Monday, May 20, 2013

Star Trek: Into Awesomeness!

Well, the joyous day has finally come and the newest addition to the Star Trek franchise Star Trek: Into Darkness was recently released. As I mentioned in my last article on Star Trek, I had every intention of seeing the new film and yesterday that’s exactly what I did. So now sit back and enjoy my thoughts on the new movie, but be warned, following the end of this paragraph there will be A LOT of spoilers.

The Enterprise at Stardock
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the newest Star Trek was just as visually appealing as the last, if not more so. CGI has come a long way in the past few years and I’m happy to say that this movie really put those advancements to good use. The ships were just as amazingly well done as before and there was a clear contrast between ships used for exploration and those used strictly for a more military application (namely darker colors and more angular lines).

SFX and Music were equally well done. I have to give the hat tip to Michael Giacchino for the excellent work on the movie’s music. As with the first of the Star Trek reboot movies the music really serves to establish the settings and set the mood for each scene, breathing life into the story.

One thing I’d like to note. It seems that JJ Abrams really loves the “rise of the Enterprise” shots where it comes up through some sort of gas or liquid. The first film had one such shot and the second has two. It’s hard to fault the man as they are amazing shots, but I thought it would be worth noting as a potential pattern is forming. Could there be three such shots in the next installment?

The real draw for the new Star Trek is of course the story (why else would you see a movie?). The movie opens with an almost unrelated side mission that establishes some initial tensions between Kirk and Spock, and Spock and Uhura, which also leads to a stunning revocation of Kirk’s command of the enterprise. Now those familiar with the original series movies will remember that Kirk never was one to play by the rules and in fact did get busted down from Admiral to Captain, but that was somewhat later. This is but the first of many, many differences from the original series that result from the alternate timeline having been created. The Film then jumps to the introduction of a new character who becomes the primary antagonist of the story. This new character played by Benedict Cumberbatch is Khan. The events from the previous movie however have altered his fate as well. Ever aware of the threat of more advanced ships and weapons coming from the still open black hole or other external threats to the federation, Admiral Markus forced Khan into designing advanced ships and weapons by holding the rest of his crew hostage. To rescue his crew Khan places them inside a new type of photon torpedo that he designed in order to smuggle them out of the facility, but he believes them dead when the torpedoes disappear without a trace and sets off on a quest for revenge that results in the death of a number of Starfleet’s senior officers including Admiral Pike. Kirk is quickly reinstated as Captain of the enterprise and sent on a mission to go kill Khan who used the traswarp beaming formula from the first movie to go from earth all the way to Qo’noS (Kronos), the Klingon homeworld where he intended to hide out knowing any official action by the federation would lead to all-out war. Kirk disguised as a civilian goes down to Qo’noS to capture Khan and take him back to the federation to stand trial for his crimes. This deviation from mission brings Admiral Markus to the scene captaining an advanced warship of Khan’s design. When he finds out that Kirk captured rather than killed Khan he turns his weapons on the enterprise intent to destroy her, leading to the final climactic moments of the movie, which I’ll not ruin for you.

The story line is absolutely amazing. As someone who’s seen the originals you’re always looking for those little differences and this film has some major ones, but impressively none without explanation. I’m very impressed that the writers are only changing things as a result of what happened in the previous movie and not simply on a whim.

The story seems to end in a set up for a television series, though they reasonably could continue doing the movies. We’ll just have to wait and see what’s coming next for Star Trek here in our N3rd C0rn3r.