It is fair to say that J. J. Abrams is a man who has found quite a bit of success within the entertainment industry. In fact, his name likely appears on the top of a very, very short list of encouraging up-and-coming writers, producers, directors, and creators. While few milestones are left for him to achieve, Star Trek Into Darkness does happen to represent his first responsibility as director of a sequel and a high-profile one at that. Since it is no secret that Abrams will be helming the most highly anticipated set of sequels of all time in terms of the upcoming Star Wars episodes; Star Trek Into Darkness has a little more riding on it than usual. Fortunately, Abrams and company have done it again, in that Star Trek Into Darkness is nothing short of spectacular!
After a four year wait, the crew of the Enterprise is back on the big screen. Into Darkness hits the ground running with a wild, stylish opening segment that reminds us that hot-shot Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) doesn’t play by anybody else’s rules. However, this time his cavalier philosophy finally catches up with him. Kirk’s chance at redemption comes at the cost of an attack on star fleet by a mysterious mad-man by the name of John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch). Harrision’s attack and subsequent retreat to hostile space leads Kirk and crew on an inter-galactic man-hunt that tests their strength, courage, and relationships.
The film looks very good and while heavy on special effects, they do not overwhelm the movie. Abrams shot much of this film on the lot in Paramount Studios, but he was able to use realistic staging quite often, resulting in action scenes where the actors actually were able to interact with the environment and be immersed in the reality of it. A clear example of this is a fantastic fight scene near the end of the film that takes place on top of multiple levitating barges. The actors filmed this scene on actual moving platforms, which aid in creating a very intense tone for a pivotal scene.
A major strength of Abrams’s first Star Trek was the expert casting, and that remains so in Into Darkness. All of the iconic roles are filled with performers who understand how to balance the legacy of their characters’ reputations with the modern turn necessary to freshen up the franchise. Especially excellent is Zachary Quinto who plays a more sensitive Spock, while still preserving the stone-cold-logical element that all fans have embraced for nearly fifty years. While inside tongue-in-cheek references are aplenty, non-trekies will be none-the-wiser and will not feel like they are missing something. Nonetheless, Abrams does not let the notoriously passionate fans down and creates another film that will certainly have devotees reeling, laughing, and gasping at several carefully nuanced touches; study up on your Klingon!
Star Trek Into Darkness is far simpler in story and scope than its predecessor, which may disappoint those looking for twists and turns that fans of Abrams have come to expect from his work on television shows like Lost and Fringe. While straightforward and uncomplicated in terms of plot, it is a lot of fun. The pacing is swift, the action is great, and the all of the humor works. Star Trek Into Darkness substantiates the latest voyages of the Starship Enterprise, which will surely live long and inevitably pro$per! A-
Star Trek Into Darkness is rated PG-13 and has a running time of 2 hours and 3 minutes. While it was apparently not shot in 3-D, it was shot in IMAX, and the 3-D conversion is top notch and not disappointing. See it in 2-D or 3-D, but definitely see it on an IMAX or Xtreme screen.