Star Trek Cannot Go Into Darkness

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StarTrekIntoDarkness_FinalUSPoster Star Trek: Into Darkness holds a distinction not shared by any other Trek film to date. It is the most successful of the 12 Star Trek movies as far as box office is concerned – It has been praised by film critics and voted by most of the professional entertainment journalists as the second best of the lot – and, Star Trek fandom, better known as Trekkies or Trekkers, depending on your generation, have panned it as the third worst of the Trek films right after Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek X: Nemesis.

The tally of fan feelings can be summed up into two basic categories: The older fan base feel J.J. Abrams and company have strayed too far from the foundational-Roddenberry concepts that made the franchise such a success for nearly 50 years and the newer viewers are happy to see it become less cerebral and more action-packed.

I purpose there is a third middle ground. Myself and many in that camp believe the future of Star Trek will comfortably settle into this middle place once it finds its footing and real home again off the big screen and back on television; the perfect marrying of weekly action with well reasoned story and character development among crew members that has depth and chemistry. These are the elements that made Trek the successful monster it has become, however, except in rare circumstances (Wrath of Khan, Undiscovered Country and First Contact) this kind of in depth meshing of story and character elements is almost impossible to accomplish with lasting meaning in a two-hour action-packed movie. It can be hinted at but needs a season of hour-long episodes to make it meaningful and have lasting impact on the viewer now and for future generations.

Star Trek, to last another 50 years, will need to find its home back on the small screen and be returned into loving but also insightful hands that understand it nearly as perfectly as its original creator but in light of 21st Century technological possibilities for showcasing it.

Are the genius’ at Paramount and CBS wise enough yet to realize this? One can only hope someone there has the vision and decision making power to make it happen so this beloved franchise doesn’t truly go Into Darkness.

Comments

  1. Who are these “fans” who are speaking for everyone else by panning STID? Because they are not the fans I know.

    • I enjoyed it. As a teenager, I was a fan of the original series and enjoyed most of the Trek series and films. I liked STID and am looking forward to more Trek films.

    • I loved Into Darkness but my 65 year father has had a tough time dealing with the alternate reality concept. Great article! Keep the films but get a new TV series out there. It’s been long enough now.

    • I agree. It’s only a vocal subset of “fans” that have loudly hated on this movie. And it seems indicative of movie criticism lately: people feel the need to be extra critical of shows. And don’t get me started on the whole “entitlement” crowd mentality. People just need to relax and enjoy what is arguably a good film. It isn’t art, it isn’t great, but it is a lot of fun to watch.

      • Sam Sloan says:

        Ditto, perhaps you have hit on something and is why a “vocal subset of fans” has certain criticisms about this & the first Abrams film. This subset you speak of is a bit more than that, it is mostly comprised of the over 50 crowd who remember, quite fondly, what the heart & soul of Star Trek was and see it, not missing, but overlooked to a large degree in these last two movies. Yes, Star Trek was always pretty good, yes, by today’s standards of technological quality it was even quite campy at times, and yes, it was always fun to watch…but it was also GREAT, something you even admit is not the case here lately. Star Trek was intriguing storytelling, wonderfully interwoven complexity and charisma between its characters and guest stars, it was what ancient cultures called a weekly morality play and it completely captured the imagination of two generations that helped propel the real-world space odyssey of Earth to new heights of achievement in technology and invention. As much as I enjoyed both Abrams films and even have them as part of my Trek film library they fall short of the kind of inspiration and imagination the original series/films and that is what us old-timey subset of fans expect from Star Trek, nothing short of the genius it has always been.

        • Sam, I may not be over 50, but I’m close. And I know plenty of older Trek fans that have enjoyed Into Darkness. :) Anyway, I’ve been a Star Trek fan all my life. The original series is my favorite of all the seasons, followed by TNG. But let’s not confuse the series with the movies. The movies have never lived up to the quality of the series. And you have to admit, every series has had its “dud” stretch.

          While Abrams’ movies haven’t had the heart of the original series, I think Into Darkness has moved in that direction, especially with how it ended.

          • Sam Sloan says:

            You may have misunderstood where I was coming from in the above editorial. If you read my review of this film on Slice or heard my comments on one of the shows several weeks ago then you know I really liked Into Darkness….for what it was, a wham, bam, thank ya ma’am big ass Summer blockbuster dark flick with non-stop action almost from scene one. I like it for that, but not because it was necessarily the kind of Star Trek that has made this franchise GREAT. I am still waiting for this new crew, which I am coming to admire in their iconic roles, to measure up to that grand standard. I might be willing to admit that Simon Pegg (Scotty), especially after his morality stand in this film, moved up several notches on my Now-That’s-My-Kind-of-Trek meter. They are getting there & quite possibly the third time will be the charm. All that said, Trek still is at its finest on the small screen.

  2. J. D. Mendez says:

    I agree, a regular, continuing presence on the small screen is the best medium for ST, and I have very much enjoyed the performances (esp. Zachary Quinto, awesome!) although I have some reservations about the way some of the characters have been written. As for the departure from classic Roddenberry rose-colored-glasses vision, I don’t really have a problem with that, TNG and especially DS9 already went there and they were outstanding when they did; my problem is with the ridiculous departures from common sense, let alone science (a vessel built for space underwater?! A space-suited man in a volcano?! Criminally lax security placed on an OBL-like terrorist?! etc.): I understand the need and desire for drama and creative license, but come on! In some way or another I think this is the real reason for the criticisms, because there can be no objections to the production values overall and the enjoyment of an admittedly summer-popcorn movie. And finally, if we’re going to compare, Wrath of Kahn was better overall except it required prior knowledge of the TV series for full appreciation; Save the Whales was lighter and slightly more fun; Generations needed brand-new characters (Zoran) to work, its only major flaw IMO, and save my stated objections I would place ID ahead of Generations much as I love Picard & Co. End of rant, thanks for bearing with me…

    • Kurt in St. George says:

      “I agree, a regular, continuing presence on the small screen is the best medium for ST…”

      I think this is correct. A good ST show can present different or challenging ideas or themes; at least occasionally, that most movie makers wouldn’t have to guts to tackle.

      “…my problem is with the ridiculous departures from common sense, let alone science (a vessel built for space underwater?! A space-suited man in a volcano?! Criminally lax security placed on an OBL-like terrorist?”

      Yea, some of these bothered me too, and I would add, a Starship plunging through earth’s atmosphere out of control and not burning up is ridiculous. Even if it were made out of some material which could survive reentry then it should have blasted a 30 foot deep crater where it impacted, and there was no way any human being could have survived the crash, I don’t care how genetically superior he was supposed to be. That entire scene was created to give us a James Bond like chase and fight scene and nothing more.

  3. Kurt in St. George says:

    I enjoyed Into Darkness, but in some sense I have to agree with the fans who didn’t like it. I thought the latest ST film was an entertaining bit of Summer Fun, kind of like a taking good roller coaster ride at Magic Mountain. However, it really had nothing to do with Star Trek as I know it, other then the names of the characters.

    I don’t want to paint Gene Rodenberry as a saint or even as a great artist; because god knows he was neither, but he had a definite point of view, a vision of the future he wanted to present. Not only does JJ Abrams fail to share this vision, he doesn’t seem to have any particular vision to share at all.

    When Start Trek movies become just another Summer blockbuster and do nothing to really inspire people or make them think, then Star Trek starts to loose what made it important. It becomes just another product which which will eventually; and sooner rather than later, fade into insignificance.

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