Star Trek: Into Darkness
After the succesful 2009 reboot under the lead of none other than JJ Abrams it looked like there was new life in Star Trek. A fresh alternate universe, the iconic characters from the first series returned, and the least that could be said about the cast is that they’ve got talent. From the moment Into Darkness was announced the expectations therefore went up quite a lot, and this didn’t get any lower when it became known that none other than Khan (the memorably baddie from Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan) would make his appearance.
Into Darkness starts with Kirk and his crew saving a primitive planet for certain demise. However, this isn’t without consequences as during the rescue mission Spock ends up in a tight spot and Kirk sees himself violating the Prime Directive to save him from certain death. This brings Kirk under fire and it’s only thanks to his mentor Pike that he doesn’t get sent back to Starfleeft Academy. Pike, now having been given the command over the Enterprise again, wants to give Kirk another chance to show he’s a capable officer who doesn’t just follow his gut feeling and assigns him as first officer on the ship.
It doesn’t come to that, however, as after an explosion in a secret laboratory also the top of Starfleet gets attacked and Pike dies in the process. The terrorist, Harrison, succeeds to escape to Kronos, the home planet of the Klingons, and Admiral Marcus assigns Kirk to take the Enterprise and get Harrison.
Things aren’t as straightforward as you might think, and as soon as Kirk captures Harrison it quickly becomes clear that it was never the intention the man would be brought back alive to Earth to face trial…
As said above, the expectations were very high for this Into Darkness. New energy was brought into the Star Trek franchise, we have a cast that doesn’t have to make a movie in between TV episodes, the writers of amongst other things Fringe signed up once again for the script, and none other than JJ Abrams – who’s been delivering one hit after the other the last couple of years – is still at the helm. Can things go wrong? Yes, they can.
It looks as if Abrams and his crew got together and during a brainstorming session put together a list of things they found “cool” in Star Trek, and then decided that these elements, combined with an overload of spectacular action and effects, would be enough to make a great sequel to the reboot. The result: a movie that in itself may be entertaining but inside the Star Trek universe is completely flawed. Even so bad that you don’t have to be a Trekkie to notice that the logic behind certain things is completely missing.
“Beam me up Scotty” is one of the most iconic quotes from Star Trek, but being able to transport from one side of the galaxy to the other is quite a flaw. Not only does this question the need for star ships to begin with, but it also makes the entire opening of the movie feel wrong. Flying faster than light with the Warp Drive is specific to Star Trek, but the makers didn’t seem to give it another thought how to explain that you can fire off nicely glowing torpedoes at such speed. Intergalactic telephones suddenly also have become a possibility, but we still find that a smaller flaw than “standing” at 295.000km from Eath to then suddenly being drawn to the planet due to its gravity… These are only a few of the many problems that plague Into Darkness, and as said you don’t need to be a Trekkie to notice them.
When watching Into Darkness completely by itself, banning everything Star Trek from your memory as well, and you find yourself being shown a decent sci-fi movie that certainly can entertain when seeing it for the first time. The big issue, however, is that the flaws aren’t purely bound to Star Trek knowledge and each time to see the movie again these become only more apparent and annoying.
Our expectations for Into Darkness may have been too high (which happens a lot with Star Trek movies – we’re certainly not going to say that overall they’re usually great) but that this one doesn’t manage to rise above the average Hollywood blockbuster a la Transformers is quite the disappointment.
Where the movie is quite the disappointment the image and sound of this Blu-ray certainly aren’t. From the first images on the red planet you get blown away with splashing vivid colors, great contrast and block levels that near perfection. We didn’t spot any compression errors and everything just looks fantastic. The sound can easily be called bombastic and the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 fires off effects in your living room as if a full platoon of soldiers with sound-machine guns have positioned themselves around you. Especially important with such a setup is that dialogues don’t get lost in all the violence and luckily this isn’t the case here, even during the most expressive action you can still hear and understand the faintest whisper. Excellent work!
Disappointing movie, excellent image and sound, and then again disappointing extras. Into Darkness seems like a rollercoaster that constantly goes up and down and abruptly counters each high with a heavy low.
8 minutes on the creation of the planet from the movie opening (Creating the Red Planet), five minutes about the attack on the top of Starfleet (Attack on Starfleet), 8 minutes on how the Klingons and their planet needed to look like for the new movie (The Klingon Homeworld), zeven minutes of Abrams defending his decisions regarding Khans return (The Enemy of my Enemy) and gently saying he does what he wants to do and if you don’t like it you can… well, you get the picture. 6 minutes on the fight between the Enterprise and the Dreadnaught (Ship to Ship), and finally there’s “Brawl by the Bay” in which we get to see six minutes of combat training and cast members blabbering about how they remain faithful to their characters.
The extras are mostly promotional and the large majority that’s made is being released in “exclusive” version available to certain retailers, or sold separately. If you want an audio commentary track you can buy it through iTunes and figure out for yourself how to get it running synchronised with the movie. All nice but seriously expensive if you want it all. If Paramount wanted to make differences between versions, then why not just release a “vanilla” and “deluxe” version? The way of working displayed here by Paramount is just outrageous and where we gave an addition point for image and sound quality, it gets substracted equally fast thanks to the disappointing extras.