Star Trek Into Darkness, a Very Cool Sequel (Film Review)

Twitter...the Final Frontier?


Picking up where he left off with the fine release of his first attempt at bringing back the Star Trek franchise J.J. Abrams hits pay dirt again with Star Trek Into Darkness.  This exciting new chapter tantalizes the mind with amazing CGI and special effects while presenting an adventure that’s reminiscent of earlier challenges for the U.S.S. Enterprise.  It’s a powerhouse film fit for a long run.

This chapter in the journey of The U.S.S. Enterprise starts off with a thrilling chase of Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Bones (Karl Urban) in the jungles by natives on a fledgling planet that’s about to get a blast from an erupting volcano.  The natives see the two men as invaders to their land and chase them into the sea. However, the Enterprise emerges from the depths of their ocean and frightens the natives starting a new chapter in their lives and a reprimand for Captain Kirk.

Alice Eve as Carol and Chris Pine as Captain Kirk in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

Alice Eve as Carol and Chris Pine as Captain Kirk in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

It’s not long however until a mysterious adversary, Kahn (Benedict Cumberbatch) enters the picture looking to take down the starship council.  Hell bent on causing devastation he sets up a devious plan to destroy Starfleet and put Kirk and his crew into an early grave.  But, Kirk and Spock (Zachary Quinto) are no pushovers and set up a plan of their own that will challenge the crew’s bravery to their limits.

Spock played by Zachary Quinto in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

Spock played by Zachary Quinto in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

The film starts off running (literally) and never stops with exciting action, intriguing story and an amazing amount of CGI and special effects. J.J. Abrams creates a lot of thrills with his high flying spacecraft, cataclysmic black holes, collapsing buildings, exploding star ships, attacking gunships and laser guns. His creativity is over the top with Star Trek Into Darkness pitting Captain Kirk against Spock and in some cases the whole crew.  His actors are up to the challenge and this makes his film enjoyable to watch with the fun crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, invincible Kirk, overly intelligent Spock, hardheaded Bones, stubborn Scotty (Simon Pegg), dependable Sulu (John Cho), daring Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and multilingual Uruha (Zoe Saldana) being the center of his attraction.

Abram’s antagonist Kahn who’s a bright but very evil android from the past, played extremely well by Benedict Cumberbatch, puts the suspense and havoc into his space adventure.  Playing the cold and calculating revenge seeking adversary extremely well, his character becomes a handful for both Kirk and Spock.  He’s best however in the fight scenes where he and Pine have to beat each other to a pulp using some very good choreography.

Kahn (Benedict Cumberbatch) (Ctr.) escorted by the Enterprise Crew

Kahn (Benedict Cumberbatch) (Ctr.) escorted by the Enterprise Crew

The whole cast lead by a terrific performance by Chris Pine does a great job in bringing this episode of Star Trek Into Darkness to life.  Pine even duplicates some of the swagger and ego of Captain Kirk equal to  his predecessor William Shatner who made the character famous. Leonard Nimoy shows up in the film as old Spock with some advice as he did in Star Trek (2009).  He’s always fun to watch and enjoy on the screen especially when he comes face to face with young Spock now played by Zachary Quinto. Quinto keeps all the nuances of Nimoy depicting the legendary Spock with his questioning expressions and know-it-all answers.

The only downside I find in Star Trek Into Darkness exists in the area of production.   Although it may not affect your experience with the showing, having been on film crews  I’m surprised by the number of camera flares (glares of light that go across the screen much like you would see if you took a flash photo of yourself in a mirror) that became very distracting. The flares are very prominent and even more enhanced in 3D. If this happens to be J.J. Abrams way of being creative (one of my fellow critics’ comment) which seems hard to believe, he should have toned it down as there are scenes were you can barely see the action.  I’m hoping that my screening of the film was an anomaly due to a bad film print where the flashes were missed in editing.

Star Trek Into Darkness has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence.  The film is best seen in 3D with a lot coming at you and amazing depth of field that enhances outer space. Be cautious when bringing immature children to see the film as some of the violence and language may be inappropriate. The film is also available at theaters in 2D and IMAX formats.

FINAL ANALYSIS:  A fast paced action film with a lot of excitement. (A-)

Additional Film Information:

  • Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Peter Weller, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban and Leonard Nimoy.
  • Directed by: J.J. Abrams
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence
  • Running Time: 2 hr 12 min
  • Opening Date: May 15, 2013
  • Distributed by: Paramount Pictures


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