With a limited knowledge of the Star Trek lore and equally limited knowledge of Benedict Cumberbatch, I went into Star Trek – Into Darkness not expecting a great deal, and went out 2 hours later feeling quite happy with what I had just seen; perhaps moreso than I anticipated.
Into Darkness is the sequel to J.J. Abrams‘ 2009 reboot of the Star Trek franchise, which is probably (and I’m very ashamed to admit this) the only Star Trek related piece of work that I’ve actually seen the entirety of. I have, however, seen enough of the original Star Trek films and episodes to know that Into Darkness is a charmful tribute that will be adored by many a Trekkie.
Benedict Cumberbatch plays the film’s villain, a man named John Harrison; the man responsible for a series of bombings that have been taking place in London, which is something that, of course, attracts the attention of our heroes. After Harrison pulls an attack on the very Starfleet HQ in San Fransisco, good old Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his stone-cold but “logical” companion Spock (Zachary Quinto), having lost command over the U.S.S. Enterprise after a jeapordized mission, are re-promoted by the Starfleet Admiral (played by Peter Weller) due to Commander Pike (Bruce Greenwood) having been killed during the attack, with the mission to find and arrest John Harrison.
As they find out that Harrison is hiding in the system of Kronos, home of the Klingons, Kirk and his crewmembers meet with some unplanned complications. Scotty (Simon Pegg), for one thing, doesn’t want to take the risk of travelling into Klingon territory during war-time, especially not with photon torpedoes, and so decides to stay behind. They also get a new crewmember in the form Carol Wallace (Alice Eve), who may not be who she claims she is. Either way, they eventually being their voyage to Kronos, where they find out, not only the motivation behind Harrison’s attacks, but also his true identity, which is actually rather interesting.
Also aboard the Enterprise are Lieutenant Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Lieutenant Commander McCoy (Karl Urban), Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu (John Cho), Ensign Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and a bunch of other people that get two seconds of screentime each. Tops.
The most enjoyable castmember, though, is probably Benedict Cumberbatch, who with his surprising voice (I seriously had no idea he went that deep) and menacing face makes for a lovely villain. Another favourite is Zachary Quinto, who, at least as far as my Star Trek knowledge is concerned, channels Leonard Nimoy pretty skillfully (when he isn’t being, ya know, emotional). I’m not really sure Chris Pine’s interpretation of Captain Kirk is quite up to par, though. I’m unable to put my finger on what it is, but he doesn’t make me think of William Shatner. Maybe he just needs some more hamminess and melodramatic pauses. I dunno.
As a movie, Star Trek – Into Darkness is a pretty good one. It builds on interesting concepts, provides strong performances, has a lovely score and, judging from the perpetual cackling of the irritating round girl on the row behind mine, there are some really funny moments in it as well, especially ones that are call-backs to the classic show and movies, I reckon. The effects, of course, are top-notch and even though J.J. Abrams’ almost outright bizarre obsession with lens flares remains intact this time around, I feel like I’ve grown accustomed to it, not that I ever found it that irritating in the first place. The film is, however, in 3D. The only thing I can think of that looked cool were the title cards.
Overall, I think both these films in general do their job nicely. A good remake or reboot should enthrall the viewer to the point where they are encouraged to further explore the lore of the franchise in question, which is exactly what Abrams has done for me by telling his versions of Star Trek. I am already looking forward to the next adventure. In modern day Hollywood, where remakes are the norm and originality almost seems to be a concept long forgotten, the Star Trek movies are some of the better ones. I recommed that you check both of them out if you haven’t already.
Live long and prosper. Because let’s face it, there’s literally no other way to sign off a Star Trek review.