Almost a good movie, but wait for the video.
(A longer review, with some spoilers, is below the fold. SPOILERS, I SAID!!! You were warned!)
Take one part Space Seed, one part Wrath of Khan, throw in some interesting-but-somewhat-predictable plot twists and one blatantly plagiarized scene. Mix well, bake at 350° for a bit over 2 hours, and you have Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Yes, like everyone and his brother was predicting on the internet for the past year or so, the villain “John Harrison” is actually Khan Noonien Singh.
Despite the rehash and excessive callouts to the original series, the movie was still promising, the actors were good, and it still could have had me leaving the theater fairly satisfied, except for that one damn scene.
SERIOUSLY, SPOILER AHEAD!
You know the scene in Wrath of Khan where Spock saves the ship and dies in the process? They basically recreated it, but with bigger sets and updated tech. Except this time it’s Kirk who dies instead of Spock. (They do get him back, but I won’t spoil how. Though it’s not like you won’t see it coming a mile away when you watch the movie anyway.)
The horrible plagiarism of that scene actually made me angry. Enough so that I actually considered walking out of the movie right then. It didn’t just cross the line between homage and cheesy, it obliterated the line, and then took off and nuked it from orbit just to be sure. Seriously, the writers didn’t just “phone it in”, they sent J.J. Abrams an email with a link to the original scene and said “Do this, but swap Kirk and Spock. Oh, and then have Spock yell “Khaaaaan!” to make it, er, better.”
The really sad thing is that, if that scene were original, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto could have won awards for it. They did a bang up job. The writers, on the other hand (and Abrams, for allowing it), should be publicly flogged, dragged through the streets, and impaled on pikes in front of the studio gates pour encourager les autres.
If it weren’t for that one scene, it could have been a decent movie. Instead, I left the theater not just disappointed, but actually irritated. And that was after the follow-up scenes that actually redeemed the movie a little.
J.J. Abrams needs to bow out of Trek, now. The new universe is stabilized, there’s a good foundation for others to build on, the actors again did a wonderful job as new interpretations of the old characters (though Quinto is a bit too visibly emotional as Spock, I think he can dial it back a little and still do very well), but Abrams is not a Star Trek quality director.
Get a new director who can give us the plot and story driven films the franchise is famous for, get a good writer (seriously, find one who wrote some of the award winning episodes of any of the series – imagine what they could do with a feature film budget!) and you’ve got a formula to keep the franchise going for several more films, at least. Keep Abrams on and you’ll kill it.
Please don’t kill Star Trek.
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