And now for my long and rambly thoughts on this movie *WARNING: Spoilers ahead for those of you who don't want any still*
You could say I'm a casual Star Trek fan. Which is pretty much saying that I know of Star Trek but I never really specifically watched any of the episodes. I've seen clips and reviews of them sure and do remember my dad back when I was young watching a lot of The Next Generation and hearing that quite a bit in adjacent room but I never really cared that much for the property. Yeah true this is pretty much the big pinnacle of american science fiction and that really it's something you should probably at least give more then a passing shot of if you have any interst in sci fi but eh it never really personally appealed to me. I don't know why but maybe I just prefer science fiction like Star Wars that is more action and humor based instead of the more character/concept/thought based of Star Trek. Then again didn't see that much of Star Wars either growing up so maybe I just avoid the big cliches I probably shouldn't. Still when my friends wanted to see the first J.J Ahrams movie in 2009 I went in and though confused at points I overall liked it. My friend did point out that it was very different from the original mythos but yeah they made a point of stating why without it feeling like a cop out: this was an ALTERNATE REALITY version of the original crew. And I am all for the idea of reality differning not just in characters or actions but specific events causing changes on a global scale. So I was fine with the different way Kirk became captain or Spock and Uhura's relationship and it supposedly being more Star Wars like. Yeah even my limited knowledge of Star Trek knew that ST films weren't really like that in 2009 but really this was doing it's own thing and trying to respect the source material yet at the same time differ from it by telling it's own story and actually making challenges that had some balls to them that weren't just playing by the rules.
Which may explain why I didn't care for this one at much; it felt like it was using the source material and differeng from it in a way that didn't have balls and were playing more by the standard rules and thus felt like a far weaker entry.
I will give credit for something I haven't you may of noticed in a lot of the longer movies I've seen (yeah actually kind of weird but most of the movies I"ve seen as of late like 42 or Oblivion or Iron man 3 or Great Gatsby and this are all over 2 hours long. Don't know why since some of them didn't need that but I guess it's worth observing) in that the pacing of this actually was really fast and moving and didn't honestly feel like it dragged that much besides maybe a minute or two here and there. I mean granted that's probably because there was a lot of action in this story and it did move around a lot but it still moved fast and though there was still the "this feels like 3 climaxes" feeling a lot of action movies have at least didn't make it feel needlessly cluttered. And I really did enjoy the banter of the crew actually. Of Kirk being annoyed Spock filed a report about what happened on the mission and how Kirk disboyed orders even if meant sayving Spock's live (they didn't need to bring it up as often as they did though as it kind of got repeitive to hear after awhile). Of Uhura actually trying to peacfully communicate with the Klingons about their mission and then having to stab one once things went wrong. Of Scotty actually quitting when he didn't want to use those photon missles but still stowing aboard another ship and winding up in the commander's headquaters mucking things up there (I think him at the bar being drunk is the funniest the movie ever got actually), Of Sulu actually making an impsoing captain when he was pretending over the transmission and a lot of Bones quips (I think his best were not liking being on Spock's side for once and trying to flirt with Carol), Chekov having to adjust to being in engineering due to Scotty leaving and Pike sticking up for Kirk's action though warning him of how arrogant he is of a captain. Their banter actually did make me actaully like the crew and realize why people still have fond memories of them if they're anything like how they were in the original series and movies and showed a more human side. And hey there were some pretty good action beats. Mostly the runaway scene through that primitive planet, Kirk actually taking out John's ship by disabling the engine, the hand to hand battle of John easily taking out all those Klingons and the Spock vs "John" scene at the end with Uhura helping out. Those were all pretty good. However there were several things wrong with this movie. In fact I think I'll give a top 5 list of things I didn't really like about this particular Star Trek movie.
5. What Exactly Does The Title Mean: Okay this may seem like a nitpick but honestly, why was this called Into Darkness? They never freaking went into darkness. What was it referring to the Klingons home world? cause really that was someplace that explored it was just set up so they weren't really allowed to go there due to it possibly causing a war. That's not really "into darkness" since not only do we not even get a real war with the Klingons but we don't even spend time with them anyway. And it's not like things even really get that dark or the characters get that dark or anything remotely that dark happens. Where exactly did they go that impliess darkness or even something related to Darkness? Maybe calling it "Star Trek: Greatest Threat" would of given too much away but it at least would of felt more geunine then naming it this generic title that has literally nothing to do with the rest of the movie. It also really annoys me that this movie had so much of it's time spent on earth yet they didn't even do much with the setting. I mean the coference room got blown up sure and there were some scenes at the bar for comedic relief or to refrence the first movie but yeah a good chunk of this one takes place on earth yet not much of consequence feels like it takes place there. Honestly it's Star Trek: so much of this could of been said to take place in another planet and it really wouldn't of mattered that much. Especially since there wasn't even that much a threat to earth at the end since it didn't really feel like the villian could of accomplished much if he even had his final revenge at the end so yeah it just feels sort of pointless having all those bits on earth when that didn't need to happen. Maybe it's easier to film but I find it more distracting then anything else for a Star Trek movie honestly.
4. The Marcus Family Characters: Yeah I know they were put there because they refrence a certain other movie (who trust me has a lot worse refrences done here related to it) but this still bugged me since an apparent twist was that Commander Marcus was the so called villian. Who wanted an excuse to start a war with the Klingon and released John to try and have that happen and is really the reason why everything wrong in this movie honestly happens. Yet he's just such a generic presence: "Oh you need me I'm the only one who can captain this fleet who would trust you?" Blah blah. He really feels like such a lacking presence for what should be a far more big deal of a character and when he's the one who gets the actual conclsuvie and crushing death all you really feel is "oooh... imagine what that would of been like with an R rating. Would of been really gory yet probably pretty cool man." Also feels pretty hollow even for this movie to have this kind of "we must have war because we must have war even though there's no reason whatsoever I or anyone logicial would even want to have war" kind of characters. Maybe if the Klingon had been established more in this movie or even the last one I'd understand but yeah as someone whose still only has a passing knowledge at best of Star Trek I'm not going to go "oh those Klingons had it coming to them alright I'd also want to find any way I could to do to war with them" cause that's just dumb. Also dumb is Carol's whole plot because that doesn't go anywhere either. She wants to go against her father's wishes but really besides giving out information she doesn't do much since she just gets teleported to the ship so he can blow up the entertpirse without being a total ****** and just gets held in check or apparently knocked out/hurt and can't particpate that much in the rest of the movie. What was she really there for anyway? Fanservice in terms of her body and refrenceing a character from another Star Trek movie? I'm guessing that was the case as in this one she just felt there. The mystery with her character was instantly solved so that wasn't a source of tension or alarm whatsoever, she didn't have any chemistry or real relationship with anyone on board the enterprise and really they easily could of found a way for someone else actually on board the ship to have her role without having to bring in a fresh new "leading lady" for the part. Give it to one of those actual not human looking aliens and prove Star Trek is a bit more diverse then what most people percieve it as.
3. Uhura And Spock's Relationship: As I said since I'm not a long term fan I have no problem with the two being in a relationship at all. Even though with how cold and out of it Spock still acts you have to wonder what exactly he's getting from this since half the time he acts totally stiff like he has no care for emotion whatsoever. What I'm complaining about though is how it was handled in this one: for like half the movie Uhura has a grudge against Spock because he was resigned to die without a second thought in the beginning with the volcano. And granted it makes her look selfish when she things like "you didn't think about us when you were about to die" but again I get it and it could of led to an interesting debate of ethics or even actually talking about more of phiosphical difference a vulcan and a human would have with one another in a relationship. and it could of been led to make both more interesting and realize just exactly what they would have to cormpmise or work on for this relationship to work. But no that gets swept under the rug when in the middle of the two arguing Spock just says "I don't want to feel pain again after I lost my planet". Which is understandable and actually kind of a good moment on it's own. The problem was though that THIS was how the whole relathiponship between the two really ended: it was hinted at in the first half and brought up like it was building to something and then we get this and it's never brought up again. Maybe we could of delved more into Uhura if she at one point talked to Spock about her hardships growing up and trying to tell him it's okay to feel and to have emotions consume you sometimes. Or hey even showed again how different Vulcans and humans think with how the two handle emotions or feelings but no, instantly wrapped up. Really weak there guys. Honestly I don't like it when movies feel just to include ALL auidences they have to bring up romance for a film even though there doesn't really need to be any. But if you have it and are dead set on putting it in and putting in things to acutally impact the relationsip let it happen and change organically and don't just cut it out midway. And no Uhura appearing at the end to save Spock doesn't o**** because all she said to him was "don't kill Kahn cause he's the only one who can help us save Kirk." So yeah that seems like a good cutaway to talk about my far bigger problems with the movie.
2. Kahnnnnnnnnnnn: Yeah in one of those "everyone sort of assumed but the creators wanted to keep a secret that no one was able to keep a secret after seeing the movie" twists, we find out that the villian Benderich Cumberach is playing that was called John is actually Kahn. Probably the most well known single villian in Star Trek history thanks of course to the most well known and well loved movie in the Star Trek Franchise: The Wrath of Kahn. Yeah, even people who don't like Star Trek actually like that movie, and even people who are totally ignorant of the entire franchise should at least be vagley aware of lines like "did you know that revenge is a dish best served cold" "I wish to go on hurting you" and of course the infamous "KAHNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN" scream. Richard Montalban may be known to most people as "the guy who said he'd make their dreams come true but just wanted to teach people life lessons" in Fantasy Island but his juiceist and most intruging role was that of Kahn. ANd again I didn't see the original Star Trek 2 but I've seen enough clips and read enough about it to see why: not only did the guy actually have a compelling backstory (that actually tied to the original series so this was a confrontation that was actually building and had been previously established) but he had a good amount of screentime and charm and life breathed into his character that made you want to see more of him. That even if you didn't cheer for him you could see why he was such a great villian. That he wasn't just quoting Shakesphere or famous literally works for the hell of it but for a specific point and this hatred and desire for revenge made him incredibly devious and incredibly compelling to watch and make you wonder "just how is Kirk going to get out of this one?"
Benderich Cummerdich's take on him though... yeah so not that. To be fair it's not really Benedict's fault because in the couple of scenes we get to see Kahn alone he's fine. Like approaching that one guy or trapped under the forcefield or blasting away the Klingons and then Kirk wailing on him. The problem is though this movie doesn't really give him that much more time to shine besids that. A lot of what the guy says is more plot based then character based since based on this movie all I know about Kahn is that he has some loyality to his other frozen friends, is super strong and knows how to manipulate stupid enough people yet still can't see thorugh their facade and can survive explosions. There is no big character or grandiose or bravada to him in many more scenes that make you want to see more of him. And really I'm not going to go with the whole "oh they just don't make villians like that anymore" because yeah, they easily could of made him a lot more compelling. I mean the Joker was incredible in the Dark Knight and I really liked Loki in the Avengers and they're not suppose to be nearly as complex as Kahn is. Yet you don't get that here due to how minimal his role is and how little an impact it is. Not to mention that they litearlly do build him up as according to old Spock (whose cameo in thsi movie isn't nearly as good as it was in the 2009 Star Trek movie BTW) that he's the ultimate threat to the crew and was it's worse nemesis. And you really don't feel that when a lot more time is spent on running through hallways, talking with other people on deck or trying to save the ship. Really thinking about it the whole scene of Kahn supposedly showing his true nature and killing Marcus and then demanding his crew felt so empty due to like 5 minutes later him being taken out of the picture for like 20 minutes due to the ship brekaing apart. And yeah the Enterprise is special but Kahn's suppose to be the villian: we're suppose ot have more time spent with him then the supposed loss of the ship that doesn't even happen. Oh and of by far the worst thing about this movie that ticks me off the most when talking about this:
1. Ripping Off The Ending To Star Trek 2 In The Worst Way Possible: Again I don't know much about the Star Trek franchise but besides Kahnnnnnn, the big reason that people remember the original Star Trek 2 is the death of Spock. Yeah he comes back in the third movie but film goers didn't know that at the time. That movie ended with the character still dead and really him apparently being alive and kicking in third gave it a hook and made you want to watch it so you'd know how they brought spock back. But apparently actually trusting your viewers and not giving them a super happy definitie answer isn't what J.J and his crew want to do so yeah the cut the pacakge off of this one in the worst way possible. And don't give mt the "ohhhhhh they wanted to do things differently" excuse because if that was the case they wouldn't of even ripped off Kahn or had so much of this ending mirror Star Trek 2 like they did. Really when you have a major crew member sacrifice their life and knock out another member of the team just to stop them from throwing themself away and of the two best friends looking at each other as one saved the ship and gave his live before passing away and one couldn't reach out to touch him due to the toxins, pretty obvious what you're oging with. Just because it was Kirk who died instead of Spock doesn't mean it's less of a rip off. And hey if they wanted to do that and actually end it with Kirk giving his life and Spock taking control of the enteripse, that would of actaully been nifty. It would of given this some weight and actually we could of seen how Kirk's wreckless actions do have some serious consequences and actually made his "this ship needs a captain that isn't me" speech actually have some geuinine weight and pompous to it. And really the third star trek movie could of been just how different and hollow Spock and the Enteruprise is without Kirk and him coming back in some form and that being it's own mystery. That would of roped viewers in as since the marvel movies have proved, introducing one thing in a movie and having it pay off in another is something viewers are fine with. But no, this one instead decided "yeah kirk dies but Kahn's blood can bring him back so we'll just joke that he died for 10 minutes and he'll be in the end like it's no big deal." That to me felt like kind of an offensive or at very least like an insult to the original franchise: like it was afraid or scared to take the risks that one took. As even though people didn't like say what happened with the Mandrain in Iron Man 3 at least that was a different unique take on the character that actually felt like it was trying something you don't normally see. This was the same sort of bull crap "he's dead ... oh no wait he's alive again" thing we see in nearly every movie and to have it be a refrence to a movie that actually had enough respect fo it's dead to make that sacrifice mean something doesn't work. It feels cheap and honestly like the writers and staff are cashing in on the name of Star Trek rather then remembering it or giving it's proper dues.
So yeah those are my thoughts on this one. Not a bad movie but these things do tick me off about it say it was a lot weaker then I thought it would be and honestly a sign that this franchise needs better writers or to go in a new direction. One that can actaully honor and do new things with the old material in a way that actually works. Or at least works better then a kind of mediocre film/a good film with a lot of glaring problems. Again IMHO at least.
Instead of just using this new signature to celebrate a thousand more post, let me list of all the great things you can expect of me on this board for 2012:
...... The same talkbacks you saw me do last year but with new episodes.
.... What are you doing still reading this? Move to the next post already! .