Star Trek Into Darkness

Yes, a movie review from your Editor.I went to Star Trek: Into Darkness tonight. I liked it in the way you might like a good piece of escapism, but it left me a bit empty. The JJ Abrams concept was supposed to be a reboot of the Star Trek franchise — a way to restart with the characters we love, but with a clean slate to new adventure.Instead, Star Trek Into Darkness gives us a recycled piece of Star Trek lore that ranks so highly there was no way this was going to come close. Let me stop there and admit I’m a Trek fan. I’ve loved the series. But it isn’t completely fair to review the movie, that should be viewed as a reboot, through the eyes of someone who has seen the old stuff.Even so, it was good, but after it was over it was kind of meh.The opening starts the adventure off in a fun, fast paced way. The characters certainly develop. Kirk and Spock’s relationship deepens and, at the end, we find their roles reversed from the original. You’ll have to see what I mean. Oddly enough though, a bit of the starting premise fails. Kirk violates the Prime Directive to leave undeveloped civilizations alone. Spock turns him in. But Spock too had violated the Prime Directive. While both are caught and disciplined, we get an explanation from Kirk about why he broke the Prime Directive, but no answer at all as to why Spock broke it.Whether it is First Contact or Wrath of Khan or the Undiscovered Country or the predecessor to this movie, the Enterprise serves as a character in itself. The movies I like best have great ship to ship battles. The outgunned and outmanned Enterprise is able to pull off the amazing.We get the beauty shots this time — coming up out of the ocean (!!), coming out of a cloud bank, descending into chaos. But the emotional strain from a battle of wits between two ships is not there. What could have been more suspenseful wasn’t. Only after the battle does the ship become a character out of control to be rescued. But then this is where I cannot separate myself from loving the originals — the payoff is expected, the out is easy, and the rest is history.There was just something missing. The Wrath of Khan had an epic space battle. First Contact had the ship taken over. Undiscovered Country too had a great final space battle. This tried too hard to pay homage to its progenitor, which prevented the crew from standing on their own two feet with their own mission without having to call old Spock for advice. Yes, they had to and it makes sense why because of the threat they were dealing with. I hope the next movie will truly be its own clean slate and not a redo of another old Star Trek movie. This one is worth seeing, but the 3D is overrated and you can wait for video.One last thing — and if you are just too damn scared of anything even possibly hinting at a spoiler you should stop now — when Spock delivers the seminal line of the movie, the line delivered by Kirk in the original, he tries to deliver it the same way. It got applause and a laugh, but it fell flat ultimately. In trying so hard, JJ Abrams and crew made Spock into Kirk in the role reversal, but put into him also James T. Kirk’s delivery. It is a delivery that didn’t work because of the entire film’s build up to who Spock is. Instead of yelling, it would have been far more impactful, given the role reversal and similar theme of the original, for it to be a firm, angry, trailing whisper of attempted rage control.All in all, it wasn’t as good as I hoped, but was better than I expected. I’ll see it again, but won’t waste money on 3D for it. Nor will I, after I view it next week with my radio audience, think it a very memorable addition to the franchise.



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