Portable trans-warp beaming device? This past May, Star Trek Into Darkness was one of the must-see science fiction films of the summer. After the successful reboot of the Star Trek franchise in 2009, fans of the series couldn’t wait to see what director J.J. Abrams and company had in store for them in 2013. With addition of British actor Benedict Cumberbatch to the cast as the main villain, Into Darkness could have been one of the biggest films of the summer, and one of the best in the film franchise. Boy, were we wrong about this one!
The people at CinemaSins put together a new entry in their “Everything Wrong” series of YouTube videos. “Everything Wrong In Star Trek Into Darkness in 7 Minutes or Less” should validate your feelings if you were one of the vocal crowd who were disappointed by — or outright angry at — Abrams’ latest Trek outing. While the film was thrilling and exciting as you were watching it, it quickly fell apart once you started thinking about it as you left the theater. The above video addresses most of the Star Trek sequel’s problems, while at the same time making you think twice about J.J. Abrams getting the Star Wars: Episode VII job.
The biggest problem with Into Darkness is how it continuously undercuts and undermines itself, scene after scene. As soon as something is introduced, the next scene completely weakens what came before it. The best examples CinemaSins included are Captain Kirk’s questionable health at the beginning of the film and his death and re-birth at the end. It’s true, McCoy hints at Kirk’s health problems a few times, but it’s never addressed as the film unfolds.
The most glaring misstep in the whole film is killing off Captain Kirk, only to bring him back to life shortly thereafter. It wouldn’t be so problematic if the movie didn’t make such a big deal about Kirk’s death, just to mirror Spock’s death scene from The Wrath of Khan — the most iconic scene in Star Trek history — with the roles reversed. But then a few minutes later, the filmmakers bring Kirk back to life in one of the dumbest ways possible. Not through advanced medical science, but rather through John Harrison’s magical super blood.
J.J. Abrams committed the biggest sin with Into Darkness: he exchanged honest storytelling and genuine character moments for cheap thrills and excitement. He might have gotten away with the same thing in the first Star Trek reboot film, but he couldn’t do it again. It worked in the first Star Trek because it was a broad introduction to characters we already knew. It didn’t work in Into Darkness because the writers and director didn’t deepen the characters, but rather reverted back to that initial broadness. A sequel can only work when the story and characters are more fleshed out from the original movie. Abrams rested on his laurels and Star Trek Into Darkness suffered in the process.
Let’s hope that the writers and new director for Star Trek 3 will get it right for the next one. Star Trek fans are already upset that Into Darkness was such a letdown, as convention-goers recently voted the latest film as the worst of the franchise. Hopefully, Abrams will do a better job with Star Wars: Episode VII. It’s one thing to upset Star Trek fans, but to upset Star Wars fans too… Well, that’s much, much worse.