5.20.2013

Off With His Head

My bestie, my cousin, and I all went to see Star Trek: Into Darkness this evening. Before we start in on the movie itself, we need to talk about some of the trailers.



What we're seeing in Hollywood is that, along with CGI and 3-D, good-old fashioned, overly drawn-out action sequences are a substitute for a story. I see a trailer like this and don't want to even bother. Where's the story?



Just now, while getting the code to embed this, I finally realized it's a zombie flick. *sigh* I'll be honest, I don't get the zombie fascination. I mean, I understand the annihilation fantasy angle in which billions of POC are conveniently wiped out so a chosen few white folk survive - I get that. But I don't get the zombie fetish. Werewolves, when done well, can help us explore Old World mythology, spirituality, and explore various pagan beliefs pertaining to nature and human relationships with our furrier kin. Vampires, when done well, can be sensual and cerebral, helping us examine our own fears of dying too soon and living too long.

Zombies...I don't get.

But back to the movie which brings us together tonight.



I've been called the Queen of All Things Trek.  I don't mind the title.  I'm a Trek baby (you can blame the dad).  There's no Trek show or film I haven't watched and rewatched; I know lines, characters, and episode a little too well; I've blogged and created quizzes in Trek forms and even created a fanfic community once...and even though I swore I'd never go to Trek convention again, I've been feeling "the itch" lately.

That being said, off with his head.

I don't like what Abrams is doing with Trek overall.  And though I'm not Queen of All Things Star Wars, I do fear for that franchise after watching Into Darkness.  They might wanna reconsider letting him touch that.  Abrams may want to pause and re-evaluate himself before he winds up like M. Night Shyamalan.  Y'all remember Shyamalan was Midas for a minute too...but now people hesitate whenever his name is attached to something.

Let's start with the good

The dialogue was good.  I'm a sucker for dialogue and Orci & Kurtzman have got dialogue down pat.  The chemistry between the actors helped immeasurably; they've clearly bonded and are able to speak naturally with one another.

Orci & Kurtzman really are Trekkies and it shows.  The Trek references had me grinning from ear to ear; when Spock mentions the Ketha Province on Kronos, it seemed I was the only person in the theater who reacted.  Then there was the Section 31 reference; one of THE best developments to come out of ST: Deep Space Nine.  However, Orci & Kurtzman knew better than to overdo a Section 31 reference, which was excellent.

Zach Quinto and Zoe Saldana as Spock and Uhura remain a great couple.  The handling of their relationship in this film was amusing, at times quite tender, and overall tasteful.  The writers kept them together and wrote them convincingly.  One of the most amusing parts was when Uhura indicates she and Spock have been fighting and a bewildered Kirk asks, "Oh my God...what is that even like?"

Also...Uhura speaking Klingon...WIN.

The most romantic (or bromantic) scene is near the beginning when Kirk tells Spock he's going to miss him (everyone's been temporarily reassigned).  Spock opens his mouth but can't seem to respond, to which a frustrated Kirk rolls his eyes and storms off.

There was a bit more Sulu in this movie and The Chair looks good on him.  He belongs in The Chair.  I'd have a helluva lot more confidence in this crew if Sulu was permanently in The Chair.

And the bad...

I didn't like what Abrams did with the Romulans in the first movie and I downright loathe what he's done with the Klingons in the second.  Seriously, y'all...the fail...it burns.  This was The Worst portrayal of Klingons I've ever seen and unfortunately, I'll never be able burn the images from my memory.

I'm not impressed with the new Dr. Marcus and I would have Janice Rand or Christine Chapel back, please.  Thank you.  The scene where Kirk sees her in her bra and panties took us away from "Trek" and just made me roll my eyes (the scene where he wakes up with the alien twins, however, was very...you know, Kirk).

Action-wise, there was too much going on.  This movie didn't need to be so long nor in migraine-inducing surround sound.  Come on...the dialogue was good.  Give me more.  Give me story, and wit, and cerebral substance.  This is sci-fi; this is Star Trek.  If we want mindless, pointless action flicks, that's what Elysium and World War Z are for.  but when we want to watch a movie which makes us think - really think about things - that's what Star Trek is for.

And since when does a ship's warp core look so damn complicated?  And are you really gonna kill Pike right when he's able to start walking again?

Now for the ugly

Benefiber Cucumbersquash is not a bad actor.  That's not the problem here, and I want to be clear about that.  He's got the deep rumbling voice, the British accent, and he looks good in a hooded cloak.  And when he says Spock can't break a rule, much less bone, I laughed with the rest of the audience.

That being said, he is no Khan.

This...is Khan Noonien Singh
This ain't.




The worst part of this film was the fact that at the end of the day, it's just another shallow remake.  For those of you who are fans of the original Wrath of Khan, you know what I mean.  That was one character which needn't be retouched, and certainly not whitewashed.  Somewhere Gene Roddenberry is rolling in his grave wondering WTF just happened.

And here's the ultimate irony: Cumbersnatch as Khan was a fail.  Cucumbatch as John Harrison, however, is a totally different story.  He could've easily been a Section 31 agent gone rogue and into some shady dealings with the Klingons.  He could've been a fairly decent character all of his own.

Final Verdict of the Queen

Off with his head.

I thought the purpose of rebooting this series was to give us something new, not revamp old stories and characters.  They don't need to be revamped.  Quite frankly, instead of these movies we could use a new Trek show with a new crew having new adventures.  The keyword in these sentences is, in case you haven't noticed, "new."

I get it, reboots are in right now; imitation is trendy.  But come on.  The films coming out of Asia and Europe right now are killing it, and some of them don't have nearly the budget Hollywood is working with.  I watch films from abroad and learn shit.  I watch films from America and need a drink.


26 comments:

  1. Well, Abrams isn't a fan of the show, so I've heard. He clearly doesn't care.

    I still haven't seen it yet, but I plan to. I just expect to be entertained when it comes to summer movies. Don't ask for much else.

    Don't know a zip damn thing about Elysium or WWZ. However, I'm completely here for Pacific Rim.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Well, Abrams isn't a fan of the show, so I've heard. He clearly doesn't care."

      Watch Star Wars and Star Trek side by side.

      "I still haven't seen it yet, but I plan to. I just expect to be entertained when it comes to summer movies. Don't ask for much else."

      Are you not entertained?

      "Don't know a zip damn thing about Elysium or WWZ. However, I'm completely here for Pacific Rim."

      I'm going to pass on all three, it seems that Hollywood has a trend of adventurous white dudes going on. besides i suspect Pacific Rim is going to be white guy/poc-woman crap.

      "I get it, reboots are in right now; imitation is trendy. But come on. The films coming out of Asia and Europe right now are killing it, and some of them don't have nearly the budget Hollywood is working with. I watch films from abroad and learn shit. I watch films from America and need a drink"

      Here's your summer.
      Strawberry Night
      http://www.dramacrazy.net/japanese-drama/strawberry-night/
      Ataru:
      http://www.gooddrama.net/japanese-drama/ataru


      Delete
  2. Basically, yes, THIS.

    (Also, I want to learn Klingon.)

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  3. You've convinced me!(feel free to ignore my last reply) He really isn't the problem here. but even knowing that, I have a feeling that i won't be able to really look at "Benefiber Cucumbersquash" (lol) without cringing. :)
    Did you see that interview where JC actually brought that up though? I just about died! XD

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  4. The films coming out of Asia and Europe right now are killing it, and some of them don't have nearly the budget Hollywood is working with. I watch films from abroad and learn shit. I watch films from America and need a drink.

    THIS! I completely agree with this.

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  5. Oh god, I saw a debate on the whole "Beneficial Cabbagepatch being cast as Khan" thing where a (presumably white) defender basically said "His race shouldn't matter if he can play the part. Babyface Cushionbag could play MLK if he was good enough." Headaches ensued.

    Also, the fact that the fireplace kindling of a book known as World War Z is getting a film is making me very sad right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, they say that shit, but some of them send Black actors hate mail & death threats because they play a White character that has the ability to shapeshift into other people, including POC. There's no "his race shouldn't matter" stuff (well, some of them would say it).

      Delete
    2. Also, the fact that the fireplace kindling of a book known as World War Z is getting a film is making me very sad right now.

      AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! I thought I told you to stop flirting with me! I read this at work and started laughing aloud like a nut!

      Delete
  6. Benefiber Cucumbersquatch
    Beneficial Cabbagepatch
    Benederp Cummerbund (which I saw somewhere else)

    Man, y'all are dragging ol' Benny by his two front teeth. ROTFL. I'm highly amused.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did a search f him on the net and people are calling him cottage cheese and "curdled milk oppa" ROFL

      Delete
  7. I guess a lot of people are complaining about the infamous underwear scene.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2328966/Star-Trek-Into-Darkness-writer-Damon-Lindelof-apologises-including-misogynistic-Alice-Eve-underwear-scene.html

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    Replies
    1. As well there should be. That scene was an eye-roller.

      Delete
    2. That scene was so fucking awkward. I'm not looking forward to their romance. I thought her and Bones would have been more interesting but he's pretty much just a caricature just like Chekhov. The movie could have been better. Cumbersquatch needed to be his own unique character and they needed to focus on the inner corruption within Starfleet. That was a compelling story that went nowhere very very fast.

      Delete
    3. Why in the hell didn't her underwear match? If you're going to strip, your lingerie should match.

      Delete
  8. I am not going to see it. i just cannot cosign this whitewashing bullshit anymore. I've read some great analysis of why on tumblr boiling down to basically people of colour can be cast as a baddie only when the baddie is a thuggish brute. Only a white guy can be a intellectual and iconic bad guy- hence the whitewashing of Khan.
    My head just hurts too much these days...

    My favourite version of his name is Benadryl Crumplezone ahahahahahahaha!

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  9. I didn't know this was intended as a remake to "The Wrath of Khan", one of my favorite Star Trek movies. The original was filled with so much deep and moving stuff that it exemplified the heart of what Sci-Fi should be about. Sure, you can throw in the special effects, CGI and explosions, but that's only the icing to the cake. The real thing is the taste, and from what I'm hearing, "Into Darkness" is tasteless for the most part.

    If Brain Food had to get drunk to review a film, then it's a clear sign that it is painful to the mind to watch.

    The excuse from Hollywood has always been that people don't want stuff that makes them think or feel when it comes to movies like this. The people want action and sex, low-brow shit. It's not only an insult to Trekkies, but to film goers. Hollywood basically thinks its audience is too stupid to grasp anything other than explosions, car chases and nudity and all that shit is sure to sell. Yea, right.

    I've been disappointed with the Trek remake. I expected MORE, and the remakes don't seem to deliver. If Abrams doesn't like Star Trek, why is he directing it? How did he even get opportunity?

    Hollywood is making me hate the pop culture I loved and treasured growing up. They fucked up Transformers, which is my favorite toy EVER! I watched the animated series when I was a child. They've allowed Chris Nolan to fuck up Batman (I didn't like 'Batman Begins' or 'The Dark Knight'). They've fucked up The Flintstones, an animated series that actually makes me laugh. And now, they moved in on Trek. What's next?

    Sorry. I had to get that off my chest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rant away.

      I am a HUGE Star Trek fan and I really don't like where the franchise has gone. I miss the philosophical discussions, the sociological debates, the ethics wrangling, etc. The explosions, chases, and what have you just give me a migraine.

      Delete
    2. I miss the philosophical discussions, the sociological debates, the ethics wrangling, etc. The explosions, chases, and what have you just give me a migraine.

      JJ is pandering to the lowest common denominator. And Brotha Wolf raises a good point. Why IS he directing a franchise he doesn't like or understand? If he doesn't get the philosophy, why even touch it? I really need an answer to this question.

      Delete
    3. Hey Brotha Wolf! I'm glad you liked my review.

      There were some good points in the dialogue, and plenty of humour, but overall, and the continued relationship of Spock and Uhura had some good moments as well, but this was an ugly, shallow, highly derivative remake of the Wrath of Khan.

      I like movies that make me think. and ponder and I loved that about Star Trek. This new Trek is all about looking pretty and having lots of shiny, CGI explosions...

      Delete
    4. Thanks Amaya and Jamie,

      I haven't seen the film yet myself. I have mixed feelings regarding Star Trek 2009. Usually, when it comes to most sequels, the appeal gets lower and lower. From what I've seen in the preview alone, it was like looking at an amusement park ride than a movie, especially one as philosophical as Star Trek.

      It's okay if there are films that let your mind chill, but it seems like Hollywood is cranking out more of those kinds of movies than there are that are artistically done and delivered. CGI today has advanced to making fantasy come to life, but some films over do it as much as they over do action. At times its exciting to watch, but not if takes center stage every moment more so than the actual themes.

      Jamie, you mentioned how the audience was laughing at certain dramatic scenes. That sends a red flag right there, one of many as you and Moi pointed out. The preview alone doesn't say Star Trek. Instead, it seemed more like a "Fight For the Federation" movie that's similar to all those "Fight For America" movies.

      Delete
    5. "I didn't know this was intended as a remake to "The Wrath of Khan", one of my favorite Star Trek movies. The original was filled with so much deep and moving stuff that it exemplified the heart of what Sci-Fi should be about. Sure, you can throw in the special effects, CGI and explosions, but that's only the icing to the cake. The real thing is the taste, and from what I'm hearing, "Into Darkness" is tasteless for the most part."

      All I'm going to see it this Sunday somone save me.

      "If Brain Food had to get drunk to review a film, then it's a clear sign that it is painful to the mind to watch."

      Won't be the first

      "The excuse from Hollywood has always been that people don't want stuff that makes them think or feel when it comes to movies like this. The people want action and sex, low-brow shit. It's not only an insult to Trekkies, but to film goers. Hollywood basically thinks its audience is too stupid to grasp anything other than explosions, car chases and nudity and all that shit is sure to sell. Yea, right."

      It sells, but it becomes dated and forgettable.

      "I've been disappointed with the Trek remake. I expected MORE, and the remakes don't seem to deliver. If Abrams doesn't like Star Trek, why is he directing it? How did he even get opportunity?"

      Money, but I blame Paramount and That Star Trek series that shouldn't be.

      "Hollywood is making me hate the pop culture I loved and treasured growing up. They fucked up Transformers, which is my favorite toy EVER! I watched the animated series when I was a child. They've allowed Chris Nolan to fuck up Batman (I didn't like 'Batman Begins' or 'The Dark Knight'). They've fucked up The Flintstones, an animated series that actually makes me laugh. And now, they moved in on Trek. What's next?"

      I did liked Nolan's take on Batman. It wasn't "America F-yeah." like Marvel movies was.

      Sorry. I had to get that off my chest.



      "I haven't seen the film yet myself. I have mixed feelings regarding Star Trek 2009. Usually, when it comes to most sequels, the appeal gets lower and lower. From what I've seen in the preview alone, it was like looking at an amusement park ride than a movie, especially one as philosophical as Star Trek."

      this is what you call a brain melt. Brain Melt requires you to just look at with no thinking what so ever.

      "It's okay if there are films that let your mind chill, but it seems like Hollywood is cranking out more of those kinds of movies than there are that are artistically done and delivered. CGI today has advanced to making fantasy come to life, but some films over do it as much as they over do action. At times its exciting to watch, but not if takes center stage every moment more so than the actual themes."

      That's why Nolan did Inception they way he did.

      "Jamie, you mentioned how the audience was laughing at certain dramatic scenes. That sends a red flag right there, one of many as you and Moi pointed out. The preview alone doesn't say Star Trek. Instead, it seemed more like a "Fight For the Federation" movie that's similar to all those "Fight For America" movies."

      that's all hollywood movies.

      Delete
  10. I wrote about Trek a few different times. I largely agree. Here is my script doctoring of the film.

    I have to disagree on the Klingons though. They were one of the few good things to come out of the movie. The movie really fails the Bechdel that which would have upset Roddenberry too.

    http://wearerespectablenegroes.blogspot.com/2013/05/what-progressive-vision-fun-with-script.html



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  11. That is why I stay watching Asian and European shows/movies; it makes my head Not Hurt!

    They tend to make movies for the message/art versus how much can the production company make off of revenues.
    I certainly don't watch American summer movies with the mindset that I will be enlightened, I just check my brain at the door and enjoy it for what it is.

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  12. I finally saw this movie and agree on every point, but Gene Roddenberry's ashes were taken into space, so he is thumbing his nose at this film from somewhere up in the stars...

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