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To Boldly Flunk
A review of Star Trek: Into Darkness

(Paramount Pictures)



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All of this would be more forgivable if this were merely a giddy action movie set in the kind of campy, essentially weightless universe that some iterations of Star Trek have served up. But Abrams isn’t content with giddiness: He wants to evoke the earnest, humanist side of Trek, which is why there are echoes of 9/11 and pauses in the action where the characters debate the Prime Directive and just-war theory.

The problem is that the earnestness is impossible to take seriously in a movie whose Starfleet is run like a high-school prom committee rather than a professional military organization, whose pseudo-scientific rules (the geeky glory of the Trek universe, in other contexts) are suspended whenever the writers feel like it, and whose finale asks us to care more about the outcome of a fistfight than the deaths of tens of thousands of San Franciscans a few blocks away.


Contents
June 17, 2013    |     Volume LXV, No. 11

Articles
Features
Special Energy Section
Books, Arts & Manners
  • Jonah Goldberg reviews The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure, by Kevin D. Williamson.
  • Theodore Dalrymple reviews Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience, by Sally Satel and Scott O. Lilienfeld.
  • Galen Mac Caba reviews Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century, by Christian Caryl.
  • Jay Nordlinger discusses James Levine, one of the great conductors of our age.
  • Ross Douthat reviews Star Trek: Into Darkness.
  • Richard Brookhiser discusses summer weeds.
Sections
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .