Sunday, February 16, 2014

Movie Review: Star Trek: Into Darkness

Last week with Sherlock I commented that it had been years since I started the series and as I was watching this movie I realized that there was an even bigger gap between when I watched the first movie and this one. I remember it clearly since it was the first film I saw in college, especially because I was meeting up with a few people I half knew or didn't know at all and was praying it wouldn't be a terrible mistake (it wasn't, still good friends with some of them), and by now I'm out of college, that's over four years! I'm half surprised they even made a second film with that large a gap, normally I'd say that there's no way you could get such a large audience with that gap but clearly Hollywood works in mysterious ways.....

Star Trek: Into Darkness

Kirk is still the captain of the starship Enterprise and still getting his entire crew into trouble which isn't exactly what you're supposed to be doing, especially when you lie about it to your superiors. For that Kirk is stripped of his leadership but before that can really take effect a far greater threat to Starfleet arises....

Auuugh, once I was watching the film I remembered hearing that a lot of people hadn't liked this movie and I can see why, it's just kind of a mess. It's hard to articulate why it's a mess since from that description it sounds mostly fine but the execution certainly didn't work out that way. I was trying to remember why I had liked the first movie so much if I wasn't enjoying this film at all and what I reasoned out was that the first film was a bit simpler, it was a hotshot kid coming into being an adult and had just the right combination of traits, or at least had people around him to make up for what he lacked, to pull everything together in the end. But this second film starts and Kirk hasn't changed, ie grown up, at all from that first film and while his attitude worked there it doesn't work as the commander of a important spaceship. And yet, while the film acts as if it punishes him for what he's done wrong it doesn't, it puts him right back to where he was before as soon as it can and he doesn't seem to have learned anything from his five minute demotion.

 Moving onto the other characters, dear god did none of the writers have any idea how to integrate female characters into the movie? Again, I don't recall having this thought at all in the first film but here every line by Uhura and and new character Carol felt awkward and petty. In another situation Uhura's anger at Spock, that he didn't realize that if he dies he hurts those around him more than he realizes, could have been really touching and a good thing for him, especially since Spock gets a chance to really explain his philosophy and it does hold up for his character. Instead Uhura comes off as petty, bitchy, and completely unprofessional and Uhura is supposed to be professional and cool-headed under pressure, just like Spock. I don't really get the point of Carol, outside of her and Cumberbatch's character we don't have any new characters in this film that I noticed, I mean she explained a few things and stripped that one time but neither of those really added anything to the film. The villains didn't fair much better, by the end I considered both Cumberbatch's character and a Federation character villains and while I'm sure the writers meant for them to be nuanced, the world of war is black and gray, characters it just didn't work, they spent too much time making Cumberbatch's character sympathetic to make the inevitable turn seem awkward and not enough for the Federation guy to convince me that war was actually a really good idea, not that he didn't just really want to blow something up. 

In the end I was sorely disappointed with this film, I wanted a space film that wasn't about war, or at least not just about a war, and perhaps if I had been a fan of the original series I would have enjoyed it more. Maybe, considering all the grumpy people I saw on the internet after this film first came out I'm not sure this film succeeded in appealing to anyone....

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