Sunday, June 02, 2013

Star Trek Into Dumbness

Laura and I saw Star Trek Into Darkness a couple of weeks ago. We had a pretty good time, too -- the cast is likeable, the special effects are great, the story moves quickly, and there's plenty of action. Plus Benedict Cumberbatch. It's entertaining eye candy.

But the first.

It's entertaining, bu damn, this movie is stupid. It's stupid in terms of the things that happen in it, and it's stupid in outside the box ways, too. It's stupid in inside-the-movie stuff like parking your ship underwater. It's stupid in trying to recreate the emotional impact of Star Trek II with a bunch of noobs we barely care about yet. As for plot holes... they've been covered in enough detail all over the web by now, and I don't have the energy or patience to enumerate all of them here.Let's just say that I'm not eager to read the novelization. The movie at least has some good performances and visuals. The novel has Alan Dean Foster's prose. Not really a great incentive for moving it to the top of the TBR pile.

Star Trek Into Darkness is a big dumb film full of dumb, simple mischaracterizations. It's Star Trek by and for people who don't know or care about pre-2009 Star Trek while thinking that it's faithful to the original. It's nowhere to go for all the things I ever loved about Star Trek over the years.

But the second. Star Trek Into Darkness is bad Star Trek, but... so are most of the previous Star Trek movies. With a couple of possible exceptions, they all tried much too hard to be big skiffy spectacles with lots of action. They warped the characters, they had plot holes, they learned the wrong lessons from The Wrath of Khan (it's about the characters, not the villain). Even the ones generally agreed to be the best -- Wrath of Khan, First Contact -- don't hold up under close scrutiny. You can tear apart pretty much every Trek movie ever made without much effort.

The best we can hope for from most Star Trek movies is that they don't make us yell "oh, come ON" until after they're over. And that they do well enough to keep Star Trek as a brand alive. But the best place to rediscover what made Star Trek the phenomenon it was for so long isn't a movie theatre. It's in the individual episodes of the original series, The Next Generation, and Deep Space Nine. TV Trek is the heart and brain of Star Trek. (And the books are what keeps them alive.)


At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Kiril Kundurazieff said...

Thank you for a great response to an entertaining, but flawed, film.

I grew up on the TV shows and books from Bantam to the end of Voyager.

"Kiril Kundurazeiff"

Author of Essay - Confessions of Trekaholic

Best of Trek #15 :-D


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