This post contains SPOILERS for Star Trek into Darkness & Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
The other weekend I got the chance to re-watch Star Trek into Darkness. When I first saw it on IMAX 3D I wasn’t impressed thinking it wasn’t very good. However, I felt the same thing about the previous entry Star Trek, which I know love having got use to its universe and characters. Did I have the same reaction to Star Trek into Darkness. Check below the break to find out!
To start with I saw the movie in 2D rather than 3D so there was an improvement from the start. Also I got to enjoy the characters and the story more, however, the problems were still there.
The Problems With Star Trek Into Darkness
Sadly the problems with Star Trek into Darkness are many with two examples being:
- Captain Kirk is still a man-child that hasn’t learnt anything from the first movie so we have to go on the same journey again. Not to say, why the hell is he in charge of a star ship?
- That scene with Alice Eve and no I’m not going to do what everyone does when they complain about that and include a screen shot of it!
It was interesting that when Benedict Cumberbatch revealed he was Khan, that no one in the cinema I saw it in reacted. No shock, no oh-my-god or anything, which, to me, reveals the problem at the core of the film. Khan Noonien Singh made his cinematic début in 1982, over thirty years ago, and while fans of Star Trek may know his name I wouldn’t expect members of the public to remember him. On top of this J. J. Abrams, wanted his identity to be kept secret so instead of using the film’s trailers and cast interviews to make Khan sound like the ultimate bad guy, they spent the whole time saying he wasn’t involved. Once Khan is revealed, the rest of the film starts to play out like a greatest hits package of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan rather than being its own movie.
None of this should be held against Cumberbatch who is magnificent as Khan and yet his villain feels a little traditional and I’m not sure how long in the memory this performance will last as I think Ricardo Montalban‘s original performance is still the stronger.
A Couple of Small Changes
One of the biggest complaints against Cumberbatch‘s Khan is that the character been white washed and there is no good defence of this. However, the writers could have still used Cumberbatch and made him a member of Khan‘s crew. There was even a guy who looked like Cumberbatch in The Wrath of Khan, if he dyed his hair blonde.
This way they could have spent the movie building how up scary Khan was. Think about it, you see a guy as unstoppable as Cumberbatch and then told there is someone worse out there. Then if they did want to de-frost Khan, the audience already knows who he is.
Other change I would have done to the Khan character is make him more sympathetic. At times during the movie you can’t tell whether Khan is evil or just a good man in a bad position. Then the scriptwriters show him killing Pike and you know he is evil. This is wishful thinking as Hollywood doesn’t allow complicated villains in movies like Star Trek into Darkness.
My final change fixes the movie’s biggest problem, the resurrection of Kirk. The death itself is done well and you feel the emotion of the crew as they loose their captain. Shame they ruin it with a ham-fisted deus ex tribble solution. Now thanks to Khan‘s super blood – a direct quote from the film! – we know any character can be saved from death so all tension has been removed from this film series from now on.
More importantly however, if Kirk had stayed dead, all bets were off for the rest of the series. No character would be safe in the audience’s eye if a character as important as Kirk had already lost his life. The reason the The Wrath of Khan is so well remembered is that Spock‘s death is genuine and whether you know what happens in Star Trek III or not, the emotion of his death still hits you.
However, again I’m asking the impossible from Hollywood as main characters don’t die in blockbusters these days.]]>