J.J. Abrams' STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS
Movie Review by Dennis D. McDonald
Having grown up reading the science fiction of Clarke, Heinlein, and Asimov, the original Star Trek TV series always seemed unsophisticated and juvenile. Then after 2001: A Space Odyssey hit the theaters, expectations of visual science fiction changed dramatically. Cardboard sets and blinking lights now seemed laughable.
I did enjoy the later Star Trek movies and TV series a lot more. Wrath of Khan was a high point, along with the dark politics of Deep Space Nine. So, having had mixed feelings about the first Star Trek “reboot,” I came to After Darkness with lowered expectations.
I’ve grown tired of grandiose special-effects, spectacular battles, and city level devastation. I do enjoy strong characters, innovative storylines, and excellent production values. Unfortunately, Into Darkness fails on the first two counts.
Basically, I see the original Star Trek characters is already being stylized and caricatured. We have expectations of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the others already formed. These expectations are inevitably shaped by how the original cast played these characters. But now we have a new set of actors playing the same (sort of) characters, and I don’t envy them their tasks; how far can they go with injecting their own contributions into these “reimagined” characters?
I think I would feel a bit more engaged with the movie were all this effort on display here dedicated to creating something new. But it isn’t. Abrams and staff are straddling the line and “reimagining” something that wasn’t always original to begin with.
Let’s have something new for a change!
Movie review copyright (c) 2013 by Dennis D. McDonald