A long time ago in a galaxy far, far way…no, wait, that’s not right. Space, the final frontier. Yes, that’s it. Is that tag line really relevant anymore? At the time the original series aired our space exploration was in its infancy, if you will, and movies and TV were really limited on what they depicted. Since then we’ve had Star Wars, Alien, Avatar, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Jason X that showed us what space really could be. Star Trek is interesting in the fact that it depicts humanities travels into space at its infancy because they are, for the most part, on exploratory missions. Sure, they’ve mastered warp drive and beaming and all of these things, but Spock makes it a point several times to state that they are there to observe and not to interfere, even though they routinely do.
Star Trek Into Darkness kicks things off with just such an event. Kirk and the crew are trying to stop a volcano from destroying a burgeoning civilization. Of course things go awry and the events have ramifications throughout the rest of the movie, both story wise and character development wise. This time around Kirk is learning what it means to be captain instead of just trying to win the chair. Spock is learning how to use emotions and that serves as both the heart of the movie and the humor.
From the very outset the movie is in high gear. Take a breath during the previews because the pacing of this movie is phenomenal. You will not get a break to pee, or breathe, or even blink (unless, of course, you’re shielding your eyes from the lens flares). The true craft here is weaving all of the story elements into such an action packed movie as this and that is kind of to its detriment. Unlike the first outing, this Star Trek is more style over substance. Not much time is devoted to back stories or motives. Benedict Cumberbatch’s John Harrison has a vendetta against Star Fleet, but I was never totally sure why, or how it came about because it was glossed over so quickly.
One of the things I love, and also hate, about this new franchise is its wry nods to the previous shows and movies. The first movie acknowledged them, but at the same time reset the clock with its clever time travel angle, and Into Darkness goes back to it in a scene that may be considered spoilerish so I’m going to leave it at that. Unfortunately, I think in doing that the creative team is relying too much on older story lines and scenarios. I’m not a Trekkie (or Trekker), but I do enjoy the movies and grew up watching The Next Generation, so I’m familiar with characters and stories and as an avid movie goer I want to see new and original story lines, much like what we saw in the first movie. Not that Into Darkness isn’t original or anything.
For all you Klingon fans out, as you may have guessed after seeing the international trailers, yes, Klingons are featured in the movie, but only briefly. I fear they may be relegated to a kind of Dr. Curt Connors status from Raimi’s Spider-Man movies though. However, there is a little sub-plot featured that could give way to an excellent story for the inevitable third movie though so I would be excited if there was a war between Star Fleet and the Klingons.
Overall, Star Trek Into Darkness was a very enjoyable movie. Its lightning fast pace and exciting action sequence (I count the whole movie as one action scene) kept me entertained even into the lackluster ending.
7 out of 11
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About the movie
Synopsis: After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.
Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch
Director: J.J. Abrams
Runtime: 132 min