As with many such films, Star Trek Into Darkness is critic-proof. The movie will have a huge weekend box office, no matter what anybody says about it. Even if STID were horrible, there would be long lines at theaters across the world. Happily, I can report that Star Trek Into Darkness is not horrible.
The new Kirk and Spock, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, deepen their bromance in STID to the point that the supposedly unemotional Spock actually sheds a tear when Kirk is in peril. They team up to fight a common enemy, one who threatens the existence of the Starfleet.
The movie opens with a stunning sequence. We see Kirk running through a forest of bright red trees, being chased by mime-like white-faced creatures who have yellow scarves around their heads and lower abdomens. It looks like a fantasy scene from a Japanese anime. At a cliff, he jumps and… Well, then the adventure really gets going, when Spock descends into a volcano on this strange planet.
Back home on Earth, a deadly bombing of a Starfleet underground archive in London is followed by an attack on Starfleet HQ in San Francisco. The villain behind it all must be tracked down and brought to justice. The bad guy is John Harrison, played wonderfully by Benedict Cumberbatch. You might get an occasional slight Valdemort vibe from his character.
The movie’s tension is amped up by a soundtrack that lays the dramatic music on rather thick. No subtlety here. That tension, though, is compromised by a heavy dose of quips, which give the film a cartoonish feel. Chuckles galore are piled on to the point of distraction. Enough!
Chris Pine brings a swagger to Kirk that’s similar to William Shatner’s. Pine is ruggedly handsome, in a Redford sort of way. Quinto, on the other hand, is a decent actor, but doesn’t hit that severe note quite as nicely as Leonard Nimoy managed. This movie has a bit too much Spock for my taste.
Notable supporting cast members include Simon Pigg as Scotty, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, John Cho as Sulu, Karl Urban as Bones McCoy, Peter “Robocop” Weller as Admiral Marcus and Alice Eve as Marcus’s daughter.
The looks of San Francisco and London in 2259 are not much different from 2013 Shanghai, with a few modifications. A future feature that I found goofy: people communicating via flip phones, not unlike the one I gave up a few years ago. (But in Trek, they get great coverage!)
Star Trek Into Darkness has content that will please fans of all the various Star Trek TV incarnations, as well as fans of past Trek movies. How about someone who’s totally out of the Trek loop? I think first-timers will figure out the characters and the scenario quickly and easily. It’s not rocket science. (Well, yes, it is, but…)