Saturday, 18 May 2013

Star Trek: Into Darkness and JJ Abrams

I can't imagine JJ Abrams ever making a film which, on a fundamental level, does not work. Mission: Impossible 3. Star Trek. Super 8. They're all completely functional movies. Highly entertaining, too.

Into Darkness is one more to add to the list. It features a number of terrific edge-of-your-seat action sequences, stunning visual effects, and spicy dialogue between the conflicted leads.

I am giving it a full recommendation. Star Trek: Into Darkness, is a highly entertaining, completely functional movie.

...But that is all.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this, per se. I suppose I wish all movies were as good. And, honestly, there is no reason why they shouldn't be. It was far from original (big bad villain out to destroy the big bad world yadda yadda yadaa blah blah zZzZzZ). It is a very traditional three-act 'buddy picture', set in space.

All films should be as good, narratively speaking. But Abrams' films are so quickly digested that I'm never satiated. Their surface so shiny. Their innards so hollow. Into Darkness had moments where I was meant to feel something - no doubt I did at the time. But it doesn't linger.

This is what is stopping Abrams' movies from being stone cold classics. They are lacking in the replay value that Spielberg's have/had. They're lacking in depth.
The disconnect stems from the writing. Though I hesitate to say that it's a bad script, or that the movies I prefer have better ones, I know I want nothing more from Abrams' in a visual or audiological context. Nor do the films I prefer have superior CGI or action sequences.

My problem is with my emotional connection to his films and this is a writing issue. The Into Darkness script works from a technical standpoint but there are entirely flawed movies which have more impact than Abrams' back catalogue, and, for me, these are the more worthwhile pictures.

Abrams' next movie will be Star Wars: Episode VII and I have no doubt he will produce a very entertaining movie. But I want more now. I'm done with great movies.

Great movies are so last year.

Fortunately, as neither Alex Kurtzman nor Damon Lindlof (Abrams' long time writing collaborators) have their nauseatingly pristine mitts on the script, I think we just might see something special. Something memorable. Something to arrest.

Come on J.J., give us a new hope.