Movie Review – Star Trek: Into Darkness

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS

In the fallout of Iron Man 3 I almost forgot that the sequel to the Star Trek reboot was coming out this week. Don’t you make the same mistake. With all the hullabaloo this year over movies like Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, World War Z and The Wolverine, Star Trek seems to not be too high on people’s “must watch” lists, indeed it wasn’t really on mine. Again, this was my mistake!

Though I am familiar with the show and have seen some of the movies, I was never a “Trekkie” per se, or “Trekker” if you prefer. So maybe that’s why my level of excitement over the Star Trek reboot/relaunch wasn’t as massive as the idea of an Iron Man series or an Avengers franchise. Indeed there are so many superhero movies coming out these days its hard to be a fan of them all. But the new Star Trek has really delivered where many other “big summer blockbusters” have fallen short. J.J. Abrams has done a masterful job of bringing an old and long beloved collection of characters back to life, and even more impressive, he’s done it in a way that hasn’t brought upon him the wrath of hardcore fans worldwide – not an easy task trust me (Geeks can be quite ferocious at the helm of a keyboard).

Abrams’ sequel cements the great job the first new Star Trek did in 2009 – I remember being quite impressed with the job Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine did – not easy considering they were following the legendary and immortal Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner as First Officer Spock and Captain James Tiberius Kirk. But the excellent casting isn’t limited to them. Kark Urban as Dr.Bones” McCoy (“Damn it Jim I’m a Doctor not a Mechanic”); Simon Pegg as Scotty; Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov and John Cho as Hikaru Sulu – the combined effort of bringing the original legend to life is simply marvelous. And speaking of excellent casting, one cannot move on before giving a most deserved mention to Benedict Cumberbatch for his truly spine-tingling portrayal of Kirk’s arch nemesis Khan. Cumberbatch’s involvement in the sequel took it to a whole new level of awesome and I truly hope the role is revived in the third installment.

But casting only gets you half way. The other brilliant move by Abrams is to take so many iconic moments/plots from the old series and be true to them while at the same time flipping them around. The prime example being Spock‘s shouting “Khaaaaaaaaaaan!” to the heavens as Kirk breathed his last in front of  a crying Spock after saving his entire ship from certain death – the inverse of the iconic scream by Shatner in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which is well-known and parodied. But it wasn’t done as a joke or an “easter egg”, the moment was truly moving, even moving the lady behind me to tears. And this is one of its greatest achievements – the movie does an amazing job of showing the evolution of the relationship between the “cocky and brash” Captain and his “cold and logical” First Officer – not easy to reproduce in 132 minutes, especially when the first one did it over 3 seasons and 4 movies.

Yes I wasn’t a massive Star Trek fan growing up. So maybe I am able to watch these movies with less expectation, but if you ask me, Abrams and his stellar cast have done an amazing job of being true to the original while at the same time evolving its own personality for the next generation (pun intended!) and I look forward to them making another movie and once again boldly going where no man has gone before… well, at least not since 1998 ; p

Though it remains to be seen whether it will retain its flavor, seeing as Abrams isn’t going to be available to direct the next movie, at least not if its going to be out in time for the 50th Anniversary of the show in 2016. But he’s not leaving altogether – he’s announced that he will still be around as a producer, at the very least (yeah, I saw how that worked out for Iron Man 3 with Jon Favreau!).

 

4 thoughts on “Movie Review – Star Trek: Into Darkness

  1. As regards Iron Man 3 – while #1 was still the tightest, best in the series, #3 was far superior to the 2nd part which was a bit of a let-down in some respects.

    As regards Star Trek – I loved the first one and the biggest blessing without a doubt is that they have a cast that is beyond exceptional.
    HOWEVER – Abrams has jumped the shark, shot the pooch, nuked the fridge or whatever you prefer… I thoroughly enjoyed the movie but I think they focussed too much on the thrill-a-minute-ness of it all and turned it into this insane action-y extravaganza. I laughed, I was solemn, I was excited and I enjoyed the movie – but if one has ever seen ANY of the several Star Trek tv series’, never was it so over the top.
    Credit to them for sticking some humanity in their and such, but it was at times cliche, at times felt forced (like the hands on the glass and a lot of Kirks death scene! sorry bro! I liked the KHAN yell though) and I felt they could have made some different choices. Less time on the melodrama and forcing CGI (albeit awesome) stuff in there and showcase the humanity and the intrigue and character development that made Trek a beloved franchise and Khan such a wonder to behold.
    Benny was good, I like him – but the passionate maniac that Ricardo Montelban portrayed to me gets the upper hand because they allowed him to be more than just this Machiavellian superman that they turned Benny into in this version. Plus I was pissed that they tried so hard to hide it and then he was in fact playing Khan. :P
    Oh and where it SHOULD have ended? Not with that INSANE chase with Khan (he should have died when his ship blew up!) and Spock fighting on fucking flying cars… It should have ended with Kirk dying. THAT would have been a fitting ending, especially when old Spock talks to him about terrible cost. It should have ended with a near-dead Kirk put into a cryo-tube and left hanging to be followed up in the next movie – like when Spock died the first time they faced Khan.

    Fun, but will I rewatch it in a hurry? No. And that makes me sad because I loved Simon Pegg and Karl Urban in this to death – THEY were among the best things about this apart from Quinto.

    • I agree that the Star Trek movie is far more fast-paced and over the top compared to the TV Series, but I don’t think one can necessarily compare. The show aired in 1966 – the movie, though it has tried to be true to its fans, is playing to a completely different, short-attention span audience that is now used to movies like Iron Man, Avengers, and the Dark Knight – some format changes are necessary to fit in such a range of emotional storyline in an hour and a half.

      I do agree with you on the ending though – I think they should have let Kirk die, or at leads give that impression, and maybe let Khan get away. This would have been a perfect lead in to the next movie, and left people clambering for more. Much for fitting.

      Simon Pegg – of the greatest parts of the Star Trek reboot for me!

      • See, that’s the thing!!
        If you keep pandering to the lowest denominator, you make people stupid! By that reasoning, movies like Inception should be financial failures but time and again slower, more cerebral, more character and plot driven and less of this garbage finds success.
        You have to give it a chance and let the audience mature too – not just the nerds!

        And while you do have to adapt somewhat, if you change the very essence of what a thing was and how it worked – btw, trek was on tv in one form or another till 2001 and movies were coming out till 2002 which was the last Next Generation movie. Call me crazy, but 10 years is hardly enough time to say you are pandering to a new viewer unless people have just gotten stupider in the past decade… then again… never mind…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s