The Star Trek universe, resplendent in Gene Roddenberry's vision of a
future wherein mankind has finally "got its act together," while its
social and economic problems are generally a thing of the past. Not in
JJ Abrams' universe however, in which a corrupt Starfleet Admiral and a
freshly revived genetically engineered 'John Harrison', an alias for a
more familiar Star Trek adversary, take it upon themselves to create
havoc with savage acts of treason and terrorism respectively.
With seeming discount made to Roddenberry's unique take of Star Trek, evolving around the prevalent Hollywood ethos of filling seats at the local multiplex, Abrams' crafts, what I would term, a popcorn movie with plot-holes aplenty. With its target audience seated in place however, doubtlessly willing to overlook the obvious whilst simultaneously blinded by the startling visuals and 'tacked-on' 3-D (the film wasn't originally shot in 3-D, instead the process being added in post-production) this 'casual' viewer can safely check their brain at the door and, in all likelihood, enjoy...
In this befuddled story, with its foot stuck firmly in Trek's The Wrath of Khan (1982), Into Darkness hauls its audience onto a seeming roller-coaster ride, dragging the viewer from one outrageous action set-piece to another, while its central characters are barely given a chance to 'grow' into their respective roles.
In a likely nod to Trek VI The Undiscovered Country, Sulu is afforded a brief turn in the captain's chair (a role which at least offered the actor some nifty poker-faced dialogue), whilst Chekov is contrastingly tucked away within the pipework-strewn bowels of the Enterprise' engine room. Scotty, meanwhile, refusing to sign for a delivery of conspicuously 'shielded' torpedoes, resigns himself into the background with his unusual but interesting little alien friend. This is clearly Kirk's film however, while his relationship with Spock (and by extension Spock's relationship with Uhura) being about the only things explored here. Worst of all however is Karl Urban's Doctor 'Bones' McCoy, who is virtually confined to pitching nostalgic-tinged quips: "My God man, I'm a doctor not a nuclear torpedo technician," a character so painfully underused here particularly given the actor's obvious talent in this role.
Evolving around two villains, each of whom possessing completely different agendas, 'John Harrison' (Benedict Cumberbatch) and a warmongering Starfleet Admiral (Peter Weller), the latter of whom taking command of a freshly constructed battleship class vessel named USS VENGEANCE. Despite a promising start however, having chased Harrison to his conspicuous Klingon hideout, Kirk is somehow 'manipulated' into seeking the terrorist's help; an inconceivable decision given the character's explosive introduction - which also ignores the obvious danger he poses. And let's not forget the supposed personal anguish felt by Kirk, of which Harrison had been its mastermind. Oh well, things disintegrate further when its finally realised just how incredibly stupid Kirk has been, trusting a known terrorist whilst the viewer, during the film's final reel, is woefully pulled along during their frantic re-attempts at his capture.
With an ending pulled directly out of The Wrath of Khan, albeit with Kirk and Spock on opposite sides of the radiation screen doors, I was beginning feel as though I had been robbed of my admission: the contrived nature of this protracted scene, deriving itself virtually word-for-word from its thirty-year-old original, played out while the audience undoubtedly watched in astonished déjà vu. I use the term 'contrived' given that, not unlike the life-restoring 'Genesis Planet' seen in Trek's The Search for Spock (1984), the answer to Kirk's mortal dilemma was really only a hypo-spray away...
As a Trek fan, I was bitterly disappointed here: the filmmakers might well have just re-shot Nicholas Meyer's film entirely. Sincerely what an utterly shameful and wasted opportunity all this hokum was.
When I emerged from the cinema, I was somewhat stunned; processing what I had just witnessed on-screen. And after having slept on it, I was finally able to articulate the next day. What I had seen wasn't so much Star Trek a series I so dearly love and consider myself a lifelong fan of but some cheap (albeit very expensive, costing well over £120 Million) and certainly pale imitation of a film series that deserved far better scripting and storyline than this. These wonderful characters legendary even each of whom a household name, whilst some having inspired many a fan to seek similar professions in the real world, reduced here to mere caricatures' of their namesakes.
Over-shadowed by the film's ample and certainly showy special effects, these characters seemed stunted and confined instead of simply being allowed to develop properly.
Such a shame. 3 out of 10
Star Trek Into Darkness
Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi
Star Trek Into Darkness
Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi
When the USS Enterprise crew 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 space 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.
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August 26, 2013 at 09:07 PM