Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Movie Mania - Star Trek: Into Darkness

*** SPOILERS ***

This whole thing will include spoilers. So if you want to be surprised, close this page now.

Seriously though, if you haven't figured out who the Big Bad is by now, you probably are a recent visitor to this planet, right?

I'm a Trekkie. I have been since 1969. The only reason I didn't see the first-run episodes of seasons one and two is because my parents had this thing about children under three going to bed before prime time.

So after forty-five years of fandom, I hold Star Trek to a higher standard than most other franchises. That said, here we go...

1) Into Darkness is essentially a remake of The Wrath of Khan, tweaked to account for the new timeline. In this version, another starship captain Alexander Marcus finds the Botany Bay, years before the Constitution-class Enterprise is launched. At the opening of the new film, Marcus is now a Starfleet Admiral. Khan hates Marcus for holding his fellow supermen hostage and making Khan design new weapons and ships for the Federation. (Sound slightly familiar?)

2) Benecio del Toro was originally named as Khan, but when filming was delayed, it interfered with del Toro's schedule. Benedict Cumberbatch was tapped instead. I love Benecio. The first film I saw him in was License to Kill, and he freakin' scared the piss out of me. I'm sorry things didn't work out with him. That said, Cumberbatch did a fabulous job, though Abrams and his writers had to gloss over Khan being Sikh because there's no way a white, blue-eyed guy would pass for that, right?

3) What the fuck were they thinking with Chekov? They made him look like a total idiot, where in Star Trek (2009), they turn him into Wesley Crusher, the kid that saves everything. If the writers have that hard of a time getting a grip on the character, maybe they should consult with Walter Koenig.

4) Carol Marcus, Part 1 - They did a fine job of ret-conning why original-timeline Carol hated Starfleet, and why she would be desparate to keep her son David from following in his dad and grandfather's footsteps.

5) Carol Marcus, Part 2 - Gratuitous nudity? Seriously? Because that's all it was, and Star Trek should not be a peep show. Jeez, Kirk's threesome and the mini-skirts are bad enough!

6) Carol Marcus, Part 3 - Why was she on the Enterprise again? She didn't do anything that couldn't have been handed to one of the already existing crew members.

7) The trading of positions. Yep, Kirk dies of radiation poisoning while saving the ship. (Psst! Make-up folks! It's okay to make Pine a little uglier in this scene. Radiation poisoning ain't pretty.) Spock goes apeshit wanting revenge. (Almost as good as Sheldon screaming, "WHEEEEEATOOOON!")

8) Sulu gets to sit in the big chair!

9) Who the fuck decided Klingons needed glowing blue eyes? Not to mention, if tensions are the same in this timeline as the original, what the fuck happened all the Klingon listening posts along the Klingon-Federation border? A Constitution-class cruiser sitting on the border is going to attract SOME kind of attention.

10) Uhura kicks ass! I'm not sure if everyone in Hollywood got together and decided that the girls need to save their boyfriends in every blockbuster this summer. When I mentioned this, DH groaned and said, "God, I hope there's not a lovescene between the Lone Ranger and Tonto." I wouldn't rule out the possibility with Johnny Depp.

11) Best scene - Spock going Sylar on Khan's ass. And in an vast improvement over the original "Space Seed," Khan CAN outfight both Kirk and Spock. (Which is why Uhura has to kick ass.)

12) Killing off Admiral Pike. Um, no. This did not work for me. I know they've been trying to make Chris a father-figure for Jim, but for Kirk's triggering motivation, it kind of sucked. As if the terrorist bombing in London and Kirk's sense of duty weren't enough? I can think of a couple other reasons that would have better served to make this personal to Jim.

13) Scotty quitting was the most organic scene of the entire film. Major kudos to Simon Pegg for making it so damn real!

14) Spock and Uhura's love spat was the best comedic relief scene, especially when they drag Jim into it.

15) The movie needed a lot more Karl Urban. He was definitely not given enough to do. The writers didn't make him as idiotic as Chekov, but it was a close second.

16) Section 31. Still contravenes everything the Federation stands for. Still hate it. Used to good effect in the movie as to why absolute power corrupts absolutely.

17) Peter Weller ROCKS! Yes, Robocop played Admiral Marcus. HE should have been the main bad guy just for the Ricardo Montalban scenery chewing style alone!

18) This movie joins several others lately in the theme that our greatest enemy is ourselves.

19) The ending of the first order - Obviously, someone in the front office loved Benedict's performance enough that they want him back. And it was a sweet coda.

20) The ending of the second order - FINALLY the Enterprise heads out on her five-year mission. With Carol Marcus on board....

There's lots of other things I could say (like Nurse Chapel asking for a transfer after her affair with Kirk--ewwwww!), but I'll leave it to you to decide.

Overall - 7.5 out of 10.

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