Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

JJ Abrams remakes The Wrath of Khan as a summer action movie, circa 1985

Once upon a time, superhero movies and science fiction franchises were produced with a fair amount of interference in the entire creative process from studio executives who were interested first and foremost with merchandising. The behind the scenes saga of Superman Lives highlights the twin pitfalls of superhero and science fiction franchises: the intellectual bankruptcy and lack of integrity in the creative process.

Somewhere around the year 2000, the patients took over the asylum. Directors who grew up fans (or worse, fanboys) of superhero and science fiction genres started to make their own genre movies. Batman. Iron Man. The Avengers. X-Men. Spider-man. Suddenly, it became common wisdom at the studios that Fanboy Directors were the best directors for these films. They knew how to distil character arcs and the essence of a gargantuan franchises teetering under the combined weight of continual reboots and adaptation decay.

Yet with JJ Abrams and Star Trek Into Darkness, we have a fanboy director who has become the devil’s advocate against fanboy directors. Rebooting the Star Trek universe seems like a great idea, yet all Abrams can do with in STID is to repackage old Trek stories, moments, motifs, catch phrases in an endless spin cycle of homages and references – as if a Trek film could be cobbled into being by recreating every fanboy’s favourite TOS moments.

There’s the Prime Directive, which Kirk has broken! Section 13 is up to no good! Impending war with the Klingons! Khan! Spock and Bones mouthing their classic lines every 5 minutes! Transporter beam cleverness! Shields! Ship engine failures! KHAAAAAAAAN!!! Tribbles! Resurrections!

One gets the suspicion that Abrams selected TOS references from a grab bag, then stringed them together to form the movie script. Finer issues like plausible plot development, parsimony of plot devices, and coherent character arcs meeting with actions that bring real consequences are jettisoned, flouting the best practices of Fanboy Directed Movies. Here's an extensive list of the plot holes. (Warning: spoilers!)

It’s only Abrams’s technical directing skills that make all that action interesting and exciting enough to distract you from the sheer incoherence of the story, and Zachary Quinto’s deep understanding of his character that prevents the film from sinking into a Star Trek parody at its most crucial point.

1 comment:

Red Dot Diva said...

Quinto was it. :P

The Klingons part was kinda lame and just an "add on". But with the many Michael Bay-esque moments, I wasn't thinking very much... it was a more watchable movie in terms of pacing than the first JJ one though.