Thursday, May 16, 2013

CRITICS HAVE ACCUSED THE NEW STAR TREK OF ADEQUACY





Many critics have accused Star Trek: Into Darkness of mere adequacy.  I disagree.  This movie is far more than adequate.  It's more than good.  It's quite good, though I think it falls short of such accolades as "great" or "brilliant."

Let's set the seen.  having just save the Federation from Nero, the rogue Romulan miner, James T. Kirk is the captain of the Enterprise and a bit of a loose cannon.  His freewheeling ways jeopardize his career in the very first scene of the movie, and that is all I will say about that.

Enter John Harrison, played by the amazing Benedict Cumberbatch (a.k.a. the new Sherlock Holmes).  Harrison is clearly intelligent, you get that just looking at him.  He's also a terrorist set on causing problems for Starfleet... and that is all I am going to say about that.

Look, this is a movie filled with twists and turns that I do not want to give away.  Take my word for it, the plot holds up.  IT IS MORE THAN ADEQUATE.  In fact, it's pretty damned exciting.

So are the special effects.

Cumberbatch is amazing, by the way.  He's not an especially handsome man, but he doesn't need to be.  He radiates intelligence.  I suspect he is probably very bright away from the screen as well; either that, or he truly is the finest actor alive.

What Star Trek gets right is its equity.  We know Kirk, Spock, Uhura, McCoy, and Scotty and many of us are invested in them.  Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, and Simon Pegg have just enough of the original character DNA in them to fit into the roles while expanding them pleasantly.  (That is especially true of Karl Urban and Zoe Saldana.)  You see them, you care about them because, while they are new, they are also old friends... maybe even family.

Do I even need to mention that the special effects are spectacular?

Like Steven Spielberg before him, J.J. Abrams is a master at giving the audience what they want plus a bonus ten percent.  Into Darkness is no exception.

In my opinion, calling this movie "adequate" shows a distinct lack of vocabulary.  Certainly there are more adjectives to choose from than "sucks," "adequate," and "awesome."  Perhaps we should add the word "terrific" to the equation.

On a scale from one-to-ten, Star Trek: Into Darkness scores just about a nine in my book.

34 comments:

naens said...

awesome, can't wait to see it.

Bryan said...

It made my see more then once list, hopefully saturday! One critic called the plot limp and lame or some such, and my roommate and I looked at each other and we wondered what movie he thought he was watching

JenMo said...

I saw it tonight and enjoyed it thoroughly. It felt very STAR TREK to me. I think I'm going to watch Wrath of Kahn tonight at work.

Steven L. Kent said...

Wrath of Kahn is a great movie that comes with a mix of emotions. I loved the movie, but I sat next to a very gaseous man stranger the first time I saw it. When they had the big space battle in the nebula at the end, I felt as if I could smell the nebula as well.

Bryan said...

JenMo I watched Wrath of Khan as soon as I got home from seeing Into Darkness haha.

And I did go see it again with my new significant other saturday, to catch all the little things the first viewing might have missed

Steven L. Kent said...

And?

JenMo said...

Is it crazy that I'd love to see a Kahn origins movie?

Steven L. Kent said...

I think that Wrath of Kahn is universally considered the best original cast Star Trek movie. While Shatner, Nimoy, and company were at their best in the movie, but it was Kahn and all he represents that made the movie so strong.

So, no. No, it is not a crazy idea. I bet there are Kahn Origin books. Actually, I just went to Amazon and looked it up. There is an entire Kahn series written by a very successful author named Greg Cox with an additional novel (I think it's a graphic novel) by Scott Tipton.

Jim Holman said...

Steve, I saw this movie with you on Tuesday. It was nothing short of excellent. Certainly better than a mere popcorn flick. I heard some of the criticisms of how the women were portrayed and I completely disagree. Both Saldana and Eve came across as strong characters and delivered engaging performances. I loved this movie and I can't wait to see it again.

Joshua Tamasovich said...

Looks like the critics missed this one as the movie rakes in the dough. I am going to try and catch this this week end. This new batch is pretty entertaining though. I have not seen the previews but I am sure its going to be good.

Steven L. Kent said...

I don't recall saying anything about the women in the movie. maybe I should recheck my original post. I like Zoe Saldana a lot. I see not so much as a shred of Nichelle Nichols in her, but she's fun to watch and I think she, Karl Urban, and Simon Pegg are the three scene stealers. I thought Alice Eve was fine in her part as well.

Are you sure I was talking about Into Darkness?

Steven L. Kent said...

I liked it a lot. Now I am just biding my time till Man of Steel comes out!

Jim Holman said...

To clarify, folks other than Mr. Kent criticized the film for portraying the female lead roles as weaker characters and they asked for an apology for the Alice Eve changing scene you saw on the trailers... which they got. That is what I disagred wth. The movie was a great watch.

Steven L. Kent said...

My mistake, I thought you were saying that I was harsh on them.

Sorry, my misread.

But what's with, "Mr. Kent"? Do I need to start calling you "Mr. Holman?"

Jim Holman said...

You know I can't not goof when given the chance. Btw, i think i'll start getting your audiobooks so i can listen during drive times. Glad i read mote of your blogs. Catch you later.

Steven L. Kent said...

Jim, I teach English at the local college two nights a week and I am a stickler for grammar, but I am so patently bad at paying attention to it that my students pointed out typos on my mid-term.


Aaarrgh!

Shoebox Princess said...

Finally saw Into Darkness last night with 1/5 of my children and the husband. The 1/5th enjoyed it even though he has no previous experience with Star Trek of any kind save the first movie of the reboot. I was totally engrossed in the movie, and I agree that the casting is spot on. Though, I didn't know what to make of the new woman in the group. I'm just wondering if they are trying to equalize the number of women/men in the cast solely for the sake of gender equity, although the gratuitous bra/panty scene made me think their motives were more teenage boy mentality based. Sigh. Other than that, I definitely want to see this movie again.

naens said...

alright, just saw this movie the other day, and it was fantastic.

Joshua Tamasovich said...

Still have not seen this movie but the next time I am back in the States, I am going to look it up. I talked to some co-workers that have seen it and claim it is the best movie out of all of them. Be interesting to see where this new set of movies go.

I do not remember in the previous Star Trek movie if the crew wore the color coded uniforms like the dreaded "Red" uniform or not. I bring this up because I am reading Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard, 1/3 the way in so far, and human casualties have been pretty light compared to the aliens; not many "red-shirt" action yet. This is somewhat surprising since the last few human vs alien books I have read, it is a good idea to bring as many people with you as possible.

Steven L. Kent said...

Battlefield Earth is an amazing book. I almost didn't read it. I started with the intro. Hubbard's intro was so indescribably arrogant that I thought, "Jeeze, do I want to read this?"
Am I ever glad I kept reading. Phenomenal! It's really two separate novels, but both great, though the first was the stronger of the two.

Joshua Tamasovich said...

I did not bother with the intro for that same reason. I just skimmed the first paragraph and went straight in. This is one of those books that is hard to put down and I can visualize everything that is happening. I am not a big fan of the main characters name though, has that 1950's ice-cream parlor nostalgia to it.

Had a hard time with Peshawar Lancers...got a little confusing.

Enjoyed Dauntless: The Lost Fleet but some of the repetition was starting to get to me. How many time do you have to reference how awesome you were a 1000 years ago. Good book but I think I will wait to pick up the series.

Steven L. Kent said...

I have the same editor as Jack Campbell, the lovely and talented Anne. She also edits Jim Butcher!

Joshua Tamasovich said...

I remember you saying something like that a while back and the same artist that did the cover for The Clone Assassin also did the cover for Dauntless. Sounds like the publisher has quite a crew working there.

Steven L. Kent said...

Yes, and he does the covers for the Butcher books, too. It's all being controlled by the lovely and talented Anne.

Bryan said...

Its mostly the little things, like the enterprise/starfleet model linage Admiral Marcus had, and other little easter egg kinda things

Steven L. Kent said...

Yes, I noticed those models on my second viewing and loved they little tip off that gave.

Tavor Michael O'Shanahan said...

Cool that you gave it a good review. I often agree with the reviews of sfdebris and confusedmatthew, but I think they're wrong here. Story-wise, it was fairly excellent. In opposition to one review, Khan did seem to be both a physical threat as well as an intellectual threat. Heck, Khan's sort of like a smarter and evil version of Wayson Harris - at least in terms of actions and ability to remain calm in combat, although a bit too calm to truly be similar when Kirk was punching him in revenge for Pike's death as I could see Wayson flooring Kirk in response rather than putting up with that, but perhaps not also. I remember when Harris went into a rage on New Copenhagen, but that was due to a loss of a friend, but usually he is calm and focused and that is the point of a Liberator clone - or what was meant to be so more or less even though that went south on Albatross. (If I'm giving too many spoilers or if I'm referring too much to your series, sorry, feel free to edit away). Khan aboard the dreadnought after he was shot in the back did seem like a ticked off Wayson though.

Two problems I did see with it though were technical: 1, they don't know what cold fusion is. And 2, you're either in orbit or free fall, based on the velocity vector. Having the power shut down wouldn't have an effect upon the inertia of the ship. It's power would just be offline, and the artificial gravity would be offline too. But they could claim that it was suspended via warp field rather than in a real orbit, but that would make it a target for every object still in orbit traveling tens of thousand of mile an hour around the Earth and be about the same speed as such mass hits the ship - shields on or off, that's a whole bunch of kinetic energy whacking the ship. Either way though, it was a good movie.

Steven L. Kent said...

First, I need to ask, are you a first time poster? I try to watch out for first timers. If so, welcome!

Next, I agree. Khan, as portrayed in this reboot, is sort of an evil Wayson... maybe a bit stronger and smarter than Harris, but, also more rash. I didn't like how phaser-proof they made him.

As to the science.... dealing with science is one of the trickier parts of storytelling, especially for those of us who are not well trained in the scientific fields.

Clone Empire begins with Harris being chased in the derelict spy ship by a U.A. Marine in shielded armor. He traps the guy in the hold of transport in which there is no air.... which, as you well know, would make it a vacuum. And what does he do? Well, because he's not sure which interLink frequency the guy is on, he uses his external speaker to communicate with him.

WHIMPER OF SHAME AND ANGUISH

Now look, even an uninitiated novice like me should know that sound does not travel in a vacuum. Hell, I do know that. When I was a boy, my dad, who read Analog Magazine every month and studied engineering in school, used to comment about how the Enterprise woooshed by in deep space silence in moments after William Shatner said, "TO GO WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE."

In the heat of writing, the physics of sound and vacuums slipped my mind. It slipped everybody's minds and it made it into the final version of the book.

MORE WHIMPERING

I have lost readers because of my lapses in scientific credibility... the unscience of my science fiction.

Star Trek is seldom accused of being "hard science fiction," but it's generally a cut above the Star Wars brand of mostly fantasy sci-fi. I suppose J. J. Abrams and his band of brilliant writers should be allowed an occasional vacuum shout out. Considering the quality of their Star Trek reboot, I'd rather spend an afternoon with them than a semester with Sir Isaac Newton.

Tavor Michael O'Shanahan said...

Thanks for the welcome, though I had posted once before prior to making a blogger account (about working retail.)

Huh, I hadn't noticed the 'vacuum shout out' moment in the Clone Empire.

Khan being phaser-proof was a little silly, although that had been done before in Next Generation's episode The Hunted, season 3, episode 11 which also had genetically modified humans that are no longer "useful" being treated as criminals.

Steven L. Kent said...

Could they take shot after shot like that as well?

Tavor Michael O'Shanahan said...

Yep, just searched for it again on youtube but I was fairly certain I remembered them being almost immune to the plamsa phaser's stun setting. If you don't mind the link, here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh0Z6ooZ-v0

Tavor Michael O'Shanahan said...

Yes, as well as break free of a transporter beam, have no detectable life-signs, were programmed with an overwhelming desire to survive, and are otherwise not violent unless they feel threatened. They aren't clones or other in-vitros, but natural born citizens which didn't know what they were volunteering for or that they were to be kept in a penal colony after they were no longer of use to their government.

Steven L. Kent said...

Sounds like a tough crowd.

Steven L. Kent said...

I'm glad for the link. I think many of our visitors will want to check it out.