Imagine William Shatner screaming that instead of the classic “Khaaan!”. Yupp, my feelings exactly as I was watching Star Trek into Darkness. Flare porn at its best and unfortunately not in a good sense. I think Mr. Abrams has lost his shit on that one and stepped beyond the thin beige line of cool vs. bad taste. Many of the artificial flares are not even physically plausible, which makes them even more an annoyance. Generally some of the CG is actually quite bad. Sometimes you can see where the green screens were placed in the scene and the lighting just doesn’t look credible, other times the vehicles and city shots look a bit like they were done “on a budget” for a TV series. It seems to me they couldn’t quite make up their mind about either being über-stylish like in some of those interior shots with the glassy feel or hearkening back at the original series like the much talked about Andrew Kramer titles done in this colorful 60’s “papermaché” style. It feels pretty inconsistent and all over the place in terms of production design and execution.
The movie’s story has been a matter of much debate and quite frankly I think nobody should ever again touch the Khan storyline. They tried that in Enterprise with the stuff on the Augments and failed terribly and for better or worse the single reason why this stuff is so deeply rooted in Trek lore and so popular with fans is because the original story very much nailed it without trying to explain everything and the chemistry between the actors being so perfect. Benedict Cumberbatch certainly gives the whole matter an interesting spin as a different type of Khan, mind you, it just doesn’t ever feel as intense as in the original, which I guess is the real problem here: everybody’s favorite Sherlock Holmes‘ performance is so strong, it makes the others look pale, including Kirk, and the film never finds a good balance of actually taking the story back to the Enterprise crew. Most of the other cast are just decoration, anyway, and the story is essentially a rather conventional spy flick like The Bourne trilogy or even James Bond. That doesn’t mean that it’s bad, it’s just not particularly inspired or Trek for that matter.