Monday 20 May 2013

Fifth Best Trek Movie Ever!!! *

I managed to get to see the new Star Trek movie today and... it was ok.

I pretty much avoided the trailers and any spoilers so that was good but found the first two acts a bit underwhelming and CGI action heavy. It was not until the final act with "that scene" when the movie picked up, even if the chase scene was very similar to that in Star Wars Episode I.

During the middle of the movie I began to ponder why it wasn't pushing all my buttons. As an SF movie it was pretty good, it could have done with slowing down a bit and allowing some character interaction and development but Hollywood seems to believe we need one fast paced action scene after another these days. In the end I concluded it was the actors.

It is not reflection on them as thespians but Kirk and crew are characters I have grown up with over forty years and for me Chris Pine does not cut it as Kirk. Zachary Quinto has a fair stab at Spock, but Yelchin's Chekov and Pegg's Scotty are poor as well. They lack the chemistry of the original actors, which after two and a half TV series and several movies was pretty much nailed down. Shatner may not be a great actor, but he is Kirk and Kirk is him.

Benedict Cumberbatch was good, though due to an average script illicited little empathy and was more one dimensional than the character that appeared in the original series. That was clearly a failure of the scriptwriters and the lack of any meaningful or epic dialogue (at its heart Trek is cod-Shakespeare and should have cheesy dramatic bad guy dialogue).

It might be better on a second viewing, there are some nice touches and nods to the canon but I have to wonder whether J.J.Abrams blockbuster approach suits the franchise (he also needs to watch out for repeating things from previous movies. Stuntmen rappelling down scene? Check. Female crew member in underwear shot? Check).

Trek is an ensemble product and the characters are paramount not the explosions and effects. The powers that be ought to take a look at how Joss Whedon took what is a quite shallow group of characters in the form of the Avengers and turned it into a superb ensemble work which was complimented by its effects not drowned by them.

Overall, worth a visit to the cinema (it is after all Trek and should be seen on the big screen), but like Skyfall, not the best in the franchise and not the best villain.

* Wrath of Khan, Voyage Home, Undiscovered Country and First Contact are all better than Into Darkness...


  1. The new ST movies lack most of the cerebral elements that made even the worst Trek movies acceptable as Star Trek. Even Star Trek 4 and 5 for all their cheesiness, played better as Star Trek than anything Abrams has produced.

    And please no more damned lens flare!


  2. Good review. Personally I enjoyed it, but maybe I'm easily pleased. I have to agree though that about halfway through the film I felt like I needed to hit the pause button and take a breather... one action scene after another after another. I enjoyed the banter between the characters and the nods towards the Trek canon hit the mark with me. Having said that I should state that this is the first film I have seen at the cinema this year so I'm probably not the best person to give a film review. I was just glad to get out of the house for a couple of hours!

  3. A bit of perspective here guys... Let's face it, for those of us who are of a 'certain age', only the original cast can do no wrong and it's a brave man (or woman) who attempts to fill those calf length zip-up boots. I haven't seen this one yet, but I did enjoy the first one, at least once I stopped the 'comparison game' anyway.

    I do agree that the non-stop action fad is wearing thin on me though, you do need a break between scenes to process all that is going on in a lot of films recently and I've lost count of the films I have re-watched on the small screen, only to see stuff which I wasn't able to process first time round.

    Eli has a point though... so much stuff is dumbed down nowadays and many TV series with any plot-complexity, don't seem to make it past one or two seasons... what's going on?

    Thanks for the review though!

  4. The Star Trek reboot turned Star Trek into Star Wars (mindless action and glitzy effects and nonsense science). But we already had a Star Wars...