Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Seen: At the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square.

JJ Abrams and Co return to the Enterprise for another adventure in Star Trek Into Darkness, the follow up to the massively popular Star Trek reboot. This time around Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), etc are out for revenge against the mysterious John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose attack on Starfleet headquarters resulted in numerous deaths. Once captured, Harrison reveals various secrets about his own origins and his connection to Starfleet, and Kirk and Spock must decide whom to trust as they find themselves fighting their very own command. Lots of frantic running around, harried talks about feelings, and wandering lens flares occur.

First, a reminder that I'm not really into Star Trek. I've seen Wrath of Khan and the reboot, and that's it, so I don't really know how the new version fits together with the original series. But I do know that this movie is all over the place, and ultimately middling. It's got moments and components that I love, from Benedict Cumberbatch's hilariously grandiose, scenery-chewing performance (despite his unfortunate whiteness), to John Cho's short stint in the captain's chair. I LOVED that Peter Weller was there, and not just as a one-scene cameo but as a gleeful surprise villain. He's so great, and MEAN. I also liked how Uhura got to wear normal clothes for a few minutes, that was nice, even if the Trek universe seems to have a strange preoccupation with turtlenecks? Chris Pine remains cute and Zachary Quinto remains excellent, and they share some funny bro-ship moments as well as a few feelings. When lens flares weren't in the way, many of the visuals were pretty, especially that red-saturated opening sequence.

But then like everything else about this movie is not too great. Continuing a trend of treating women like shit, Alice Eve's character is completely useless, and Zoe Saldana remains woefully under-valued. The script is choppy and often doesn't make any sense, or fails to make note of important developments (THEY CONQUERED DEATH?!?). There are some thrilling action sequences and some funny moments, but for the most part I just felt like the enthusiasm was gone. I enjoyed the previous film because it was just so fun, despite its flaws there was a playful eagerness to the whole thing that I got caught up in. Into Darkness is missing that feeling, and it doesn't do a very good job of presenting itself more seriously (though I think it wants to), so in the end it just felt kind of lackluster. I'm glad Scotty got to save the day though. That was adorable.

3/5

Pair This Movie With: I wanted to revisit Wrath of Khan, since I don't remember it that well but know I enjoyed it. Or maybe another ensemble sci-fi/action movie, like The Avengers? Although, honestly, like anything Star Trek-related this movie just made me want to watch Galaxy Quest.

3 comments:

  1. Galaxy Quest is the last great Star Trek movie, anyhow.

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  2. I watched Wrath of Khan after seeing Into Darkness and was surprised at how dated Wrath of Khan didn't look, for being 30 years old. Even though they comically talk about "tapes," there's films from the 90's and early 00's that easily look far worse.

    I definitely agree with your comment on the lamentable representation of women in these reboots, although that is likely a sad holdover from the original storylines.

    Great catch on how they just gloss over the whole cheating death thing. Hard to believe we'd let 300-year-old superhumans remain undisturbed in frozen slumber if immortality were within humanity's grasp.

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