A necessary edit of one of the weirdest Star Trek films. TM2YC clears up a lot of the oddities in the script, particularly the bizarre conflict between Kirk and Spock. Reducing Khan's fan service elements makes the whole experience move much more smoothly. Unfortunately, I will always have issues with core elements of this film, but TM2YC has done a great job at making this movie significantly more watchable and in line with the tone of the other Kelvin universe films.
This is an excellent example of making a disappointing movie better. I never hated "Into Darkness" since it's at least entertaining for the most part. TM2YC's fanedit removes the absolute worst parts and tightens the pacing throughout while retaining the core spirit of the film. It's still a cheesy flick with a horrible villain and contrite writing, but hey no it's no longer sexist and dumbo.
Into Darkness is a mess of a film. Lots of great moments and scenes and characters, but its bogged down by fifty extra sub plots, a main plot that doesn't make much sense, a lack of overall focus, and a really contrived and awful ending (I don't know about you, but its totally in Spock's character to beat a man within an inch of his life). So I haven't seen the original film in maybe a year or more, so I was ready to be blown away by TM2YC as I often am. Star Trek Vengeance fixes and improves upon most of Into Darkness' original problems!
I was surprised at how much I found myself enjoying the edit. I was trying to remember any differences between this and the original movie (beyond obvious omissions like the strip tease scene, the Kirk bedding two cat ladies scene, and the Nimoy scenes). One specific thing I remember in the original film was that Spock and Kirk were always at each other's throats, which made no sense and was clunky and confused. TM2YC has streamlined that friendship and made them so much more believable! I had to look at the cutlist and rewatch parts of the original film to get a full sense of how this relationship was changed. Also, I had forgotten about the terribly awful Spock/Uhura sub plot, and its omission is a blessing. Now they both feel like real people and not a movie-couple! So much effort was put into this edit, and every single cut made payed off. Vengeance is a great follow-up to 2009 Trek.
I think my only criticism is something that might not have been fixable. I absolutely despise the final action scene, Spock chasing down Khan and punching him forever (and my brain is telling me that Spock starts swearing at Khan). I'm curious if there may have been a way to omit this sequence and somehow end the movie differently. That being said, the small but amazing cuts made to this sequence made it much more enjoyable for me, though I still wasn't a fan. That might be personal preference, and it might not be possible to change that ending. But I must reiterate, this edit is great and needs to go into any modern-Trek lover's library.
I loved his previous Trek project and thus had high hopes for his newest Trek endeavour... and I was not disappointed! :)
Like many, I too enjoyed INTO DARKNESS when originally released, and while I still think it is a very entertaining movie, its flaws become more apparent with each new viewing, particularly in the third act. I would rate ITD my third fave of the new Kelvin movies after Beyond and ST09.
What TM2YC has done here is mostly trims and tweaks, most of which are seamless and serve the narrative well. The two most brilliant edits are the removal of Kirk's demotion and the resequencing of the Khan superblood reveal --- now Spock is motivated to save his friend and not by emotional revenge, which I do not think the original version truly earned. I love these two changes and they immediately elevate this edit above the original cut.
However, the removal of the Uhura/Spock conversation in the shuttle to the Klingon home world does cause some minor narrative weaknesses. The kiss later feels slightly out of place and Spock's emotional journey is slightly softened.
But these are minor quibbles in the over scheme of things, and I found the edit moves at a brisk and engaging pace.
The colour work overall looks very good, though there were a couple of times where things looks a little off, such as the shipboard uniform pants not looking classic black but more teal-ish.
There is also a significant audio sync issue in the edit involving Scotty.
On the flip side, there is some very impressive visual fx work done that I would never even have noticed as not original if I had not been following the original production thread. Bravo TM2YC!!!
All in all, I was thoroughly entertained and would highly recommend this edit.
When Star Trek into Darkness originally came out, I remember it being touted as being the movie to save hollywood that year. It definitely isn't a perfect film and has many loopholes, but I remember enjoying watching it in the theater. Hearing that TM2YC was attempting to fix some of those loopholes, I have been extremely excited to see this edit.
All review content is based on the 18gb Blu Ray AC3 Stereo edition and will focus on the main rating categories. This review will also attempt to be spoiler free until the narrative section.
Audio/Video Quality: 9/10
The AC3 audio sounds great.
The video quality is crisp and clear with only slight blocking during scenes that have a lot of particle effects and or movement (ala Nibiru chase scenes).
Visual Editing: 9/10
TM2YC's visual editing is seamless. Added components such as smoke overlays, new title sequences, removal of ships, etc. are completely natural looking as if they always occurred in the film. This is a textbook example. The color grade is fantastic. I find that I am noticing more in this film because of the more accurate coloring. There may be a bit too much yellow for my eyes, but this is far superior to the official release.
Audio Editing: 9/10
Audio transitions during edited scenes are near flawless in this edit. The only real issue I have with the audio is during the ending of Pike's chastising of Kirk. The audio switch used to end the scene feels a bit off due to the same cue being heard in the following scene. This is more an issue of personal taste though as the execution is flawless.
Narrative: 8/10 *Spoiler Alert*
The main changes to the narrative are handled well in this edit. This is a more streamlined presentation that focuses on the core story and removes content that would otherwise distract from or add to the main focus. The rearranging of certain scenes works great and helps establish certain key elements of this edit.
The beginning scenes of the movie seem to have an extra sense of freneticism due to some editing choices. I personally like the lines regarding the prime directive that were omitted and felt that they helped to strengthen the connection to the OT and its characters. I also feel like this omission removes some of the key components of the OT triangle; Kirk (heroism), Spock (logic), McCoy (compassion). One area that doesn't seem to fit the narrative is Pike's line "It's going to be ok son" around the 20 minute mark. Since there is no demotion, this line doesn't feel right or needed. Speaking of the no demotion of Kirk, this is handled superbly and all scenes concerning this scene have been expertly edited. The added components to the meeting ambush help to create a greater sense of tension and loss which enhance the impact of the scene. Edit choices throughout appear to follow the "Faster, more intense" mindset. While it works to progress the story and cut side plot material and character development, I found myself missing omitted scenes. Certain dialogue such as Spock's line about incurring the rage of Uhura doesn't quite make sense without the lovers quarrel scene that was removed. Again, this is a personal preference.
Upon further watches I noticed that the security guards are sitting in the cockpit with Kirk, Spock & Uhura. It totally makes sense that Spock would not divulge such in their presence as it wouldn't be appropriate. Good edit TM2YC! The inclusion of the deleted scenes are absolutely fantastic and placed expertly to advance and enhance the story.
While this edit does a fantastic job at removing the confusing choice to demote and promote Kirk in the same movie, I had hoped that Kirk's death could have received a more believable resolution. This is no fault of TM2YC as the source material does not allow for such at the moment. While I find that I actually might prefer the original cut more, this was a fun ride and an excellent example of what a quality fan edit should look, sound, and feel like. Thank you TM2YC!
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed this movie and would like a fresh take on it, tolerated this movie but wished for similar changes, and any aspiring faneditor who would like to view an example of superb craftsmanship.