I am not a Star Trek purist. I grew up with the original show, which I still love. I didn’t start watching Next Generation until the second season, but I definitely became a fan after that. Unlike most people though, Deep Space Nine is my Trek. I loved that everyone was so wonderfully flawed. Voyager and Enterprise I never watched at all.
I have seen all the films though and in one way or another have enjoyed them all, even the really bad ones. When the movies rebooted a few years back, I was excited. When I saw it, I loved it, I mean really loved it. I thought it captured much of what I loved about the original series. I also defended it to the purists who were offended by the sharp turn it took from the original material. I felt and feel that it opens it up to all new stories this way. We don’t have to worry about continuity at all. The universe is our oyster.
Be warned, spoilers ahead, although I’ll try not to give too much away.
Imagine my disappointment when Star Trek Into Darkness turned out to be a remake. A remake of what is arguably the best of the Trek movies, The Wrath of Khan. I know they’ve done their best to keep that under wraps but it is what it is and they don’t pretend any differently once they reveal Khan. They go as far as re-imagining its most famous and heartfelt scene in way that felt like parody not homage. I hated J.J. Abrams a little bit for that.
I also have to take a moment to talk about one glaring problem, why is Khan Noonien Singh suddenly white as the driven snow? He was genetically engineered from the best of the best and therefore a man who may well defy ethnicity, its true, but he sure as hell wasn’t white. There are no brown actors out there who could have pulled off this role? Really?
I’m also a little over the Enterprise being just about destroyed every time it leaves the dock. It’s not a battleship, it can fight and will but really how many times can you tear it to pieces and put it back together before they have to build a whole new ship, as they had to do in Star Trek 4. It loses any emotion or meaning if you keep blowing it up.
All that being said I did have fun for the most part. The action had me jumping. The Kirk/Spock, Spock/Kirk, and Scotty/anyone dialogue was a lot of fun and had me exclaiming and laughing quite loudly a number of times. Although the McCoy dialogue is a little too much of a tongue in cheek throwback to the original. I love these actors in these roles and they seem to have a great deal of fun with them. Zachary Quinto’s Spock is a particular favorite. I appreciate that he plays him far more as a man of volatile emotions who keeps them under a very, very tight lid, which was hinted at but never fully explored in the old series and movies. Benedict Cumberbatch was phenomenal (and so sexy) as Khan. He seethes evil, even when being reasonable. It was also great seeing Noel Clarke (Mickey from Doctor Who) and Robocop himself, Peter Weller both in integral, although in Clarke’s case short, roles.
I feel the story as originally written may have been far more interesting without Khan inserted into it. The idea of a movement to make Starfleet more militaristic, more for planetary defense rather than for exploration and peaceful missions is intriguing. As is the idea that there would be those who would fight against that idea. Perhaps through violence. That story would have been more interesting and less convoluted than what they ended up with.
Would I recommend it? As a fun Summer movie, yes. Just bear in mind if you’re a true Trek fan, this is not a case of the even-numbered movies being the good ones. While not quite as bad as Star Trek 5, it is nowhere near what Star Trek 2 was, even if that’s what it aspired to.