mysticalchild_isis: (st spock)
[personal profile] mysticalchild_isis
I just got back from seeing Star Trek. And while I continue to enjoy the casting choices, and while I found the movie superficially fun and entertaining, I was NOT a fan of this movie.

I think I may have been a bit influenced by that Daily Show interview with JJ Abrams wherein he said that he could never get into Star Trek because it was too "philosophical" for him. I was really offended by that interview, because while I have no problem with people who never got into Star Trek, the claim that it was too "philosophical" is so much bullshit. Star Trek was full of action and adventure and sex and humor. Take away the philosophy and intelligence, and basically what you have is a dumbed-down action show. And there's nothing wrong with those! Action movies have their place too. But don't act like Star Trek TOS was fucking Plato's Republic and only the intelligentsia understood it, and that by removing the depth and the breadth, you have somehow distilled it to its best, most awesome form.

So yes, I already went into this with a bit of a chip on my shoulder about JJ Abrams (not helped by some of his past interviews about Star Trek and female fans, either). And then, it was Abrams' retelling of The Wrath of Khan.

But it was the shallow, manipulative version thereof. Abrams piggybacked onto the storyline and used it to his own ends without earning the payoff. The Wrath of Khan is my favorite Trek film. I think it's the greatest one, but it has fucking EARNED that greatness. It has the themes about aging and dying and friendship and living, but it paid for each one of those things over years with effort. The reason I cried every single time I watched the goodbye scene was because Kirk and Spock have been the deepest of friends for years. They know each other, they love each other, they have given their all to each other. The reason the storyline about aging plays so well is because we saw Kirk as the young golden boy from season one of Star Trek, and now we see him as a middle aged man who has lost his way. One of the reasons I love the TOS cast so much is because they were almost more than characters- they were practically archetypes. And in TWOK, they have to confront the fact that they are human, that they are fallible, that they are mortal. This is why it is a great movie, this is why it plays so well even 30 years after the fact.

Into Darkness gave us the most shallow version of these things, manipulating the audience into an emotional reaction without doing the work to earn it. I was bullshit during the engineering goodbye scene, because Abrams was trying to provoke an emotional reaction when I barely even believed that Kirk and Spock more than vaguely liked each other. And swapping the roles actually lost the original meaning behind the scene in TWOK.

And then Kirk's revival in STXII was also just so ridiculous and handwavey. Yes, Spock came back after his death in TWOK, but again, his revival was earned with work and sacrifice and effort, and had lasting repercussions.

Even the story in STXII was less convincing. TWOK worked because Khan wasn't a new unknown- he had been developed, he had a real grudge, he had a history and gravitas. Khan in STXII didn't really have much of a real reason to hate everyone. His crew was still alive, he hadn't been awake for very long, he didn't have history. And to be perfectly honest, Ricardo Montalban may have been bombastic, but he was bombastic with pull and charisma. He was a magnificent bastard whose every moment on screen drew the eye. Benedict Cumberbatch mostly pouted and did frowny face. I never really liked nor disliked him- I was mostly indifferent. And indifference towards the villain can ruin an entire movie.

So yes, I found the plot less convincing, I was pissed at the attempted emotional manipulation, and on the whole, it felt like a cheap knock-off that got prettied up with added special effects and fight scenes, and those are the things I am least interested in.

Also, I am sick of the way that JJ Abrams takes the female characters and makes them LESS than they were in the fucking 60s and 70s. They get reduced to being appendages of the male characters, and also just happen to show up in their underwear.

There were a few things I liked, but honestly, I'm still too pissed off to talk about them. Maybe tomorrow. Though it's actually more likely that tomorrow will bring a rant about the manchild as hero instead.


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January 2016

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