“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new lifeforms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before.”
Any longtime fan of the 1960s franchise, Star Trek
knows this famous line that Captain James T. Kirk delivers before the opening credits of the show. Heck, I’m not even a “Trekkie” and I know this line (I guess that’s what you get for having a father and uncle who are Trekkies). Star Trek has made a great impact on television and cinema since its premiere on NBC on September 8, 1966. It spanned three seasons, led to multiple feature length films, and even spawned a sequel series about, “The next generation.”
Director JJ Abrams indeed went where no man had gone before, and he went their boldly, without a doubt. 2009 gave us a new vision of the Star Trek franchise with a movie starring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as a young James T. Kirk and Spock, respectively. The movie had critical acclaim, making ties to the original series that made the stories intertwine without causing errors in continuity. JJ Abrams with his lens flairs and spectacular effects soon gained the title of the next great sci-fi director.
Four years later and we now have a new Star Trek film: Star Trek Into Darkness (bold move, not putting a colon in there). Just so I don’t have to keep typing the entire title, I’m going to refer to it, here on out, as just Darkness.
Darkness finds Kirk and the gang on the hunt for a one-man army named John Harrison (played by Benedict Cumberbatch). John Harrison is a force of terror that comes from within the organization Kirk and the crew work for, Star Fleet. I’m going to stop right there because I don’t want to spoil anything for all y’all who have not seen the film yet.
Just to get it out of my system I’ll say it right here and now. I loved Darkness. I went into the theater, expecting a solid sequel, but not a movie that could wow me like Abrams’ first Star Trek. I was pleasantly surprised. The opening scene was incredibly exciting and when the epic score that pays tribute to the original theme came on at the end of the scene, I felt like I was transported back to the 60s with my father as we both sat in the theater in awe.
The story of the movie seems pretty basic: Catch the bad guy because he killed a lot of people. But it is so much more than that. Again, I don’t want to spoil anything. One thing I will say though, is they make connections to the original series and they do it splendidly. I’ll say it right now that the only things I’ve seen from the original series are the first feature length movie, and the sequel: Wrath of Kahn. Having seen those, and my dad seeing just about everything having to do with Star Trek, we both deduced on the ride home from the movie that tribute was paid well to the original series.
The relationship between Kirk and Spock is outstanding. The characters have very conflicting traits. Kirk is more about gut instinct and what he consciously thinks is right, while Spock is more by the books and based on logic. However Spock is in fact half human, half Vulcan (Vulcans are 100% logic), so he has an internal conflict right there when Kirk tells him to be more… Human. Their chemistry on the screen is a both funny, and touching. Especially at the end, I was almost in tears.
Acting all around is fantastic, however to be specific, Benedict Cumberbatch was amazing in this film. Everything he said gave me the chills. He was just so… suave I guess. He steals every scene as he tries to manipulate the crew of the USS Enterprise and goes off on these monologues about how he is going to basically kill everything in sight. Just great acting all around, I don’t know how else to explain it.
Just a little something else, I love that everyone in the crew of the Enterprise is involved in this film, Everyone contributes to the story, from Uhura translating for Kirk on Kronos, to Sulu taking over for Kirk as captain when he leaves the ship. Not to mention Scotty is absolutely clutch in this film. Also McCoy is just hilarious with his analogies.
To sum it up, Darkness was a fantastic sequel that exceeded my expectations. The characters were developed more than the first film and Cumberbatch’s John Harrison is a much more terrifying and goal oriented antagonist than that of Eric Bana’s Nero from the first film. The action was amazing and the cinematography really worked well to help that out. The music was inspiring and the sound design was outstanding. Granted I saw the film at the Jordan’s Furniture IMAX theater in Reading, MA, but with the subwoofers in the seats I could feel every punch, every warp, etc. I think it is a great addition to sci-fi films and it makes my nerves a little calmer about the new Star Wars film coming up that Abrams is directing/producing.
I highly recommend this film if you are a fan of the first, or the entire franchise. Also, take your dad. Father’s Day is coming up, he puts a roof over your head, the least you could do is treat the guy to a day at the movies. Your friends can wait!
Overall rating: 9/10
Again, this is all based on the opinion of a college student. If you don’t like the movie, that’s completely fine, I won’t judge you THAT harshly.