Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

“It’s Spock Jim, but a lot older than we know him”, Kirk (Chris Pine), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Bones (Karl Urban), Sulu (John Cho), and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) all wonder why Leonard Nemoy is in this film.

I haven’t seen the the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek film but here I am jumping in with the sequel. Initial impressions were much better than I was expecting though. Especially with regards to the new, or should I say younger versions of the now geriatric Enterprise crew. Zachary Quinto is superb as Spock and manages to capture perfectly the internal conflict between his calculating, logical nature and his need to understand the more emotional and impulsive actions of his colleagues. Chris Pine makes a good young enthusiastic Kirk, although on the negative side he does look a little too pretty (what’s with his alien-like blue eyes?) and fragile at times. I do like Simon Pegg normally but here his Scotty wasn’t working for me. (Why not actually use a Scottish actor?). Everyone else though is pretty good. I have to ask though, What the hell is Leonard Nemoy’s future Spock doing here?? It just seems like an excuse for a cameo, all it does is to reduce tension even further (we already know Kirk, Spock et al aren’t going to die because..  well – we’ve seen them in the original Star Trek. We don’t need a future version of Spock giving the younger version advice and  making things even safer for them). It just seems like a weak attempt to get some of the more staunch, traditional members of the fanbase onside. Get rid of him.

The bad guy in this film is Khan (who you will remember from Star Trek II : The Wrath of Khan), a super verison of a human ably played by Benedict Cumberbatch. He wants revenge on Star Fleet for taking his crew – and he gets it – gunning down a room of high ranking Star Fleet generals. Kirk, hot-headed as he is jumps on the Enterprise (not entirely his ship at this point) and heads after Khan looking for revenge. But is he in too deep? It turns out that Khan is much more dangerous an enemy than he or his crew realise…

What Abrams does well is to inject some much needed excitement and action into the typically more staid, cold and clinical Star Trek universe. You always want to see what happens next, and tension is expertly built. However I would argue that there’s a little bit too much dumb action and not enough of the intelligence and cleverness of the original Star Trek to counter-balance it. At the end of the film you feel you have been entertained by but nothing more. A little more depth wouldn’t go amiss.
I have to say though, it was great to see Spock using his Vulcan Death Grip again. It brought back memories of when my father used to try it on my brother and me – thankfully I lived to tell the tale. As for my for my brother, well…

Abrams certainly gets that Star Trek needs excitement. This is a good, fun, entertaining action film, that’s just in need of something extra to make you think. Let’s hope he’s saving it for the next film.

6/10

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2 comments
  1. CMrok93 said:

    Good review Rich. It somehow found its way onto my Top 10 for last year, and with good reason. Not only was it my favorite blockbuster of the summer, but it totally assured me that Abrams is the right choice for the Star Wars universe.

    • richmov said:

      Thanks Dan, yes let’s hope so. I’m just glad it’s not George Lucas anymore.

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