Review: Star Trek Into Darkness
The much anticipated sequel to JJ Abram’s alternate Trek universe is here. Does it match up to the hype? Will I stop giggling every time I hear Benedict Cumberbatch’s name?
Star Trek Into Darkness needs no introduction. If you read WPR, you know about this film. You’ve seen the rumors, you’ve watched the trailers, and you know that it has Khan. I’ll admit, I had a pre-conceived notion about Into Darkness. I worried that it would try too hard to please Trekkies with its quasi-reworking of Wrath of Khan. I worried that Abrams wasn’t up to the task of handling one of the lore’s greatest villans. I’m glad to say I was wrong.
The meat of the film consists of the Enterprise chasing down a terrorist, who (surprise!) happens to be Khan Noonien Singh, freshly unfrozen. Any other plot discussion would be pretty spoiler-iffic, so I’ll just say that the overall plot is very different than Wrath of Khan. In fact, the only similarity is Khan himself. His backstory remains intact and is a key plot point to the film, and Cumberbatch plays him perfectly as the quiet, thinking villan. The overall plot is well done, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. This is a movie that never slows down, and it works great.
It must be noted that the scriptwriters who worked on Into Darkness really love the characters and their interactions with each other. The Kirk/Spock bromance deserves recognition, as it is well written and a major plot point. I’ll admit that sometimes the script delved into hokey territory, with sudden unrealistic emotional outbursts from characters that seemed to make little sense. That being said, this is Star Trek, land of hokey space opera style drama, and I ate it up. Those who aren’t fans of the series and just want to see an action space movie may find the cheesiness off-putting at times.
The CGI visuals in the film were gorgeous as always, and I absolutely loved the retro-futuristic interior to Abram’s Enterprise. Seriously, the set designer for the Enterprise deserves a freaking medal. There’s this fantastic mix of retro buttons and knobs along with “realistic” future-computers that tickled both the Trekkie and the geek in me.
At this point, it almost seems trite to complain about overuse of lens flare in an Abrams film, but holy crap JJ calm it down with the lens flare. There was a specific scene where characters are talking on the bridge to another ship, and the added lens flare was so over-pronounced that it distracted me from the dialogue of the film. I actually started laughing during what should have been a dramatic moment because the lens flare was nearly blinding me.
Now I’m well-known (yeah right) for my dislike of 3d in films. Star Trek Into Darkness is a perfect example of a movie that didn’t need 3d and only had it added because that’s what you do to big movies these days. Due to Abram’s penchant for extreme closeups during dialogue, there were several points where a giant out of focus blob would not only take up parts of the screen but due to the 3d stuck out like a sore thumb. While there were no “OMG IT’S IN 3D” moments (like a bullet shooting out of the screen, which I find a capital offense in bad 3d action films), the 3d effects felt forced at best, and lazy at worst.
Despite my admittedly minor complains, Star Trek Into Darkness is a film that I enjoyed immensely, and I eagerly await the inevitable next film in the series. I’m curious to see where this new crew of the Enterprise goes next. Hopefully it’s not a remake of The Voyage Home… though I would love to watch Zachary Quinto mindmeld with a humpback whale.