Monday, May 27, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness

Photo: One of the many movie posters, from its Wikipedia page

I'd been apprehensive about seeing this movie because the first re-boot hadn't overly impressed me.  In fact, I don't actually remember too much of it.  I remember that I'd thought it was okay, but nothing great, nothing memorable.  I'd also thought it was a tiny bit blasphemous, but actual Trekkies were much more concerned about that than I.  I don't remember the Uhura/Spock relationship from the show or from any of the other movies.  Was that created just in the re-boot?  Someone needs to tell me.  As unemotional as Spock had been in the show and in the movies, I couldn't (and still can't) see him in any kind of romantic relationship.  But, whatever.  That's minor, too.  The biggest thing was how bleh I felt about the first one.  Not something I wanted to waste about $23 for two tickets.

But I was wrong.  This time the movie was very well written, very well directed--and just very well-done.  I won't get too much involved in the plot, since such things are secondary in movies like this, anyway.  But the special effects are outstanding.  The acting is good--which you couldn't really say from any of the other films, besides maybe Patrick Stewart, who cannot act badly.  The best actor in this movie plays the bad guy, if you will, and I won't tell you who the character is--and the reviews shouldn't have, either.  (His smile is one of the creepiest in recent memory, and the way he made it a perfect V-formation is super-weird.)  I will tell you, though, that you should see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (that sort of gives it away, doesn't it), or you won't get how great the writing and mirror-image homages are for the last twenty minutes or so of the film.  Many people sitting around me got most of them--including an homage to the famous scene of Shatner / Kirk completely losing his sh*t and having a conniption as he screams, "KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!"  This got a huge laugh.  (Those around me thought the movie was much funnier than I did, though I will say that it was pleasantly amusing, even if I never actually laughed out loud like many of them did.)  Remember that these are homages done in reverse here, which was done so well that I didn't even think until much later about how catastrophically bad it could have backfired on the moviemakers (mostly J.J. Abrams) had it not worked.  But it did work, and really, really well.

Having said all this, I have to close by saying that I am more than a bit bothered by the extreme mayhem and death in this movie--all of which was almost blissfully ignored by the main characters.  There was a (rather dim-witted) security guard sucked into space, though he was just doing his job.  Rather innocent dimwits like this guy are often saved in movies like this, by being warned of a problem, or conveniently knocked out, or whatever.  There were a million ways this guy could've been saved.  But there were also hundreds, if not thousands (or maybe even tens of thousands, depending on how populated this very over-populated city and world was) of people who died when hundreds of buildings were destroyed at the end by a crashing spaceship that plowed through an entire metropolis, much like how the Enterprise plowed through the land in one of the Next Generation movies, before the Nexus killed everyone on the planet (for a short time, in an alternate universe).  Anyway, such ignored killing and mayhem makes the whole thing like a silly comic book, which this movie was very seriously trying not to be.  This series is taking itself very seriously, indeed--even with the lines some in the audience found very funny.

So go see this movie, and see it in the theatre because this is certainly a big-screen flick, and marvel at all of the things that I did, and have a (mostly) good time like I did.  And feel free to comment if all of the ignored death and mayhem didn't bother you.  (It's the ignoring of the thousands of deaths that bothered me the most, not that it happened.)  But see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan to fully appreciate the last twenty minutes or so--and, if possible, take a look at the episode of the series that all the polls say the audience liked the most, "The Trouble with Tribbles." 

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