Star Trek Into Darkness

May 20, 2013 at 11:46 am | Posted in 2013 | 1 Comment
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◊ ◊ ◊ ½

Within the pantheon of Trek movies (there have been an even dozen now), this definitely ranks up there with the best.  It is not as good as “The Wrath of Khan” or “First Contact” but is solidly third on the list.  This one involves the newly minted Captain Kirk, still cocky having never lost a single crew member, learning a thing or two about humility when facing off against the mysterious John Harrison.  Along the way there will be plenty of explosions (and dead crew members) and a healthy dose of the banter and quips that audiences love. The film’s action moves at a blinding pace.  In fact, I confess that I often prefer the slower, more tense and more psychological pace of a film like “Wrath.”  However, the film did not suffer from that awful CGI overload that some films have (eg Transformers)  that make it impossible to follow the action.  There is little I can say about the plot without giving away key plot points and surprises.  What I will say is that it was action-packed, visually interesting and funny.  The acting was par for a film like this, though (as everyone is saying) the breakout star here is Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s “Sherlock,” “Tinker Taylor Solider Spy”) as Harrison.  He brings a cool, intellectual creepiness to the role that is just right. This film is darker (both in theme and in production) than the last one and, while it was appropriate, I missed some of the bright colors and lighting of  “Star Trek,” which helped differentiate it from all the other films in the franchise.  This movie also felt a bit like a set up for every other film going forward.  The first one (of JJ Abrams’ series) changed the timeline and announced a new Trek universe to explore.  This one appeared to try and check off all the highlights from the original universe in rather rapid order (here’s a Klingon, there’s a tribble, that was a reference to the classic Trek episode, “Mudd’s Women,” was that shuttle craft named “Takei?”, oh, THAT Carol Marcus, I think they just mentioned Nurse Chapel, and on).  It felt like Abrams felt the need to wrap up the old universe to move on with the new.  The movie ends with the crew starting it’s fabled 5 year mission.  Much has been made of Abrams jumping ship to the Star Wars franchise.  I say, “good” (god knows, they need him) and he has left this one on pretty firm ground.

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  1. An addendum: as was pointed out to me by a friend, a person’s enjoyment of this film seems directly correlated to their knowledge of Star Trek. If you know nothing, have not seen the shows or most of the movies, then I really doubt you would like this film at all.


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