Saturday, May 18, 2013

Star Trek makes good

I love the movies and I see a lot of them. I don't usually write about them, though, largely because it's time-consuming (and movies get plenty of press.) Furthermore, when I do write up a movie, it's usually one that is seriously moving, especially artistic, or under-appreciated.

Star Trek Into Darkness is none of these. But I enjoyed it immensely. The franchise had lapsed for a while, most likely because some of the movies were lame or worse. What I liked best about this one was that it felt a lot like watching an episode of the original sixties TV version, with Shatner and Nimoy, except, of course, that the special effects are now on steroids. (I even broke my Imax-3D virginity and was duly rewarded with visual spectacle and pzazz. It was fun!)

I give the writers a lot of credit for recreating the characters, moods, and campy atmosphere of the dialogue from the sixties, something to which most of the previous Trek movies didn't aspire. I had to wonder, as I heard sporadic chuckling from around me in the audience, whether anyone who has never seen the original series would appreciate the humor injected into scene after scene.

Kirk was the cowboy congenitally disposed to break rules and disobey orders, Spock was excruciatingly inscrutable, Scotty suitably apoplectic, and Uhura both sultry and self-assured. "Bones" had many of the best lines. Some seemed lifted straight from the TV series (e.g., "Damn it, Jim; I'm a doctor, not a torpedo technician!")

If you are a hard core Trekkie I think you'll especially like the attention to details such as the incidental presence of a Tribble. (Don't worry, it's not subtle.)

Of course it wasn't all fun and games. Benedict Cumberbatch is excellent as the villainous Kahn, which he plays with thoroughly humorless intensity. And, like any action-adventure movie, you had to suspend disbelief in spades (just how many blows to the head can Kirk take without major, lasting trauma, anyway?)

But enough--if you want to read some real reviews, check them out on Rotten Tomatoes where the movie is rated at 86% / 89%. Hey, with ratings that high, they can't all be Trekkies!

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