May 21, 2013

Movie Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

I honestly never thought that a Star Trek movie would or even could be a mainstream hit at the box office. Granted, it is not something I ever gave much thought to either. I have great memories of watching reruns of the original series with my dad and the excitement when The Next Generation arrived on screens in 1987. Oh yes, there was also the time my dad took me to see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan way back in 1982. Still, with these movies, there was always something of an insider factor that brings all of this history to the screen that would seem to not be all that welcoming to non-fans.

Then 2009 happened. JJ Abrams was handed to reigns to the franchise and responded pretty spectacularly. He simultaneously reenergized the franchise, effectively restarting the franchise in a way that did not trample the existing universe with a simple remake/reboot. He branched the franchise into an alternate universe. It's success assured that a sequel would happen and now it is here. Star Trek Into Darkness continues what Abrams started four years ago without having to go through character introductions.

Star Trek Into Darkness is wonderful movie that, while not old school Trek, is right in line with what classic Trek did. This Trek universe will never replace what the classic-verse means to me, but that does not take away what is being accomplished now.

What this movie does is continue the tradition of Trek being used as a reflection of current society. There is so much that goes on here that can be equated to real world events that it is a little eerie. Well, maybe not eerie as it was clearly done on purpose, but it is done quite well. That is one of the great things about genre filmmaking, the ability to not only tell interesting stories but to comment on current events in a less than direct fashion, which I often find to be much more interesting. Beyond that, this movie is as entertaining as anything I have seen this year.

It's funny, I sit here trying to write this review and discovering I am having trouble finding the right words with which to describe it. I would. Love to just type away and give up some of the surprises, but I really don't want to do that. The movie is pretty fascinating in how it takes what we know about these characters and twists ever so slightly. It is done in a way that if you are an old school Trek fan, you will get a lot out of it, but is not done to exclude the casual or more recent fan. In short, you need not e a fan to enjoy this a lot, but you will get more by being a fan. It is all inclusive while still being Trek.

This Trek finds Starfleet the victim of a terrorist attack of one of their own. The counteraction is left at the feet of Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) who leaps to action and takes the Enterprise in hot pursuit of a man named John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch). This pursuit takes them onto Klingon space, where they must tread carefully so as to not start a war. This incursion leads to the reveal of a greater foe that challenges Kirk, Spock and crew unlike anything they have yet faced.

That is really all I feel comfortable telling you. I will say there are nit picks throughout that some people latch onto as a way to bash the film. So be it. I won't let that get me down as you have to realize that dramatic logic and actual logic are different things. This movie does a great job of using dramatic logic and balancing a tale that is funny, emotional, dramatic, and action packed. This is a movie that is easy to get wrapped p in and just enjoy. It is a fast moving ride that spends the time where it is needed.

As it stands Star Trek Into Darkness is right in line with classic Trek. This is clearly a different universe and may never be as rich as the one that has already been constructed, but so long as they can make movies like this, twist what we know into new form and offer up new thrills they should be all right.

This really comes out firing on all cylinders. It gives us some great characters, some interesting new wrinkles, and kept me emotionally involved all the way through the climax. I loved the dawning realization I had as it played out before my eyes, wondering why I didn't see it sooner, happy for the ability of the production to keep secrets, and just how good pop filmmaking can be. That is what this is, it is pop filmmaking, a movie that is easy to watch for the entertainment value, but still rich enough to offer more should you want to look for it.

Highly Recommended.

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