Criticizing the Critic
(Picture above: Kim Newman)
Kim Newman has made a career out of championing the more esoteric of horror shlock (a genre I love and hate), as well as being a novelist (who isn't these days?). He studied at the University of Sussex, which is some kind of school, I gather.
The most recent film we have both viewed is Star Trek: Into Darkness. I admit I was interested in reading a review from an Bram Stoker Award recipient and author of alternate history fiction, but after reading Kim's review I was disappointed. Not for positive or negative review, but for its general banality. Perhaps I should read a review and then watch a movie to change things up, see how the review affects my viewing as opposed to Siskel&Ebert-ing it.
On to the review of the review.
First is a reference to the Doctor Who universe, where Kim has written licensed fan fiction for, and then a comment on franchised universes.
Of course there is the obligatory explanation/backstory for those that haven't seen the first film, that extends into a television reference to prove he's watched the original series as a way to juxtapose his knowledge of the Trek universe against Abrahms "fanboyish" method.
It's mostly ignored that the Star Trek (2009) film exists in a universe that has a history and its future is being altered . Let us think about that word "history". That means all the elements that Kirk and co. could face will happen in different ways. Khan isn't just going to disappear, he's going to show up in a different way. Telling us how he shows up in contrast to the original sucks up all the fun, Kim. You act like "boldly going where no one has gone before" isn't happening. Imagine if you went back to the house you had grown up in and new owners had renovated: you would get a mix of old memories in a new environment. But that's just me.
The fun sucking continues with a further comparison to the original films, and a comment on mixed races.
A few quotes from the original series are pulled out and trotted alongside the new movie, and how it doesn't follow the rules of the Star Trek universe (a giant hint I got out of the first movie was "pay no attention to the little series that started this". I was apparently the only one who got it).
What Kim never gets to is if the film works. He's too busy commenting on the politics surrounding the film, and the "fan-pleasing" concerns to say anything more than the movie is more fun than the original movies. That's like comparing Tim Burtons "Planet of the Apes" to "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and saying "Well, at least there were more jokes." There is no basis of comparison since both versions drew drastically different conclusions and inspirations based on the novel by Pierre Boulles. They are completely different universes. As is the original Star Trek film series and the new version.
Kim asks for changes, but offers no alternatives. Odd, since Kim Newman is known for writing alternate history books of fantasy and fiction.
I give this a -2 out of a +5
Should you read his reviews? They don't offer any wit or greater understanding of what you are going to see, so it's up to you. I wouldn't.
Leave a Reply.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.