Captain’s Review of Into Darkness

Over the next week or two we will be publishing reviews of Star Trek Into Darkness from our crew members.  These reviews are the opinions of the individual writing the review and not of the chapter in general.

Review of Star Trek Into Darkness (with Some minor spoilers)

I have seen Star Trek Into Darkness twice now, once in 3D IMAX, and once in standard 2D. I have to say that I am kind of mixed on the movie, but for the most part I really liked it.

After watching the movie the first time I read several reviews before I watched it the second time, which might have changed my views on things a little, but for the most part I don’t care what others think, I liked the movie.

It is Star Trek, on the big screen, with lots of special effects and fighting and uhm, guys weeping (even in the future men are emo???), and ships blowing the crap out of each other and it is awesome!

First I will point out the few things that bugged me about the movie and my response to those.

First is that this movie is almost entirely about Kirk, with Spock being his sidekick.  All of the other characters barely get any screen time and their characters are not developed much at all.  They are almost entirely used for comedic relief and that is about it.

Then you have the Klingons.  I get that the shuttle that landed on the planet was disguised so the Klingons would not know it was a Federation ship, but then they blew that cover by having the Enterprise broadcast an announcement to the Klingon world saying that the fugitive must surrender to the landing party now arriving.  Doesn’t that kind of blow your cover?  Then all of the Klingons get killed on an epic ground battle.  After this Kirk and crew return to the Enterprise, which is stranded without its warp core so it cannot move.  Oh crap, that means the Klingons are bound to find us, right?  A sitting duck sitting outside the warrior race’s home planet after you pissed them off, what could go wrong? Apparently nothing, at least from the Klingons.  Apparently the Klingons just give up on the hunt and just let the Federation, who we are told is nearly at war with the Klingons, leave.  It is almost like they are added just to add more action and that is it.

There were some other things like how there are Tribbles on Earth, and where the bad guy came from since both where discovered much later in the original time line.  I caught the explanation to this my second time through. After Vulcan was destroyed Starfleet started exploring space a lot more and came across these.  A little weak, but at least they address the issue.

Then there is the whole repeating scenes almost exactly from other Star Trek movies or shows (and one scene I can swear was from Star Wars).  And to this, all I can do is say that maybe it is like what The Doctor says, they are fixed points in time that cannot be altered.  No matter how much history changes around them, these events must happen. Even if done by different… never mind, I do not want to spoil it for you.

So yeah, there are a few plot points like that which bugged me, but I can overlook those.  What really gets me is the lack of focus on scientifically plausible events.  Being scientifically based is one thing that set Star Trek apart from other sci-fi franchises, but this movie just doesn’t seem to care at all.

I will focus on the 3 main lacks of sciency stuff that really annoyed me.

First of all, how in the world did the Enterprise get from Kronos (Qu’Nos in Klingon) to Earth in barely the amount of time it takes someone to run from medical to the bridge?  At warp 4.5 this is a FOUR DAY journey in the previous series. (’noS).  We are led to believe that the Enterprise only has warp one, at least this is how I take it, since Kirk is shocked that somebody could possibly catch up to the Enterprise once they go into warp. How did they do it so quickly?

The next thing that bugged me about the science of Into Darkness, is the gravitational pull of the earth.  Apparently, if a ship looses power when it is sitting next to the freaking MOON, then Planet Earth grabs the ship and instantly pulls it into its atmosphere.  In a matter of seconds.  Really?  Not into the moon, which the ship was sitting next to, but right into Earth, 234,600 miles away. It is not like the ship was carried that way with momentum either, it was at a dead stop when it lost power.

And then, during this fall to planet Earth, the artificial gravity gives out on the ship, so of course that means everybody falls to the side of the ship where the ship is leaning and hanging on for dear life. Except, they are still in space…  Granted they are not in a free fall orbit which gives the appearance of weightlessness when near the Earth, but like I said earlier, they were near the moon.  Sure there should be partial gravity, but not full gravity we are led to believe is affecting the Enterprise. But that would probably have ended up being more comical than action packed so it would not fit.

Maybe I am being too hard on the movie.  I mean, it is not like this is the first Star Trek movie to ever let something scientific slip, is it?  It is not like there has ever been a missile that could be fired from a planet and then destroy a sun just a few seconds later (Star Trek Generations).

Despite the fact that this movie was not prefect, it was a lot of fun.

I loved how the warp core does not just look like a giant tube of blue stuff, but it actually looks like some technological beast, like an actual reactor that produces immense amounts of power.  The action is almost non stop with a story that has a mix of making you wonder what is going to happen next and wondering how much Deja Vu you are experiencing.

Another great thing about this movie is that you actually can see Kirk grow as a character.  In the beginning he goes from being completely arrogant and full of himself to realizing that he may not be the best choice for captain of the Enterprise.  It is this process, and actually having to face loosing people he knows, that helps make him to grow to become the Captain we all have come to know.

The special effects are amazing in this movie, and the amount of lens flare, while still present, is reigned in a lot and is pretty much kept to the bridge of the Enterprise and a few other areas of the ship.

There is a lot more that is good about this movie, but I will let you experience it for yourself.  It is an awesome movie, the best I have seen this year, way better than Iron Man 3.

While it is not perfect, and it is not the same Star Trek we are used to, it is time to accept change, because it is the only thing we can do.  Enjoy the ride or get off the ship, and the Trekkie ship is not one I will easily get off of.

What did you think of the movie?

CMDR Jon Zenor
CO of the USS Zebulon Pike


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