I saw Star Trek Into Darkness on Friday, Imax 3-D and did enjoy the movie. For Trekkies this is at least a three out of four star movie. For me, though, this movie was a tremendous disappointment and I can see why it is NOT meeting expectations of the studio. And it is probably J.J. Abrams fault. Frankly, he just played it safe.
The big screen Imax was great, but the 3-D, once again was not essential and only occasionally added to the movie.
If you are new to Star Trek, this movie will not pull you in. If you are a fan, you might find it familiar and comfortable, but the reality is nothing here is new. Frankly, they just rewrote an episode of Star Trek entitled “Space Seed” and worked in the major plot points and themes from Star Trek II, II, and IV. In fact they even borrowed part of the dialogue from those movies. But I am glad they borrowed Leonard Nimoy, it is always wonderful to see him back.
You may not realize this, but there was a “political” slant to the plot and casting to this movie. The fact is Star Trek movies do well in America but not in the foreign markets. So they hired an Englishman, Benedict Cumberbatch, for the villain. They also had back to back action, less talking and less relationships, believing that would sell better overseas. Also, this movie is back to back action, less time on the bridge.
While Zoe Saldana as Uhura and Karl Urbane as Bones have bigger roles than most of the supporting cast, they are still two dimensional and not fully develop characters. The crew, Chekov, Sulu and Mr. Scott come off to me as imitations, if not parodies of the originals. They are very disposable characters. Chris Pine as Kirk is either a bit overwhelmed by the part or was playing the role to appear such, he was made captain in the last movie, but seems to first be getting his footing now. Zachary Quinto is the more dominant player here. (More in the spoiler alert.) In fact, as with the original Spock, he is often given the punch line to most scenes. In enjoyed it when Leonard Nimoy, in a cameo as the original Mr. Spock, tell him what he is supposed to logically do and then tell him what he really has to do!
I certainly don’t mind when references are made to previous pictures, even though this is supposed to be a remaking of a world that no longer exists. For example, there is a constant reference to wearing a red shirt, which used to mean instant death in the TV show! They also introduce a beautiful Carol Marcus, who we all know will have a romantic interlude with Kirk. . .and his child!
MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!
DON’T tell me this was an original motion picture.
This was a major disappointment. They didn’t just rework the aforementioned episode and movies, they even used the same dialogue, and all they did was often reverse the roles between Spock and Kirk. For example, it is Kirk who dies, not Spock.
And any viewer of the original series knew that the villain was going to be Khan. It’s not that they just gave hints; they were redoing major parts of the original episode.
If you recall in Star Trek II, after Khan damages the ship, Spock saves the day but ends his own life. Kirk speaks to him through the glass surrounding the radiation field. The first thing a dying Spock says is, “The ship. Out of danger?”
Here, a dying Kirk asks Spock, through the same glass barrier, “How’s the ship?” Spock replies, “Out of danger.”
In Star Trek II, Spock is put into a Photon Torpedo and he later comes back to life. Did you notice that in this movie they even put Kirk into a similar torpedo until they can bring him back to life? Or, as in in Star Trek III Scotty mucks up the engine room of a federation vehicle pursuing the Enterprise?
There was a modern day Star Trek message about the military-industrial complex that fit well into the story telling. Newcomers may have been confused, properly, about who the real villains here often were. But we knew that Khan was always going to be the bad guy, so had they given us a new villain, it might have had us going too. But they did not.
Again, Trekkies will be very comfortable with this movie. But at any time did you really think any of the starring and supporting crew of the Enterprise was in real danger? Even when Kirk died? You might have been curious, but never concerned.