Thursday, May 30, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness Dizzying

non-spoiler review by Wendy Gamble

     From the opening dash through a dazzling crimson forest to the downfall of the destructive but complex foe, Star Trek: Into darkness keeps you suspended in space, oblivious to reality around you.  My two teens next to me didn’t notice I left for five agonising minutes, my spouse thought I was back in two, things were moving so fast.  There’s no doubt it was an action packed extravaganza of special effects and stunning imagery.  The familiar yet freshly mysterious characters were given some room to grow, bringing touching and funny moments.  However, the pacing was off, the plot not ideal, the characterisation good but incomplete.


Just as (reportedly), a person who is tortured continually grows immune to the pain, stopping the effectiveness, the action lost the suspense and power it could have held if interspersed with more calm.  One sudden explosion is startling, sending a burst of emotion.  However, when there is one after another non-stop for a long period of time, they cease to cause much reaction.  This is a trend I’ve noticed in many modern blockbusters.  I wish the directors would hold back and cause anticipation and suspense in classic Alfred Hitchcock style.  Give us a hint that something important is to come, then make us wonder if it actually will before bringing it with a bang.   A pause should ensue for the emotional reactions of the characters, their thoughts on how to solve the problem, and their efforts work out character conflicts to carry out the plan. What I saw in Star Trek was sudden bangs followed by bang, bang, bang. 

The plot was sufficient, though not, I believe, what Gene Roddenberry had in mind for the franchise.  There was intrigue and enough complexity to be interesting, but the basis was war and revenge instead of exploration interrupted by unexpected problems.  The drive to seek scientific advances and further knowledge is (supposed to be) the core of Star Trek.

             While the character moments we had were wonderful, they were too short and too few.  If I hadn’t read the comics I would have been clueless as to Uhura’s emotional strife, and very little time was given to it, no reasons or proper resolution.  The addition of Carol Markus was a good one, though we didn’t get to see a lot of her (except in one gratuitous scene). The conflict between Kirk and Scotty was good, but needed a wrap up via proper Kirk lecture on protocol.  It wasn’t clear they had a proper understanding as a result of the actions and reactions.  Kirk’s officers shouldn’t be yelling back at him while he’s talking!  I don’t believe Kirk would tolerate that in this timeline any more than the original one.  Perhaps we’ll see him learn to drum that out of them.  The captain has many faults, but lack of discipline is not one of them.

            I found the finale awkward.  The segue into the five year mission monologue was totally inappropriate.  That was my daughter’s first comment as well.

             Despite its frustrating faults, a fabulously fun tale I’m willing to add to the universe of Trek canon.  I only hope for something even better next time around.



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I studied microbiology/genetics, then shifted to the more purely creative fields of writing and painting. I’m passionate about my work, currently an ambitious Science Fiction drama, as well as reading, karate, horses, cats, gardening, creative cooking, and my family.