When the Star Trek franchise was rebooted in 2009 by J.J. Abrams he made the movie a lot of fun to watch. That time travel plot device provided a tidy reboot of the universe so that Kirk, Spock and gang could go into future adventures without being burdened by continuity or fidelity concerns.
And yet, it also offered the director as well as his writers (Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzmann, and Damon Lindelof) opportunity to bring back old beloved storylines. Even if your awareness of Star Trek is formed purely of phantom memories generated by debates between the cast members of The Big Bang Theory and snippets of pop culture reading, you will still be prepared enough to watch this movie.
The easy breezy tone of the first one is repeated in Star Trek Into Darkness. The movie opens on Kirk (Chris Pine) and Bones (Karl Urban) running from an alien race through brightly-coloured vegetation in a sequence that sets us up to receive kinetic action and cinematography (yes the lens flares are back) from the very beginning.
When a terrorist attack by a man named John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) rocks Starfleet, Captain Kirk and his crew find themselves on a collision course with a man they are not properly prepared to battle. Harrison is strong, ruthless, and operating on a level beyond the ken of the good folk on the USS Enterprise.
Through breathtaking action sequences on Klingon, aboard the Enterprise, and future-day London and San Francisco, Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhura (Zoe Saldanha), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), Sulu (John Cho) and Scotty (Simon Pegg) along with new recruit Dr. Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) try to figure out what Harrison’s plan is.
Because that is only the first step to figuring out how to defeat him.
Fans have been wondering—ever since he was cast—what role Mr. Cumberbatch would play in this new movie. Suffice to say the man plays a character that will warm the cockles of the average Trekkie’s heart. Pine and Quinto do their human-Vulcan back-and-forth to slightly lesser effect in this one but it is never too distracting.
Final Analysis: I could discuss the fact that the ending doesn’t place too much value upon the consequences of a character’s actions, but perhaps one is not expected to take such thoughts into consideration while watching a Big Summer Action Movie. And even though it is over two hours long, this movie chugs along like a pleasant journey that ends leaving you refreshed and wanting more. J.J. Abrams has delivered again.
My Advice: Watch it on the big screen. In 3D. It really is a ‘big screen experience’ in the best sense of those words.