Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) – Review

2 1/2 Stars


The thrill of discovery that was such an overriding presence in 2009’s Star Trek is sadly missing from this slick follow-up. If Star Trek represented the creative high of Casino Royale for Trekkies, in the sense of a rather daring dismissal of all before, then Star Trek Into Darkness is the harsh come-down of Quantum of Solace. There is much to like and admire about the new entry, but after a high-spirited first hour, the story and action take on a bloated predictability that borders on tedium. Longtime fans of the series will relish in the reappearance of ‘the villain that shall not be named’.

Starting things off on a volcanic plant, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his medical officer Bones (Karl Urban) are on the run from a primitive species out for blood. In the midst of this action, Spock makes a selfless decision to sacrifice himself in order to preserve federation directives. This leads to the very humane decision on Kirk’s part to rescue Spock and risk the primitives seeing the Enterprise, thus giving them advanced technological ideas that have future consequences. Back at Starfleet headquarters Kirk and Spock are reprimanded for their actions (these guys get more tongue-lashings than Maverick and Goose). Things aren’t great on the home front as the Fleet is facing a terrorist, who has already set off detonations in London and makes a bold attack on Headquarters personally.

The dire situation puts Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) into the awkward position of asking Kirk and crew to essentially embark on a galactic manhunt to bring to justice the terrorist known as John Harrison. The U.S.S. Enterprise is off on a mission of dubious intention, a point that is not lost on series’ regulars including Uhura, Scottie, Sulu, and Chekhov.

STID is a good-looking film with bits of humor and good acting. But like another recent blockbuster sequel Iron Man 3, the inclusion of terrorist cells and activities infuses a real life threat, that for me takes away from the fantasy escapism I have come to expect from both franchises. Also like that aforementioned film, the filmmakers here have let the action sequences spiral out of control. I’m all for CGI spectacle but even the most glorious sights become muddled and redundant after a certain point. After 12 previous films over a 35 year period, I think the creative forces behind the production have finally run out of compelling ideas.

Director: J.J. Abrams
Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana

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