Two writers. One film. Mixed feelings.
KRIS’S TAKE: If there’s one thing you can give J.J. Abrams credit for, it’s knowing which fanboys to ignore. Though it was a huge shift in tone and focus, 2009′s revival of Star Trek was unequivocally a good thing, and anybody who’d rather watch My Dinner with Janeway instead is not worth catering to. With the sequel, Abrams is at it again with the flagrantly non-MLA compliant title of Star Trek Into Darkness (should either be Star Trek into Darkness or Star Trek: Into Darkness) because somehow, despite being “wrong,” it’s just better than what experts say it should be.
Hats off to anybody who can alienate both Trekkies and grammarians without having his Wikipedia page vandalized.
But there is one change to Abrams’s version that is worth worrying about. One of the reasons Star Trek has lasted so long in our cultural canon is that it can be used to explore absolutely everything about human existence. This is true of the movies and the series, which was alternately exciting and cerebral, while continuing a single, overarching story. There were individual character arcs and there was a “universe” arc, and the dynamic between the two allowed for stories about the friendships of the crew, the political intricacies of making peace with the Klingon Empire, or having the gang go on a time-traveling whale hunt.
So while Star Trek Into Darkness is a great flick and a lot of fun (with even a little bit of fan service), it may be the thing that dooms future installments. No spoilers here, but the ending would make for a great transition into a TV show, which is a nice gesture but ultimately a promise that will not pay off if the film series continues to be so singularly focused. That said, it’s a really-should-see (if not a must-see) and a worthy sequel—just skip on the 3-D.
MONICA’S TAKE: I’m not recapping Star Trek Into Darkness for you (Paramount would probably sue me if I did), so I’ll cut to the chase: will someone stage an intervention with J.J. Abrams?
He needs to confront his addiction to fake zooms, lens flares, and shaky cam.
These overused flourishes kicked me out of the Enterprise and made me laugh whenever a halo appeared around Spock’s head. The second installation of the rebooted franchise delivered half the suspense of the first one and almost forgot its bad guy for half an hour. What the what? Speaking of what the hell moments, there’s a bizarre tribute to the survivors and first responders at the start of the credit sequence. Wait, was I supposed to glean a post-9/11 message from this? Since the bad guy from is one of the boys from Star Fleet, does that mean we create our own terrorists?
Are we not going to start wars on other planets? Are you suggesting WMDs are inventions of the government? Are we the WMDs?!
Not to say STID was a total loss. Despite George Lucas-level bad dialogue, the actors put on a good show, with a big hat tip to Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto. The addition of a superhuman Benedict Cumberbatch will make millions of fan girls’ dreams come true, and it’s possible that he’s the best thing about the movie. Drawing out his sinister deep British accent like a young Alan Rickman, I wish Abrams used him better in the last third of the film.
Because of its scriptural weaknesses and annoying camera abuse, it isn’t a Star Trek chapter I’ll seek out again too soon. Oh, and all that effort to hide the movie from critics so we wouldn’t spoil the movie? The nerds figured it out before you even had a title, n00bs.
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS | PG-13 | IN THEATERS NOW