A friend told me that I have been reviewing too many things lately and this has made me cynical and jaded. He used words like “your problem is.” So I took that to heart and stepped back after ranting for an hour about J. J. Abrams Star Trek Into Darkness. How could I fix this? Could I step back and look at films and books anew, with fresh eyes that do not compare everything I see to other works, to examples of when something was done with style and class rather than with flashy lights and computer lens flares? To fix this, I am dividing myself into three distinct reviewers. They will separately view the movie from inside my brain and come up with their own thoughts and feelings.
And to warn you right now, one or two of these reviewers is gonna spoil major plot points in this movie because he is kind of an a%^hole.
SPOILERS AHEAD, YE HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Shall we proceed? Tough s*&t, here we go.
10 Year Old, Never Seen a Sci-Fi Movie Before But Can Get the Concepts
HOLY... WHAT THE... THEY MAKE MOVIES LIKE THIS?! This was amazing! I mean, when my friends and I watch those old television shows we have fun because its the future, but this was awesome! There’s a good guy and a bad guy and I’m not sure why but an old guy that is bad and he’s in an evil Enterprise and they go zooming through space and the get knockout out of light speed or whatever and that was awesome!!!! Then the spaceship crashes into America and is all BOOM and it was AWESOME!!!!!. And the people fight and Spock is all like I’m mad and he takes the bad guy and he beats him up even though the bad guy is really bad but there’s kung fu and stuff. The bad guy is so bad that he can get shot and stuff and not get hurt and that’s awesome! Man the future’s gonna be cool!
Dude Who Has Seen Enough Movies to Recognize Plot, Structure, and How Movies are Made But Does Not Care As Long As There’s Space Boobs and “Shootin”
Let’s get this out of the way: Alice Eve and Zoe Saldana are super mega hot and there’s two cat ladies. Not gonna lie, best special effects of the movie.
Now that that’s done, this story is well told, the acting is above par, and this summer action movie does exactly what its supposed to: come out in summer, throw action all over the place and be a spectacle. The cast meld into the characters and at no point did I not question why each of them was chosen for their roles. Special mention to the booming voice of the villain of the piece, Benedict Cumberbatch, who took a fairly light role in terms of what he does onscreen and made it very memorable. The worst of the cast was Peter Weller who’s acting was kind of hammy at times yet in no way diminished the film. Being the “worst of this cast” is akin to being last in the graduating class in Harvard; you still got a degree from Harvard.
The special effects and action of this movie took what the first movie did and ramped it up to eleven. Some would argue that the ship is a cast member all in its own, getting grand treatment in shots where it rises from water and falls from the sky. This movie at times is action porn, throwing brilliant sequences that marry practical, cast and digital effects to create events that should be unfilmable. Special mention goes to the jump between ships as I had genuine concern for the characters at this point. However, it seems noone has told J. J. Abrams to cool it with the lens flares. At one point Alice Eve is acting her ass off and at the bottom of the screen is a lens flare that I thought for a moment was gonna be a damn name tag like she was on a 90s game show. The flares were less, but still present to a distracting degree.
The script and dialog are well done, except for the last thirty minutes. Everyone’s motivations are well intentioned and the attempts at greater themes are well done, yet fall flat. The movie focuses on Kirk and Spock learning their roles on the ship and in the crew, the former learning about leading his crew and the later about being an emotion member of the crew as family. These goals are noble and as said before, the actors commit and pull off every scene they are given, but the weakness of the script to commit to permanent chains of events leaves the realism, the science, out of this science fiction movie and leans it back into television standards for story with a handy reset button at the end for our main crew. But more on that in a bit.
Overall a good movie that suffers from a memory.
Guy Who Is Wondering Where the Corpse of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Got Buried After They Tore Out Everything But Its Heart
Guy 2 up there mentioned a problem with the script in the last thirty minutes. Here’s the problem: they stole the shit outta Wrath of Khan. Just snuck up behind it, cracked it over the head and rifled through its pockets, pulling out everything good and using it for its own nefarious purposes. The moments near the end are gross and unnatural to the story they were telling to the point where anyone who knows the former movie is just seeing the theft and not the story or acting, which is a disservice to both the fans and the actors.
And let me say this: I do not have a problem with Khan being the villain. Cumberbatch acts the hell out of him and they justify why he’s doing what he’s doing very well. I am not convinced this needed to be Khan, but I have no problem with it as Khan. And yes, Ricardo Montalban did look silly way back when, which makes it even more of a testament to how tight the script and acting was that Wrath of Khan still holds up.
What I have a problem with is the yelling of Khan’s name by Spock and Kirk dying and then coming back. Both of those moves angered me on a fundamental level. I sat in the movie, thinking, “Oh, they can’t be... well they started word for word... yep, we’re doing this, we are straight up doing the death scene,” and that’s all I kept thinking about. And that sucks, that sucks that I was so distracted because Pine and Quinto were kicking ass on a scene that was well done but I was hating. The recycling, the theft, the loss of a new idea and of originality in big budget cinema is no more punctuated but in this scene and the moment right after when Spock screams “Khan.” That scream is a joke in our culture now, despite its actual poignant and political use in the original movie, and by using that scream with that scene the writers and director were punctuating the joke, and that joke is the death of a main character that did not stay that dead so long after all and that they can tell the same stories over and over and call it homage. This was sick and mean and I just hated every moment of this lazy attempt to tug at my heartstrings by recreating something I can watch whenever I want because we live in a world where on-demand media exists. Do you hear that Hollywood? Stop remaking things I love, just make the things I love available and go make more new things for me to love.