MOVIE REVIEW | ***TREK WEEK*** Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)

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I know old school Trek fans may think this is blasphemy, but JJ Abram’s 2009 reboot of the series was the only one that made me genuinely psyched to see what comes next.  Sure, Wrath of Kahn got me a little curious about what would happen after Spock’s death, but ‘a little curious’ was about the extent of it.  But when I pressed play on Star Trek: Into Darkness, I was actually excited to see where these incarnations of the Starship Enterprise crew would take the story.

In a great opening that does the job of any opening in a sequel, we get a fun set piece that reminds us who’s who and what they’re all about.  Chris Pine’s Capt. Kirk is the impulsive loose cannon who never thinks things through.  Zachary Quinto’s Spock is the epitome of Vulcan logic who can’t understand the wacky humans and their even wackier emotions.  Simon Pegg’s Scotty is the comic relief, Zoe Saldana is as hot and as no bullshit as ever as Uhura, and Karl Urban is Bones.  With John Cho and Anton Yelchin as Sulu and Chekoc respectively falling victim to character overlard and not getting very much to do.  The additions this time around include Alice Eve, the too-hot-to-be-a-scientist scientist and potential Kirk love interest.  The ludicrously Britishly named Benedict Cumberbatch as bad guy (but is he bad?), Kahn.  And Peter Weller as Starfleet Commander Marcus, an ally (but is he an ally?).

Early on in Star Trek: Into Darkness, there’s a terrorist attack on Starfleet perpetrated by Kahn.  Kirk and his crew are sent after him with the orders to kill on site.  When they catch up with him, Kirk decides to take Kahn alive so he can be tried for his crimes.  This is where we get Kahn’s back story and learn his motivations are fuelled by being abandoned by Starfleet  This is one area where the remake doesn’t quite have the impact if the original.  In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, Kirk and his crew had history with Kahn and were personally responsible for what he became.  This time around, the links are a little more manufactured and a little less effective.

Kahn’s capture unveils a greater threat from within Starfleet, leading to Kirk reluctantly teaming up with Kahn to defeat a greater evil.  It all gets a little convoluted and overblown at this stage, but none of that matters, because Abrams knows when to push the story aside for a cool action set piece.  The final sequence being especially great.  Even if the ‘super blood’ and its plot device purpose were telegraphed a mile away.

There are only two things that kind of bugged me about Star Trek: Into Darkness.  The original series built a really strong dynamic between Kirk, Spock and Bones, but I don’t think the reboot has really figured out how to use Bones yet.  It’s almost like once the writers figure out how to shoehorn in a use of, “Damn it, I’m a doctor, not a (insert punch line here)”, they think they’ve done all they need to with the character.  The other problem I had was Alice Eve as a scientist.  I’m not saying good looking people are never smart, but Alice Eve is a kind of pretty that’s too perfect.  She almost looks more like a doll than a real person.

To me, as a casual viewer at best, I’d have to say the Trek franchise seems stronger than ever.  And for the first time, I’m excited enough about what comes next that I’ll probably even pay a few bucks opt see it in a cinema.

Star Trek: Into Darkness
Directed By – JJ Abrams
Written By – Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof

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