Sunday 24 July 2016

Review: Star Trek Into Darkness (second-pass)

Star Trek Into Darkness (2D / second-pass)
Cert: 12A / 133 mins / Dir. J. J. Abrams / Trailer

I'd be crap in Starfleet, me. It seems you have to be ready to needlessly sacrifice your own life every twenty minutes or so*1. Apparently trapped in a volcano? Just deal with it, mate. Toast burnt? Go down with the kitchen. Their HR department must be utter bedlam. Mind you their 'that's probably a trap' review-team all seem to have all booked the same week off, too.

So anyway, it becomes clear fairly early on with a bunch of heavyweight exposition surrounding the Klingon situation, that this film is a definite step away from the mainstream appeal that its predecessor established. Even though Into Darkness is a reasonably accomplished mystery/conspiracy-thriller, it's one which takes place firmly in the Star Trek universe, with the self-referential plot points and easter eggs ramped right up. Perhaps too far, but that's not an argument a Star Wars fan can convincingly make.

The film has become oddly polarising, of course, with some of its most vehement detractors being part of the fanbase itself. Still, if there's one thing that 2016's taught us, it's that online-fandom is in crisis-mode.

But the best thing about the Star Trek reboot was the personal interplay between the core characters. The explosions were pretty, but they weren't why everyone was sitting there. And seeing as vast swathes of Starfleet's employees have been killed in Into Darkness (not to mention the potentially thousands of San Franciscan fatalities), how do you plan to top that without setting up the ramps for shark-jumping? On this particular evening, I didn't have to wait long to find out.

I don't think I necessarily enjoyed Into Darkness tonight more than the first time I saw it, but I certainly enjoyed it more than I remember enjoying it. Somehow.

A firm enough movie, but it seems hesitant to write too much on 2009's clean slate

And crap pseudonyms aside, every time someone says "John Harrison" with a straight face, I think of Tony Harrison. Which just makes it even worse.

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
Judging by the screenplay here, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
Again, not really an option right now, but if you get the chance then yes.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
I think it does, but the aims of the film and the requirements of the audience aren't necessarily the same thing.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
It's not, but only because they've all been so great elsewhere (and/or in earlier/later installments).

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There is.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: This film was directed by the same chap who directed The Force Awakens. Oh, and R2-D2's in this one, too. Again

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 To be fair, I've always been more the 'inept Stormtrooper' type, which equates to roughly the same outcome in terms of the company's health-insurance policy.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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