Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Movie Review: Star Trek - Into Darkness

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great action, fun character interactions
Cons: Not quite classic Star Trek for better or worse
The Bottom Line:
Boldly on mission
Action, characters are great
Enjoyable flick

"That's a Technicality."  "I am Vulcan, Sir.  We Embrace Technicalities."

Every Wednesday, I get together with a group of friends to enjoy some science fiction.  We usually meet at a home, but this week we meet up at the theater to enjoy Star Trek: Into Darkness together.  And what a fun ride it is.

Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) has ignored Starfleet directives one time too many.  He's in the process of being demoted when Starfleet is attacked.  Suddenly, he finds himself back in charge of the Enterprise on a mission to defeat this new villain, John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch).

John Harrison is hiding out on the Klingon home world, and the Klingons and the Federation are on the verge of war.  Anything could set them off.  Kirk's mission is to go in and kill John without anyone knowing that he's even there.  But when the ship has trouble and Spock (Zachary Quinto) gets to Kirk's conscious, things change and Kirk begins to learn things that change what he thought he knew.  What will he do now?

As one friend said, the character interactions in this movie are classic Star Trek.  Even with the little I know about the Original Series, I was able to pick up on some of that.  I was laughing at the new takes on classic lines right along with everyone else in the theater.  And don't get me wrong, there was plenty of humor to enjoy.

And the acting is great.  The entire cast is wonderful at bringing these classic characters to life while still making them their own.  I continue to stand in awe of Zachary Quinto who has the biggest shoes to fill since Spock is such an iconic character.  He's amazing at it.  Benedict Cumberbatch is perfect as our villain as well.

While I wasn't that surprised at the ultimate outcome, I was certainly drawn into the film and enjoyed the ride the entire way.  There is plenty of action to keep you engaged and the special effects are amazing.  This is a big budget action flick, and it delivers on the promise.

However, there are parts that still niggle at me.  Now granted, I am not familiar with the Star Trek cannon.  In fact, what I don't know fills volumes.  However, this movie, like the one before it, has turned it into more of a full fledged action flick.  That's now what the show was, and I feel it looses some of its Star Trekness as a result.

There's also the fact that the movie has some tinges of darkness to it.  I know, I know, it's right there in the title.  Frankly, I don't find this film as dark as the last one.  But both of them are more modern, forgetting the idealized view of the future that the original series offered us.  Okay, so it was never realistic, but I do feel like loosing that is part of what makes Star Trek the franchise it is.

These are both minor quibbles, however, and I seem to be alone in my assessment of the movie as such.  Most fans seem to love Star Trek: Into Darkness as much as the last one.  And even with my feelings overall, I did enjoy watching this one.  But the change in tone is one reason why I remain only cautiously optimistic about J. J. Abrams being in charge of the next Star Wars film.

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