Movie Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

IntoDarknessThumbby Kung Fu Zu
I was recently on a lengthy flight with time to kill. After running through the songs on my MP3, and still unable to sleep, I decided to check what movies were on demand and decided to view the latest installment of the Star Trek franchise.

Let me come straight to the point. Star Trek Into Darkness is a bad movie. Had I been able to, I would have walked out of the plane. Alas, this was not an option.

The movie starts with the, now stale, frantic action scene with our hero, Kirk, and shipmates being pursued by primitives with deadly intent. This scene is further proof of the paucity of original ideas springing from the Star Trek series, in specific, and Hollywood in general. It also clearly reveals the film’s target audience. That audience would range from nerdy pubescent males aged about twelve all the way to post-pubescent males of about twenty five with the intellectual abilities of an emotionally stunted thirteen year old.

This film has it all for that audience. Little plot, unbelievable computer graphics, mindless motion, cardboard characters and lots of explosions. Whoopie, we don’t have to think!!!!

Most of all, it feeds feeble adolescent vanity by putting the most powerful weapon controlled by the Federation under the command of an immature, reckless twenty-something dunderhead with little self control and less intelligence. This would be the equivalent of putting the present U.S.S. Enterprise under the command of a teenage gamer.

The only thing vaguely interesting about the movie is the back story about Khan and that is simply not enough to save the film.

Ok, I have never been a big fan of the Star Trek movie series. I found the TV series to be somewhat more entertaining, particularly one episode which included Gary Lockwood and Sally Kellerman. It was named Where No Man Has Gone Before. If only the producers of this latest Star Trek film had taken the implied advice of this title and not gone there. But since they have already gone, we can only pray they don’t come back. • (1728 views)

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23 Responses to Movie Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Most of all, it feeds feeble adolescent vanity…

    Thank you for bringing eloquence and wit to a movie review. I love reading this kind of stuff, either in praise or in refutation.

    Mr. Kung, my older brother is not a very demonstrative guy. But he came into my office yesterday and happened to mention that he had just seen this movie. And he could barely contain himself. His ultimate moment of “WTF?” was when it was Spock outside of the glass who had his “Khaaaaaannnn!!!” moment. This was truly a movie moment beyond laughable. Yes, I laughed. But it was a laugh mixed with sheer disbelief that human beings could be this dumb.

    This really is one of those movies that is so bad, so stupid, so unimaginative, so juvenile, that I would tell people on Facebook “If you liked this movie, please defriend me now.”

    And I love the Rodney Dangerfieldish “If I hadn’t been on a plane, I would have walked out.”

    • Kung Fu Zu says:

      “And I love the Rodney Dangerfieldish “If I hadn’t been on a plane, I would have walked out.””

      A high compliment, as I love Rodney Dangerfield.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    The specific episode you mentioned was, as I recall, the second pilot for the series. (The first was remade into a 2-part episode.) As for the movies, I saw the first 4 and generally enjoyed them, but the only one I’ve seen since (and I think that was on TV) was the one in which the Klingons’ atmosphere was devastated by some sort of ozone layer catastrophe. (It also featured a Klingon with a fondness for Shakespeare “in the original Klingon”, which did at least provide some entertainment value.)
    I also stopped watching Next Generation after the first season, partly because Wesley was too obnoxious a character — a smartass who never paid the price for it (unlike most of us who were smartasses at that age); he was also basically a wish-fulfillment fantasy for Gene Wesley Roddenberry. The other problem was their heavy-handed “late 20th-century Earth technology” pretense of satire (such as a planet that used disintegration as a means of execution for all crimes, but only if committed in randomly selected zones). This was always a problem for the series, but only got worse as time went on. (I did see occasional episodes after that. I did like Data as Sherlock Holmes, I must say.)

    • faba calculo says:

      How was Wesley a smartass? He always struck me as being the anti-smartass, so much a goody-goody I just couldn’t take it. Funny how we both disliked him but remember him so differently.

      That said, I also stopped watching early on, but I came back and found that it had improved drastically.

      Still, the best TV Start Trek was Deep Space Nine. The series-long thread where the main character goes from merely finding that the locals think of him as a religious figure to be an embarrassing inconvenience to realizing, he IS the religious figure they think he is was something I’d never seen before or since.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      partly because Wesley was too obnoxious a character — a smartass who never paid the price for it

      I was talking to my younger brother about this the other day, Tim. There have been a long line of “throw in the child” stars who have been obnoxious. Definitely add Wesley Crusher to this list.

      The earliest “throw in the child” incident I can think of was when “My Three Sons” added Ernie. Ernie was obnoxious. I guess they added him because the three sons had grown up and they needed a “cute” factor.

      It seems to me that “All in the Family” did this as well. And, by far, the most obnoxious add-on child star of all time is Boxey from the “Battlestar Galactica” TV series.

      But perhaps I’m wrong. There *is* one add-on child star that I can think of who was even more obnoxious than Boxey: Jar Jar Binks.

      True, Jar Jar might not actually have been a child. He was an animated character. But like many OCS (obnoxious child stars) he was added, in part, for the kiddie factor. You’ve gotta have something in there for the kiddies, the thinking is.

      And I suppose if it is done with some deftness (such as with C-3PO), it can work if the OCS is not too damn cute, although 3PO pushes the envelope a number of times. But he’s certainly no Jar Jar Binks or Boxie.

      But now that even the adult stars act like juveniles, who needs the kiddie stars?

      Still, if there is one Next Generation person I would have shoved into an airlock and opened the outer door it wouldn’t have been Wesley. It would have been the interminably obnoxious Counselor Troi. Granted, her Betazoidal telepathy powers arguably made her an asset on the bridge. But she inserted her psycho-babble into nearly everything. Often the Enterprise would be in a pitched battle and Troi would come up with such incredibly useful advice as “Captain, I think the crew is tense.”

      Ya think? Really a stupid character all around. I guess because Riker liked her, it made it bearable. But don’t walk too close to that airlock, Deanne.

  3. LibertyMark says:

    Lower your expectations, Mr. Zu! LOL! This movie was simply the wringing of one more shower of money from the Star Trek iconology.

    At least you got to see Alice Eve in the latest Victoria Secret bra and panty ensemble, albeit a la 22nd century. Wink, wink. Product “placement”, you know.

    After all, the Franchise has depended on its iconology pretty much since the series was cancelled in 1969.

    We rented the movie via on-demand, and indeed it was groan-producing. All I can say is I wish I were part of a franchise whose brand equity is like the Ever Ready bunny: it just keeps paying and paying and paying.

    BTW, if you speak Klingon, you can apply for unemployment in Illinois! Bing it!

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Yes, the Victoria Secret thing was a highlight.

      And a Klingon on unemployment? I seriously doubt that there is such a word in the Klingon language. 🙂

      • Kung Fu Zu says:

        I do not even recall the Victoria Secret scene. This must be a sign of either my increasing age or of unintentional memory block to protect my psyche from potentially irreversible damage due to the cankerous nature of the film.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I don’t recall it either (to my everlasting shame). But while Googling images for the thumbnail, that one sort of hit me between the eyes. I could look no further.

    • Kung Fu Zu says:

      “BTW, if you speak Klingon, you can apply for unemployment in Illinois! Bing it!”

      Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

      Your government time and money at work. Isn’t is simply obvious that government types are much smarter that the rest of us slobs?

  4. faba calculo says:

    What I’d like to know is, how did the movie before this one get the pass it seemed to? It was far worse than this one. In fact, I refuse to call it “Star Trek”, preferring to call it was it really was: 90210 In Space.

    OK, they blew up Vulcan and kept it blown up. That was somewhat daring. But other than that…

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Newsmachete has a passably interesting article (a seed for discussion here): Ted Cruz: Kirk is a conservative, Picard is a liberal.

    The place to go is the comments section where there are some interesting and humorous insights. In my opinion, both series were very “Progressive.” Kirk had a definite purposeful multiculti bridge crew. Still, in contrast to today’s affirmative action placement of under-qualified candidates for the sake of quotas, that bridge crew all seems quite competent.

    I don’t see the original series as being particularly conservative. One can pick and choose to support any viewpoint. But there is no doubt at all the the touch-feely “The Next Generation” was libtard through and through. Good god, the one thing we can all agree on is the idiotic presence of Deanna Troi who, in the midst of a battle, was known to utter such banalities as “Captain, I’m sensing tension among the crew.” Ya think? This was a stupid role that could have only been conceived of by girly-men.

    Both series had envisioned some kind of socialist Utopia for earth, although only “The Next Generation” went into even marginal detail about it. From “The Next Generation” we learned that mankind had progressed beyond such crude things as the need for money. Everyone’s material needs were taken care of, so we were living the Nancy Pelosi ideal where everyone could spend their time being an artist or whatever.

    We know from experience that such a society never can and never will exist. Unless people gain the satisfaction and character-building aspect of growth through meaningful work (not just leisure), he will be turned into the worst of characters. The future of Earth under the Utopian paradigm of Star Trek would more likely turn us all into little Neros. It is monsters, not touchy-feely Deanna Trois, who tend to be created by being given everything you want without having to earn it.

    No wonder there is no shortage of people who want to escape the earth and travel into space despite the dangers. For all the lip service given to the Utopia of earth, the reality must be quite different in the Star Trek universe, early or late.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      When Elizabeth and I were Fan Guests of Honor at Windycon in 1997 (the chairman of the convention was a FOSFAX reader), one panel I was on discussed the economics of Star Trek — including the question of what the card-players were betting. The Mudd episodes of the original series would seem to indicate a capitalist economy. I doubt at that point that Roddenberry had really thought through the economy of the future.

      Addendum: I looked at the articles and some of the comments. I thought one excellent comment was that the original series represented pre-1960s liberalism (which retained some connection with reality and was pro-western), whereas TNG was progressive (i.e., leftist) agit-prop (albeit very well done in many ways).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        In my opinion, both series were “Progressive.” One was just less advanced than the other. We should honestly note the difference between Yeoman Rand and her sexy short skirts as she played a glorified secretary compared to the dyke-ish Next Generation Denise Crosby who was, almost laughably, the designated “ass-kicking female” which has become a new stereotype.

        Granted, I didn’t actually dislike the Crosby character. First of all, a Crosby is a Crosby and loyalty runs deep with me. Second, she at least had balls. She wasn’t the vapid Counselor Troi or the ultimately stupid character played by Whoopi Goldberg (the wise Latina equivalent in black).

        I don’t begrudge a series representing its times. We writers here at StubbornThings may freely spit into the cultural wind, but if you’re trying to run a successful TV program, you tend to go with the flow. Still, the show wasn’t completely wussified. I always thought Riker was the stand-in for the testosterone-laced Jim Kirk.

        And Michael Dorn, playing Lt. Worf, was anything but a girly-man (girly-Klingon). Yes, Gates McFadden was a horrible doctor, and her son was also a blight on the show. But LeVar Burton was a generally pleasing and credible presence. He didn’t junk-up the character but played it well. Colm Meaney was ultimately pulled down by the stupid character and relationship he had with his wife. I don’t know who slept with who to get the Keiko character inserted in there. It felt like little more than an affirmative-action Asian insertion.

        Brent Spiner was excellent as Commander Data, if only because it was perhaps (along with Lt. Worf) the only character who was a vehicle for exploring human nature, as the original series often did. Yes, it was thoroughly stupid that this super-advanced android couldn’t use contractions. Why bother with something like that? But, oddly, he brought some well-needed humanity to the show via his quest to become more human.

        The show jumped the shark for sure when it started featuring the Barclay character. They were definitely starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel for plotlines.

        That leaves us to talk about Picard. In many ways, he was not a man of the Left if only because he had great integrity. Yes, he certainly was aristocratic compared to Kirk. But he would draw a line in the sand when diplomacy had been worn out. He was no Neville Chamberlain with a shaved head. Clearly he didn’t have the charisma of James T. Kirk but he had his own sort of presence. And he was believable as a commander. And he was (blessedly) decidedly *not* touchy-feely. My favorite line of his: “Shut up, Wesley.”

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Of course, Patrick Stewart looks like the reconstruction of the ancient man from Washington, and previously played Sejanus (and later played Gurney Halleck, another courtier but a much nicer one).

          An interesting episode involved a Ferengi revenge operation against Picard that was finally ended because the other Ferengi decided revenge wasn’t profitable. No one either ion the Enterprise or the makers seemed to realize the implications.

          Worf definitely was a good character, and I liked Data (especially his Holmes fixation, of course). As for Denise Crosby, I will note that one SF writer (I don’t recall the name) at a convention panel noted that she didn’t move like a genuine security type. In addition, the Nitpicker’s Guide noted that she waved good-bye to her fans in her final produced scene (which actually appeared before the episode in which she gets killed).

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I liked Patrick Stewart as Gurney Halleck in David Lynch’s “Dune.” And he was certainly good in “I, Cavdivs.” But I think Stewart had delusions of being the next Lawrence Olivier, a great Shakespearean actor. And I take nothing away from his dream, his success, and the pursuit if his career — all of which take enormous courage, drive, perseverance, and gusto. I don’t wish to diminish that one jot. But it’s one of those poignant things we all must face from time to time: the limits of our talent. And I think Stewart hit his, and hit his well, as Captain of the Enterprise D.

            The Ferengi are an interesting case, and perfect for “Star Trek: The Libtard Generation.” They were evil and greedy capitalists, driven only by profit. And as a Star Trek species, they were among the best. Frankly, that’s all DS9 had going for it.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I seem to recall that the Ferengi were described early in the series as “Yankee traders” (a dig at America — or perhaps just at the Damyankees) believing in “caveat emptor”.

              The idea of the Enterprise D, as you put it, was one of my minor irritations with the series after the fourth movie. The naval numbering scheme doesn’t work that way, but it was a cutesy way of keeping the original ship number with just a modification.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                It looks like they sort of used the numbering system for versions of a particular aircraft — the P-51D, for example.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Such numbering a represents different models of the same airplane. The Germans used similar versions (their main fighter plane during the Battle of Britain was the Me-109E-3; later they went through other variants up to the Me-109K). The British used Roman numerals (e.g., the Spitfire V and later Spitfire IX).

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    The British used Roman numerals (e.g., the Spitfire V and later Spitfire IX).

    What should have been the proper way to number the various upgrades or versions of the Enterprise? The first was NCC-1701. According to Wiki:

    According to The Making of Star Trek, “NCC” is the Starfleet abbreviation for “Naval Construction Contract”, comparable to what the U.S. Navy would call a hull number.[7] The “1701” was chosen to avoid any possible ambiguity; according to Jefferies, the numbers 3, 6, 8, and 9 are “too easily confused”.[8] Other sources cite it as a reference to the house across the street from where Roddenberry grew up,[9] while another account gives it as the street address of Linwood Dunn.[10] Jefferies’ own sketches provide the explanation that it was his 17th cruiser design with the first serial number of that series: 1701.[11] The Making of Star Trek explains that “USS” should mean “United Space Ship” and that “the Enterprise is a member of the Starship Class”.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      If the original Enterprise were hull number 1701, the new one would have been something very different. If, for example, it were the fourth of the next line of starships, it would have been 1804 by their description. Having a 1701-B in The Voyage Home and later successors such as the 1701-D of The Next Generation wasn’t what they would have done. Note that in World War II, the beloved “Lady Lex” was CV-2. After it was sunk at the Coral Sea, one of the Essex class carriers under construction was named Lexington in its honor. (Stanley Johnson discussed this at the end of Queen of the Flattops.) Its hull number was CV-16.

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