Star Trek Into Darkness

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JJ Abrams strikes back with a darker film than the first chapter of his “Star Trek” reboot.

Kirk and co. fight for survival in space as they face their greatest enemy yet in a big budget action packed summer spectacular.

Starfleet is severely crippled when a man named Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) bombs a research facility, and then makes a direct assault on Starfleet Headquarters, killing many of its top officers and officials. After Scotty (Simon Pegg) discerns where a fleeing Harrison transported himself to, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of the Enterprise are assigned to travel to the distant planet and obliterate him from afar using a new, technologically advanced torpedo.

Unfortunately for them, the planet that Harrision has hidden himself on is the Klingon homeworld.

Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Bones (Karl Urban) will have to decide whether assassinating a man without a trial is something that they’re willing to do. Further, the act of aggression against the Klingons could launch an interstellar war. They’ll also face challenges when they discover the true identity of Harrison, and the nature of the weapons programs that created the torpedos they’ve been given. Before it’s all said and done, the Enterprise and crew will be fighting for its very survival. With the help of Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), Sulu (John Cho) and their new science officer Carol Wallace (Alice Eve), Kirk will have to find a way to keep the Enterprise in one piece after being outmatched and outgunned.

As with most second installments, “Into Darkness” is a much darker film than the first offering in the series (if the title didn’t give that away). The crew of the Enterprise is given a morally questionable mission in response to a terrorist attack, and wind up in a fight for their lives against enemies both within and without. Though still not without its share of comedic beats, the tone is much more serious this time out.

Following the pattern of the first Abrams’ Trek offering, “Into Darkness” is an action packed film filled with death-defying leaps, phaser battles and Starship shootouts. There are plenty of fist fights, a couple of bomb disarmament countdowns, and of course, the requisite engine room emergency, where the engines need to be brought back on-line or else the ship will be demolished and everyone on board will die. It’s a big budget action movie in space; light on the sci-fi concepts, heavy on the adrenaline. I may prefer my “Trek” a little more thought-provoking and character based, but I can’t deny the thrills and chills presented here.

The reboot crew lives up to their performances in the first film; some are excellent at reprising the roles they’ve been given (Quinto, Urban) others not as much (Pine, Yelchin, Saldana), but they all work fine together onscreen if you’re willing to not compare them to their original counterparts. Benedict Cumberbatch is a seething, scowling villain. He’s short on charisma but long on menace. Alice Eve brings some “pretty” to the table, but not much more. As an ensemble, however, they more than get the job done together. They manage to stand out and apart amidst an array of action beats, imparting charm and drama in the downtime.

“Into Darkness” also features a number of callbacks to the original TV series and films, particularly to the second movie, “The Wrath of Khan”. Some of these worked for me, and left me smirking at being in on an in-joke, others had me rolling my eyes and wishing the new series would cut the cord to the past completely.

Regardless, the film winds up being just the type of summer spectacular you would hope for. It’s plot isn’t exactly airtight, but it has deft enough sleight of hand to keep your mind off of its flaws and focused on the fun.

A-

Daniel Fogarty

97 thoughts on “Star Trek Into Darkness

  1. I really enjoyed the fun and breezy feel of the first movie so if this one is ‘darker’ I probably won’t like it as much as the 1st part. Also why is Alice Eve everywhere? There are tons of prettier actresses with actual acting talent.

    • LOL. No acting talent required for this role. I think she barely had ten lines, and then she got undressed to her underwear at one point. It was shameless. :D

      Definitely darker and more serious. Not that its not still action packed summer fare, but definitely a more serious, ominous tone to this one I thought. Hope you still enjoy it though!

      • Alice Eve participated in a live “Google+ Hangout” with the astronauts on the ISS. Lets just say she didn’t come off looking like the brightest bulb in the tool shed.

      • Still, who’s expecting her to do rocket science? LOL

        Even with my caveman proclivities, that scene where she changes clothes was the most blatant excuse to show a scantily clad woman ever. LOL

  2. Great fun was had. Was it a flawless? Not by a long shot, but it was fun and a worthy follower to the 2009 film. As a Trekker I had only one major wtf moment (Capt. Pike) but otherwise I was fine with most of it. Really, my only problem with the film was with its length… I missed the last 2 minutes because I’m old and my bladder cant take 32 oz of diet coke and last 132 minutes. (Stupid getting old! :( )

    But both me and the Missus both had a good old time at the movieplex.

    • And that’s what its there for… thus the medium-high grade. I cant be as dismissive of its flaws, there were some serious moments where I was like, “Oh Cmon…”

      Still, on the balance, it was a decent follow up to the 09 flick, it was fun, there were a bunch of cool action sequences, and the cast had some cool moments.

      Next time, buy the coke and hold off until the middle of the movie or something ;)

      • So, just re-watched ST:Wrath of Khan last night, and I gotta say, there’s really an awful lot there that doesn’t actually bear up under close examination either… And it’s still the best of the movies. In 30 years our descendants might be looking back on this one as ‘one of the best’… Who knows.

      • Mmmmmm… I dont recall holes like “Into Darkness” had, except maybe for the fact that Kirk lets an incommunicado ship pull right up alongside without raising shields. In his defense, it was Federation. what was it you’re seeing? I just watched it recently myself and nothing bugged me….

  3. Good review, Fogs! Unlikle your good self, I couldn’t look past what I saw as many, many flaws with this film (I won’t mention them here, but you can read about it in my own review) but in terms of entertainment and spectacle, it’s a highly improbabe, exciting (and adreanlie-charged) outing. Consider youself linked!

    • Thanks Rodney. I thought there were flaws, too, definitely, but for the most part the movie kept things moving and kept my brain from revolting. There was a lot of action and spectacle, and that kept my mind off complaining.

  4. Nice review mate! Agree with your points, totally. Interesting that you don’t think Pine is all that as Kirk though. I kind of agree with you although I don’t know how much of that is poor writing. They seem to want to turn him into a complete idiot, a bit of a playboy, etc.

    • Yeah, a bunch of it is the poor writing. I mean, Shatner’s Kirk definitely had a bit of a renegade in him, played fast and loose with the rules, took some chances, etc… but this new guy they’re making out to be a complete loose canon with almost insane disregard for life and limb. LOL So, a lot of it is writing. I just think overall if you were to have all the cast members do an impersonation contest, his Kirk would place 5th? 8th? Out of all the other potential impersonations. He just doesn’t remind me of Shatner at all, while other characters do remind me of their predecessors…

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  6. I surprisingly didn’t hate Alice Eve as much as I thought I would. Her scene where she was undressing was still pretty pointless. Regarding the plot, I saw someone complain about them being able to get 72 bodies out of those rockets in the span of 10 minutes, and all I could think was: “….this movie is set in space.”

    • “Her scene where she was undressing was still pretty pointless.” LOL. Super pointless!

      I cant forgive all of its flaws just because its based in space and thus requires a certain suspension of disbelief from the get go though. One of the biggest things that bugged me for example was that that huge starship crashes right in the middle of a city at the end. Must have killed 10x the number of people than 9/11. Yet no one ever says anything, and Kirk is still hailed as a hero! 8O I think there might have been an inquiry as to how he handled things, you know? :D

      • Saw these tweets from Lindeloff, thought they were interesting…

        Damon Lindelof ‏@DamonLindelof:
        I copped to the fact that we should have done a better job of not being gratuitous in our representation of a barely clothed actress.

        Damon Lindelof ‏@DamonLindelof:
        We also had Kirk shirtless in underpants in both movies. Do not want to make light of something that some construe as mysogenistic.

        Damon Lindelof ‏@DamonLindelof:
        What I’m saying is I hear you, I take responsibility and will be more mindful in the future.

        Damon Lindelof ‏@DamonLindelof:
        Also, I need to learn how to spell “misogynistic.”

      • LOL. At least this movie didn’t completely implode, as some of his others have. Meanwhile, it’s hard to deny responsibility for something so blatantly obvious, so it doesnt surprise me now that they’re copping to it… LOL

  7. Overall I enjoyed the movie. However, the downside were the direct references to other … Um ..Trek moments, because it kept reminding me that I loved it way more the first time around. If those moments hadn’t been exact replicas with a twist, I would’ve enjoyed the movie more,

    I want to say that I love what they did with the Klingons. As much as it pains Trek fans, Star Trek: Enterprise remains the only Trek show that is in continuity with the JJ Abrams Trek. Hence: the much hated explanation as to why the Klingons don’t have head ridges in TOS? It’s canon. But here, Abrams gives them cool masks to remind us of the TNG Klingons we love, plus their new look isn’t exactly just the dudes in bronzed from TOS, they look suitably alien and foreign, and they bear a whiff of that warrior culture. I really liked their look.

    • “Overall I enjoyed the movie. However, the downside were the direct references to other … Um ..Trek moments, because it kept reminding me that I loved it way more the first time around. If those moments hadn’t been exact replicas with a twist, I would’ve enjoyed the movie more,” Agreed! And so did everyone on my podcast last night.

      I liked the Klingons, too. I wish we got more of them! Maybe next time, eh?

    • Thanks Vic. Yeah, let’s hope that the third one doesn’t “Search” for anybody. LOL. Or hunt whales.

      That was a poorly advised idea for them to do that, it’s been getting a lot of backlash. :(

    • Yeah, there was some fun involved along the way, sure. Quinto is a great Spock, and I think Urban is a great bones. It was a fun summer movie, but I still hold out hope that one day they just make a great movie, period. :(

  8. I will agree that the movie is fun enough to look past its flaws, and good thing too, ’cause otherwise this could have been disastrous. Good review, Fogs. :)

    • I dont blame either of the actors really, I’m sure it’s script based. Pegg and Yelchin (Chekov) are obviously supposed to be comic relief characters in this new series… which… doesn’t do their original characters any justice.

      I just think in Kirk’s case, they’re writing (and playing) him as a young punk… and as much of a renegade as Kirk was in the original series, he was never THAT much of a hothead. :(

      • Yeah having two comic relief characters suggests to me a little bit of indecision as to what to do with them.
        Agree on the other point, it might well have been a good move to have toned down that ‘hothead’ aspect a little in the second one.

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