Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

The biggest issue with reviewing and discussing Star Trek Into Darkness is that, through some shrewd marketing, it has managed to conceal a fairly big second act reveal, that most people managed to guess before the title was even announced, but that a lot of people won’t want spoiled. The thing is, in order to discuss it properly, I kind of have to bring it up. So, here’s the thing; I’m gonna give you a basic rundown of my opinion, and then back up my opinion past a cut. Do not click on the cut if you don’t want a major spoiler.

So then, my general opinion: It’s…not very good. I was not a big fan of the 2009 Star Trek film, but Into Darkness definitely falls short comparatively. It’s got some good points (the action scenes are still pretty good, the soundtrack is legitimately great and the cast is mostly good. But it’s issues, namely a weak script, poor plotting and an overreliance on winking references to the series on which it’s based. So, if you’re looking for my opinion, it’s definitely not worth it.

So. Now we discuss the movie. If you don’t want spoilers, turn back now. Last chance.

The bad guy is Khan. That’s it, that’s the big reveal. The thing we all assumed they were going to do since they announced they were doing a sequel to the 2009 Star Trek movie is the big reveal. Yeah. And it’s all downhill from there folks.

This actually winds up being a big problem with the movie, as it’s centered around a lengthy and kind of meaningless twist. Yes, we all know who Khan is, but he’s meaningless in context of the movie; He’s not an extension of the TV series, he’s just an extended reference to the original series, and he’s far from the only one.

As for the plot, well it doesn’t make a metric ton of sense, which is one of the ways it falls short of its predecessor. A villainous guy, IE John Harrison, IE Khan, is running around causing trouble, and Kirk and company are sent out to the Klingon homeworld to bring him in. But it turns out that Khan was unfrozen by Admiral Obviously Evil (I’m sure he has a name, but I don’t care) who thinks the Klingons are gonna start some shit soon and Starfleet had better get it’s shit together. So he’s using Khan to create a crisis to militarize the Federation.

So obviously, that’s a problematic setup, and it only gets worse, because of course Khan has “His Own Agenda™.” And around the time it’s revealed Khan “Wanted To Get Captured™” (a cliché I am legendarily tired of) the movie begins to collapse. This is even before we get to the movie’s baffling decision to essentially recreate the entire end of Wrath of Khan, but flipped, all of which leads into the stupidest endings I have seen all year. And that’s before we get to the incredibly weak script and the increasingly irritating shout outs to the original series.

On the acting side, things are pretty solid, with a few hiccups. Chris Pine is still really off as Kirk, and yeah I know Shatner’s not exactly a good actor either, but that doesn’t excuse Pine from sucking. Quinto is a little better than in the last movie, mostly because he’s freed from the burden of having Actual Spock™ hanging around showing him up. Zoe Saldana appears to be growing as an actress, and as before Karl Urban and Simon Pegg walk away with every scene they’re in. But the real let down is Benedict Cumberbatch, which I know isn’t going to win me a lot of friends on the internet. He’s not bad, in fact he’s pretty damned good, but the script keeps letting him down and keeping him from having a consistent character. From scene to scene, he’s either a psychopath, an anti-hero or a criminal genius, and none of those things intersect. And he doesn’t seem to have really been cast for any good reason, other than his slight build but deep voice gives him an interesting screen presence. And while I like Peter Weller as an actor a lot, his performance as Admiral Evil leaves a lot to be desired.

Apart from that, what do you want me to say? The action sequences are still really good, although nowhere near as good as Iron Man 3’s. The SFX is well done, although I will say it annoys me that when the Klingons finally show up, they look like the worst sort of Uruk-Hai knock off. It’s not terrible, and I’ve certainly seen worse movies, but all the logical issues and story problems make it an irritating chore to watch. I really cannot recommend you go see this.

Elessar is a 23 year old Alaskan born cinephile and did they ever justify why the tribble was there on the Enterprise? Or did I just miss it?

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