Saturday, 11 May 2013

REVIEW - STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS


Resembling an issue of a long-running comic book series or TV show more than a film sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness is filmmaking by formula. It's not wrong to compare a film such as this to its predecessor, as they are essentially two versions of the same film. This one looks more expensive (no dodgy makeup effects, by and large), but is still afflicted with a penchant for lens flare and smoky neon haze in primary colours. This one has two sexy babes rather than one, and clads them in minidresses, wetsuits or plain old lingerie, but neglects both of them - supposed co-lead Zoe Saldana is absent for about 30 minutes toward the end for no reason. This one has less annoying Karl Urban, but he's no less annoying in smaller quantities. This one has a better sense of scale, it's more epic, and has a better-thought-out villain, but still consists mostly of 'action' scenes involving people sitting in chairs and twiddling knobs, as extras queue up patiently for their one line. This one has wonky camera angles as people run through corridors (check), thwarted threats to civilisation (check) and a Russian accent so bad you won't believe it's from a guy named Anton Yelchin (check). Every figure is a narrative tool, serving to satisfy some portion of the demographic - young peppy nerd, Asian nerd, self-absorbed quip-cutting nerd, then the women, all of whom are required to both have it and flaunt it (how different this film might be were JJ Abrams gay), then the leads... One of the leads is smart, honest, conscientious. He follows the rules, but only because he respects the benefits which doing so can provide. The other lead is obnoxious, deceitful, rude, gung-ho. He's far too cool to follow the rules, and wouldn't you know it, he's the handsome, womanising, successful one who gets all the glory cos he's the hero. It's the formula. Star Trek Into Darkness does make one deviation from formula, only to change its mind and break its own rules. This isn't a movie for cocky, douchey know-it-alls. It's a movie for people who aspire to be cocky, douchey, know-it-alls. I don't give a shit if it's 'fun'. But I'm not the demographic.