Confessions of a non-Trekkie
If you’ve been reading Chapelboro’s weekly movie reviews, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve already ran a review of the new Star Trek. But, there are different opinions, different takes, different voices, and that is what your local radio station and digital town square is all about…
Confession: I am not a “trekkie” (i.e. devoted fan of Star Trek). In fact, I think I’ve only seen one episode of the Star Trek TV show, and I have to say that it kind of weirded me out. I vaguely recall an alien lady trying to seduce Mr. Spock, and thinking that this was nothing like the fantastical, heart-pumping journey that was the Star Trek film of 2009. But, I have to say, props to all of the hardcore fans out there — I’m sure it’s a great TV series, but I’ll have to take your word for it.
As I’ve alluded to already, I absolutely loved the first Star Trek film, despite the fact that I wasn’t an avid fan beforehand. The only thing I really knew was the “live long and prosper” sign, but luckily, I have had enough Star Trek fans around me to fill in the blanks.
The same goes for Star Trek: Into Darkness, the most recent film that I saw last weekend with my cousin. I feel like I could say more about the film were I actually a fan — as in, whether the characters were portrayed the right way, whether the moral and emotional progression of the characters stayed true to the original intention, and other things of that sort. But I have to say: I think that the reboot of the Star Trek franchise is actually somewhat geared towards us novice trekkies, allowing us to enjoy this fantastical world and these charming characters without feeling like intruders. The films, after all, are basically prequels — so you get the sense that everyone is kind of along for the same ride, fans and non-fans.
So, speaking as a non-fan (simply for lack of not taking the time to become one), I have to simply say that this movie was amazing. Although I did feel that the 2009 film was slightly better, this one certainly did not fall into the pit of overused plots, clunky dialogue, and recycled jokes that you so often find in sequels to highly popular films.
The characters felt just as fresh; the dialogue was on point (sarcastic and witty and delivered by highly talented actors) and let’s just say, without giving too much away, that the action was just awesome. My cousin made the point that Chris Pine as Captain Kirk delivered his lines perfectly, evoking just the right combination of laid-back sarcasm and moral conviction — the perfect hero.
My only complaint was surprisingly, the character of Mr. Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan second in command. If you haven’t seen the first movie, this takes a little explaining, but the main idea is that his human side allows him to feel emotion, while his Vulcan side forces him to look at all scenarios and problems logically, throwing emotional motivation to the backburner. This makes for some very interesting plot points — in the first movie. My problem with him in the second movie, was that we were still exploring his struggle between feeling and using logic. I won’t say how specifically, so as not to give anything away, but I had to come to terms with Spock as a continually conflicted character. Again, this might be one of the main ideas of the TV series, but I wouldn’t know that. I wasn’t sure if this character exploration and device was overused or if it is essential to present Spock as a journey rather than a destination, but it was the only part of the movie that slightly bothered me. But that was really it.
One final point: I always give major props to movies where the protagonist or hero does not have a romantic love interest (in this case, Captain Kirk), leaving the underdog “best friend” character to explore and navigate that realm of human existence. By doing this, we are able to see Kirk as morally motivated by things like friendship and loyalty, without being shadowed or drowned by obvious romantic incentives and preoccupations. At the same time, we can still experience how the film deals with romance through other characters (in this case, with Mr. Spock), allowing us to still appreciate it without being overwhelmed by it.
All in all, Star Trek: Into Darkness is an amazing movie, and I highly recommend that you go see it, provided that you have seen the first one already. And like anything Star Trek related, it wouldn’t be a true ending if I didn’t leave you with a whole-hearted and genuine: “Live long and prosper.”