A little more than four years ago, the J.J. Abrams–directed, franchise-rebooting Star Trek arrived in theaters to the breathless anticipation of a millions-strong fan community simultaneously filled with the hope they'd found themselves an energized, engaged custodian willing to respect Gene Roddenberry's sacrosanct vision, and the palpable fear that a big-timing Hollywood interloper was about to ruin everything they'd ever cared about, then escape through a wormhole made of money before they could exact their revenge for the appalling desecration. But Abrams said all the right things (except, you know, for letting it slip that he was always a Star Wars guy) and delivered blockbuster entertainment enjoyable by both the hard-core Trekker and the casual summer blow-’em-up-real-good moviegoer. The new, revitalized Star Trek opened to $75 million at the American box office and eventually finished its domestic run with a phaser-engorging $257 million. A franchise was reborn.
And so we fast-forward to stardate 05.16.2013 (note: not a valid stardate), four summers hence, and Abrams has returned to deliver the inevitable sequel, in fulfillment of the contractual prophecy etched into the wall of a Spock-sheltering ice cave by an advanced race of business-affairs aliens. Can Abrams once again pull off the massively profitable trick of satisfying both the core and summer audiences before tearing off his loosely affixed latex Vulcan ears, slipping into a Jedi robe, and taking stewardship of his childhood obsession? And, most important of all, should you support this latest Trek adventure with your ticket purchase? We're here to answer some questions and help you make the best-informed decision possible.
Dina & Lindsay Lohan: Dina's weird Dr. Phil segment continues to ripple dark energy throughout the Lohaniverse. "Dina was obviously high on something. It's hard to tell whether it was drugs or alcohol. It's very inappropriate to go on a TV show in that state. She must have done it because she knew Dr. Phil was going to ask hard questions about her parenting." Or because she's just permanently slizzered. The episode, in which Dina "seemed intoxicated as she flailed her way through the interview" with Dr. Phil, "makes it clear that the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree." This is all just sad, and has been for a long time.
Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci share an office — and a spacious desk — in a largish bungalow on the Universal Studios lot. The ceilings are high, the décor is film-geek-made-good — vintage posters for Michael Powell's Peeping Tom and General Dynamics, a giant Iron Man head, a circa-1983 stand-up Star Wars arcade game, couches you could hibernate on.
This is what a comfort zone looks like: Kurtzman and Orci, who met nearly 20 years ago in a film class at the Crossroads School in Santa Monica, got here by writing blockbuster entertainments both large (J.J. Abrams's Mission: Impossible III and Star Trek) and gargantuanly large (the first and third Transformers films). Together, they're responsible for something like $3 billion in box office revenue. Even their last bomb, 2011's Cowboys & Aliens, grossed $174 million worldwide. There's a black Porsche sitting sleek and Decepticon-like in Kurtzman's parking space out front.
Tracy Flick, Captain Kirk, and Bane make up the points of a love triangle in this broad action-comedy from director McG. Fill up on heavy artillery, CGI schlock, and neck-swiveling double takes while Chelsea Handler salts the rim with her patented zingers about being slutty and drunk. I'll probably watch this eventually, but it should be said that I would watch a movie of Tom Hardy's beard growing for two hours (This Means Fur).