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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies XI+

Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old July 1 2013, 08:14 PM   #1
Shaka Zulu
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Star Trek Into Darkness review by Steve Burgess

I know a certain alternative online magazine whose readers could probably use a little escapism this week. Director JJ Abrams aims to help you out with his second trip on the Starship Enterprise: Star Trek Into Darkness. It certainly helped me get my mind off recent events. By the time I left the theater I was depressed for a totally different reason.
After some introductory hijinx on the planet Colour Scheme (done up in lovely red and yellow) and a shoot-em-up scene borrowed from, of all places, Godfather III, Star Trek Into Darkness eventually sees Kirk and friends tasked with a mission from Admiral Marcus (good old Peter "Buckaroo Banzai Robocop" Weller) to pursue the nasty John Harrison to a Klingon planet and terminate him with extreme prejudice. Mr. Harrison proves uncooperative and soon the crew of the Enterprise is wondering where their loyalties lie. At this point Abrams' movie is developing some promise -- the screenwriting team is introducing themes about creeping militarism and even the ethical questions raised by drone strikes.
'Star Trek Into Darkness'; Under director JJ Abrams, the Starship Enterprise is more of a Led Zeppelin


Talk about not getting the movie, like most left, right, and center-wing film critics.

Opinions, anyone?
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Old July 1 2013, 09:05 PM   #2
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness review by Steve Burgess

Star Trek Into Darkness has the unique place in my life of being the only Star Trek film that was so bad that I actually left the theater without finishing. And I'd been happily watching Trek in theaters since 1989's Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

Only Alan Dean Foster's novelization made the storyline at all tolerable -- an epic feat for which he deserves much credit.

In short, it would be a gross understatement to say I agree with the reviewer's premise that this latest installment is depressing as all Hell.
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Old July 1 2013, 09:17 PM   #3
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness review by Steve Burgess

It's all relative. After a second viewing, Into Darkness has become my favourite Trek film (I have them all and have seen them each multiple times, lest anyone doubt my "experience"). I don't begrudge people who don't like it, but I find this review far more in keeping with my own thoughts on the film.

In particular (from that review) these points, for me, stand out:

However, in ways large and small, epic and intimate, Star Trek: Into Darkness breathes fresh life into the franchise, and makes it relevant to today’s world. Although the narrative concerns the future of the 23rd century, the movie is really about today -- the world around us -- and its message is transmitted in the way that contemporary audiences can best receive it: in 3-D, with lots of lens flare, and in J.J.’s preferred mode of expression: pastiche.

The film’s story is not -- as I had feared and fretted -- all about a revenge-mad terrorist armed with a weapon of a mass destruction, but rather about the ways that heroes respond to acts of terror, and fear.

In short, Into Darkness is a spell-binding, thrill-a-minute film that accomplishes the one thing that the 2009 reboot did not, and which I desired to see more than anything else in a sequel. Star Trek: Into Darkness restores the Gene Roddenberry franchise as a vehicle for social commentary by noting that the bad guys win when we go “dark” in response to bad deeds.

Accordingly, the film plays as a recap of the difficult "War on Terror" years since 2001, years in which America condoned torture, holds suspects in perpetuity without trial, launched a pre-emptive war, and has relied on advanced, push-button technology to destroy enemies from afar, in violation of law and perhaps morality. Into Darkness is about who we have let ourselves become…all out of irrational, overwhelming fear and anger.

But, as Star Trek has long suggested, the best way to battle darkness is to bring it into the light…to expose it for what it is. To my delight, this J.J. Abrams film understands and transmits that notion in a fashion that a dozen interchangeably “dark” superhero movies simply do not. Kirk in this movie is angry about his loss and looking for vengeance, but because of his friendship with Spock, Scotty, and others, he is soon able to see that revenge cannot be the quality that defines him. He's better than that.

We should be better than that too.

The purists will complain -- just as they complain over Gatsby, and just as they complained when The Next Generation first premiered in 1987 -- but in their stubborn refusal to accept the passage of time and embrace modern audience appetites and movie techniques, these folks will also miss out on the best and most relevant Star Trek movie in possibly thirty years.
and

In Star Trek: Into Darkness, Captain Kirk accepts John Harrison’s surrender, and then spends the next minute-and-a-half beating him, attacking his prisoner for his murderous deeds in London and San Francisco.

But Harrison is stoic, and endures the abuse without pain, or even expression. Finally, Kirk must stop. He has achieved absolutely nothing through his display of brutal and primitive violence. He has not weakened Harrison, and he has not learned anything whatsoever about Harrison’s motives or plans.

Again, this moment in the film is very clearly a corollary for the on-going debate about the use of torture on “enemy combatants.”

Notably, Kirk only succeeds in hurting himself -- embarrassing himself, too -- in physically attacking his prisoner, a man in his custody and therefore under his protection. This brutal physical assault has the effect of making him look weak, not Khan.

Worse, it makes Kirk lose the moral high ground for a time.

And again, that’s exactly what happened to America at Abu Ghraib and in covert CIA bases the world over. Instead of living up to our ideals about how to treat prisoners, we sacrificed our ideals out of fear and anger.
and

The only thing that can defeat this powerful villain, is the combined force -- and friendship -- of Kirk and Spock. In the canon universe, it is Spock who dies to save the Enterprise. In Into Darkness, it is Kirk who goes into the warp core to face his own death.

This is not a blind, empty repetition of Star Trek lore, it is an outright assertion of the importance of the Kirk/Spock relationship, and its value in the face of villainy.

Those viewers who see Into Darkness as merely ripping-off the Wrath of Khan are missing the point entirely. Instead, the “mirror” scene of Into Darkness at the reactor core is a beautiful statement about Kirk and Spock’s connection in any reality. They will always be friends and they will always be willing to sacrifice themselves for their family: the Enterprise crew. Khan will never win, in any universe, because he lacks the special bond that Kirk and Spock share.

Quite frankly, we could not get to this vision of a friendship that spans universes without Abrams’ penchant for pastiche, without his willingness to appropriate sign-marks and symbols from Trek history and re-purpose them for today's audiences

The very thing that some Trekkers complain about as a weakness is, in fact, a strength of the film, and also of Abrams’ vision of Star Trek. He is not repeating what has happened before, he is revealing to us how, in the face of a “mirror” universe, some values such as friendship -- and Starfleet Regulations -- endure.
He makes a cogent criticism of the marketing and title of the film and acknowledges a number of other shortcomings as well. But his overall assessment fits well with my own views. YMMV
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Old July 1 2013, 09:50 PM   #4
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness review by Steve Burgess

^The thing is, Muir (and Wheaton) got it in their reviews; this guy (Burgess) didn't, having an agenda to push (and also because he's automatically dismissive of mainstream movies like this one.) Then again, Muir knows and cares about sci-fi; most of these critics don't-unless it's the new BSG with it's extremely flawed characters who wouldn't be allowed in any military anywhere in the universe. That shows a lot.
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Old July 1 2013, 10:17 PM   #5
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness review by Steve Burgess

Shikarnov wrote: View Post
Star Trek Into Darkness has the unique place in my life of being the only Star Trek film that was so bad that I actually left the theater without finishing. And I'd been happily watching Trek in theaters since 1989's Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.


No.
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Old July 1 2013, 10:27 PM   #6
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness review by Steve Burgess

Kruezerman wrote: View Post
Shikarnov wrote: View Post
Star Trek Into Darkness has the unique place in my life of being the only Star Trek film that was so bad that I actually left the theater without finishing. And I'd been happily watching Trek in theaters since 1989's Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.


No.
I didn't even walk out on Nemesis.
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Old July 1 2013, 10:53 PM   #7
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness review by Steve Burgess

Even though I have no love for STID, this reviewer picked some odd things to dismiss it out right.
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Old July 2 2013, 12:06 AM   #8
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness review by Steve Burgess

If I've been to see a movie and enjoyed it, I have little interest in reading reviews, be they scathing or complimentary. (I was thrilled when I heard that both JJ movies rated really well on Rotten Tomatoes, but I haven't read those reviews either.) If I read an angry review before seeing a movie, I may well allow myself to choose a different movie. If I'm curious about a forthcoming movie, I will often read some professional or fan reviews.

Unless
it's a movie franchise I follow - and then no review in the universe is going to stop me going to see a new "Star Trek" (or "Batman" or "Superman"). Good, bad, I'll see 'em all. The good ones I'll see over and over and over.

Walking out early? How can you join online debates if you haven't seen the whole thing? How could you bear to know there was "Star Trek" footage out there you'd never seen?
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Old July 2 2013, 12:08 AM   #9
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness review by Steve Burgess

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
Walking out early? How can you join online debates if you haven't seen the whole thing? How could you bear to know there was "Star Trek" footage out there you'd never seen?
Yeah that's not professional behaviour on the part of the reviewer. The good reviewer must sit through a film no matter how atrocious it is!
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Old July 2 2013, 12:11 AM   #10
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness review by Steve Burgess

Shikarnov wrote: View Post
Star Trek Into Darkness has the unique place in my life of being the only Star Trek film that was so bad that I actually left the theater without finishing. And I'd been happily watching Trek in theaters since 1989's Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
Ln X wrote: View Post
Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
Walking out early? How can you join online debates if you haven't seen the whole thing? How could you bear to know there was "Star Trek" footage out there you'd never seen?
Yeah that's not professional behaviour on the part of the reviewer. The good reviewer must sit through a film no matter how atrocious it is!
I don't think Therin was talking about the reviewer.
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Old July 2 2013, 12:11 AM   #11
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness review by Steve Burgess

Ln X wrote: View Post
Yeah that's not professional behaviour on the part of the reviewer. The good reviewer must sit through a film no matter how atrocious it is!
I wasn't talking about reviewers. I mean Star Trek fans! Walking out on Star Trek?

Even ST V was worth it for the sniggering and belly laughs.
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Old July 2 2013, 12:17 AM   #12
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness review by Steve Burgess

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
Ln X wrote: View Post
Yeah that's not professional behaviour on the part of the reviewer. The good reviewer must sit through a film no matter how atrocious it is!
I wasn't talking about reviewers. I mean Star Trek fans! Walking out on Star Trek?

Even ST V was worth it for the sniggering and belly laughs.
During the middle of STID it came down to this for me. I laughed at the implausibility and now, looking back, I still crack up when I see in my mind Spock beating the snot out of Khan. This should be the worst scene in all of Star Trek movie history, how JJ got away with this I have no idea. You would think there would be lynch mobs of angry Trekkies and nerds demanding JJ's head for destroying one of sci-fi's most iconic characters. In fact I seem to be the only who thinks Spock beating up Khan is just plain wrong, and this calls to mind...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOK6mE7sdvs
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Old July 2 2013, 12:29 AM   #13
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness review by Steve Burgess

Ln X wrote: View Post
During the middle of STID it came down to this for me. I laughed at the implausibility and now, looking back, I still crack up when I see in my mind Spock beating the snot out of Khan. This should be the worst scene in all of Star Trek movie history, how JJ got away with this I have no idea. You would think there would be lynch mobs of angry Trekkies and nerds demanding JJ's head for destroying one of sci-fi's most iconic characters. In fact I seem to be the only who thinks Spock beating up Khan is just plain wrong, and this calls to mind...
This is simply a different character than TOS Spock. This character is younger and went through a very traumatic experience.

Are we all the same exact people we were eight-to-ten years ago?
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Old July 2 2013, 12:38 AM   #14
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness review by Steve Burgess

BillJ wrote: View Post
This is simply a different character than TOS Spock. This character is younger and went through a very traumatic experience.

Are we all the same exact people we were eight-to-ten years ago?
Anyone who thinks Spock Prime wasn't capable of the same rage under the right circumstances doesn't understand the character as well as he thinks he does.

There's a reason his face represents the Devil.
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Old July 2 2013, 12:46 AM   #15
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Re: Star Trek Into Darkness review by Steve Burgess

CorporalClegg wrote: View Post
Anyone who thinks Spock Prime wasn't capable of the same rage under the right circumstances doesn't understand the character as well as he thinks he does.
Agreed.

All one had to do is watch All Our Yesterdays.
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