May 20, 2013
I had very mixed feelings four years ago when the Star trek reboot got underway. I didn’t want my beloved franchise ruined.
As it turns out, it’s been a fun romp.
I finally got to watch Star Trek Into Darkness earlier today and have a lot to say about it. Because of the nature of the movie, spoilers will be CLEARLY listed at the bottom of the review.
Set a few months after the last movie, this one starts with Kirk blatantly breaking the Prime Directive, Starfleet’s highest order of non-interference, and getting demoted for saving Spock in the process. Things go further south when a mysterious man named John Harrison orchestrates a bombing in London that kills forty-two people and takes out a secret Starfleet facility As it turns out, John Harrison is a Starfleet operative who’s gone rogue and has a plan for the Federation.
That’s when things get personal for Kirk after a second attack on Starfleet headquarters takes a personal toll on him.
And to say more than that would be to spoil the movie indeed.
The story was a character study of both Kirk and Spock, their motivations and how they approach life. Much like Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan showed the effects of age, this one showed the consequences of Kirk’s youth and Spock’s too-human side. Kirk’s gung-ho attitude and youth, something many people felt made no sense at the end of the last movie, come back to bite him in the butt, and hard. It was refreshing, and then the movie proceeds to show Kirk going through the pain and challenges that will mold Kirk into the captain we all know.
The film also addressed the contemporary issue of drone strikes, war, and vengeance. One of the major plot points early in the film involves the Enterprise being tasked with launching long-range torpedoes at an inhabited world to try and take out Harrison. Surprisingly, Kirk of all people is fine with this given his emotional investment, but others are very much shocked and appalled at the idea of launching weapons of mass destruction at a populated location to get a single individual without a trial.
The action sequences in this one are brutal, too, possibly to go along with the darker themes. Expect broken bones, crushed heads, and a starship beat-down that’s downright painful to watch. They are, however, utterly bad-ass. I’m also glad Abrams decided to tone down the lens flare effects on this one. They would have given me a headache with the 3D.
As in the previous film, there are plenty of allusions for die-hard Trek fans to latch on to and giggle over, so keep an eye out for them.
Uhm… see the Spoilers section below.
Final Verdict (Spoiler-free)
The movie was fun, I enjoyed it, and would watch it again…
Now, if you want to know the full story and my other thoughts, go past the picture and read the spoiler-filled Final Verdict.
Final Verdict (WITH SPOILERS)
Okay, so Cumberbatch is actually Khan, thawed out and used by Starfleet to help design new weapons. A lot of people guessed it might have been Khan from the very beginning, and I tried to avoid any of those articles enough to try and remain surprised.
However, despite Cumberbatch being genuinely creepy as the bad guy, it does raise the unfortunate implication that one of the most iconic characters in Star Trek was recast as a white man. Ricardo Molteban’s run as Khan in the original series is legendary. Even people who don’t know the franchise will probably recognize one of the most famous moments from Star Trek II where Shatner eats the scenery and most of the movie lot and yells Khan’s name. Khan was smart, charismatic, and most of all, dangerous. Rightfully so, many people are complaining that Khan’s new actor is a white Brit who seems to be saying that a man of color can’t be all these things, can’t be dangerous and smart…
However, I’m going to call crap on part of this. Not all of it. Just part it.
The character of Khan is a genetically-engineered superman. His full name denotes Indian and Chinese heritage, and yet he was played by a Mexican actor. Likewise, John Cho, who is Korean, was cast as the Japanese Hikaru Sulu. Zoe Saldana is Puerto Rican and Dominican and plays Uhura, who based on several sources is either Central or South African and was played by Nichelle Nichols, who was from Illinois. But I guess since they LOOK the part, there aren’t too many complaints.
Also, consider the times in which we live in today. Khan is a terrorist, a warlord who wishes to wipe out those he considers inferior. Now consider what would have happened if a brown man had been cast in the part, especially given the movie’s overt theme of terrorism. While it was a noble gesture in the 60’s to make the villain a non-white, the original draft of the episode “Space Seed” did have Khan as a Nordic superman that sounds similar to a superpowered Nazi.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that while I am disappointed that the film went with the decision to cast a white actor, it has its good and bad points. I’m all for going with a great actor as opposed to one that just looks the part. Either way, Cumberbatch did a great job.
And now, if you’re still interested, here’s the final trailer…