Thursday, May 23, 2013

Moonlight Movie Reviews - Star Trek: Into Darkness

I recently rewatched the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek film, which, I have to admit (though I am mostly a Star Wars fanboy), I totally LOVED. I went in with limited Star Trek knowledge, but some. I have seen random episodes my whole life of the original series and a few of the later shows. I watched Next Generation and Deep Space 9 quite often though, but that was a long time ago. I saw many of the movies in theaters, but only remember random snippets. I might have seen them all here and there, but we are talking about when I was really little. I vaguely remember seeing Wrath of Khan at a drive-in when I was small as part of a double feature which first played Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown. Is that memory wholly accurate? I have no idea. I do know that Khan came out in '82, which would have made me 6 or 7, depending on the month, and Race for Your Life was a notably older film. But, I digress. Point is, I have some Star Trek experience, though not enough to get VERY upset if something is done differently or to notice every single inconsistency. What I took from the first film is that is was that it did a brilliant job of being a reboot AND a sequel within the original film series at the same time, which is just awesome, and it also managed to just be a fantastic movie! I'm not exactly sure what the general consensus among the oldschool Trek fans was, but I was pretty darn pleased, and revisiting it recently, I am just as impressed.

So, when I found myself needing to cut out of work early today, just because sometimes... ya gotta (well, I was a bit sleepy, my mom is visiting and all, and besides that, I still don't have my head on straight from the heartbreaking, ice-cold mind-f*** I recently received from the girl I was going out with over the past two years and was over the moon about), I realized that it was a fine time to stop into the ol', soon to be defunct Lake Creek Alamo Drafthouse to check out the second Abrams entry into the Star Trek franchise, Into Darkness. Be prepared for mild spoilers you probably have already heard about by now.

So, Star Trek: Into Darkness continues with the adventures of young Captain Kirk and his also younger than usual but surprisingly familiar crew. This bunch is very satisfactorily cast and played, Karl Urban being particularly noteworthy as a fantastic Dr. "Bones" McCoy, even if we do all roll our eyes when he does that, "Dammit, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a ...," routine. Still, we know it HAS to be done. Zachary Quinto is also an awesome choice for Spock, though I always find myself wishing his voice were a better match. Nit-picky for a Star Wars guy, huh? Ha. Anyway, like I said, the whole cast is great in this, as with the first, everyone returning to reprise their roles (even old Spock in a brief scene!). The plot revolves around (here's that mild spoiler I'm sure you've heard by now) a villain known as... wait for it.... wait for it... Khan! Khan is a genetically engineered superhuman. I wants to gather up his fellow, cryogenically frozen superhumans so that he may awaken them and set out on a mission to destroy all inferiors. However, these superhuman popsicles are all aboard Kirk's ship, the Enterprise. And, look, there's other stuff going on too. There are Klingons, there's an issue with Kirk being demoted for his unpredictable behavior, there's the sought after assignment of the 5 year exploration mission (we all KNOW who is going to get that), there's emotional stuff between the characters, a bit of romance, a bit of bromance (I hate the cheesiness of that term, but it is kinda funny at the same time), sexy, talented ladies, lots of action and gorgeous visual effects... This one really has it all, and it's great when you get to say that about a follow-up film that can't just rely on using those special origin story first time/first meeting moments to please the audience. This is just a great movie on its own. Although,.... a lot of people across the net are saying in agreement about something else. They're saying it's great... until.... (SPOILER ALERT)

Bottom line, reviewers familiar with Trek have been saying Abrams shouldn't have tried to do a Khan movie, but that it was great until the final act. There are quibbles about the level of Khan's superhuman abilities. At one point, he is knocked out by a phaser stun, at another point, it barely... phases him. Well, personally, I think he was faking the first time. Some complain about Spock being able to take him though. Well, Spock was pretty flippin' upset. Maybe this is a fair argument though. Some folks also didn't like the final duke out, but I didn't have a problem with it. The biggest complaint though, was that there was a role reversal here compared to the one in the first Khan movie between Spock and Kirk. Some folks did not feel this was done well, and everyone seems to have hated the moment when Spock shouts out, "KHAN!" Myself, I did not have a problem with any of it. I don't think (and other reviewers HAVE said this too) that you'll be bothered by any of this if you are not a major Trekkie. There was ONE thing that DID bug me though. Technically, this is supposed to be the same Khan as the one in the first film, if I understand correctly, though in a universe in which some slight changes have occurred. In other words, why is KHAN speaking with a British accent instead of a Mexican accent? That's bull! Ha, and that's my one complaint about an otherwise excellent movie!

Okay, had to put a rush on this, as I share this computer, but there ya have it. This movie is really great, though if you're a hardcore Trek fanatic, you might have some issues. Personally, I'm feeling pretty good about Abrams taking over Star Wars in the near future. The new Star Trek films have been great so far!

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