Spoiler-Free Star Trek Into Darkness Review: I came, I saw, I conquered

Truth is, Captain Jackson is getting a little long in the tooth.  Yes, kiddos, I can’t hang for the midnight shows anymore.  The last midnight show I went to see was the Avengers and I was drrraaaaaaaaaagggggin’ (onomatopoeia, I’ve been dying to use that word).  So, I posed this question to my fellow Geek friend; we’ll call her Java since she’s in the Trekness Protection Program.  The convo went like this:

Captain:  Should I go to the midnight showing of Star Trek?
Java:  I don’t know.
Captain:  I can’t hang like I used to, but I want to be around real fans and they go to the midnight show.
Java:  Well, I’ve met this new guy and we’re going out of town this weekend.  I have two passes to a screening tonight.
Captain:  That’s great about the new guy!  Are you saying you’re not going to the screening?
Java:  Yes, I’m not.  I’ve got to start getting ready for this trip.  Do you want them?
Captain:  Hell yes (read:  whatchu talkin’ bout, Willis)
Java:  Ok. Here’s the code.
Captain:  I just called to say I love you!

Now, as you can see, there were a few problems with this conversation.  We were halfway in before she mentioned having passes.  lol.  But, she came through and I was so stoked to go!  Thanks, Java!

So, on to the movie.  I counted 18 black people and lots of other people of color (and a bunch of aliens)!  Good job, J.J.!  Not many speaking roles, but much better than the last movie and loads better than the previous movies.

I enjoyed Star Trek Into Darkness…but, it’s not really a Star Trek film.  Like some other critics have said, it’s a fairly-clichéd action movie in space.  In the interest of disclosure, I’m squarely in the Gene Roddenberry camp of storytelling.  There is so much action that there are moments where you’re not sure what you saw or who did what.  And, that is the crux of this review.

Without posting too many spoilers, 4 parts running hither and thither +  3 parts one-liner + 3 parts explosion + 3 parts punching=  Star Trek Into Darkness.

So, the movie begins with running on Nibiru and then there is an extremely melodramatic explosion.  Then, there is a chock of one-liners followed by an explosion and running and punching.  Then, there’s some more punching.  Then, there’s a near explosion and a really BIG explosion.  Then, there’s some more running and punching leading to a denouement and all’s well. The End.

Feel like I just described every action movie from the last 10 years?  Yeah, me too.  J.J. went Michael Bay-style in the movie and replaced plot with explosions.

The funny parts were really funny and the sad parts were almost misty-making.  Except, and I never noticed before, Zachary Quinto’s lisp!  OMGoodness, he said an iconic phrase at a particularly emotional moment and I nearly fell out laughing.  It was so awkward and didn’t convey the angst needed for the moment.  In fact, he was the wrong person to say it.  It should have been Kirk.

Have you ever felt like a movie was both too long and too short at the same time?  There were so many things that they could have cut in order to give more attention to John Harrison’s backstory.  And, there are so many loose ends in the plot that they might as well have included “Hanging on a String” on the soundtrack. (you must be an ’80s baby to appreciate that).

What J.J. got really right was the actors.  Each person, in their respective roles, effectively played the younger versions of the characters we’ve come to love.  You can forget that you’re seeing the actor.  And, Benedict Cumberbatch, I might have to join his crew of groupies, the Cumberb*tches.  I’ve never felt like the villain in an action movie could win an Oscar, but he almost went there.  He made his dialogue soar to new heights with aloofness, contempt, obsession, and elegance.  Even with a weak screenplay, you’ll enjoy the movie just because of him.  Also, Karl Urban as Bones delivered a standout performance that deserves note.

Two pieces of advice:

1.       Sit far away from the screen.  The sound, at least in my theater, was in sore need of equalization.  So, I missed a lot of dialogue and repartee.

2.      Do not go see this movie in 3-D.  Beyond the first few minutes, there’s no reason for it.  Plus, 3-D makes the film darker, so it is harder to differentiate who did what in the action sequences.

Don’t say Captain Jackson didn’t warn you.

Grade:  Solid B

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