Loved this–and I am not a Trekker, have never been on a spacecraft, or had an out of body experience (OK maybe once) but I love an exciting cinematic romp through outer space, and after seeing STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS I left the theater feeling like my car was the Starship Enterprise (and if you must know, I am always traveling at warp speed.) The 12th installment of the adventures of that merry band of space explorers led by Captain James T. Kirk (played by Chris Pine and his indestructible eyebrows) and Mr. Spock (played by Zachary Quinto of the equally bodacious brows)– just made me want to go along for the ride.
This time they are after a single guy (Who isn’t– A number of my friends are asking…) a super powerful dangerous bad ass (Benedict Cumberbatch) who’s hiding out in a neutral Klingon outpost and I won’t spoil it by telling you who it is. But what I liked about the film– and most Star Trek movies is that they are about the characters and their interaction– and there’s plenty here for the Enterprise crew to chew on. Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Spock are finding their way through a rather complex relationship. In fact, Spock’s identity is at the heart of the action. As a half Vulcan, Spock acts logically of course, but must navigate a romance with the het up Uhura, and decipher his friendship with Kirk who’s operating from his gut. So Spock must adjust his thinking to take all of this into account; he’s also half human, but has made certain decisions not to feel– to protect himself from feeling what he confesses he actually at one time has felt or known–but must now control. Or at least try to. Not even Dr. Phil could straighten this out.
Then there’s Kirk and his relationship to rules in general, his mentor Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood), and the chain of command–Peter “Robocop” Weller is onboard as Admiral Marcus. Then there’s Scotty (Simon Pegg) who resigns and gets drunk, while Sulu (John Cho) proves himself a man in the big chair, while McCoy (Karl Urban) gets off some choice one liners. Then there’s the gorgeous blonde (Alice Eve) who sneaks aboard. The character drama holds up somewhat better than the action sequences which are often messy– sometimes not clear what’s happening or who’s doing what to whom. But there’s enough to fill in the blanks. The plot is a bit inconsistent on the details as well– the opening scene has Spock trying to solidify the lava from a volcano so it won’t overflow and wipe out a primitive civilization on the planet Nibiru– but I thought Starfleet wasn’t supposed to interfere with the history of a people? Later Kirk is called to account for doing just that. Lazy writing.
So what kept me onboard? The pace, the overall flow, the likeability of this cast, seeing the beginnings of their evolution as characters, and perhaps– I just needed an escape. “Star Trek Into Darkness” while not brilliant, was enough fun to take me out of the doldrums of a late Spring afternoon–just before a hail storm and a black bear invaded my neighborhood (See my Facebook/ Twitter stream). The blockbusters have arrived– and they will live long and prosper this summer if STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS is any indication.