‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ Review

Grace Johnson-DeBaufre, Op-Ed Editor

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Star Trek: Into Darkness, the sequel to the Star Trek reboot in 2009, has been long awaited and, while it isn’t as good as the first, it doesn’t disappoint in terms of entertainment. Like most sequels it has to be even more action-y than the first. Continuing with the terrorism trend that I’ve noticed in films recently, the crew of the Enterprise leads a manhunt to capture the one-man weapon of mass destruction known as John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch).

In terms of acting, Star Trek: Into Darkness (ST:ID) is pretty much flawless. I personally couldn’t find a weak link among them. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto continue to entertain the audience with their bromance as Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Scotty (Simon Pegg) and Bones (Karl Urban) both brought humor to the otherwise dark plot without seeming inappropriate. And finally, Benedict Cumberbatch as the mysterious John Harrison is beautifully sinister and threatening.

The only person who comes close to being a weak link is Alice Eve as Carol (a character revived from the original series), and I only really had a problem with the character. Carol was brought in for the sole purpose of being a romantic interest for Kirk (with a gratuitous bra/underwear scene), and I found that they lacked chemistry. In fact, all of the romantic subplots (Spock/Uhura, Kirk/Carol) were overshadowed by the epic bromance of Spock and Kirk. It was as if everyone forgot that the women were there and they had to bring them back every so often in order to reaffirm the heterosexuality of the film.

The major problem with the film is the chaotic plot. Director J.J. Abrams was obviously unable to tone down the second movie and used the larger budget and hype to make ST:ID into a film with more lens flares, more action, more running, and more references to the original series (to please the Trekkers). ST:ID had so much more that the plot got very confused and the film lost a lot of the heart of the original series. The rebooted Star Trek suffers because it presents a militarized and action-fueled Federation, whereas the original series always tried to promote intergalactic exploration and peace. I still found it immensely enjoyable, but why have representations of peace been largely abandoned by the film industry? In ST:ID’s defense, the writers obviously try to steer the film back to a more hopeful place at the end (using the most ridiculous speech I have ever heard), but the movie as whole adheres to this disheartening violent standard.

Although, the sequel doesn’t quite live up to the standard set by the first film, Star Trek: Into Darkness is entertaining enough to stand on its own and still do justice to the Star Trek legacy.

Runtime: 132 min.

Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence

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