Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Star Trek Slipping Into Darkness?

                            Before I begin it should be stated that this is not a review of J.J. Abrams newest Star Trek movie staring Chris Pine And Zachary Quinto. One of the few Star Trek admiring friends I still talk with from my adolescence name of Jeff,and I discussed the possibility of seeing this film for the longest time. In many ways,I was more impressed with the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek film than I thought. Which leads to another important qualifier: the current Star Trek movies has virtually nothing to do with Gene Roddenberry's original Trek universe. Save guest appearances by Leonard Nimoy. 

                      While some might debate this factor,it is what it is. And important to know when taking in this particular film. I waited for two months since this film came out. Finally it was dollar day at my local second run movie theater,my teeth were still numb from a filling so finally seeing this film on the big screen to today seemed like a good way to kill some time. Sounds like a very poor endorsement doesn't it? Well not all is as it seems. And that,in a word is the core point of what I'll call a theatrical commentary on the film.

                       Avoiding any potential spoilers,the basic plot of this film involves Captain Kirk (Pine) being reduced in rank after his irresponsible behavior on a mission only to be reunited with his crew on the Enterprise to save Starfleet itself from destruction by a genetically engineered superman  Khan. Yes you've got it right-Khan Noonian Singh himself. Played here by Benedict Cumberbatch Khan is generally given a far colder and calculated attitude (only shedding a single tear throughout the film) than the late Ricardo Montalbahn's alternately smug and vengefully hostile interpretation. Still the question remains for me why is Khan in any modern day Star Trek at all?

                         One of the issues Jeff and I discussed regarding this film was J.J's obvious pandering to the nostalgia of Trekkers the world over with his films. And this particular film offers that level of nostalgia to such a degree it seems almost spoofed at times. Ironically, the characterizations of the original crew of the Enterprise are far closer to Roddenberry's original than they had been in J.J's debut Trek film of 2009. In particular Chris Pine-delivering a more adult swagger this time than the sometimes overblown cockiness in his first time out in the role. Karl Urban's McCoy is also far less of the hypochondriac here which is extremely appealing to me.

                        There are a couple elements that drag the film down significantly and that is the plot itself. Obviously drawing from 1982's The Wrath Of Khan, it does so to the shameless level of even including lines that are almost identical to the original film. The best example of this would involve a severe spoiler for anyone who never saw the movie so I won't include it here. The other element of the film that evades its intentions are that the film revels in so many steroid speed action scenes of characters attacking each other on fast moving objects that other characters,such Alice Eve's Carole Marcus are severely underdeveloped compared to Bibi Besch's original character.

                         Only one element of this film made me as angry as...say Spock's rage at Khan during the conclusion of this film. And that was the site of the Starfleet battleship U.S.S. Venture plowing into Starfleet headquarters. I felt it was a symbolic slap in the face to original Trek admirers and saying de facto that Star Trek somehow only belonged to J.J Abrams now. Aside from that it is a well produced and well acted film that suffers from poor writing made so by virtue of its nearly complete lack of originality. Whatever other controversies that might surround this movie, the overall effect is severe doubt as to whether Star Trek is still a thriving and inspirational  phenomenon or a mere franchise on it's last legs-with its best days in the metaphorical entertainment museum. If this film is any indication, that uncertainty would seem to be here to stay for a good while.




  1. Well, I still haven't seen it. It's really not of much interest to me. It's JJ Abrams baby, and I really don't care where he goes with it. If he wants to blow up earth in the next film, I don't really care. Its not MY star trek, its his. Gene's trek will always be the real one.

    1. Despite my personal policy of equal time within reason,cannot say I disagree with you.