Sunday, May 19, 2013

"Star Trek Into Darkness": Spock learns compassion, takes us on a roller coaster the last half hour

I can be hard to place yourself in another world and develop a rooting interest (although games designers would certainly dispute this).  I went in to see “Star Trek Into Darkness”  (no colon in the title) somewhat expecting a genre spectacle, and got largely that, although J. J. Abrams gave us some real insight into what it takes for a distant person to become compassionate and human.  That is, of course, the character Spock (Zachary Quinto, made up as usual).  He tells Kirk (Chris Pine) at one point early in the film that he was experienced what it is like to pass (at death) but has refused to really feel.  But Spock is given command of the mission, and finally goes on a solo mission to hunt down (in a devastated 23rd Century San Francisco) the lone-wolf terrorist Khan (an all too handsome British actor Benedict Cumberbatch).Finally, Spock may choose to feel real emotion and compassion.  Is this an exploration of breaking out of Asperger’s or of some schizoid personality. instead of merely an outcome of genetics  (Vulcan, other planets). 
The pretext for Khan’s “cause” didn’t mean a lot in our frame of reference.  So it was a bit hard to get into it. Nevertheless, the last thirty minutes of the film are a real roller coaster (that means, a Griffon).
I saw it Sunday night in the Imax auditorium at the AMC Tysons, and the large hall was three-fourths full.  The Imax did something alittle disconcerting. For the scenes inside the Enterprise, the screen was cropped vertically to simulate normal Cinemascoe, at 2.35:1.  But the “outdoor” scenes (in outer space, and on other planets, such as among the red-shifted vegetation and ancient pyramid in the opening shot of the film) are shot with the screen full (1.85:1).  I don’t know how the non-Imax was handled.  But changing aspect ratios to correspond to different levels of reality is problematic, because different theaters have other was of handling full anamorphic wide screen.
I wondered about the “geography” of the confederation. One of the planets had to be light years away, but the space station seemed to be near Jupiter (as in “2001”).  Was the nearby moon Europa?
The end credits, while offering two full concert overtures based on the Star Trek music, offer a real “planet show”. 
Paramount’s official site is here

Bill Maher interviews Zachary Quinto in the above clip, and Quinto also discusses “coming out”.  Maher talks about the idea that a “Christian” thinks he has the right to automatic victory in any argument.  (Remember his film “Religulous”?)

Picture: Model of the universe at Green Bank Radio Telescope museum, W Va.  

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