Do I really need to tell you guys why I was going to see this movie? I just told you last week in Yup, I’m Seeing That (Volume 3)! In case you forgot, you can click that link, but since I posted those reasons I was excited for the movie, I was also kind of nervous about this movie, as the reviews weren’t necessarily all that great. Well, maybe there weren’t necessarily bad reviews, just some of the bigger Star Trek nerds I follow seemed to be disappointed that there’s a new movie that still doesn’t do justice to some of Gene Roddenberry’s original series. I know a lot of people were also pretty excited about the incorporation of Benedict Cumberbatch and EVERYBODY had a theory on who he was going to play and whether or not this movie would follow the events of the sequel to the original film, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which is generally regarded as the best film in the Star Trek universe. Let’s just say that this film had everything stacked against it and there was just as much riding as this film as the reboot that came out a few years ago. This review gives you two spoiler alerts, but of different urgencies. This first spoiler warning is that I’m going to talk about the plot up until about the halfway point, without giving away material that’s necessarily a surprise to people who have at least seen the trailer, but there will be another spoiler alert later that I’d only recommend reading if you’ve seen the movie or want to know NOTHING about it. Although, you obviously want to know SOMETHING about this movie, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this review.
And here we have Benedict Cumberbatch doing his best Chris Klein’s forehead impression.
Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Bones (Karl Urban) are running around on an alien planet while Spock (Zachary Quinto) climbs to the bottom of a volcano in order to prevent it from exploding, thus saving an alien species. Despite it being against protocol, Kirk gives away the position of the U.S.S. Enterprise in order to save Spock, and when the team comes back from this mission, Kirk is reprimanded for his actions and is sent back to Starfleet Academy. However, when former Starfleet officer John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) starts acts of terror directed at Starfleet, Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the U.S.S. Enterprise are given an experimental weapon to chase Harrison to the furthest reaches of space to take him out. Be careful guys, John Harrison is hanging out on a Klingon planet! If you shoot those weapons, the Klingons will be fucking pissed! Kirk then decides to break protocols once again in order to take Harrison off the planet alive and as a prisoner, which Harrison seems all too willing to do. Once on-board, Harrison offers Kirk a different side of the story. What Kirk thinks are weapons are actually cryogenically frozen members of Harrison’s crew from an ancient time that the head of Starfleet wants disposed of, which also would give the head of Starfleet (played by Peter Weller) a chance to start a war with the Klingons so that he has an opportunity to showcase his new warships that Harrison and his ancient crewmembers helped him design. What’s Kirk going to do!? Harrison’s story kind of checks out! But Kirk already got in trouble for breaking rules! Is Harrison telling the truth?! Will Spock learn when rules need to be broken?! Will Kirk learn when rules need to be followed?! WILL WE GET TO SEE ALIVE EVE’S CHARACTER IN HER UNDERWEAR AGAIN!? Go see the movie and find out!
The red leaves were cool and all, but it’s still no New England.
That J.J. Abrams really knows how to make a fun Star Wars movie, doesn’t he?! See, the joke with that is that this is a Star TREK movie, but I said it’s a good Star WARS movie. I’ve never really been a big Star Trek fan, as I just never really got into it, and obviously that franchise has a lot of action and adventure, but I also get the sense that the reason for all of these missions is exploration as opposed to any sort of military operation. This now makes TWO films where it seems like the members of Starfleet are soldiers as opposed to explorers, and there are even characters who mention this in the film, so I can see where the die-hard Star Trek fans are pissed off by these J.J. Abrams movies. However, being a fan of Star Wars and enjoying the science fantasy elements of these movies, I thought this movie was a lot of fun. One scene in particular where Scotty (Simon Pegg) going to investigate coordinates given to him where there is a new
Super Star Destroyer Super Starfleet Ship that feels very similar to scenes in The Empire Strikes Back where Han, Leia, and Chewie are seeing a Star Destroyer for the first time or Luke landing on Dagobah, even down to using similar music, that I felt completely removed from this being Star Trek but made me very excited for the upcoming Star Wars movie. Benedict Cumberbatch was as awesome as everyone says he is, both as a super badass and as a sympathetic character. The first Abrams film had lots of really snappy, quippy dialogue going on between Kirk, Spock, Bones, and Scotty, but with the more serious tones of space terrorism and vengeance, there weren’t as many opportunities for that banter that made the first movie so fun. There felt like an arbitrary conflict between Spock and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) to try to compensate, but this movie just needed more Bones and Scotty saying awesome stuff. I guess it’s kind of cool how the first film established the whole time travel/altered timeline concept, which allows things from the original stories to be incorporated into these new films, but the alteration of history allows things to play out in a slightly different way. In other words, yes, some of the things that you think would happen in this film do happen, but they might be happening slightly differently than you imagine them to.
In this movie, called Star Trek Into Darkness, Alice Eve arbitrarily is shown in her underwear. This is a fact. Just posting this picture to point out how obligatory I am being when it comes to optimizing the results when people are trying to see her boobs.
And now here’s the second SPOILER ALERT, as I want to point out a few more specific examples. Again, I’m not giving away a TON of stuff, just a couple of things that kind of irked me. Despite the movie overall being fun, there were two specifics things that happened that I still can’t really figure out, or at least, two specific instances in the plot that felt COMPLETELY unnecessary. The opening sequence sets the tone of the film (I guess?) in addition to giving us an example of Kirk not following the rules. Hey, remember how in the first movie, Kirk was kind of a wildcard? GUESS WHAT…HE STILL IS! Okay, so at about the 15 minute mark, we get the news that Kirk will go back to Starfleet Academy, so that should be interesting to see how he handles that, right? Well, at about the 20 minute mark, we see Kirk getting drunk in order to cope with Starfleet Academy, but then his mentor pops in to say that he pulled some strings to get Kirk back on the Enterprise. Oh, okay, cool? Through the events of the film, which I won’t go into in specific detail, the next time Kirk is on the Enterprise, HE’S BACK TO BEING THE FUCKING CAPTAIN. That whole “fall from grace” concept is completely fucking lost on the audience because we never see Kirk having to play second fiddle. I think he kind of does for like, one meeting? ONE FUCKING MEETING? It just seemed absolutely unnecessary to have the typical authority figure pulling the “I can’t handle your wildcard ways, I’m busting you down to being a rookie!” card that we see in SO many fucking movies, only to have the character never really learn a lesson from it. The other thing that really seemed out of place is that after Kirk is involved in a traumatic situation and gets back on the Enterprise, Bones is really adamant about getting his vitals, to which Kirk keeps trying to brush off. Do you remember in Star Wars when C-3PO and R2D2 leave the Tantive IV in an escape pod and C-3PO says something to the effect of “Weird, the damage doesn’t look as bad from out here,” and it feels really weird, like maybe that opening scene was an inside job? Well, Bones being adamant about vitals and the way Kirk brushes him off gave me that same feeling, where I thought there was an important reason Kirk didn’t want his vitals taken, but then that interaction never really comes back to play a part in the story. Maybe it was just me, but that segment really felt odd. I was also kind of disappointed in the fact that there were some bold choices made towards the end of the film that I was really surprised by, but those choices really only lasted a few minutes and everything went back to the status quo. It sets the film up for a fun, hopefully exploratory form for the next film, or possible a new TV series or something, but it sucks to only get excited about that all the way at the end. The movie is still fun and entertaining, but I’d gladly have as many lens flares in this one as were in the first if it means we got to see Bones and Scotty being dicks to Kirk a lot more.
Wolfman Moon Scale