“Star Trek Into Darkness” was recently voted the worst “Star Trek” film by fans at a recent “Trek” convention.
While the movie was a phenomenal success at the box office, hauling in more than $452 million worldwide, it apparently failed to endear itself to a global legion of fans.
Now, Access Hollywood’s resident “Trekker” – Scott “Movie” Mantz –weighs in on the assertion it’s the worst “Star Trek” movie of all-time…
“Wow!!! It’s definitely NOT the worst (not even CLOSE) – that honor falls to 1989’s “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier,” followed by 2002’s “Star Trek: Nemesis” (the lowest-grossing “Trek” of them all.)
Here’s the thing: as a movie critic, I think “Star Trek Into Darkness” works. It’s not as good as the 2009 reboot (which was an almost-perfect movie), but it was definitely the most action-packed big screen “Trek” ever made. The problem is that there was SO much action that it lost the charm, the magic, the playfulness and the confident swagger that made the 2009 movie so great.
But as a Trekker, I have bigger issues with “Into Darkness” – the BIGGEST issue being that they simply did NOT need to tell the Khan story again, no matter how much they put a different spin on it.
“Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982) is a perfect movie. As an action-adventure, it’s “Moby Dick” in space by way of “Run Silent, Run Deep.” It was a deeply personal revenge story, since Khan had it in for Kirk for 15 years after Kirk banished his people to a hostile planet that caused the death of his beloved wife. So when Kirk and Khan see each other for the first time in 15 years (after the hijacked Starship Reliant’s surprise attack on the Enterprise), all those feelings of rage came to a boiling point.
The problem was that in “Star Trek into Darkness,” Kirk had no idea when Khan was, so when “John Harrison” revealed his real name, there was no reason for Kirk to care. His name might as well have been “Ringo,” and it would have had the same effect (which was none at all).
I still think the film worked on its own terms, but I would have preferred a completely original story. The reason is that the filmmakers did a rather brilliant job with the 2009 movie by setting it in an alternate timeline, which freed them from the restraints of staying confined to the 45-year-old “Trek” chronology. They could have gone their own way, and they should have. The sky was no longer the limit, and they missed a golden opportunity to make this all-new “Star Trek” their own. (And I have to admit, I did CRINGE when Spock yelled “Khan!” Nothing compares to the way Shatner did it in 1982, which is now a staple of pop culture.)
Paramount had a major goal with these last two movies: to make “Star Trek” movies that even non-Trek fans will enjoy. On that level, they succeeded big time. The 2009 movie was the highest-grossing “Trek” domestically, and the 2013 movie finally made a dent at the overseas box office (something that eluded every single “Trek” movie before it). I’ve heard from many non-Trekkers who LOVED these last two movies, and I’ve heard from a LOT of Trekkers who hated “Into Darkness.”
Yes, I had issues with “Into Darkness,” but I still liked it – a LOT. And I LOVED “Trek” 2009.
The filmmakers have their hands full with the next movie, as they really do need to make a “Trek” that will appeal to both fans and general moviegoers alike. They did it before with 1986’s “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (the one with the whales). I’m sure the goal will be to have a brand new film in theaters by 2016, which is a landmark year that will mark the coveted 50th Anniversary of “Star Trek.”
And all I can say is, it better be good!”
-- Scott Mantz