Well, Star Trek Into Darkness is out on Amazon Instant Video today, and I have finally seen the entire thing. I’d seen bits here and there, of course. Working in the movie, I’ve seen several scenes over and over again. But this was my first chance to see it as a whole, complete movie. My thoughts?
What utter shite.
Ok, it’s perhaps not quite as bad as that. It’s better than most everything Michael Bay has ever done, for example, though I realize that’s a low bar to set. The pacing is decent, the SFX are great, and the acting ranges from meh to excellent (Benedict Cumberbatch really is amazing as Khan). But on every other level, the movie really falls flat.
The movie follows Kirk and company as they try to track down a “renegade Starfleet officer” that, by this point, everyone in the real world knows is Khan. Well, at least everyone who would care already knows. Anyhow, over the course of the movie, people live, people die, stuff happens and we get a story about terrorism and manipulation into war that was very relevant about nine years ago. Now, somewhat less so.
And that’s pretty much it. If you were looking for character development, you came to the wrong place. If you wanted accurate science, keep moving. If you wanted witty, intelligent dialogue, look elsewhere. This is purely a paint-by-the-numbers sci-fi summer action flick, and the sad part is, it isn’t even a good version of that sort of sub-genre.
I really can’t get over what a lazy movie this is. Someone sat around and said, “Hey, we need to do Khan,” and that happened. There’s no real story arcs for any of the characters; they’re all basically the same at the start and at the end. And the writing even fails the most basic of requirements when we learn Kirk is a rebel who dislikes authority and doesn’t want to follow the rules. We learn this because he tells Spock, though surely Spock would have picked up some clues about that by now. As near as I can tell, the writers figured that everyone was already familiar enough with the characters that they didn’t really need to write anything about who they are, and that’s a big mistake.
So, basically, this is at best a mediocre sci-fi action film; immediately forgettable and not worth seeing more than once. It violates good storytelling and logic constantly, and succeeds only because of the Trek name. At worst, it’s a movie that craps on the nearly 50 year Trek legacy, giving us such gems as Carol Marcus with a British accent, travel from Kronos to Earth in under six minutes, and Ensign Chekov, a navigator, being put in charge of Engineering.
If you’re a completist who, like me, hadn’t had the chance to see this movie until recently, go ahead and watch it. It’s not as wretched as Nemesis or The Final Frontier, but it sure isn’t good, and it sure isn’t Trek.