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“Star Trek Into Darkness” – Review (POSITIVE) [SPOILERS]

May 21, 2013

[THERE WILL BE MAJOR SPOILERS IN THIS ARTICLE]

star-trek-into-darkness-kirk-and-spockIt’s probably a good thing that I’ve waited  about a week to write my review for J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek Into Darkness, I needed time to fully invest the movie into my minds eye. I respect J.J. Abrams take on the franchise and where he’s decided to go. Some may feel he’s making “Star Trek” more “Star Wars”, when it couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I dare you right now to pop in “A New Hope”, then watch the Abrams 2009 “Star Trek”.

“Into Darkness” takes the new ‘Trek-Nero’ timeline to different places, farther than the original films and tv series years ago. To recap from the previous film, the mad Romulan baddie, Nero (Eric Bana), has warped the timeline of the original Trek, after time traveling through a black hole, along with old Spock (Leonard Nimoy). Now that everything is different, and yet somewhat original, with the same Enterprise team at bay (under different circumstance), Kirk (Chris Pine) & Spock (Zachary Qunito) have acclimated to everything that is Starfleet, including the Prime Directive.

When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home after vigorous adventure, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, leaving our world in a state of crisis. The man responsible goes by the name of John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), a Starfleet officer. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to the war-zone ridden world of Kronos, the Klingon home wold, to capture Harrison, who we’ve come to learn is nothing more than a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

So, let us discuss what’s at play here, firstly I’ve seen the movie twice already (I may go for a third), the first viewing I felt that the movie was simply “Wrath of Khan 2.0”, and for a lot of reasons. [INCOMING SPOILER] The revelation about Harrison’s identity, he is none other than the infamous Khan Noonien Singh, the genetically altered human weapon of 300 yrs ago, who was frozen, along with his 72 crew members aboard their ship known to Trekkie’s as the Botany Bay. If you watch the original “Star Trek” episode, “Space Seed” (on Netflix instant), you’ll get a full in-depth look at the character and his complete backstory. Introducing Khan, the character of Carol Marcus (Alice Eve), and the warp core death scene (now switched around), all of these elements scream “Wrath of Khan”, for a while that’s all I really thought the movie was…but then I saw it again.

Star-trek-into-darkness“Into Darkness” new timeline takes place roughly around the same time Khan was discovered in “Space Seed”. However, do to Nero’s interactions with the universe, certain chain of events have been set into motion changing Khan’s motives and personal vendetta’s. Instead of Kirk discovering Khan, Starfleet’s Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) finds Khan. For the sake of not spoiling anymore, let’s just say, Khan is being played like a flute by Marcus…for now. His rage and anger is no longer focused on Kirk, like in “WoK”. But, the attitude, the reason why Khan was frozen in the first place, that he’s a power hungry tyrant, hellbent on killing anyone who doesn’t match his superiority, remains, which I feel “WoK” didn’t fully explore. Khan’s development as a person is far more enticing and interesting, not to mention down right scarier than Ricardo Montalban’s Khan.

Now, for some, myself included, thought the infamous death scene in the radiation room felt like lazy writing. You might say, ‘Hey, they already did that in “WoK”, why do it again, you’re just doing the same thing, only now it’s switched. Boo!’ But, you see, that’s the brilliance about that scene in this movie, it’s narratively NOTHING like the original film. What this scene signifies, and may I dare to say, better than “WoK” was that you can’t just do this scene as a basic ‘tribute’ and then make it for no reason, no, it has to have a actual context. In “WoK” the death of Spock was a punctuation and acknowledgement of a friendship that has been strengthen through decades of their journey together as friend.

star-trek-into-darkness-2In “Into Darkness” however, Kirk & Spock up to this point haven’t known each other that long, they’ve only been working together for rough a couple of years, so in this movie, that moment, when Kirk gives his last breath for Spock and the entire crew, it’s a sudden revelation for Spock; that Kirk is his friend. Old Spock even said it at the end of the first film that they were destined to build a legendary relationship, a friendship that would define them both in ways they could not yet realize. That moment, Kirk’s death was that realization.

When it comes down to it, “Star Trek Into Darkness” is probably without question the best film in the entire canon. It’s pure Trek in a lot of ways, it honors the franchise in a respectful manner, and it doesn’t take the time to bullshit with mindless exposition and bone headed moves by it’s villain or heroes for that matter. It takes something familiar and reformats it into something new all over again.

Many feared that when it was announced that a sequel would happen after the ’09 film, most fans prayed that the filmmakers wouldn’t choose Khan, just because he was out there still and he’s the easiest villain to do. But, I feel that particular fear has disappeared. It’s not what the fans were anticipating and I think for argument’s sake that what we got in the end was something far better than any Trekkie or movie fan could have ever asked for. Mr. Abrams, I salute you, live long and prosper good sir…

…now we got “Star Wars”. Oh boy.

3D GRADE: B

MOVIE GRADE: A

GRADE: A-

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