nesting * geeking * critiquing

Into Darkness

I have a treat for you today—another movie review!trek pass

Last night I attended a screening* of Star Trek Into Darkness. Not knowing much Trek legacy, I’m not sure what is considered a real spoiler at this point so I’ll keep it a bit vague. I no doubt missed a lot of references that the true enthusiasts relished, but I did catch more than expected; lots of proud Steve Rogers moments for me 🙂

For starters, let me say that the Abrams factor makes me ridiculously excited for the reincarnation of Star Wars. I’ve waffled on it a bit in the not-so-distant past. As of last night, though, I waffle no more. Aside from the WAY overdone lens flare this time around—really, it’s borderline distracting—J.J. put together a fantastic piece of eye candy.

Casting is literally perfect; I can’t attest to the authenticity versus canon, but I buy each and every one of these actors in their roles. The Enterprise crew’s banter and relationships make for a fun dynamic. ‘Fun’ being the operative word, as this is definitely more along the lines of The Avengers than Skyfall or Dark Knight. That’s a weak comparison, I realize, but they’ve all got a good deal of action with a little cheese factor so it made sense in my head.

Meanwhile, Benedict Cumberbatch is simply superb as “John Harrison” <wink wink>, yet even his most heinous deeds are tempered with a strange likability. Though we’re teased with the idea of complex motives and history, it’s not sufficiently explored.

Such is my biggest complaint about Into Darkness: it’s ultimately a scratch-the-surface film. It could have been a far richer story of sabotage and betrayal with more overall depth and intensity. Maybe they were afraid of taking it too far in the other direction as with the Star Wars prequels—we didn’t need nearly as much background on the politics of the conflicts. There’s got to be a happy medium.

There are some touching moments (Vulcan tears in 3…2…1…) and plenty of things to make enthusiasts giddy. I can vouch for this, as we heard (and saw) an awful lot of little-girl-like clapter.

Star Trek Into Darkness (Paramount Pictures)

Star Trek Into Darkness (Paramount Pictures)

|Sidebar: laughing begets laughter so clapping should beget clapter!|

Aside from the relatively underutilized plot, there are a few disappointing little things. For instance, we learn that there are still alarm clocks in the future. Not cool.
Oh, and apparently you can detonate an explosive literally right in front of you and survive. Also, the inhabitants of Nibiru resemble Utapauans a bit more than I would have preferred, all chalky and sickly looking. And speaking of Nibiru, could Spock’s sacrifice pose have been any less subtle? <eye roll>

Like the lens flares, there are flashes of splendor, some more radiant than others. Initial reaction was overwhelmingly favorable but given a little distance, I find myself thinking a lot of “What if this had happened? That would have been so cool!”
Alas, such is the recurring ballad of a summer popcorn flick. Bottom line: worth seeing on the big screen? Absolutely!

*If you’re wondering how I keep landing advance screening passes, I’ll share my secrets. So far it has come down to a little bit of luck with radio call-in contests (the one highlight of spending two hours in my car every day) and a fair amount of online legwork. Following movie studios and local media personalities on Twitter, signing up for contests and running multiple Google searches for screenings and gofobo rsvp codes…that’s it.


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