LIH Editorial: 5/26-6/1:Star Trek Into Darkness

26 May

As summer cinema fare goes we are still experiencing the early offerings of the summer season.  Fairly diverse in nature, Hollywood has rolled out both a mix of traditional content and unusual content as well.   Uncritically, “Star Trek into Darkness” would represent the traditional.  Since it’s early beginnings, because of the frequently hot weather the summer is considered a time for fantasy or science fiction a reliable compliment to a less hectic cultural season.  Movies like “the Great Gatsby,” and “Before Midnight” would seem to be less likely offerings.  Typically dramatic content is usually rolled out to the public at a time of year when audiences want to contemplate more challenging or serious dramatic content.  But lets talk about the movie at hand.

 

As though you will not realize this on your own, this reviewer is not a Trekkie so forgive me where I miss the significance of some of the TV series original lore. Normally I think exploring the source material is extremely important. O.K., enough navel-gazing already!

As HitFix.com graciously accounts for “Star Trek into Darkness” is actually the eleventh time Star Trek has been to the multiplexes [1].  As the website claims “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” is the all time best of these outings; audiences and especially Trekkies should be happy to find that “…Into Darkness”, is as progressive (in many ways) as it is.  Receiving 87 percent fresh rating from Rottentomatoes.com you should know the general reception to the film is extremely positive [2].  For sci-fi fans one should recognize this as a general show confidence for the J.J. Abrahams.  As our reigning science fiction cultural tsar, I probably do not have to remind you that it was he whom scored his future bid to craft future episodes of the fourth coming Star Wars franchise.

Let’s start with the positives, this film…excellently presents of future diversity, and this includes geographic nationalities as well.  Unlike so many sci-fi classics of the past; “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Planet of the Apes,” “2001; A Space Odyssey”, “Logan’s Run,” “Star Wars”, “E.T.”, “Brazil”, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, “ Blade Runner,” “Back to the Future”, “Alien”, “Terminator”,  “Total Recall”, The Road Warrior,” and “Jurassic Park” [3], much like the T.V. show, “…Into Darkness”, doesn’t cast the future as a mono cultural waste land devoid of racial, ethnic, and national diversity.  When Officer Chekov is promoted to Scottie’s position as ship’s engineer he is immediately replaced by what appears to be an African American female ship’s pilot.  Yep, that’s more women and minorities on the bridge than ever before. Other positives include “complexity in story content, ”excellence in attention to the original TV franchise’s mythology, a the aesthetic range of exploration in color, texture. lighting, costume, make-up and effects was uniquely rich overall. Lastly “….Into Darkness” is a positive and logical extension of the franchise.

But yes there are some negatives.  No one has forgotten how much of a skirt chaser Captain Kirk was in the original series, so its’ no surprise that every episode we saw him sampling a galactic menu of female life each episode.  That memory might have influenced two scenes with Kirk jumping out of bed with two tail-clad aliens, but certainly influenced the underwear scene-featuring bra and panty clad actress Alice Eve. Today audiences are more squeamish about overt demonstrations of sexism. Speaking TBS’s Conan, director J.J. Abrams addressed this obvious attempt to draw some controversy and attention for the film.  I’ll leave it to Trekkies to determine whether changes to the origin or appearance Khan actually broke with past expressions of the character.  Excellently played by Benedict Cumberbatch; as in the previous movie the series is in affect a reboot of the previous series; so series fans and devotees should probably appraise the quality of reimagining.  This reviewer thought more diversity in acting performance management might have helped.  A tale of how enterprise relationships were greatly strained, it sometimes appeared that all cast members were equally stressed or amped in all performances. Most of the main cast shed at least one tear, many of the men were knocked out at least once, and all of the women were emotionally wiped out by some incident in the narrative.  When all of the performances are equally driven it leaves little ability for audiences to rest and reconsider what they are receiving.

Overall the film was an exciting and practical continuation of the franchise.  Star Wars is likely to be in very good hands.

Articles This Week:

Monday-Toss-Up-Open Book

Tuesday-Discussion on Monday’s article

Wednesday-1st article in our 5 week series on Starsucker Documentary-Parisienne

Thursday-Discussion on Wednesday article

Friday-Continued discussion on Wednesday article

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Essential References:

[1] http://www.hitfix.com

[2] http://www.rottentomatoes.com

[3] http://www.ign.com/articles/2010/09/14/top-25-sci-fi-movies-of-all-time

 

 

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