Star Trek Into Darkness

Spoilers: They never really go INTO darkness.
"In our darkest hour, when our leaders have fallen, a hero will rise."

Hey everyone, welcome to Thursday's Tagline! Today I will be talking about the new Star Trek film, INTO DARKNESS, which sees the crew of the Enterprise face their deadliest adversary yet, and shout "KHAAAAN!!!!!!!!!!" For those who missed the last Star Trek, it stars Chris Pine as James Tiberius Kirk (Kirk is basically the feather in his cap) Zoe Saldana (who graced my blog in The Losers) also John Cho as Sulu (He's Harold who went to White Castle, forever) Simon Pegg as Scotty (most notably from Shaun of the Dead, and also Hot Fuzz was awesome) Anton Yelchin as Chekov (also appeared in Charley Bartlett) and Zachary Quinto as Spock (though I have a tough time not seeing him as Sylar cutting open people's heads on Heroes) and Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy (last seen here when I reviewed Dredd). Joining them is Star Trek nemesis Khan, portrayed by Bumblebee Cabbagepatch best known for his role on the BBC as Shylock (Benedict Cumberbatch from Sherlock you get it). The movie starts with Kirk getting a serious dressing down from Admiral Pike, before having his command stripped away. Of course that all goes out the window when a whole bunch of stuff gets blown up by Bandersnatch Cumberbuns for reasons that are not immediately clear.

Here's this blonde lady. Who is she? Not a real character.
Before I talk more about the movie, it bears mentioning that I did not especially care for the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie. To be honest I thought it was kind of generic. While there were some interesting ideas on offer (particularly the way they use the whole time travel angle to sidestep all the previous canon in the Star Trek continuity was a very clever idea) ultimately the focus seemed to be on effects and explosions rather than on exploration and avoiding exploding planets. Into Darkness on the other hand, while still filled with explosions and actions, also dealt with what I feel are serious Star Trek things, like actually mentioning the prime directive, and seeking non-violent resolutions to conflict, instead of vaporizing planets and then the people who did the vaporizing of planets. One of the big ideas behind Star Trek is that the Federation is a civilizing force in the galaxy, and that the Enterprise is an exploratory ship. Sure they have weapons, and of course when pressed they will fight, but they don't seek out violent conflict. Mankind was already almost obliterated by that, and now they're trying to do better.

That's a goodly sized torpedo if I'd ever seen one.
I felt like Into Darkness did a better job of feeling authentic about that than the previous movie, and Khan made for a fairly compelling villain. I admit that I was initially a little disappointed that they decided to sort of rehash a previous villain, rather than exploring a new design space. Given the whole divergent timeline thing, there's plenty of room for new stories, and I hope that in the next movie they will use one of those, instead of travelling into the past to save whales or something. That being said, I thought that there were a lot of great callbacks to Wrath of Khan, and the inversion of roles towards the end seemed especially apt (I won't go into details, but I thought it was very authentic).

The crew does not approve. At all.
Apparently reviewers thought that Into Darkness was actually not quite as good as Star Trek, but I feel the opposite way. I felt like this movie was well paced, had a better, more balanced amount of action to drama, still had great effects, and portrayed the relationships between characters in deeper, more complex way. Due to the increased amount of time spent with certain characters, we unfortunately see a lot less of others, but I think it's better to focus on a few than to give brief moments to the whole cast. It's also worth noting that this movie was not just more dramatic, but also somehow funnier than the last one. The bottom line? Despite serious reservations I really enjoyed this movie, and the prospect of further Star Trek movies now excites me, rather than filling me with mild nausea.

That's all for today! Join me again for more movie fun, there is a very real danger of me reviewing Shaft sometime next week.

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