Star Trek: Into the Darkness – All Hype or a Must See?

Star Trek: Into The Darkness was one of my most anticipated summer movies for 2013. It’s a sequel to a fairly successful reboot. The initial installment that came out a few years ago was full of so much witty banter and epic effects that it seemed to be exactly what I thought the Star Trek franchise to be. It was a step in the right direction as throughout the movie, my imagination was tickled and soothed. I was hardly alone either; anyone who loved science fiction and even those who didn’t agreed that it was a great movie.

Disappointing Aspects of the Movie

The much anticipated sequel on the other hand wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Yes, I did have high hopes but nothing too lofty, I expected to get a story that was entertaining in every way that was important. Humor, a touch of action and a good plot, laced with interludes of character driven interaction. Yes, I did see a lot of this, but there are still those moments in this flick where you can’t help but roll your eyes. I mean, I know it’s supposed to be an alternate universe setting but having certain events mimic past movies to such an extent was irritating and it was only one reason why this movie didn’t meet my expectations.

Case in point, there is one scene where Spock screams loudly in an emotional fit of rage. Some people won’t bat another eye at the screen, but to someone who remembers the old Star Trek movies they might just recall William Shatner’s Captain Kirk doing the exact same thing, due to almost the exact same reasons. While I can see the irony in doing it, I was hoping for something more refreshing.

Poor Balance between Story Line and Action Scenes

The other part that drew my ire is that I felt that it was less of a Star Trek film and more of an action flick. There are movies that you wished there were more explosion and more adrenaline pumped sequences that leave the viewer breathless in anticipation, this was not one of them. In all honesty, I wish there were fewer action scenes. When it all comes down to it, the pacing left a knot in my stomach. To me, it seemed I was watching one life or death situation after another. There was little time to bask in the situation and see the crew react to each other. Don’t get me wrong, seeing a starship go guns blazing, or futuristic energy weapons going hot is always fun to watch but that wasn’t what I was there for.

I wanted a story, that was rich and one that had the hallmarks of a science fiction tale. From the get go even as far back as the original series, Star Trek has always been painted as something we should strive for. A better tomorrow, the promise of a not-so-bleak future. Sadly, I didn’t get that impression at all. For one, where were all the aliens on Earth? The previous instalment at least had some here and that was a little more true to story. I guess, what I’m trying to say that it felt more like a generic science fiction film, than a Star Trek one. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a majestic display of camera angles and special effects, one that anyone can appreciate. It’s just I wanted more of the universe and the characters I loved. Like many, I grew up with it and I’m not ashamed to say that I want more plot-driven moments and science stuff, than the gaggle of energy beams that seemed to erupt throughout the movie.

On the Plus Side

As much as the whole thing irritated me, it wasn’t that bad. I would say that there are plenty of silver linings to be found. For instance, the movie may not have met my expectations but there are still moments that made me giddy too, like the feeling of comradeship between the characters.

Superb Characterization

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fan or not, it simply can’t be denied that it’s the cast that makes the new iteration of Star Trek interesting, old names but different actors and for the most part they fill out their roles spectacularly.

From the A team command staff that consists of Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) Spock (Zachery Qunito) and Bones (Karl Urban), to Scotty (Simon Pegg) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) to the less important notable crew of the enterprise like Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin).
Needless to say there are stars in every corner of this movie and giving each of them the proper amount of screen time should be considered a juggle of herculean effort. Yet even though it’s a delicate balance of adding and subtracting running time, every single character has the chance to shine and show us what they’re capable of, often in fun and entertaining ways, like Sulu’s first time in the command chair. To those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, he gets a line as Captain of the Enterprise and manages to deliver in a way that is both awe inspiring and frightening at the same time.

It isn’t only the heroes that are well represented, the antagonists are as well. For most of the film the role is played by Benedict Cumberbatch and he couldn’t have done it better. A villain who is composed and fears nothing, is always a nice sight to see in a movie but Benedict takes it one step further. His word-plays and deadpan tone are enough to send shivers down my spine. He is classical in the sense that he could tear you apart with his bare hands but instead chooses carefully crafted verbal jabs to inflict the most pain. If nothing else, it was a sheer joy to watch a master at work.

Another person of interest is played by Peter Weller (The Robocop), and while his performance may not have been as grand as Benedict’s it was still well worth watching. Through his deep voice, he manages to convey the situation for everyone to understand. He threatens and manipulates Captain Kirk throughout the film, and it is a clash that needs to be seen to be understood.
Star Trek: Into The Darkness

Is It Worth Watching?

All in all, even though I’m disappointed; it is overall, a good movie – especially for newcomers to the franchise. In fact, it is my sincerest hope that we see another sequel. I am a fan of the franchise after all. Still, people will come to see the special effects and action sequences, but will be entertained by the constant byplay of the cast of characters, it is their acting and interactions that make the movie memorable. It is the underlining humor and drama that adds that extra spice to the whole adventure. I give this a 7.5 out of 10. Yes I was disappointed, but by no means was it a dull movie.

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One thought on “Star Trek: Into the Darkness – All Hype or a Must See?”

  1. I agree and disagree. The cast was wonderful and it seems that they had some of the orignal cast member’s mannerisms down cold. On that we agree. However I too have been a fan since I was a child in the 60’s. My family never missed an episode. I liked the story and was not in the least disappointed. Yes it did leave a knot in my stomach, but I loved the action and felt it fit well into the franchise. It did miss the boat on showing how we as a species could be improved but the father’s love for his child and Spock’s appearant love for Ahora made up for it. It made his human side more understandable. Live long and prosper.

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