Reviews for the Easily Distracted

Reviews For The Easily Distracted:
Star Trek Into Darkness

Title: Star Trek Into Darkness

Do They Boldy Go Where No Man One Has Gone Before? "Boldly" isn't really the problem.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Three  Denebian Slime Devils out of five.

Brief Plot Synopsis: Attractive starship crew wrestles with morality of extrajudicial killings.

Tagline: "Earth will fall."

Better Tagline: "British accent = evil"

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Demoted for gross violation of the Prime Directive, James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) soon finds himself back in the captain's chair of the USS Enterprise, this time in pursuit of James Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), a rogue Federation special operative who's just blown the headquarters of Section 31, a top-secret Federation military intelligence agency. Kirk and crew are tasked with following Harrison to Qo'noS, the Klingon homeworld, and taking him out.

See It/Rent It/Skip It: See it, but set your frontal lobe to "idle."

"Critical" Analysis: When J.J. Abrams rebooted the Star Trek franchise in 2009, he didn't just kick off an alternate timeline that conveniently runs parallel to the universe created by Gene Roddenberry and populated by five TV series (six, if you count the animated one), ten movies and countless novels, he demonstrated what's lacking in that original vision: balls.

That's the only explanation for both the '09 movie and Star Trek Into Darkness, which make the original films look like the "before" guy in a "Low T" commercial. It's inconceivable now that an Enterprise mission wouldn't involve running phaser fights, hand-to-hand combat and widescreen space battles. When Spock (Zachary Quinto) indignantly points out the Enterprise is a scientific vessel, you want to laugh out loud. Tell it to the Talosians, nerd.

Granted, the Kirk of the Original Series was mostly renowned for being the first captain in Starfleet history to use his cock as a GPS, but unlike that captain, this Kirk has actually rubbed off on his crew. No longer prone to rage only in pon farr, Quinto's Spock is nearly as formidable as the genetically enhanced Harrison. Uhura (Zoe Saldana) has ditched the fan dance for head-to-head negotiations with Klingon raiders, and the formerly tubercular Bones (Karl Urban) is even more yoked than Kirk himself.

And where the old ST series (The Next Generation especially) at least waved their hands at plausibility, Star Trek Into Darkness shoves science's head in a toilet and flushes. I know how comforted I was to see a warp drive spacecraft could be kickstarted like a 1912 Buick, and we were treated to not one but *two* desperate uses of the fabled "manual override." It was almost disappointing we didn't at least get a "Code zero zero zero. Destruct. Zero."

Which isn't to say I didn't enjoy STID. It's fast-paced and not lacking for action or witty asides, but I think Abrams sort of tacked on the conflict the crew felt about embarking on what was essentially an assassination. Abrams also occasionally fell victim to Bryan Singer Syndrome: maybe giving us too many callbacks to a certain previous film (no spoilers; you'll know 'em when you see 'em), even if it was nice to see the Jefferies Tube again.

Star Trek Into Darkness is in theaters today. See it quick, I dinna ken if I can keep you spoiler free beyond that.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar