Monday, May 13, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Enfant Terrible and I watched a late-night screening of the movie I have been waiting for since last year. Gush about The Hobbit all you like, but I think even the most fervent Peter Jackson fan would be hard-pressed to justify splitting it into 3 long-ass movies in which the (current) object of my affection barely appears, if at all.

Don't mope, honey, "no colour" is your colour. (via SuperWhoLock)

The premise of Into Darkness is probably well known by now, but for your benefit:
One-man army of terror John Harrison carries out 2 fiendish attacks on Starfleet. Still smarting from the disciplinary action meted out for an earlier, unrelated incident, and chafing at the actions of his apparently emotionless friend Spock, James T. Kirk volunteers to pursue and capture Harrison so that he may tried for his appalling crimes.  

Yes, there are Klingons. Yet, things are not as they seem, and Harrison may not be the monster he is made out to be. Threats are made. Bluffs are called. Mayhem ensues. There is bloodshed and screaming. Tune in next week for another sloppily written movie premise.
Given the buildup around his mysterious character, I was afraid that Benedict Cumberbatch's John Harrison would be disappointing (how silly of me). Harrison is preternaturally composed most of the time. So much so that one of the best scenes in the movie is his mask slipping and revealing the wild-eyed lunatic behind it, teeth gnashing with bloodthirsty intent.

(The other best scene would be the one where he [verb, motherfucking VERB].)

That said, Enfant Terrible thought that Harrison was a narrower portrayal of a villain as compared to the tour de force that was say, the Joker in The Dark Knight. I hate to admit it, but ET was right, and that background on Harrison would've been better. Also, you would've gotten to see more of him, so that's always good.

Zachary Quinto holds his own against the big bad 'Batch (couldn't help it, SORRY), ably conveying how he cares for both Chris Pine's James Kirk and Zoe Saldana's Nyota Uhura without once changing his expression. You go, Sylar.  

To be honest, Spock was kind of lame during [dramatic scene]. Though his next actions were equally apparently out of character (if you're an old-school Star Trek fan), I felt that it was an acceptable addition to the "new" Spock's emotional landscape. Some may be vehemently opposed to the idea that a whole new timeline justifies wholly novel, uncharacteristic behaviour, but if you're having fun with it, why not?

Now that I've had time to think about it, I actually feel sorry for James T. Kirk. It seems as if he's always playing catch up after being sent to detention. Of course, he does bring it on himself, but I wonder why they decided to make him so... juvenile. I really wanted to like him, but I just don't, and watching him made me impatient for the next scene, though I quite liked him in [scene].

Story-wise, it's pretty straightforward, but done engagingly. Into Darkness is well-paced. The cast is beautiful, no one gets to talk a lot (except John Harrison and Peter Weller, and you wouldn't mind if they'd just kept talking, because, well, it's SHERLOCK HOLMES AND ROBOCOP, MAN) so you don't have to suffer through a half-assed soliloquy when there's a fight scene just around the corner.

I've only seen a handful of "canon" Star Trek episodes, so this opinion might be invalid, but Simon Pegg's accent just grated on me. I'm surprised they didn't throw in a "Och, nooo laddie, ye cannae! Ye dinnae ken tha magnitude o' the matterrrr!" for good measure.

HOWEVER, despite the griping and some lazy ass clunky dialogue, I loved this movie. There are FIGHTS and GUNS (PHASERS, TOO) and EXPLOSIONS and MASS DESTRUCTION (always good, re: Transformers); soul searching, pathos, heartwrenching moments,well-timed humor, a good score; most of all (for me), there is the all-encompassing lunatic murderousness of John Harrison. His hate fills the world.

Those ignorant of Star Trek trivia will miss a number of references. It's highly likely that hardcore Trekkies will wish death on JJ Abrams for his transgressions against the franchise. Possibly, cinema halls will echo with their ululating Klingon war cries. If you ignore the howls about canon infidelity though, and view Into Darkness as a movie in and of itself, then you're gonna have a GREAT time.


Snuze said...

If you had seen Mr Tom Hardy in that lamentable ST film that was one of the worst I've seen, I would argue that at least Mr Hardy did a great job with such poor material. So Mr Cumberbatch's superior (to the rest of the cast) performance is at best, adequate.

Angela Gripesalot said...

I really want to say that Cumberbatch being dazzling (er...) in this entertaining film was not in relation to how average everyone else was, but my 'Batch bias is getting in the way.

I'll just say you have to make up your own mind about Into Darkness as a whole. The pacing buoys it along marvellously, but the logic doesn't hold up to post-viewing analysis.

But just to be a shit stirrer, I'll also say that Into Darkness is miles better than [whispers] that Tom Hardy ST film.