Stagnation serves as a crucial part of Star Trek Beyond, the third feature in the rebooted Star Trek universe. It is not just the characters and their battle against stagnation, but the filmmakers too, who enlist Simon Pegg’s writing talents and the work of Fast and Furious franchise stalwart, Justin Lin, in the director’s chair. Not the worst of pairings, but the cracks are beginning to show. The strain takes hold. Let it ride. Star Trek Beyond is clutching at straws as soon as it begins without any real sense of who the villain is, how they’re going to patch over tragic omissions and where the story is going to take a group of characters that are now a little too comfortable for one another.
An already established universe behind it, Star Trek Into Darkness should have an easy run of worldbuilding exercises that can help further expand this J.J. Abrams science-fiction vision. No such luck. Meandering along without much to prove and even less to show for itself, Star Trek Into Darkness is an uncomfortably predictable piece with quite a strange change in pace and tone. Bumping out some of the more established characters and gambling on the introduction of Benedict Cumberbatch as a nostalgia-pop villain, surrounded by the fairly well-established new heroes adorned in roles of a bleak and whimsical past. There is room to grow into them for these characters, and thankfully, Star Trek Into Darkness does offer that in spotty moments of discourse.
Even with those thick, glossy atmosphere choices, the work of J.J. Abrams on Star Trek is far better than first expected. Having no love for the series that spawned it all certainly helps when engaging with what is, essentially, a remastering of the characters and varied stories at the heart of this installation. A reference here or there will go over the heads of newly approached novices to the Star Trek universe, but as long as the bulk of it is understandable, the threats obvious and the chemistry between the ensemble successful, then Star Trek will have no trouble appealing to a new generation. A desire to engage with that is quite difficult, but easily optimised by smart writing that rattles through the quick and successful portions of the Gene Roddenberry show.
Even the simplicity of a classic video game with a one-sentence storyline is not safe from the claws of Hollywood. Should nostalgically mired fans of the Doom video game find themselves with the choice to watch this inarticulate nonsense starring Dwayne Johnson and Karl Urban, they should steer well clear. With no hope of adapting such a simplistic storyline to a feature-length product, Doom, directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, turns into something far removed from the fast-paced pleasure of its source material. Neither hoping to convey a unique or interesting tale that adds depth to the John Romero classic, nor looking to faithfully adapt this work to the big screen, Doom is a questionable work.
Everyone knows how I feel about Marvel films at this point. Mass produced tat made for an ocean of people whose attention spans can’t stretch past vivid CGI effects and falsified emotions that follow an identical track to every other film before and after its respective release. They’re as generic and oversaturated as any long-lasting film franchise, so when I dive into superhero films not related to Marvel or D.C., I’m always rather optimistic. Dredd is one of the few characters in the comic book universe that I have more than a passing interest in, and having been told to avoid the 90s Sylvester Stallone adaptation, Judge Dredd, I’m left with the Karl Urban starring Dredd from 2012.