Friday, May 17, 2013
MOVIE REVIEW: STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
The Star Trek franchise continues with this follow-up to 2009's J.J. Abrams-directed reboot. Abrams returns to direct from a script by Damon Lindelof and the writing team of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. The crew of the Enterprise engages in an epic battle of good versus evil after being summoned home, only to discover Starfleet in ruins, and they venture into a war zone to find the powerful villain (Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch) responsible for the devastation. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi
Director: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana.
Release Date: May 16, 2013
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence.
Runtime: 2 hr. 12 min.
Genres: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
4 years ago J.J. Abrams restarted the Trek universe by moving it into an alternate time in order remove the burden of years of mythology to deal with. His new version was fun and had a certain pop while removing most of the subtext in most of the classic Trek shows and movies. As a long time fan of Star Trek I’ve had a weird relationship with the reboot because I like it but never warmed up to it as much as new fans. Still, I was interested in seeing where Abrams would take the franchise with the opportunity to blaze his own trail and tell his own stories. Star Trek Into Darkness delivers all the visual spectacle and massive action set pieces (a duel space flight and the Enterprise’s out of control decent to Earth in particular stand) to appease the summer blockbuster hordes. The story this go around is darker, duh, and more nuanced with plenty of real world parallels readily evident. Long time fans will have plenty to geek out over like redesigned Klingons, Birds of Prey and if you look carefully the Enterprise NX-01 and Zefram Cochrane's warp ship. Needless to say, there’s plenty of fan service throughout the film. Unfortunately, there are a multitude of issues with the film. While the over all plot is better the script itself is a disappointment. A large chunk of the dialogue sounds incredibly clunky with some of the speeches sounding kind of silly. Chris Pine, who did a solid job in the original film, is rather wooden this time around. There are times where his line delivery just comes off as disinterested. Zachary Quinto fares much better but it’s not on the same level as his debut as Spock. Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Simon Pegg and to a smaller extent Anton Yelchin get moments to shine but they are in the background more often than not. Benedict Cumberbatch delivers the best performance of the bunch with his bellowing voice used to maximum villainous effect here. His character is the crux of a major twist. Sadly, said twist is so obvious that most people should be able to figure it out in the first act if not earlier. It’s a common theme as there are numerous moments that the filmmakers clearly expect to make a huge impact but they fail because it’s all so obvious. For a reboot series that tried so hard to tear itself away from it’s past, a lot of this feels incredibly familiar. I could go through a list of films that it borrows from but I’d spoil most of the plot. New fans should find plenty to enjoy and I did like it more often than not but not nearly as much as I did the first time around.