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Old May 21 2013, 06:02 AM   #3347
Soul of Saito
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Re: STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS - Grading & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Not going to get tangled up in all the discussions about this or that aspect of the movie (at least, for now), but I wanted to just voice my thoughts. Saw it on Saturday.

Based on what I thought of XI (fun to watch, but heavily flawed, with a really inane plot), my expectations for STID were honestly pretty low. I was expecting, at best, more of the same: fun to watch, but stupid. The reveal that it WAS, in fact, Khan, made me want to see it even less, because I found it disappointing that they were just going to do a retread of the most popular "oldTrek" film, rather than do something entirely new. So, I went to see it, feeling about as sure as I've ever been that I would not like the movie I was about to watch very much.

Boy, sometimes being completely wrong is fun.

I loved it. WAY better than XI; where the former was glitzy fluff that had a lot of noise (pleasant, pretty FX-laden noise, but still noise) to cover up its idiotic plot and complete lack of depth, STID had a good plot and surprising depth. Yes, some of it was kind of murky, especially if you start trying to analyze it, i.e. the torpedoes. But that's the kind of thing that's just not as big a deal when the movie is good. You can have the exact same flaws in two movies; one is great despite them, and the other is just meh all around. The flaws stick out a lot more in the latter.

I was just having too much fun watching the movie to care. And that, to me, is what makes a film great (or not).

Also, speaking of its depth: they did something that absolutely floored me. One of the most ridiculous things in XI was Kirk's promotion to captain. Not the field promotion; that made sense. The permanent promotion at the end, however, was just dumb. But I remember talking with friends, saying How cool would it be if in Trek XII, we see some fallout from that. Maybe Kirk's inexperience overpowers his natural talents and he gets into some kind of real trouble, or Starfleet ends up having to yank him back in some way... But, nah, these movies are not going to have that kind of-

Wait, did they just do exactly that?? I think they did! Hot damn!

I also REALLY liked the conversation between Spock and Kirk late in the movie, when the former tries to talk the latter out of going over to the Vengeance with Khan. When Kirk finally rounds on him and says that no, it isn't logical, it isn't rational, he knows that but he has to do it anyway... that was a fantastic moment for the dynamic that exists with (and between) those two characters.

And yes, it apes TWOK - hell, it's basically a reboot of TWOK, to some degree. I didn't like the sound of that going into it, but it pulled it off with flying colors, taking the better concepts from what was (Shields up! Arm all weapons!) a hugely overrated bore of a Trek film, and using them in better ways. And Cumberbatch's Khan was - right from the start, and through to the end - dynamic, threatening, brilliant, and downright badass, all things that Montalban's Khan could never muster, despite the audience being told that he was supposed to be all of them. STID Khan actually WAS.

No, it's not perfect, of course; aside from the aforementioned torpedo confusion, there were other things that made no sense or just plain didn't work. If artificial gravity was out, why were people falling all over the place instead of just floating? Did we really need THAT many scenes of things on the Enterprise blowing up and people getting tossed about by explosions and such? Yes, the situation is bad; we get it. Why were trips between Earth - the human homeworld and capital of the Federation and Kronos the Klingon homeworld and capital of the Empire so ho hum and quick? Traveling between those two locations should not feel like a quick, consequence-free jaunt, and both of said homeworlds felt very lonely out there, these capitals of massive interstellar societies just sitting there with no ships around, no one seeming to notice or care about what was going on in their orbits... Etc. (Hardly a new problem in Trek, that last one, to be fair!)

But as I said above, those are ultimately quibbles whose real impact depend on the quality of the rest of the movie around them. In STID's case, they feel pretty minor.

So yeah. Blows away both TWOK and STXI. Best movie I've seen in a theater since... the Best of Both Worlds theatrical event a few weeks ago. Okay, okay... best actual movie, proper, I've seen since... hell, probably since the Avengers last year. And a serious candidate for my favorite Trek film. Color me impressed.
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