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A Trekkie's Review of "Star Trek Into Darkness"

Marissa Bickford ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

Bottom Line: Go see this film! Bring the Family. Have Fun.

I want to start out by saying I was introduced to the Star Trek Franchise at a young age. I am still finding my way through all the old films, but I have shed more than a few tears at Wrath of Khan. I have to say even if you aren’t a die-hard Trekkie, you should (but don’t need to) see Wrath of Khan before seeing Into Darkness. The throw backs, quotes, and over all plot are just made better if you are in on the Trekkie universe. But sometimes the nostalgia took over and that, personally, effected my viewing experience.

My Criticisms:

I also saw this film in 3D, which was a mistake (at least for me). There was some very cool effects, especially in space, but those were the only ones that didn’t bother me. When watching 3D it’s like seeing everything through a zoom lens. The depth of field is so shallow that you can only focus on what the effects wants you to focus on, usually the 3D objects in the foreground. I don’t enjoy viewing movies this way. Especially when the only re-vamping I really liked in this film was the re-design of the ship, I want to be able to look at the background and the detail that goes into it. You can’t do that in 3D. So I didn’t like it. However, I would watch that ship go into warp over and over in 3D, but that’s about it.

Getting that off my chest (sorry, you can hate me for hating 3D, it’s just a personally preference) I really really liked it! I felt like someone gave a trekkie a bunch of Adderall and 200 million dollar budget. It was super self indulgent and could have been more climactic but, in the end, it was beautifully paced and fantastically acted.

The cast from the original "Star Trek" series from 1960 compared to the current cast of the J.J. Abrams "Star Trek" franchise.
The cast from the original “Star Trek” series from 1960 compared to the current cast of the J.J. Abrams “Star Trek” franchise.

Quicky Review of the Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch controlled every scene he was in (personally I liked him better than the original Khan), Zachary Quinto’s Spock is so close to the originally without it being mimicry, it’s amazing. Karl Urban does more of a mimicry thing for Bones, but I was okay with it because his character wasn’t given much depth. And I just love Chris Pines even though he makes a weird face every time he gets punched. Bruce Greenwood has one of the most beautiful and commanding voices and his death was an interesting choice considering The Menagerie is one of the most critically acclaimed and fan favorited episode of TOS (The Original Series) and it revolved around him in his old age.

Zoe Saldana is just hot, hot, hot and she added humor and a strong female character, something I cannot say for Alice Eve as Carol Marcus. It’s not that she wasn’t well acted because I loved Eve’s portrayal of her, but they literally introduced her and blatantly said, “your character is unnecessary, why are you here?” Then they only really used her in about two scenes. I thought they were throwing away a great female role for the sake of nostalgia. (For those who are not familiar with anything about Wrath of Khan, she is actually the mother to Kirk’s Bastard Son).

The U.S.S. Enterprise from 2009's "Star Trek"  compared to the U.S.S. Enterprise from the original "Star Trek" series in 1960.
The U.S.S. Enterprise from 2009’s “Star Trek” compared to the U.S.S. Enterprise from the original “Star Trek” series in 1960.

The Trek Universe: The movie did keep with the Star Trek humor. I loved the dynamic between the characters and the ship. I almost cried when Scotty left the enterprise because they are not right without each other. Scotty loves that ship more than any other crewman. In an episode of TOS, he gets in a fight with a Klingon who is taunting him. The Klingon insults his honor and his captains honor and Scotty doesn’t fight, not until the Klingon insults his ship, then they fight. So when Scotty left, very near the beginning of the voyage, I was like “nope this movie is going to suck, I can’t do it.” But it turned out okay in the end and Simon Pegg is perfect in this role.

Going back to the Klingons. I am glad they are keeping the TOS mythos accurate with the war with the Klingons. However, the makeup they had for these new Klingons, I was not down with. I loved the remastering of the Romulans, the ones from TNG (The Next Generation) were awful and the 2009 film really added something to them I think. But the Klingons looked wrong, they were too animated or something and their eyes should have had pigment. Something just didn’t sit right with me. I did like when Uhura spoke Klingon though, that was a cool Trekkie moment for me.

The one thing that just didn’t feel like Star Trek to me, and I realized this when I saw the remastered Klingons, was the big budget. Star Trek was never like that, it was never about the action and the explosions. It was about the dynamic of finding ourselves through interactions with other races. This just didn’t happen in this movie. I understand that Hollywood is trying to make the franchise competitive with the other action/science fiction movies on the market today. And I know that you really can only have that plot dynamic of exploration and interaction in a TV series (oh my god if J.J. Abrams made a TV series of this, I might die from happiness, have I mentioned my love of this cast, I mean really!) And I know why they picked this plot point but there was so much nostalgia that I wanted to just go home and watch the original thing in the end.

 Ultimately, I loved the film and I will go see it again, in 2D, probably with people who are not as hard core a Trekkie as I am. I know why they upped the spectacle, it’s because it’s what people want to see, it’s even what I wanted to see. I hope they make more and more movies with this cast and crew. They really do a good job. But the new franchise will never change my heart about TOS and TNG, the are the originals and they will always be best.

And the entire time I was in the movie I was wondering “What would Gene Roddenberry be thinking of this?” I know he said he always wanted Star Trek to grow and become better, “That really in the human condition, to improve.” But even with knowing that, I just couldn’t find an answer. I’d like to think he would enjoy the spectacle, even for a little while, just as I did. And what this movie is really doing, is not taking the place of TOS or any of the Star Trek branches, but adding on to it so the next generation of Trekkies can find their love of this timeless franchise and grow up with it too. So thank you J.J. Abrams, cast, crew for a great night out to the movies and for inspiring future Trekkies everywhere.

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