Movie Review – Star Trek Into Darkness. Who let the Trek out?

Star Trek – Into Darkness

Into Darkness 1 INto Darkness 2


Picking up a year or so after the last Star Trek film we find the re-boot versions of the original crew stranded on an island after a three hour tour hits a bad storm….no, wait. That’s not it. That was what I dreamt after eating strip mall sushi and seeing the movie. It wasn’t actually the movie. In the actual movie a villain commits terrorist like acts against the Federation and it is up to the Enterprise crew to find the fugitive and dish out a little justice. They come to learn more about their fugitive, about internal Federation struggles, and about how lax Klingon security is around their homeworld.

This is a different type of review. I am a Star Trek fanboy and long-coat-and-scarf wearing geek. We have a cat named Pippen and I can recite Rutger Hauer’s speech at the end of Blade Runner by heart. I also love movies of all types. So, if this review gets too schizo, flashing from movie geek to true geek, just think about Ginger putting some sunscreen on Uhura while they are trapped on the island…oh. Sorry.

The Good

This is a pretty rip roaring action film. Lots of big explosions, dizzy high speed action, beautiful scenery and space, the final frontier. Ol’ JJ can put a tent-pole movie together alright. He also has moved the franchise back into accessibility for most people. You don’t have to know anything about the “City on the Edge of Tomorrow” to understand and enjoy this film. The relationships are ok, but the one between Spock and Kirk, the most important one and the one that launched the whole concept of slash fiction, is pretty good. They are both intensely loyal people who come to recognize the value of someone who is not just like themselves. They grow during the movie, and that doesn’t often happen in movies. Scotty is another good point in the film. The actor, Simon Pegg, really knows how to deliver a line. His timing and delivery of some of the silliest lines is spot on. And there is Uhura. The camera could linger on Zoe for weeks and I would not get bored. All in all, this re-boot is very similar to the Bond film re-boots. They are good films that don’t require you to have seen any of the other films.

The Bad

While it’s a good film, it is not a good Star Trek film, in exactly the same way the Bond films are good films but they are not Bond films. This film has all the trappings of a Star Trek film without any of the soul of one. You might say, “Good riddance! All that soul every got us was a string of painful film experiences all in the name of staying true to the franchise!”. I will grant that most of the other movies spent too much time on the Star Trek and not enough time on the movie, but this one left me, the fanboy, flat. Dr. Merrick’s gratuitous skin shot didn’t belong in this movie, Kirk waking up with two cat girls didn’t belong in this movie, and Spock mind melding so he can experience death did not belong in this movie. The plot had more holes than a Tholian Web – Klingons letting a ship just pop down to their home planet? An admiral building a giant starship outside of Jupiter unnoticed? Scotty just grabbing a shuttle and going to Jupiter? You can beam someone into a cell in the Brig? AHHHHHHH! (Fanboy geek rage). Then, they go and ruin Holmes for me. Benedict Cumberbatch (difficult, but fun to type) please, show a bit of restraint. I adore you as Holmes, and your first couple of scenes were wonderful. Then, you had your second scene in the brig and you went all late years Al Pacino on us. Chomp, chomp, chomp, mmmm good scenery. Spoiler time: While the whole re-doing the Khan movie is an interesting idea, here is just seems like they couldn’t think of anything worthwhile to write and thought “Hmmm, if we leak that it is Khan, then the fanboys won’t be able to resist, thus strong opening weekend, then the rest of the populace will just flock to the poplular movie. Brilliant strategy. Damn, I’m brilliant. Where is someone eager to curry my favor by bringing me a mocha-hito?” I, for one, was disappointed.

The Other

There is no other. Well, maybe there is. Peine does some interesting acting where he seems to be mimicking some of Shatners movies and looks here and there. Maybe I was just imagining  it. The tribbles make an appearance, and maybe explain how they become what they later are. We get to see what is later referred to as a Jefferies Tube – a nod to old school trek lovers. And Kirk dies. It’s a bit like the Pan-Far accident, but different.

Final Verdict

This movie is on par with the Iron Man movie for entertainment value, but falls short on heart for me. I wanted a good Star Trek movie, but got a good movie using Star Trek sets and characters. Maybe I should have expected this as it was a logical direction given the first film, but still I had hoped for better. This does nothing the ease my mind about the Star Wars movie. In fact, it makes me wish the future of that franchise was still unknown. If there is a third Star Trek, it will have to get blisteringly great reviews or promise an Uhura mud-wrestling scene for me to spend money at the theatre to see it. I give this 1 and a half stars.

Engage, Make it So, Live Long and Prosper. Just don’t go see this movie with any Star Trek related expectations.

3 thoughts on “Movie Review – Star Trek Into Darkness. Who let the Trek out?”

  1. Thanks for your thoughtful, thorough, and fun-to-read review, Scott. I hope to see this movie soon. But you have calibrated my expectations.

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