Movie: “Star Trek Into Darkness” Boldly Goes
May 18, 2013
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
It has been a long wait for Star Trek fans, new and old alike, for the latest installment of the reboot series. The first film in the new series came out in 2009 giving fans years to discuss possible villains, plotlines, character deaths and romances and everything in between before the recently released sequel. So the question ends up being: was the wait worth it? The answer: kind of, depending on what you were waiting for. For those who have been avoiding spoilers, beware.
When Starfleet is attacked from within its own ranks, the crew of the Enterprise, led by Captain Kirk (Chris Pine, Rise of the Guardians), is tasked with destroying the man responsible, John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch, TV’s Sherlock), who has escaped to an uninhabited portion of a Klingon planet. Instead of killing him with the 72 “prototype photon torpedoes” as instructed, Kirk brings Harrison aboard the ship to bring him back to Earth so that he can stand trial for the terroristic acts he has committed. It does not take long for Harrison to have Kirk thinking that the Starfleet admiralty had a hand in orchestrating the entire situation they find themselves in and the two are forced to work together to reach, what Kirk believes, are mutual goals. Quickly, Kirk realizes his mistake and, in order to save his crew, the only family he has, he must accept his limitations and pull himself together, mentally and emotionally, if he wants to defeat Harrison who reveals himself to be the banished, genocide creating, superior alien, Khan.
I will unashamedly admit to the fact that I A.) saw this film at the midnight showing and B.) am a fan of both TOS and Next Generation; all of that being said, I owe those points to the rebooted series, as that film was what got me into Star Trek. Needless to say I was one of the many who was patiently waiting for Star Trek Into Darkness to hit the big screen for the past four years and I have to admit that, although I did enjoy it, it did leave me a bit disappointed.
The film is an entertaining, fun, action flick. Like usual the script has a good mix of drama, angst and comedy throughout. These elements are spotlighted when the crew of the Enterprise get to interact together, no matter how brief that may be. Pine has great chemistry with Zachary Quinto (Spock) and their characters inability to relate in this film worked well emotionally; the comedy bits between Pine and Karl Urban (Bones), Zoe Saldana (Uhura) and Simon Pegg (Scotty) are always fun to watch.
Truly one of the greatest parts of Star Trek is falling in love with the cast, all of whom deserve their paychecks. As the new villain on the block, Cumberbatch’s Kahn is menacing, conniving and ruthless and the amount of emotions he can display in the span of thirty seconds is kind of incredible. To take on such an iconic character and make it your own is extremely difficult and risky, but he did a great job and was quite brilliant.
Two actors that also need to get credit are Quinto and Pegg. Quinto portrays Spock’s near constant struggle between his Vulcan side and his human side so believably and, I thought, he absolutely nailed the delivery of a certain iconic line (delivered originally by William Shatner). Pegg, a fan favorite, was given a lot more to do this film and every single scene he was in felt so authentic; he really just inhabits the character of Scotty so perfectly. Although they were not featured a lot, which is a shame, Karl Urban (Bones), John Cho (Sulu) and Anton Yelchin (Chekov) were fantastic with what they were given.
For all of the films stellar elements there are certainly issues. Before the film premiered and it was revealed that Cumberbatch was indeed playing Khan (worst kept secret) many diehard fans, and thus the internet at large it seems, were extremely upset and offended with the “whitewashing” of the iconic character. Khan was originally played by Ricardo Montalban, who was of Mexican descent, and many fans did not understand why a person of color could not be cast instead.
After all of these years of waiting, the plot could have been more cohesive and creative and the writing could have been sharper. The biggest issue I had with the film though, was that it often felt like any generic action movie and not like Star Trek. It just as easily could have been any random set of characters in space. There was just something off about it and it seemed to be more about style than substance.
So if you are invested in this film because you just think it is fun and entertaining you will not be disappointed, but if you are in it for the any other reason (extensive character development and sharp/ creative storylines, perhaps?) you may leave the theater with a small ache in your chest.
Star Trek Into Darkness is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence. It is in theaters now.