Monday, December 3, 2012

The line must be drawn here.

This far and no farther.

I was sitting down to write my review of the Season 2 TNG movie event, when I stumbled across something that demanded my immediate attention. Here is the new poster for Star Trek Into Darkness. (I am never going to not dislike typing that.)

A couple of things here...

First, it is a total ripoff of the Dark Knight posters that are essentially the same idea, i.e. a burned out piece wreckage silhouetting a trademark image of the franchise.

Second, the only two colors in this poster are shades of blue-ish gray and orange, which makes me fear this will be even more like every other action movie made in the last ten years. There's a great article floating around the internet about how movies are increasingly being colored or tinted in shades of blue and orange as they appeal to people in a certain way, particularly in an action film. If I find it, I'll update with the link, but it's worth a read for any movie buffs out there.

Lastly, what does this tell us about the plot? Not much except that there will likely be big, dramatic sequences of buildings being destroyed. The twist I guess is it's London and not New York, LA, or Tokyo or any of the other cities that usually bite it in disaster flicks.

This is not to say I don't enjoy those genre of films, Dark Knight in particular is a sparkling example of what that kind of visual, high-octane story-telling is capable of. That being said, Dark Knight was anchored around two extremely well-acted and well-developed characters whose conflict made sense as a result of their positions, and the movie managed to be high-quality popcorn fare while also executing an above-average explanation of the nature of heroes and villains and good and evil and the tiny differences between them. Based on the last film, I don't think that level of detailed story craft will be in evidence here.

And again, even if they do it well, as well or better than the Nolan Batman films, it's still not a Star Trek story. I have in the past and continue to defend DS9's look at Star Trek's dark side, but as I have also previously stated, it works as part of the larger franchise because the Federation and its ideals are so well developed in TOS, TNG, and their respective films and the show absolutely needs to have that background or the moral quandaries lose their punch. Even if DS9 got away with doing things Rodenberry would not have approved, personal conflicts, a war story, multi-episiode arcs, etc., Rodenberry's vision is a vital part of DS9. It has be in order for the characters' struggle to exist. Nothing even close to that seems to be anywhere near the current film franchise. Take, for example, what many understandably consider to be one of the best DS9 episodes, The Siege of AR-558. That story focused on characters and their choices and their consequences. In the hands of Moore and Behr, we got a tight 42 minutes about the horrors of war and their effect on good people. With Abrams, I think we would have gotten 42 minutes of the Houdinis exploding.

My issues with basic design and movie-making aside, my concerns go deeper than just my original annoyance at the idea of a reboot. I liked the show's history; it was one of my favorite aspects of the shows. It's that it seems clear that Abrams and company's view of what Star Trek is limited to its trappings, which they seem to think by "modernizing" satisfy the requirement of honoring the original work. There's really nothing in the last movie, the buzz about this movie, and certainly not in this poster that indicates that any of the stories they have or will tell are about people, on either a large or small scale. More than anything, Rodenberry's original vision of the show was one where humanity was better to each other. Not only is any exploration of the nature of humanity absent here, there's no humanity period.

Just lens flares.


  1. Who is that supposed to be in the center? Kirk?

  2. I think the guy on the poster is supposed to be Benedict Cumberbatch's character, whoever that is.

    Also, there are a couple articles that have been going around about the whole blue-and-orange phenomenon. Is this the one you were thinking of?

    It does also mention Star Trek and lens flares, for what it's worth.

  3. Oh my god the ripoff of the Batman poster cannot be overstated. WTF?