Sacrifice and Sensuality in Star Trek: Into Darkness

Posted: July 8, 2013 by jperritt in Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
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Star-Trek-Into-Darkness-Poster-HD-WallpaperOkay, I know Star Trek: Into Darkness has been out since May and that makes it ancient in this fast-paced culture, but I just got the chance to see it. This film had all the necessary ingredients for a summer blockbuster: spectacle, intriguing story, great acting, humor, tension, sacrifice and sex (more on that in just a minute).

First off, let me just say that I continue to appreciate the work of J. J. Abrams. He has a knack for cultivating a nuance to the action/sci-fi genre while still bringing a certain level of nostalgia into his pictures. He has consistently accomplished this in his films and television series – Super 8 being a prime example. All of this to say, I am very hopeful with his forthcoming Star Wars films.

Back to Star Trek, it was such a satisfying film. The visuals were very impressive – everything from the exterior and interior design of the various spacecrafts, to the futuristic details of San Francisco and London. [Side Note: San Fran gets abused this summer. Alcatraz is destroyed in this film and The Golden Gate Bridge is demolished in Pacific Rim.]. The creativity, however, does not solely reside in the visuals but the various scenarios the characters find themselves in. One of the highlights is Captain Kirk and Khan’s outer-space-free-fall to board their “enemies” ship. The human minds which cultivated that idea from a sheet of paper to the illuminated silhouette on the silver screen explicitly points Christians to our amazingly, creative God.

This entire film would simply be shallow spectacle, however, were it not for the acting. An area the cinema has definitely refined has been the level of acting that frequents this genre. Acting and story were typically sacrificed some years back, but now they are just as central to the special effects. The ensemble cast that comprises the U.S.S. Enterprise is as well-developed as their acting. Not to mention the twists that add a deeper level of drama for the audience/characters.

Sacrificial Love

The theme of sacrifice throughout this film [spoilers]. In fact, the verse that continually came to mind was, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13]. This film constantly portrayed characters willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of another. Spock does so in the opening scene, Bones is willing to explode for Carol’s sake, and Kirk willingly pursues death to save his entire crew.

Obviously the greatest example we have of this is Jesus Christ, which makes various portrayals something that should be applauded because they point us to the greater sacrifice.

Summer Sensuality

And of course, no Hollywood film would be complete without exploiting the human body. This is one aspect of the first Star Trek film, as well as, this one that bothers me. There is one completely unnecessary scene that hints at sensuality and a second scene that shows a women undressing.

Two thoughts come to mind when addressing sex making its way into almost every film – one negative and one positive. Negatively, this shows how uncreative Hollywood can be. I was, earlier, praising Abrams for his creativity, but the only thing creative about showing a woman undressing is how a filmmaker creates a scenario where that becomes a possibility in a space-action movie. This is simply cheap, exploitation employed to sale tickets.

Positively, although Hollywood and filmmakers put cheap sensuality in most of their films, they are drawing from a deeper truth that should be appreciated. That truth? Sex is powerful. Why is it powerful? Because God designed it to be. As we know, human sexuality is designed to draw a man and a women together in marriage. However, when it’s exploited from that context, it is still powerful, but it is being abused by its misuse of power.

Concluding Thoughts

Star Trek: Into Darkness is currently the highest-rated summer blockbuster this year (putting it above Man of Steel and Iron Man 3!), and I think it is well-deserved. It is really everything you are looking for in a summer movie. Even though there is an abuse of power, there is still truth that is being highlighted. And, let’s not forget the theme of sacrificial love that’s throughout. While Hollywood will continue to exploit powerful truths, let us not forget we worship a God whose hands are not tied. He is reigning and ruling over every filmmaker and every truth, no matter how much we try to exploit it, will ultimately bring him glory.

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