Was it a movie I saw since August 22nd, 2009: Yes. #227
1) The opening scene for this film is a lot of fun. It is a nice isolated adventure which reestablishes the world and the dynamic of the crew while also setting up some character interaction/arcs to come.
2) Hmm, wonder which Star Trek film this is going to take reference from…
Spock: “Doctor, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
3) Remember this question:
Kirk [when he has to either save Spock’s life or follow the prime directive]: “If Spock were here and I were there, what would he do?”
Bones: “He’d let you die.”
The opening scene with Noel Clarke in London - with his obviously sick daughter, elevated by Michael Giacchino’s subtle and somewhat haunting score - does well to set up the titular darkness the film features. It is somber, slower paced, and much more clawing than what we’ve seen before.
5) Sassy Spock returns!
Captain Pike: “You givin’ me attitude, Spock?”
Spock: “I am expressing multiple attitudes simultaneously, to which are you referring?”
6) Kirk’s key conflict throughout this film is how he deals with mortality. Outside of the death of his father, it is not something he is familiar with. And even that was something which occurred literally the day he was born, meaning he has no memory of it. Yet it still guides his actions. Everything he does - letting the indigenous species from the beginning see the Enterprise to save Spock, attempting to save the species in the first place - is striving to prevent what happened to his father. Kirk plays god not out of ego but because he doesn’t wish anyone to feel the emptiness he knows from that kind of conflict. But he has to learn to let it happen. He has to learn to deal with it, otherwise he’ll go on a bad path. Look at what he almost did when Captain Pike died. He almost let himself get played and go against the core beliefs of Starfleet just to make sure no one else got hurt. But death is a part of life. And he will come face to face with death in a way in a similar-yet-unique way as he did in Wrath of Khan.
7) The whole “Kirk loses his command, has to go back to Starfleet academy, only to become a first officer and immediately get his command back” thing feels sort of frivolous. I feel it would have been much more effective to have him just be on probation or something, because this sort of undermines the lesson he was meant to learn. There’s not much of a consequence to it.
8) The bar scene between Kirk and Pike (calling back to how they met in the first film) is something I have mixed feelings about.
Kirk: “How did you find me?”
Pike: “I know you better than you think.”
Kirk [in reference to the bar fight from the first film]: “Yeah, that was a good fight.”
Pike: “A good fight? I think that’s your problem right there.”
For the most part I think it is a nice piece of the film. It gives us one last good look at their relationship, Pike’s mentorship, and the respect Kirk has for Pike before Pike’s death in a little bit. However - for me - it doesn’t feel like it matches up with when Pike was railing on Kirk earlier in the film. At all. There is this dissonance there I just cannot remedy.
9) The key conflict between Kirk and Spock in this film is interesting. We’ve moved past the place of sheer conflict they started out in the 2009 reboot to a place of respect but there’s still this dissonance between them. They’re not the strong pair that we are used to yet. The best friends. That’s what they become in this film, but they’re not there yet.
Kirk: “Do you understand why I went back for you [to save your life]?”
[Spock does not have an answer.]
10) Hey look, Robocop!
11) At the meeting of the captains, Kirk - even though he’s been disgraced - still says his piece. Yes it took some convincing but he notices something no one else could and stood up for it. And so continues the tradition of Kirk standing up for himself.
12) Spock’s mind meld with Pike plays into his own arc of dealing with death (similar to Kirk’s) very well, but more on that later.
13) Alice Eve as Carol “Wallace”.
With one noteworthy exception, I truly enjoy Carol’s presence in this film. Alice Eve has always been a favorite of mine and I think she does well in the part. Carol Marcus was an interesting character in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and it’s fun getting to see this younger side of her. She is probably one of the characters with the most underused potential from the original series of Star Trek feature films and I’m glad that - at least for this film - they decide to explore that potential more. More on that one exception later though…
14) It is good to see that Kirk, Bones, and Scotty - while all loyal to Kirk - care more about making sure he is okay than following him blindly. They all act as voices of reason to their captain and their words do set in, it is just a delayed settling.
15) I think Scotty resigning was a nice surprise. I honestly was not expecting it and it lends itself to a few things:
Kirk realizing just how sketchy some of this stuff is.
Kirk being pushed/pushing himself to places he’s never been before.
An organic & unique way of including Scotty later in the film.
16) Love this.
Kirk [about Spock]: “Sometimes I want to rip the bangs off his head. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.”
Uhura: “It’s not you.”
Kirk: “It’s not? [Beat.] Wait a minute, are you guys fighting?…Oh my god, what is that even like?”
17) Even Chekov knows what a red shirt in Star Trek means.
Kirk [giving Chekov’s Scotty’s old job]: “Go put on a red shirt.”
Chekov [nervously]: “Aye sir…”
18) So one thing that sort of confused me was the fact that Carol is British in this film while in Wrath of Khan she was American. My theory is that the results of the Kelvin made Admiral Marcus (her father) a much more paranoid man, which we know lead to his wife leaving him. I feel like his wife is British and since Carol takes on her mom’s maiden name I have a feeling she grew up more with her than in the original timeline. Hence her British accent. But that’s besides the point…
19) I like that Uhura knows and uses Klingon in this film. In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Nichelle Nichols objected to a scene where Uhura had to hurriedly learn Klingon since she felt her character should already know it. In this film, she does! Yay! Progress!
20) According to IMDb:
When calling down to the shuttle bay, Sulu commands the crew to prepare the transport captured during the “Mudd incident last month”, a reference to the same character who appeared in Star Trek: Mudd’s Women (1966) and Star Trek: I, Mudd (1967) as a rogue trader. He also appeared in the comic prequel “Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness”.
Last I heard, Rainn Wilson (of “The Office”) would be playing Harcourt Mudd in the upcoming Star Trek TV show “Star Trek: Discovery”. Moving on…
21) I feel like I’d be Kirk in this scenario.
Kirk [as Uhura and Spock start arguing on a dangerous mission to the Klingon home world]: “Are you - are you really going to do this now?”
22) This is so important to Spock’s arc throughout the film:
Uhura: “At that volcano, you didn’t give a thought to us. What it would do to me if you died, Spock. You didn’t feel anything. You didn’t care…”
Spock: “Your suggestion that I do not care about dying is incorrect. A sentient being’s optimal chance at maximizing their utility is a long and prosperous life.”
Spock [later]: “You misunderstand. It is true I chose not to feel anything upon realizing my own life was ending. As Admiral Pike was dying, I joined with his consciousness and experienced what he felt at the moment of his passing. Anger. Confusion. Loneliness. Fear. I had experiences those feelings before, multiplied exponentially on the day my planet was destroyed. Such a feeling is something I choose never to experience again. Nyota, you mistake my choice not to feel as a reflection of my not caring. Well, I assure you, the truth is precisely the opposite.”
That’s it. Right there. I don’t think there’s any more analysis needed. Spock is dealing with death in a similar way Kirk is, except he is dealing with much more relevant and painful memories he is trying to avoid. Kirk has to learn how to deal with those kinds of experiences as opposed to death as a concept.
23) Remember how I said I love that Uhura can speak Klingon now?
Uhura [convincing Kirk to avoid a fight with Klingons]: “You brought me here because I speak Klingon. Then let me speak Klingon.”
I love that she takes such an active role on Kronos of trying to avoid conflict. I love that she puts herself out there for her crew and her team. I just love it all.
24) Here we have Kirk just beating the shit out of “John Harrison” and “Harrison” not doing anything about it because it doesn’t really effect him. Or the plot. I get that Kirk is dealing with how “Harrison” killed Pike, but can’t we just have him hit him once, see it does nothing, and move on?
Also I will talk about Benedict Cumberbatch as “John Harrison”, just not yet.
25) I love Carol Marcus in this film. I think she’s smart, competent, is able to hold her own with Kirk well, and just works really well. However, I hate - hate hate hate - this moment:
So according to IMDb:
Writer Damon Lindelof apologized on Twitter for the seemingly gratuitous and much criticized scene where Alice Eve strips down to her underwear. J.J. Abrams would counter the criticism later when he appeared on Conan O'Brien’s talk show and premiered a deleted scene featuring Benedict Cumberbatch showering. For her part, Eve staunchly defended the scene, and stated that she was very proud to show her her body after working out intensely for the shot. She has maintained that doing the scene was not forced upon her, and that in no way she felt exploited by this.
I like that Eve herself was comfortable with it, that makes me a bit more comfortable with it. However, gratuitous is totally the right word. It literally serves no purpose other than to objectify Marcus when she is so much more than her body. It’s eye candy for Kirk in a film written by guys, directed by a guy, and produced by a guy. And at the end of the day the filmmakers DID cut the scene with Khan, they did not cut this scene. I just…do not like this moment. At all. It feels pointless and makes me sad every time I see it. Again, I like that Eve was comfortable with it. But from a storytelling standpoint it just does not need to exist. At all.
26) I do enjoy the scene immediately following Carol’s strip down, which is where she and Bones take a torpedo to a nearby safe space to try and open it up only to risk blowing it up. It’s a simple, short, yet tense scene which I think is an elegant piece of conflict. It also plays into something which was a regular occurrence in the first film: the idea of if something can go wrong it should go wrong.
27) Alright, Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison.
(GIF source unknown [if this is your GIF please let me know].)
Cumberbatch as Khan is a very mixed bag for me. Like I have a lot of different feelings about it. I like that he is able to play the intellect/physical prowess of the character well, but obviously no one will ever be able to touch Montalban’s performance so there’s not really a point in trying. Since this is an earlier version of Khan, he’s a lot less wrathful than what we’re used to. He’s also less poetic and greener (as is the rest of the crew, in relation to the later of those two). But Cumberbatch is also able to give Khan a brief vulnerability we are not exposed to in Wrath of Khan, specifically in his care for his crew. So in terms of the performance alone, I think Cumberbatch does a nice job. He is a terrific actor so I’m not surprised. But…
I don’t think they should have gone with a white actor, if I’m being honest.
For one thing, Ricardo Montalban is Mexican. And based on what I’ve read about the character’s episode in the original series (I’ve never seen it myself, so I might not be totally right here) he was a ruler of Asia and the Middle East before being deposed and cryogenically frozen (I read on Wikipedia that he’s Sikh, but it still is Wikipedia so there’s a chance that’s not 100% accurate). None of this really screams, “white british guy,” to me. This is a criticism of the casting, not Cumberbatch or his performance.
In an interview with Trekmovie.com, cowriter Bob Orci said:
“Basically, as we went through the casting process and we began honing in on the themes of the movie, it became uncomfortable for me to support demonizing anyone of color, particularly any one of Middle Eastern descent or anyone evoking that. One of the points of the movie is that we must be careful about the villain within US, not some other race”
I do understand the issue there, but Khan is not meant to be representative of all Middle Eastern people or a certain ethnicity. He is a visual representation of himself but he is an individual. It’s not like you are writing him to be the big bad Middle Eastern bad guy. You’re writing Khan, and in the past Khan has been non-White.
Again, this is not a criticism of Cumberbatch himself but of the casting decision. I think Cumberbatch does a fine job in the film, I just think a non-white actor should have been cast. Now that I’m done talking about that…
28) This is Kirk at his most frightened.
He see no way out right now. Admiral Marcus is going to blow his ship out of the sky with his crew, so he pleads with Marcus to just take him and spare his crew. He knows what it feels like to lose a loved one in a situation like this, he knows the hole it leaves in your heart even if it isn’t one he can’t define in the same way as Spock. He wants to spare them so they can go home to their families. Just like he wished his father was spared. And when he can’t do that…
Kirk [to his crew]: “I’m sorry.”
I think Kirk’s emotional conflict in this film is one of its standout elements (possibly its strongest), and whatever other issues this film may have I’m glad it does that well.
29) Fans of voiceover actors will recognize Nolan North as a member of Admiral Marcus’ crew.
North is most famous for his role as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series of video games, but also has voiced Deadpool on a number of occasions and even the Penguin in the Batman: Arkham video game series. He’s one of the most prolific and talented voice over actors there is and I believe JJ Abrams included him because he’s a fan of his work.
30) Similarly, Bill Hader voices the computer on Admiral Marcus’ ship and would collaborate with JJ Abrams again on Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens as a voice consultant for BB-8 with Ben Schwartz.
31) I think it’s nice that the tribble (a fan favorite from the original series) is included, but it’s sort of just awkwardly placed while Kirk is talking with Khan just so it can establish a way to resurrect Kirk later in the film.
32) The dive Kirk and CumberKhan make from the Enterprise to Marcus’ ship is a great set piece in the film. Supported by strong visual and great action, it has the potential to be considered iconic Trek a few years down the road.
33) It makes so much sense that Zachary Quinto Spock would call Spock Prime to ask about Khan.
Spock Prime: “Khan Noonien Singh is the most dangerous adversary the Enterprise has ever faced…”
Spock: “Did you defeat him?”
Spock Prime: “At great cost, yes.”
34) I like that Kirk is not stupid enough to actually trust Khan.
Scotty [after Kirk tells him to stun Khan when he’s given the signal]: “I thought he was helping us.”
Kirk: “I’m pretty sure we’re helping him.”
35) Wow, the ego on this guy.
Admiral Marcus: “If I’m not in charge our entire way of life is decimated!”
That does not justify the horrific crimes, attempted murder, or extortion you’ve committed. This guy pisses me off way more in 2017 than he did in 2013.
36) Khan crushing Marcus’ head is very strong for me. It feels like it’s straight out of a horror film and really shows just how dark this character is willing to get in the fulfillment of his wrath (see what I did there?).
37) The preceding mental chess game between Spock and Khan is very nice, though. It shows just how smart each is, how they’re intellectually matched, and see to succeed Spock must use Khan’s ego (a flaw he has always had) to his advantage. Khan underestimates Spock and just how crafty he can get, to his own disadvantage.
38) Remember note #3? Where Kirk was wondering what Spock would have done if the roles were reversed? Well Trek fans know what Spock DID do when the roles were reversed in the past (alternate timeline? I don’t know). We know Spock very willingly sacrificed himself to save the crew, and so does Jim.
Spock [about the trick he pulled on Khan]: “It’s what you would’ve done.”
Kirk: “And this…this is what you would have done.”
Kirk admits that he’s afraid and that has been his conflict all along. He’s afraid of death, or mortality. Not just for him, but for his crew as well. For his loved ones. But his need to keep them safe outweighs his fear for himself. And this is how Kirk learns to face mortality, by sacrificing himself (as opposed to dealing with Spock’s death in Wrath of Khan). As I said before, a similar-yet-unique way of facing that conflict.
39) Of course this had to be somewhere in the film.
40) When the Enterprise crashes into the San Francisco bay it destroys Alcatraz. JJ Abrams had a 2011 TV series on Fox named/surrounding Alcatraz that was cancelled in its first season. Hmmm….
41) I like the final chase between Spock and Khan through San Francisco but I always feel its sort of extra. Fun to watch but maybe a little long. The real climax was Spock/Khan’s mental chess game and then Kirk sacrificing himself, this just does not carry the same amount of conflict with it.
42) So Khaan’s blood can…cure death?
Whatever you can do to keep James T. Kirk alive, I guess.
Kirk: “Dr. Marcus, I’m glad you could be a part of the family.”
Okay, I actually googled why Carol Marcus was left out of Star Trek Beyond and the reason I found I actually REALLY like. This is a quote from Simon Pegg, who cowrote Beyond in a somewhat rushed amount of time.
“With this it felt like we would under-serve her if we included her, she might end up feeling like she hadn’t been given the amount of screen-time she deserves, so rather than bring her in and just have her be a supporting role, like, have her not be in this one, and when the time comes [bring her back], the worst thing to do would be to have her in the film and have that character be killed, and that felt like a cynical thing to do. We thought rather than have Carol Marcus not be used to a reasonable capacity, let’s just not include her, have her be alive, in canon, and ready to come back at any time.”
I’m actually REALLY glad they went that route, because more often than not characters are included out of obligation and killed off because they can’t think of anything better to do with them.
While I do enjoy Star Trek Into Darkness, it is a mixed bag for me. I think the acting is still topnotch and the conflicts each character deals with (ESPECIALLY Kirk and Spock) make for incredible storytelling. Sometime it can feel a bit extra and convoluted however, I’m disappointed in the whitewashing of Khan (even if I do think Cumberbatch did a nice job), and I find the underwear shot of Carol gratuitous. Overall I think it’s a good film just not a great one, and occasionally a problematic one. I do enjoy it. It’s not like I feel like I waste 2 hours of my life whenever I put it in, and this is about the third time I’ve seen it. I just am very aware of its flaws. I hope some of that makes sense. If you want to watch it, watch it. If you are more of a fan of it than I am, fantastic! It’s still a good Trek film (there are much worse Trek films out there), but if it comes down to watching this or any of the rebooted Star Trek films I’d go with any of the other two. Or even better, Wrath of Khan. Maybe I should stop talking now.
Was it a movie I saw since August 22nd, 2009: Yes. #440
1) The preproduction for this film was slightly troubled. JJ Abrams was committed to Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens so co-writer of the first two films Robert Orci signed on as director. He ended up leaving production though, taking his cinematographer with him, and it was a little while before Justin Lin (Fast and the Furious 3 - 6) was hired to replace him. Writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung reportedly wrote the script in a bit of a hurry as they still had a release date to meet. But at the end the film turned out really well, so everything worked out in the end.
2) This film was released during the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise.
Having said that, the work done by writers Pegg and Jung as well as Lin’s direction I think help to make the film feel like a balance between old Trek and new Trek. I’ll get into more details on that as I go along.
3) The opening scene.
The opening has an incredible sense of fun and humor to it (with the aliens Kirk is trying to break peace with seemingly gigantic and ending up being the size of a chihuahua) and honestly feels like it could be the concept of an episode for the original “Star Trek” TV show (says the guy who’s never seen an episode of the original series). It establishes some of the lighter/funner tone this film will feature compared to the titular darkness of Into Darkness as well as Kirk’s initial conflict in the film. It is a wonderful beginning.
4) Kirk’s tiredness.
Kirk is three years into his five year mission in space (which, in a not-so-coincidental-way, is how long the original series got before cancellation) and it is starting to weigh on him.
Kirk [in his captain’s log]: “As for me things have started to feel a little…episodic.”
There’s no direction in space, it is just infinite and that is starting to weigh on Kirk. It has him questioning the point of it all. It has him questioning who he is.
Kirk [after commenting he’s now a year older on his birthday]: “A year older than [my father] got to be. He joined Starfleet because he believed in it. I joined on a dare.”
Bones: “You joined to see if you could live up to him. [Mentions how Kirk has spent all this time trying to be like his dad.] Now you’re wondering what it means to be Jim.”
And it is through the fire of conflict in this film that Kirk will reclaim his identity and who exactly he is.
5) The release of this film was given an unexpected dose of sorrow as actor Anton Yelchin tragically passed away about a month before the film’s release.
There is a scene early in the film where Bones and Kirk drink some Scotch they found in Chekov’s locker. They pour three glasses, the third one being for “absent friends” (as in those we’ve lost who could not be here now). The absent friend I believe was meant to be Kirk’s later father, who the pair are talking about. But in the wake of Anton Yelchin’s passing the scene takes on a much more somber meaning and feels more like a tribute to him. After the film’s release I read on IMDb that the scene was included to pay tribute to Yelchin, but I can no longer find that piece of trivia suggesting it may have been false. Either way, it is impossible to divorce Chekov from that scene or the unintended tribute it pays to the late actor. I’m going to miss seeing you in the movie, Anton.
Yorktown is quite possibly the stand out new element introduced into the film. The space station/outpost/colony/whatever is visually outstanding. Most space stations in film are defined by rigid edges and sharp boundaries but Yorktown is circular. It’s fluid, it’s organic, it moves into and through each other like a planet. Some of the camera tricks and technical aspects used to show off this new location is great. It also has an incredible atmosphere to it which ties directly into the sense of hope this franchise is all about. The air is clean, the sky is bright, multiple alien species are working in unity, and Giacchino’s again excellent score just lifts up the sense of optimism that bleeds through this place. It is a wonderful addition to not only this film but Trek lore as a whole.
7) This film introduces what I believe is Star Trek’s first canon gay character by revealing that John Cho’s Hikaru Sulu is in a partnership with another man.
“I hoped instead that [Star Trek creator] Gene Roddenberry’s original characters and their backgrounds would be respected. How exciting it would be instead if a new hero might be created, whose story could be fleshed out from scratch, rather than reinvented. To me, this would have been even more impactful.”
I personally disagree with Takei. As a film student I can say that there seems to be this strange devotion to the “vision” of something. A decision will or won’t be made based on its support of the “original vision”. The original vision of something is almost totally irrelevant to what something actually is, however. Takei’s statements seem to be largely out of his respect for original creator Gene Rodenberry, which I can understand. But imagine some gay kid today LOVES the Star Trek movies and its characters. That kid is not going to care about Gene Rodenberry’s original vision, he is going to care about what Star Trek is today. I think seeing an already established (and incredibly important character) like Sulu express his sexuality in an open and accepted way is very much in line with what Star Trek is today (and will also have more of an impact on that kid than introducing a new character who they have no emotional investment in, but that’s just my personal belief).
The franchise has transcended Rodenberry or any one person involved. It is about unity (a major theme in this film), diversity, tolerance, and hope. And as long as it respects these core beliefs which make Star Trek what it is than I think it does more than respect Rodenberry’s original vision. It respects Star Trek.
8) I am going to talk about Spock and Uhura’s breakup and Spock Prime’s death, I promise. Just later.
9) Even though JJ Abrams did NOT direct this film, Greg Grunberg is still featured in it!
Grunberg is JJ Abrams’ lucky charm, appearing in almost all his films (notably absent from Star Trek into Darkness) in one form or another. And even though Abrams serves only as producer on this flick Grunberg still gets a part. Yay!
10) I like that Commodore Paris (one of the Starfleet higher ups at Yorktown) takes the time to say this to Kirk:
Commodore Paris: “It isn’t uncommon you know, even for a captain. To want to leave.”
It’s a common problem people have in life, the loss of identity. And of course it makes sense that it happens to Starfleet officers. Nothing is defined in space. It’s just space.
11) The skirmish between Kraal’s crew and the Enterprise is great.
As a way of introducing the primary plot into the film, it shows a clear lack of preparedness on the part of the Enterprise crew which is a great place to start the conflict and move forward. A, “started from the bottom,” type way. The film opening with such a heavy thrashing and the destruction of the Enterprise leaves a strong impact on the audience. You know these bad guys are people you do not want to mess with, you don’t even want to be in the same room as them. They just took down one of the best starships ever in a matter of minutes. The scene features great action, nice surprises, and is incredibly well paced. As the first major action set piece for the film, it is truly great.
Kirk: “Abandon ship, Mr. Sulu.”
There is literally NO question from Sulu and only a the hesitation needed to process that request. He doesn’t even say, “Sir?” There’s no doubt in his mind. That is how much he trusts his captain and that is how well he knows his ship to admit when it’s done.
13) Idris Elba as Krall.
I will forever be upset that Suicide Squad won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling when this film is PACKED with some of the most amazing practical creatures and aliens I have seen in years. You don’t have to look any further than Krall to see that. Idris Elba is not giving an animated performance, he’s not motion capture (not to knock motion capture actors, they’re some of the most under appreciated geniuses in Hollywood). That’s him. He is able to deliver a menacing and powerful performance through strong physicality. Elba does not play Krall as human and he shouldn’t. A huge factor for the character is that he’s lost his humanity. He is a beastly shade of his former self, motivated only by madness. I think Krall may be the best villain of this new trilogy (although it’s hard for me to be objective because Nero is still my favorite). Honestly, Elba freaking kills it as Krall and I don’t think they could have cast anyone to do a better job.
From a writing standpoint, Krall just gets more and more interesting as the film goes on.
Krall [after Uhura claims he has made an act of war against the federation]: “Federation act of war!”
But more on this later.
14) This film benefits from unique groupings for a good part of the film. Bones/Spock are the most prominent, but it’s not often you get to see Kirk and Chekov interact one-on-one or Uhura and Sulu. But for now, let’s talk about Bones & Spock.
I don’t think Bones and Spock get as much one on one time as they do in this film and I am so grateful for that. It provides a unique examination of their usually humorously tense interactions which was touched upon in The Search for Spock. I’ll discuss this more as I go (in one scene in particular), but they are able to be vulnerable around each other. Let their guards down, be totally honest, and make their friendship even stronger.
15) Sofia Boutella as Jaylah.
I fucking love Jaylah. So much. I want more Jaylah.
To start, her design is incredibly unique and memorable. It helps her standout from not only the rest of the Enterprise crew but the rest of the inhabitants on the planet as well. And from the strong visual you are able to build into a living, breathing, unique character. She fits into the crew dynamics (particularly through her relationship with Scotty) wonderfully well and she is a kick ass queen. She is a technical genius with no training or teaching, able to set up a number of booby traps/cloak the Franklin/keep auxiliary power going. She has this deep pain that is in direct relation to Kirk’s. Her father - her entire family - died trying to save her, just as Kirk’s did. She has fears, she has strengths, she loves punk music! Jaylah on paper is amazing and actress Sofia Boutella is incredible in the part. Boutella is able to portray all of Jaylah’s wonderful layers - her badass exterior, her painful past, her growth and dealing with her fears - beautifully. Boutella is a star on the rise in Hollywood (already having starred in Kingsman and appearing as the title character in the new Mummy film coming out soon) and to date this is - I think - her best performance. She is just SO good.
A quick final note: it has been said by the filmmakers that they will not be recasting Chekov after Anton Yelchin’s death. I want Jaylah to take his place on the bridge. Because I fucking love Jaylah.
16) The relationship Jaylah and Scotty forge is so fun and heartfelt. Jaylah is able to constantly surprise Scotty and show that she’s his equal in a lot of ways, but when it comes to the pain of her past Scotty is able to help her deal with that. It’s one of my favorite relationships explored in the film and I hope to see it continue in the future.
17) The relationship with Kirk and Chekov is explored a little more subtly than say Bones and Spock but it is still there. The fact that Kirk is able to signal Chekov to help him trap the traitor amongst their midsts, and then of course this wonderful piece of dialogue.
Seeing any two characters have this back and forth suggests they’ve done it before. There’s a comfort there that Chekov is able to talk to Kirk so honestly about his doubts and…I’m sorry, I’m just laughing thinking about this scene. I love the exchange between the pair.
18) So it later turns out that Krall is a captain named Edison from VERY early in the Federation’s life span.
Krall: “Federation has taught you that conflict should not exist.”
Krall [MUCH later]: “We knew pain, we knew terror. Struggle made us strong. Not peace, not unity.”
He is an outdated relic, an ancient ideology in a progressive time who thinks HIS way of life was right. And he’s willing to commit mass genocide because of his outdated and hateful ways. There’s also a lose of identity there, as he tells Kirk in the climax, “I’ve missed being me.” That lose of identity in the face of infinite space is exactly what Kirk is at risk of going through, so there’s a connection there between the two that ties back in to Kirk’s main conflict (something that I love). All in all, Krall’s pain is utterly unique in the Star Trek films I’ve seen and I am impressed with the elegance they were able to write it.
19) Spock and Bones having a heart-to-heart about where Spock is in life is one of the best scenes in the film.
It is in this moment when Spock is at his most vulnerable, and it’s with Bones. He speaks as to how being one of the last Vulcan’s effects him, how it was that and the death of Spock-Prime which upset him so deeply he even broke up with Uhura because he thought he had to. He’s planning on leaving Starfleet. But Bones is an excellent friend in this scenes, listening to Spock and offering some kind non-judgmental words. He even gets Spock to laugh! It’s a great moment between these two characters who have been around for 50 years and I think one of the best character moments in all of Trek.
20) Did I mention I love Jaylah?
Jaylah [about her punk music]: “I like the beats and shouting!”
21) If I haven’t made it clear before, this film has some very well done humor. I think this is largely a result of Simon Pegg’s work on the script, but it wouldn’t have worked if cowriter Doug Jung hadn’t worked with him on it. Some examples…
Scotty: “I have an idea sir, but I’ll need your permission.”
Kirk: “Why would you need my permission?”
Scotty: “Because if I mess it up I don’t want it to be just my fault.”
22) So 2009′s Star Trek was about Kirk and Spock moving past their conflict to form a respect and kinship with each other. Star Trek Into Darkness had them solidifying their friendship. And now we’ve reached this point:
Spock [while severely injured]: “We will do what we’ve always done, Jim: find hope in the impossible.”
23) I think something the filmmakers really use to their advantage is taking problems and solving them in a creative way through the sci-fi genre (where aliens are a norm and we have artificial gravity and such). A brilliant example of this:
Also this is all practical makeup. Did I mention this film lost the makeup and hairstyling award to Suicide Squad? I’m bitter.
24) The funniest freaking part of the entire movie!
25) I know I mentioned this before, but Jaylah’s past trauma with her family is incredibly strong for me.
Jaylah [talking about Krall’s hostage camp; refusing to take Kirk and company to their crew]: “Everyone who goes there he kills!”
And it is just another great example of the relationship Scotty and Jaylah have made.
Kirk [after Jaylah leaves & Scotty moves to go after her]: “Let her go.”
Scotty: “She’s lost people too, Captain.”
The fact that Scotty is able to help Jaylah through her grief in a respectful but pressing way speaks a lot to me. And Kirk overhears this, specifically that Jaylah’s dad sacrificed himself for her. Hmm, why does that sound familiar?
The entire scene is great for me for those key reasons: it develops Jaylah, it strengths her relationship with Scotty, and it ties into Kirk’s conflict in the film.
26) The entire diversion/rescue scene on the motorcycle is awesome and one of the strongest set pieces in the entire film. It is brilliantly and intelligently choreographed, keeping the audience and Krall on their toes through the use of decoy projections. It also features a fight between Jaylah and Mannix which ties directly into her arc as he is the man who killed her father. And Kirk - who said to, “Let her go,” about ten minutes earlier - risks himself to save her. She’s a part of his crew now and I love that.
27) Remember how in the 2009 Star Trek Sulu messed up the take off of the Enterprise the first time? Well, I think the phrase, “started from the bottom now we’re here,” applies perfectly to this moment.
30) I just love Jaylah’s face when she sees Krall’s planet drift away in the distance. That place was her hell. Her family was murdered there. She never thought she’d be able to escape. And now…
31) Ladies & gentlemen: the most badass moment in Star Trek’s 50 year history.
Kirk saying, “That’s a good choice,” tying directly into Young Kirk rocking out to this song in the 2009 film.
Bones: “Is that classical music?”
Chekov toe tapping.
Just how f***ing awesome that moment is. It gets you pumped!
I don’t know who had the initial idea to put this scene in the film, but I love them and I want to give them an award or something. This is glorious.
32) The climactic fist fight between Kirk and Krall is a lot of fun. Similar to Syl’s alien head hiding an important piece of technology, the filmmakers are able to use the concept of artificial gravity in a space station to their advantage by choreographing a unique and fun fight scene.
33) And with this Kirk resolves his conflict of identity in relation to his father.
Kirk: “Better to die saving lives than to live taking them. That’s what I was born into.”
34) I love that Kirk says this but for a weird personal reason. It’s something I learned as a film student and something I wish other directing students (and a lot of professional directors) would learn.
Kirk [after Commodore Paris says he saved the lives of everyone in Yorktown]: “It wasn’t just me. It never is.”
35) Holy shit, I honestly cannot believe I forgot that Spock found this in Spock Prime’s belongings:
Not only is this a wonderful thing to include in the 50th anniversary of Star Trek but also it is something Spock REALLY needed to see. He wanted to live the life Spock Prime did and he thought that meant continuing the work on new Vulcan. But then he sees that Spock Prime was with the Enterprise crew DECADES into a future. He had a family for life. And so does Spock.
36) It’s hard for your eyes not to fall on Anton Yelchin when Kirk makes a toast, “To the Enterprise and to absent friends.”
37) The fact that the entire main crew of the Enterprise gives the ending monologue for the first time speaks greatly to themes of unity present in the film and Kirk’s giving them credit.
38) And now I’m sad again.
39) “Sledgehammer” by Rihanna.
It’s not often that I talk about an end credits song for a film, but I felt I should make an exception this case. Rihanna is a major Star Trek fan, saying:
“This is something that’s been a part of me since my childhood, it’s never left me, I love Star Trek. It was automatic. I would do anything in terms of music. It’s such a big deal not only as a fan, as a musician… because Star Trek is such a big deal across the globe.”
You can feel the love for Trek come across in the song. Not necessarily a radio pop hit, I love this song nonetheless. I find it moving and it’s themes of fighting back after you get knocked down very much tie into the hope and resilience which is Star Trek. I think it is a wonderful composition and a great addition to the Star Trek musical library.
I love Star Trek Beyond. Although the 2009 film introduced me to the franchise, this film has the potential overtime to claim its place as my favorite Trek film. It is an absolutely perfect balance of old and new Trek, featuring standout writing, amazing effects, new ideas, a vibrant visual design, and a standout cast (with special mention to Sofia Boutella as Jaylah). It is a totally wonderful that taps into the hope and sense of adventure that the series has always been about. If you were disappointed with Star Trek Into Darkness or are looking to reclaim some love for the series - or even if you’re watching for the first time - give this film a viewing. You won’t regret it.
“I think all villains have something in common: they have something that they need or want very, very badly. The stakes are very high and they are not bound by moral codes or being ethical, so they can do anything and will do anything to get what they want.”
get to know me meme [6/30] female characters nyota uhura “ and did i not, on multiple occasions, demonstrate an exceptional aural sensitivity, and i quote, ‘an unparalleled ability to identify sonic anomalies in subspace transmissions tests?’ “