Star Trek Into Darkness

A group of Start Trek fans recently voted Into Darkness, as being the worst Star Trek Film ever made. Quite harsh considering some of the previous films but is it justified?

To my mind, Into Darkness was certainly a very enjoyable film. It has pretty much everything you could ask for in a film and possibly more than you normally expect from a blockbuster Sci Fi. There is plenty of action, good special effects, a story with a few plot twists, credible bad guys, good acting and characterisation and some nice touches of humour. A quite surprising element is how the characters grow and learn more about themselves over the course of the story – something often lacking in many films (or is it just my usual viewing is rather shallow?). It was also nice to see the film ending by setting the stage for more films without either a cliffhanger ending or a lingering shot on the ‘not dead after all bad guy’

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So, if I liked the film so much, what made this ‘the worst Star Trek film made’?

Part of the problem is continuity. Up until the reboot of the franchise in 2009, every television episode and every film fitted into a linear timeline. Even the final series, Enterprise, that was made as a prequal to the original series, fitted because although it takes place before the original Star Trek, it had used a different ship and characters while still taking place in the same setting.  

The reboot of the film series takes place in an alternate timeline so although we are familiar with the characters and setting, there is still a lot of fan expectation about how they should react and certain events happening in ‘history’ at certain times. Any shift to these preconceived ideas is often met with resistance and/or negativity.

Into Darkness is essentially a retelling of an earlier film, although this is not apparent during the first half of the story, and I think that this plays a big part of the ill will felt by the older hard core fans who feel betrayed that ‘their’ story is being changed. People need to remember that these new films are a new, alternate, telling of the Star Trek story and not just  the adventures of a younger crew.

There have been some very successful reboots of fantasy films recently such as the X-men (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120903/?ref_=sr_5) and other Marvel  superheroes films and Batman Dark Knight movies (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0372784/), so why the difference in attitude by fans? Could it be that the other fantasy films are originally based on long established comics whereas Star Trek started as a television series that later spread to include books and comics?

The comic book world is used to alternate timelines and reboots of both characters and even entire universes. Different artists and writers moulding existing characters and series into how they perceive them, some with more success than others. Because of this, I think that in general it is easier for comic fans to accept new ideas and retelling of stories in the film adaptions.

The other reason for the negative vote for Into Darkness?  It was voted for by ‘fans’

Fan – noun – Origin:  1885–90,  Americanism; short for fanatic

To quote Stan Lee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Lee)  “Nuff Said”