Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Into Darkness We Trek (guest review by Mark Poole)

Look, I’m a Trekkie, I have been and ever shall be a Trekkie (Trekkies will see what I did there). I’m not a Trekker. What’s the difference, you ask? Well, there are a lot of definitions, but mine is this: a Trekkie is a light hearted diehard fan who enjoys the ‘Star Trek’ franchise for what it is; good solid entertainment. A Trekker is the kind of fan who questions everything about the franchise, such as going to conventions and instead of thanking the actors who have appeared in the shows over the years, they question why in certain episodes the said actor pressed a certain button on a certain computer panel. You see the difference? Good! Where am I going with this you ask? Well, bear with me for a little while longer …

These days it’s Chic to be Geek, and I’m a Geek. Although I have never had sand kicked in my face (I’d like to see someone try), I have had to put up with the usual crap that comes with being a Geek. Until now; the current upturn for sci-fi demands that Hollywood make things cooler. And they don’t get cooler than J J Abrams’s ‘Star Trek’ films. The first one not only established new actors in old familiar roles, but also showed us how these characters came to be. We had Kirk, Spock and McCoy all enrol in to Starfleet Academy. We see how they became the great heroes we admire and love. We see the U.S.S. Enterprise on her maiden voyage, already knowing that this ship and crew will be best and brightest of the United Federation of Planets.
So now we’ve got the first film out of the way, it’s time for the sequel! And this film is so much bigger than the first! IT IS HUGE! But does it make it better? Short answer: Yes… Long answer: No… Confused?... Yes?... So was I, until I sat down to write this review. You see, there are certain events that I can’t discuss without revealing spoilers. So it’s really hard to say where the problems lie. So to explain how, let me take you back to 1982; the film is ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’. This film is arguably the best of the original Trek films. The crew of the Enterprise is pitted against the villainous Khan played deliciously by Ricardo Montalbán. In the penultimate scene, Spock sacrifices his life to save the Enterprise from certain doom (anyone who says spoilers about a 1982 film, I have my phaser set to stun). While Spock lies dying Kirk is told to hurry down to engineering to see his fallen comrade. The emotion of this scene is raw and beautiful; it’s hard not to shed a tear, Kirk and Spock brothers in arms unable to touch through a glass wall, Kirk unable to save his best friend from the radiation that runs through Spock’s body. I defy anyone to say that this scene was not a fantastic moment in Trek history!

Fast forward to 2013 and ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’. This film, as great as it is with its fantastic special effects and gripping story line, lacks the emotional depth, or soul as my better half put it. So whose fault is it? Well … it’s certainly not J J Abrams’ and it’s undoubtedly not the actors -  Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto excel as Kirk and Spock, as do the rest of the cast. Having said that, the rest of the cast are used sparingly and most of the time it’s just for comic relief, especially McCoy who in the original Trek films was the emotional counterpart to Spock’s logic. I can’t help thinking that downplaying McCoy as they did was a very bad decision, seeing as Karl Urban’s McCoy was by far my favourite character in the previous film. The antagonist of the piece is played by Benedict Cumberbatch of Sherlock fame, who in my eyes is a fantastic actor but seems to be very two dimensional in a three dimensional movie.

But I think the fault lies with the writers, it seems they started well but couldn’t be bothered to finish the story properly! It lacks originality, which is truly a shame. If they had taken the time to be more unique, this film would have seriously been off the chart! This brings me back to Trekkies vs Trekkers, if you are truly a Trekkie or have no Trek knowledge whatsoever you will love this movie. But if you are a Trekker, well ... don’t say I didn’t tell you so!

So what’s next for the crew of the Enterprise? Abrams is off to do another ‘Star’ movie, but it’s of the ‘Wars’ and not the ‘Trek’. Will he return to the franchise? Who knows? But if he does I will be there to welcome him with open arms.


ads said...

informative. agree with a lot of the points made there.

Franco Macabro said...

Sounds like I'm gonna have a blast tonite...but not 'soul'...that doesnt sound good, but anyways, I'm pumped. As you mentioned in the review, this one looks like it's going to be HUGE in terms of scope and epicness. Looking forward to it!

Michael Grover said...

I saw it this afternoon and, quite frankly, I loved it. I didn't find it lacking in emotional depth; on the contrary, I had tears in my eyes at least twice. I find Star Trek Into Darkness and its predecessor to be among the most emotionally engaging of any of the summer blockbusters of the last decade.

Timelordmark said...

Ok been a while! Meant to get back to you before... But now the film's been out for a couple of years. Compare it to Wrath of Khan which is the better movie?