Mr Light wrote:
If they didn't have the dune buggy scene, the first hour of the movie would have been almost completely action-less, and the entire movie would have taken place on sets. It opened up the movie and helped the pacing of the first half.
First, you should never have to rely on pointless action scenes in order to have the audience invested in the movie. Second, I'm not saying that having an action scene at this point in the film is a bad idea. I just prefer an action scene that actually does something. If you look at Star Trek II, no action scene is wasted and everything that goes on is essential. You cannot skip Khan's ambush and expect the story to be coherent afterwards. The Enterprise needs to be crippled, and Khan needs to take Kirk more seriously. What comes out shooting the primitive natives of this planet in a Dune Buggy?