NSFCCDP Movie Review: Star Trek Into Darkness – Where did all the good writers go? POLLS AT END!!

StarTrekIntoDarkness_FinalUSPosterThis was truly one of us geek’s most anticipated films this year. Well, this and Man of Steel I suppose. Well, I am afraid to say that for the 4 geeks last night, it was a disappointment. I’ll say that Benedict Cumberbatch was excellent as always (you may remember him as Sherlock on the BBC series that I reviewed here). Chris Pine&Co playing the beloved Kirk, Scotty, Bones, Chekov, Uhura, and Spock were good but sometimes they seemed to be trying too hard to imitate the unimitatable Shatner/Nimoy/Kelly/Takei etc. dynamic. The jokes between the characters, that big scottish accent of Scotty, etc just seemed like they were trying too hard. Then, there is the fact that they bring back stuff from the TV show (tribbles from Trouble with Tribbles), Khan, the second and third movies in the franchise…it just stank of a stale script and some very nostalgic directors and producers. As I said in the title of this article, perhaps all the really good H’wood writers have fled to the studios of HBO, Showtime, AMC, Starz, FX, and now even Netflix and Sundance to write for TV. There were plot holes the size of planets (oh yeah, let’s hide bodies in torpedoes – that’ll teach those guys! Oh, darn, I actually wanted to save those people. Oh no!) and some really pathetically mediocre sets (Kronos was embarrassingly half-ass – looked even faker than on TOS). Another thing that NSFCCDP member m.poulet remarked was the awful music (too loud and repetitive) and the rhythm of the film was actually boring. Now, that is probably a bold statement coming from an “action film”. But honestly, the action scenes were frankly confusing and punctuated with almost clockwork sections of “dramatic dialog” interrupted by a precise 2 minute interval with some new action scene or catastrophe. I nearly fell asleep rocking back and forth in the comfort of the ebb and flow of over-the-top action wave and deeply sentimental and desultory dramatic trough.

After the film, we tried to list some of the biggest scifi films of all time. Roughly, we agreed on Star Trek II Wrath of Khan, Star Wars VI and V (A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back), 2001 A Space Odyssey, The Matrix (ONLY the first one), and Alien. More relevant to this article, we listed some of the greatest disappointments: besides the 2 Matrix sequels, there was Prometheus, the last three Star Wars debacles, and this film. I just hope the Man of Steel will be less disappointing and that World War Z lives up to the book (I say that but I didn’t read the book LOL).

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About Michael Finocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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11 Responses to NSFCCDP Movie Review: Star Trek Into Darkness – Where did all the good writers go? POLLS AT END!!

  1. Derek Coleman says:

    Fino, Fino, Fino… You have the “The Dark Knight Rises” on the “Most Disappointing SciFi ever?” list? REALLY???! And there in lies the problem! One of these things is not like the other!

    Even though the DC/Marvel movies are often classified as SciFi, Batman is in Dramatic/Action genre. Batman has always been kind of an everyman with cool toys and an unlimited budget! Besides it was an awesome movie! :)

    Now if you had said “Superman Returns” or “Green Lantern”, I would have to agree with you. But don’t pick on the Batman, he has enough deep rooted issues! :)

    • mfinocchiaro says:

      I just call ‘em like I see ‘em Derek. I had several friends (even as recently at last night!) express extreme disappointment in the last Batman film. I fell asleep during it the second time I saw it. I found that the storyline was fragmented and unbelievable (how the hell does Bruce Wayne get from the “pit” naked and penniless and presumably in Pakistan or something having lost his fortune in the first 45 min of the film, back to Gotham JUST IN TIME for the final battle with Bane? Why does Bane become a helpless puppy at the end with the woman that gets the reward for the stupidest death ever? Sorry, I was really put off by The Dark Night Rises).
      Agreed that Green Lantern was bad but I had no hopes for it. Not sure I even bothered with Superman Returns.
      Going next Thurs to see Man of Steel. Will it also make my Wall of SciFi/Superhero Shame?

  2. Rick says:

    Got to disagree a bit. Although all of the Star Trek films are a bit formulaic, if you wanted a good action flick (and not really a mind-bending sci-fi flick), it was pretty good. One thing that I noticed was that since there was a lot of history-repeating-itself with the original Khan flick, I thought that there would be more blatant “re-use” of phrases. (Come on, admit it…when Kirk and Spoke were on the different sides of the door, didn’t you really expect Kirk to say “The good of the many, comes before the good of the few…or the one”…or “You have been and will also be my friend”.?) At least they didn’t take the bait. And some of the lines were funny for Trekkies (“Christine Chapel told me all about you…”, the Tribble in McCoy’s lab, the scenes with Scotty in the bar, …

    I went to my local movie theater to see Iron Man. They had just stopped it that day for another movie, to my extreme disappointment. And I didn’t love the Star Trek flick. But it was entertaining.

    -Rick

    • mfinocchiaro says:

      Rick, we just felt that it was too repetitive and needed some new ideas rather than recycled ones. I think we both agree that this movie will never supplant Khan and the Search of Spock as the greatest in the movie franchise though. Right?

  3. Of course, if you’ve read this column before, you can probably predict that I don’t agree with this assessment. The Wrath of Khan is widely considered to be the best of the Star Trek movies, but to my non-fan eyes it plays as a set-bound bore full of paunchy, over the hill actors who were well past needing to be put out to pasture. Maybe you need an emotional investment in the franchise to really get its appeal. Nemesis, on the other hand, starts really horribly with a cringe-worthy wedding scene full of clunky banter and fake laughter, but as it goes on it develops into becoming an entertaining enough big, dumb action movie. It’s the perfect thing for the casual viewer, and not worthy of being remembered as a franchise-crippling failure.

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