J.J. Abrams made quite a splash when he released 2009’s “Star Trek”. I suppose it was the right approach to revitalize the franchise, by creating a re-boot that gave him all the needed loop holes to do such things. His first “Star Trek“ flick left the ‘space opera‘ feeling and instead went for something that feels more like an action-adventure which was arguably needed. It was a fun, energetic visual feast that moved fast that it never lost its forward momentum. It pleased fans of the franchise with a feeling of both freshness and nostalgia. Now 4 years since Abrams’ last “Star Trek” film, is what he had created back then will still be able to hold up without the feeling of novelty (which it really wasn’t) since it was a really a straight-forward action flick with gorgeous visuals?
2013’s “Star Trek Into Darkness” is the sequel that takes us on a ride with the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise. The film begins with the crew in an unknown planet due for volcanic destruction and Jim Kirk (Chris Pine) makes a decision that goes against established directives in Starfleet. This ends up with Kirk being in a load of trouble that it resulted with him losing command of his vessel. Just as soon as things begin to slow down, a unspeakable new threat has risen and this threat comes from within the ranks of Starfleet. Kirk requests Starfleet command to reinstate him get his crew back together, along with Spock (Zachary Quinto), just so they can sanction the man called John Harrison (Benedict Cumberback). But when the manhunt reveals certain secrets within Starfleet command, and the voyage brings Kirk and his crew to a danger zone, the truth behind the former Commander Harrison is set to shake the foundations of the federation itself.
The screenplay instantly moves fast and tries to establish its footing with a sequence that gives it the ‘grab and go’ feeling just so the viewer could see exactly what he is in for; a fun, energetic action adventure wrapped around its sci-fi elements. Abrams was obviously trying to go fast and strong before he slowed things down when the crew gets back to Earth. Here, the script serves up some minor plot and character developments that aids the viewer in looking inside the walls of Starfleet. How the fleet works and just how Kirk’s attitude often differs from Spock and that of Starfleet. Abrams and company made every effort to give the viewer a feeling of continuity as the return of supporting characters such as Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood) and the introduction of new ones such as Starfleet commander Marcus (Peter Weller) aid in setting its groundwork. The viewer also quickly gets an idea just how the crew is getting along, and glimpses of their personal lives are seen.
See, Abrams knew that he had to keep the film moving and knows how to cover up flaws because of his style of direction and editing. True to what had been established in the first film, the screenplay follows through very well. I would not say that the characters in this film are very interesting, since Kirk has been reduced to a staple that we’ve all seen before in action flicks, Spock is one of the more interesting characters in the first film, but really, the two worked better as the film brings them into a kind of ‘bromance’. These characters are mere staples of what we have seen before, but it is the way the characters worked together in a group dynamic that made them compelling if not acceptable. With some subtle touches of humor and clever delivery of its dialogue, it was easy for the cast to establish a sense of solid chemistry. Zoe Saldana (she is hotter than ever), Keith Urban, Simon Pegg and Anton Yelchin aid in the script’s flow, despite some issues that I had with Alice Eve (sure she was also hot) being a little misplaced in her character as a science officer. It was a welcome sight to see this new Spock talk to the old Spock (Leonard Nimoy) that certainly would give a ‘trekkie’ goose bumps.
All these things would work really well as long as we have an interesting villain for the crew of the Enterprise. As much as I thought that Benedict Cumberback was a worthy villain to later be revealed as Khan, and sure, there were a lot of nods to the past TV series and “Wrath of Khan”, but I thought in the end, the villain and the links to Starfleet were very underwhelming. While I enjoyed the way the film tried to introduce certain devices that sort of made the concept of an alternate timeline resembling the old one and yet different, I thought the film took a turn for the predictable. The twists and turns which were introduced in its runtime were intended to create a reaction, and yet they failed. The surprises weren’t really that effective in making an impact in its narrative.
Luckily, while the storyline wasn’t strong and showed its weaknesses too early, the action sequences were good enough to keep up its momentum. The film looked gorgeous, the cinematography was impressive, the CGI effects were stellar that you could truly hear and see the crunch of metal on metal, the explosions generated a lot of intensity and light effects were indeed grand. The film was truly an achievement visually, and if this was Abrams’ goal, then he had truly achieved it. The film was really impressive in 3D, as there were times that the 3D effects and the sound really made me part of its visuals that I felt as if I was there.
“Star Trek Into Darkness” is the kind of sequel that follows an original made solid because of a feeling of freshness, but sadly, while this film is certainly entertaining, it sure wasn’t fresh. It just felt that it was the kind of film that we’ve all seen many times before. It does not merely reference but it just borrows entire plot points from the originals. I just wasn’t at all impressed or moved by its narrative despite accepting its intentions. The villain just wasn’t threatening, and so the film loses a lot of intended ‘bang’. I do have to admit that the visuals were really impressive, the group dynamics worked and the comedic touches aided its flow. It is a lot of fun to watch that I am certain that ‘Trekkies” will have a ball watching it over and over again. I guess I am just a little tired of the old ‘clichéd story, lot’sa flash and action. It is a film meant for its fans but aRENTAL for Everybody else [3+ Out of 5 Stars]
Star Trek (2009) re-ignited the Trek world and set it on fire. Loved it or hated it, no one can deny what a reboot and shot in the arm it was for what was a tired series. The worst thing that it could be said about it was that it lacked the feeling of mankinds place in the galaxy which the older Treks at least attempted and that film was just a colorful action blast. Star Trek Into Darkness which is the follow up is certainly a sequel with characters shouting … more
I don't know what the critics were saying in their preliminary reviews. I loved this film from start to finish and am looking forward to the next installment. As the whole universe changed when Nero attacked Kirk's father's ship in the first film and that Vulcan was wiped out, one cannot expect that these movies should follow anything that the original series and movies did. And because of the way Spock felt his race die, he will certainly have more "human" … more
I'm taking a risk in saying I actually liked Star Trek into Darkness. On a website such as Lunch.com where liking just about any damn mainstream movie (let alone J.J. Abrams) is considered not so good, it's a wonder how much I've come to embrace things. And while I understand liking Mainstream movies or even praising them is not particularly "cool" with the Lunch.com crowd, I'll take my chances anyway. See, I've always believed that there is an art … more
Don't be mislead by the Headline, oh and this review WILL contain spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie yet I suggest you finish off this paragraph then go see it. Again this review contains spoilers so if you haven't seen the movie yet STOP READING, although the Headline itself is a big giveaway,. Anyways on to the review. Star Trek Into Darkness, it wasn't until the third trailer when … more
I might be the only person on Earth who liked this movie more than I liked Abrams' Star Trek 2009. Unfortunately, that's partly because I disliked the 2009 Star Trek. But Into Darkness does have stunning visuals, some fun moments, and a much more compelling villain. It seems overall that viewers who don't know much about Star Trek seem to enjoy this movie and Abrams' larger take on Trek, whereas many viewers who do know Trek despise this movie. I'm more of the latter category … more
It has been quite awhile since I've reviewed anything here on Lunch. I've been extremely busy with life and job duties. Those responsibilities have also limited a lot of my filmgoing experiences and I've pretty much been anchored to my house and/or work enviroment. With that said, I decided I would return to Lunch with a loud bang by reviewing Star Trek Into Darkness. I will probably insult a few people in this review, horrify others, and hopefully … more
A good portion of Trekkies (or Trekkers, depending on one's level ofStar Trekobsession) have special affection for episodes of the original TV series that related to Earth and other-Earth cultures visited by the crew of theEnterprise, version 1.0. Some of the shows unfolded in distorted forms of the past, some in the present day ofStar Trek's future reality. Director J.J. Abrams recognized the importance of this relationship in his origin-story reboot of the franchise in 2009, and inStar Trek Into Darknesshe has made it an even greater touchstone to the roots ofStar Trekcreator Gene Roddenberry's defining philosophy from nearly 50 years ago. The human home world is key to the plot of this spectacularly bold leap intoStar Treklore, which cleverly continues along the alternate path that was established as separate from the "original"Star Trekuniverse in Abrams's first whiz-bang crack at advancing the mythology. But it's not just Earth that is cool and imperiled in this rendering of adventure in the 23rd century;Into Darknessalso plays with the original conceit that Earthlings were member to a multi-species United Federation of Planets ruled by a "Prime Directive" of noninterference with other civilizations. The conflict comes when rogue elements in the Earth-based Starfleet Command hunger to shift focus from peaceful exploration to militarization, a concept that is anathema to the crew of theEnterpriseand her ongoing mission. The new cast...