Star Trek Into Darkness, Film Review
If you follow this blog, you will know that I am a fan of Star Trek.
So for this review I am going to break it up into two parts. The first part will be just reviewing the film; the second part is reviewing the film as a fan. There will be spoilers in that; I will give you a warning when I start the fan review.
I will also give the film two rating, one as a film fan and the second as Trek film. These will be at the end of each review.
So with that onto the first review.
J.J Abrams is back for the sequel to the 2009 Star Trek film. Along with him is the whole cast from that film, Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Karl Urban, Bruce Greenwood and Anton Yelchin. Joining them on this outing is Peter Weller, Alice Eve and Benedict Cumberbatch.
The main cast fall back into there role as if they had never left, Weller fits in well, but then Weller has worked on Star Trek before in a great two part episode in Season four of Enterprise. Eve is not used to well as the only memorable moment is seeing her in her underwear. While Cumberbatch is excellent as the films villain however just like Eric Bana in the last film, he is under used.
The film picks up six months after the event of Star Trek (2009), we find the crew on observation mission, investigating a primitive tribe on a jungle planet. A desperate situation develops in which Spock ends up in trouble and need to be rescued.
In order for Kirk to save Spock he has to break the Prime Directive. Spock being a stickler for the rule is not happy with this and reports Kirk to Starfleet Command on their return to Earth. This create tension between him and Kirk, but it not long before a new terrifying enemy arise in the form of John Harrison (Cumberbatch) brings them back together to tackle him.
Star Trek Into Darkness moves along at a nice peace. The over use of the lens flares are gone, but there are still some. However they are not as over powering as they where in the 2009 film. Which means this time you can actually see what going on.
There are plenty of action scenes which are enjoyable and easy to follow as there is not much of the shaky cam that Michal Bay seems to love.
One of the action scenes that stand out is the space jump from the Enterprise to the USS Vengeances.
The film looks great and the CGI has been used well, but you except this for the Star Trek franchise.
This is a great summer blockbuster and well worth a watch, even if you have never seen Star Trek on the big or small screen. The film does have some plot holes but not as many as Star Trek (2009). As I non fan I would rate this film 4.5 out of 5.
John Harrison: You think you world is safe? It is an illusion. A comforting lie told to protect you. Enjoy these final moments of peace. For I have returned to have my vengeance. So, shall we begin?
WARNING SPOLIERS AHEAD!!
If you don’t want to know what happens in the film don’t read any feather. You have been warned!!
So in the words of John Harrison, shall we begin?
Into Darkness opens with an action packed scene with Kirk and co, on a jungle planet, which has a primitive life form living on it. We learn that the planet is unstable and Spock has been sent into a local volcano to drop off a cold fusion bomb to stop this from happening. Kirk and McCoy are leading the primitives away from the volcano so that they don’t see anything. Kirk and McCoy dive off a cliff into the sea. They swim to the Enterprise which is hidden there. The shuttle that has Spock hanging form it starts to have engine problems due to the smoke and crap, erupting. Spock is left behind and the crew are unable to beam him out due to interface.
Spock decides to manually detonate the bomb to save the world.
In order to save him. Kirk bring the Enterprise out of hiding breaking the Prime Directive as the primitives see this and rescue Spock just as the bomb detonates.
All this is fine for your typical science fiction film, however this is Star Trek and Star Trek is based in science fact or theory, with a little fantasy. Just from this one scene there are number of errors. I not going to get into, can the Enterprise hid under water with such high water pressure pushing down on it. This can be explained with the Shields the ship uses to keep the pressure low so as not to crush the ship.
My issue is with the Spock side of things. It is stated they needed to lower Spock into the Volcano as they are unable to beam the bomb into it without line of sight.
Why could they not get line of sight from orbit? The eruptions form the volcano would not affect the ship there.
The other big issue is with the cold fusion bomb. When it goes off in the film it freezes the lava. Even if you’re not really scientific you know that fusion is what a Sun does and that is very hot. Cold fusion if a theory where you can get the same reaction at near or room temperature, so it will not freeze anything.
If cold fusion is possible and Spock detonate a cold fusion bomb it would have speed up the reaction going on in the volcano and destroyed the planet..
It is obvious that there was no science advisor on this film, other wise this big error would have been caught.
The film then moves to Earth and most notable London, where man and wife visit there terminally ill daughter in hospital, the man is approached by a shadowy figure that tell him he can save the girl. But in order to do this the man will need to do something for shadowy figure.
We then move to Star Fleet Command in San François, here we learn that Spock has reported Kirk for breaking the Prime Directive. Because of this Kirk loses command of the Enterprise and made it first officer with Admiral Pike getting command of her again. Spock has been transferred to another ship as it first officer.
Cutting back to London, we see the shadowy figure extracting some blood and putting it into a machine. The film then cuts to the man with the sick daughter, he injects some fluid into her saline bag. Moments later all her vital signs return to normal and it look like she is going to be okay. Next we see the man getting ready for work in a Starfleet uniform. He heads of to work in central London. Once he gets to his desk, he injects some liquid into a glass of water. This starts a reaction which explodes.
The shadowy figure has done this so that all the Captains of Starfleet ships in the Sol System meet at Starfleet Headquarters to discuses the incident. The Shadowy figure appears and attacks this meeting killing most attending. The Shadowy figure manages to escape by beaming away from his little attack ship to Qo’noS the Klingon Homeworld.
There are no issues with this scene except for one thing. The Shadowy figure is reviled to be a Starfleet office who worked for Section 31. (A nice little nod to Deep Space Nine.) Who goes by the name of John Harrison.
It is stated that Harrison escape by beaming straight from Earth to Qo’noS. Even in the Prime Universe and in the era of The Next Generation they are not able to beam such a huge distance. So how can he have done this? It just does not make scene.
Also a trip between Earth and Qo’noS takes about two weeks to do. (As seen in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, which is set about 50 years in the future in the Prime Universe)
This is one of the big issues with the film. Even though they want to get away from what came before, they still have to play by the same rules and they don’t.
Which is a great shame, yes I know for film pace they can’t show the two week travel.
But they could have done it with Scotty. He mentions that he been off the ship for a day when Kirk contacts him from Qo’noS. They could have said he been off ship for the two weeks and then there would have been no issue.
That is one of the biggest issues with the film for me. It’s not the storyline; (though there is a whooper towards the end, which I will get to.) it’s the little details. For non fans they would see no problems. But for us fans, well it can be dam annoying.
There is no fault with the acting in this film, and the cast are excellent. However this time with exception of Kirk, “Bones” and Spock, the rest of the cast really don’t get much screen time. Zoe Saldana is on screen even less than the other. Even though she is playing a main character, if feels like the character is just scene dressing.
Alice Eve, who is the only other female in the film, is there only as a sex object to be ogled by the teenage boys in the audience. Which raises the question, can’t Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman write female roles well?
Looking at their past work as writes. I have to go with no. Which is a surprise given that one of their early jobs, was as writers on the TV show Alias. Which had a female in the lead role.
We get to see a new ship in this film that is just finished being built in secret. Though how you build a ship in secret in the Sol System is beyond me. As the Sol System is the centre of the Federation, with the Federation Council, Star Fleet Command Headquarters and the Federation President all on Earth. It would have far higher security than only where else in the Federation.
The USS Vengeance is the name of the ship and it look like really bad fan design. Like someone has done a cross between a Federation Starship and the Stealth Bomber.
The biggest thing that bugs me about this film is that J.J Abrams promised us fans that for his second Trek film, he would not be doing a remake of The Wrath of Khan (TWOK) or have Khan in it.
This just what it has happened. John Harrison rivals himself to be Khan, like crew of the Enterprise is supposed to know who he is. (Khan Noonien Singh, is genetically enhanced human who used his strength and intellect to briefly rule Asia in the 1990s. This lead to the Eugenics War, before the war ended, Khan escaped Earth on a sleeper ship with a number of fellow genetically enhanced humans.)
Now Kirk and the crew find Khan in The Original Series of Star Trek, in their second year of their famous five year mission. In J.J Abram timeline it would be roughly ten years from when this movie is set.
To explain how Khan is now running around, it is stated that due to the events of the last film, the Federation has stepped up it exploration mission.
I don’t know about you but that is ten years worth of space to cover in less than six months. You’re going to miss out on a lot of things, which is a major plot hole if you ask me.
Khan is from India yet a white person is playing him which does not fit here.
Don’t get me wrong Cumberbatch performance is excellent. But could they not find an Indian actor to play him?
Okay Ricardo Montalbán who played him originally is not Indian but Mexican but how many Indian actors where there in the 60’s. Unlike today there are a few good Indian actors in Hollywood these days.
With the ending I not sure if they are trying to do a homage to TWOK or just rip it off. The reason I say this is because it exactly the same as TWOK except the role of Spock and Kirk are swapped round. A lot of the lines are straight out of TWOK for this scene too.
So this time Kirk dies instead of Spock. Even though this Kirk and Spock have not had time to build a friendship where they consider each other family. Spock act like he just lot a Brother a goes after Khan.
Now if you remember at the begging of this review I mention that Khan used his blood to heal a terminally ill girl. Bones learn about the healing ability of the blood though testing it. He get Spock to bring Khan back so they can use Khan blood and bring Kirk back from the dead. I sorry but this is another major plot hole. So now they have this blood that cure death. You know we won’t see that again, so it a stupid plot point. I have no problems with the little girl she could have a illness from now that still has no cure by the 23rd century, but due to Khan genetic enhancement made him immune to it. Also the girl is still alive when she is healed. But bring Kirk back from the dead, Come on!!
But it not all bad there are some great moments in the film. But the story is a real let down form a Trek fan point of view. The writers really need to do there research better if they are going to keep close to the prime universe. The 2009 film gave them the opportunity to go and do there own thing with the franchise with this film. Unfortunately this time they have not done that.
Given what the writers have done with the last two films they really should not be asked back for the third outing in this timeline and Paramount should really make J.J Abram get a science advisor so there are no such stupid mistakes with the science.
With all that it not the worst Star Trek film, for me that still goes to the 2009 film.
For that reason as a fan I give Star Trek Into Darkness a 1.5 out of 5.
Christopher Pike: Are you giving me attitude, Spock?
Spock: I am expressing multiple attitudes simultaneously sir, to which one are you referring?