I enjoyed the ride, that is Star Trek: Into Darkness! It is a rollicking good time–full of humor, action and enough Trekkie geekiness to satisfy most of us fans. But, it is by no means perfect. And yet, you don’t seem to mind that much because you are having such a fun time visiting with the characters and the pace is so fast and vigorous, it is over before you can process most of the slight problems. If you enjoyed J.J. Abrams‘ 2009 reboot of the Star Trek franchise, then you will love this worthy sequel.
And this is Abram’s film, for sure. I like JJ–really, I do (Super 8 was my favorite and loved Alias) and appreciate his talent. He is a gifted storyteller, yet he stays true to what I call–Screenwriting 101. Predictable and simple structure, that relies on the use of plot devices and coincidences (remember Kirk’s 2009 exile to a remote, isolated planet that just happens to be where Scotty lives? Yeah…stuff like that.) Not, that he can’t be effective and entertaining, it’s just an element you must learn to accept as “his” style (that and his love for blue lens flare ;)).
The simple structure does lend itself to focus on the true theme of this installment–Kirk and Spock. This is their bromance–continued. STID solidifies the friendship between the Captain and his number one (mixing shows here ;)) and shows how they find the balance they each need, with the other. And this is where the film shines. Chris Pine seems to be born to play James T. Kirk and there is a moment that I felt, “There it is. That IS the quintessential Kirk.” And Zachary Quinto is the perfect Spock, who is now embracing different aspects of his nature far more rapidly than the original Spock and I love that.
And I love this cast! The characters and the performances that bring them to life, are the real reason to watch STID. As a fan of the franchise (hard-core ST: TNG fan and I’ve seen ALL of the 12 films), I have a special relationship with these guys and this cast is spot on! I wish we could spend more time with each of them. But, hey…we have action to serve up–so everyone gets their tiny moment. Have to give shout outs to Karl Urban‘s Bones and Simon Pegg‘s Scotty for awesome comedy relief!
Now on to the villain–John Harrison (aka the worst kept secret in Hollywood ;D). You may know (or not)–that I am totally in love with BBC’s Sherlock series and Benedict Cumberbatch. So, I may be a bit biased, but I love his performance. Although he played the part quiet and restrained, he also exuded danger and malice. What a badass! I was not disappointed. (Abrams choices to frame shots of him dramatically did make me chuckle ;D) It was also nice to see Peter Weller get some screen time–they did not waste his talent.
I enjoyed all the little shout outs to previous Star Trek themes and story lines but, that also provided a few predictable situations. All I can say is that my emotional strings were not played–and unlike its predecessor I did not find myself tearing up this time around. STID stays true to Abrams new vision and propels the narrative forward for the crew of the Enterprise–in what I hope–would be the true departure of the established Star Trek Universe and the beginning of stories that truly “go where no man has gone before.” I think that would be exciting and definitely lead to new, unpredictable adventures–especially with Abrams now busy with the Star Wars franchise and a new director taking over the helm–to quote my favorite captain, “Make it so.”