Star Trek Into Darkness

"Enough with the metaphors, okay? That's an order."

Really wonderful, very exciting, well done. Maybe a tad glossy, but I can live with that.

Depending on whom you talk to, the fact that the J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot has created an alternate Trek universe is either a strength or a weakness. I honestly don't see how someone can take a beloved, iconic property like Star Trek, use the original characters, and not change things so that they could take it in a new direction. They can't just redo the original series and the original cast movies. Not and make a movie anyone will pay money to go see.

But it's also interesting that, with a world of possibilities out there, Abrams decided to do an alternate universe version of the second and best Star Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan. I enjoyed Into Darkness very much, but it also felt a bit odd. Ooh, there's this, I know this. Oh, I recognize that. As soon as Alice Eve's character was introduced, I knew who she would turn out to be. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few," too. As they reached a key scene from Star Trek II, I was sort of going, cool, but really? You're going there? I wonder if the fact that I took knowledge baggage into this movie made it different for me? Because I can imagine that someone who has never seen The Wrath of Khan would have a completely different experience than I did.

There wasn't a dull moment in this movie, from the opening sequence on a primitive planet that explored issues with the Prime Directive (also referred to by fans as the Prime Suggestion), to a huge action sequence on the Klingon home world, to a close-up of the planet Jupiter, to scenes at Starfleet headquarters in San Francisco, to a massive climax. The dialogue positively sparkled with wit and occasionally made me laugh. Star Trek Into Darkness is much, much better than the 2009 reboot, while retaining the best thing about it -- the absolutely perfect casting.

Chris Pine once again did a terrific job as the brash young Captain Kirk, and in fact, all of the cast were great in their roles. But Zachary Quinto was again exceptional. He inhabits the role of Spock, something I never thought anyone but Leonard Nimoy could do, and Spock's emotional progression was a key part of the plot. Other standouts were Karl Urban, whom I completely and totally adore as Dr. McCoy; Simon Pegg, who got a lot more to do this time as Scotty the miracle working engineer; Peter Weller, who was terrific as Starfleet's Admiral Marcus; and Benedict Cumberbatch, the BBC's Sherlock, who kicked major league butt as Kirk's mysterious and powerful antagonist.

Just a couple more random comments. I liked how Spock consulted with Spock -- wonderful scene. The Klingon make-up was just amazing. The seat belts were hilarious, like the best kind of in-joke. The thing with the torpedoes was a deliberate echo of Star Trek II, too.

It's interesting that J.J. Abrams is now taking on Star Wars, because this installment in the Star Trek franchise does indeed feel Star-Wars-ian. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. I enjoyed this movie. I think almost everyone will, whether you know Star Trek or not.

Three out of four photon torpedos,

Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.


Matthew said...

Interesting that you should compare to Wrath of Khan. It is the obvious and clear comparison to make because of the characters involved, but if I was to name an analogue, it'd be the episode 'Space Seed' rather than ST:WoK. Basically I saw this as the potential setup for a future sequel (maybe not even the next film) that brings back Cumberbatch (who is only frozen after all). That sequel will be the Wrath of Khan of the Alternative Universe imo.

Also, I was so freaking excited to see the new Klingons and the one guy we saw looked amazing, I love the update. Next film better feature the Klingons in a big, big way.

Billie Doux said...

Good point, Matthew. I sort of expected something about Ceti Alpha Six. :)

celticmarc said...

Saw it this afternoon, in 3D. I smiled often and oh ! surprise ! a few numbers mentioned during the movie were a direct shout out to Lost. Nice touch.

Excellent movie, but I've noticed how much violent the fights between the good guys and the bad ones are getting more and more intense year after year. (idem in Iron Man, gee whiz)

Mark Greig said...

Managed to see it earlier in the week and loved it. I'll agree that the many shout outs to WOK were often awkward (and in one case unintentionally hilarious) but they never spoiled my enjoyment of the film.

celticmarc said...

And a certain scene at the end with a certain glass door : oh wow, a beautiful mirror image of the original second

Of course, I was very happy to see Peter Weller again !

Juliette said...

I liked it, but for me it was too much The Wrath of Khan. (I prefer the 2009 movie, which I loved). WoK is one of my all-rime favourite movies and I watch it a lot - I don't need to see it again, with minor differences. My favourite parts of the film were the earlier parts, which were newer and fresher.

TheShadowKnows said...

I literally just got back from seeing this. Good flick. I liked it a lot better than the first one.

Katie Hart - Freelance Writer said...

I haven't seen much of Star Trek at all, but I LOVED the Tribbles inside joke! And I had no idea Noel Clarke had been cast, so seeing Doctor Who's Mickey was an unexpected joy.

William Russell said...

It was a tale of two movies for me. First half I enjoyed but the plot holes and inconsistencies in thesecond half began to drive me mad and took me out of the movie. Especially the call to New Vulcan. They don't have a computer on board that can Google someones name?
The quiet scenes were played very well. The acting was top notch until the end. Didn't buy the screaming vulcan at all.
WoK is the best of all the Trek movies. I think they should have found something of their own.

Rish said...

What do you mean google someone's name? Khan's?

Old Spock is the only connection they have to the original timeline, how would there be anything related to him on the internet?

William Russell said...

In ToS episode Space Seed Spock researches Khan and finds out about his involvement in the Eugenics War and Kirk puts a security guard on their guest. The timeline changed 25-30 years before this movie takes place so everything to do with Khan and party from 300 years before should n't have been affected at all. Basically a quick computer search should have given the same results as before in Space Seed.

Jess Lynde said...

Finally got to see this movie last night. I liked most of it, but really didn't care for the ending. I was totally with it and enjoying it until Kirk went into the core, and then I knew exactly where it was going and was incredibly disappointed. In concept, I liked the idea of the role reversal, but I couldn't invest in it emotionally because I could immediately see the problem solution. That kind of thing just can't carry as much weight when it is painfully obvious it isn't as final as the characters think, and that things will be back to status quo fairly quickly. I also think it bothered me that they were essentially copying the incredibly powerful climax of WoK. It felt more like a rip-off than a respectful homage. I know that wasn't their intent, but that's how I reacted to it, and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

That said, I like these actors playing these versions of the characters, so here's hoping they branch out into newer territory with wherever they take the 5-year mission next.