Friday, November 1, 2013

Movie Review: Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)

Movie: Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, & Damien Lindelof
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, & Peter Weller.
One-Line Plot Synopsis: After the crew of the Enterprise finds an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk (Pine) leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction (Cumberbatch).

I did what I think most people do when they’re about to watch a sequel and re-watched the 2009 Star Trek re-boot from director J.J. Abrams and made this into a mini-marathon of a science fiction night at the house.  Everyone does that when a new movie in a series comes out, right?  OK, good, that’s what I thought.  It turned out to be a much longer night than I first anticipated, with both movies being over 2 hours long.  Either way, I knew going into this that I already really liked the first Star Trek, so even if the second one wasn’t as good, I was at least getting one good 2 hour movie out of this.
Into Darkness begins a short while after where the first movie leaves.  Kirk is Captain of the Enterprise, Spock is his first mate (or whatever it’s called in space), and the rest of the crew falls into place again.  Quinto was born to play the role of Spock in a Star Wars re-boot.  Now, since I’m not a Trekkie or anything close to that, I couldn’t tell you about the similarities or differences between this movie and the other movies involving the character Khan.  My only familiarity with him before seeing the film was the scene where Spock yells, “KHHHHHAAAAAN,” as he looks up to the heavens.  


I also don’t know how much of the story for this movie is original compared to something that has already taken place in the original Star Trek.  I would think that some of it is new stuff as we get another dose of the ‘Old Spock’ in this movie with the ‘New Spock’ asking him about Khan and what had happened when they previously faced off.  I think I would rather start with the clean slate of not having to compare this movie and story to the previous ones so that I can make judgments on this movie on its own.  Either way, any reason to insert Benedict Cumberbatch into your movie, I’m all for.
This movie seemed to have a more serious tone than the first one had but that also tends to happen in the sequel to a movie because most of the comedic or light scenes tend to take place in the origin part of the story.  Everything is already set up with the characters and their foundational relationships, so it tends to take much less time to get into the story and dive into what the problems or villains that need to play opposite our characters.  Cumberbatch plays an interesting adversary in Khan and elevates the movie more so than Eric Bana’s character Nero does in the first film.  Khan has a lot more dimension albeit with the same viciousness in his actions.  
I really enjoyed the second installment from Abrams and the cast, although I think I still liked the first movie slightly better than this one.  The special effects still look great and I can see where the $190M budget went.  If they can continue to add multi-dimensional villains into this series, the final frontier is the limit (too much?) for Star Trek.

Rating: 8/10
Side Notes: 
  • I could have really done without Alice Eve’s character of Carol, the daughter of Marcus, who was trying to start an all-out war with the Klingons.  Not only do I think that her character was a forced extra storyline with no real payoff, but I just flat out think she’s a stale and nothing actress.
  • Don’t even get me started on Anton Yelchin and his piss poor caricature of an accent and general terribleness.