Star Trek Into Darkness

Review No. 482

Beam my thumbs up.

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B

DIRECTED BY J. J. ABRAMS. PRODUCED BY ABRAMS, BRYAN BURK, DAMON LINDELOF, ALEX KURTZMAN, AND ROBERTO ORCI. WRITTEN BY ORCI, KURTZMAN, AND LINDELOF. BASED ON “STAR TREK” BY GENE RODDENBERRY. STARRING CHRIS PINE (COMMANDER/CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK), ZACHARY QUINTO (FIRST OFFICER SPOCK), ZOË SALDANA (LIEUTENANT NYOTA UHURA), BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH (COMMANDER JOHN HARRISON), KARL URBAN (LIEUTENANT COMMANDER DR. LEONARD “BONES” McCOY), JOHN CHU (LIEUTENANT HIKARU SULU), ALICE EVE (DR. CAROL MARCUS/SCIENCE OFFICER CAROL WALLACE), BRUCE GREENWOOD (REAR ADMIRAL CHRISTOPHER PIKE), SIMON PEGG (LIEUTENANT COMMANDER MONTGOMERY “SCOTTY” SCOTT), PETER WELLER (STARFLEET ADMIRAL ALEXANDER MARCUS), AND ANTON YELCHIN (ENSIGN PAVEL CHEKOV). ALSO STARRING NOEL CLARKE, NAZNEEN CONTRACTOR, JOSEPH GATT, ANJINI TANEJA AZHAR, NOLAN NORTH, SEAN BLAKEMORE, AND HEATHER LANGENKAMP. FEATURING A CAMEO APPEARANCE BY LEONARD NIMOY. DISTRIBUTED BY PARAMOUNT PICTURES ON MAY 16, 2013. PRODUCED IN ENGLISH AND KLINGON BY THE UNITED STATES. RUNS 2 HOURS, 13 MINUTES. NOT FOR ALL AGES DUE TO SCI-FI VIOLENCE.

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS WAS WATCHED ON MAY 19, 2013.

“KHAAANNNN!” –Captain Kirk

In 2009, director J. J. Abrams struck gold with his Star Trek reboot. His intent was to reinvent Gene Roddenberry’s classic world in a way that would market to virtually everyone, while still maintaining the lighthearted corn that any Star Trek fans love. It’s difficult to do, especially when the series has been ripped apart by skeptics and beaten down to the pulp of a clichéd hand salute, a tall-faced guy with pointed ears, and a Scandinavian bloke named Scotty who “beams people up.” But Abrams tackled it in that effort four years ago, and since then we’ve all awaited Star Trek Into Darkness–every purist as well as every fan of the original work.

And now it’s finally come. If you’re expecting something just as good, or even better, you’ll be disappointed. Into Darkness is a significant step down from its dynamic older brother. But it’s undeniable this sequel is exciting. If you enjoy a good CGI scene every now and then, you’re in for a real treat here. I might as well mention that if you enjoy science fiction in general, you’re in for another as far as story is concerned.

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You know it’s just for entertainment value when a bikini-clad actress randomly appears like so.

Again, forget that this is the Star Trek with a morbidly obsessive cult following. In fact, forget that it’s a sequel to J. J. Abrams’s 2009 work. You could walk into the theater and find every reason to be entertained, regardless of whether you’ve watched the predecessor. Dialogue is hysterically written, with great “odd couple” chemistry between Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto). Their banter is impeccably delivered. Star Trek Into Darkness presents its own story so that we can embrace it, no matter how much we know about the series beyond its obvious clichés.

I’m not sure what to say about the plot itself, though. It seems cohesive, but it’s struggling to Super Glue five different subplots together; by the time the fifth is introduced, J. J. Abrams is searching for cement to stick it all together, while the story drags. First it’s Spock refusing to be saved from a volcano, afraid of being exposed to the enemy Klingon race. Next it’s Uhura’s banter with Spock, who is her love interest. Then it’s Kirk’s concern with Spock’s lack of emotion, a trait that is natural to the half-Vulcan in him. Then it’s seventy-two photon torpedoes. By the time Khan was introduced, I was beginning to check my watch.

I’ve tried not to spoil anything too big. All of the aforementioned barely lead up to the ending. And no, the climactic scenes aren’t particularly involving, but once Abrams has a grasp on the ending, he’s prepared to surprise us. Star Trek Into Darkness is a good movie, to put it in simplest terms. Yes, these characters are, essentially, uptight space cowboys, but the one benefit of the intertwined story lines is that we begin to care about them deeply. There’s a scene in which Spock and Kirk have their hands pressed together, with only a glass door to separate them. Scenes like these are the ones that are downright clichés in any movie, but director Abrams and writers Orci, Kurtzman, and Lindelof still have a way to make them emotionally powerful. Thus Star Trek Into Darkness isn’t just a fun action movie. It’s that too, but if you were to not notice the dramatic depth, it would be because you simply wouldn’t be watching the movie.

“Fascinating.” –Mr. Spock

Pretty in Pink

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