Star Trek Into Darkness Reviewed

HNG Star Trek Into Darkness

So many nerdy posters but not a single Star Trek one to be found

I know that this review crazy late but I’ve been dealing with some stuff that I might write about later so… c’est la vie, mes chers amis!

There isn’t much in this world that I love more than Star Trek. It excites and inspires me like nothing else. I managed to see Star Trek Into Darkness twice before opening day. My coworker convinced me to enter a costume contest that a local news station was having so I submitted this picture at the last minute and ended up winning the grand prize. No one was more surprised than me, let me tell you! My prize was VIP tickets to a Wednesday night showing, $80 in concessions, and a gift bag full of Star Trek Into Darkness goodies like a sweatshirt, t-shirt, poster, fake tattoos, cups, and some kind of Bluetooth device that I haven’t figured out yet. So I took my Mama and stood at the concession counter while two employees ran around collecting $80 worth of Red Vines and Junior Mints. Then I saw it again with my friends at a Thursday night preview. Both times were in 3D and I will probably see it again in 2D just for the heck of it.

*WARNING: I usually try really hard not to spoil things but I can’t help it when it comes to anything Star Trek related and I spoil the shit out of this so beware. Also, it’s been out a week so you should have seen it by now.

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A brief synopsis: Starfleet’s been doing pretty swell since Nero got knocked down but a new threat has emerged and no one seems to know how or why, just that he’s blowing shit up and they want him to stop. It’s up to Kirk and his crew to stop this one man Army using whatever means necessary. They think they’ve accomplished this task until Robocop shows up and turns out not to be such a good guy after all. 72 Augmenticles, 2 starships, a few thousand lens flares, and a half-naked baby mama later and our favorite alternate reality crew is finally off on their five year mission and a third movie.

Kirk into darkness

Kirk (Chris Pine) has the Enterprise. Kirk loses the Enterprise. Kirk gets the Enterprise back. Enterprise loses Kirk. Enterprise gets Kirk back. Some would call this a better love story than Twilight. But I digress. Kirk is riding pretty high at the beginning of this movie. He pretty much thinks he’s invincible and it’s up to Admiral Pike to knock him down a few pegs (or Peggs…?) Just as soon as the message sinks in he’s thrust back into being a rock star and has to save the day from enemies on two fronts. You’d think being thrown out of a trash chute with a genetically engineered superman would humble the dude. It doesn’t, but he learns a lot and by the end of the movie he gets a bit philosophical, saying “revenge is not who we are.” A nice little twist of the “revenge is a dish best served cold” bit of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Speaking of twists…Kirk and Spock’s little sacrificial switch-a-roo kind of annoyed me the first time I saw it. The second time I saw it I appreciated it more even though…..

spock into darkness 2

……Spock’s redux of the famous (and infamous) “KHAAAAAAAAAN!!!” call was only slightly less cheesy than Kirk’s original. Is it just me, or was Spock way too emotional in this movie? Don’t get me wrong, I lurv me some Zachary Quinto, missing earflaps and all, but the crying and the talking about the feelings and the anger were all very un-Spock-like. Like everyone else, I applauded when Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy) Skyped in to break his own rule and discuss how his crew defeated Khan “at great cost.” I hope he shows up in every post-JJ-era Star Trek flick. Spock got some of the coolest scenes in the whole movie. In addition to fighting with a volcano, Khan, Uhura, and some Klingons, he got to use all his Vulcan tricks: nerve pinches, mind-melds, and leaping great distances in a single bound. His moments with Kirk were especially comedic.

uhura into darkness 2

Uhura (Zoe Saldana) got to be pretty badass in this movie. She stood up to the Klingons and swooped in to save the day when her boyfriend (who she also fought with) was taking a beating. Alternate universe Uhura is turning into the mama bear of the crew. She’s got a fierceness and a gentleness about her that exist in relatively perfect harmony. Her feistiness probably wouldn’t fly in a real-life military but for the movies it’s entertaining to watch her throw her earpiece across the bridge’s console.

mccoy into darkness

McCoy and the metaphors! Bones (Karl Urban) spit out so many that it was almost – ALMOST – too much. He’s lucky I love metaphors, bad puns, and cheesy lines. I drew the line at “Damnit Spock, I’m a Doctor not a torpedo technician!” That was, in fact, too far. However, the scene where he’s trying to examine Kirk on the sly was absolute perfection.

Scotty into darkness 3

Scotty (Simon Pegg) is running. He just thought you should know. Pegg is an absolute and sorely underutilized gem. He’s got more to do than he did in Star Trek (2009) but he needs more scenes to chew on because, my God, the man spits out gold every time he opens his mouth. He’s a little pissed off in this movie. First his ship is submerged in salt water, then transporter technology that he created is being used and abused, then he’s forced to resign his commission over a morality dispute, then “One day he’s been off this ship. One day!” and it’s falling apart. Still, he plays a huge part in saving the day and Kirk declares him “a miracle worker.” Poor guy needs some scotch and a foot massage. His friend Keenser (Deep Roy) pulls a Major “King” Kong and straddles a torpedo but disappears before the real action begins.

sulu into darkness

Sadly, Sulu (John Cho) doesn’t have much to do in this movie, with one major exception. He gets to sit in the Captain’s chair for a while and deliver an announcement to Khan full of truly epic badassery. It’s intimidating and unexpected enough that Bones (having previously underestimated him) looks over and says “remind me never to piss you off.”

chekov into darkness

On the other hand, Chekov (Anton Yelchin) gets slightly more to do. When Scotty resigns, Chekov gets promoted (?) to Chief Engineer and looks truly aghast when Kirk orders him to “put on a red shirt.” He spends most of his time running around with a nifty pair of goggles on (I don’t remember seeing anyone else in Engineering with goggles, but meh).

carol into darkness

The good guys are rounded out by a new addition, Dr. Carol Marcus (Alice Eve). She’s the daughter of Admiral Marcus and the future mother of Kirk’s son, David (if this timeline follows the original timeline). She’s got a gratuitous but not at all offensive (not to me at least, I thought the scene was funny) moment in her underwear and a scream reminiscent of a velociraptor.

khan into darkness

Benedict Cumberbatch can do no wrong. Even his name is amazing. I’m a MAJOR Sherlock fan (though I draw the line at Cumberbitch fangirl status thankyouverymuch) and while, yes, BC is very handsome, I’m far more attracted to his fantastic acting chops. He definitely does not disappoint here. He relishes every line of dialogue and every facial expression. He expresses more in a sideways glance then some actors do in an entire movie *coughcoughKristenStewartcoughcough* I’m seriously considering referring to him as Benedict Skullcrusher from now on. Also, did anyone else notice that he turns into Emo Khan when he’s fighting?

In the movie Khan declares that he’s better than everyone in every way. But he doesn’t really explain why. So if you’re a Star Trek virgin, you’re probably wondering why he’s so much better. Allow me to fill you in: way back in 1992 (you remember, right?) genetically engineered super humans developed a superiority complex and decided to take over the world. They managed to take over about 40% of it with Khan Noonien Singh as their absolute ruler. This resulted in a series of conflicts called the Eugenics or Great Wars. The normal old boring humans managed to defeat the “Augments” in 1996 but about 80 of them, including Khan, went missing until they were discovered in suspended animation aboard the SS Botany Bay by the crew of the USS Enterprise about 200 years later. Here’s how they are “better”: The Augments were designed to be remarkably agile, five times stronger than, and twice as intelligent as a normal human, resistant to sickness and with enhanced senses, possessing heart muscles twice as strong and lung efficiency 50% better. Their blood contained platelets capable of regenerating from any disease or toxin, which could be used to cure or revive medical subjects via transfusion. They also had twice the average lifespan. Even their resistance to energy weapons was improved, as it took multiple shots with a phase pistol to stun one. In combat, they were even capable of resisting a Vulcan nerve pinch and mind meld. Unfortunately, along with those awesome abilities comes a massive increase in aggression, ambition, and all around douchebaggery.

marcus into darkness

Speaking of douchebags…Admiral Alexander Marcus (Peter Weller) is one. Can’t quite figure out where you know him from? It’s Robocop. Sure, he’s been in a few things since then, but trust me, it’s Robocop. You’re welcome. You start off liking Admiral Marcus. He’s no-nonsense and doesn’t mind hearing what the youngins have to say. Then he goes and tries to start an intergalactic war with his brand new supership and you start to change your mind a little. Then he reveals that he’s been planning to murder craploads of innocent people just to further his agenda and you start to understand why Khan squeezed his head until his skull cracked open like a walnut.

noel clarke into darkness

To many folks Thomas Harewood (Noel Clarke) may seem like a minor character. Sure, he gets the action started by blowing up Section 31, but why should we care about him? Because he’s also Mickey Smith, former Companion to the Doctor who was, at one point, thrust into a parallel universe. He did make his way back to our universe eventually but who’s to say he didn’t get a hold of a vortex manipulator and find himself trapped in the 23rd century??

A few final notes:

I like the warp signature effect, even though it reminds me of “the more you know” NBC thing from when I was a kid, what with all the sparkles and tinkling and stuff.

When did the Starfleet uniforms get hats? I don’t ever remember hats but in this movie they were everywhere, especially when paired with the grey dress uniforms. Must be an alternate timeline thing.

The USS Bradbury. I can think of no greater honor.

42 people died when Harewood blew up Section 31. I just always feel the need to point out when the number 42 is used in anything.

The ash rain on Spock at the Daystrom Institute. It was very poetic.

Miss Jeanette (Aisha Hinds) from True Blood took over Navigation from Chekov. Every time I saw her I pictured a voodoo ceremony.

What happened to the red shirts who went with Kirk, Spock, and Uhura down to Kronos? They swapped out their red shirts for some generic leather jackets, made it to the surface and then were never seen again. I’m assuming they perished in the fight with the Klingons but when?? I like to know/see when Ensign Ricky bites the dust.

Carol mentions her friend Christine Chapel who got as far away from Kirk as she could and became a nurse. This is the second time Nurse Chapel has been mentioned in the new films but we still haven’t seen her.

Spock: “Our options are limited. We cannot fire and we cannot flee.” I LOL’d.

Khan’s speech on board the USS Vengeance was very in keeping with the original Khan.

The shot of the Enterprise regaining it’s thrusters and slowly rising through the clouds was GORGEOUS.

Whudda thunk that a noble Tribble would help to save the day? The shirt I wore the first time I saw it turned out to be very appropriate. Sometimes I’m psychic that way.

I happen to like the lense flares.

I got really excited by stuff like Section 31, pregnant Gorns, and a reference to the “Mudd Incident.”

It was nice to hear Chris Pine give the Star Trek shpeel with the “5 year mission” added back.

No one knew what to expect from the 2009 reboot. Thankfully, it turned out to be magical with just the right amount of inside Trekkie jokes for those in the know. They attempted to recapture that magic here and, to be honest, they just tried too hard at times. They are definitely focusing more on action than substance, which in some ways is a shame because that’s not what Star Trek is all about. It’s about diplomacy and exploration first and violence as a last resort. The conversation between Kirk and Scotty over the torpedoes addressed that which I was grateful for, but the big explosions and fighting cheapen it just a little. That being said, I’m a big fan of action and it’s also helping to attract a crowd that normally wouldn’t give Star Trek the time of day so I appreciate the contribution it’s making to the fandom. The more fans the merrier! It means that much more Star Trek for me in the future 🙂

And so ends my review of The Wrath of Khan 2.0. What did you think of the movie?

4 out of 5 Sci-Fives! (for once my Sci-Five graphic is 100% appropriate)

Four of Five Sci-Fives

 

If you like pictures like this:

Hot Nerd Girl Star Trek uniforms

Then don’t forget to buy a calendar! It’s got every nerdy holiday you can imagine, plus a super handy convention calendar, and some never-before-seen pictures that will never, ever be seen anywhere else. I know it’s May but it’s worth it to get the 2013 calendar. Besides, if I don’t sell these, then there probably won’t be one next year so, ya know…buy one :) Since it’s May, they’re super discounted (I promise you I’m not making a fortune off of them) and the price includes taxes and shipping within the US and Canada (if you live outside of the US/Canada then email me at princesstrek@hotmail.com). AND I’ll sign it if you want.

“The Best of Both Worlds” on the big screen

Aw yeah, that's a baby Borg on my t-shirt!

Aw yeah, that’s a baby Borg on my t-shirt!

Star Trek is my first nerdy love. Without it, I would not be the nerd I am today. I’ve said before that I literally have no memory of my life without Star Trek. Watching The Original Series with my parents on Saturday nights is one of my earliest memories and, although I was very young when The Next Generation came on the air, I was not so young that I don’t remember watching it for the first time very clearly. In my humble opinion it is, quite simply, the greatest franchise ever created.

The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Best of Both Worlds” is arguably one of the greatest cliff hangers in the history of television. So, when my friend Mike reminded me that it was going to be playing in movie theatres across the country this past Thursday evening in all its remastered glory, I immediately bought my ticket.

Me and my friend Mike before the show

Me and my friend Mike before the show

I love seeing stuff from my childhood on the big screen. In a relatively recent phenomenon, they’ve started bringing movies back to the theatres for limited runs.  Movies like Star Wars, Top Gun, Jurassic Park, and The Lion King. It’s so much better than remaking a movie and introduces them to a whole new generation. When I lived in Los Angeles, they would have events where they would play a movie on the big screen for the first time in decades, then have people who worked on the movie do a Q&A panel afterwards. My NerdBFF Geek Outlaw and I went to one of these for Ghostbusters and LOVED it. Events like that are one of the few things I miss about living in LA.

The lights went down and we were immediately treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the making of “The Best of Both Worlds, part I & II” that included interviews with the people involved and fan reactions to the season three cliffhanger. Some highlights:

–          Patrick Stewart recalled how a woman pulled up next to him while driving, rolled down her window, and shouted “You ruined our summer!” and a guy walking past him in the NY subway, paused in front of him momentarily and said “You’re keeping it real.”

–          The late, great Michael Piller wrote the episode thinking he’d be leaving the show and someone else would have to figure out how to get the crew out of this mess. Of course, he ended up sticking around and had to clean up after himself.

–          For some reason, I never put two and two together that Elizabeth Dennehy (LCDR Shelby) was Brian Dennehy’s daughter. Which is weird because I LOVE Brian Dennehy. Turns out he didn’t really want her to do an episode of Star Trek. Elizabeth didn’t really know anything about the franchise. It was one of her first auditions after moving to Los Angeles and she didn’t know enough about it to be intimidated. She also didn’t realize that it wasn’t like working on a soap opera (where you apparently get several hours to just sit around and learn your lines) and was completely unprepared the first day of shooting. She learned quickly and never made that mistake again.

–          I’ve never been one to notice hairdos, but once Elizabeth Dennehy pointed out how much hairspray was used in her updo, I couldn’t help but notice how it affected other people’s hair.

That’s DOES look like it takes way more time than a Commander has in the morning.

Especially Dr. Crusher’s, whose hair pretty much didn’t move when she turned her head. It was like a gloriously shellacked red waterfall.

drcrusherhairt

I never understood why one side of her hair was longer than the other

–          They showed how they achieved many of the special effects and how they remastered them for the Blu-ray. The hardest part was the starship graveyard at Wolf 359, mostly because of their limited budget.

–          I’m always struck by how the actors have to pretend like they’re being jostled around when the ship is struck by enemy fire. When I was a kid they had an attraction at Universal Studios in which members of the audience were called up to participate in some scenes from Star Trek. We got to see firsthand how they put together an episode, including having to fake being bounced around in your seat. So I‘ve always known that this is how it’s done. But it’s quite funny to see the actors do it over and over again, take after take, with a completely straight face.

Then it was time for the episodes, which they combined to make a feature length presentation. In case you haven’t seen the episodes, here’s a little summary/background information:

First seen in the 2nd season episode “Q Who” (thanks to Q playfully tossing the USS Enterprise right in the path of a Cube), the Borg have been on the Federation’s mind for years. None more so than Admiral JP Hanson and Lieutenant Commander Shelby who have been working tirelessly to develop weapons and defenses based on what they know from the Enterprise’s encounter. They assumed it would take the Borg a certain amount of time to reach the Alpha Quadrant but they severely underestimated the Borg’s capabilities and they arrived much sooner than planned. The Borg’s goal is to reach Sector 001 aka Earth. To do this, they need to tap someone’s brain, someone who has the knowledge they need to get around the Federation’s best laid plans. They choose Captain Picard, assimilating him into the Collective, making him their spokesman, giving him a killer mechanical six-pack, and dubbing him “Locutus of Borg.” To my knowledge, Locutus is the only Borg who is ever given a name as opposed to a designation (ie, Seven of Nine). Despite the friction in their relationship, Commander Riker and Lieutenant Commander Shelby must work together to rescue Picard and stop the Borg from reaching Earth.

Mmmmm...Borg abs....

Mmmmm…Borg abs….

When the third season ended abruptly with Picard as Locutus and Riker telling Worf to fire on the Borg Cube, a collective (heehee) uproar went up in the Star Trek community. No one knew what was going to happen or if Patrick Stewart would be coming back to the show, not even the showrunners. Speculation was so great that someone wrote a fake script in which the whole thing was a prank orchestrated by the Q Continuum.

“The Best of Both Worlds” is critical in Star Trek cannon. It provides a major part of the back story for the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and is the basis for the movie Star Trek: First Contact.

After the ending credits, we were delighted to watch a blooper reel featuring outtakes from many different episodes. Some of the highlights included stumbles over the technobabble, forgotten lines, Worf blurting out that he never played with little boys, Guinan cursing, and Lieutenant Richard Castillo asking Tasha Yar to call him “Dick.” It was a lot of laughs that were missed by at least half the audience who walked out during the ending credits.

Speaking of credits, I must say, it was amazing to see the opening credits on the big screen. Every time I ever watched them as a child, it was always on our little 1980’s-era tube television set. As an adult I’ve watched them on my nice flat screen TV but NOTHING compares to seeing it that big and whispering the words along with Patrick Stewart in movie theatre surround sound. They are some of my favorite words in the world and I’ve known them by heart since before I could read:

“Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life, and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one as gone before.”

Thanks to Mike for being my nerdy Star Trek buddy!

One last note: folks have been asking me to put out a calendar for the last couple of years and I finally got around to doing it with the amazing artistic talents of my sister-in-law, Reba. It’s really an awesome calendar. It’s got every nerdy holiday you can imagine, plus a super handy convention calendar, and some never-before-seen pictures that will never, ever be seen anywhere else. I know it’s almost May but it’s worth it to get the 2013 calendar. Besides, if I don’t sell these, then there probably won’t be one next year so, ya know…buy one 🙂 Since it is almost May, they’re super discounted (I promise you I’m not making a fortune off of them) AND I’ll sign it if you want.

Buy one here: http://hotnerdgirl.com/shop/

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