Star Trek Into Darkness
Captain Kirk to the rescue
I want to preface this very delayed review by saying I’ve never paid attention to anything involving Star Trek before I saw this movie and I was still very gripped by it. I don’t know how closely Into Darkness followed the original television series (or any of the subsequent hundred thousand spinoff series) but some of the ideas that went into this film made my brain pop like a physically strained puffer fish. From what I gathered, their organization, the USS Enterprise, protects species from extinction (whether due to natural calamity or intentional genocide) without letting said species know they exist and are meddling, or something. Breathe if I’m wrong.
This movie was good enough to compel me to watch the first of the new J. J. Abrams’d film series, so I can confidently say, after hours of research, Into Darkness picks up where its predecessor left off. Newly Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), as hyperactive and controversially opinionated as ever, risks his position as captain to save half-human half-Vulcan Spock (Zachary Quinto admirably sporting a bowl cut) from the center of an exploding volcano during a mission to save a creepy race of alien and their neon-red CGI jungle. Spock is incapable of being grateful for the rescue, as the Vulcan part of him forbids any human emotion, which makes Captain Kirk vewy angwy.
A direct attack on the Enterprise’s headquarters in a futuristic London launches the feuding Kirk and Spock, as well as the whole wacky alien gang, into the darkest corners of the galaxy to contact the Klingons, a fearsome species of brute alien warriors. While on their planet, however, they encounter something much more powerful than the Klingons, that poses a threat to the entire galaxy. With their ship being the galaxy’s only protection, Captain Kirk must lead the ship billions of lives depend on.
Kirk’s quest for justice is fraught with perhaps too much danger for a single human to handle, but the script caters to the questionably overpowered character and allows him to almost single-handedly overcome every task, no matter how dim the odds. The script allows Kirk to hog all the glory, which would be fine if the supporting cast wasn’t as strong as they are in this film.
Simon Pegg in particular stands out as the ship’s engineer Montgomery “beam me up, Scotty!” Scotty, who admittedly got a healthy dose of screen time after missing the first half of the film. Zoe Saldana (you may not recognize her without striped blue skin and two feet of additional height) reprised her role as sassy communications officer Uhura in conflict with her boyfriend Spock (“You’re fighting with him? What is that even like?”). Karl Urban (Judge Dredd himself!!) appears as medical officer Bones, and even gets to talk once in a while. Newcomer Alice Eve sneaks onto the ship under a fake identity of a science officer, if only to practice her hobby of stripping to her underwear for reasons the script vaguely introduces but leaves mostly unexplored.
Benedict Cumberbatch also joins the cast as (one of) the film’s main villain(s) and participates in nearly every action scene (he’s almost as superhuman as Kirk!). The action scenes, jumping from planet to planet somewhat literally, are as juicy and eye-popping as any fan could have hoped. The film was released before the summer of movies even began, but I’d be surprised if the action sequences in this film aren’t among the best by summer’s end.
The film is solid enough to entertain Trekkies and non-nerds alike. A second sequel is sure to be green lit after this film’s performance at the box office, and as someone who’s never paid attention to the series, I can say I’m looking forward to the next film already.