SCIENCE FANTASTIC

Film Reviews, Words

(Spoilers after the jump, people! Read at your own risk!)

OHBOYOHBOYOHBOYOHBOYOHBOYOHBOY, IT’S SUMMER MOVIE TIME!!!!!!!!!!

You know what I love about summer movie season? The popcorn, the loud noises, and how everything all lines up and then BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!

And this summer? The fact that the long-awaited sequel to the Star Trek reboot is a part of this awesomest of awesome times? This is one happy scifi nerd over here. Actually, there’s a lot of science fiction right now. Dystopias (my favorite speculative fiction genre) abound, not to mention superheroes, and the leftover vampire or two. In the last two weeks, I’ve already seen Iron Man 3 and Oblivion. Iron Man 3 was fun but nothing will ever live up to the surprise genius of Iron Man. The film serves as a good ending to this part of Tony Stark’s life and I’m excited to see how Avengers 2 shapes up. Although… Tony Stark didn’t *really* need to call the little kid that helps him a “pussy.” I can’t imagine Joss Whedon would have kept that in the script.

Oblivion was also fun, not in small part because Tom Cruise totally believes he *is* one of the heroes he plays. If you dropped him into some future Earth, he would totes save the day with his inner awesome. It was a beautiful film and the soundtrack was interesting–a collaboration between M83 and Joseph Trapanese, who worked with Daft Punk on Tron:Legacy. But the film itself relies to heavily on being all science fiction dystopias wrapped into one. There’s a splash of 2001 here, a pinch of Matrix there, a health dose of Mad Max to top it all off and PRESTO, blockbuster scifi movie! Well, a fun time in the dark with some purty scenes and, as I said, a compelling soundtrack.

But what really matters right now is Star Trek Into Darkness. I was so excited, I couldn’t even sit through a trailer without squirming and clapping and getting so excited that I almost didn’t want to watch it. But I did and… well, yay Star Trek! Boo, well, relying on too much legacy. The last film had enough winks and nods to placate us less rabid Trekkies. It was science fantasy, though, not the science fiction of Roddenberry. Into Darkness does attempt to correct that by tackling post 9-11 questions about military and exploration and eugenics. But (spoiler to some, though seriously, it was all anybody talked about for YEARS) the reliance on referencing Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was too much of a nod to the old times. It limited the imagination of the writers and, especially when echoing plot-points, the emotional gravitas just wasn’t there. Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Khan was compelling, especially as this plot set him up almost like a victim of sorts. He wasn’t nearly as bloodthirsty at the get-go as the original Khan. I mean, yeah, he was introduced by killings lots of people, but he’s also a pawn in a Bush-era like plot to start a war with the Iraqis.. erm, I mean, Klingons.

The casting was/is great and I always appreciate the bromance between Kirk and Spock. However, there was no real sense of dread or heartache, as in ST:WOK. The plot seemed too focused on “now we do this, and then we do that, and then that film did this thing, so let’s do it this way” instead of telling a new story in this mirror-verse created by JJ Abrahams and cohorts. There’s so much more out there than a personal vendetta between Kirk and Khan that makes no sense in the mirror-verse. This Khan was not wakened the same way, by the Enterprise in deep space, but by war-mongers at Starfleet. As much as I love the respect given to my favorite of all Star Trek films (and one of my fave films of all time), TELL A NEW STORY PEOPLE! There’s a whole new legion of Star Trek fans ready to “explore strange new worlds” and you spend two hours basically on Earth quoting, at times, a film from 25 years ago whose plot happens 20 years into a possible future of the crew you’re doing a movie about? I just couldn’t fully buy into it…

Like I said, the film is really fun. I was into the booms and solar flares and magnificent space ships. And, maybe it’s just my Trekkie coming out, who can be moved to tears just thinking about the scene below… but I really wanted to see what this Khan would do to this Kirk and how this crew of the Enterprise would overcome as the best examples of humanity.

I’ve already seen the one life they could have lived, on repeats.

Show me a new one.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVIt0DYKssI]

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