STEVE AVOIDS BEING KILLED
Star Trek Into Darkness
Review by Steve “WhiskeySour” Brown
THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS
Since the 2009 “Star Trek” film, which will forever go down in movieland history (if such a place even exists) as the official series re-boot, audiences have been waiting four years for this much-anticipated sequel.
Just to give you an idea on how enormously important those two words are, I decided to dedicate an entire indentation to them. J.J. Abrams took a full four years to finish and release this movie “Star Trek into Darkness”, when Hollywood’s usual routine is to spit out a sequel to a wildly successful movie as fast as physically possible. J.J. Abrams did what you would expect of J.J. Abrams: he took the time to do it right.
Just like the first movie, we begin with a fast-paced action sequence, nothing too intense to start off, just an Indiana Jones chase scene concluding in a cliff jump for two of the main characters. Oh yeah, did I mention the volcano, because there’s a volcano. The action just ramps up from there, getting more and more spectacular and intense as the movie progresses.
All that intense action sceneage does not take away from the film’s pacing however, which Abrams’ uses to his great advantage in building James Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock’s (Zachary Quinto) characters even further. Even when things weren’t being blown up or shot down or punched in the face, the audience was still enthralled by the depth of character development and even character evolution, as both Kirk and Spock learn to compliment each others polar personalities with their own vastly different character strengths.
I believe, this portrayal of diametrically opposite characters yinging and yanging each other for mutual benefit is my favorite part of this whole series. We had a chance to see this in the first “Star Trek” film by Abrams when they introduced the characters, but this time from get-go the differences are on showcase for all to see. Though when I do say mutual benefit, I mean long-term mutual benefit, as it seems in the short term there are still plenty of kinks needing working out between these diverse protagonists.
And what good protagonists need, of course, is an equally good antagonist. J.J Abrams delivers on this point as well, resurrecting Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch), a super-villain in almost every sense of the word, who suffers from a rather wicked case of elitism. I realize that in nearly all my reviews I have brought up the issue of antagonists being two-dimensional because of their inability to have an understandable motive behind their actions. I have been accused of wanting an entire back story given for all my characters before I am prepared to give them my blessing as “fully fledged”. So allow me to take this time to point out, in my usual good form and grace, that everyone of you were wrong, very wrong and this movie has been the movie I’ve been waiting for to prove my point. Khan’s motive to why he’s doing what he’s doing is quite understandable and even relateable in some slightly psycho-maniac sort of way. I don’t need all his back story to understand what he’s about, and if I can understand what the main antagonist is about, the impact is magnified all that much more. I’m not asking for much from my villains, just ones that can take the trouble to walk around my set, blowing things up, with more reason then because they felt faintly evil-like that day.
J.J Abrams took the great trouble of taking four years to direct this movie properly, I decided as a critic, I could show no less dedication. I am not in fact a Trekkie or Trekker or really anyone that paid a great deal of attention to “Star Trek” before the series re-boot in 2009. Realizing this, I decided to enlist the services of a good friend of mine: Dan Mudry, one of Canada’s top three “Star Trek” fans. It, of course, had nothing to do with the fact that I welcomed companionship in my somewhat lonely-as-of-late routine of seeing newly released movies. Nothing of the sort.
Dan, of course, loved the movie, which was not a surprise, since even before we saw the movie he jokingly threatened my life if I gave “Star Trek Into Darkness” a bad review. I know saying this might compromise my integrity to an honest review but it also places in writing a possible suspect with motive if anything should happen to me afterwards.
Anyways, Dan told me with great reluctance that this movie was the greatest re-make he had ever seen. When I pressed a little, he told me he began to get worried around halfway through because the movie had become a near point for point remake of “The Wrath of Khan” (1982). This was cause for dispointment for him, and me as well actually, because Abrams had taken so much effort in the series re-boot to establish a new “Star Trek” universe in which anything was possible, to then fall back onto something that had already been done before.
This was the only blight upon what is else-wise a magnificent landscape of sci-fi epicness, and a minor one at that. To me, this movie held my attention with its intense action scenes from the moment it started, its characters were real, learning and evolving, making decisions that I could understand and follow. The plot was tight enough to be fast and nimble when it needed to be, but also could slow down to allow for true characterization. In short, it was masterfully executed in all areas of review. This is a movie I would gladly see again in the theater and will be in line to buy a copy of when it hits Blu-ray. Well assuming that is, if I don’t get hurt or killed in some horrible, yet suspiciously-timed accident.
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Release Date: May 16, 2013
Run Time: 132 Minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures