Friday, May 17

REVIEW: Star Trek Into Darkness

Directed by. J. J. Abrams
Sci-Fi Adventure
2 hour 3 minutes
From Paramount Pictures,
Skydance and Bad Robot

Chris Pine
Zachary Quinto
Zoƫ Saldana
Benedict Cumberbatch
Karl Urban
John Cho
Simon Pegg
Anton Yelchin
Peter Weller
Alice Eve
Bruce Greenwood

Here is a brilliantly-executed film... and those words come off the fingers of a guy who admits sci-fi adventure films aren't my favorites.  Mind you, I do not dislike them; I just don't always feel like zooming to outer space.  I am more given to smaller films with simpler plots rather than the blockbusters.  And frankly, I don't always understand space stuff (I'll have my IQ tested soon), but is that really the point? 

Isn't it more about the look and feel and fast-action of the film?  Remember that commercial where the guy is sitting in a chair in a largely empty room and the sound system is blowing his long scarf behind him and his hair is joining it.  That's what these types of films mean to me, do to me.  I am utterly blown away with the special effects, the photography, the sharp editing, the colors, the wizardry, the dramatic music, the urgency, the derring-do.  The look of the Enterprise and all other spacecraft makes me gulp with excitement as they are seen terrorizing each other.  Frankly, the look inside the ships is equally mind-blowing.  I think the artists who construct all this are super-heroes. 

I wish everyone could see it at an IMAX.  It's playing about 10 minutes from my house and I journeyed across town to The Henry Ford and caught it at the IMAX there.  Good on me.  Talk about mind-blowing...

In case you don't know my history with the Star Trek franchise (if you're not dying to know, skip this paragraph), there really is none.  I never saw any incarnation of the television series nor did I see any of the movies that came in the 70s, 80s and 90s.  Zip.  Nada.  None.  It wasn't until the franchise was revised and updated in 2009 when a friend and super fan told me I was to join him.  I did and must say that I was hooked. 

I should also add that you're dealing with a guy here who is very skeptical of franchises and remakes and sequels and prequels and the like.  I could count on one hand the films in these categories that impress me but Star Trek Into Darkness has brought me to my knees.  I am humbled.

The title is appropriate as Captain Kirk takes his somewhat reluctant crew into a savage world in the great beyond where he hopes to capture one of their own who is now a renegade super threat named Khan, full of wrath and a singleness of purpose to destroy his former allies.  He also seems completely impervious to pain which makes him all the more menacing.  That's all you need to know.

J.J. Abrams also directed the 2009 entry so there is familiarity that allows him to bring his best to this project.  And he certainly did.  This is obviously a monster of a film and his sure hand is visible everyone.  What flaws it may have are simply too picayune to discuss.

Acting in films such as these usually doesn't appear much on the radar.  Performances are usually completely competent and believable and that is no exception here.  Chris Pine as Captain Kirk seems a little too young to me to be handling these chores but that's not to say he doesn't pull it off and handsomely so.  Perhaps I am just getting a little long in the tooth.  Zachary Quinto is perfection as Spock as is Karl Urban as Bones and Simon Pegg as Scotty and again, the rest of the performances ring true.

I have always loved good villains and I would be remiss not to call some special attention to Benedict Cumberbatch (really?) as Kahn.  He's been around in this millennium doing good work in such films as Atonement; The Other Boleyn Girl; The Whistleblower; War Horse; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The Hobbit.  I hope the bloke gets some much-deserved attention for this one.

This was great fun.  Above all else, movies should be entertaining.  And that's why four stars.  May the force be with you.  Oh, no, wait... scratch that.  Wrong franchise.

The WWII Pinup Queen


  1. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I will definitely see it on IMAX given your glowing review.

  2. Mike saw it with Kyle who didn't want to do the IMAX experience, so when he and I go together, we'll have to see it that way. I have to say, while I've dabbled before, Abrams' work with this new franchise has finally made it a worth-watching enterprise at last. Oh, and I loved the Star Wars shout out at the end. :) Love the little blonde twin.