Sunday, May 19, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness: Review

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)
Directed By: JJ Abrams
Written By: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Rated: PG-13
Time: 132 min
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon Pegg

Plot: When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

Comments: For those who know me they know quite well that I love both JJ Abrams and his reboot of the Star Trek franchise, so admittedly I had high hopes for this second installment. After all you had the same cast and crew, Benedict as the villain and what promised to be one hell of a ride. And I loved the idea of a darker Trek. Ooh character development, makes me giddy. What I saw was the potential for a good film that was bogged down in way too much fanservice. Beware SPOILERS  SPOILERS  SPOILERS below.

Now I am a fangirl and I love the little nods to the fans. However, when the dialogue feels stunted and all about punch lines and deliberately pausing after each little fan nod, I just find myself thinking really? Wow, trying a bit hard aren’t you? What happened to the chemistry between characters? What happened to the snappy dialogue that didn’t pause for effect? What happened to my crew?

But I am getting a head of myself. Let me talk about what I loved first. Benedict is a great villain and I love to see him do more things as the man has presence. While I am always going to love Ricardo Maltalban’s Khan and in some ways I think he is the better of the two, Benedict is very believable as the genetically engineered super man. However his Khan is underused in my opinion. We never really get to see his full potential which is a shame as he is one of the best villains in all of Star Trek history. There is a reason why old school Spock is willing to break his rules because he understands how dangerous Khan is. Not to mix fandoms, but I really wanted to see my Sherlock be a bit Moriarty and I never really got to see it all. Sure I got to see the physically superior bad ass, but the scheming intellectually superior, watch the bad guy win and be scared Khan....nope. Again, a total shame as Benedict could have pulled it off and with panache.

I still love the crew, especially Scotty (seriously Simon Pegg is the man and he steals every scene he is in) and the cast is still great. I love some of the action scenes, some of the little nods, love how Pine and Quinto are really becoming Kirk and Spock and really owning these characters. Finally, wow do I want to live in the future world. It is absolutely beautiful. Even as it gets torn to shreds.

So let’s get to the nitpicks and there are a few. I wasn’t expecting a retread of previous films. Ooh sure some roles are reversed but it was disappointing. The first film promised that there were so many directions we could go. But really you had to redo the Wrath of Khan storyline? Yes there are some changes, as I said, but what about boldly going...into a whole new direction? I won’t even start on the magic blood which should prevent death...ever. Seriously we will all be immortals.

And oh dear God do I hate the revamp of the Klingons. They look dumb. Had to say it. I miss my old Klingons. You know, the badasses. The makeup, the costumes...even the Klingon sounded bad which I don’t understand. how can you make Klingon sound bad? And the score...I dig Michael Giacchino, but the score was overpowering in this film and also annoying when it strives for ‘hey feel this’ in a scene instead of complimenting it. Grr Argh.

I think, which I am discovering as I write this, is that this film wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t good either. There are some brilliant moments in the film, ones that made me giddy. But the things that annoyed me, annoyed me way more than it should have. The annoyances took me out of the film and that is never a good thing. I think mostly I am just disappointed, disappointed because there was a good film in there that just got lost. But I also know it will do really well at the box office. I guess I really wanted what the title promised...darkness. But the stakes were never really high enough for me and I know JJ can provide them for me. Just not this time. And those are things I really wanted. I wanted to clutch my chair and whisper to Finn even though we knew it would be okay. I wanted that rush of oh shit you are facing Khan and I know how well that went the first time in that other universe (thank the gods there were no ear bugs this time...seriously nightmares for weeks people). I wanted to be scared for Kirk. I wanted my heart to race, but instead I got a popcorn film.

Rent/Cinema? Cinema. It really is worth watching on the big screen but if you are a Trekkie don’t get too hyped up about it. Just expect a great summer film, but not too much more than that.

3/4 popcorns

1 comment:

Dan O. said...

For all the hardcore Star Trek fans out there who were dissatisfied with the first film for not paying homage to the original series enough, they don’t need to worry because there's enough fan service here for die-hard fans to enjoy. Good review.