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17 May 2013 @ 10:43 pm
Breaking radio silence  
So, I saw Star Trek: Into Darkness tonight. I read some review by someone who basically went on and on about how it didn't live up to the first one, and how the script had no tension, and how unnecessary it was to tie it to the original movies in any way anymore, because the first one already did that, and so on.

I remember sitting in the theater, watching Abrams' first Trek and thinking it just couldn't get any better than this. I watched that movie, and it was like someone had reached into my childhood, pulled out my favorite things, and shown them to me in a new and amazing way I had never thought of before. It was fantastic. The actors captured the characters brilliantly. The writers treated the original material with respect and grace, while giving it their own unique twist that both shocked the audience and created an opportunity for them to do whatever they wanted, without being trapped into retelling the old stories.

It is a rare thing for me to watch a movie, and think there isn't one single thing that I would change, if given the chance.

Into Darkness was one of those. I felt the same magic watching it, that I did with that first Trek. Darkness was fighting an uphill battle just by dint of being a sequel. The audience goes into it with expectations, and I was afraid they wouldn't be met. I shouldn't have worried. Within the first five minutes, I knew everything was good. Better than good. The chemistry between the characters was there. Everything was clicking. From there, the pace picked up and it just kept getting better.

My husband pointed out that the lines they took from Wrath of Khan ("The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one") just don't have the same gravitas yet with this crew. He's right. These actors don't have twenty+ years behind them of playing these characters and working together. We as the audience don't have three years of a television show with this incarnation as history. But you know what? It didn't matter. The lines did what they were supposed to: drew a parallel to the other universe. Reminded us of where these characters have been, and where they still have to go.

The rest of my review is about to get very spoilery, so if you don't want to know certain things, here is your opportunity to stop reading.


Okay. Last chance.

Still here?

All right then. Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Yes, Khan. Let's face it, Wrath of Khan is the best Trek movie of all time, and Khan is arguably one of the best screen villains. It's a hard act to follow, but they managed it. Cumberbatch did a fantastic job of making Khan his own. It helps that this is Khan before he loses his wife and all of his people, and focuses his psychotic revenge on Kirk. He is, like many aspects of this parallel Trek, different, and it works. He is still incredibly menacing. As soon as you see him killing Klingons by the dozens as if they are nothing more than toy soldiers, you know that he is not "John Stevens", but is in fact, Khan Noonien Singh. The revelation a short time later is no surprise to anyone watching, but it still works. Kirk's decision to trust him as "the enemy of my enemy" is one we know is doomed to betrayal, and the audience follows along, wondering how these events will unfold in this universe.

Spock contacting Spock was brilliant. One, seeing Leonard Nimoy on my screen always fills my heart with fangirly glee. Seeing his response when New!Spock asked if he had ever run across someone named Khan was a great moment with a lot of depth. It really added something necessary to the story, gave this Khan an extra something from the old one, just listening to Old!Spock describing him as "the most dangerous adversary we ever faced".

I do wonder whether we still might see a "Wrath of Khan" in this incarnation. Presumably, Khan and the rest of his people have been locked away in some deep, dark, highly secure facility, but it only takes one idiot to wake him up again.

I also found the inclusion of Carol Marcus a nice touch. I do wonder if she and Kirk will hook up in this universe and end up with a son named David.

And did all the rest of you Alias fans note that even though there was no giant spinning ball of red death in this one, instead there was a giant forest of bright red alien trees, or something? What is it with JJ and red?? If he wants a signature, the number 47 works so much better (and more subtly, too).

All in all, a great film. My husband leaned over about halfway through and said "This is how good the new Star Wars movie is going to be." He isn't wrong. Twice now, Abrams and his team have pulled off something amazing with the Trek universe. If he does as well with Star Wars, we are in for a treat.
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on May 19th, 2013 02:07 am (UTC)
I saw it last night and totally enjoyed it! I thought it worked nicely on two levels - the Trek fans can 'get' the homages and inversions, while the non-fans can just appreciate the story as is. I suppose there is a bit of a predictability that crept in because we the fans know, say, that the hand-on-glass is inevitable once you realize where Kirk's going, but that didn't take away from the emotions of the scene for me.

I think some fans kind of fail to appreciate that this is Kirk pre-series - it's early, he's still the hotshot that cheated on the Kobayashi maru, not the more settled, experienced captain of TOS (to say nothing of the films). In fact, I thought they did Kirk's maturation really well in this one.

And I'm not one of those who swoon over Cumberbatch, but jfc, he took all the intellectualism of Sherlock and then took a level in menace. I would watch an entire movie of him beating people up, offering devil's bargains, and jumping off buildings. I mean, I'm a sucker for the villains anyway, but he was impressive.

heh, you're the first one I've seen be excited, so I had to share mine. :D
rhienelleth: kirk and spock BFFrhienelleth on May 19th, 2013 03:24 am (UTC)
I know, right? I came home so excited and pumped, and then scrolling through reviews, no one else seemed to feel the same way I did. Not everyone hated it, or anything, they just...don't seem to LOVE it.

I am not an enormous Cumberbatch fangirl (one of my friends is. He could read the phonebook, and she would think he was awesome). For me, it was all about "how is this guy going to follow Ricardo-freaking-Montalban??" Seriously, Khan is probably the epitome of villain for me, because Wrath of Khan made such a key impression on me. It was my eighth birthday. Spock was my favorite character. I sobbed my way inconsolably out of the theater. To this day, I leave the room when Khan puts the Ceti Eels in the helmets/ears. *shudder*

Anyway, Cumberbatch had his work cut out for him with me, and yet still won me over. The whole movie won me over. Even knowing Kirk would be brought back by Bones, I still got teary during the window/hand scene.

I think you are completely right, in that people forget that these movies are taking place when the crew is still young and unproven. And yes, I would so watch that movie with you! The one in which Cumberbath spends all of his time beating people up, making bargains you know he is going to turn on you, and jumping off buildings. Also, crushing people with his bare hands. Okay, so that last part actually kind of squicked me, but hey, it's Khan. (At least there weren't any Ceti Eels.)