Really, this post should be subtitled, “How Facebook has ruined a good thing.” I’ll explain why in a bit but first, let is trek into darkness with my review.
The setup: Captain defies prime directive. Captain gets demoted. Terrorist attack hits Star Fleet and thus, demoted captain must be pulled in to kill terrorist with controversial weaponry. Got it? Oh, and terrorist is hiding on a planet of an alien race the United Federation of Planets is on the brink of war with which means, captain risks violating said directive again. Still with us? Alright.
I’m not going to dive in and spring a ton of spoilers here because the purpose of this review is to point out things that helped me decide my feelings on Star trek Into Darkness. And the fact that my brain decided to drop the proverbial bomb while I was making coffee just means I need to write all this down. However, I will say that some spoilers abound since they help move things along. So if you haven’t seen the film, stop here, go see it, and come back.
What Star trek Into Darkness does well from the start is give you a fast-paced narrative that rarely lets up. It did feel like a roller coaster on screen to me which is good; summer movies should feel like a rush that has you wanting to take the ride again and again. When I finished the film, I felt this way. You had some moments where you were reminded of the previous journey in 2009, the deepening of the bonds between the various crew members, a great soundtrack that set the mood of scenes just right, special effects which reminded you why films like this could be fun, and a delicious villain you felt had many layers yet to remove even when it was all over.
Various bits began to add up in my mind as the days flew along morphing my want to see this film multiple times into, “I will buy it. I will enjoy seeing it. But I don’t crave it.” Translation: Like and not love it. what I call the Facebooking of our society because we are geared towards projects which see the bar and meet it and not move it. You like what is presented but you don’t love it.
Why? When you have the core cast of characters acting as they should, the brashness, the logic, the sharp tongues of wit; this should be going down like a nice tall glass of ice tea on a summer evening. And there lies the problem. Star trek Into Darkness never breaks itself outside the box. Instead, we are treated to a bunch of nifty play sets and action figures going over a scenario that doesn’t go far enough while their sandbox gets muddy over time.
While the references to the previous film were nice, we weren’t given a more concrete plot point of, “because all this happened in the previous film, you have to suffer this.” Instead, the focus was squarely on a home grown threat with some connections which to Star Trek fans may have seemed golden but to the average viewer made the awesome looking aquarium murky with these introductions. It is as if the writers saw the line in the sand and decided to not cross it which makes the film suffer as a result. it didn’t help that we had a character who sounded too much like Donald Rumsfeld and at times made decisions which made him look like he was more bark than bite.
Also, the inside jokes and nods didn’t help flesh things out from a storytelling perspective. A bit more background on who the Klingons were; a scene or two making their threat seem more real would have been nice for those in the audience who had no clue of why this alien race even mattered in the grand scheme of things.
the two-edged sword of a villain’s presence turned this from just another ‘trek’ film into something somewhat above the rest. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the role of puppet master perfectly but this also shows how the other characters are overshadowed by his charisma.
Sale’s Pitch: While Star trek Into darkness reworks some of the glory days of the original series and early films, the film does feel fresh in it’s character portrayals and has a villain that is brilliantly complex. However, it suffers from a lack of originality and plays it’s hand too conservatively. a must watch for fans of all that have come before but one that you may have a harder time selling to audiences who haven’t seen any of the franchise. I give it 3 out of 5 redshirts; the last one dying thanks to someone with prodigious strength.
So what are your thoughts on Star trek Into Darkness? agree? Disagree? Want to geek fight about it? Bring it in the comments and share this post at will like seventy-two experimental torpedos!