Star Trek Into Darkness - Review

wogma rating: Watch when on TV (?) - Only the really, REALLY keen should give the big screen a shot
quick review:

J J Abrams has certainly bitten off more than he can chew. Star Trek Into Darkness is a film that barely manages to be watchable, primarily because of Benedict Cumberbatch, who unfortunately appears for far less time on screen than he deserves. Fanboys apart, there is very little that this film has to offer to anyone else.

Reviews

9822 views

Click on the tabs below for wogma review, external reviews, user reviews, and twitter verdict

Wogma Review

If you’re a sci-fi fanboy, you almost definitely know who J. J. Abrams is. And depending on where you fall in the spectrum between optimism and cynicism, you either hate him or love him already. With the keys to both Star Trek as well as Star Wars, Abrams definitely had a lot to stand up to. Well, with Star Trek Into Darkness, Abrams is already on strike one, at least in my book.

Taking off from the 2009 Star Trek, which had a convenient changes in the series time-line to enable modification of certain elements, Into Darkness is mostly an insipid, long-winded and often pointless film, perhaps the only highlight being a certain Mr. Benedict who seems quite adept at, shall I say, Batch-slapping humans and Klingons alike.

When a mysterious man carries out an attack on Starfleet headquarters and disappears into space, Captain James T. Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the crew are sent off on a mission to take him out. The mystery behind their new foe, however, deepens as Kirk and his crew are sucked further into a series of events they don’t understand.

While the film never transgresses into unwatchable territory because of some of the cast, the action scenes and a number of inside jokes and references, (some of which I’m sure I missed because I’m more of a Star Wars fanboy myself,) the film has long stretches where it pretends to be a bit of a human drama about friendship and morals. That isn’t a bad thing by itself, but it tends to weigh this film down, because neither does it play the role of raising the tension and the stakes, nor does it particularly touch your heart.

Bringing nothing new to the table in terms of plot or execution, the film continuously gives you a feeling of been-there-seen-that, which is so ironical considering the most recognizable line from the franchise is ‘boldly going where no man has gone before’. Even the so-called mystery in the plot is mostly predictable even if you have the bare minimum of knowledge about the series and haven’t read up much on this particular film.

Not surprisingly, the main reason people were looking forward to this film – the mouth-watering prospect of Benedict Cumberbatch as villain – is the only thing that remains continuously interesting in the film. He has a searing, enigmatic, fierce presence which largely manages to live up to the expectations people had from him. Unfortunately, his presence in terms of screen time is far lesser than one would have hoped. Chris Pine as Kirk is the same, although he does seem to have grown into the role of Captain far more. Zachary Quinto as Spock is exactly how he was the last time around. Karl Urban, split between his two Star Trek appearances as McCoy and his deadpan turn as Judge Dredd last year, seems to have found some renewed vigour this time round.

Abrams disappoints; there’s no two ways about that. Be it his control over craft or the narrative, he has quite clearly lost the plot. So much so that even great CG and decent 3D post-conversion doesn’t help the film rise above its heavily flawed and uninteresting screenplay. His usual love for lens flares, optical or digital, makes for a film that definitely looks good. But not good enough to justify spending all that time twiddling your thumbs, waiting for something to happen. J. J. Abrams has painted a big red target onto himself, and come 2015 when Star Wars Episode VII hits the silver screen, nearly every pair of eyes in the universe will be on him. And something tells me that no galaxy, however far away, will be safe for him if he messes up again!

This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Plenty of violent sci-fi action scenes.
  • Language: Clean.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: One brief scene showing a woman wearing bare minimum
  • Concept: Captain James T. Kirk is on a mission to capture a mysterious new foe
  • General Look and Feel: Futuristic sci-fi feel, but nothing you’ve not experienced before

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2.5
  • Story: 2.5
  • Lead Actors: 3
  • Character Artists: 2
  • Dialogues: 2
  • Screenplay: 2
  • Music Director: 2
  • Lyrics:

Star Trek Into Darkness - Movie Details

Star Trek Into Darkness - Trailer

If you cannot see a video above, click here to see it on YouTube

Comments (8)

Click here for new comment

TimELiebe:

::the only highlight being a certain Mr. Benedict who seems quite adept at, shall I say, Batch-slapping humans and Klingons alike::

Now there's a CUMBER-some pun, Pradeep!

http://www.myinstants.com/instant/rimshot/ !

Pradeep S. Menon:

@TimELiebe: Haha! I don't know, but I was so pleased with myself for that corny bit of wordplay. Somehow, it was the only takeaway I had from the film! Did you manage to catch it? What did you think of i?

TimELiebe:

@Pradeep - I haven't seen it yet, but I intend to. Probably alone, since my wife hates the STAR TREK reboot.

That, IRON MAN 3 (which our niece loves!) and PACIFIC RIM (Big Robots Fight Big Monsters - directed by the man who gave us HELLBOY and PAN'S LABYRINTH!) are the three movies I hope to see in theatres this Summer....

TimELiebe:

@Pradeep - risking a fraught question: How did you feel about the very Caucasian Benedict Cumberbatch playing an allegedly desi character? Or did Khan's ethnicity just seem so ridiculous that you just shrugged and went, "Whatever, Dude...."?

For myself, I wish Abrams had cast an actual Indian actor in the role - Saif Ali Khan or Hrithik Roshan, for instance, would have killed in the role. Of if they had wanted to go older, Amitabh Bachchan would have been great - and mopped up the floor with Chris Pine's punk Kirk! :D

Pradeep S. Menon:

@TimELiebe: That is an interesting question, one that I pondered over only slightly before I watched the film. Yes, considering Khan Noonien Singh's supposed ethnicity, an honest-to-god choice of cast would certainly not be Caucasian. However, expecting the powers that be behind a film like Star Trek Into Darkness, with its nearly $200 mil budget, to cast someone who isn't a worldwide star as the main antagonist would really be stretching it. I personally would have loved to see the actors you mentioned - Saif or Hrithik - play Khan. Either of them, in my view, could have done at least as much justice to the role as the terrific Cumberbatch did. Having said that, the character's back story doesn't really have any significant impact. And Cumberbatch was about the only thing about the movie that I liked. So, yeah. It didn't bother me too much. In fact, I've always felt that even the original choice of ethnicity for Khan wasn't particularly thought much over. They probably just thought an exotic sounding name would add some mystique to him. Just a theory of mine, of course. Besides, no one with the 'correct' ethnicity has ever played Khan anyway.

TimELiebe:

Yeah, you're probably right, Pradeep - he was "Khan" because it was a name from the original series. It just peeves me that they specifically made it Khan, rather than Some Other Genetic Superman (which Cumberbatch could fit into) - though expecting J.J. Abrams and his writers on TREK not to behave like Sci-Fi fanboys writing a sketch for a SF con is probably too much to ask.

Also, Benedict Cumberbatch isn't a worldwide star - in the West, he's only known to British Television fans as "One of those guys playing Sherlock Holmes in modern times right now" (the other being ELEMENTARY's Johnny Lee Miller, which being on a U.S. network has more eyeballs than the BBC!). In Asia, Shahrukh Khan's a much bigger name than Cumberbatch is anywhere - and thanks to some closet Bollywood fans in children's programming, SRK keeps getting mentioned as a sign of "globalism" in American kids' shows.

PS: Sorry I didn't respond sooner - the "Get E-Mail With Follow-Up Comments" feature still doesn't seem to work....

Pradeep S. Menon:

@TimELiebe - Considering the global target audience of a typical big Hollywood film, I think Cumberbatch is a far more powerful name worldwide. I mean, for all the talk of SRK being called the biggest star in the world - by someone like Harvey Weinstein, no less - the fact remains that SRK is known throughout the world because there are so many Indians and South Asians throughout the world. But Benedict Cumberbatch has become an exciting name post Sherlock and the mere fact that he's playing Smaug in the Hobbit films. The average American, Britisher, Frenchman or Chinese, I'm sure, wouldn't have the faintest clue who Shahrukh Khan is.

TimELiebe:

::But Benedict Cumberbatch has become an exciting name post Sherlock and the mere fact that he's playing Smaug in the Hobbit films. The average American, Britisher, Frenchman or Chinese, I'm sure, wouldn't have the faintest clue who Shahrukh Khan is. ::

Certainly the idiots in the US's Department of Homeland Security don't have the faintest clue who SRK is, Pradeep! ::grrrr:: That's one of those things that just really makes me embarrassed about my fellow countrymen - and I think it would be just funny as anything if your Customs people decided to "detain" George W. Bush or Mel Gibson as "fitting the profile of a suspected terrorist" if they should ever come to India….

I guess that's kind of why I wish J.J. Abrams had used Shahrukh Khan, certainly - then maybe they'd be like "Oh, you're THAT guy we saw on STAR TREK! Can I get your autograph…?" :)

Leave a new comment