Star Trek Into Darkness

I am a glutton for punishment. Only a week after The Great GatsbyI find myself doing sci fi, a genre I dislike intensely, as my regular readers will know. Husband, however, was dead keen so I had to boldly go to explore strange new worlds. One of the only satisfying moments in this film is Captain Kirk’s soliloquy when he repeats the Star Trek Oath on ‘Space, the final frontier’. As I have groused before, they don’t even repeat ‘Beam me up, Scotty’ any more!

I am not a Trekkie, so it goes without saying that I don’t get all the in-jokes and references to past series or quirks of character. Luckily we are reminded of some important facts, like Mr Spock is half human and half Vulcan, in order to explain his dead-pan, unemotional response to having his life saved against his ‘logical’ judgment. Not forgetting the ears.

There are attempts, it is true, at script humour. Kirk:The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Spock  (of course, as he knows everything): An Arabic proverb attributed to a prince who was betrayed and decapitated by his own subjects. Kirk:Well, it’s still a hell of a quote.Otherwise it is a movie mostly about men and women running around; loss of gravity and power; an awful lot of bangs, explosions and CGI cities being blown up and destroyed – oh, plus endless shots of spaceships whizzing around in what one assumes is outer space. Although I learned that this is the first film shot partly out of the USA, in Iceland.

Actually I quite liked the opening scenes  where the Mud Men get to see the spaceship rising out of the deep, and immediately appear to adopt it as the symbol of their cargo cult. But I am an anthropologist by training.

The plot is flakey and clichéd – Captain Kirk loses control of the Enterprise, regains it through the actions of the baddie, the saturnine Benedict Cumberbatch, and then has to try and save the world putting his only ‘family’ – his crew – at risk. I was also happy to see Simon Pegg reprising his Scotty act; and later discovered that the glam blonde scientist is no less than Trevor Eve’s daughter, Alice. I used to love Trevor in Shoestring when I was a girl. 

The problem is that apart from enjoying seeing a couple of familiar faces, I frankly don’t give a damn about the crew of the Enterprise or what fate befalls them. Add to that, all space ships look alike, so I find it hard to tell what was happening, where and to whom. I swear I hear Scotty’s neck being broken, only for him to re-appear in the next scene… as you would expect, for in these movies the good guys don’t die. That’s why its hard to care because you have this sneaky little feeling that they will be standing on the rostrum at the end, or sitting at the controls as we boldly go once more! The only place I wanted to go was out, as soon as I decently could.

But it may be worth it for some viewers, simply to witness the tears of Mr Spock. You see, he does have a human heart after all.

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