Star trek into darkness review

I went to see Star Trek a week or so ago. I waited until now to do a review of the movie mainly to let it sink in. Also because Ross asked me what I thought. I was somewhat disappointed in the movie when I first left the theater. For me it felt like trying lutefisk, I wanted to give it time to either ferment into a real disgust, or mellow out into something I can digest more easily. At first I couldn’t really pin down why I was disappointed in the movie. After a week or so of reflection I realized where the feeling of disappointment came from. The problem was that I was attempting to compare it to the old Star Trek series. I admit to being a victim of romantic youthful hindsight. However, that doesn’t mean that the comparison is wrong. I guess my primary concern is that it seemed to me that there was an inordinate amount of effort placed on special effects, action, and outlandish destruction. So much so that the story, dialog, and character development suffered at its expense.
This seems to be a problem with a lot of movies over the last decade or so. At first I thought that this was just my perception, maybe it is a reflection of my getting older and wiser. Or maybe just older and more demanding. Being that as it may, I still believe that a lot of movies are relying on big impact special effects too much while sacrificing dialog, character development, and the exploration of ideas.
Into Darkness was basically a retelling of an original episode of the old generation called Space Seed. This movie can’t really be evaluated without due consideration given to the original time line. The original episode was primarily about a charismatic eugenic supermen and how he manages to take over the enterprise. It was a cool episode because of the dialog and the dominance play between Khan and Kirk. There were only a few moments of action, but a lot of interesting conversations about selective breeding, and creating a better human being. Khan’s thesis was that technology changes with time, but humans don’t seem to progress, and how he and his followers were the true future of mankind. In the end Kirk decides to let Khan off the hook and drops him and his followers off on a deserted planet to start his kingdom over again.
“Have you ever read Milton?”
The retelling of this story would normally be rather bland to today’s audience, so J.J. Abrams decided to spice it up a bit by tossing in some other elements he borrowed from a smattering of different episodes from the old generation, and from the Movie Star Trek 2 the Wrath of Khan. I just think that he spiced it up a bit much. The story was good enough without tossing in… Klingons, Tribbles, Radiation poisoning, Dr. Marcus, magic regeneration powers, unsinkable star ships, volcano spelunking, warp core kicking, maniacal star fleet officers, artificial gravity rotation, flying car-fu, water bomb-fu, and probably much more. I would have to see it again to catch it all and I do plan on seeing it again.
One of the main distractions for me, besides special effects overload, was the casting and acting of Khan. I admit that he was a great villain, and was well acted, but he wasn’t Khan. It was almost as bad as casting Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. Khan is supposed to be passionate and bold, a leader of men and a lover of women. Instead they make him out to be an emotionless terrorist puppet of a maniacal Admiral. The Khan I knew wouldn’t have taken that shit, he may have been a monomaniacal dick, but at least he had style and a vision.
Don’t get me wrong, it was still a fun movie, but it could have been so much more. If JJ only dialed back the chases, explosions, and the in your face CGI a bit, and gave the ending a bit of a twist it would have been great. Both my wife and I agreed that right near the end it had a chance to redeem itself then blew it. Personally I believe that old guy Spock screwed up. It is illogical to hold a person responsible for what he did in the future during a different timeline. He should have kept his big mouth shut.
I do recommend seeing the movie, and I plan on buying it when it comes out on DVD/Blue-Ray. Like Lutefisk, maybe it will taste better the second or third time.

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