Saturday, June 08, 2013

Movie Review - Star Trek Into Darkness

My wife and I went to see Star Trek Into Darkness last weekend. We both really enjoyed the recent reboot and went in expecting to enjoy this one. I know there has been a little bit of polarization with regards to the franchise reboot. Some die hard Trekkies are up in arms about the changes and updates. But many (most?) of the Star Trek fans I know have really enjoyed this updated take and overall they're excited for fun new adventures in this universe with characters and concepts they've loved.

I intentionally tried to avoid spoilers before going to see this film and I will try to keep my comments spoiler free. That said, from watching the trailers I had a pretty good guess who the villain would be. I just wasn't sure how they were going to bring that villain in or what it would mean for the story. As the plot unfolded, I found myself drawn in and a little surprised at the direction things were going but then chuckled and settled down to a bit of deja vu. There is actually a fair amount of intentional misdirection in the plot as they try to make you uncertain of who to trust and why and about what. I really enjoyed the fact that the plot was more than just a bunch of all out battles sequences but rather had some nuances and subtle twists and manipulation. At the same time, I was left wanting a little bit more at moments.

The storyline was interesting and well conducted though it felt like some of the subtle manipulation became a little too manipulative at times. Take something away, give it back, take it away again (non-spoilerific synopsis *grin*). I can see where these elements were meant to build mystery and create tension but part of me thought the back and forth was kind of silly and started wearing thin.

The special effects, settings, costumes, music and all the other aesthetics are very well done and very immersive and impressive. I loved the balance between over the top special effects and well-integrated futuristic technology blended with real life. The future Earth just felt real and plausible. There were definitely some cool 'splosions and nice looking outer space sequences. If you stick around for the closing credits, there are some magnificent images of galaxies, nebulas, planets and other cool elements from space. I suspect some may have been retouched but I hope that they were real photos. Either way, they're cool.

What really made this movie for me though (and the first rebooted movie as well) is the characters and their interactions. Before the first movie I was a little unsure about the new Kirk and Spock, but they did a great job in #1. The characters ratchet up a level in "Into Darkness" and do a fabulous job.

The banter between everybody is so much fun. Bones McCoy is hilarious with his cynical wit and his constant barrage of metaphors and anecdotes. Spock does stoic very well (though I still prefer Nimoy) and I love the way he and Kirk play off one another. Kirk isn't as much of a caricature as Shatner became but he does a great job as the devil-may-care egotistical captain. Scotty is hilarious and has some great scenes. Overall, the characters are awesome and I look forward to seeing them work together more.

As to the new main character in this movie, I've enjoyed watching Benedict Cumberbatch as BBC's Sherlock. He does a fabulous job. I wasn't sure what he would be like in a sci-fi adventure movie. I can say that he did a great job. His action sequences were fun and exciting. His slower paced character driven sequences were very good as well and reminded me in some ways of the psychologically intense character he plays as Sherlock. I was a little unsure of his character at first and the way the movie plays out they keep you wondering for quite some time. I really felt like Cumberbatch did a great job with the part. I really hope we start seeing him in more movies on "this side of the pond."

Star Trek Into Darkness is a fabulous sci-fi adventure. You should enjoy it unless you are a die hard Star Trek purist who is against the update or you just aren't keen on sci-fi in general. It's been years since I watched the original Star Trek films, but even my vague memory had some chuckles as there were a few very distinct nods to the original films that were good fun. The story is fun and interesting. It is definitely a little predictable in points (especially once you've caught on to what Abrams is actually doing) and then tries really hard (maybe too hard?) to surprise you with unpredictability in other points. Overall it's a good, fun adventure film with some witty banter, big action sequences and intriguing story. Maybe not quite as good as the first one, but still worth a watch.

3.5 out of 5 stars


Brian Miller said...

oh man...i can not wait to see it...i like the revamp and the fresh look at familiar characters of the new series....oh you got me chomping at the bit...smiles...

Anonymous said...

Nice review Okie. I haven't seen all the original Star Trek films, so there were a few references I picked up on, but there were parts where judging by the reaction of the audience, some other reference was made that will please Trekkies, even if I missed it. Overall, the fans will be pleased.