Author Topic: Star Trek: Into Darkness (review)  (Read 843 times)

Daniel Botha

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Star Trek: Into Darkness (review)
« on: May 11, 2013, 08:40:17 AM »
I got a chance to see the latest installment of Star Trek last night. Thought I might post a review to Writer Arena. When the automatic news feed posts a review on Star Trek, I'll just merge the topics together, as a way of keeping everything in one place.

I'll begin by saying I don't review films very often and I don't read a lot of film reviews. My knowledge on how to do this thing is incredibly limited, so bare with me, people :)

I walked into the cinema with high expectations for this film. As far as I was aware, this was supposed to be the best installment to the franchise, yet. I'm not a die hard Star Trek fan, so I really can't comment on how true the film stays to the other films and TV shows previously done. Does this film live up to the hype created? In my opinion, no it doesn't. That's probably why I don't read film reviews very often. The hype created by the reviewers always leave me with these high expectations, which can result in a disappointing experience.

While leaving the theatre, I heard words like "Awesome!" "Wicked!" and "cool!" but for me it was a "Meh" experience. It could have been better and it definitely could have been worse.

The weird thing is, I can't really put my finger on why I didn't like it as much as I expected. I mean, I doubt I could do a better job and don't get me wrong, it was worth seeing. I just wonder if the execution was all there or if it needed a little more oomph.

Personally, I wasn't a fan of the film's length. It dragged on for about twenty minutes too long in my opinion. There were about three moments where I thought "Okay, this must be the end" but nope... It just kept going, dragging plots out until they were almost killed. And then when the ending did come? Completely rushed! The pacing in this film is all over the place. It's almost as if the writers got to the end and then suddenly realised they had to create an ending of some sort. Matched up with the pacing of the rest of the film, the ending felt a little out of place and awkward. Additionally, there's no flow from different points in the film. Everything is just too sudden. At times I struggled to keep up with how random points were relevant.

By the way, I'm remaining vague about details in the story, because I don't want to ruin it for anyone else.

With the writing put aside, the execution of the film is there. JJ Abrams has pulled through yet again with his amazing directing skills.  The action scenes were quick and exciting, filled with suspense and some brilliant twists and turns. I wasn't a fan of some of the camerawork in the action scenes, though. This may also come down to the editor, but there were moments where I had absolutely no idea what was happening. The clips in some scenes were just too short to process. I understand that action scenes are supposed to be quick, but honestly, when the viewer can't process what's happening, it's a waste of five minutes on screen. Compared to Abrams first installment, this one falls flat on its face. A disappointing watch.

Despite the quick action scenes, other areas of editing were handled like a true professional. The sound design, for example, was absolutely brilliant. Some great mixing going on there. As for the computer generated graphics, I doubt they could look much better. The U.S.S Enterprise looked like something from a futuristic movie, not a film made in the modern age. As for the costumes and make-up design... Purely brilliant. Big congrats to the make-up team for creating some terrifying Klingons. I don't like scary things, so I kinda had to shroud my eyes (shut up).

The acting was alright, but again nothing spectacular. This star-filled cast certainly deliver the goods, with Chris Pine in the role of James Kirk, Karl Urban as Bones, Zachary Quinto as Spock and a brilliant as always Simon Pegg as Scotty. The cast from Abram's first installment have come together for this second film and I have to admit, I couldn't agree more with his choices. All actors deliver what they need to deliver and better yet, their ability to amuse in even the most dangerous situations is worth some credit. There are some brilliant one-liners during action sequences which I thought were worth a mention, particularly Simon Pegg's portrayal of Scotty. A very good choice. Special mention also goes to Benedict Cumberbatch for his portrayal of Khan,a much-loved villain, as far as I know. I've always been a fan of Cumberbatch and he certainly fills the role, like a true villain should. In the role of Spock is Zachary Quinto, a character who chooses not to express emotions... but man, oh man, when he does, Quinto can make a grown-man tear up. Very realistic and believable performance from Mr. Quinto.

Special mention also goes to the musical score. I've been a fan of Michael Giacchino since I stumbled across one of his tracks on YouTube. This talented composer is on my watch-list for the next Oscars. He's delivered a truly remarkable score which brilliantly adds to the tension.

Despite the films slow pace and editing issues, Star Trek: Into Darkness is a film I enjoyed watching. If you're a Star Trek fan, it's certainly worth seeing, just to see a modern interpretation of the story. I've seen a few reviewers comment on how it doesn't stay true to the original... Of course it doesn't! I think the main things to consider is any producer who kept a remake completely true to the story would be making a huge mistake. Films are open for interpretation. As far as that goes, Abrams has done a fine job, indeed.

Can I just say how much I appreciate these remakes? For fans who have been around since these movies were first made, it may seem a bit redundant, however for a younger audience, the film is a brilliant marketing scheme. Coming from a younger viewer who has yet to see the originals, this experience is great for me. It's nice to see filmakers thinking about us for a change.



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Re: Star Trek: Into Darkness (review)
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2013, 05:48:48 PM »
I've read reviews from Fanboys that these latest installments don't have the irony or social punch that the original series or original movies had. I loved the original series and the first couple movies and they are quite different in tone and theme from these last two updates. But I absolutely love these last two. No, maybe not as "deep" or thought-provoking as some may like, but as a fun cinematic ride? Hard to top. I prefer the first one, though "Into Darkness" was also quite good. Have to admit, I worship at the altar of JJ Abrams, so maybe I already went in expecting to like it. But I do believe he delivered. Can't wait to see what he does with Star Wars.

The casting is so spot-on as to how the original characters may have looked in their youth, that it blows my mind. Their quirks are there, and even though I think Pine, Qunto, and the rest are dead ringers for Kirk, Spok, Bones, Scotty, my only niggle is I wish Quinto had a deeper voice like Leonard Nimoy and would say "logical" at the appropriate times (meaning, for comedic purposes as did Nimoy). His acting and appearance are terrific, but Quinto's voice just sort of throws me off sometimes.

I'm also hoping that as the franchise grows, Pine eventually delivers some of his lines with a Shatner-esque rhythm. Not all of his lines as a pure imitation would be farcical. But a few lines here and there with that stunted Shatner rhythm would be fun to hear from time to time.

Oh, and the production quality and action scenes in the latest two movies only blows away anything the original series and movies ever accomplished. Very nicely done. Did I mention the eye-candy with Zoe Saldana and Alice Eve, not to mention the green hootchy Kirk inevitably has to land? Nice. And I'm sure females have little problems placing their eyes on Pine and his buddies.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 05:51:22 PM by Manowar »

Darren Seeley

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Re: Star Trek: Into Darkness (review)
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2013, 11:12:38 AM »
The weird thing is, I can't really put my finger on why I didn't like it as much as I expected.

When I saw this last May, I felt the same way. I liked/loved the effects, the actors (except the miscast Alice Eve) but something kept eating away at me,  aside the three scenes  with I loathed ... and when I gave it thought, I nodded my head and understood.

The writing was okay., but not up to snuff with the previous film

Orci has in recent days been going overboard defending the writing work.

Orci and Kurtzman may be hardcore Star Trek nerds, and with the alternate timeline they (and the director) have artistic license to do just about anything they want. "Just About" because even in a new timeline, some things would remain unchanged. What does and does not change is a mystery. Characters could be in danger and now could die in the new timeline. That is the highlight of the 2009 film. Take those new rules given in the 2009 film...and throw them all out of the window. That's what happened, in my view, w/ Into Darkness.

Orci, Kurtzman and  Lindelof  wanted Khan from the get-go. Being such Trek fans, they flurry in every Wrath Of Khan reference they can. This includes Dr. Carol Marcus who is now British and the role reversal of Spock's sacrifice now being Kirk's. Plus a handful of other Trek easter eggs, most of which, like the Tribble, have no business being there. One or two call outs is one thing. A direct hijack of a previous film, word (for nearly) word is something else. A cheesy but classic scream of dialog worked well for Kirk back in Wrath Of Khan. It does not for Spock in Darkness.

Then there's "John Harrison" aka Khan. Question - why name him John Harrison through half the script? Why not just call him Khan right from the start? It's fine in early drafts (see above link where they tried to de-Khan Khan and then put Khan back in) They also claim Khan is "iconic" to Star Trek and is to Kirk what "Joker is to Batman" (yeah, right.) Now, to a general audience, they would not know Harrison would be Khan. To the film buffs, film geeks, ST junkies - it's pretty much safe to say those circles were not taken by surprise. So it's a 'meh' moment at the reveal. But back to the former. "they would not know Harrison would be Khan." let me put it another way. to a general, mainstream audience, a current generation who (mostly) did not see TOS let alone the Wrath Of Khan...Khan is NOT "iconic" to them. So when that pin drops and they find out Harrison's real name and the delay is learn it? That's right. Meh.

He might as well said Jochim.
Who? That's Khan's right hand / second in command. No matter. (Cumberbatch resembles Judson Scott more than Ricard Montablan, but Cumberbatch  still did a great job as Khan.)

Why would Starfleet's Section nine go and "hide" the name of Khan in the first place is where I'm getting at here. Hide it from whom? How did they overpower Khan, knowing not only which pod to open first, but what his crew means to him?

Maybe we'll cover that in a prequel comic !  ;D ;D

But Alice Eve as Carol Marcus?:
What Fans/ people who seen Wrath Of Khan would know:
 1.  she isn't British.
 2.  it makes little sense for the character to be here "just because" Khan is here.

Here's what fans/ people who seen Wrath of Khan and general moviegoing audience would know"

1. She's British but her father doesn't have a trace of one
2. She saves the Enterprise from destruction for a minute to cry "Daddy stop!"
3. Her character isn't vital to the story itself, unless you count 'Daddy stop!' and showing off certain assets. Which brings us to -

Here's what the writers know:
1. Just I (Lindorf) goofed up on that a little.
2. Let's blame the director for that 23rd century Victoria Secret shot. - Orci/Kurtzman

What Film buffs, screenwriting types and general audiences know:
1. Spock calls Spock Prime. "Who is Khan?" This breaks a promise given in the previous film.
2. Khan's blood, set up early in the film is fine. It's also at the end of the film a  cheat. A character who likes to cheat death in this and the previous timeline  sacrifices his life for his crew....only to cheat death. Yes, the Genesis Planet helped bring Spock back after Wrath Of Khan...