The second round of J.J. Abrams’ domination of all things Sci-Fi with Star Trek Into Darkness released this weekend with throngs of trekkies and Abrams fans hitting the theaters.
This installment of the revamped Star Trek juggernaut starred all the same actors from the 2009 cast: Chris Pine as James T. Kirk; Zachary Quinto as Spock; Zoe Saldana as Uhura; Karl Urban as Bones; John Cho as Sulu; and Simon Pegg as Scotty. Along with a new face, Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan who will undoubtedly show up again as all us old school trekkies know that there is film from the 80’s called Wrath of Khan (one word: earwig – ew!)…when will this new Khan’s wrath come? No one knows yet, but judging by Cumberbatch’s wicked performance it shouldn’t be too long.
I don’t want to ruin the film with too much synopsis but I’ll give you a brief run down. Captain Kirk is up to usual over the top hero shenanigans and gets himself into trouble only to be saved by his father figure and mentor Pike. There is an attack on a Star Fleet facility in London, which calls all the captains together in an emergency meeting where the unknown assailant opens fire attempting to kill all the leadership and succeeds in murdering Pike thus setting Kirk off on a path of revenge. When Admiral Marcus sanctions an assassination of the assailant violating code many Enterprise crewmembers resist but Captain Kirk demands cooperation and they set off to Klingon territory for the kill. Action, action, action – they capture the assailant instead of kill him and find out his name is Khan.
When the USS Enterprise is crippled on the edge of Klingon territory with Khan on board the motives behind the Admirals sanction of warfare tactics is revealed. Action, action, action (think big, bold, CG brilliance) that results in Khan and Kirk being on the same team, but will Khan play nice? Of course not, which any self-respecting Stark Trek TV or movie viewer would see coming, and things turn once again. Oh, let me not forget there is a cameo by Leonard Nimoy – you can’t miss that! By the end, our captain and crew are once again a family and back out travelling “space: the final frontier. To explore strange new worlds to seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before.”
I find J.J. Abrams’ version of Star Trek to be perfectly suited to today’s audience with a flair for Sci-Fi action along with just the right amount of nostalgia. Although some critics claim that there is too much action and not enough of the subtle commentaries on humanity that was often utilized in the television show – I disagree. Not that I don’t think it could use a bit more depth in its content but a movie is very different from a television show. There is not a lot of time to get through the story and at the end there must be a conclusion or the typical moviegoer will be mad. Personally, I love ambiguity at the end of a film but I’m not your average viewer. Nonetheless, I can say with certainty that this film did not lack in action. In fact, when you think its over there is another action packed obstacle, then another and another until you realize its been a full two hours of non-stop combat.
As for performances, I still enjoy Chris Pine as Captain Kirk because I think he brings his own charm and virility without needing to imitate Shatner. In fact, if he did play the part in a William Shatneresque way it would get old really quickly – so I like how Pine owns this part. Zachary Quinto does a brilliant Spock, but I am a fan of his in general. Put Pine and Quinto together in these roles and you have a fantastic team of fire and ice. I’d also like to give Benedict Cumberbatch a huge shout out as a fierce enemy in this film; his rage and savagery were intense. I loved him!
Unfortunately for me, I read an article about this film before seeing it – not that this article ruined any of the plot points or ending rather tainted my viewing via politics. I won’t give this person any further buzz by giving her credit for her ignorance and idiocy but I’ll just say that this conservative sociopath ranted and raved about the diversity in the film claiming it as liberal propaganda. Apparently this woman is not well versed in the purpose and meaning of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek – in fact, I’m pretty sure if she was a character on the show they’d eject her into deep space nine. Nonetheless, I am angry because it made me see the film differently. I guess that is a lesson learned, never read an inflammatory article about a film you’re going to review before you see it yourself.
Final verdict: if you are a fan or even just mildly enjoy any of the previous Star Trek television shows or movies – go see this film! My mom saw it with me, having been an avid viewer of the original show in the 60’s, and really enjoyed the incarnation. It is a fun movie with plenty of action to keep you entertained for the entire two-hour duration not to mention a boat load of nostalgia. There may not be a whole lot of meaning behind the story other than this: family is what you make of it whether it is by blood or choice.