Star Trek into Darkness (2013) – J.J. Abrams (Dir.), Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Weller, Zoe Saldana, Alice Eve, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, basically fucking everybody.
“Whose idea was it to put the aquatic sex dungeon next to the engine room!” ~ The final log of Captain Jim T. Kirk.
Finally. It has arrived and so have I. After the trials and tribulations of having a real job have thwarted any attempt I made at viewing this monstrosity of a summer blockbuster, I at last charged the fort, stormed the breaches, surmounted the odds, trounced the, um, trout and barreled the roll and… What I’m trying to say is, I saw the movie. Congrat-u-fucking-well-done. And, as is my style these days, I did so fairly blitzed on a bottle of fair-to-pretty-decent Tempranillo stuff rather cunningly into that same water bottle of Gatsby fame. What did I discover? Was it the tour de force its trailers and the rest of Facebook had led me to believe? Was it the answer to the greatest question: can Star Trek be a bankable action franchise? Was the script cobbled together by two illiterate mongrels most likely illegally acquired during a famed Jerry Bruckheimer wine-and-battery-acid drinking contest?
There was no doubt that there was a great deal of grandiosity surrounding this film. What with J.J. Abrams’ first outing being a success of Herculean proportions, it was clear that the Star Trek franchise was resting on the edge of the universe set to jump into hyperdrive and beat the Kessell run in… Wait. Wrong franchise. Anyhoo. Back in 2009 we were treated to seeing where young Captain Han Solo, sorry, I mean pre-I-Ate-Everything-At-the-All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet-And-I’m-Still-Starving-William-Shatner Captain Kirk, came from and how he came to be the unlikely and, let’s be real, utterly impossible captain of the USS Enterprise. It was Trek unlike any we had seen before! It had glitz! It had pizazzle! It had lens flare! OH THE LENS FLARE! It had so many damn people running down spaceship hallways it was like 2001: A Space Odyssey had a one night stand with Chariots of Fire and had forgotten protection. There was nary a calm moment as Spock growled at Kirk and Kirk hit on Uhura and some other people were wacky and…well…it was exciting.
“Dammit man! What have I told you about interrupting my time with Bones in the aquatic sex dungeon!” ~ The second to last log of Captain Kirk.
Thus, Trek was poised to become the greatest Sci-Fi franchise of the new millennium. Much like Nolan with Batman Begins, Abrams redefined something that had been central to many generations’ childhoods. It is a fragile thing, fanboy-hood. On the one hand it offers infinite adoration and monetary income…on the other hand, they are a mass of rabid turncoats ready to rip your bleeding corpse asunder. And so, with Into Darkness, Abrams and his team of logic-disabled writers had to take this foundation of strong characters, but rather weak plot, and turn it into a The Dark Knight-ian epic. What did they do? Well, while the writers all decided to fart loudly in each others’ faces for the whole ‘writing’ process, Abrams did whatever he could to make something at least somewhat sensicle.
Alright. Plot and all that jazz. After becoming captain of the Enterprise, Kirk begins his career by BREAKING EVERY RULE EVER. You know, because he’s a ‘rebel’. This pisses off Spock who, on the other hand, is BREAKING ALMOST EVER RULE EVER. Every character gets to deliver their already time-worn catchphrases as soon as they appear on screen while Spock tries to stop a volcano with a cold-fusion bomb. Now, while I was admittedly suckling on Chilean red gold at that point, I wasn’t so drunk as to notice that Cold fusion is a process of creating heat. It, and I repeat, it makes NOTHING cold. Anyhoo, Kirk’s rank gets stripped but, seriously, it’s like ten minutes before he gets it back because, honestly, the ranking system of the Starfleet is about as well defined as the laws in a little girl’s schoolyard game of ‘Pony Princess Congress’. Then: reveal on Mr. Bendydick Cumberbund, who smolders every fucking frame of this movie as if to say, “Guess what if Sherlock Holmes was a bad guy.” To which every fangirl wet their pants on command. He sets off a bomb in an underground installation causing a chain of events where all of high command is assassinated and Kirk has to take the Enterprise to the Klingon home world to exact revenge. Wait, did I say ‘has to’? I meant, he ‘does’. In fact, everything anyone does in this film would be, as Spock so frequently fucking says, ‘illogical’. Yes, we know Kirk is a hothead. But, why let him fucking start a war with the Klingons so he can get his rocks off?
“Dammit, woman, you’re supposed to put the aquatic sex gear ON.” ~ The third to last log entry of Captain Kirk
Thusly, we fall into the never-ending whirlpool at center of this film. Namely: the script. Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman are two men blessed with a career I would murder for (no, officer, it wasn’t me). They have been paid obscene amounts of cash to recreate some of the most beloved sci-fi franchises for a new generation. Transformers? Yep. That was them. Also Mission: Impossible III, Fringe, the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, their characters wander about their tales like hypothetical meat puppets, tossed in the direction of yet another pointless grinder for the sake of ‘action’ or, as I put it, eye-bleedingly incessant pointlessness. I understand that Abrams wanted to take the characters of old and ‘sexify’ them for the modern audience and, well, he does. The problem is, once the new car smell of the first movie peters off, we are forced to realize a deadly issue. These aren’t characters. Save for Spock, every role is simply the summation of their catchphrases and cartoonish presence. Not to mention, the only fucking female character in the entire universe, apparently, becomes nothing more than a yapping shrew. Oh, and of course we get the lovely Alice Eve to provide the completely unwarranted boob scene. What the fuck guys? Did you watch the first movie and say, “I like it. But those boobs with mouths attached, can we give the mouths less to say?” On the other hand, I love Bones. His only job in these movies is to literally get in the way when someone walks in his direction on the bridge. It’s nice to see Karl Urban get to do something other than growl at the other cast members (see: his entire career). How about Sulu? No sword fighting this time? Nope. He gets to be…the Asian guy! In the background! Only Scotty is given anything of substance to do and, please don’t get me wrong, I mean in no way ’emotional’ substance. No. He does things. Dumb things. Nonsensical things. But he’s charming!
I could get into every little plot hole in this beast, but I’m sure there are already a million youtube videos on the matter. Commander Robocop was utterly ridiculous. Cumberbatch is giving the performance of a lifetime while spewing the literary equivalent of See Spot Run. They even get to throw in some ridiculous fan service with, as it seems, very little understanding of this franchise’s fans. Oh yes, and they reverse a plot point. I won’t tell you how, but it involves magic blood. That’s right. Fucking magic. *FACEPALM*
“Hey, Cumberbatch knows a really good aquatic sex dungeon in the engine room. I think we’re all going to take a dip.” ~ How it all began…
This movie succeeds at entertaining. It really does. It’s pretty as fuck. You can’t blink without the rampant excess of light trying to scratch your cornea. The pace sprints along hoping you won’t think about what you’re watching in case the entire thing just unravels before your eyes. J.J. Abrams is a great director. Not great in the sense of he always makes good things, rather that he constructs films extremely well. . It almost seems as though he has about as much faith in the script as the audience as almost every lapse in logical, physical, emotional, sociological or simply basic, is downplayed and almost lost. His first acts are almost flawless while the second and third tend to peter off a bit. For a man who knows how to kick your ass in the first half of the movie, he certainly hasn’t bucked the trend for this one. It’s like Abrams likes reading the first 30 pages of a book and then tosses it out thinking, “Eh. Whatever. No point. Where can it go from here?” Perhaps he gets distracted by the next, shinier thing and heads straight for that, like the child he assumes his audience is, leaving his unfinished project on the playroom floor? I mean, this is Star Trek. What in the world could ever distract someone from Star Trek? I mean…it’s the second biggest sci-fi franchise in all of history. What could possibly trump that?
Well, bring it on Abrams. We all know Star Wars is going to happen. We are all going to declaim to the heavens that it will suck but, let’s be honest, in our heart of hearts, we are begging that it will be good. Please, please, please dump Orci and Kurtzman. You know, the two guys who when left alone for two long begin eating their own poop. Find someone good. Someone who cares oh so deeply about everything Star Wars. Someone who has, not only gorged himself on the extended universe books, but the video games as well to the point that his lack of friends in middle school was technically classified as a social disorder.
Who me? You mean me? I can send my resume as a PDF.
STAR WARS PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE.