*Spoiler Free, for a spoiler-filled review, click here*
JJ Abrams has quoted that this movie is not for the Star Trek fan (Trekkies) but for movie fans. I took that into consideration when I went in to see Star Trek Into Darkness. I have to say, it was a really great movie.
When Abrams rebooted Star Trek in 2009, I was weary with the changes but I learned that changes needed to be made to open up Star Trek as a franchise and to not allow a movie to be stuck in the past. The change in timeline has allowed more room for change, allowing the script to be more unpredictable. With Star Trek Into Darkness, there were a lot of changes from the original series. We see Uhura and Spock’s romantic relationship being explored further (with hilarity), Kirk’s leadership being questioned, Kirk and Spock’s friendship tested, Klingons (f*ck yeah!) and a new villain who’s character went beyond vengeance.
Star Trek Into Darkness was a fast-paced adventure. The visual effects were used well and really – cinematic porn. The FX and use of 3D was brilliant – from Kirk and Bones jumping from a cliff (which was shown in the trailer – no spoiler there) to a ship landing into the water destroying parts of San Fransisco (also shown in the trailer) – it was absolutely beautiful. And to everyone, there were no lens flare.
The script was well written and beautifully acted, especially by Chris Pine. I was extremely impressed with Pine’s performance. Pine’s Kirk went through a lot of growth throughout this movie. You really see and feel Kirk emotionally change from a cocky know-it-all to a true leader. He definitely earned his place in the chair. Benedict Cumberbatch‘s character was also impressive. It’s different seeing Cumberbatch playing a villain when you’re so used to seeing him playing a gentleman (in Parade’s End) and a cocky but sleuth detective (in Sherlock). But of course, we know Cumberbatch is an amazing actor. Throughout the film, you really did not know whether he was the good guy or the villain. At times, you were rooting for him and then other times, you wanted him to die. This character had a lot more depth than the previous villain, Nero, in the 2009 reboot.
As for the other characters, Simon Pegg‘s Scotty and Karl Urban‘s McCoy/Bones were absolutely hilarious. I understand they were meant as comic relief for moments, but they definitely stole every scene they were in. Zoe Saldana‘s Uhura had her moments – there is a great scene of her utilizing her linguistic skills. Unfortunately, I felt there was not enough Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Sulu (John Cho) – especially memorable moments. We see Cho has one moment that he shined in, but then he fell back behind the curtains.
Give me more Chekov and Sulu!
As a movie fan, this movie told an emotional, adventurous story about a Captain and his love for his crew. It was brilliant. There was a lot of action throughout the movie – fighting scenes (one epic one that includes Klingons), ship chases, explosions, gun battles, etc. This movie was a great sci-fi adventure.
Would I say it was a good Star Trek movie? It was good, but not the best for Star Trek fans.
Abrams did provide the fans with Trek moments that made us excited and may have satisfied many of us, but not all.
I did enjoy the budding friendship between Kirk and Spock. They are not at the level of the Original Kick and Spock, but it’s getting there. It felt a bit too forced at times, but that’s because we experienced the original series friendship on a television show with multiple episodes versus a two-and-a-half-hour movie. So I know Abrams had little time to work with regarding their friendship.
There were some other moments that made me go YAY and NAY as a Trekkie throughout the movie, but that would be giving away too much of the movie if revealed.
Overall, I kept in mind what Abrams said about the film – it’s for movie fans, not Trekkies. He did provide the Trekkies with some moments of the past. So, he did not completely forget about this audience. It was a movie for everyone. I have to say, I did like it better than the first movie because it had more action and more character development – not just for the crew we know and love – but also the villain. I recommend everyone – including Trekkies – to see it. Abrams is trying to open it up to everyone wanting to see a good sci-fi movie. And I’m okay with that.
Here is one spoiler that I was excited about – we see a Tribble in the film! I love Tribbles.