Star Trek: Into Darkness

There will be a spoiler, so consider yourself warned.

Let me just start out by saying this:

YES.

Any questions?

OK, OK, I’ve probably got a thing or three more to say about Star Trek: Into Darkness, but I want to make it perfectly clear that I heart this movie with an unrepentant passion and will probably be the nerd at the video store at midnight buying it as soon as it’s released on Blu-Ray.  And then I’ll stay up all night watching it on my big-ass TV because this.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

When JJ Abrams & Co. released the first movie of the new Star Trek franchise in 2009,  they presented their viewers with a parallel universe.  The characters Trekkies have come to know and love take a slightly different tack as they zip about in space dodging time-traveling, revenge-hungry Romulans.  In Into Darkness, there’s still a revenge-hungry antagonist, though they pulled out the big guns for antagonist two.  In this movie, the crew of the Enterprise is up against (OK, here’s my spoiler) none other than the genetically engineered, hate-fueled killing machine, Khan Noonien Singh.

Yes, this clip is from 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khanthe progenitor of Into Darkness.  If you’re unfamiliar with the 1982 movie, please enjoy this clip–and by all means, watch the entire thing–for its incredibly tasty cheese.  You don’t get William Shatner howling like that for just anything.

Khan, one of Star Trek‘s legendary, hate-that-you-love-him villains, was originally immortalized by the leather-and-mullet-sporting Ricardo Montalban (seen in the above YouTube clip), so casting the proper villain for movie #2 was, I am sure, not for the weak.  Happily, Khan v.2013 was played with gleeful, finger-licking, ruthless abandon by latest British It-boy, Benedict Cumberbatch, who rocks the small screen as a modern version of Sherlock Holmes on BBC.  (He’s such an It-Boy he’s even managed to edge out David Beckham as Britain’s hunkiest dude in a Sun UK newspaper poll.)  (Yes, way.)

…even if he does at times bear a striking resemblance to an otter.

Khan, you look so...wet...and covered in thick, waterproof fur...

Oh Khan, you so covered in thick, waterproof fur.
Photo from cheezburger.com

But I digress.

So, listen.  I’m not going to get crazy with a plot synopsis.  Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) are in space, cause volcano-stopping mayhem and get into a galaxy-sized heap o’ trouble.  They’re double-crossed and then double-crossed again.  Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) comes off as a latter-day love child of General Patton and The Great Santini to wonderful effect, though I couldn’t help wondering if Peter Weller just has a crappy dentist in real life or if the costume department designed a dental bridge that made him look like a bulldog.  Uhura (Zoe Saldana) proves herself to be a total badass linguistics officer (take that, Noam Chomsky!) by standing up to an entire squadron of Klingons.  Scotty (Simon Pegg) pontificates about the trouble brewing when you don’t know the fuel source for your photon torpedoes while storming off in a huff with his bizarre, oyster-faced sidekick whose backstory I hope gets explained in a future movie installment.  As for McCoy (Karl Urban)…ummmmm…errrrrrr…

They really need to develop Dr. McCoy a little more successfully, don’t they?  He’s currently holding court as the hackneyed comic relief, but oh, Karl Urban.  You could do so much more.

There’s lots of shoot-em-up and disabled ships and the Enterprise succumbing to the effects of gravity as the crew frantically tries to restart the engines.  Don’t piffle with me about the science of whether-or-not: whether or not Kirk could kick that thing back into position, whether or not the crew could have run along the walls while the ship’s gravity stabilizers were failing.  Blah blah wonks, I don’t care.  The truth is, I don’t ask a whole lot of the plot in a movie like this.  Things were blowing up in space, I got to see a planet that looked like it was the primary galactic source for red vines candy, and by the end of the movie Kirk was walking on to the deck with that characteristic swagger that preserves his status as the universe’s top pimp.  It was all grand fun.   I’ll be less willing to suspend my disbelief when the Enterprise is in front of me and I can finally go work for the Federation.

I saw it in 2D, not 3D, because 2D was the next showing the night I went and I didn’t want to hang around the movie theater for an hour.  I thought the 2D was fantastic; one friend said 3D was worth the extra price of admission, another said the light flares were distracting.  Do with that what you will.  But go see it!  Kick off your summer blockbuster movie season the right way.

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21 responses to Star Trek: Into Darkness

  1. Uncanny timing to this post – hubby just saw it today. When he got home I asked, “So?” He replied with a pause and a nod, “It was GOOD.” And the side-by-side otter photos – holy crap I laughed so hard!

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    • beyondpaisley – Author

      I swear, Bean, the first time I saw those otter pictures I thought I was going to pass out…they’re TOO perfect! Glad Max enjoyed the show. Hugs & love!

      Like

  2. Okay I haven’t read this yet, because thank you for the spoiler alert. But the Benedict Cumberbatch Otter was too cute!!! You’re going to freak out – there’s a town near me called Vulcan. They have the “Spock Days” festival coming up. I wish you could come up! It’s going to be people watching up the wazoooooo!!!!!

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  3. Burton C Bell

    I love this movie!!! I was walking to the theater in Jamestown, ND. When I arrived, the rest of my crew was just exiting Hangover 3 with expressions of great disappointment on their faces.
    This film was spectacular! The actors nailed the characters’ roles. I laughed and I cried. I will buy this on BluRay!

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    • beyondpaisley – Author

      For real! I heard terrible things about Hangover 3. So glad you’re with me on “Star Trek”, my friend!

      Does a review ever get better than, “I laughed, I cried”? I think not. 😉

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    • beyondpaisley – Author

      I have friends that would argue that’s the point of 3D! 😉 If, when we got to the theaters, the next showing was 3D I would have happily seen that version. BUT. Not how it happened. C’est la vie! Glad you enjoyed it (except for the flinching part…).

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  4. Ok, I have to say, the reference to an otter was hysterical. Very nice juxtaposition.
    That said, I’ve seen the movie 3 times now. (I know, I know, I should be ashamed. But it’s still two fewer times than I went to see the first reboot in ’09.) I loved it. In fact, I loved it more with each successive viewing. I hang my head in shame. (gigglesnark)

    And I hate to admit that I loved Kahn. BC made him a sympathetic villain. Still psychotic, but I found myself really liking him.

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    • beyondpaisley – Author

      Amen, sister! There is no shame in repeated Star Trek watching! I’m considering going back to see it in 3D and I rarely, if ever, go see movies a second time in the theater (though I will watch them over and over at home). I know there’s always the purists/science nerds who find reasons to pick at this genre of movie, but I thought it was a great, good time, fun space shoot-em-up with totally entertaining characters. Though really. They have to do something slightly less hackneyed with McCoy. He’s really my only quibble.

      I ***LOVED*** that this Kahn was sympathetic. Yes, he was still ruthless and undaunted by anyone else’s needs except his own, but his relentless desire to protect his crew no matter what the cost made he and Kirk emotional parallels. I think when Kahn, bellicose yet weirdly teary and upset, hammers out the line, “You should have let me sleep”, he says he understands just how effed he is, but he’s going forward how he wants anyway. It was complicated and raw and felt correct. I thought it was fantastic.

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      • Absolutely!! It caught me off guard when Kahn told Kirk that his crew WAS his family, then asked Kirk if there was anything he wouldn’t do for HIS own family. That also to me was really, really raw. That was a twist you don’t normally see. It made him a more complex character in my eyes. And yes, I agree with you- couple that immense loyalty to his family/crew to his absolute determination to retrieve them, and he is interesting indeed. Too frequently I see in movies/tv bad guys who are pretty one-dimensional. If Kahn had been written that way in this story I don’t think he would really give 2 figs about his crew. Characters that are simple/one dimensional don’t care much about others, whether those others are members of their group (whatever that is) or not. Even though Spock threw out the line about Kahn wiping out those people he felt were inferior, I honestly felt that piece of info didn’t have nearly the emotional impact that Kahn’s confession did. I saw in a few places elsewhere that some people felt his character started out impressive but devolved into a routine bad guy by the end of the movie. (Largely due to the mistakes he made that allowed Spock to trick him and damage/destroy the Drednaught ship.) I thought those flaws made him even more interesting though. The Kahn from the original storyline had major flaws of his own- despite his “vastly superior intellect”. Those flaws were what enabled Kirk to regain control of his ship in “Space Seed” and proved to be fatal in WOK. I didn’t see anything different here. In fact, I was glad that this Kahn had his blind spots and flaws too. Beings that are omnipotent aren’t all that interesting, at least in stories. It’s always been a favorite theme/idea of mine that even the smartest people, with the highest IQ, have their flaws, blind spots, and failings that make them human, and therefore defeatable by someone who is thinking and paying attention. (Voldemort in the Harry Potter series has the same issues- immense talent, immense, outsized ambition- can you get any bigger than trying to defeat death itself?- but still with blind spots and weaknesses that can be exploited by someone who recognizes that though they seem absolutely invincible, they too are human.) Kahn’s tears when confessing to Kirk that he believed all of his people were massacred was a sign of humanity, no matter how small. Killing “in kind”, in retaliation for the loss of those you love is also a human reaction. I really gained a lot of respect for that actor. He hit it out of the park with this character.

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      • beyondpaisley – Author

        “Routine bad guy”…I don’t know if I can agree with that. I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said here, but “routine”…yes, he’s still the bad guy and is going to cause mayhem by the end of the movie. But as we’ve said, he’s incredibly complicated. The driving force behind the entire movie is Kahn’s agenda–Kahn’s seeming complicity with the admiral, then assistance to Kirk, and they all function as part of his ultimate plan to destroy the Federation and get back to his crew. He hates the Federation and why wouldn’t he? And yes, he had to be flawed, had to have blind spots. Even if that blind spot was his own hubris (as I’ve seen is often the case…brilliant people can pretty easily get in their own way, convinced by the rightness of their brilliance). And Kirk…you know, he’s no slouch, with aptitude tests running “off the charts” (as per the first reboot). But he’s inherently messy and earthy and a lot more instinctual rather than plotting, so I think that character gets written so we forget he’s got all sorts of capability on his side.

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  5. Oh, it just occurred to me- to follow through just a touch with the HP comparison:

    As I mentioned, Voldemort was the HP equivalent to Kahn, but if you read the books (or paid attention in the movies) Voldemort was actually one of those characters who didn’t give a rat’s naked tail about those around him, even those who thought they were his friends/loyal servants. Rowling took pains in the books to make it very clear that Voldemort was really a psychopath; he neither needed nor wanted friends/peers/confidants. The people around him were there to be used, then discarded when no longer useful. Kahn, though a “bad guy”, was in many ways just the opposite. It’s implied (pretty starkly, actually) that Kahn could have abandoned his crew and done his own thing. But his desire for his family kept him tied and under control, at least until he thought them all dead. Then all hell broke loose. =)

    I hope I didn’t hijack the thread. The comparison between bad guy characters just occurred to me and made me sympathize w/Kahn even more.

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    • beyondpaisley – Author

      Yes, Voldemort is a total sociopath and keeps followers through intimidation rather than loyalty built on respect and friendship. Voldemort was the ultimate bully and his followers were the worst type of sycophantic hangers-on. From the way Kahn talked about his crew–who we of course never met–he was loyal to them because he loved them, and their imprisonment by the Federation was agony to him. He may not have had a conscience for the crew of the Enterprise/Dreadnaught/Federation overall, but his conscience absolutely would have driven him mad if he abandoned his crew. Voldemort would have been temporarily bummed (maybe) if he lost his “crew” but then would have found a new gaggle of weak poseurs to intimidate into following him.

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      • Oh no, I totally concur with you. I read other opinions stating that Kahn devolved into a “routine” bad guy, but I didn’t think so. I agree with your feeling on it. It was far more interesting to see a villain who showed human feeling, even if he demonstrated that he could be cold and calculating. And for me that fact made Kirk and Spock’s defeating him a bit more meaningful, both due to Kahn’s own flaws and (as you pointed out) Kirk’s intelligence and heart. (Not to mention Spock’s ability to grow and evolve.) Interesting story, interesting characters.

        Now I want them to do it again. More stories please!

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