Screenwriter Roberto Orci, has made a name for himself in Hollywood (along with his frequent writing partner Alex Kurtzman) with “big, dumb” fare such as The Island, The Legend of Zorro, Mission: Impossible III, Transformers and Cowboys & Aliens. It’s undoubtedly an impressive resume with box office revenue the likes of which few working writers have under their belts and most wish they had.
Orci, 40, if you couldn’t tell from the man’s filmography, isn’t really a writer known for his subtle tendencies. The man writes fast paced, in-your-face films that turn into visually pleasing, but intellectually lacking pictures that have earned him some flak among fans of the series he has written for.
Orci’s latest film, this summer’s Star Trek Into Darkness, the sequel to 2009’s Star Trek, has earned its fair share of praise and criticism from moviegoers of all kinds. A lot of that criticism originates from casual fans to the Star Trek universe, while the majority of the passionate opinions come from the die-hard Trekkies themselves. The various stances, both in favor and ire, both have their merits to be sure, but Orci’s and Kurtzman’s recycling of elements from not only 2009’s Star Trek film but also from 1982’s The Wrath of Khan led many (including myself) to largely dismiss the film as a rather lazy installment in the series, if not the worst of them all, at the very least, not as gratifying as the largely successful 2009 film.
One such fan, Joseph Dickerson, a writer at TrekMovie.com, recently voiced his own opinion on the thirteenth Star Trek film and Orci took notice. Posting in the comments section as “boborci” (and confirmed to be the man himself by site moderator Matt Wright), Orci took the opportunity to engage with the fans.
Things started innocently enough. “Fascinating,” he wrote. Hardly anyone took notice.
That is until he let his fingers fly:
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.
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 (sic) make it hard for me to listen to what might otherwise be decent notions to pursue in the future. Sorry, Joseph. As I love to say, there is a reason why I get to write the movies, and you don’t.
Respect all opinions, always, nonetheless.
The most interesting thing I took out of this paragraph was his “there is a reason why I get to write the movies, and you don’t” comment and the fact that he loves to say so. I can only assume he says it to himself in the mirror every morning when he wakes up and every night, after he brushes his teeth before he goes to sleep.
I hate to break it to you, Bob, but being a produced screenwriter doesn’t give you some undeniable validation that somehow your work is any better than something un-produced or thought from the mind of a fan. That just isn’t how it works.
You’re lucky to be in the position you are.
And if anyone has ever stood on the shoulders of giants to toot their own pitifully small horn, Bob, you’d be it. Into Darkness is a fun movie, sure. But to pretend that 90% of its ideas aren’t culled from other (better!) films is delusional and plain ridiculous. For crying out loud, Orci and Kurtzman resort to using one of contemporary Hollywood’s most popular tropes: the villain who wants to be caught. You can’t go two films nowadays without this ridiculous plot device popping up and Orci’s film contributes to that moronic and lazy screenwriter trick.
The wheel wasn’t reinvented with Into Darkness, it was merely given a fresh coat of paint.
It should come to no surprise that he went on:
Ahmed, I wish you knew what you were talking about. I listened more than any other person behind the Trek franchise has EVER listened. And guess what? Glad I did becuase it lead to 2 biggest Trek’s ever.
You think action and thinking are mutually exclusive. Ok, then. Pitch me Into Darkness. Pitch me the plot, and let’s comapre it to other pitches. Go ahead. Let’s see if you actually understood the movie. Tell me what happened?
It isn’t immediately clear if he wants this fan to pitch his own version of Into Darkness (which would surely have a better title for one) or Orci’s version.
The fan goes on to compare Orci’s Star Trek films and claim 2009’s film was superior and that Into Darkness had a very shallow (and at time unnecessarily confusing) “plot”. When the fan claims another box office hit (in its own day), Raiders of the Lost Ark, had more style, wit and substance to it than Into Darkness, it sent the screenwriter off the proverbial cliff.
Orci no like. Orci mad.
STID has infinetly more social commentary than Raiders in every Universe, and I say that with Harrison Ford being a friend. You lose credibility big time when you don’t honestly engage with the FUCKING WRITER OF THE MOVIE ASKING YOU AN HONEST QUESTION. You prove the cliche of shitty fans. And rude in the process. So, as Simon Pegg would say: FUCK OFF!
Don’t those “shitty” fans pay to see your shitty movies and grant you your God-given right to write movies and not us?
The purpose of these comments are more confusing than Fleet Admiral Marcus’ character arc. Both sides of this argument have probably thought of Into Darkness implications within the Star Trek universe way too much, I can grant that. But Orci’s handling of this situation is baffling at best and flat out ridiculous at worst. I honestly can’t describe it any other way.
Orci listens alright. I’m sure he even read a lot of the comments in that post’s comments section. But I’m not so sure he fully grasped exactly what these fans were saying. When he recognizes a superficially opposing opinion, he shuts down and becomes very defensive, stifling any chance for intelligent debate.
Success has gone very much to his head.
So, congratulations Roberto Orci: you have forever convinced me to steer clear from anything labeled “Written by Roberto Orci…”. There are screenwriters working in and struggling to get in your position that have far more talent than you and some humility would serve you well in the future.