Saturday, May 18, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Director: J.J. Abrams. Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, Peter Weller. 132 min. Rated PG-13. Action/Sci-Fi.

Abrams continues his reincarnation of the Star Trek franchise ... and I did not even think about looking at my watch for the full 130 minutes. The interactions between the young characters have matured, we see their inner strengths and weaknesses, we're given a strong homage (maybe too strong) to an older Star Trek episode, and we watch one of the most evil, calculating and fascinating movie villains in recent memory. A scene involves shooting two characters from one starship to another, in deep space. Do I have your attention now? So glad Abrams is directing the next Star Wars movie.

PS: Would it be a spoiler if I told you Robocop plays Captain Kirk's father-in-law here?

Mo says:


  1. Now I strongly believe that they had made a good choice by choosing him. He did an excellent job in improvising an emotional atmosphere among those high-tech beauties and stunning visual effects and authentic battle scenes and a horrifying new devil.. I couldn't stop my tears in the peak of emotion,as well as those audiences in the hall whom I heard obviously crying.I felt J.J considered the fact that feeling is as strong as logic.The characters knew it that makes them weak ,however,they were not able to ignore or sacrifice their feeling easily or expectantly.Just try to balance it .As a final lesson of movie.I guess the significance of feeling/logic/duty/responsibilities is the integral part of star wars as well and it was paid attention precisely in star trek,based on my perception!
    Anyway , owing a beautiful J.J 's outlook and having legends like Lucas and Spielberg on the side as an adviser. no need to be worried at all. He will make it .I trust him ;-)
    Thanks for article.

  2. Wow Mo! I thought you were off the mark with your Iron Man 3 review but you aren’t even in the right zip code with this movie. I practically couldn’t take my eyes OFF my watch while enduring this piece of garbage. How is it possible to have a 190 million dollar budget and have no plot except a rehash of old Star Trek movie scenes? Khan, really? No offense to Benedict Cumberbatch who I’m sure is a fine actor but he doesn’t even touch Ricardo Montalban. And how about that suspense eh? Kirk is dead! Oh no, I bet they won’t reanimate him with Khan’s blood. You could see that coming from Kronos. The sad part is that I really like the cast and they did the best they could with this ridiculous story, I just wish Hollywood would end the embargo on employing real writers. I suppose for the neophyte fan of sci-fi this movie might be passable pop movie pablum. However, I can assure you that for aficionados of the genre there was absolutely no magic here, Mo or otherwise. I weep for Star Wars with Abrams at the helm. Heatshock

  3. Maryam,

    You're very welcome. Again, ComicBookGirl19 does a splendid job on why this is such a lovely movie.

    But for the details, please refer to my response below to Heatshock. Some loyal opposition needs to be taken care of ...

  4. Heatshock,

    When it comes to sci-fi movies, discussing stuff with someone who disliked "Avatar", just because it was a strong critique of the Bush era and the lousy Republican agenda, may seem useless. But I believe in the human intellect, and that even Republicans who can't separate politics from entertainment, are still capable of learning a thing or two about cinema. So I'll make an honest effort.

    If you say this was not "Star Trek", I give you the same reasoning I give people who hate Daniel Craig and the new James Bond: Hello? "They've redefined the franchise." Forget about the prior 20 Bond movies, forget about the 40 years of Star Trek, which you may not be aware hit rock bottom before Abrams came along and resuscitated it. You don't like the new look? Boo-hoo. Welcome to the 21st century.

    Okay, I agree Star Trek was about sci-fi concepts. It was about slow-moving battleships and tactical maneuvering, not Star Wars-like dogfights that Abrams has inserted. But you must be able to enjoy an entertaining fantasy movie when it's destined to be an entertaining fantasy movie. And even for the fan-base, Abrams has plenty to offer. After the time split that happened in the 2009 movie, that gave the screenwriters plenty of room to do whatever they want, but Abrams was still loyal to the fans: he created the exact mirror image of the Spock death scene from "Wrath of Khan", to show how Kirk and Spock (as opposed to Bones' predictions) are actually one and the same. I know, maybe Abrams went too far in his homage, maybe the movie lost originality by deriving so much material from the movie of 30 years prior, ... but the concept in itself is interesting.

    And please tell me you noticed when they called the blond "Dr. Marcus", that she is going to be Kirk's future wife. You noticed, right? I mean, I know you were staring at your watch the whole time, but at least your ears were working.

    There are some interesting story concepts flowing out there. The subplot of Khan planting himself among the good guys to use their resources for his own plans were also in "Dark Knight Rising" and "Skyfall". The concept of humans building superhumans/weapons that eventually revolt against their makers was introduced in "Prometheus" (If you haven't seen these movies, which it seems you haven't, I can send you the DVDs). I don't know if Abrams and his screenwriters ripped those concepts off those movies (I doubt it; they're temporally too close), but nevertheless, these are very thought-provoking material. Unfortunately, you were staring at your watch and didn't notice.

    Drop by again if you still have any questions. I will make a sincere effort to help you understand the modern sci-fi genre.

    (PS: For other readers, Heatshock and I have known each other for more than ten years. Our discussions are usually much more heated than this.)

  5. Mo,
    First of all, please don’t bring politics into the discussion or else we’ll have to give you an honorary seat on the Guardian Council. It’s about quality not subject matter. I don’t watch Jon Stewart because I agree with his worldview but because he’s wickedly funny and very talented. For the record, I’m Independent. As for Avatar, if you want to be a serious critic of film, it should take more than half naked blue cartoon girls to impress you. The story line was block for block (blocking is how preproduction movie shooting is worked out) a remake of Dances with Wolves, only with crappier acting. There was no shred of originality in Avatar outside of the Korean CGI center where the images were created. None. The plot was boring and predictable. BTW I love Daniel Craig as Bond. I’m kind of surprised you do though; I would think he’s a bit too Neanderthal for you and not a “modern man” into macramé and herbal gardening etc.

    Second, I did not say Into Darkness was “not Star Trek”. I said it was garbage Star Trek. In fact, I was very happy with how JJ reset the story in the first movie. So, MOVE ON already. Retreading the old shows and movies is exceptionally weak. And please, can we LOSE the cameos with Leonard Nimoy. The only reason Nimoy’s cameo was done via the view screen is that his Depends wouldn’t last through an entire scene shoot.

    As far as my movie knowledge goes, I was reciting Citizen Kane (a relatively important movie you should watch sometime) from memory before you were even a twinkle in your dad’s eye. If you want to watch the movie that all of your references in the last post come from try Blade Runner. It’s better than all of the ones you mentioned. The bottom line is, it’s a tired story. Now what WOULD have been original is if Khan had turned out to be a good guy in the alternative timeline trying so STOP them from creating new superhumans. But no, we get the same old predictable crap with no interesting or challenging moments. You really need to know what good writing is about. You can start by watching Citizen Kane or American Beauty.

    Up your game Mo, we’ll see you at the next show. Heatshock

  6. Wow ... so you do actually watch movies! That's good; admirable effort.

    Now we'll have to educate you on matters of "taste". It'll be a long, rocky road, but do not despair; I can introduce some good movies.

  7. But seriously Heatshock ... what do you know about "Citizen Kane"?

    I mean, seriously.

  8. Master Mohsen :as a serious and constant and longterm (more than 20 years ) follower of your beautiful,intelligent and professional writings,either English or Persian, in your weblog or famous Journals or in any other cyber or real environment which I had a chance to read , I'd really appreciate your nice effort in the field of movie and the art of it analysis as a critic. Cinema and movie lovers like me owe you a lot for such a great job.Thanks
    Please check this interview with J.J! look at how cool scene of shower of Evil had been deleted ?! I didn't get why .and did you notice how many controversial retractions toward that striptease scene of Alice Eve!!really funny.Agree?

  9. Maryam,

    Thank you for your kindness. I'm humbled by your comments.

    And thank you for the "shower of evil" clip! Although I would be lying if I said I didn't watch the Alice Eve interview first.


  10. J.J. Abrams did a fine job and I was entranced for the full running time, perhaps it wasn't quite as brilliant as the last movie but like CBG19 I hope he stays on board for at least another movie.

    I agree that the Star Wars franchise will be safe in his hands. It just has to be an improvement on episodes 1,2 & 3!

    My only criticism of Into Darkness is a small one. Simon Pegg's accent was feeble. I'd rather just have heard his normal English accent.

  11. Agree. Unfortunately, Abrams won't be on for the next Star Trek.

    Here's what I read yesterday Owen Glieberman wrote in Entertainment Weekly:

    "Into Darkness is a sleek, thrilling epic that's also a triumphantly witty popcorn morality play. It's everything you could want in a Star Trek movie."

    I couldn't agree more.

    About Simon Peg, again your getting too technical for me! The problem I have, is that he's such a fun presence in the movie, but around 10 years older than the other main characters. I wouldn't want him to be switched with someone else in future episodes.

  12. I just have a problem with actors using fake accents. I felt the same about Bob Hoskins in Who framed Roger Rabbit, his American accent sounded so fake it was the only fault in a brilliant film.

    It's sad tht Abrams wont be directing the next movie. I guess they will find another director no problem but will he/she be as good? Joss Whedon would be my alternative choice but he will no doubt be to busy.