Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
A return to the final frontier and one more opportunity to boldly go, where we have enjoyed going for some time, and will have another thrilling adventure among the stars. J J Abrams returns to the helm and leads the charge for another exciting voyage of the Starship Enterprise in the follow-up to his highly successful Trek reboot. Here is the sequel of excitement, Star Trek Into Darkness.
Right away, we get a sense of a bigger and darker Trek story. After an exciting reintroduction to the crew of the Enterprise, the flick speeds into an epic tale of intrigue with a dash of terrorist driven feverishness. The major villain, known as John Harrison, attacks a Federation establishment and thus provokes a full-out war on Starfleet. Of course because of this, Kirk and the gang, thorough a series of convenient circumstances, are sent to capture the villain. Once Harrison is aboard the Enterprise, things start getting fun. Deception, double-crossing, tense escapes, plot twists, and even a lover’s quarrel all take place here. This flick clearly has a more in-depth story than the 2009 flick with a wild and yet organic continuation of the story of the former. Kirk himself is placed in some personally testing situations when a harsh mirror is placed in front of him, and thus his ego, as he is forced to come to terms with his brashness when concerned with the safety of his crew. The crew of the Enterprise, not always at the fault of Kirk, find themselves thrown into one dire situation after another creating a momentum with the story that grows and moves at a blistering pace like an unstoppable juggernaut.
The stellar cast from the 2009 Trek make a triumphant return here. Simon Pegg returns as Scotty with a meatier part this time having more dramatic and action packed moments. Zoe Saldana comes back as the lovely Uhura with a few moments that have a major impact on the story and once again proves that both her and her character are more than just a pretty face. However very much proving to be just a pretty face, and ending up being literally reduced to objectification for a moment, is Alice Eve as science officer Carol Marcus. Karl Urban is once again brilliant as Bones but is sadly mostly given one-liner type moments and ridiculous analogies to recite. John Cho as Mr. Sulu seems to have been dialed back a bit but has a great, albeit brief, turn in THE chair. Returning as young Chekov is Anton Yelchin and, like Sulu, his moments are turned down a smidgen but is still just as charming as expected. Of course Chris Pine is back as Captain Kirk and is given a chance to take the part to new dramatic depths as he faces his character’s flaws. Zachary Quinto comes back as Spock and, as has been the trend, is allowed to take Spock to greater depths. It is the moments in which Spock struggles to understand the motivations and psyche behind the actions and reactions of humans that he comes through strongest. New to the series is Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain, now only known as John Harrison, who brings a very heightened level of gravitas to the film. He brings to the role with an epic and almost Shakespearian air. Cumberbatch wins the award for the most British name ever and wins the Ridiculously Awesome performance for the flick.
Star Trek Into Darkness proves to be quite the visual experience. Lens flares and sleek techno design continue to be highlights of the film and this installment has lots of that. Once again though, the prowess of the visual effects don’t take away from the story but enhances it. True, there are a few gratuitous shots of the Enterprise herself and the “contemporary” pistol looking phasers may not have been the greatest idea either but the glory shots are almost standard in a big budget Trek venture and the short action sequence taking place in warp more than makes up for that. The few aliens seen aren’t put out on display as a major highlight in say a cantina setting, but are instead placed sporadically and shown as naturally as any other back ground character. Displaying, again, a dynamic visual flair that supports a strong story that is lovely, dark, and deep this sequel maintains the tone established in the earlier film, dashes it with a little grit, and takes this rebooted Trek franchise to a very exciting place.
- Apologies for, again, crossing the streams of the great Civil War of Nerdom; but Star Trek Into Darkness, “The Force is strong with this one.”