film reel image

film reel image

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness 2013 * * * 1/2 Stars

The above picture is a title image for the movie Star Trek Into Darkness Director: JJ Abrams
Year: 2013
Rated: PG-13
Rating: * * * 1/2 stars
Cast: Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, John Cho

As a kid, I was a huge fan of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). It was probably the first movie sequel I ever saw (Jaws 2 doesn't count; I was only 4 years old). At the time, I proclaimed this "Trek" gem to be the best darn movie in the world. I also burned it in my brain that hey, sequels just plain rule! Hmmm, how times have changed. I see things differently now. But every once and a while, a glimmer of hope seeps its way through the garbage bin that is movie inferiority. Yes, I'm talking about a few part 2's, a couple part 3's, no 4's though (by the way, Fast & Furious 7 is likely to hit theaters next summer, take heed).  

Now, if you've read my most recent reviews, it's obvious that I've never been a huge fan of sequels in general. In my mind, they never quite equal the velocity and sheer magnitude of the original. I'm thinking maybe 2% of all them have surpassed the first one in terms of critical acclaim. I mean come on let's face it, not every part II can be The Godfather. So for some spur of the moment reason, I decided to take in the new Star Trek regardless of my beliefs. After all, a critic must review as many movies as possible. It's our job. With popcorn and Diet Coke in hand, I ventured into a wonderful surround sound theater to witness Star Trek Into Darkness. I gotta say it surprised me wholeheartedly. It doesn't try to outdo and outgun the first one (Star Trek (2009) of the re-imagined franchise). Basically, it sticks to that 2009 release in terms of structure and make up from start to finish. J.J. Abrams, a director who has pretty much hit the big time these days, unleashes his signature shiny look to the proceedings and what you get is a fresh, entertaining, and forceful jolt of movie going hysteria that spills itself all over the screen. While viewing the essence of this "Trek," the action sequences reminded me of the swashbuckling gaudiness of Raiders Of The Lost Ark mixed with the sci-fi kinetic motion of Minority Report (Abrams is a big Spielberg fan so there you go).  

This summer goose bump adventure finds our heroes dealing with a superior villainous specimen who's initial name is Starfleet agent John Harrison. This Harrison later reveals himself to be Khan, a superhuman with uncanny life-recovery mechanisms who's been asleep for 300 years. He awakes from his slumber bent on destroying the enterprise and causing worldwide mass destruction. Khan is played by Benedict Cumberbatch and he's a British actor who's stare could literally cut through glass.

I'm gonna turn over a new leaf and not reveal too much so I'll say this, what makes Star Trek Into Darkness such a delight is that there is never a dull moment, never a time when you might look at your watch, and all along you get spine tingling excitement coupled with a feasible, easy to follow script. The actors (Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto for example) make it look effortless and fancy free. They seem to nail their parts and do exactly what's called for. I especially thought Peter Weller as Starfleet Admiral Marcus was a very nice touch as well (I missed you Robocop). As in the previous installment, they replicate the old Star Trek characters from back in the day (you know Spock, Sulu, Scotty, etc.). Most of them do flat out impersonations but that's okay by me (a lot of these guys look like the old characters as well). I'd say they get away with it. But heck, there's not a lot of time to analyze much in the realm of character development because these guys literally get whisked from one exuberant set piece to the next. To put it mildly, fast paced is an understatement when it comes to Star Trek Into Darkness. It's also got a little bit of biting humor as well (the gibber jabber between Captain Kirk and Spock is priceless). Basically, it's a popcorn flick done right and it could satisfy the most defensive of summer moviegoers (I sometimes have my reservations about bloated summer movies that spew hot air so I'm one of these people). 

So for all you Trekkies and non-Trekkies out there (hey anybody can enjoy this bad boy), I'll leave you with this tag line for any Star Trek adventure: "to boldly go where no man has gone before." I'll even throw women in the mix as well. How bout everyone get their shields down and see this sequel. It's one of the few good ones. 

Written by: Jesse Burleson

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