Star Trek: Into Dullness

“What do you mean you forgot to put a toilet in this cell?”

 Note:  There are no big, heavy SPOILERS in this post, but there may be some plot points mentioned that may reveal more than you might want to know if you haven’t seen Star Trek: Into Darkness, so go watch the movie and come back to read this after you have.

As a summer blockbuster full of sound and fury signifying nothing but an easy way to kill two hours in the dark, Star Trek: Into Darkness more than capably delivers the goods.

And purely on the basis as a summer blockbuster, I give  the movie a “B+.”   J.J. Abrams knows how to keep the camera moving, the special effects and set pieces are dazzling and there’s always something happening on the screen.  And there lies the problem.   It’s all too much flash and bang and not enough detail or character development.    It’s a darn good action movie.   It’s not a real good Star Trek movie.

As a Star Trek movie, with the exception of the overkill of fan service it fails spectacularly.  Utterly.  Completely.  This movie is all eye candy.  It has no brain and it certainly has no heart.     Abrams has said he wasn’t a fan of the show, but with a budget of nearly $200 million,  he needs all the Trekkies and Trekkers he can get to line up and buy a ticket multiple times and he certainly gives them a ton of  “Did you notice this and that?” moments.    Maybe way too many such moments.

I don’t share the love the critics and audiences have shown for Star Trek: Into Darkness and I wish I could.  I also wish I could go into detail why, but I can’t without giving away the story.   But I can say after a good beginning and middle,  the third act  sags and is flat with no dramatic tension after it is undermined by Abrams showing us way too early how the big shock will be resolved.   There is one particular line was delivered so badly even William Shatner would have said, “Now, that’s some bad acting.”

Abrams made some terrible decisions as a director and the first was don’t try to remake the strongest and most beloved entry in the Star Trek film canon.   You’re only going to draw comparisons you don’t really want to make and fall short of them on nearly every score and that’s what earns the movie an overall tepid “C” from me.

“Dammit, Captain, I’m a science officer, not a stripper.”

No spoilers here, but I literally slumped in my seat during the third act and thought to myself, “Are they really going to do this?”  And then they did it and it was even worse than I feared it would be.

I walked out of the theater feeling slightly numbed by the movie.  It’s undeniably exciting and I was never bored.   Though Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk still hasn’t moved beyond the rule-breaking brat of the first film, I did like Zachary Quinto’s Mr. Spock and Zoe Saldana’s Uhura and their strange relationship better in this second go-round.  Karl Urban’s Dr. McCoy wasn’t given all that much to do while John Cho is a very good Sulu does a lot with his few scenes.   Simon Pegg’s feisty Scotty is given a lot more to do than worry about  the dilithium crystals and Bendict Cumberbatch makes a compelling villain even if Abrams and Damon Lindehof’s screenplay can’t decide whether he’s a good man turned bad or a bad man turned worse.

What seals the deal for me and drops Star Trek into just below a passing grade is how forgettable it is.   It’s been a week now and it’s largely faded from my memory as Into Darkness feels like it’s been sandwiched between two super hero spectacles, Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel.     This is a bad movie as much as it is an inconsequential one that feels like a generic action flick carrying the Star Trek name on it.

Superman has been a cultural icon for 80 years.   Iron Man was a second-string Marvel Comics character who turns 50 years old this year.  Star Trek began its five-year mission 47 years ago as a cancelled TV show that never rose about #52 in the ratings.   Yet as the baby of the bunch the movie seems to harken back to its past even as it tries to move away from its corny roots.     Too bad even though this installment entertains it doesn’t make a leap into hyperspace.

Into Darkness?  Into Dullness, is more like it.   This time the Enterprise is a empty vessel.

In space nobody can see you shower.

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8 thoughts on “Star Trek: Into Dullness

  1. Okay, you say it’s a B+ in paragraph 3, but later call it a C in paragraph 6. Still later in paragraph 9 you say it falls below a passing grade. You say you weren’t bored, but refered to the “dullness”. I really don’t know what film you’re talking about. I enjoyed the movie, not as much as I did the 1st Abrams film. But after the Next Generations and Original cast films, if this franchise was to continue, it needed fresh faces. I’m no Trecker, I don’t feel it needs to be overly faithful to the original franchise. But it continues to build upon the Star Trek saga without going off the rails. You certainly don’t go to Star Trek films seeking great acting. Into Darkness isn’t going to be nominated in any of the Oscar’s best acting slots. It isn’t for everyone, but I thought it was a solid summer flick.

    • That’s good and if you enjoyed the movie that’s all good too. I said as a purely no-think summer flick Star Trek works fine. But as a Star Trek film I have certain expectations that go beyond a purely no-think summer film.

      It doesn’t matter if Star Trek gets nominated for any best acting awards. The money movies like this makes for the film studio allows them to green-light the prestige projects that do win awards. I simply thought Star Trek: Into Darkness was full of sound and fury and signified nothing. The third act is a rehash of “The Wrath of Khan” and unlike Ricardo Montalbalm, we really don’t get a good reason why “John Harrison” is motivated to wage war against Star Fleet.

      And the less said about Zachary Quinto’s delivery of THAT line, the better.

      Different strokes for different folks. Your solid summer flick is my afterthought. 😐

  2. I think he was making the point that you’re not exactly consistent in your review – you give the movie a B+ , a C and “less than a passing grade” (which I guess is a “F”) in the SAME review! What is it?

    Also, you said you were “never bored” by the movie but referred to it as “lnto dullness” – I’m pretty sure the definition of the word “bored” is “being dull” – so never being bored means you never felt the movie was “dull”… Which is it?

    You said it was “a good action movie” then you called it “a bad movie” and “a inconsequential one” and “a generic action flick”.

    Do you see the problem?

    • No. I don’t. You guys are reading this wrong.

      Like I said, “As a summer blockbuster full of sound and fury signifying nothing but an easy way to kill two hours in the dark, Star Trek: Into Darkness more than capably delivers the goods.
      And purely on the basis as a summer blockbuster, I give the movie a “B+.

      Then I add, It’s a darn good action movie. It’s not a real good Star Trek movie…As a Star Trek movie, with the exception of the overkill of fan service it fails spectacularly. Utterly. Completely. This movie is all eye candy. It has no brain and it certainly has no heart…and that’s what earns the movie an overall tepid “C” from me.

      That’s what is called “duality.” I’m of two minds about this movie where I like parts of it and freely admit it isn’t dull. It never stops moving and that’s not always a good thing. Summer movies are supposed to be bigger, louder, and dumber than more prestigious films that get all the nominations, but Star Trek Into Darkness is nothing but balls to the wall action and a movie can get DULL when it is all explosions and set pieces. That’s why a movie like “Shoot ‘Em Up” always has something going on and some it is pretty cool to look at, but none of it means shit.

      There is a point where even non-think entertainment becomes dulling when that’s ALL it is. A week after seeing the movie, I remember Simon Pegg and Benedict Cumberbatch quite well, but nothing else lingers.

  3. So you admit that it isn’t dull but it is? It gets a B*, a C and a failing grade?

    Sorry bro, but I’ve never gotten a paper back with multiple grades – I think you’re trying too hard to present a variety of perspectives on a movie. Telling me that the movie is good, bad or only OK is fine, but telling me it’s all of the above sounds like you really don’t want to take a position on the movie (which makes me wonder why you wanted to write a review on it at all…)

    I’m a big Star Trek fan – I still have most of the movies on VHS tape and all of the prior 11 movies on DVD. I’m going to catch the new movie sometime next month and will expect that it probably won’t be the best Trek movie ever made, but it also won’t be the worst.

    • Michael, I’ve explained myself as best as I can. I have gotten papers back where I got an “A” for getting the answer right, but a “C” for not showing how I got the answer which pulled the total grade down to a “B” and not an “A.” You follow. But this isn’t a paper. It’s a movie, and a movie can be multiple things at once, such as Denzel Washington in The Hurricane where his performance is greater than the rest of the movie is.

      I’m not “trying too hard” to do anything except not spoil a movie you haven’t seen, yet feel perfectly comfortable to take issue with me about? Hello? 😕

      If I had gone the Movie Bob route and said, “Fuck it” and said my piece complete with SPOILERS, I could get specific about where Into Darkness transports over the shark. But by habit, I don’t normally do that. However, I may do so at one point and specifically why the !!!BIG SURPRISE!!! works in Iron Man 3 and doesn’t in Star Trek Into Darkness. I may or may not wait until some unspecified time next month when you finally get around to seeing at least one of the two biggest summer movies.

      And yes, Michael I know you have all these Star Trek/Star Wars flicks on VHS and on DVD. You told me already. You may be more of a Star Trek fan than I, but I do know enough about the original to venture an informed opinion.

      Once you’ve seen the movie you’re taking issue with me over your opinion will be informed as well. Right now you’re trying to put a puzzle together in the dark and you don’t have all the pieces. 😐

  4. If you liked it or not, you are entitled to your opinion. No big deal. But to say that we’re reading it all wrong is a strange response. It’s not “duality”, it seems like you’re of 3 minds on this one. B+, C, and just below a passing grade. What would that be, “triality”? I had issues with the film as well, but not those that you had. Like you said “Different strokes for different folks.” I got my $6 worth.

    • I wouldn’t expect you to have the same issues I had because no two people see the same movie the same way. I can’t help what my critique “seems” to you. It seems to me Star Trek Into Darkness is one movie where Acts One and Two work fine and Act Three falls flat on its face.

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