431. That is the number of lens flares I counted while watching Star Trek: Into Darkness. After watching the first Abrams Star Trek movie and being distracted by the lens flare usage, I took it upon myself to actually quantify this phenomenon. I put a tally counter in my purse and as I watched, I clicked. I ended up clicking 431 times. That is 3.4 flares a minute. That seems a bit excessive and I was actually being quite lenient with the clicking; I would actually put that number a little higher. Also, for reasons I cannot seem to understand this phenomenon would be concentrated on the bridge, as if someone with an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (I’m looking at you, Spock) had polished the place down with Windex and Turtle Wax until it reflected like a diamond.
To be honest, I understand Abrams reasons for using lens flares. To quote him from an io9 article “…I love the idea that the future was so bright it couldn’t be contained in the frame.” I understand his reasons, but I still think it was unnecessary. The lens flares were incredibly distracting. I still think he went overboard and I am obviously not the only one.
Onto the movie itself, I really cannot fault it because I enjoyed it thoroughly and I truly did not think I would. For one thing, I watched the first movie in the reboot series and I seriously had mixed feelings. It looked like Star Trek but it was just not quite right. As someone who is a huge fan of the TV shows, there is a certain Star Trek, for the lack of a better word, “feel” that I get from them; the first movie did not have it (that might just be me). However, this movie felt like Star Trek. A fantastically CGI-ed, lens flared Star Trek.
That was something I found really impressive, the CGI. My compliments to the men and women who worked very hard on the graphics, it paid off immensely. Among some of the many visually appealing details in this movie was the one that took place when the Enterprise would go into warp. The ship would leave a blue glittery visual trail as it went into warp; something new in terms of visuals in Star Trek. There was also a scene when the Enterprise was forced out of warp due to Ensign Chekov shutting down the engines because of a warp core malfunction. The Enterprise violently came to a complete stop and visually, it was quite a shock to see. All in all, even if you are not a Star Trek fan, this movie would appeal to you as a beautifully made action movie.
I said I cannot fault this movie and that includes the acting and storyline. I will not go into what the story line consists of but I will put it this way; it was very well written. The story is engaging and gripping, filled with mystery and suspense (don’t forget ‘lens flare-y’). However, what really made this movie was the acting. I have noticed that what gives the Star Trek franchise the enormous appeal it has is not just the starships and all the technobabble, it is the personalities of the people running those ships and the relationships they create with one another. This atmosphere is present in all of the Star Trek TV shows and it is what draws people in. We have all fallen in love with the characters and this is what I meant by the ‘feel’ of Star Trek. There were countless of moments in the movie where the interactions between the characters were completely true to their personalities from the original series. At one point Kirk looked at Spock and said “I am going to miss you.” Spock had no response and stood there in amazement as his Vulcan side struggled to find an appropriate response (there was none, of course). Another fantastic line from Kirk was when Uhura had let it slip that she and Spock were having an argument. In complete shock, Kirk replies with, something along the lines of, “You fight with him? What’s that even like?” Also, in keeping true to the original series, ‘Bones’ McCoy was constantly fussing over Captain Kirk which is something that is always enjoyable to watch.
Everyone played their parts fantastically, including Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan Noonien Singh. He is always a pleasure to watch in any role but I am not quite sure I see him as Khan. I did not even know he was Khan (I have this thing about not watching trailers) until he actually said it in the movie, to which I “Ohhhh”ed quite loudly. He’s an excellent actor and does convey the anger and dangerousness that is Khan but I am still not convinced. Perhaps I feel like no one will be able to top Mr. Montalban.
In any case, this movie was extremely enjoyable and I encourage everyone to see it. Make sure you count the lens flares and tell me if my number is off.