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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

Review:

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.

C+

13 comments:

  1. Fascinating, it is unfortunate that the movie did not turn out so well. While I enjoy Abrams first Trek and I would rank it second among Trek movies tied with Khan, it was never one of my favorite movies. However, it should be a fun flick to rent. Excellent review, I will include your review in my "Review Roundup" tomorrow.

    -James

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    1. I was expecting something more groundbreaking honestly, this felt like a mash up of a couple of old films.

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  2. ouch. i am ind of surprised by the negative reaction for this. i really dind't like the first movie but i know a lot of others did..

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    1. I really wanted to love this movie but at it's base it's a retread. First one I found enjoyable but never loved it.

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  3. I haven't seen Star Trek into Darkness yet, but will be on Sunday. I gave the 2009's Star Trek a C+ because it was predictable and didn't feel new. I have very high expectations for the sequel because I've heard nothing, but positive reviews from the critics. I'm a tough critic and I want something to stand out, so I hope this one is BETTER than the original. With that said, I won't be surprised if I give this film a C+ or lower, but it isn't guaranteed - it may surprise me big time...

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    1. I'll be very curious to hear your thought Livia!

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  4. I have no love for this film at all.

    I have no affection for Star Trek but only because I have no knowledge of the originals. As a casual observer there was nothing on offer.

    It just felt very by the numbers.

    Maybe the third one will improve? Will we care though?

    Great review. I agree with you on all points except for the performances of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto which I enjoyed

    K :-)

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    1. I agree, nothing really surprised me or kept me in suspense, it was all very predictable. I did enjoy the performances but Pine really felt off to me.

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  5. This movie was action-packed from beginning to end. I really liked it and I sat in my seat the whole time. Okay, I fidgeted a bit but I sat there. :)

    ~~DJ

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  6. I loved this film and as a writer I detected none of the complaints you had. I thought the plot was spot on with the twist not so revealing. It came as a complete surprise to me. I also felt that Pine's performance was far more nuanced this time, particularly in those last moments with Spock. It far surpassed its predecessor, a film I thoroughly love, as I thought Abrams really took Star Trek in a new direction. He really balanced the original Roddenberry creation with his own. My only objection was the gratuitous underwear scene with Alice Eve.

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    1. I'll have to watch it again but the twist, both of them I had figured out well before they were revealed but that's just me.

      I do hope for a totally new story line in the thrid film and I do appreciate they kept a certain villian on ice for use later :-)

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    2. Sometimes I am slower on twists, so it could me. I'm glad you'll watch again, I'm looking forward to seeing again myself. :) I'm happy they kept the guy on ice, too. What a great villain!

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    3. Me too, too many series kill off great villians and I think he could be even better next time around.

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