Thursday, May 16

Star Trek Into Darkness Review

Star Trek Into Darkness
Dir: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, and Benedict Cumberbatch

The manipulation of the past and the future has played a key role in the reboot of the Star Trek Franchise. Remaining authentic to creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision and crafting a new identity for Star Trek has left some Trek fans angered at the disregard of the past while others feel a newfound direction was needed. Star Trek Into Darkness may not please the purist but J.J. Abrams understands how to craft an enjoyable film.

The setting begins on a dense red jungle planet with an active, ready to erupt, volcano. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his trusted confidant Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban) are running for their lives from a group of spear hurling indigenous people. Spock (Zachary Quinto) is trying to save the native species from extinction while also keeping Starfleet’s anonymity. Kirk, naturally, disobeys and Spock informs his superior, Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood), causing Kirk to lose command of his enterprise ship. This suspension is short-lived due to an explosive attack committed by a one of Starfleet’s own; this sends Kirk and his crew on a mission to find the terrorist.

Kirk and Spock continue to struggle with their relationship both personally and professionally. Kirk is mainly directed by his impulsive instincts. Spock relies solely on logic, despite the gravity of the consequence of choice, which leads to dissension between his friendship with Kirk and relationship with Uhura (Zoe Saldana). Kirk is still searching for purpose while defying authority and rules at every available corner; his command is interrogated but more abrasively is the dedication represented by his lead as Captain.  Abrams shines in utilizing the turmoil and indifference of the characters reason and choice, a theme that plays unknowingly heavy on past and future events.

J.J. Abrams dedicates enough time to the representation of the beloved characters, yet his motives for their journeys seem unfamiliar to the established tradition. Exploration of the universe with peaceful intentions and humanistic compassion is replaced with a mission of vengeance in this film. Although those fundamental principles are never completely disregarded, there is still enough diversion at times for faithful Trek fans to become unsatisfied. The narrative becomes a bit convoluted as a mystery is revealed and motivations become unraveled, but it never turns confusing. Abrams is accomplished in keeping the action exciting and the enjoyably self-aware performances in the forefront.

While Star Trek Into Darkness continues to explore the characters in unique and personalized ways it also moves them into a near constant state of danger, which offers interesting background into the personalities of this admired crew. Simon Pegg as Scotty offers touches of humor, as are the nuances of Anton Yelchin’s Chekov, which are nicely combined into the narrative. The addition of Benedict Cumberbatch, who has a delightfully villainous charm, as the major threat to Starfleet’s existence is a great design. This is due to the intellect and prowess his character commands within his mysterious motive.  

Abrams success exists in the organization of the script; allowing the characters to progress the film while structuring great action and an effective, if divisive, plot throughout. Star Trek Into Darkness is an entertaining film, though at times the narrative becomes unsurprising it never feels unusual for a franchise that still has places to voyage.
Monte’s Rating
4.00 out of 5.00

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