Film Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

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Square Pegs, Round Holes

Warning: This review discusses aspects of the plot and reveals of the identity of a key character. You may wish to travel into the future and watch this title before reading.

There are two ways that one can review J.J Abrams’ Star Trek sequel. The first is from the perspective of the general audience for whom it was made and who, frankly, are welcome to it. The second is as a Star Trek movie or, because I sense I’m already losing the casual reader, an installment of the franchise that’s existed in one form or another since 1966. This was a series that often dared to talk up to its audience and be audacious enough to be high-minded and scientifically aware: a state of affairs that alienated people like Abrams, who found the simple action adventure storytelling of Star Wars more to their taste, but kept the voyages of the Starship Enterprise and her successors cerebral for the rest of us.

Abrams’ flashy movie, made for idiots, or at least an imaginary constituency of the same; a crowd who don’t expect and wouldn’t appreciate a flick that demanded any psychological investment from them; is an awkward confection: part post-9/11 morality tale (and you thought we were past all that), part broad comedy and part bleak revenge picture. The golden thread that runs through these disparate themes is that dusty old Hollywood cliché, the importance of family, though in a sign of the times, showing how far we’ve moved since the days we could infer the Enterprise crew were a space brood, it’s said openly here and often. Whoever Abrams imagines is paying to see this thing, he doesn’t think they’re fans of the internal monologue.

Apologists for the 2009 film are a little like people who praise the calligraphic finesse of someone’s handwriting, ignoring that the words on the page are “fuck you”. If movies could leave you spellbound using visual effects alone then surely Abrams’ two Treks would be classics but getting drunk on the impressive digital wizardry only leaves you with the film equivalent of brewer’s droop.

The films featuring the original cast were about something, they didn’t fake it like this knockoff. The decisive, memorable character moments in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, a movie that casts a long shadow over this fallow sequel, were earned. Kirk and Spock were given something like interiority by Messrs Shatner and Nimoy. By the time the Vulcan made the ultimate sacrifice, signing off in front of his heartbroken friend, you’d heavily invested in both characters; it remains a gut wrenching moment.

Witnessing Abrams’ anodyne reprise of this scene in the borrowed last act of Into Darkness, one’s forced to ask why there’s no swell of emotion, no kick. The reason is that the preceding hour and a half has lacked gravitas; it’s been broad and occasionally juvenile, Pine and Quinto parroting underwritten lines, hamstrung by light-touch direction. The trio of writers responsible for this shithouse are therefore compelled to riff on scenes from a superior movie to get a reaction from an anesthetised audience. The gambit fails. Not only do we resent all this Wrath of Khan grave robbing, we mark the act of desecration and note how it cheapens the original material.

Why, cry the purists, does this generation of treknicians insist on plundering Nicholas Meyer’s movie for material? It’s risk aversion plain and simple. Khan’s superhuman exploits belong to the part of Star Trek that’s familiar to the uninitiated. Like Superman’s General Zod, he’s out there, nested in the interstice between fan and genre tourist. That’s why he’s back in the anglicised form of Benedict Cumberbatch. But ‘batch, a great actor when the material permits, is frustratingly one-dimensional here. His character’s mystifying change of race and nationality aside (I thought this movie was set in a different timeline, not a different universe but then the calendar’s changed too), the talented thesp has little to do but speak in a malevolent tone and with Received Pronunciation.

It’s typical of how the movie shortcuts characterisation by literalising traits that he’s been reimagined this way. If he didn’t speak with that menacing drawl and sound like a Cambridge graduate how would we know he was sinister and educated? God help us, we might rely on his words and actions. No chance of that as little he says or does makes any sense in the movie’s oddly convoluted plot.

It’s while we’re unpicking Admiral Robocop’s ill-thought out scheme to protect the Federation from its enemies by tricking the aggressive Empire on its doorstep into attacking it, thereby starting a full scale galactic war, or something, that the attention shifts to other matters. As there’s nothing to see on deck, the hamming of Simon Pegg and Anton Yelchin little better than white noise, there’s time to reflect on how Paramount’s demographilizertm has reworked characters like Uhura and Carol Marcus, turning them into two flavours of eye candy.

The former communications officer is now the feisty mistress of Mr Spock: the most unlikely pairing in the known universe. Much of the running time is spent watching the two bicker; a relationship that may play well with the couples in the audience but has little to do with the characters from the TV show. Marcus, once a molecular biologist, is now a weapons specialist and one prone to taking her clothes off for ticket buying hardons. If these choices reflect something like a regrettable treatment of minor characters then the decision to turn Spock from mild-mannered logician into hate-fuelled street brawler in the movie’s last minutes, suggests that Abrams has crossed the Rubicon, not merely indifferent to Gene Roddenberry’s universe but happy to vandalise it in the name of accessibility.

Star Trek has gone mainstream at some considerable cost. With an eye to snagging the casual viewer this movie boasts a budget its forebears could only dream of, but the result is a series divested of the wit, in both senses of the word, that’s always been its trademark. $185m doesn’t buy you a movie with ideas, nor a memorable score, nor a continuity checker for Benedict Cumberbatch’s hair, nor a dialogue coach that can correct the cast’s propensity to pronounce Khan as “con”. What it will buy is a bad cover of your favourite song.

The commentators that derided the Next Generation movies for their dumbed down, action schlock content while praising Abrams’ reboot were right to cite context in mitigation, but whether it’s an illiterate translation of a great TV show or a wholesale reinvention, there’s something distinctly untrekian about creaky old tropes like gung-ho peacocking, swearing and end to end explosions. That Abrams stages it all with vim is indisputable, but no matter how ornately packaged, cliché is still just that.

The tragedy for those fans of Star Trek, attracted to it precisely because it had half a brain and the temerity to use it, without apology to those who found the philosophical and didactic content a turn off, is that they’ve now been sidelined in favour of an audience that couldn’t care less about Roddenberry’s starchild and will have forgotten this disposable version by next week. This movie will make plenty of space bucks but its weightlessness makes it poorer than any featuring the cast of the original TV series.

Directed by: J.J Abrams

Country: US

Year: 2013

Running Time: 132 mins

Certificate: 12A for Leonard Nimoy's endorsement, courting the disinterested and scene stealing.

61 Responses

  1. catherine says:

    I apologize for any doubts that I have ever entertained about your character or taste.

  2. Kyle says:

    I could not agree with this review more than I am doing now. The new movies are touted as the medium with which to bring Star Trek to the masses. What they have brought however is a Star Trek which is so diluted that it barely resembles the universe that Roddenberry created, a universe that we all love. To me, it comes off as a parody, and it’s offensive.

    • Callan says:

      Kudos. Wonderful review. I had high, high hopes for this film. I think it’s only now that I realise that – all along – I have been, and always shall be ( 😉 ) from the old school of Trek. The first film I managed to get behind because it was so, well… new! It’s existence alone seemed to cover a multitude of sins. But this time round, I’ve seen straight through into the dumbed down heart of this film, and I cannot let it pass this time round.


      • Robert says:

        The current movie will likely do well enough based on the goodwill it accrued from the 2009 movie.

        Where the shallowness is going to really hurt the franchise is if/when they make a third movie.

        It didn’t have to be that way. Many of us thought after 2009 that they were going to take the series in an exciting new direction.

        With the Kahn rehash, that is not the case. They have proven they lack the creativity.

        I’m betting they’ll do another dumbed-down borg movie for the 3rd film

        • Mr.Spock says:

          I liked this movie. Sure, it reuses Khan. But, It’s Benedict Cumberbatch!!!! who does it justice. If they did a new villain, i bet everyone would be complaining about not using Khan. You trekkies type 1 (who cannot let the old stuff go) cant enjoy it. I thought the movie was near perfect. I am a trekkie type 2, who loves both new and old.

          • che says:

            Trekkie or not, this movie is a beautiful, hot mess. From across the bar, man, it looks great. But have a conversation with it, and you realize its convoluted, emotionally bereft, and internally inconsistent all the way through. I have always been a fan of light, fun, fantasy entertainment, but ideally a film should hold together when you think about it, and it should stick with you when you leave the theater. Otherwise, its empty calories.

            I had high hopes after the 2009 reboot that the next film in the franchise would combine all that was fresh and fun in the new universe with some of the intellectual and philosophical weight of the originals to create something that was smart AND fun, instead of simply one or the other. These hopes have been dashed. I am saddened.

  3. Matt says:

    fair play, how much of a little pretentious prick you must be to slate this film,fair play you think your a superior species or something, you must be an art student, faking intelligence to get over the fact you have a low IQ, very small dick and cannot satisfy a women, The film was awesome!!!! and before you insult my intelligence I have a master degree in marine science so fuck off, and a massive dick

    • Ed Whitfield says:

      You’ve made me feel a lot better about the future of oceanology research, thank you Matt.

      • Matt says:

        sarcasm is the lowest form of wit

        • Ed Whitfield says:

          That was the case until you commented on this review, yes. Congratulations on lowering the bar.

          • Al says:

            Why does someone who touts himself as having “a master degree in marine science” write like a third grader and use “you have a small dick and I have a big one” as an insult? I’m betting this nitwit has centerfolds posted all over his bedroom and works on his junior-in- high-school-homework in between the plethora of hours he spends on his Xbox. Really, were we supposed to be impressed with the pretend “masters degree?”

          • Tarrax says:

            Now you’re trading insults with posters. Perhaps this isn’t a path you should continue down.

          • Ed Whitfield says:

            It’s policy. By dragging the offending commentarian into a bottomless argument that they can’t hope to have the last word in, I aim to quash the urge to make ill-conceived remarks in others, even if it’s at the cost of time that would otherwise be spent pleasuring and socialising.

          • Paulgo says:

            I think many here are missing the point. STAR TREK is about change, difference and acceptance of both without prejudice within an ideal world.That’s the premise anyway. Unfortunately TV tends to take artistic license as does the movie industry.

            Whether we like it or not, our little bubble will always be burst because things change and evolve within whatever universe they exist in and it was part of Gene Roddenberry’s dream that the acceptance of this evolution, whatever form it takes, would be treated without prejudice or interference, hence the Prime Directive.

            Those who cry “mockery” must remember that within this science fantasy world, anything can happen. It doesn’t HAVE to stick to any Military law as we know it. If you want to argue “realism” then we can go on add-infinitum about aliens and starships and whether or not they are realistically portrayed. It was never “thoughtful” scifi. It was only branded that by fatcat studio bosses who called it cerebral because they didn’t understand it. It was a ‘wagon train to the stars’ as Roddenberry summed it up. He wanted that good ol’ Western charging off into the sunset – in a spaceship (sorry Firefly)

            You must remember, Kirk’s answer to everything was ‘hit it’ ‘shoot it’ or ‘fuck it’ then let’s talk about it. Next generation took it to the Next level and turned that equation around. It was still Gene’s vision though and even then there were people crying “mockery” because it wasn’t Kirk and Spock doing their thing.

            Not everyone is going to be totally pleased with every future iteration of the theme so we need to have an open mind when dealing with scifi. It never took itself too seriously and that’s the appeal- neither should we as an audience despite the fact that the franchise has had an enormous impact on society.

  4. boborci says:

    Thanks, Matt!

    Hope the rest of you aren’t too “smart” to enjoy the movie.

    • Guy Smiley says:

      Wow, Bob Orci (if that’s who you really are)… Knowing your dumbed-down, formulaic crap works for the masses, who huddle like sheep to your lousy films, making you filthy rich isn’t enough? Now you have to go trolling sites that offer less than positive reviews?

      Fuck you, and fuck your partners Kurtzman and Damon Lies-a-lot too. You really sunk to the bottom this time, blatantly aping a superior film from 30 years ago (and lying about it) because you have no original ideas of your own.

      Don’t worry, your stupid little circle jerk of a film will still make big money. But I sincerely hope that the audience will drop off quickly after the big opening weekend and the film end up like Superman Returns.

      In other words, people will see it as another naked attempt at ripping off a better, older, beloved movie that ends up underperforming, is loved by few, scorned by most, and ends up killing the franchise.

      Just like Man of Steel looks like a great reboot, maybe someday someone else will make great Star Trek again. You and cohorts just aren’t the people to do it.

  5. Karl says:

    What have they done to star trek,they’ve have turned it into a cross between lethal weapon star wars and a Jackie Chan movie,they have totally ruined it,they have obviously done it to appeal to the masses just like they do with video games these days,I am sure if you like fast pace high action films you’ll love this,but if you’re a Trekkie like me you won’t,I say bring back the old formula with the next gen crew there’s still plenty more that could come from picard and crew,but with this and the previous film,I’ll try to forget they ever happened.

  6. James says:

    You sir, are my new favorite reviewer, Ed Whitfield! Thank you!

  7. Denn B says:

    Wow…what bullshit review. You must have something against Star Trek. I’ve lost all respect for you. You are the Jar Jar Binks of reviewers. The higher the fewer.

    • James says:

      Another Star Wars fan defending this movie. I’m seeing a pattern, here. A lot of the positive comments I see for this movie usually start with ‘I never liked Trek, I liked Star Wars more, but this is movie ZOMG awesome!’ Am I the only one seeing something wrong with that?

  8. James says:

    Thanks for saying what no other reviewer has- why is Khan a white englishman? It makes no sense at all. Minor point but it took me straight out of the plot, which was both too convoluted and too repetitive of the original. It’s drivel for the masses- why else destroy a better part of San Francisco for no reason and without consequence?

    • Robert says:

      Its blatant PC, only white men can be villains now.

      • Olga the Bulgarian shotputter says:

        Ermm, Im pretty sure that white Brits have been playing Hollywood villains for a 100 years! its a common cliche in film.

  9. sean_skroht says:

    I really enjoyed ST 09, but unfortunately I can’t say the same about this film. I felt it was highly derivative and unfortunately there were some truly cringe-worthy moments. Having Spock yell “Khan” was one of many. The other was “Scotty meet Khan. Khan, Scotty” while Benedict Cumberbatch continued to try to look menacing. Rehashing a legendary villain and re-working elements of Star Trek II demonstrated a severe lack of creativity, much in the same way that Superman Returns recycled much of the lines and plot from Superman: The Movie, as an excuse to “pay homage”.

    Another demonstration of the lack of creativity with this film is the need to include a villain in every film. I definitely agree that a Star Trek film is more exciting when presented with a dangerous antagonist, but Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home perfectly demonstrated how this could be done without a villain.

    Many people deride Star Trek: The Motion Picture for it’s plodding pace and poor character interaction, but to me that film felt epic in scope. I loved it’s science fiction elements and the sense of wonder and exploration. I would love to see Star Trek once again become thoughtful science fiction but unfortunately I fear that kind of Star Trek is now gone.

    Having said all this, I thought the performances of the leads in “Into Darkness” were solid and the special effects were excellent, but it wasn’t enough to make me want to see it again.

    I’d just like to say to those who didn’t like the film, please keep your comments to “boborci” civil (if thats who he really is). Slagging off at him and calling him names is, in my opinion, against the spirit of Star Trek. He is obviously proud of his work as I would be for any film I had written. If it does well with the mainstream audiences then it means that Star Trek continues to remain viable which, in turn, means we may see more Star Trek in one form or another in the future.

    • Paulgo says:

      While I totally disagree with this review, I feel those who chose to denegrate the reviewer merely because his opinion differs, do not deserve to have their comments published. I am an AVID Trekker and have been since age 8 when Trek was first released into our universe.
      I loved the “ode” to the original and I welcome change whilst others chose not to. Gee, why wasn’t Shatner in it? Many people have asked. It’s a movie people. Get over it.

      I found it fun and a “tip of the hat” to Wrath of Khan. Yer I saw it coming but who cares? Is it cerebral? no. In the 60s, yes it was too much for our little minds to comprehend “OOOH did he KISS that black woman??!!!” That man is green with pointed ears! BURN HIM!

      Sadly, life has changed and we have evolved into a couch crunching mind numbed populace who accept any drivel that’s thrown at us. We NEED Star Trek and we need to keep its formula alive.
      In my humble opinion INto Darkness did this well.


    • Olga the Bulgarian shotputter says:

      Benedict was trying to look menacing he WAS looking menacing. Get it straight. Clearly you dont know an amazing actor when you see one.

      • sean_skroht says:

        Clearly you don’t know a poorly scripted scene that completely falls apart in it’s awkward execution.

  10. Frank says:

    I’m a long-time Starwars fan. I enjoyed the movie but didn’t think the plot was very strong … entertaining but that’s where it left you … entertained. I agree with those who would say it wasn’t original StarTrek, but I would disagree with those who say it sucks wholesale. Franchises tend to have better and worse installments and this one was in between I’ld say. I thought the Khan connection was weak and wasted in terms of scene-setting and drama.
    But I don’t wish the StarTrek community the same kind of nauseating and acidic moaning of people who claim “the new films ruin their childhood memories”. Those people should just get a life if they can’t enjoy it when their franchise takes a new turn. The others I would say … if you didn’t like what you saw, don’t worry … it will turn again!
    If J.J. Abrams wants to deliver a good Starwars Episode VII he’ll need to do a lot better than this. Coz we just had a 5th and last season of wonderful Clone Wars story telling and that’s where Abrams’ has exposed a weakness.

  11. Richard says:

    I haven’t seen this one yet, and really would rather not. I was not just disappointed with JJ’s first outing with the last Trek, I was annoyed, bordering on offended. It was bright and flashy, and it was kinetic. Yet was also shallow, empty, and made changes to the characters that were definitely un-Trekish.

    It also made a complete mockery of the concept that, in a reasonably democratic government, a naval ship’s captain earns his place in command through years of hard work and sacrifice: In the JJ-Trekiverse, the captaincy of a flagship can by acquired by luck and inheritance. These are things that do not happen in a democratic organization. They occur in fantasy and in totalitarian regimes, and they seem to be mainstay’s of the Star Wars universe. I suspect Abram’s worldview will be a better fit in Star Wars than in Star Trek. Time will tell.

    • Death Wizard says:

      I’m relived to know that there are still intelligent people in the world. Thanks Ed. My new top reviewer.

  12. […] While Star Trek Into Darkness doesn’t quite fit into my hypothesis that fans of Marvel, Apatow, and Pixar are the ones who froth at the mouth over negative reviews “ruining” a Rotten Tomatoes score, Star Trek fans, specifically the kind who loved Abrams’ reboot or its sequel (even before it was released), do occupy the same social strata as fans of those products: reactionaries. […]

  13. Taranaich says:

    When I did a review of this film, I used a rather snarky method, by treating it as if it was a Star Wars film peppered with references to Star Trek. Frankly, I think the film works better as a Star Wars film in disguise.

    That said, a lot of those defending the film keep talking about how classic Trekkies don’t like “change,” that the differences Abrams makes affect our delicate mindsets. For me, nothing could be further from the truth: I don’t think Abrams went nearly far enough.

    For all the stuff about Cumberbatch’s character being white and British and the many mental & logical leaps the film takes, the film is still highly traditionalist and doesn’t dare to make changes to certain things. Case in point, the crew is still Kirk, Spock, McCoy et al, and they all serve together aboard the flagship of Starfleet, the USS Enterprise NCC-1701. If Abrams REALLY wanted to be daring, why bother keeping to the original crew at all? Why have the Enterprise? Because for all the posturing, the film is still hamstrung by things that it feels it cannot change.

    This is on a thematic level, too. Kirk is a farmboy who had a heroic father, who was a starship captain, and he goes on a Hero’s Journey to follow in his footsteps under the tutelage of a wise old mentor. Spock is an outcast among his own people, one of the Last Of His Kind, whose hometown was destroyed by the bad guy. And the stories of both films have been about Defeating A Renegade Bad Guy Who Wants To Destroy/Conquer Earth. It’s Joseph Campbell 101: fine for Star Wars, but Trek at its best wasn’t about that – and when it was, it was actively subverting those archetypes.

  14. Robin says:

    Wonderful review. Beautifully put. Couldn’t agree more. I just need to add a couple of things:
    – JJ stop telling everyone that you weren’t a Star Trek fan, and how your reboot is a fresh interpretation for a new audience, and then rip off the old movies almost word for word and scene for scene
    – why are the engines of the Enterprise mis shapen? It looks like it’s wearing flares
    – Seeing Chris Pine’s awful mono-browed, fleshy-lipped carbon based acting in IMAX 3D is genuinely nauseating
    – Why is Simon Pegg’s head so small, and why doesnt his shirt fit him?
    (Continues ad infinitum)

    • Ed Whitfield says:

      And why does an erupting volcano threaten an entire planet? It didn’t look the size of a continent to me. If anyone knows enough about Nibiru and its belcher to answer, do let us know.

  15. GR says:

    I’m not a Star Trek fan so I can’t comment on how it differ’s from the original tv show or movies. I will say this though, this movie was really bad. A dull, dumbed down story with special effects and generic fighting being the sole draw card. Throughout the last hour or so of it, I was bored out of my head and continually checking my watch. The final insult was at the very end of the movie when they teased the audience with their next task, which sounded much more interesting and exciting then the lifeless film I had just watched…

  16. Sara says:

    I love you so much. Thank you! Somebody said it! Join the discussion on IMDB and post ratings and reviews there, on Rotten Tomatoes and on Metacritic so people stop speaking for all Trek fans and kissing Abrams’ backside. There are a few Facebook groups you can join too. Come on guys! It’s fun to talk about what irritates us! I am the admin of a group called Star Trek Into Bleakness and have a page of the same name. If you meet us there, we can refer you to some other pages. It’s fun to escape the hype and let out some steam.

  17. Cain says:

    Just seen the movie and to be honest I love what J.J Abrams has done… I mean seriously people… it is ok as a ST – DIE HARD movie… in a sense if they would make a movie in the Star trek Universe about Kirk – it will probably be the same visual action porn.

  18. Matt says:

    I agree, with this review, Into Darkness stole all that was good with the Greatest “Kirk” movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. the reached deep into it, stole it’s heart and turned it inside out, without the feel of Star Trek it’s just another Sci-Fi Action-Adventure, although it was visually magnificent and some of the characters maintained their qualities, except for Dr. Marcus among others. If this was any other Sci-Fi I would have enjoyed it but instead i walked out the moment Spock shouted “Khan” I sat and watched as Kirk pissed on Spock’s Heroic sacrifice from WOK, which meant something, but I could not sit by whilst quinto stopped being a vulcan and gave way to rage. Bottom line the galaxy is massive and Abrams could have used plotline from an infinite number of sources but he stole from the originals.

  19. Justin says:

    I do not know you. It’s the first time I’ve read anything from this site. But I must say, not only have you validated my rage over this horrible reboot, but you’ve used perfect turns of phrase where I’ve struggled to find similar color in my phrasing. Thank you so very much.

  20. Mike says:

    The point that the Star Trek franchise could be permeable enough to not take itself too seriously or to stick too dearly to its ideals is partly legitimate. But stripped to it’s foundation, Star Trek thoughtfully relocates the clear and present issues of humanity into an exciting, new setting. That part is tough to remove for me, probably impossible. The intelligent, psychological, philosophical and daring way in which it accomplished this juxtaposition is what gave the franchise depth and ultimately long-term appeal. If Abrams was doing something here with any scent of imagination; …if it had any strands of DNA apart from its special-effects-driven, one-liner-script-spewing, we-depend-on-ultra-fast-movements-on-screen-to-entertain-you-rather-than-actually-try-by-making-something-with-substance, then I may reconsider my absolute dismissal of this movie. But instead I find it insulting to Star Trek, it’s fans (whether they realize it or not), and, well, humanity as a whole!

    • Other Chris says:

      I found my way here the last time when that Skyfall debacle came out. Ed, what’s happening to all these franchises?

      • Ed Whitfield says:

        Were I a pessimist I’d say that what’s happening is that studios are putting too much faith in fanboys turned screenwriters, who don’t have any new ideas but can cobble together something that superficially reads like an iteration of the thing they love; something that’s sadly, as we’ve seen, closer to a pastiche. I think what both Star Trek Into Darkness and Skyfall vividly prove is that there’s a marked difference between knowing something’s good and being an ardent fan of that thing and knowing how and why it works. Orca, Cuntsman and Hasslehoff are much like Pervis and Wade; they write fanfilms. The difference between theirs and ours is that theirs cost $200m. You can’t blame them for doing it; who wouldn’t take the opportunity to run with the impulse that a lot of genre fans turned filmmakers have, which is to remake their favourite movies? But I don’t think studios should indulge them at the audience’s expense.

        I look forward to seeing movies in both franchises that are based on stories someone wanted to tell, because they thought it was an original, interesting, maybe even exciting idea, not because it’s what they thought we’d like to see based on the stuff we’ve already seen. Yeah, it’s that simple. Thank you, Hollywood, that will be £10m please.

  21. THANK YOU for eloquently trying to get people to understand what level Star Trek has been reduced to, with it’s 300 year old factory-for-engineering sets and obvious disdain for the franchise that has inspired kids to be Astronauts, Engineers, and Artists for the last fifty years.

    Remember when we could be intrigued by a story of human interaction between themselves, or an alien – monster or because of some titanic event? Now film makers have a digital toy that allows them to create all the impossible & improbable situations they can imagine (believable or not) hypnotizing too many movie-goers into thinking that’s great film making,… and the louder the music, the better. Sometimes it get’s so intense they even look up from their hand-held devices… sometimes.

    Wake up, people,… rediscover how enriching cinematic “storytelling” can be… watch a classic now & then-

  22. terry says:

    If you enjoy Fictional History repeating itself, I offer this to consider: The past is NOT prologue- (or is it?)…just as Sabastian and Antonio in Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST (Abrams, Lindoff, Orci. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS) selfishly argue all that has happened before that time, the “past,” (Iconic Series, wealth of Historical Canon )has led the two(three and ‘others’) to this opportunity to do what they are about to do, commit murder(Bastardize and Annihilate a creative and hard won legacy) . In the context of the preceding and next lines, “(And by that destiny) to perform an act, Whereof what’s past is prologue; what to come, In yours and my discharge”(to remake the Already Much Loved and Respected ‘Universe’ in their image for ultimate financial profit ) Antonio is in essence rationalizing to Sebastian,(we’ll make it “accessible to the non-trekkers”) and the audience,(that’s you, dear Reader) that he and Sebastian are fated to act by all that has led up to that moment,(somehow seeing a convoluted mess, -LOST- as a success worthy of Paramount throwing the reins to a Lens-Flaring Maniac) the past has set the stage for their next act,(a Mindless exercise in self-fellatio) as a prologue does in a play.(Ready for Part Three, Everyone??)

  23. Jim Denton says:

    I remember JJ saying before the last movie that he was hoping to break the old “odd number Trek films suck” curse.

    Apparently (not having seen it yet) he has succeeded… it would seem that now the even numbered Trek films suck based on all the reviews I am seeing.

    Why do I get the feeling that the rumored characters by ‘Batch would all have played better than what the reviewers are saying he did?

  24. Patrick Potter says:

    Bravo! Great review! Bad movie!

  25. Rusty0918 says:

    It’s a bad thing when the defenders of this movie have to resort to ad hominem smear tactics to attack us – saying we’re “old” and all that and don’t accept change, and that we’re “narrow-minded.”

    To those of you who like attacking people that way – you better know fully who exactly you are smearing.

    Someone and I actually considered doing a fan-film series set in the JJverse (TMP-era), and I mean it too. Though of course it wouldn’t be Star Warsy – actually I was thinking about injecting some “Babylon 5” into it – FYI, “Babylon 5” is one of the, if not the, FINEST Sci-Fi TV series out there.

    Heck, I actually mentioned that they should have put in a female chief of security on the Enterprise that wasn’t just cheap eye-candy – maybe good looking but not a mini-skirt wearing wench, someone in charge of the security department. Not to mention one who will not take seductive crap from Kirk.

    Jim Denton – you sure? I haven’t checked Rotten Tomatoes but my instincts are no matter how bad this is, critics are coddling it like the biggest thing since sliced bread, bowing before J.J. Abrams’ feet thinking this guy can do no wrong. Heck I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case.

  26. sakara says:

    RACIST JAY JAY ABRAMS? = no latino in cast, unlike the movie with the great ricardo montelban.

    • Rusty0918 says:

      Now now, let’s not resort to ad hominem name calling. That will make us no better than the trolls who smear us.

  27. […] Ed Whitfield: Film Review: Star Trek Into Darkness, 09.05.2013. […]

  28. Christopher Saunders says:

    The ‘plot’ was trash. Figured it was written by the person responsible for ‘Prometheus’. There seems to be a pattern from him in destroying classic sci-fi movies…

    And, I am a huge ‘Star Wars’ fan. This movie insulted me the entire time. What a waste. Glad I went in with lowered expectations once I found out who the writer was.

    • Rusty0918 says:

      Orci, Kurtzman, and Lindelof didn’t do “Prometheus.” You thinking about something else?

      • Justin says:

        Lindelof was one of two writers on Prometheus and was the man behind the major rewrite from the original final draft.

  29. Rusty0918 says:

    I checked Rotten Tomatoes and pretty much it confirms mostly everything I thought was going to happen – it’s got an 88% and once again critics are pampering it, and attacking anyone who speaks against it.

    If this review is authentic (I’ll know the full truth when I see it myself this weekend, and I will), then I have to wonder if the mainstream media hates us, if someone’s been paying the critics off to praise the movie, or is there something even shadier behind it.

    • sakara says:


      a professional movie critic makes…maybe a mere one hundred thousand dollars a year—for a magazine or newspaper that is part of the same company that owns a movie studio.

      no professional movie critic is gonna risk his very replaceable position by bad mouthing some 200 million dollar movie.

  30. Reg says:

    Great review. In a red carpet interview, the “writers” admittedly mentioned having a hard time coming up with a story, while sitting in front of their computers. It appears they found their ideas(s) on youtube in the form of clips from original episodes and films.

  31. Good review.

    I thought the first film was pants with it’s ridiculously complex plot and pretense to being ‘new’ but that having to use a plot device to bring in an ‘oldie’ to somehow legitimise the ‘newbie’.

    The writers are cretins and I fear Abrams is drinking too much of his own hype. He hasn’t made a decent film since MI III.

  32. Joe says:

    Exceptional review, mirroring my thoughts about the movie as well.

  33. audiophile says:

    I’m a long-time Trek fan. In all honesty, I never found the 60’s tv show to be all that high-brow, but I suppose I was a child of the 80’s and used to more sophisticated plots and themes.
    The original Star Trek movies were, in all honesty, not much more sophisticated or brilliant than an Indiana Jones movie. Just good sci-fi action.
    When The Next Generation came along, I felt it satisfied the nerd in me, it grappled with much more complicated issues and delivered much more gratifying story arcs — yet I missed the brawling and adventurous nature of the original series.
    It’s hard to dazzle a person of the 21st century with fancy technology, and sadly, most people can’t follow a complex plot line that is also thematically rich.
    You may think it’s done a disservice to the franchise– but let’s face it– the franchise was mostly dead before Abrhams came along with this reboot series and dusted it off. I for one enjoy the “parodies” of the original characters and while there may be a few too many explosions and too few high-brow thematic elements… it’s better than none at all.
    My advice: If you didn’t like the film, go buy some Star Trek novels. That will tickle your nerdybone.

  34. Fred says:

    Into Darkness is a pretty good movie. Certainly better than Iron Man 3. And definitely better than most of the Star Trek movies before the reboot. Spoilers: I thought Khan was a pretty cool character although nothing like the original. I think it would have been better had the villian was not Khan.