Star Trek Into Darkness was directed by J.J. Abrams who not only already has, but will continue to attract deep pocket producers and studios for big budget film projects. By 2016, Abrams will have helmed 3 Star Trek movies, one Mission Impossible film, and the next Star Wars: Episode VII. So we can say his name and game are working.
Star Trek Into Darkness opened Wednesday night, and I caught the Thursday morning show here in Sarasota. I saw the 2D version rather than the more costly 3D IMAX Experience – but strictly speaking, that was more of a function of timing than expenses. I must tell you that the last Star Trek film I actually went to was Star Trek: The Voyage Home, released in 1986 – and that event happened because of a chance encounter with actress Catherine Hicks.
So let’s get it out there up front. I’m not a devotee of the original TV series or the Star Trek films. However I will admit to spending more time watching Deep Space Nine as well as Babylon 5 than I did Star Trek. But back to Into Darkness.
As the film opens – I was immediately thrown off by a chase which seemed to be lifted straight out of the original Indiana Jones – you know when Indy is racing through the jungle pursued by the locals wielding spears and blow-guns with poisoned darts. Only we weren’t on Earth, and the indigenous people chasing them looked like the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz, only with charcoal ash colored skin. While Captain Kirk and his crewman raced for their lives – Spock had some things to do inside an active volcano.
Yes – inside a working volcano. Hot, hot, hot it was, but Spock didn’t even get damp. Not to spoil anything, but this is just the first 10 minutes of the film so it all works out and that’s your opening which also included the USS Enterprise submerged on the bottom of the ocean like any atomic powered submarine.
I thought the Enterprise was a space ship – but hey, what do I know? From there we have no place else to go but up, both literally and figuratively.
And despite that somewhat less than awesome opening set piece, the film does markedly improve. The USS Enterprise hardware is great looking as are the CGI manifestations of London and San Francisco. The main players: Chris Pine as Kirk,
Zachary Quinto as Spock,
and Karl Urban as Bones looked and sounded very much like the originals. That means I give kudos for the writing and the casting, as well as the acting. Keep in mind that the looks are very much more suggestive than exact – but still; it is amazing when you see them in motion rather than just photo stills. Chekhov, Sulu, Uhura, and Scotty didn’t fare quite as well as the others.