Star Trek: Into Darkness Review.

Star Trek: Into Darkness was a film I expected to dislike. When I saw the trailers I was distinctly underwhelmed. It looked they gave everything away, but more than that it didn't look like Star Trek anymore. It looked like a sci fi war movie. The Star Trek reboot managed to maintain a strong, respectful connection to the source material while still having its own identity, but this looked like they'd just given up on trying to cater to fans of the original.

I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

Into Darkness is a great film. A really great film. The characters are exceptionally well realized from writing to acting, and their arc in this film is starting to bring them closer to the 'original' concepts. Kirk needs to learn to reign himself in a bit, Spock needs to learn about emotion, and by the end of the film both characters have shifted a little more to the ones we all know and love. The narrative is considerably stronger than the previous film, but it must be said it does still have plot convenience, deus ex machina and little things that make no sense when you get down to it. However, it makes sense if taken at face value. The problems and cracks only start to appear if you really try to pull apart the story. The writing certainly isn't as robust as I would like, but it is far more robust than Star Trek 9. Oh, the science still sucks but I'm pretty sure you expected that by now.

One very clever change though is how the writer are now honouring the source material. Star Trek 9 of course had many references to the original show, but they were rather overt and obvious (for the most part), and were basically just that- references. Into Darkness takes it one step further. While obvious references are still there, they have been trimmed away to a large degree and replaced by homage. Entire scenes, conversations and interactions from the original series and the previous films are alluded to, mirrored and made into core parts of the actual film.

In the hands of a crappy team this would basically just come across as pandering. However Into Darkness pulls it off really well, chiefly because these moments are *not* just references. They are new versions, or twisted versions of the original. Amusing little 'What Ifs' or alternative takes on the same scene.

It's that which I think makes this reboot so good compared with many others- they are not afraid to deviate from the source material to create their own project, but at the same time they do treat it (and fans of said material) with respect, and do try to maintain links.

And without getting into spoilers, the material they chose to 'adapt' for the bulk of the film was extremely well chosen. You remember me saying how I thought the trailer gave everything away? It gave away nothing. Nothing of importance. It was so horrifyingly generic because giving away anything that made the film a Trek movie would also spoil the *real* important elements of the film.

And that's why writing this review is so damn frustrating. I can't tell you what it is specifically that makes this film so good without giving the entire game away.

Visually I liked it. Apart from the lens flare. It was a funny quirk in the first one, but now it's just downright annoying. They even have it OBSCURING ACTORS DELIVERING DRAMATIC LINES! There's style and then there's just being so far up your own backside you can see the back of your teeth. The ship designs are pretty slick and we see a few new ships too. I don't want to give away what they are though :)

We see the warp core, the design of which has also obviously been changed. It's internal workings though now more closely resemble the warp core we're familiar with, but the external parts resemble the national ignition facility fusion reactor. Oh, but the Budweiser brewery is still there too.

At the end of the day if you didn't like the first one, this one might win you over as it's a lot better made. If you didn't like the first one as you felt it 'wasn't Trek' this probably isn't going to do much for you, but the new way they honour the original might help it find purchase. If you didn't like the first one on the basis that you're the sort of whiny little bitch who moans about Dr Manhattan being the wrong shade of blue, you will REALLY hate this movie- far more than ever the first- thanks to the fact it lifts and 'changes' a lot more content from the previous Trek material. Spare yourself the aneurism.


The meat of the film is basically an alternative take on Wrath of Khan. That's right, the *best* Star Trek movie.  Yes it is. If you don't agree, you're wrong. You might as well claim the moon is made of mashed potato. Wrath of Khan is the best Star Trek movie and this is established, empirical fact.

So let me answer the questions you'll undoubtedly want me to answer (without giving away even more):

Yes, the death scene is in there. No, it's not done exactly the same. Yes, it's still awesome. Yes, Khan's name is shouted loudly. No, the entire film is not a remake of Wrath of Khan, it just uses Khan and several of the important images and lines from the film (admittedly sometimes badly). Yes, Khan's intellect is still important, but they make him a little (alright a lot) more action hero/villain-y to get the point across that he's a superior being. Yes, he and Kirk do actually meet and duke it out. No, it's not a shameless attempt to capitalize on someone else's 'better', iconic work. They're doing their own thing with it. Yes, they still show respect to the Wrath of Khan while doing it.

It also has Klingons in it, and they look awesome- as do their ships. It has tribbles but only as a reference.

I think that covers most of it.
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