Director: J.J. Abrams
Writers: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, 2 more credits »
Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana | See full cast and crew
Star Trek Into Darkness
How do you write a spoiler free review of a tightly wrapped movie without giving away anything to those who haven’t seen it yet? The answer is very carefully. So, here is my (Berg) review of Star Trek Into Darkness.
When last we saw the crew of the Enterprise Kirk was made Captain and Spock had lost his home world of Vulcan. It was the new beginning of their friendship and the start to a new universe in Star Trek lore. As Into Darkness opens we are on the planet Nibiru and the crew is intervening in the possible destruction of the native population. Their goal is to save the planet without revealing themselves and violating the prime directive. Needless to say their mission didn’t go as planned. Meanwhile a rogue starfleet officer is setting up an act of terrorism in London. The stage is set for one of the most anticipated sequels of the summer...
Visual Candy! Star Trek was very visually appealing and tight. I normally do not go in for 3-D because, generally speaking, it is a waste of money and unnecessary. However, this time I splurged and felt rewarded for that. Maybe it’s that Sci-Fi lends itself to better effects because with scenes in space the majority is digitally rendered. Moreover, scenes in the interior of the Enterprise, especially in the brig, seem to add extra depth. A layer, if you will, that gives a different perspective. My favorite use was when the Enterprise made the jump to warp. The look of the ship stretching itself was used in the first Abrams adaptation but this time they added “warp lines” or a lingering dust that was just plain cool.
Tension-Tension-Tension and role reversals! The acting, for the most part, was very good and believable. Everyone seemed to buy into their roles and relish their opportunity to distinguish themselves. Especially within the tension of on-going conflict, whether it was Kirk and Spock, Kirk and Scotty, Spock and Uhura, Enterprise and Starfleet, you name it there was a draw to it that speaks of authenticity. Not everyone is always going to get along and agree but the real treat is to see the inner conflict resolution in order to get the job done. As for role reversal, I can’t delve too far in without revealing too much. So let’s just say the way in which characters flipped within the story made sense.
Tiny treats, Bit roles, and cameos. Here was little things that made me smirk. On Admiral Marcus’ desk was little models of past ships of relevance. On it was two ships in particular that was delightful. One was Zephrym Cochran’s nuclear powered warp ship as seen in Star Trek First Contact and the other was the NX-1 Enterprise from the last Star Trek t.v. show starring Scott Bakula. Showing that up until the previous movie forever altering the time line thus creating a parallel universe was some symmetry in Star Trek lore. Speaking of Admiral Marcus, was that Peter Weller? Hell yes! Robocop himself is in the freaking movie. That was geek gold. Who the hell is that creepy looking dude with the weird voice on the Enterprise bridge? It’s an Observer from Fringe!! I know I shouldn’t have loved it that much but I did.
One last thing. The atmospheric bird of preys. That is right, Klingons and the beloved ships, sort of. When the crew gets to Cronus we get early versions of Birds of Prey and they rocked. Serving as atmospheric attack ships and troop deployers.
With the story that was chosen it felt like a piece of originality was forsaken in order to revive old hat. Granted, the filmmakers chose to be somewhat original in reviving a past story arc, it still felt like they missed a golden opportunity to do something different. Don’t ask me what that would be because this is not the place for it, besides it would again be revealing too much.
Too much cliches and pandering to die hard trekkies. As a fan of the series I think Mills stated it best when he said that they took every opportunity they could to wave something in your face that only “true” fans would know. Some might see this as rewarding loyalist in a way the first film did not. However, it was unnecessary and a little too obvious. For an example, see the trible.
As a guy let me state this first, Alice Eve, you are smoking hot. The scene involving her in her underwear was completely unnecessary. We know Jim Kirk is a dog, the early scene with him and two alien twins in bed tells us that. But the blatant pan to Alice’s character changing in the shuttle craft serves no purpose. We know she’s hot! I got a lot of flack from the guys when I tried making this point but I stand buy it. Furthermore, there were several sequences that were unnecessary. The whole opening part on the planet Nibiru could have been cut and saved some of the budget for other things. They referred to it so much in the first act that you would have known what happened without needing to see it. As a counter point Mills made a great assessment. The passing fan or uninformed would not necessarily know what the prime directive is and that sequence was a demonstration of it and the consequences. With that point I’m on the fence.
This might seem weird considering my previous review or a strange obsession but what was with Simon Pegg’s hair. It was a terrible dye job and I do not remember from the original series Scotty’s hair being that red. To me it was a black going gray. I have no clue as to why it struck me in that fashion or why it continues to stick with me but it does.
Lastly, Anton Yelchin is too good of an actor to not use him. I know Checkov is a principle character on the fringe but it came off that they really that they really didn’t know what to do with him script wise so they threw him in the background.
The Wrap Up:
Though I had some problems with this movie I did really enjoy it. I went twice on opening weekend and have labored with this review. I think what did me in was too many expectations. I repeatedly told myself that they were not going to go the direction they ended going. That being said I did have fun and reverted to a wide eyed geek on a visual adventure. My favorite scene was early in the movie with Kirk and Pike. I take that back, any scene with Kirk and Pike was awesome. It might have been the chemistry between the actors, the writing, or just the father-son relationship that spoke to me.
Where do we go from here? That seems to be the 64,000 dollar question. With Abrams out the door to do Episode VII the directors chair is vacant for some new blood. Although, I think I would advocate for a proven hand to helm the next one. I’d still like to see Abrams produce through Bad Robot and Orci and Kurtzman write but lets give the captains chair to Nicholas Meyer or Ron D. Moore. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Well...that’s my take. But what do I know...I’m only half assing it. Add procrastinating as well to this one.