I’m not being literal with that observation. There was plenty of lens flare.
Overall I found the latest NewTrek film disappointing. For various reasons. What follows is an elaboration and refinement of my original, raw review, posted to Google+ soon after seeing the film.
MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Star Trek: Into Darkness. I’ll put them after the “Read more” jump so you can easily avoid them.
Nate took me to see Star Trek: Into Darkness Monday night. (We also saw Iron Man 3. It was a Double Feature Date Night; something that’s always a lot of fun because we can only afford it something like once a year.)
Star Trek and Philosophy
I am a huge Star Trek fan. I’ve not seen every episode of every series or every movie, but I grew up on The Next Generation as and when I was allowed or able to watch TV. I have yet to finish my complete viewing of TNG. I’ve seen almost all of Voyager (my favourite series, so far; there were a few episodes I had to skip because they were awful). DS9 and TOS are still on my to-watch list in their entirety, but I’ve seen enough episodes (or movies) of either to consider myself a fan of both. Enterprise I will likely never watch unless I get really, really bored. Or drunk.
I’m also a fan of philosophical science-fiction in general. Growing up on Star Trek likely awakened that love in me. Not every episode nor every movie succeeds in really tackling the hard questions, but I would definitely say Star Trek as a whole is philosophical. I don’t think that every episode or every movie should strive to tackle those questions — philosophy needs to be balanced with mindless entertainment, I think, especially for those of us who like to marathon episodes. Furthermore, the first goal of a movie will generally be bums in seats. Philosophical sci-fi is a gamble in that respect. It could work really well, or it could bomb. What does consistently work well is the promise of a lot of action and high-stakes, tension-filled scenes.
Often this is why filmmakers will do those sorts of blockbuster hits in great numbers — to make enough money to fund artsier, more philosophical, and less commercially viable projects. Banking on a sure thing in order to make sure the other thing that may or may not make a lot of money actually gets to production stage.
(Writers often do this too, for what it’s worth. I’m not knocking the practice at all. It works.)
To that end, it’s a bit easier to get philosophy into long-running TV shows. So long as the action and tension are still tight, the characters well developed, the world engaging, and the plot convincing and well-moving, you can afford to tackle philosophical issues in an episodic plot structure.
Of course, too much philosophy — too many questions about life and the nature of humanity and the morality of law and not enough explosions, kidnapping, or other high-tension situations — and you run the risk of being canceled. (See: Caprica.)
My point is, while I think philosophy is important to the sci-fi medium (it’s not really sci-fi if you’re not asking questions about the nature of humanity), I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of philosophy in the new Star Trek films and that’s okay with me. There’s plenty to be had in the extant films and series, and newly-made fans who go back to watch those things will either love said philosophy, or they won’t.
Continue reading “Into Darkness? Methinks it was an apt title”