Who’s in it? Chris Pine (Captain Jim Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Benedict Cumberbatch (John Harrison), Karl Urban (Bones), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Simon Pegg (Scotty), Bruce Greenwood (Admiral Pike), John Cho (Sulu), Anton Yelchin (Chekov), Alice Eve (Dr. Marcus)
What’s it about? Rogue commander John Harrison has a major beef with Starfleet, and proceeds to carry out an attack on the organization’s leadership. Captain Kirk and his team are tasked with bringing Harrison to justice, but the problem is that Harrison has escaped into forbidden enemy (read: Klingon) territory.
What’s good? My first draft of this review sounded like something Stefon from Saturday Night Live would recite breathlessly. “This movie has everything! Weird oyster-looking guys, girls with tails, dueling starships, dead Tribbles, young and old Spocks, exploding volcanoes, and more. Be sure to use the password, ‘Dammit, Jim!’ at the theater.”
But seriously, I loved this movie. As longtime Redblog readers may remember from my review of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek franchise reboot in 2009, I am not a Trekkie. But Abrams succeeded in drawing me in four years ago, and did an even better job with Star Trek Into Darkness. As before, Pine and Quinto (especially Quinto) did an excellent job as the leads. The strained but ultimately unbreakable friendship between Kirk and Spock remains the soul of the series, and served to frame the sequel’s many “tough decision” moments. Also as before, the movie is funny not only just when it needs to be, but also when it’s least expected. This time around I felt that Urban (Bones) was particularly hilarious, and the level of silliness I’ve come to expect from Simon Pegg was met as well.
The standout, however, was Cumberbatch. He rocked his role, and if — like me — you have no idea how his character’s story plays out in the series, he’ll keep you guessing as to whether he’s a reaaally bad dude, or just a misunderstood genius, or somewhere in between. He pulled off going from menacing to sympathetic to sarcastic and back again effortlessly. I’m gonna have to start watching Sherlock now. I might even have to buy a long trench-coat/cape-thingy, too, because he looked so damn cool in it.
I also feel like I should point out the fact that every single second of Star Trek Into Darkness entertained me. And that’s saying something, since I was running on about three hours’ sleep and had gone straight to the theater after being scrunched in the backseat of a small car during a six-hour drive back to Chicago. I feared I would nod off during the screening, but there was no way that could’ve happened. From the first of many beautifully shot action sequences to the final moments, I was hooked. This is what you want from a summer movie.
What could’ve been better? I can’t say that I had any real issues with Star Trek Into Darkness. It’s the first movie I’ve felt this way about for months. Was its storyline a bit far-fetched at times? Sure, but — especially when compared to its predecessor, whose time-twistedness completely lost me in parts — this screenplay by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof was crystal clear.
Like usual, I didn’t think that the 3D was necessary.
Oh, and … HOLY LENS FLARES.
The bottom line: Um, yeah, I think you should see it. I can’t imagine there will be a more entertaining movie out this summer.
Love Star Trek?
(And if you rent the video game before midnight CT on 5/27, you’ll automatically get $.50 off the first night’s rental of the 2009 movie.)