Star Trek Into Darkness – I Wouldn’t Have Expected Anything Less

Into Darkness is a great follow up.

I am not a Trekkie.  But I have thoroughly enjoyed the reboot.  Hence, I have high anticipation of Into Darkness, also directed by J. J. Abrams.  Besides, the casting of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as Kirk and Spock is simply brilliant.  Before the movie, I was thinking to myself: How nice if I could see some Klingons.  The good news is, there were some Klingons.  The not so good news is that they did not last long.

So I lamented just a little bit with my movie buddies Cynthia and TK.  In a sci-fi movie like Star Trek, when human are exploring the frontier of the galaxy, should we not see more interaction with other alien species?  Like my favorite Klingons?

What we see instead is the conflict between the human in the future with the generically modified super-human in the past caught in the middle.  At first, I felt the villain Khan acted by Benedict Cumberbatch was a bit stiff and emotionless.  Then, when it is his part to shine, Cumberbatch delivers some of the memorable moments in this movie.  As for Kirk and Spock, the filmmaker has given them plenty of opportunity to showcase the unique characteristic of the two opposing figures.  Kirk who acts on his initiation versus Spock who is governed by logic and has chosen not to be affected by emotion.  In Into Darkness, both Kirk and Spock are being deeply challenged against their principles.  It is part of a learning journey for them to mature and take greater responsibility.  The filmmaker has nailed the character development aspect perfectly.

The ending plot is not without its loophole (or so I have observed).  Cynthia and TK did not notice until I have pointed it out.  It is like, why go into such great trouble to catch the one when there are plenty of stock back in the ship?  And if they have no idea how to unfreeze these stocks, why risk freezing the main character in it?  Anyway, that is minor on this pretty entertaining movie of late.

Star Trek – Looking Through the Eyes of a Non-Trekkie

Star Trek

Here is one dark secret of mine: I was once imprisoned by a few brainwashed Trekkies insisted that I should watch and internalize the visual messages of Captain Kirk and his pointy ears companion.  Every evening, I was seated in front of the TV watching one of the 6 Star Trek films in random order.  VHS video tapes, I remember.  One day I was watching episode 6.  Another day, one of the previous episodes.  I protested that I wouldn’t be able to understand a thing watching the series that way.  These Trekkies laughed and said it was part of the training.  In time to come, I would be able to recite all the key dialogues, just like them.  Appreciate the wisdom within, just like them.

And just like them, I was [forcefully] glued in front of the TV during those long school holidays when I needed a place to stay in the capital of a country called UK.  The crazy days of going to bed when the sun came up, video gaming marathon, liquor and takeaways, and centered to that long gone good life as students, we had Star Trek.  They debated on the moral philosophy of a world according to Captain Kirk and his pointy ears companion; they discussed on the physic of the universe and the technology involved in the crafting of those spaceships.  Did-you-know, have-you-noticed, haven’t-you-noticed, these Trekkies would try to pull me into their highly encrypted conversations.  Years later, the only thing I can remember in this Star Trek franchise is that one scene when the Klingons quoted Hamlet.  I love Shakespeare’s works and hence, the Klingons talk to me.  Not Captain Kirk and his pointy ears companion, but the Klingons.  For those who are curious on these subtle connections between Star Trek and Shakespeare, click here for an article written by Dr. Delahoyde.

Year 2009, Star Trek returns to the big screen in digital 4k format.  This new movie is breathtaking in many ways.  I am a big fan of Zachary Quinto (who plays Kirk’s pointy ears companion).  He is my favorite actor from the TV series Heroes and he is just perfect for that role.  Sandwiched between the two Trekkies – Cynthia and TK – was me, compelled to watch yet another episode of Star Trek.  I constantly whispered to Cynthia during the show to fill in my knowledge gap.  As a non-Trekkie, “Star Trek” is undeniably an entertaining movie that has lived up to its expectation.  The effects are gorgeous, the science is current, and the friendship development of Kirk and Spock (I kept calling him Spark in front of Cynthia unintentionally) is perhaps the main focal point of this movie.  Secretly, deep inside, I still wish that “Star Trek” has a deeper reference to something more philosophical, generates deeper moral debates, and perhaps has a more logical plot.  However, compares this to yet another similar franchise that has gone back in time with newer and better filming technology, “Star Trek” has certainly done a much better job than the one that involves a Gungan named Jar Jar Binks.

TK was excited by the movie.  So was Cynthia.  As I listened to Cynthia reciting the final line of “Star Trek” together with Spark Spock word-by-word, I knew at that moment that I am still very far off from graduating as a Trekkie.  And hence, the brainwashing continues.