'Star Trek Into Darkness' Movie Review: A Successful Homage To The Series
Star Trek Into Darkness is directed by J.J. Abrams, who also directed Star Trek: The Future Begins (2009), and it continues the saga from where the first Abrams film ends. Just like with The Future Begins, the characters are the same as in the original TV series. This enhances the feeling of a back-to-basics fresh start from the beginning. The cast is practically the same as in the last film, and only a few key roles are completely new to the audience, like the bad guy Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch). Star Trek's popularity has a lot to do with recognition, and there is a good reason for not changing crews too often, confusing the current trekkie generation. Thus, Spock (Zachary Quinto) is indeed just as you remember him from the series, complete with lack of emotions and pointy ears. At least that is how it appears in the beginning of this story. However, there is an arc to Spock that makes him more human than ever before, and he really rises to the occasion in this film. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) bears a striking similarity to a certain fighter pilot in Top Gun. He is reckless and arrogant; a wild card that has to be controlled and disciplined, no matter how much heart he shows. It is fairly obvious that this isn’t the end of this new Abrams Star Trek franchise, since all the characters are still very much in development.
The plot picks up where the last film ends. We find ourselves in the early years of Kirk’s career in the Starfleet. He has recently been made Captain and is already misbehaving, taking the new starship Enterprise on a spin that reminds us of a fly-by over the control tower with a fighter jet. But when a seemingly invincible enemy from within the Federation itself appears, Kirk regains command over the Enterprise in order to catch this enemy, who is the nastiest guy ever to be genetically enhanced for evil purposes. His threat even surpasses that of the war-mongering Klingons. Khan's ambitions are dubious, making the story a lot more interesting than some of the previous space adventures.
What really makes this new franchise interesting, though, is that the story takes place both on Earth and in Space. There are some very impressive scenes where spaceships move around in the future civilization of mankind. London and San Francisco are displayed in their future shape, and this certainly adds to the sci-fi feeling more than the scenes in deep space. There is a very appealing introduction of the Enterprise, as it rises from the bottom of an ocean up into the clear sky of an exotic planet, shocking the underdeveloped tribe of aliens. However, the most spectacular scenes are on Earth, in "good olde London", where the epic feeling is most impressive. There is a fight scene very high above the streets of London, where the 3D really makes the fear of heights set in. And of course it is hard not to feel a few goose bumps when a starship the size of Staten Island crash-lands into the Thames. Yes, the visuals are sometimes very pretty, but at the same time they give you a feeling of deja vu: We have seen most of these things before. And the 3D does surprisingly little for a sci-fi blockbuster with expectations like this.
The two most interesting characters are definitely Spock and Scotty (Simon Pegg). Scotty brings the comic relief to the story, and most of the emotion. This type of comedy works really well, and is almost needed in a space setting. It eliminates the risk of the whole story getting too pretentious. For all the true fans out there in space, there is also a cute appearance from the original Spock from the TV series (Leonard Nimoy) consulting the present day Spock.
The original Star Trek series, created by Gene Roddenberry, aired on television in 1966, but the first Star Trek feature film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, didn’t open until 1979. Since then, there has been a Star Trek movie, or series, opening every other year through the decades. Today there is quite a collection available for the true ”trekkie." Star Trek never gets too old and every generation since the 60s has had ”their” Star Trek crew to grow up with. Even with the new take on the Star Trek movies, with the added settings on Earth and the Starfleet Academy, this movie isn’t quite as impressive and mind-blowing as I would have expected, especially compared to the exponential development within the sci-fi genre as a whole. But all things considered, this flick is, after all, mainly for true trekkie eyes only.
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