Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana
Writers: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof

Gene Roddenberry would hate this movie. You see while Trekkies of all colours have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to this man, his vision of the future was never fully realised in the television show. Violence, racism, hatred, vengeance, all these things were not part of Gene’s world; he envisioned us more as explorers and diplomats who had outgrown our primal animalistic nature. However Gene’s utopia was never really realistic. There are many noble ideals we can strive for but we will never be free of our darker sides.

Thus we come to this entry of the new Star Trek where we certainly delve into some dark territory. Terrorist and former Federation officer John Harrison wages a one man war against the Federation and Captain Kirk is sent into enemy territory to bring him to justice. From there we get a story that deals with acceding to ones emotions, facing consequences, death, life and the nature of war and violence. Thankfully it’s all wrapped up in the sweet, sweet taste of wonderful action set pieces and awe inspiring visuals.

Characters are also important in the movie with everyone getting their moment. The great thing is that now we’ve gotten past the origin movie, they really let the characters develop. Picking out an individual is quite hard as the entire cast is on form. Of course the focus is still given mainly to the friendship of Kirk (Pine) and Spock (Quinto). They still have great chemistry and I really dug the interactions between the two. Benedict Cumberbatch is fantastic as the villain John Harrison and while he may not seem to have the physicality, he oozes this constant threatening vibe - like an animal ready to attack at any moment.

Star trekking across the universe.
While this movie is a fantastic ride and gives the audience some hefty themes to deal with, there are some problems. There were some events in the movie that really seemed to happen only because the script said so. They needed a particular character in a particular place at a particular time and the events that led up to that moment didn’t seem natural. It was a small blemish on an otherwise excellent movie and I couldn’t help but feel with just a little better scripting this would have been a non factor.

Still, the movie is excellent and those looking for a great science fiction movie should go and see this. As for the Trekkies - you’ve probably already seen this movie. It’s always nice to see a summer blockbuster with a little bit of smarts. J.J Abrams is an excellent director and has a great handle on massive movies while retaining their depth. Can’t wait to see what he does with Star Wars.

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