EDITOR’S NOTE: Yesterday we brought you Herbie J. Pilato’s take on STAR TREK: INTO THE DARKNESS. But you know how we hate being harsh. So we turned to our own Kathy Fuller for a whole ‘nuther viewpoint. Didn’t exactly get it, but we tried.
Twenty-one years ago when I met my husband, little did I know that there were strings attached. Their names were Kirk, Spock, Picard, Riker, Data, Sisko, Odo…you get the picture.
Star Trek was woven into the fabric of my life by virtue of syndication, movies, dvd’s, and a son who also possessed the Star Trek fan gene. But over the twenty-one years of our relationship, there became a dearth of new Star Trek material. Thank God JJ Abrams & Co. revitalized the franchise, because I don’t think I could spend the next two decades watching the same reruns fifty gazillion times, all in the pursuit of marital happiness.
I loved the first “new” Star Trek movie. I thought the reboot was brilliant. I bought the DVD. Blu-Ray, even. And Shatner forgive me, but Chris Pine is the better Kirk in my opinion. Feel free to throw tribbles at me. I can take it.
So when the sequel FINALLY released a few weeks ago, I couldn’t wait to see it. I think I was more excited than my Star Trek loving spouse, because I couldn’t wait to see
Chris Pine again what JJ Abrams had in store for us in the second installment. And here’s where I agree with Mr. Herbie J. Pilato from his blog post featured on TVWriter.Com. I liked it…but I didn’t love it.
What was missing for me in a movie with the word Darkness in the title was…the actual darkness. Khan, in both the series and The Wrath of Khan was a menacing figure. While Khan 2.0 (played with iceberg coldness by the glorious Benedict Cumberbatch) was villainous, he wasn’t terrifying. Or dark. He was cold and calculating, which also happens to describe Spock. You know, one of the heroes.
I also have to bemoan the lack of cleverness in this film. Spoilers to follow:
1) Where were the surprises? Into the Darkness had nothing I hadn’t seen before in action/sci-fi films, and I’m not an expert on either genre.
2) What’s with the repetition? The space jumping suits were cool in the first movie. Not so much in this one. Kirk dies the same way Spock died in the Wrath of Khan. And how many times do we need to see Kirk get the crap kicked out of him?
3) Why so clunky? There are several moments of clunkiness in the movie, but the worst offender was the scene with the Dr. McCoy and the tribble. It was out of place and telegraphed the resolution of the movie’s black moment (bringing Kirk back from the dead).
4) How could you not have shown Kirk being brought back from the dead? This irritated me the most because I had to sit through another freaking fight scene (this time between Spock and Khan) but was cheated out of seeing how Dr. McCoy revived Kirk. Talk about fading to black at the wrong moment.
Yet despite the lack of a really scary threat and some questionable storytelling choices by a writer who KNOWS BETTER, Star Trek: Into the Darkness is still a good movie. There is an emotional core, the characters are just as engaging in their alternate universe as they were in the original one, and the movie ends with the crew heading out on their five year mission. Which means more movies to come. I hope. Maybe this franchise will have the opposite curse as the other Star Trek movie franchises–the odd numbered movies are superior to the even numbered ones. I’m cool with that.
As long as they don’t bring back the whales.