Thursday, July 25, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness

So, yeah, another Star Trek movie. We tend to see the blockbusters semi-reluctantly, and usually after they've gone to the bargain theater, you may have noticed and, well, this is one of 'em.

This one continues the reboot from the 2009 version, and it's much like that one, and kind of curiously references the second Star Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan. JJ Abrams again directs, and the cast, which is probably the strongest aspect of both films, is back, spreading the thin screen time between them.

The reboot also continues the tradition of taking elements of the original and doing whatever the hell it feels like with them.

Chris Pine and Zach Quinto are reprising their roles as the original slash-fic duo, with Karl Urban continuing his marvelous homage to DeForest Kelly. Simon Pegg is great, of course, as Scotty and Anton Yelchin and Harold and Kumar's better half are barely there as Chekov and Sulu, respectively.

One of the strong points of the movie is maintaining the hookup between Uhura and Spock, with Zoe Saldana adding a lot of fire and excitement to what's otherwise basically a sausage-fest. Benedict Cumberbatch rounds out the cast as the mysterious and menacing...uh...menace.

So, the cast is good, and the story is reasonably interesting, in its semi-recycled way. The action is also pretty good, though the big action set piece at the end gets old before it's over. I dunno, I pretty much forgot it right after seeing it.

My companions enjoyed it, more than I, and I've never been into the Trek thing, so take that into account. But right after seeing this, I heard tell of this book, Save The Cat, and how the Bigs are using it to map out movies to the beat.

It certainly explains a lot. It's not so much the obvious cliches, like the heroes moment of darkness at the end of act 2—that's all pretty standard stuff—as it is these long action set pieces that grind the story to a halt, and are at least as predictable as any old Oater serial.

Basically, I think you have good moviemakers (and Abrams knows what he's doing) breaking the rhythms of their films up to conform to this external idea. I don't even think I object to the sameness of it; it's just the whole putting-stuff-in-where-it-doesn't-belong that gets to me.

As the Boy commented after one of the summer blockbusters, the action set piece is to modern films what the sex scene was to films of the '70s: Mandatory, pointless and kinda dumb.

Any way Into Darkness wasn't bad, as far as these things go, it's just that these things aren't going very far these days.

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