20 May 2013

John's Got The Hump

Despite ranking a toxically high 9.7 on the geek-o-meter, I've never gotten into the original Star Trek from the 60's. From what I've heard though, the biggest difference between the main series and the new films is the level of action on display. Apparently the show was less about kicking people in the throat and more about philosophising and exploring humanity’s big ideas. Having said that however, there is a clip on YouTube of Shatner's Kirk on all fours pretending to be a horse whilst a dwarf rides on his back. I'm not sure what idea they were exploring here as I'm not sure of the context. Perhaps this is a deep metaphorical investigation into the works of Bertrand Russell or Rene Descartes, however when I see Kirk galloping about all I can think is what a stupid Kant. Having said that there's a part of me that would now like to watch the original show if only for the sake of irony. As though he's a cosmic Roger Moore, the idea of watching Kirk explore a 60's vision of the future and fucking anything with a pair of tits sounds like fun to me.

Released in 2009, the film Star Trek took the series out of the nerds’ bedrooms and made it cool enough for the rest of the world to enjoy. For some reason though, a lot of them seemed to hate it because, “it changed too much from the originals”. But the way I see it, they should be happy because the franchise was successfully rebooted in a way that didn't erase everything that they'd loved from the current cannon. Also by being set in an alternate timeline, these new films also avoided the main prequel problem of there being no real threat because it's obvious the characters will survive into the original films. Maybe I'm not a Trekkie/Trekker but I am a fan of Star Wars and until your franchise is rebooted with a massive fucking racist Jamaican Gungan thing, I've really got no sympathy.

"I knew I shouldn't have studied rocket science..."
Anywho, so Star Trek Into Darkness is all about the story of John Harrison who despite sounding like a fifth member of The Beatles is actually an intergalactic terrorist. Because John is running around blowing shit up like a massive space-twat Kirk is recruited to track him down and kill him. Like Raoul Silva and Loki however, Harrison instead finds himself captured and locked up in one of those giant villain sized fishtanks. The great thing about this film is in just how much of it is an ensemble with almost everybody getting something interesting to do. Kirk and Spock continue their blossoming bromance which involves about the same amount of bickering and sex as a ten year marriage. Scotty gets to run around whilst cracking jokes with his slightly dodgy accent and Uhura continues to prove that the franchise isn't racist. Alice Eve also shows up as Carol Marcus but from what I could gather her only purpose is to flash her pubes for the movie’s trailer and to look pretty. There's also a bit near the end where Carol is put in danger when it looked to me as though someone had just stamped on her vagina.

So before we go any further, I guess I should say that I really loved this film. From the moment it begins to the moment it ends it is just non-stop action. It's as though it was conceived in the racing mind of Oscar Pistorius whilst he enjoys a domestic shoot-out with the missus. However this relentless spectacle, as enjoyable as it is, is possibly one of the movies bigger problems. After watching Iron Man 3 last week I was reminded of just how big a fan of Shane Black I was and so began revisiting his older films. I also slightly lowered my mandatory four hours a day criteria of porn browsing in exchange for finding old interviews with him in which he talks about screenwriting. When asked about the state of the modern action movie he claimed that they were all a bit crap because there's no downtime. Instead, blockbusters these days try to simply deafen the audience by shouting at them for two hours. This is definitely the case with Star Trek Into Darkness which really cuts out the character moments and emotion of its predecessor in exchange for making things go bang a lot of the time. Having said that, there is a slightly hammy but enjoyable little speech by Cumberbatch in which he seems to accidentally morph into Alan Rickman.

In fact, the comparisons to Rickman don't end there with this film also suffering from the same minor problem as Die Hard. Like Hans Gruber, John Harrison is so charismatic and cool that despite the general dickishness, you can't help but find yourself occasionally rooting for them. I know I just criticised the movie for having too much action but the scene in which Harrison shits all over a gang of Klingons is still pretty cool. I also thought that one of the final fights between Harrison and Spock was pretty funny considering the size of their body frame. Back in the 80's action movies were dominated by giant hulk-men whose brains where the size of their steroids-shrunk cocks. Cut to only a few decades later and the beeftards have been replaced by two lanky nerds kicking the shit out of each other. Not only that but the film also features Peter Weller and Karl Urban meaning that director J.J Abrams decided to have his scrawny man-slap instead of a much more epic fight between Robocop and Judge Dredd.

Anyway so we're heading into spoilery territory now so it's about time those who are yet to see the film went for a wander. For the rest of us I'm sure it was a huge surprise to discover that Harrison was actually the series’ main villain of Khan all along. Of course though, by ‘huge surprise’ I mean completely fucking obvious thanks to IMDb thoughtlessly listing the name on their bloody cast list. I'm putting it out there that, that may be the most annoying thing since I asked my Dad if Se7en was any good and his response was, (spoiler alert), “Is that the one that ends with Gwyneth Paltrow's decapitated head in a box”. It took me years to get my revenge on him for that but eventually I seized my moment and locked him in our attic without food and only an angry wasp for company. True story.

For those who don't know, Khan is one of the big baddies of the original Star Trek world and was unsurprisingly the villain in the supposedly brilliant Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan. Personally I've not seen that film but I hear good things about it. From what I do know though, things are the reverse to Into Darkness with the original killing off of Spock instead of Kirk. This of course results in Shatner calling on all of his acting powers to famously scream, “Khaaaaaaaaaaan” with all the anger of man who’s being forced to hold in a particularly rebellious ands jagged shit.  From what I do understand though, the original at least had the balls to kill off Spock and keep him dead until the crappy sequel. In this film sadly, I don't think that anybody is under any illusion that Kirk’s death will be any more permanent than his earlier demotion. Near the start of the film, Kirk is fired, demoted and then promoted back to Captain with so much speed that that if you popped out for a piss you'd have missed it. On the brightside though it's good to know that thanks to Kirks pogo up and down the career ladder that by the year 2259 we'll have finally solved this recession. With all the warring alien races, that's at least something to look forward to.

I heard the supermarket is hiring...
So considering Khan was pretty much new to me, I think, as mentioned earlier that he's probably the best thing in the film. However what did annoy me was that it was his blood that was used to bring Kirk back from the dead. By doing that, there's pretty much no threat now in any future films ever. As soon as anybody dies, all the crew have to do is pop to the fridge, crack open a bottle of Khan juice and generously, drizzle it all over their favourite corpse. In fact the only person who is now in any danger is Bones who I'm assuming will quickly find himself out of a job. It's kind of like how in the original Superman he flies up into space and then backwards around the world to reverse time. From this point on, we've got nothing to worry about at all. Having said that, now people can come back from the dead it's nice to know that the future will be a time in which we can stop banging on about how special Jesus is.

I guess that's pretty much everything I've got to say on Star Trek Into Darkness. I've been writing for too long now and I'm kind of feeling ill after eating an out of date tube of Pringles. Obviously this film gives me even more faith that Star Wars Episode 7 will be great, with Abram’s main skill being to dish out nostalgia for things you're seeing for the first time. Actually if you want a tip, you should go to the bookies and bet money on Benicio Del Toro being the next Star Wars villain. Considering he almost played Khan here and Darth Maul in Episode 1, I reckon he's a dead cert. You heard it here first! Anyway I think I'm going to go and be sick now. Although in case you didn't believe me earlier about Shatner being ridden by a midget then here it is for your viewing pleasure... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avTfiRccYIA

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