Friday, May 24, 2013

Bears in Space: On Watching Star Trek Into Darkness

James and I finally got to see a movie on opening weekend. Maybe it's a testament to our geekiness that it was a Star Trek movie. There was no mistaking it's an established franchise. All the hallmarks of the shows and movies are there, but somehow it was fresh. I was literally gripping the seat at points. The action was so intense, and yet there were real moments of emotional depth. At other times, I laughed at the old references. All I can say is that from the very first scene it was like being pulled into another time and place, and the movie never for a moment let go of its fictional grip. There was something about the effects that made me want to believe that it was possible.


It was funny to see critics give this movie a hard time. I suppose if you're cynical, you could see the reboot as a way of cashing in on the Star Trek legacy. If it were another franchise, with completely unrecognizable characters, maybe it wouldn't have been as good. I don't think that's a legitimate reason to downgrade my opinion of it. There are real risks in alienating fans of the original while still making making a bad movie. This movie avoided both pitfalls with style. It was able to make fun of itself without being cheesy. I sometimes found the old flip phone style communicators out of place in an age in which everyone has moved on to touch screen phones, but I was happy to see they were able to remain true to its legacy without being off-putting.


Be prepared to experience multiple eyegasms. You really should see this in 3D because they make full use of the technology. When the Enterprise goes into warp, you can almost feel the force of the ship move at light speed. There's something about the sound and sight that trick your brain into believing. I know 3D can make some people dizzy and cause eye strain. That is unfortunate because, when it works, it is one of those experiences that you never forget.

If you're looking forward to Star Wars, Into Darkness gives the viewer a good idea of what's in store from J.J. Abrams. He has a way of paying homage to his favorite filmmakers. Super 8 was a good example of his tribute to Stephen Spielburg, though it was understandable since he was a producer on the film. While Star Trek is distinctly Abrams' style, there are plenty of moments where it felt like he was paying homage directly to George Lucas. From the first scene that looked like a clip of an alien Indiana Jones, to a later sequence that looked a lot like sneaking onto the Death Star, I could see that Abrams was going to do a good job with Star War Episode VII.


The biggest deal about going to see this movie was being able to see it with James. It's a simple thing really, going to the movies. So simple, in fact, that we often take it for granted. James and I have never actually been to a movie at the theater alone. We've been out with friends to the movies, and we watch movies at home together all the time. I think most of our time together is spent watching some form of entertainment in the privacy and comfort of our home. Countless numbers of movies have been interrupted for more delightful distractions. Oftentimes, the worse the movie is the better; we enjoy it because we don't feel any guilt for talking or taking impromptu intermissions, where the refreshments are far more satisfying than soda or popcorn could ever be.

Oftentimes I find the problem with most movie reviewers is that they watch way too many movies. They've lost the wonder that can come from being captivated by a contrived experience. From the first moments of Into Darkness, the feeling of being taken into another reality is apparent. If you're constantly critiquing the acting or effects, you're missing the whole point. Let go and enjoy. It's a thrill ride of the variety and magnitude never seen before. I'm sure there are movies just waiting to top this one with effects that will amaze, but this experience was one of the best that I've had so far.



MALCOLM TRAVERS
Male Media Mind