DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
I have put a name to my pain, and that name is Lindelof.
I can’t be sure that his writing is the cause of my pain in STID (Star Trek Into Darkness), but I can say he was involved, and like all good trolls, I can spew a little bile in his direction.
My troubles with STID are around the re-use and re-purposing of dialogue and situations.
I could live with the semi-obvious flagging of a bad-guy in the first act of the movie. I forgave it because it’s not obvious to anyone who doesn’t know Star Trek inside and out. I’m a geek and I know most of the back-story, philosophy and mindset of Starfleet.
The story galloped on, and while some of the decisions were stretches, they pushed the narrative along. I quite liked Benedict Cumberbatch‘s portrayal of the main foe; the casting against what was expected was perfectly okay. His motivation and behaviour was consistent throughout as was the acting from the rest of those involved. I didn’t mind the secondary foe either; he was similarly consistent in action (but was the source of the aforementioned flagging in the first act).
Who cares though? There was action, there were zap-guns, there was intrigue and funny moments.
The third act is where the wheels fell off the wagon train to the stars. It’s where the story not only jumped sharks, but deep fried them in batter, serving them up with chips and a slice of lemon. I’m not-only speaking of the magical plot device which suddenly solved the problem of a death. This is called Deus Ex Machina by the way, and has been used in Star Trek before, though not to this level of disregard for the narrative; it made a great sacrifice cheap.
I’m talking now of the blatant lifting of a particular situation, dialogue and resolution from a previous movie, co-incidentally featuring the main foe. This is the second rebooted Star Trek movie. The original series got a second movie too.
Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan (ST:TWOK) was in many people’s minds not only a classic of Star Trek, but of Science Fiction cinema. It has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This is a quality piece of sci-fi adventure and it’s consistently good.
So why in god’s name would you plunder this story for your new movie? If you’re re-using the main foe, then why in hell would you lift dialogue wholesale from a previous outing? Wouldn’t you, as a writer, want to stay as far away from the other Star Trek 2 if you’ve using the boss for the endgame?
I know the majority of peeps won’t have seen ST:TWOK and this is a quibble that could be seen to be the old-guard griping about the new.
The point is that those who do know the adventures have seen the movie, and this one was tremendously disappointed and stopped caring about the characters and the movie when the situation and dialogue was lifted. Nothing that followed, not the emotion expressed, not the chase, nor the resolution mattered. I actually counted-down the moment (three seconds) where the movie cut to the med-bay and suddenly a solution to the problem was found in a furry resurrection. It pushed me out of the adventure, the narrative and emotion of this movie and made me wonder why I was actually there.
I’m sure this movie will make the studio an incredible amount of money. I’m sure it will create more and more spin-offs.
But for my money it was a completely wasted opportunity to do something different, to re-make Star Trek in the mould used to create the excellent Star Trek 2009. Fine, pull characters from the back-story, but use just them and don’t pull things from another movie, not even for homage.
I’m incredibly disappointed in this outing.