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Where Trek Has Gone Before - A review of Star Trek Into Darkness

Updated on May 19, 2013
Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Kirk (Chris Pine) confront John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and interrogate him in this scene from Star Trek Into Darkness
Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Kirk (Chris Pine) confront John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and interrogate him in this scene from Star Trek Into Darkness
5 stars for Star Trek Into Darkness

Summary: Not as fun as its 2009 predecessor, but still very entertaining with a cast and director who hit their marks every time.

As a trekker, I take great delight every time a new Star Trek movie hits the big screen. This last wait – almost four years – was almost too much to bear, especially since we were originally promised this film for 2012.

It was worth the wait.

Star Trek may take place in outer space with gargantuan starships and mysterious worlds light years away from this blue ball of goodness and charm know as Earth, but the true basis for every story in the franchise is the human one behind all the shenanigans and special effects.

This tale fits right in. Kirk and company are after a devil of a man named John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) who has attacked and killed his own people here on Earth, then has hidden out on the Klingon home world to await his ultimately unavoidable discovery and arrest.

But Harrison hides a secret that could devastate our planet and Starfleet. Getting him to reveal that secret and defeating him before he and his followers can implement the plan may take more than even Kirk can handle – and may even mean the ultimate sacrifice for one of the crew.

I won’t spoil anything, but the parallels between this movie and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan are striking.

Which leads me to the utter feeling of déjà vu that will grip every Star Trek fan on the planet. There are so many insider homages to the original series and its four spinoffs that I lost count of them all.

But the biggest homage of all has to be the strength of the casting. All seven of the major characters are played to a T by their new, younger portrayers. Chris Pine is as brash and sardonic as William Shatner and Zachary Quinto plays the perfectly stoic Spock to such a wonderful extent that even Leonard Nimoy would raise an eyebrow in admiration.

Simon Pegg as Scotty and Karl Urban as Bones are so channeling their predecessors that James Doohan and DeForest Kelley can rest in peace knowing their legacies will continue to transcend them.

Along for the ride on this adventure are Bruce Greenwood as the redoubtable Admiral Pike, Peter Weller (Robocop) as Admiral Marcus, the head of Starfleet and Alice Eve as Carol, a young blond scientist who is destined to catch womanizer Kirk’s eye – and maybe much more.

This movie is a treat for fans of the series and is a fun adventure even for those who have no idea what Star Trek even is. The nice thing about J.J. Abrams’ reboot is, you don’t need to know a thing about Star Trek to enjoy this film and its 2009 foundational predecessor. This incarnation completely un-writes over 40 years of Trek lore and breathes new life into this franchise.

It would, of course, be apropos for the producers to arrange the next installment for 2016, coinciding with Star Trek’s 50 year anniversary. I hate the thought of waiting, but seeing this movie and understanding the time necessary to develop this type of quality product, I guess I will steel myself and impatiently wait with baited breath like the rest of the planet.

And you know I’ll be seeing this movie a few more times between now and then. I give Star Trek Into Darkness 4-1/2 out of 5 stars.

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    • BernietheMovieGuy profile image

      Bernie Ment 4 years ago from Syracuse, NY

      Ahh, but that's the beauty of the universe as we know it - it's chock full of stories!

    • Vlorsutes profile image

      Vlorsutes 4 years ago from Ohio

      It's so hard to describe how much I enjoyed this movie without getting into spoiler territory, but I did find it a really great film. It might have been a step back from the first one as far as for actual Trekkies, but as a general movie fan I think there's a lot in there for people to enjoy. My only question now is where could Abrams possibly go after this one.

    • BernietheMovieGuy profile image

      Bernie Ment 4 years ago from Syracuse, NY

      I appreciate your comments! I too felt that Kirk had some growing to do in the first installment and he came off as almost too brash even at the beginning of this film. As Pike puts it aptly, "You don't have an ounce of humility." While the cat is already out of the bag, I don't wish to be the overt spoiler for fans who have yet to see the movie. There are a lot of incredibly recognizable insider pokes for fans of the series and the films, but for those uninitiated, this film feels fresh and very on target. While I'm not sure about the next installment since Abrams won't be helming it, if he is even remotely involved, the franchise will still be in good hands and I am very much looking forward to seeing what Abrams does with the OTHER outer space franchise.

    • Mike Marks profile image

      Mike Marks 4 years ago

      How to reveal the brilliance of this movie without resorting to spoiling and I reckon its too soon for that... those familiar with Abrams twist on parallel universes the abramasverse refers to as "sideways universe" coupled with what this hubs author already revealed know your Star Trek II ... and for those who thought Abrams first outing didn't capture the level of Shatner maturity in Kirk see Pike grow up into it as his surrogate dad's shadow passes and he faces a shadow even darker, as the title implies .... I actually didn't care for Abrams first outing so much, the immature Kirk wasn't my Kirk and it was too much action and not enough thought ... but this second outing is great, and this is coming from a guy, me, who attended the very first Star Trek convention in NYC.