Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Lens Flare:  The Final Frontier.

Star Trek Into Darkness – 4 out of 5

Set your phasers to fun—oops, I mean, set them to “stun.” There is no “fun” setting...and, while we're at it, maximize the lens flare because we’re heading into the new Star Trek film.

"Everybody else is seeing this, right?"

**Warning: This review will contain spoilers from a movie that was already in the theaters and all the spoiled plot points have long ago been placed on the internet for the world to see**

A terrorist attack from a shadowy figure forces Star Fleet into action and it’s up to Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise to stop this new threat. Not all is as cut and dry as it seems as this mysterious man, who goes by the name Khan (KHANNNN!!!!!), may have been a victim of an ambitious Star Fleet officer and now, reluctantly, Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), Bones (Karl Urban) and the rest of the crew must help Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) on his mission of revenge…but who’s going to help them once Khan turns his attention towards them?

Don't act all upset because I reveled he's Khan.  He's fucking credited as Khan
on IMDb.

I’m not a Star Trek fan; not at all. I’m a Star Wars guy. I never got into any of the shows or the movies. I just could never get behind the characters or the stories. I’ve also never found the supposedly badass villain of Khan to be that interesting or intimidating (I blame the fake chest that Ricardo Montalban wore) but this film changed that. I watched the 2009 reboot of the franchise and was less than impressed (it was hard to see the action and story ripping off Star Wars over all the lens flare), so I walked into this one with very, very low expectations and I was immensely surprised to find that I really enjoyed it!

"Give 'er all I've got?  I never thought about that, Cap'ain."

"I'm an now Iron Man...this is highly illogical."
 First off, let’s not fuck around here…this ISN’T a Star Trek movie (at least that’s what my Trekkie friends tell me…in-between punches for not liking Star Trek). Star Trek Into Darkness is basically a Star Wars film infused with hints, nods and winks to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. And, you know what; I’m okay with that…in fact, the emphasis on action, rather than exploration and seeing an over-actor nail alien humanoids painted different colors, made the film incredibly entertaining for me. The story is decent and pretty cut-and-dry (no real surprises going on in the film) but the awesome action and Benedict Cumberbatch actually making a villain that I never really gave a shit about and turning him into something badass, cold and calculating really makes the film.

Look!  It's Ricky Mickey from Doctor Who!

Jerk off material for Trekkies.
 Into Darkness has its drawbacks; the film is far from perfect. There’s plenty of small plot holes that will drive the fanboys insane and much of director J. J. Abrams' work on it is annoying as all hell. Granted, he thankfully downplayed his love of lens flare in this one because, let’s face it, his obsession with this feature has become so prominent that lens flare actually gets its own credit now but the problems Abrams brought to the film didn’t stop there (the writers didn't help, either).

"Let's get logical, bitches!"

"Damn it, Jim, I'm a doctor not another joke at the
expense of the original series."
 Rather than focus on making a Star Trek film (let’s ignore that it’s more Wars than Trek for now), Abrams and the writers are more worried about throwing in as many nods and winks to the original series and films as they can. This ends up making the film feel more like a satire or a parody of Star Trek and it was one of the many things I couldn’t stand about the reboot. While occasional acknowledgements of the original franchise is expected, was there really a need to pointless throw in a tribble? And at what point does the scenery chewing performance of Anton Yelchin as Chekov stop being an homage to the original character and start just being annoying?  And at one point do I become a hypocrite as I criticize this element while making lame (and obvious) jokes at the behalf of Star Trek?  To some, this element is fun (and, for the most part, it was for me too) but there comes a point where you want it to boldly go where the other franchise didn't.

The trouble with tribbles?  The fact you even bothered to include them in the movie.

Let's face it, over-acting is an art you don't have.
I also had a problem with some of the acting. I’m not a fan of Chris Pine and his frat boy approach to playing Kirk is just as intolerable in this film as it was in the last one.  Shatner's hammy performances actually look deep and defined compared to Pine's one-dimensional approach to the character. Thankfully, however, Pine is overshadowed quickly and easily by the likes of Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Weller (yes, Robocop is in this movie!) and even Simon Pegg has a more commanding presence (and a better acted one) than Pine (and Scotty’s role in the film was greatly reduced when compared to the first film).

Gawd damn...even this seemingly stare of no consequence is performed
better than any of the acting of Chris Pine.

The story also doesn’t know what to do with its large cast of characters. Alice Eve is added to the roster as the daughter of a prominent Star Fleet officer (Peter Weller's character) but her presence in the story doesn’t drift any farther than her being emotional leverage during the climax and being a hot bod in her underwear.

Yes, this scene was totally beneficially to the story, Abrams.

Other members of the Enterprise’s crew feel like they were forcefully being put into the spotlight when it never really felt natural for their characters. For example, it’s clear that the writers were unsure with what to do with John Cho as Sulu so they kind of fumbled around to find something for him and the same treatment is given to Uhura (Zoe Saldana). Neither character had much impact on the story and it felt like any scene where they have a moment to shine was quickly added to the script. For example, Uhura trying to have peace talks with the Klingons—the scene of her negotiating with the Klingons ultimate ends up being meaningless and, besides it being a pointless excuse to include Klingons for the fans to see, it ultimately has no impact on the story as it is quickly forgotten (and it was established that venturing into Klingon space could end in war). After the set-up and then getting that scene, it felt like it was thrown into the story last minute so Zoe Saldana does more than offer up a few lines on the bridge.

Trekkies, control your boners...or whatever Klingons call it.  Klarpbrack...I'm
guessing that's what they call them.

However, for all the bad that happened, I still really, really enjoyed the film. The action is intense, the special effects are epic and Benedict Cumberbatch is chilling to watch as he makes the character of Khan a real threat. Star Trek Into Darkness has its problems (beyond being a Star Trek film—come on, Trekkies, that was an easy one. Don’t get mad...instead, get even by telling me why I'm an idiot for liking the prequels; yes, I admit it, I like the prequels) but it didn’t stop me from finding this movie to be a great popcorn action sci-fi film.

"Dead or Alive, Romulans, you're coming with me."

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