by Billie Doux
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.