JJ Abrams brilliantly rejuvenated Star Trek in 2009, and now he and his crew have returned, and are looking to expand on his reestablished universe, and continue their fun trek through the stars…

Star-Trek-Into-DarknessSTAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
Directed by- J.J. Abrams

Written by- Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof
Star Trek created by- Gene Roddenberry

James T. Kirk- Chris Pine
Spock- Zachary Quinto
Bones- Karl Urban
John Harrison- Benedict Cumberbatch
Scotty- Simon Pegg
Nyota Uhura- Zoe Saldana
Pavel Chekov- Anton Yelchin
Hikaru Sulu- John Cho
Dr. Carol Marcus- Alice Eve
Christopher Pike- Bruce Greenwood
Admiral Marcus- Peter Weller

There’s a story here, and it’s a good one too, but I’m not going to go in to it. Suffice to say, John Harrison has a gripe, and a plan, and has focused both of these on Starfleet. Then, following a few cool action sequences, Kirk and crew endevour to make Harrison pay for his actions, resulting in explosive and engaging space shenanigans.

Right from the very beginning, this movie is hugely enjoyable. The opening is reminiscent of Raiders Of The Lost Arc. We come in at the end of a daring and colorful adventure, one that feels like it could be an Original Series tale, with big action, thrilling heroics, and a tremendous sense of fun. It is a very good pre-credits sequence that sets the tone for the movie: fun; quite funny; bright, despite the titular Darkness; action packed; and with story and heart.

ENTERPRISE AND PRODUCTION CREWS ARE STELLAR

The crew of this movie operate like a well oiled machine, and I’m referring to both the Enterprise crew, and the production crew. I’ll deal with the cast first.

This cast are uniformly great, everyone seems to have really settled in to their respective iconic roles. Chris Pine has several great moments, two in particular with Bruce Greenwood‘s Pike where his silent expressions tell the tale perfectly. Zachary Quinto is also very great as Spock, bringing new depth to an iconic and difficult character. Benedict Cumberbatch is really good too, and a welcome addition to the series. He is a bit over the top and hammy in places, and he has some very cheesy Bad Guy shots, particularly at the beginning when they’re keeping Harrison shrouded in mystery, but it all works. He is compelling, is definitely a bad ass, and makes for an imposing threat for Kirk and his crew. His villain is a definite step up from Eric Bana’s forgettable Nero.

In fact, everybody gets their own moment, be it bad-ass heroic moments, or smaller character moments, or both, everyone gets their time to shine. The characters all get something to do, are challenged, and reveal new depths. There really isn’t a weak link in this crew…and this is probably due to J.J.’s crew.

The script from Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof is brilliant. It is charming, and captures the spirit of what came before, without sticking doggedly to the specifics of the lore. It’s funny too, but not in a way that undermines the gravity of what is going on. The story is solid, very well paced, has plenty of character moments, and is action packed.

The action really is cool, and plentiful. There’s a thrilling air-lock sequence, there’s an ingenious use of gravity, and there are shoot-outs a-plenty, too: be the guns fired from hand, from a helicopter type-ship, or from massive spaceships. The final fight is also not quite what you expect, which is refreshing. Thing is, while bits from a lot of the action scenes appear in the trailer, these are just snippets and don’t properly give the scale or context of what is going on.

J.J. ABRAMS: STAR MASTER

All of this is pulled together masterfully by J.J. Abrams. The movie looks great, with some nice camera work, which is a bit swirly in places, but not in an annoying shaky-cam kinda way. It is also quite bright and shiny. The world does look lived in, a “used universe” if you will, but it’s all incredibly well lit. Where is this Darkness they speak of?

There are traditional J.J. touches too, with lots of lens flare, effective yet unintrusive Michael Giacchino score, and the Lost font for any on screen writing. Plus, as we learned from the explodey planet Vulcan stuff from Star Trek, J.J. isn’t afraid to mess with our our expectations and make massive changes to lore. This may anger the more die hard Star Trek fans, but it is done well enough, and respectfully enough, that it works. It’s not change for the sake of change, rather it serves the story, and this new universe established so well in the last movie.

There are also some echoes of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, be it visual cues, throw-away line or whatever. Much as Khan was a strong sequel to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, this too stands as a great sequel to J.J.’s last Trek.

BOTTOM LINE: STAR TREK INTO AWESOME

So…This is a blast of a movie. It’s not the typical “dark” sequel you’d expect from the title. Instead, this is a big dose of fun, action, and funny. The story carries the characters and drama along well. It’s not deep, but there is more depth to it than you’d expect from a huge Hollywood movie. J.J., and his enterprising crew, have crafted a terrific movie.

I can’t wait to see what he does with his future adventures in the stars!

Rating: ★★★★☆

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The Author

Cathal Ó Míocháin

Cathal Ó Míocháin

What to say...born in the last year of the seventies, the decade of the best music and movies, Cathal's earliest memories are of movies and comics. Star Wars, Batman, Superman and Indiana Jones filled his childhood, and not a whole lot has changed. He lives in Dublin, with his supremely understanding wife. Cathal voice his opinions across the various corners of The IntarWebs: @CatHaloMovies on The Twitter; Cat Halo Movies on The FaceSpace; and on the Major Spoilers Forum, where all manner of opinions are aired by all manner of folk on a wide variety of topics.

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8 Comments

  1. May 13, 2013 at 11:20 am — Reply

    Just watched the film and I loved it, Benedict Cumberbatch is one of my favorite actors and playing one of my favorite villains. Awsome and funny.

  2. Jason De Luna
    May 13, 2013 at 11:32 am — Reply

    I really liked the first two thirds of the movie, but the last third really lost me. It asked me to suspend my is belief just too far. Also I felt that ONE scene (if you’ve seen it you know which one I mean) should have been left alone, I felt the deus ex machina phone call irritated me too. The ending felt like a lot of forced tension which fell to pieces with a little thought.

    I liked the film but wished they had handled the last third differently,

  3. Dan Hunter
    May 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm — Reply

    I totally agree with Jason, I thought the idea behind the first JJ Abrams Trek was to reboot and reinvent the franchise instead we are getting Ultimate Trek.

    I enjoyed it but felt the moments the previous Spoilerite refers to pulled me completely out of the picture. However a vast percentage of the audience may not be as versed in trek-lore and the scene should play better.

    MINOR SPOILER below

    Oh and whilst in enemy territory, I’ll just phone the folks at home :-)

  4. b003
    May 17, 2013 at 5:14 pm — Reply

    “CHECK OUT” Star Trek. Get it? If not look at the helm and various consoles.
    All style no substance. Did like the dreadnaught though.

  5. JoeM
    May 20, 2013 at 10:33 am — Reply

    I really liked the film. I just enjoyed the heck out of it. I have a couple of quibbles about time and distance, but to be honest, distances and travel time have never made much sense to me in Start Trek.
    I have other thoughts that I just cannot express without spoilers.

    • Allen
      May 20, 2013 at 7:27 pm — Reply

      I concur there were a couple of head scratching moments but distance and travel time were always problematic in Star Trek.

  6. Bob
    May 21, 2013 at 3:56 am — Reply

    Although it was action packed and tried to do a “what if” kind of story, I wasn’t happy with the film.
    Why? I had seen parts of this film 30 years ago!
    And why has the villain gone from one race to another? How many white English guys to you see walking around with that kind of name?!?
    Abrams has done a good job showing us this new universe. But please, get back to what Star Trek has always been about to me: discovering new worlds and any conflict shown has almost always been an external threat (Romulans, Klingons “Gods” etc).

  7. Frank
    May 29, 2013 at 11:59 am — Reply

    @Bob
    As someone put it, you can’t complain about white washing when the originator of the role was Latino, not Indian.
    If they had cast an Indian in the role of the main villain, it would have given it away.
    Anyways, I enjoyed it, but I would have like to seen less reliance on the dialog in Wrath of Khan in the last 30 minutes.

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