Into Darkness without any real Trek feel

I went to see Star Trek Into Darkness and it made me realise how badly I miss the Star Trek franchise. I mean this wasn’t a bad movie, even if the dialogue left something to be wished for and the acting was a little off in places. Not to mention the whole old school white dudes run this mother aspect. But it was a solid space action, but it wasn’t a Star Trek movie. They had the old toys and names but other than that it fit none of the old themes and hardly felt like it run along the lines of the regular mottos of this universe. This was all about shooting first and asking questions later. It was big POWs and even bigger WOWs.

And what’s so amazing about the existing series is the pace and the importance of philosophical debate. Even back in the original series there was some room left for it, not as much as in the coming reboots, but it was still there. It was about exploration, it was anthropology class in space. It was hard moral dilemmas to deal with. Ultimately it was also progressive.

This movie on the other hand was all about blowing stuff up; volcanoes, ships, people, libraries, you name it, they exploded it. I get that the pacing of a movie is ultimately very different from that of a weekly TV show, but it felt so simple. It felt as if Star Trek had been stripped of everything that made it Trek.

Maybe I am biased because I’m much more of a fan of the later shows such as TNG and Voyager and this is based heavily on Shatner’s version of Kirk but with a buffed up physic. Which is part of why it also felt so flat. This series is so heavily built around interesting and strong leaders (being backed up by even stronger and more interesting crews) and Kirk isn’t really either of those things. He’s a frat boy and not even putting him in space makes him any more appealing.

Not to mention Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan has to have been the worst casting in the world of casting considering the context of this movie. Basically what it created was to making the main speaking cast as interesting and diverse as something uninteresting and very homogeneous, and left you longing for the background characters’ stories, even just their names would have done. Anything over this bland an impersonal sludge that kept on hogging most of the screen time.

For instance that scene where Sulu takes the bridge stands out and becomes very memorable as it felt like a tiny little taste of what could have been. It reminds you that it could have been a movie in space featuring big cosmic battles but also a movie about people having their abilities seriously tested. I guess you could argue that there was this through Spock’s struggle with his emotions and Kirk and Uhura’s struggles with Spock, but…I…it fell kinda flat. It felt like a prosthetic slapped on the finished movie to give it a human touch so they could justify squeezing four more explosions into the script and add a somewhat superfluous touch of romance.

I’m being picky and grumpy I know and maybe I’d been much more positive about this movie if only there had been a Number One or at least a Janeway. But there were none. There was only a blonde nondescript lady who took her clothes off for no good reason and Uhura who seemed to mostly exist to prop up Kirk and Spock’s relationship. So I’m disgruntled and prone to emphasise the flaws rather than to praise the success.

Yet I was entertained and bedazzled by the visuals. And maybe I shouldn’t complain too much because the first ten minutes were really good and rang true. It was a perfectly silly action movie and I didn’t feel cheated out of my money as I got to see huge space battles set to epic scores. It’s just that it wasn’t original, it wasn’t progressive, it wasn’t philosophical and it wasn’t Star Trek, and I really really miss Star Trek. Because Star Trek used to be all of those things.


~ by Ape on May 25, 2013.

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