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Old May 29 2013, 07:19 AM   #3842
J. Allen
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Cryogenic wrote: View Post

In my review above (or on the previous page), I didn't even touch on Khan, for one. Commenting on him, sadly, seemed surplus to requirements. Suffice it to say, Benedict Cumberbatch, saddled with a monotone script, does little with the character, and largely plays him like a block of wood. There's none of Ricardo Montalban's rich bravado or self-satisfied posing here. It seems impossible -- to me -- that Cumberbatch's Khan could lead a fly to shit, much less rule over one-quarter of the Earth's population, or keep control of fellow genetically-engineered supermen and women in a biological oligarchy in which he is top dog and even something of a patriarch/god to his compatriots.

That's something else I wish to take the film to task for; or rather, the people responsible for conceiving it and bringing it to the screen. The trailer material, in my view, promised something closer to an epic battle of wits ("Shall we begin?"), but this never materializes in a film which is too busy delivering a thin allegory for a post-9/11 America, mainly in the form of action vignettes every fifteen minutes. Khan is more like Data -- or Lore -- menacing Kirk with slicked-back hair, a lean, somewhat toned, body, neat, confident stance, and pale, chalky face. Here and there, he allows a little emotion to slip out (well, in one villainous "backstory" monologue, mainly; one of hundreds of z-grade cliches carried over from the former movie), then sets about enacting an explosive vengeance more reminiscent of Nero, who bunged up the last film with his banal threats and deadly black supership that wasted almost everything in its path. Khan is like a wounded animal still privately licking his wounds. He doesn't ignite or command the screen. He simply delivers the prerequisite plot stuff, like some talking information kiosk, and then it's onto the next scene. Abrams and his writers wasted one of Trek's iconic villains; and they did it without blinking.

That's my opinion, anyway.
I respectfully disagree with your assessment of Cumberbatch's Khan. I felt him both menacing, and capable of empathy, unlike Montalban's original portrayal of the character. To each their own, however. It may come down to taste.

I will say, though, that it was Cumberbatch's Khan which drew me to his role as Sherlock Holmes in the new BBC series. I find his acting style both enigmatic, and charismatic.
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