Tuesday, May 21, 2013


In a nutshell, if you've been a fan of Star Trek from the beginning or have extensive knowledge of the canon, then I will tell you right now I was disappointed. However, if you haven't followed Star Trek from the beginning then you are in for a treat.

I'm not going to rate the movie. I've seen it twice; I really tried to like it. I can see many, many people really loving the movie and justifiably so. But I can also see many hating the movie and justifiably so. Me? I'm in the middle.

Speaking as a loyal fan since The Original Series, I did not like most of it. The visual effects? Stunning. Really. The 3D? Not so good. The story? Here we go...


Obviously spoilers here. I'm just going to talk as if you've seen the movie already.

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS crosses the line from paying homage to downright copying with many twists. I can't stand knowing the lines before they are spoken and I don't care who is saying them. Swapping out Kirk for Spock in the radiation death scene is inexcusable. Lame, lame writing. Not clever at all. I also felt as though that whole scene was added on - it wasn't needed in the story. It could have been edited out entirely and have no bearing on the outcome of the movie.

Furthermore, other than now having no need for medicine whatsoever (Bones, you're out of a job) the device of using Khan's blood (Yes Khan Noonien Singh; copying yet again) to bring Kirk back from the dead is such lazy writing it's unbelievable. And now the franchise is stuck with the results. Why even wait to get Khan's blood? Thaw out one of his 72 cronies and use theirs!

And that's evading the fact that the Federation has had 300 years to distill this technology from what they knew when they froze them! Think about that. 300 YEARS!!! At least with the Genesis project from THE WRATH OF KHAN, a new technology accidentally brought Spock back and he wasn't quite the same afterward. Do you have any idea how much knowledge can be attained in 300 years, that far into the future? Computers have long become sentient and capable of independent thought *and invention*. Heck even today when we look back 300 years to our horse riding, leeching medicine ancestors - are we not amazed at what we have done to this point?

Khan blood. Why not just grant wishes? Seriously. Why not allow everyone in the Star Trek universe to grant each other wishes. What's next for the writers? Hey let's destroy Vulcan! Hey, get this, a main character dies from radiation while trying to save the Enterprise but we're gonna switch it to Kirk this time! AND let's reuse those lines again. Hey let's kill Pike!! No need for him to be a mute quadriplegic, and weave him into future films - just get rid of him. Moreover, instead of killing him for the development of something truly meaningful, let's kill him off so that Spock will learn something from his last moments mind-meld - so he can improve his understanding of his relationship with Uhura (which shouldn't be happening in the first place!). No, no - don't kill Pike so that Kirk can lose yet another father figure and we'll see how that affects his character (which might have been actually interesting). Killing Pike was horrendous. Just like Vulcan in the first movie. I was so looking forward to seeing him in a motorized transport unit and somehow contributing to the development of Kirk down the road. *Sigh* They spent all that time developing Pike as such a great moral compass for Kirk and then just whack him. Bruce Greenwood too! One of the greatest character actors we have today.

The writers also spat on the Admiral (Peter Weller), who announces that he brought in Pike to the Academy in the same fashion that Pike brought in Kirk. See the very cool connections here? Admiral Marcus is a father figure to Pike who is a father figure to Kirk. These connections could have been amazing story material, **ORIGINAL STORY MATERIAL**, if these "writers" could have fathomed it. But no. Let's kill 'em all. All of 'em. Kill Marcus as a traitor (the ADMIRAL as a TRAITOR no less!). Kill Pike to help Spock's love life. And kill Kirk, but bring him back with Khan blood. Don't worry, it's science fiction - we can get away with it.

Sorry, this story is a complete failure for me. The only saving grace is the performance of Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan in as much as I hated seeing Khan brought back. Abrams missed the chance to actually use Cumberbatch as an original villain - something new and exciting, rather than trying to have him live up to Ricardo Montalban's Khan - which by the way, both Montalban's performance and the movie THE WRATH OF KHAN are still tops in my books.

Yes, I get that this is an alternate universe. Congratulations. What's next on the Xerox guys, whales? Unfortunately I have the feeling it's going to be The Next Generation's Borg. While the idea excites me, I'm sure all they're going to do is just regurgitate Kirk being assimilated into the collective. LaKirkus? Yeah, I can see those guys dreaming it up already. *Sigh*.

So what do I like about the movie? How about LOVE about the movie - the effects!!!! Stunning, wondrous visual and practical effects that I needn't talk about too much. If you've seen it, I'm sure you will agree this is top flight stuff here.

The 3D? Not so great. Abrams style of shooting anamorphic and with lens flares just doesn't convert well at all to 3D. Some shots were amazing (mostly the effects as these were done in a computer through a native digital render), but other shots? Ugh. The Carol Marcus scene (that Tim spoke about) with the outrageous and totally ignorant lens flare mixed with distorted and stretched heads on the screen edge, all in converted 3D almost made me sick to my stomach. Ok maybe not, but I'm sure I LOOKED like I was going to be sick. Not from a headache, but from pure distaste. It literally looked like a film school dropout's work. I'm not kidding. Perhaps it was their idea of a joke. A homage to the Abrams' lens flare joke. If it was, I didn't laugh. The 3D conversion was just good. Not amazingly great like what Stereo D has done for Marvel (THE AVENGERS was the best conversion to date). STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS' 3D barely excited me - much like Stereo D's work in IRON MAN 3. Now a lot of this I know is derived from the creatives - mainly the director who give instructions to the conversion house, but c'mon - follow the Marvel 3D plan. It works big time. If you can't Abrams, then shoot natively for the love of Roddenberry.

Listen, if you haven't been following Star Trek, or if you haven't really been paying attention by all means see this movie. Much of it is eye candy and wondrous. But for all you stereoscopic 3D aficionados and Trekkies - be wary. For you may react similarly to me -and Kirk- from the ending of THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER: "Let's get the hell out of here." 

And I can't look anymore.

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Jim Dorey
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