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Star Trek Into Darkness

"As you know I have made a vow never to give you information that could potentially alter your destiny. Your path is yours to walk, and yours alone."

That said, because my friend Tom requested it, here are my thoughts about Star Trek: Into Darkness. (Tom asked for a review, I'm not sure this is that, but here goes.)

I should start by saying I still vividly recall watching the premiere of Star Trek in 1966, sitting in the living room with my parents. I remember coming home from school one afternoon to a delighted mother who said "William Shatner came on Jeopardy today to thank all the fans for saving Star Trek--it'll be back for another season!" I remember, in the days before VHS recorders, setting up a tape recorder in front of the television in the dorm to record the episodes so I could listen to them when the show wasn't on.

I remember my first model kit: Enterprise NCC 1701. I still have my Enterprise necklace, and I cried when my posters finally died after moving to the 5th apartment. I sobbed so hard it disturbed the guys in the row in front of me when Spock died in Wrath of Khan. I'm a total fan girl. I watched all the other series iterations of the franchise, have seen all the films multiple times (even, painfully, Nemesis). I have some favorites among them, but for me, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are...everything.

So when the reboot was announced, I was nervous. But J.J. Abrams managed, with the first film, to make me happy. It was respectful, without being slavish. It found a clever way to allow the original universe and the reboot to actually co-exist without competing with each other, a way to write a new "canon" in a way that allows preservation of the original, and will allow the novels and games set in the Federation to be one, or the other, or perhaps, in the spirit of the Mirror Universe worlds, cross the boundary and exist in both.

Star Trek: Into Darkness (colon optional, apparently) continues in that vein. Though there have been spoilers sprinkled liberally on the internet for months now, I want to avoid them here, which makes talking with any detail about the film torturous at best. But Abrams, and his cast, have yet again managed what I thought was impossible: he took something so beloved as to be sacred, put his hand to revisioning it, and did it beautifully, due in no small part to Benedict Cumberbatch's performance, and the rest of the cast was outstanding as well. Simon Pegg, in particular, is becoming more solid in his role, with the irascible Scot we came to love in James Doohan's hands shifting ever so slightly into something thoroughly Pegg's. The script is solid, the XF never felt forced, and Abrahms remembered that ultimately the Star Trek franchise is about characters, and character. My only disappointment was in one role that was badly written, and even in the hands of a good actor was nearly cartoonish. But that is a small disappointment in a film that otherwise was completely satisfying.

Twenty-four hours after watching the film, thinking back, I can see all the ways Abrams manipulated the audience, the tropes and inversions, the twists on convention, the exploitation of memory. It was masterful puppeteering, and if I were to describe each one, the film would seem trite and shallow. But the film was neither. Abrams and his cast created an experience that was funny, and bleak, that made me laugh, and gasp, and cry--in all the right moments, in all the right ways. If Abrams doesn't make another Trek film (and that's likely since he's taking over the Star Wars films), I will be content. The two he has done are outstanding.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
May. 27th, 2013 01:09 am (UTC)
I went into it cold. Free of spoilers and had an amazing time. it was one of those movies where you can only see it for the first time once. I am so glad this one worked, since I was a bit disappointed by the first one.

I was so inspired by it that I dove into one of my finished scripts for a hobby film and fleshed it out a bit more trying to get to the flesh and bone of my characters.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )