Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness - More Spoilers

Since I am boycotting the movie, based mostly on the horrible whitewash casting of Cumberbatch, and have no plans to see it, ever, finding this detailed breakdown of the major plot holes, courtesy of actor/producer James Cawley, gives me a detailed report from someone I trust as to just how bad this movie is.

It really makes me call into question J.J. Abrams ability as a director. On one hand, he is technically good at his job. He can turn a script into moving images that capture the imagination. But a major part of a director's job is to make sure the final product turns out good. In that Abrams has failed. The failure leads back to either poor writing or poor execution on his part. I'll be generous and blame the writers. Bad writing was responsible for the horror that is Star Trek: Generations, so there is precedent for that. A good director would catch those things and question them. There are far too many plot holes in this movie and it is quite apparent that a good script was sacrificed to bring us more action. Action is great. But there are ways to write action and create a cohesive story without plot holes that are so easy to point out.

The movie opens with a sequence that makes no sense. Why is the Enterprise put underwater and why does it need to fly to Spock's rescue. Obviously the writers and director haven't watched much Star Trek and have forgotten what the Transporter is for. This sequence creates a nonsensical violation of the Prime Directive that is just stupid when compared to the real violations that Shatner's Kirk perpetrated and got away with.

And why does Pike have such blind faith in Kirk? It's great, but where did it come from and what is with the constant change of command. That kind of situation should lead to a breakdown in crew morale.

Cawley notes, but moves past the miscasting of Cumberbatch as Khan and focuses on the writing issues with his character. The original Khan is perhaps the greatest of Trek's villains. In this film, he isn't the primary villain and he even helps the Enterprise crew. A truly great character has been dumbed down and marginalized. No one is denying he made the most of this role, but the bad writing couldn't save it. Instead of a reprise of the greatest Trek villain, we have just a genetic superman. And the Mercy of Kirk and crew in their original encounters is absent.

And it just gets worse from there. The other guest stars are similarly written doing nonsensical things, from the bomber to the admiral to the Klingons. And the women's roles are handled badly. It's just one thing after another to grate on the nerve of a long time Trekkie. To the casual viewer who just wants an action romp, this may well be a great film. But for the latest installment in the Star Trek franchise, it is an embarrassment. Cawley does comment that it is better than the 2009 film, but for me, the miscasting of Cumberbatch makes it worse. He is a good actor and really deserved a part written for him, or at least one he would have had less difficulty in making his own. Ricardo Montalban was Khan. He inhabited the role, especially when he reprised it in Star Trek II, with a ferocity that is hard to match. Best of all, he was a well written villain in two well written scripts.

The failings of Star Trek Into Darkness all rest on the shoulders of the director. Bad writing and bad casting combine to make this the worst Star Trek movie. Please take the time to read Cawley's full report and don't see the movie. Trek can and has done so much better. Shatner did better with Star Trek V. I hate to admit that I would rather rewatch Star Trek: Generations than this latest installment of a half assed reboot.

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