Star Trek: Into Darkness
by Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)
In 2009, J.J. Abrams decided to go boldly where no man has gone before. To recreate the Star Trek universe, using the iconic original characters, given to us by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, with fresh actors and a new story line. It was debated whether this new installment would be successful. As we all know, it was, and, it’s standard procedure to follow it up with a sequel to try and build upon the predecessor’s success. Welcome to 2013 and Abram’s latest addition to the Star Trek universe: Star Trek Into Darkness.
The movie starts out a short time after the last. The crew of the Enterprise is on a planet which is home to a primitive society, trying to save it from an exploding volcano. In the process, Spock becomes stranded in the middle of the volcano, forcing Kirk to expose the starship and save him. Back at Starfleet, Kirk is reprimanded and the Enterprise is given to Admiral Pike, demoting Kirk to first officer. However, as this is happening, Commander John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), a rogue Starfleet officer, has declared war on Starfleet. He detonates a bomb in London then stages a sneak attack on Starfleet brass at the Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco. Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller), Pike’s superior, gives Kirk back his ship and tasks him with the order to track down Harrison, who is hiding on the Klingon home planet, and dispose of him.
It’s always an issue when you have different actors who play the same characters. Thus we consciously, or subconsciously, compare actors of old with actors of new. In this case, I don’t think it’s quite fair. The actors of the original Star Trek had a whole TV series where they performed together, and then multiple movies. This new cast: two movies. And although the chemistry is mostly there, it’s not at the level of the originals. With that being said, it’s hard to get a firm grasp on characters when they aren’t given much screen time. Sulu and Chekov are almost afterthoughts in this film with Uhura with slightly more screen time. As expected, the majority of screen time goes to Kirk and Spock. Chris Pine brings the essence of who Captain Kirk is to light while Zachary Quinto finds a nice balance between the intellectual and emotional sides of Spock. Benedict Cumberbatch, as John Harrison, is a real gem in this film. It would have been easy for him to play the role one-dimensional as a terrorist, but he finds the humanity in his decisions and the backstory gives him motive for his decisions. With these three actors running the show, it gives to a well-acted film with enough emotion to give it some depth amidst all the action.
Speaking of the action, this film has plenty. From the initial scene with Kirk escaping a group of indigenous people who are chasing him with spears to terrorist attacks on Starfleet, all the way to the Klingon home world where any misstep could set off an intergalactic war, you are kept on the edge of your seat. Let it be said, if you take a bathroom break, you’re definitely going to miss something. As for the special effects, they are top notch. But Abrams had an almost astronomical budget (about $190 million). The battles on land are fun to watch and the battles in space are even better. It almost feels like this sequel had to top the original, and it does with flair!
Star Trek Into Darkness does seem to take elements from previous films and series and incorporate it into this new installment. Some of it works, some of it feels forced. The twist in the story, which comes about midway through, is one that some may see coming while other may be caught off guard. I, for one, had considered it prior to the film but didn’t even think about it during until it happens. There is also a nice cameo appearance which adds a nice touch to the film and helps further the narrative. And the final climax of the film was definitely not expected, once again paying homage but in its own way with yet another twist.
It is hard to imagine many Star Trek fans putting Into Darkness ahead of Wrath of Khan on their all-time favorite Star Trek film list, but it will definitely make the number two slot, and that’s pretty good. Star Trek Into Darkness provides endless action sequences with good all-around performances and emotion that may bring a tear or two to more than a few people’s eyes. And with the impending success of this latest installment, it’s all but guaranteed another adventure lies ahead for the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars