So, the official synopsis for the forthcoming reboot sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, is out.
First, let me get this out of they way. I hate the title with the absence of colon. "Into Darkness" is obviously a subtitle, and grammatically should be treated as such. If it's not, it's just stupid. Read that phrase as a whole. It just doesn't make any sense. What does it mean to trek in a star-related manner, into darkness? Nothing. It can't just be going into space. It's already dark. If it's a reference to a metaphysical darkness, the subtitle becomes even more necessary. It's Star Trek, and the story is about going into some form of darkness. Title:subtitle. It's not hard. What it's really about is further trying separate this iteration of the franchise from it's predecessors. The "Star Trek n: Subtitle" where n is the movie we're on is how the old Trek did it, so we have to do it a new way. It's the hipster version of a movie title. Why not just put some superfluous umlauts on some of the vowels. "Stär Trëk" looks pretty awesome, I have to say. Quite metal, really.
Moving on. Here's the synopsis:
In Summer 2013, pioneering director J.J. Abrams will deliver an explosive action thriller that takes Star Trek Into Darkness.So another action film then? I mean I assume the use of the words "explosive" and "detonated" are meant literally and not figuratively, so expect the first twenty minutes to be loud and full of explosions (and lens flares if history is any guide).
When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis.
With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.
As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.
"Personal score," "manhunt," "war-zone," and "weapon of mass destruction" all in the same sentence give me pause. I have no reason to think this won't be, again, a monolithic, crazy-person villain with crudely drawn motivations.
Now, that's not to say that a single, monolithic bad guy can't work, TWOK is pretty good, and Khan and his pecs are nothing if not monolithic, but nothing in this blurb makes me think the story will be grounded in themes other than "explosions are cool" or "credible character motivations are boring." TWOK is anchored by a familiar, well-developed set of characters really questioning their futures and an interesting twist on the "weapon of mass destruction" in the Genesis device. The use of a nemesis to Kirk served to explore and expand on the personal problems he was having at the start of the film. Rather than serve in lieu of a plot, the action and the villain served to advance the plot. I have (and will again) argued that movies do require a slightly more focused villain to work given the particular constraints of movies, but you still need to do the work to tell a good character and/or idea driven story.
Ultimately, though, even if they make this a good movie, there's nothing here to make me think it will be a good Star Trek movie, and that, more than even lens flares, makes me really sad. I don't want to pre-judge the film (a lot), and I will go see it and give it a fair shake, but still...it would be nice to be excited rather than dreading what the film has in store.
Also...."pioneering director"... really? Did he invent complex set-ups that eventually over-rely on flashbacks and never resolve into a cohesive conclusion? cough....Alias...cough...Lost...cough...Heroes...cough
Oh, maybe he did.