Monday, May 27, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness (Spoilers) (Part 1 of 2)

Star Trek Into Darkness (Spoilers) (Part 1 of 2)
While the 2009 movie is better paced, this sequel feels more like a Star Trek movie. Into Darkness is a better Trek movie with a compelling villain. In many ways, this is a retelling of Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan, but with different outcomes. After the opening, the movie does tend to drag in some places, before revving up again for the third act. And, most of the third act is very entertaining and action packed.
Abrams does give this world a nice bright and colorful look. I actually like the bright lights and the Apple Computer look of the Enterprise. It is complete contrast to the darker sets of the original sets of the TOS movies. Abrams keeps the camera moving and the scenes quick without the near confuse like Michael Bay. Actually, Bay could learn a few things from Abrams. In some way, his approach to the Trek movies is similar to approach that Nicholas Mayer did with his two Trek movies. He based the franchise more on characters and action than morals and messages. Mayer and Abrams were not Trek fans, but they respected the material enough to bring something new without destroying it.
I have to say this movie rings true to the Trek ideas more so than the first Abrams movie though. They actually get into the “do the ends justify the means?” type of storytelling. And, there is a heavy mention of my favorite organization Section 31. And, the Section 31 mention put a huge smile on my face. Finally, a shout out to DS9.
The script is pretty tight, but there are enough sharp pieces of dialogue that will entertain the hardcore Trek fans like myself. The way they handle Spock and Kirk's relationship should be noted as being well written. You truly get a sense of almost a brother/friend vibe from the two, given both of them worked under Admiral Pike. And, Pike of sort of a father figure for both of them. When Pike dies, there is an emotional impact to his passing between Spock and Kirk.
I also like the way the wrote Dr. McCoy this time around too. Scotty has some great moments as well that he never really had on the TOS episodes. Simon Pegg does a great job as the Engineer and he really takes a stand on a certain issue as well that I liked. He has a one moment that I laughed a lot.
As I wrote before, the villain is more defined than Nero from the first movie. Benedict Cumberbatch is Khan in this version. And Cumberbatch is amazing as the main bad guy. I love the way he speaks to other people as if they are beneath him. There is a certain chilling coolness about this Khan. One of my favorite scenes involves Khan taking out a bunch of Klingons by himself.
I have to give credit to the writers on how they updated the character, while still providing a notable rival for Kirk. He knows the political atmosphere of the current Trek timeline and knows how the technology works.
Cumberbatch rules as the main villain and he is clearly having a lot of fun with the part. After playing the good guy in the BBC Sherlock Holmes series, it is interesting to see him play such a badass bad guy in this movie. I've liked him since his stint in the Holmes series.
I guess I should mention Peter Weller doing a great as Admiral Marcus. He's the wolf in sheep's clothing so to speak. He's basically the other villain in the movie. While he's channeling his character from Star Trek Enterprise, he still pretty good as the corrupt Admiral. I like his approach to the character, even if the reveal is a bit rushed. Weller has one of the best “Well...shit” moments too.
-John Cho as Sulu: He has a great moment that foreshadows his future plans of being a starship Captain. I liked seeing him in command.
-Red Shirt joke: There is a moment where Kirk orders Chekov to put on a red shirt. There is a hesitation but it really plays out as an inside joke.

-Alice Eve as Carol Marcus: I was fine with her role, but the bra and panties scene troubles me. Not because it is sexist, but I feel it was rather awkward. Why was she getting undress nearly in front of Kirk? It didn't make sense. I'm not complaining about the underwear, but it just didn't work that well in the story. Eve is a good actress and she seems convincing as Carol Marcus. And, there was a scene explaining why she has a British accent, but they deleted it.  

 Spock: “Captain, I am sensing a song...very strange. It is about a Hobbit.”

 It is good to see that Victoria's Secret has survived well into the 23rd Century.  Now, what about Abercrombie?

 This is what happens when you park the ship in a bad part of town.  

 People with red shirts should get hazard pay. 

 Good to see carpooling has lived on in the future.  

Kirk takes aim at Star Wars fans.  

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