candy; big, colorful, sugary and completely insubstantial. If you turned your brain off the action sequences were enjoyable, but the best Star Trek; whether movie or TV versions, usually aspired to do more than that.

  9. Mark F says

    I re-watched the movie this weekend with my wife and daughter. I’d seen it when it first came out, but they had not. Neither of them are big Trek fans, but they both enjoyed it quite a bit. I’ve been a fan all my life. I was 5-7 years old during the first run in the 60’s and I remember watching the show with great excitement. For the record, the salt vampire scared me silly back then.

    I liked the movie quite a bit when I first saw it and I still like it after re-watching it. Is it the best Trek film? No. My personal favorite is First Contact. Is it the worst of the bunch? Hell no. On the other hand, Mr. Orci was definitely out of line in my opinion.

  10. Arlen Carlson says

    I think this was one of the best Star Treks. I really don’t get what other Trekkies are sulking about. Simply put, the moment that two individuals crossed permanently into the past in movie #1 (Spock and Nero) , the time-line had been forever altered for good or bad. No story-line henceforward will ever fully replicate the originals at this point, as there is always the premise for something slightly different to happen. Abrams and Orci have been quite successful in making Star Trek something that a new generation can embrace, while hopefully leaving a sufficiently large-number of “call-outs” to us older generation Trekkies. For those that don’t appreciate the latter, then I call you thankless.

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