Star Trek Into Dumbness

The new Star Trek movie isn't a terrible film. Star Trek Into Darkness has some bravura action scenes, and some brilliant comic bits. But it's also aggressively, tragically stupid. It's not even a great popcorn film, because it fails to deliver on its own promises. And it's not half as good as J.J. Abrams' first Star Trek.

Note: This review contains no major spoilers, but does have some broad generalizations, from which one could draw vague but pointed inferences.

Four years ago, J.J. Abrams showed that Star Trek could be thrilling again. His first film starts off with a really powerful opening sequence, where George Kirk sacrifices himself for his crew and his newborn son. And it ends with a pretty rousing finale, where Jim Kirk saves Earth from meeting the same fate as Vulcan, and Spock discovers that his father really did love his mother. Also, Abrams' first movie takes chances with the Trek mythos, blowing up Vulcan and turning Spock and Uhura into a long-term couple.

But Abrams' second outing plays it safe, instead of capitalising on this legacy. Star Trek Into Darkness tries to give fans exactly what they expect, in exactly the right quantities with the right packaging. The result is somewhat insulting to actual Star Trek fans, because nobody enjoys inept pandering. And it falls short of being a good action movie, because it actively lowers the stakes over and over, instead of raising them.

This is a film that's simultaneously trying too hard and aiming too low. In parts, it's ridiculously fun and there are some crackerjack sequences that work astonishingly well. (Along with some sequences that fall terribly flat.) Simon Pegg nearly steals the thing. Benedict Cumberbatch is mostly great. But the film is let down by its nonsensical plot and pulled punches.

I'm trying to avoid major spoilers here, but suffice to say that nothing in Star Trek Into Darkness makes sense. At all. These aren't the sort of plot holes that you notice in the parking lot after you walk out of the movie theatre, but rather the sort that jump out at you while you're actually watching the movie. The first half of the movie sets up a genuinely interesting storyline, and lays the groundwork for what could have been a really good film — and then the movie throws all of that potential away on fan-service and villain multiball.

Star Trek Into Darkness, in particular, lacks a big climax, like Nero trying to destroy Earth in the first movie — this time around, the final act of the movie just feels like more middle.

Often, when a film falls apart the way Star Trek Into Darkness does, it's because the film-makers didn't know what story they were trying to tell. This time around, they had a clear story in mind... and it's one that apparently doesn't have room for a good villain, or an interesting story.

The Kirk Problem

All of the marketing for this film has been built around the idea that it has a really strong villain, stronger than the one-note Nero from the first movie. But in fact, that's not the case — there are a couple of villains in Star Trek Into Darkness, and neither of them is particularly strong in the sense of posing a major challenge. Both villains are utterly reactive, flailing around in response to plot developments.

And this movie is not at all driven by either of its villains, whose identity I won't give away. Instead, it's all about Kirk, and his unfitness for command.

The biggest flaw in the first Abrams Trek movie is James Kirk's "failing upwards" trajectory, which leads to him becoming captain an hour after flunking out of Starfleet Academy. Kirk is also working the "immature frat-boy" vibe a little too hard, making it hard to believe anyone would trust him with hundreds of lives.

So Star Trek Into Darkness' main goal is to rehabilitate Kirk and turn him into a fit captain. Plot and storytelling logic are completely subsumed to that goal, and all of the major character development revolves around that — even the Spock/Uhura romance is turned into an extension of Kirk's relationship with Spock. In fact, even the Kirk/Spock friendship is submerged in the story of Kirk becoming a good captain at long last, which means that some key scenes towards the end are lacking the emotional depth they're probably supposed to have.

The good news is, Chris Pine is way better this time around. He actually seems sort of like a starship captain, instead of a kid trying on his dad's clothes. He's gotten some gravitas from somewhere, maybe from hanging out with Benedict Cumberbatch.

And some of the best moments in the middle of the film involve Kirk making a few genuinely wise decisions, which show that he's listening to his subordinates instead of just doing whatever he feels like. There was a bit, about halfway through the film, where I really thought this movie was going someplace cool, because we do see Kirk becoming a better leader and thinking on his feet a bit.

But the movie tosses all of that out the shuttlebay, in favour of a cheap ending that tries to show Kirk learning a really dumb non-lesson. There's something kind of wack about building a whole movie around the notion that your hero is unworthy of the mantle you gave him the first time around — but if that's the arc you're going with, at least do it justice.

And meanwhile, the movie dissolves into mindless fan-service, at the expense of not just logic, but fun or excitement.

Fanwank

The final reel of Star Trek Into Darkness basically makes sense only as fan-service. The movie essentially abdicates trying to tell a new story at some point, and turns into a jumble of stuff from stories you've seen before, slightly rearranged or turned on its head. This is sort of the kiss of death for a movie that's trying to breathe new life into a universe as venerable as Trek.

Abrams' first Star Trek movie took a somewhat more restrained approach to fan-service — the story was more or less new, and the movie took some huge liberties, but then Abrams and friends threw some bones to the fans. Like, we saw Kirk take the Kobayashi Maru test, we saw a Tribble, there were lots of little shout-outs. But the fan-service never took over the film, to the point of derailing the actual story.

And that's really the problem — this time, the fanservice becomes the movie — and meanwhile, as I mentioned, the movie also works hard to reduce the stakes, instead of raising them. (There's one huge shoe in particular that you're told over and over is going to drop, and it never does.)

This movie makes a strong case that Star Trek has nowhere to go that it hasn't already gone, and nothing to say that it hasn't already said, and that's really too bad.

Star Trek was always about exploring new shit. It's even in Kirk's opening monologue: to seek out strange new shit and new civilizations. So it's bad enough that Trek has been stuck in the land of prequels and reboots since Voyager ended — but at least, the justification for doing the fancy reboot of Kirk and Spock was to have a vehicle to tell brand new stories about them. Nostalgia is the poison for any long-running series, but it's especially bad for Star Trek, which is supposed to be all about looking forward.

In defence of fun

Star Trek Into Darkness has almost all the ingredients of a fun movie.

As I mentioned, Simon Pegg steals every scene he's in. J.J. Abrams has a great visual style, and really gives you a sense of what it's like to be aboard a frickin starship in some of the scenes aboard the Enterprise. Almost every member of the cast is charming. Benedict Cumberbatch brings a certain lovely dignity to his performance (although he is forced to declaim large amounts of exposition that make almost no sense.) And there are more fun "going on a crazy away mission" sequences like the "drill attack" sequence in the first movie.

In fact, and probably the best you can say about Star Trek Into Darkness is that it is fun, if you can turn your brain all the way off. To the point of near-brain death, basically.

But this movie never quite gets crazy enough, or commits to the "holy shit" action enough, to be really, truly fun. There's no huge final battle, no "all almighty fuck breaks loose" crescendo, no knock-down-drag-out hero moment. Instead, the movie gets more and more ponderous, even as it bends over backwards to give you maximum fan-service and Kirk validation.

It wouldn't matter nearly as much that nothing in this movie makes a lick of sense, if it was more bonkers and exciting. Instead, this movie doles out action sequences, some of them terrific and some of them underwhelming, as if they were field rations. It's like nobody's told J.J. Abrams that action scenes can just flow, come out of nowhere and hit you on the head.

I came out of this movie wishing that Abrams had sat down and watched the movie he produced a while back, Brad Bird's Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, before filming Trek 2. Lord knows MI4 isn't a smart movie either, but it's fully committed to the action and to keeping you on your toes.

And in addition to the agendas I already mentioned, Into Darkness also has a message about terrorism and 9/11 that really, really wants to be taken seriously and... yeesh. At the end, when the movie spells out its grand message, I slapped my forehead hard enough to leave a palm-mark.

It doesn't help that I saw Star Trek Into Darkness less than a day after watching Iron Man 3, which has a lot of the same themes, ideas and even story beats — but handles them infinitely better. Neither STID nor Iron Man 3 are perfect movies, but Iron Man 3 is a lot wittier, cleverer and more actually fun than STID. It's like watching Fred Astaire and a drunken child do the same dance routine, back to back.

So, like I said at the start, Star Trek Into Darkness isn't a bad movie — and if I'd walked out of the film halfway through, I might even have thought it was a good movie. But it's also a new poster-child for sequel mistakes — focusing too much on honouring what came before, and giving out some "topical" message. And not focusing enough on kicking your arse and giving you a great fucking popcorn movie.


Comments

    FIRST! This is Sha Ka Ree sent! As a Trek fan I wasn't sure what disgusted me more, the film or all the cretins fawning over it. It's not a Star Trek movie and as Chuck points out, it fails at even being a standalone movie.

      Loved the movie - and think all the buthurt trekkies having a massive "waahburger" are pretty hilarious.
      My partner hates star trek - but loves the movies. So I would say that Abrams has been massively successful in creating a movie that stands on it's own, but also includes a bit of a nod to the old fans.

        Isn't that a strange thing to say though? Why would you want an old concept twisted to an unrecognizable form, and be proud when you get it, instead of NEW content that's tailor made to this new form? Star Trek doesn't fit into what Abrams is trying to do. His manipulation needs to either do the old series justice or fit the pretense of a new story. It does neither. And don't even begin to pretend that mass consumption equals critical success. More power to him, I'm glad he's making money. But unless you own stock in his company, you're just a nerd for bandying his financial success about as some kind of hollow victory for your poor taste in films.

    As someone who never watched the original series of Kirk and Spock, none of the fan service gripes apply to me. I had no idea what the kobayashi test was and I didn't even know who half the characters were. I recognised the name Khan from STID but nothing more.

    So this movie didn't feel like it was turkey slapping me with fans service at all. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I did notice a few plot holes (why did they need Khan's DNA to revive Kirk when the had a cargo bay full of frozen super humans?) but over all I think the movie was amazing.

    I don't think the stakes need to be raised in order to make the film better. There's only so far you can go after nearly blowing up earth in the first movie. I mean, where do you go from saving earth? Next, the solar system, the galaxy? I'm actually numb to the threat of earth blowing up, it's boring these days cause it's been done over and over again. It's like seeing a woman get sawn in half at a magic show, see it enough and you find it hard to muster any real tension. I thought the lowering of the stakes of a man trying to save the life of his best friend was more powerful. It's hard to fathom the billions of lives being at stake on a collapsing planet and it's hard to convey the emotions of such an event but the reality of Kirk perishing and Spock watching it behind glass, just I inches away had a lot more emotion than the entire planet getting fragged. Unfortunately though, as a meta thinking cinema audience member I knew without a doubt that Kirk would finish the movie alive and well.

    I'd say this film is better than the first. I love Eric Banner but years of watching him on sketch shows prevents me from taking him seriously and I didn't think his motivations as a villain were believable.

    But to each their own I suppose.

    Last edited 17/05/13 9:39 am

      I like pie!

      Last edited 17/05/13 9:56 am

        As much as he could have used the tags, I feel like when the first two words are "warning spoilers" and you keep reading you kind of get what you deserve.

          He changed it, he's awesome lets change our snarky comments to how much we love our favorite tv shows now :D

          Last edited 17/05/13 9:22 am

            Certainly not all responsibility, but I think its safe to say not everyone posting on the site is suitably aware of the existence of spoiler tags (or how to properly use them) - even if they are aware of the common courtesy to declare that you are about to reference spoilers.

              Why is Raj from Big Bang Theory dating Ted from Scrubs girlfriend... O_o

              Last edited 17/05/13 11:12 am

        Hey man, I'm really sorry if I spoiled anything for you. I wasn't aware that you could hide spoiler content and I wasn't given the option to do so. I'll make sure I figure out how to do this next time I post stuff with spoilers in it. Once again, sorry.

          Ah its all good lol. Ive been jumped on like a pirhanna :) Its all good :D We all get it at one point lol. No harm done and now we move on to more important things like toasted baked bean sandwiches for lunch! Who wants one!

          Last edited 17/05/13 11:11 am

            No worries. I absolutely HATE things being spoiled for me, even the smallest stuff so I understand.

            I'm gonna have a disgustingly greasy KFC burger with bacon to drown my sorrows after I was fired yesterday. I normally eat really healthy but I'm feeling a bit self destructive today. On the plus side, no job = more video games. For a few weeks at least I'll be saying goodbye to pants and hello to video games on tap!

              What job was it?

                I was a manager for a servo. It sucks, but ah well, time for a change of direction.

                  Man that blows, good luck though! My mate worked for a caltex, told me his big discount was 4 cents off. Was surprised, thought he'd at least get 8? lol

                Yeah they paid me my entitlements and the wife is now working so I have some time to have a break, spend quality time with my kids then eventually find another job. I have SO many games I wanna finish or get that last achievement for.

      Im a massive trekie, and as much as there was a few plot holes i LOVED this movie, by far better than the first of the reboot.

      the fan service while overdone a little, did make for some rather fun moments.
      the 3D was done incredibly well, how many people ducked the spear?

      I rage at all comic book movies due to how wrong they get it, how bad the story is, and with the first new trek movie i did the same, i came into this one with 0 expectations and walked out incredibly pleased with how well it turned out.

      i took small issue with the klingons and how predictable the end was, but overall excellent movie, any real trek fan would agree.

      I think I agree with everything you said here. I thought it was a pretty good movie, as good as the previous Star Trek and better than Iron Man 3.

      Eric Bana formed such a crucial part of my childhood TV-watching (Full Frontal was one of the first few 'adult' shows I was able to watch, in a very strict household).

      It is impossible for me to take him seriously in anything. Blackhawk Down, Hulk, Chopper, Star Trek, Munich, Troy... Nothing. I just can't shake him as Ray Martin or any of those other characters.

        Yeah, in serious movies like Troy, as he's speaking I find myself just waiting for the punch line and studio audience laughter. For Americans it would be the equivalent of Mike Myers or Steve Martin or some other Saturday Night Live cast member playing serious roles.

          And it's always weird when he's using an American accent. Because it sounds like a fake joke accent. Oddly enough the Americans don't seem to notice?

            TOTALLY! His American accent immediately makes me smile, like you all I can hear is him putting on a fake accent as a joke. Glad to meet another person who grew up watching Comedy Company/Fast Forward/Full Frontal. I hardly missed an episode and all mates at school would recall the jokes the next day at school. My most prized DVD is the Shawn Micalief compilation that contains the complete set of David Mchgahn's World and Rodger Explosion episodes. Still cracks me up to this day.

              Awhellyes. That's the reason I still watch anything and everything with Micallef in it.

              As for Bana... My brother calls it the 'curse of Poitah'.

              My school was pretty cool in that it was very small, and our home-room type morning class would allow us to pop in a VHS cassette with the previous night's taped episode of Full Frontal, so we could all start the day off right.

                The curse of Poitah, how appropriate. Well said. Speaking of Poitah, here's Bana at his best

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqFcdz4gGKA

                I must admit, not only do I find Shawn Micallef absolutely hilarious, I watch just about everything he's in also because I crave Full Frontal. Good times.

                Last edited 17/05/13 5:20 pm

    Have to disagree about your arguments against the climax. Not every movie has to end with the threat human extinction or the destruction of the earth.

      Agreed.

      The thing is a lot of people are comparing this to Wrath of khan, which is ok to do but they also miss the fact you have to actually compare this to SPACE SEED. Khans first encounter with the Enterprise. In TWOK he was vengeful Khan, out to kill Kirk, out to annihilate him. He was a pissed off Shark looking to bite the head off the diver who had stuck him with a speargun previously. In Space Seed he was the cobra, hidden away, coiled up waiting to strike like he was in this movie at times. I didn't think this was a perfect movie but I did find it to be more of a rollercoaster than the previous one which had its problems too.

      The movie also makes complete sense plotwise, the Botany Bay was found sooner than later, given the advances in Tech that had been brought into the galaxy and the butterfly effect that had happened too. When humanity had 'forgotten how to wage war' and the Admiral had discovered one of Earths mightiest and most feared warriors, of course he was going to exploit him when he had the opportunity to hold him to ransom?

      What's also forgotten, is that this movie sets up the third one. The Klingon War. It's HEAVILY hinted at in this movie and Peter Weller himself mentioned it recently, as well as Orci in a recent interview. We can expect to see a LOT of Klingons in the 3rd movie, with the Starfleet/Klingon war finally reaching a reality as talked about in the 2nd movie, with the incident in the 2nd movie 'sparking' it.

      Do I think it a perfect movie? No. Do I think it one of the better Trek movies? HELL yes.

      I have heard the common diatribe about Trek being 'smart tv' to watch. I take issue with that. CERTAINLY I would call Trek moral, CERTAINLY I would say that Trek tries to be better than most shows out there, but Trek in the last 15 years I would say by and large comes across as condescending pap. The movies, bar First Contact (which was a great action movie!) were messes that just seemed like extra long episodes. Generations was fun but felt like a finale to the tv series. Insurrection was a bloody bore and Nemesis, well, that's possibly the worst Trek since part 5.

      The less said about Voyager the better unless its about the great Robert Picardo or Tim Russ and the EVEN less said about Enterprise...

      Last edited 17/05/13 9:16 am

        DS9 was great and actually got better as it went on, obviously the team there managed to keep Rick Berman away long long enough to make some interesting TV.

        its on channel 11 on Thursday nights ATM too so you can catch up.

        Voyager had one really good episode "Timeless" and that is all

          I said 15 years lol. DS9 is my fav of the series. TNG and DS9 actually had ongoing, evolving stories involving ethics, situations, morality and constantly pushed issues such as genetic manipulation, religion, abortion (yes it did!), euthanasia etc. I found them to be amazing episodes. Voyager had a great episode with Robert Picardo as the doctor on the holodeck where he designed a fake family, then one of the characters gives him a 'real' family, a troubled one. His acting in that was GREAT. Timeless was indeed a brilliant one as well. Voyager had a couple but overall was bland. Enterprise I have no love for.

            Voyager had better characters than both TNG and DS9 and far, far better character development than TNG.

              It really didn't. DS9 had the best fleshed out characters. O'brien and Worf obviously benefitting from being the longest running characters on any Star Trek Show (O'brien taking the cake by being the single longest running Trek character in a tv series). DS9 concentrating on children, adults, civilians, enemies, off duty and on duty alike. Voyager, it started off ok but then regressed to being the 7 of 9 show in later seasons. It had Robert Picardo who was always stunningly good and Ethan Phillips did his best in the Neelix role but Janeway and 7 of 9 just always grated my chaps. TNG was infinitely better too because it had Picard and Rikers beard. Nuff said.

              Oh and because Riker straddled chairs :P

                I can't really comment on DS9's character development, since I've only just started watching it, but I will say that so far I've prefered the characters in TNG and Voyager.

                TNG was very big on keeping the status quo of their characters. Data was always on a quest to be more human, but he was never actually shown to advance on that quest. He'd get some life lesson one episode and it would look like things might change for him only for him to be back to his old self the next. Riker and Troi always had this awkward, flirty relationship, and it never evolved past that. Every time it looked like their relationship would develop it would end up going back to what it always was. There's other numerous examples. Voyager actually had the characters change over time, though I'll admit that in the later seasons Seven and the Doctor got a lot more development than anyone else.

                I'll agree that Voyager started off okay, but I think it got better as it went along rather than regressing. In the early seasons it was trying to be like TNG, which was mainly focused on a sense of discovery and exploration, but Voyager just couldn't pull it off quite right. It wasn't until later seasons that they really grew into their own show and started doing their own thing.

                  It just always irked me that when they brought Jeri Ryan on (not her fault, shes a good actress), the shift went away from others solely to her for a long period of time. I understand the need to for a while but boy did they overmilk that cow.

                  I agree Voyager had much better characterisation than TNG the problem was its believability -here is this tiny spaceship all alone they should be scrounging for resources but yet every other week in the first two seasons someone blew up a shuttle!

                  Ron Moore said as much in a massive blog he wrote about why he quit the show after three episodes, things that happened in Voyager never had consequences.

                  Contrast that to another show depicting a lone ship fighting for survival... Battlestar Galactica

          I thought Voyager got better and better too. It was a bit Red Dwarfy in the early days, but once they outgrew that aspect it improved quite a lot. Easily the equal of all the others in the later series.

            Red Dwarf. Best space show ever.

              At times it was, yes :)
              Voyager aping that was pretty crap though- last humans who're sent in deep space decades away from the rest of humanity, a nerdy annoying stuck-up hologram guy (the Doctor/Rimmer), the wacky non-human guy with cool hair and fancy clothes that becomes part of the crew (Neelix/Cat), etc. There were more aspects too...

              My fave Voyager episode was the one with Lori Petti in her Tank Girl gear.

                Oh there were some dire, terrible Red Dwarf eps lol. But noone can beat ACE RIMMER!

                  Stoke me a clipper skipper, I'll be back for christmas!

        @weresmurfs post: Absolutely this.
        All of it.

        I tried watching Star Trek TV series a few times and always got turned off by how... unrealistic their society and attitudes were.

        Final straw:
        Under attack by an alien ship? Suddenly able to beam aboard? Let's take all the most vital crew on the ship and go poking around at things. Kinda wanted to scream, "Where are your marines? Boarding party! Set massive future-explosives and RUN! Good God, ANY semblance of urgency or military training would be preferable to wandering around like tourists in an art gallery!"

      Raised stakes is bay far the biggest weakness of all SciFi. It's what ruins the genre. It's stupid and lazy writing and the sooner that's dispensed with the better.

        That really depends though if the raising is earnt or if its plot convenient. The Wrath of Khan earnt its raised stakes I personally feel, with the constant feeling of impending doom. The Empire Strikes back for the same reason. Movies such as the Star Wars prequels utterly failed as they added in Deus Ex Machina (Oh we can instantly solve it with this! Order 66! Jedis are bastards! etc). Quite a few Trek movies have done this too (most of the TNG movies except First contact).

        It's hard to say if Into Darkness earnt its or not? Some? Yes for sure. Some? Definitely not. They were 'plot convenient' for sure, which is a common failure of Abrams movies even though I do love his work.

    It earns a few points in my book for toning down the ridiculous amount of lens flaring from the first one.
    I enjoyed this movie quite a bit, though I do admit a bit of an anti-climactic ending that could be seen from about halfway through the film once certain aspects of one of the villians is revealed.
    I wonder now if the next movie might be set in space on an alien planet, since the ending has them finally leaving earth for the '5 year mission'

      I disagree, this movie still had an awful amount of distracting and unnecessary lens flare... Half way through this movie I realised that someone needs to pistol whip JJ if he wants to abuse the lens flare technique in the new Star Wars.

        You need to go rewatch Episodes 1 - 3 again. In those movies, George Lucas manages to put Abrams to shame any time they hit space :O

          Yeah i really don't get it at all why these directors feel the need to have artificial lens flare for each and every damn light source ever on screen. It is completely distracting, annoying, and un-realistic in my view. From my experience video very little stuff, only on rare occasions where a light source hits the lens at exactly the right angle does the flaring occur of any note. Not every damn time a light is every filmed from any distance and at any angle.
          I agree that this new one still has some unnecessary flaring, my point was just that it has been very much toned down. Still there, yes, but not wiping out half the screen with every single light visible.

            I know, right! You'd think that'd be an advantage of CG scenes, that you DON'T need to worry about lense flare! But then they put it in artificially! It's ridiculous! It's like they think it's lens "flair"! *stuffs vein back into forehead*

              Very limited amount of lens flares are fine but when its flares for flares sake aka SW:AOTC and SW:ROTS, Trek 09 and STID? Holy shit...

              Last edited 17/05/13 10:25 am

                Maybe if they're *real* lense flares, and rare, they're okay. It's like the shaky hand held camera shit to make something look documentary-ish or feel more like you're there. I hate that so bad. I'll never feel I'm actually there, just nauseous.

                  Exactly. There's a handful of movies where shakycam works. A handful. Then you get things like Bourne Identity where its vomitfest.

                  Then theres Cloverfield where it feels like Im having yet another epileptic fit...

    I thought certain scenes were dragged out way too long and other scenes were undermined because they leaped from point to point.
    That said, I still liked it more than Iron Man 3.

      Agree. I really enjoyed this movie, probably my favourite of the year so far and more satisfying than Iron Man 3

    I thought is was a fun movie, but a bit of a mess as the reviewer has pointed out. I didn't appreciate the nods to the old Star Trek stuff, especially the reversal of who almost dies in the reactor as it's pointless and unnecessary for the fans.

    They are doing a "Voyager sequel" with Star Trek: Renegades. That will be interesting to see what they do with that.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2621446/

      Yeah that's the fan film one. Interesting how the fan films manage to get a lot of the original cast members back now.

      you sir... have just made my day with the news of the voyager follow up series... bring it on! :D

      on topic though... i thought Star Trek Into The Lens Flare was a pretty cool movie... I didn't read all of the review above but I see it for what it is and smiled at the "nods to the old star trek"... if they'd called it something other than Star Trek and tried to make it a new IP... people wouldn't be bitching as much

        Hopefully it'll be good. Too many fan films in the past with no original cast have been... questionable. But as time goes on and fans production values actually get quite good, some are *really* worth watching. Walter Koenig has appeared in quite a few of them as he loves doing them, Tim Russ a few too. The only wild card there is Edward Furlong O_o Corin Nemics a good actor and its good to see they got Ethan Phillips back as Neelix :D

        I'll definitely be keeping this one on my radar :D I guess my only issue with fan films is they always seem to want to choose the 'tough' or 'edgy' sounding names for their shows lol.

          I didn't know about this till 3 comments ago. I hope they succeed.

          One question though: didnt they leave Neelix in the D Quadrant? How are they gonna write their way out of that one?

    I thought this movie was terrible. It had glaring plot holes and continuity errors, boring characters, and painfully obvious fan service even to me - someone who has never ever seen any star trek (not even the previous movie) and I only know what I know from shows like Futurama.

    Beyond that, its refusal to have any consequences for any character's actions destroys any possible tension. It feels like some child's daydream about the time he saved the world.

      Just a quick question but if its in a new timeline hows it got continuiity errors?

        Within the same movie. Like in the final scene with Spock fighting Khan, Spock is hanging onto the end of the platform. Khan then runs up and kicks him, then magically Spock is lying down on the middle of the platform.

        Last edited 17/05/13 10:37 am

          Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I see what you mean :) I shall have to re-see it now lol

    "The result is somewhat insulting to actual Star Trek fans, because nobody enjoys inept pandering."

    Last time I checked this movie wasn't about Star Trek fans as much as broadening the franchise for mass appeal - at least that was my (non-Star Trek fan) interpretation.

    I didn't really have any problem with the movie, wasn't as great as the first one but kept me engaged the whole time - which is more than I can say for Iron Man 3, which (not giving anything away) threw away the idea of a "technological" hero-villain universe for (ok time for spoilers)
    a fire-breathing, barely explained maniac whose entire motivation was that Tony Stark banged a scientist instead of joining him on the roof for a cocktail 10 years ago.

    At least this was somewhat consistent with my expectations, instead of attempting to turn Tony Stark into a 3-dimensional protagonist purely because during The Avengers (and assumedly the sequel) he is just a guy in a suit.

      Actually, that kind of irritated me about Iron Man 3 believe it or not?

      LETS SHOW THIS *AWESOME POWER* HE HAS.... then never ever ever use it again.

      I don't recall him using it again anyhow? I could be wrong? But it irritated me none the less. It just seemed inconsistent. If you could do that... surely you'd be using that to take down a bunch of metal suits flying around you right???

      Wow just noticed the spoiler tags didn't kick in??? How ironic... O_O

      Last edited 17/05/13 9:54 am

        It was sort of rife with weird things which annoyed me, even if it did have some great comedy lines and a few exceptional sequences.

        Like

        Why does Stark dare a terrorist to attack him and then have no defenses set up for this house?

        Or

        Why is that botanical scientist like "you need me to finish the research" and Killian is just like "nope chuck testa" and shoots her?

        I feel like if I took a closer look the whole thing would start to unravel.

        One thing that annoyed me about Ironman is the fact that he suddenly calls in all of his flying suits when the script needed a finale. Also, if he could have the shrapnel removed from his chest at the local doctors surgery, why didn't he do that in the second movie when his very life was threatened?

          Well
          the surgery thing was explained by using the healing technology developed by Krillian and that botanical scientist, thats why he was able to survive the surgery
          But the thing about
          the suits was completely ridiculous. He calls his suits and suddenly its all good, so why didnt he just do that immediately after his house was blown up? Problem solved, movie over.
          I also love how he detonates all of them at the end, while Roadie is flying in one with the president in hand. I just pictured them both blowing up somewhere over the city and Stark being like "... oh yeah I accidentally assassinated top military leader and the president of our country because I was making a point to my girlfriend - my bad"

            I thought it convenient all his suits were suddenly remote controlled? I thought only the one suit at the beginning was originally but oh well...

              As long as we can all agree that Iron Man 3 was the worse sequel, I'm happy.

                I dunno, I like them all for different reasons. I really like Tony's meltdowns in Ironman 3, I liked him falling apart in 2, trashing his mansion etc and bottoming out somewhat but I like how they went further with it in 3. The movie was missing one thing though, a post credits scene in which the kid he befriends is at school about to be bullied by some twirp when all of a sudden Ironman lands and says/does something really funny to make the bully shit his pants.

            Obvious answer to the remote controlled suite issue:
            Stark loses communication with Jarvis (who controls the suites) shortly after crashing in the snow. It's only after reconnecting with Jarvis later that he has access to the suites in time to call them in for the finale.

    The only thing that bothered me while watching this movie was when the ship started falling to earth, and everyone started falling all around the ship. If the whole thing was in freefall and the gravity thingo was dead, shouldn't everyone have been weightless?

    Also, obligatory what game is this about again? :P

    Last edited 17/05/13 9:54 am

      I was waiting for someone to make that game comment :P

      But

      I don't completely understand the mechanics of a Star Trek spaceship but my limited understanding seems to indicate that if the lights and life support systems are still working then maybe some of the other gravity systems are somewhat working as well? I dunno, a little out of my area of expertise.

        It was mainly because they specifically mentioned that they had no gravity when the power had gone out that it made me start to wonder about it. So from there I think they were supposed to only be under the influence of the earth's gravity.

      I believe they were actually very close to Earth already that the Earth's gravity is taking over. The gravity machine they have is the one keeping the crew attached to the floor of the Enterprise whilst the ship does its acrobatic maneouvres.

        Yes... they lost power and so lost their gravity machine, and the whole ship started falling towards Earth I guess because they weren't in an orbit and couldn't maintain their position above the planet any more. But then all throughout this scene, you see Kirk and Scotty trying to make their way through the ship while dealing with gravity changing directions as the ship tumbles towards Earth. That kind of makes sense, if you think that they should all be falling towards wherever Earth is relative to the rotation of the ship. But what I'm saying is that if the ship is in freefall, and everyone in it is only subject to Earth's gravitational field... then shouldn't they all be weightless and not have to deal with the ceiling becoming the floor? Like when airplanes do those weightlessness flights, climbing to a high altitude then doing a dive bomb to simulate the weightlessness of being in orbit.

    here are my problems i found with it as i watched it that really annoyed me and took away from my experience in the cinemas

    why risk a war flying to the end of the neutral zone and doing all that when they could have simply used scottys equation to beam themselves to the planet much like khan did

    when their ship is falling towards earth, why are there no other ships or some kind of central command station above earth to help. For that matter why is there no defense at earth at all, especially if things with the vulcans are as hotshot as they say

    Did not like how Khan's physical strength is changed throughout the movie. First hes strong then when he fights spock he becomes a normal human(ish). At one point also while fighting on a flying car (i believe) he knocks spock down and is clearly in the lead yet he jumps off into another car

    These people are most precious to me im going to freeze them and put them in a photon torpedo - that makes sense. I spent the first half of the movie thinking the missle weren't actually missiles and that he removed the explosive part to make way for the bodies

    This one is more so about the star trek universe i guess. But if they could engineer super humans 300 years ago why would they not all just become super humans or at least have a higher tech level compared to 300 year old people
    - eg. In the second scene the little girl is dying how can they not cure her but a 300 year old genetically engineered human can with his blood. If they could make Khan 300 years ago with that kind of blood they can make some kind of serum
    - also they talk about cryogenics and not needing it anymore since they have virtually every cure yet again in the start ther is a little girl dying meaning there are others like her and they still dont use cryogenics?

    They said those payloads could destroy the planet and yet they barely did anything to khans final ship

      Some of your points do apply but I'll argue against a few :)

      1. Scotty's equation. Not sure if they could actually do it without Scotty? Remember he resigned form the Enterprise... weak point I know but I guess they did this for the sake of having an action sequence? :P

      2. Yeah Earth has no friggin defense in almost any movie EVER. :(

      3. Vulcan is roughly 3-5 times stronger than a full grown adult human, so a fight between Khan and Spock would be more even than Khan vs Kirk. Also Vulcans have nerve pinch, etc.

      4. Khan knew that Markus was going to try and blow him to smithereens so he reprogrammed the missile. It probably has safe landing mechanism - the bomb was only there to failsafe opening the missile like when Bones & Carol forcefully cut the wire. Khan's crew members were never thawed in the first place since they were found - Markus only thawed the Captain (Khan) and used the cryo-crew as hostages.

      5. The superiority complex brought on by the superhuman serum was deemed to dangerous. Not sure why they didn't develop a milder/more specific version though :( Maybe they haven't managed to fix the side effects of the current one? As for the cryo, it just freezes people to be thawed at a later date. Cryo does not cure ailments!

      Scotty did mention in the movie that his beaming equation had been confiscated.

    To me I felt that this was stronger than the first film. The first film was a nondescript action film in Star Trek clothes (very loose Star Trek clothes). References were thrown in just because. Hur hur, there's a green alien sleeping with Kirk, it's TOS again. Chekhov has an accent and the computer can't understand him, it's like it's the 60s again. There was no actual Star Trek and the cast other than Kirk and Spock were less than supporting characters.

    With the new film, granted there was still little actual Star Trek and it feels like in between the films JJ's just asked someone what's the most action packed Star Trek films/episodes I can watch and based a film off that, there's more emphasise on character's relationships which was the whole point of Gene's Star Trek. Whether or not that was done well is up to debate, but I found it more enjoyable than the first one. There are plot holes, there always will be in an Abrams film, he's also used the cast a lot better in this film, although in nowhere near the depth of character they had in TOS apart from maybe Scotty, but that's to be expected in a 2 hour film compared to 3 seasons of 26 episodes.

    It is what it is, a 2 hour Star Trek film for the ADD mainstream audience, but there's enough for Star Trek fans to enjoy it as well. I'm hoping that with the exposure these films have given the franchise that a new series will be coming at some point, although I'd be worried that someone would want to slow the pace down and expand on the characters again and that it'd ultimately get cancelled in the same way Caprica did compared to the more action packed Battlestar

    Wow, I disagreed with nearly every individual paragraph in this review. I enjoyed Into the Darkness much more than the previous film and felt that it was a much smarter film, with many less plot holes and silliness.
    The first film frustrated the hell out of me for how many liberties they took for the sake of keeping it a fast moving, dumb, action movie, at the cost of any believability. Into the Darkness didn't and I felt it was a much better film as a result.

    I thought it was better than the first film. Nero was cool, but Into Darkness had a much better villain and plot. The only thing that really bothered me was how, after the two ships were damaged, they were suddenly over Earth and trapped by its gravitational pull, even though when they first came out of warp to do battle it was stated that they were still some distance from Earth.

    Agree to disagree. I absolutely LOVED this movie. Was glued to the screen the whole time, it was fantastic.

    Disclaimer: I watched this after being let down so badly by Iron Man 3, so it may have greatly increased my enjoyment.

    In the interest of discussion I will breakdown my argument against OP.

    Lack of Climax:
    This movie is clearly transitional. It's a movie all about growth with loads of foreshadowing about the future Klingon War. I actually don't mind that all of the fight scenes are very personal for the combatant involved, not everything has to be an Earth-disaster movie.

    The Kirk Problem:
    I agree this is a bit of a weak point, mainly because they are a bit wishy-washy in some parts. But that said I do not think it was as bad as you mentioned. For a good part of this movie he was driven by anger, and then finally when he had Khan in his holding bay, his morality overrode the rage. It's as he said at the beginning: do you make teh choice that is logically right, or morally right? When he found out Khan's crew was held hostage what was morally right at the time was to help him. This decision sort of bit him in the arse at the end but I think he was glad that he did not just do as ordered. I would say that you should reserve judgment for the eventualism of this lesson learned until the next movie as this one ends literally as he wakes up from his final lesson.

    I would have loved to have some more Spock moments but if the movie was about Kirk, why attempt to stray? Also Spock/Uhura being extension of the Kirk Problem was in this case valid as they both care for this silly Vulcan.

    Fanwank:
    Do you really expect a reboot without a nod to the older series? I was expecting that this movie was a nod to Khan but wasn't expecting the Space Seed angle. If you are talking about the 'Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaan' role reversal, I honestly did not mind it. It was cheesy as all hell, but again because this movie was about Kirk and his relationship with the crew I think it worked well. It is more of a no to the beginning of the movie I thought when Spock was gonna let himself die in the volcano. Kirk was doing the same thing and it was Spock who realised the moral implication of this 'sacrifice'. It was looking backwards into the old movie whilst at the same time the reason to do so is to move the reboot storyline forward? I don't understand this vehemence.

    Also in regards to the 'shoe drop' comment, which bit was that referring to?

    The Terrorism angle:
    Yeah this one is a bit hamfisted and derivative of other movies tbh. It was not needed to be referred to at the end I thought and just made for a cheesy closing scene.

    Ultimately....you either love ST or dont - regardless of the era/generation.
    I feel that they are worthy of the ST name.
    I'll be happy to continue watching them all (hoping for more to come)

    JUST PLEASE EventCinemas - FIX YA AUDIO PROBLEMS! - a few movies now have had the action sequences overrun the voice audio!
    (Anyone else have that problem?? - CITE: Garden City Event Cinema Brisbane - Tuesday Night 14th Session VMax)

    At first I also didn't like the fanservice, and felt it was really cheesy.

    But then I realised: this is pretty much the only series of film that can make references to itself within it's own context of universe and that's amazing. Simply put because this new series is built on a timeline explicitly created as canon within the first movie (making the old spock an allowable character in the universe) any event or thing that has occurred before can occur again naturally in the flow of time, with variables adjusted for the new timeline.

    While we as an audience can see them as fancy references made by the writer/director (and they still are) they also exist sensibly within the story

    Iron Man 3 was clever? Really?

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