Star Trek into Darkness [2013]

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NOTE: This is a review of the 3D version of Star Trek into Darkness
released in Singapore cinemas on 16 May 2013

Before I start with the review it is only fair I share my honest position in the "Reboot vs Original" debate concerning Star Trek.

I have none.

That doesn't mean I don't recognise Star Trek's influence on science fiction cinema. The series will always be lauded as a milestone in the depiction of space travel. Rich in beloved characters the series continues to attract viewers even today. Yet, I've never been deeply affected by it. During my teens years, when I had freedom to seek out what I wanted to enrich my life with, I never consired Gene Roddenberry's creation. That may have to do with the fact that The Next Generation had replaced "the original series" (as referred to by Trekkies and Non-Trekkies alike) both on the big and small screen. So rebooting the franchise didn't bother me as long as it was a good idea, and not a marketing ploy, which encouraged the decision.

Though I can't be certain why Paramount greenlit 2009's Star Trek it was an entertaining time at the movies. 4 years later, which is almost an eternity in this day-and-age, JJ Abrams and cast return with Star Trek into Darkness. Awkward title notwitstanding the trailers give the impression this will be equally entertaining though darker entry. And it is one of those two things.

Unfortunately, it is a wrong direction to take this series in.

Pardon me as I share my limited input into some history here. In 1979 the U.S.S. Enterprise was finally given a big screen treatment. Star Trek: The Motion Picture  was much hyped and performed decent enough at the box-office but wasn't loved by audiences and critics. Smartening up 1982's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan upped the ante and delivered on the promise its predecessor failed to live up to.

Fast forward to 2013 and it's like we're in a bizarro universe where a good, entertaining movie has to be followed up with an inferior offering.

In the prologue, probably the most fun part here, we learn Captain James T. Kirk (played by Chris Pine) hasn't grown up much since we last saw him. He's still pretty brash and goes against to protocol to do what is morally right. Only when former member of Starfleet John Harrison (played by BBC's Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch) attacks their HQ does Kirk finally find reason to mend his ways. The screenwriters (Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof) turn to an old trick - giving the character a more personal challenge this time around. The problem is I never really cared for his half-baked motivation.

Also taking up valuable screentime is the uncalled for lovers spat between Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Spock (Zachary Quinto). They're Starfleet members who know the potential jeopardy they're putting their lives into. So why fuss about it when one of you could possibly face the end? Colour me bewildered.

All this only means less time for other interesting characters such as Scotty (Simon Pegg), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Bones (Karl Urban). Instead we get to spend time with new addition Dr. Carol Marcus (played by Alice Eve). Sure she's easy on the eyes but what was the purpose of shoehorning her into this script?

Credit where credit is due, JJ Abrams has a great eye for visuals. If nothing else Star Wars Episode VII is assured to please aesthetically. Just hope somebody has the balls to tell him to ease off the lensflares.

There's not much I can say about Cumberbatch's villain. Not because he doesn't do it justice. If anything he lights up the screen everytime he's on it. His role has been mirred in secrecy and I can't think of a way of delving into it without the risk of spoilers.

There's a small bit, towards the end, where we get a cameo from an old friend which is an all-too-convenient way to provide some exposition. The whole thing is silly. You'll know when why when you watch it. Sure Star Trek isn't filled with too many convenient plot points like the recent Iron Man 3 but this sticks out like a sore thumb.

The new series held so much potential which is terrible thing to see squandered here.

Singapore movie review of Star Trek into Darkness by Sarhan Rashid on Sarhan.SG Singapore Web Design

Star Trek into Darkness opens in Singapore cinemas and Shaw Imax
on the 16th of May 2013 (Thurs).

About The Author: Sarhan Rashid
Sarhan Rashid's picture

I'm always greatful for being an 80's baby. We experienced a simpler time while being on the forefront of technological achievements. The internet is one such achievement which has impacted my life. Having worked in the information technology (IT) sector for close to a decade it has truly shaped my world. Besides working as a Project Manager on Singapore CMS (Content Management System) Web Design and online advertising campaigns I enjoy movies, music, travelling and tech gadgets.

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