Star Trek-Into Darkness: Bodily Going Where Others Have Gone Before…With Style
For me the last great Star Trek movie was First Contact in 1996 and I don’t think that’s ever going to change. Also, I don’t think anything truly new has happened with Star Trek since Deep Space Nine ended its seven year run 14 years ago. Director J.J. Abrams’s 2009 Star Trek reboot was an attempt to remake the original series and movies with a different set of actors. Some people felt the experiment worked while others thought it didn’t. I was among the latter.
Star Trek-Into Darkness like the 2009 film doesn’t present anything new to the Star Trek universe and its certainly not a classic like 1982’s Star Trek II-The Wrath of Khan or the previously mentioned First Contact , but taken on its own it is an entertaining and action packed film that features some nice character moments. Chris Pine also grew on me in this film as Captain James T. Kirk. No, he will never have William Shatner’s charisma or the great depth and range as an actor that Patrick Stewart brought to the role as Captain Jean–Luc Picard on Star Trek-The Next Generation for seven seasons and four films, but Pine’s Kirk is more likable with more humility then when we met him four years ago.
In this story Star Fleet Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) sends the Enterprise to find a reneged Star Fleet officer who turns out to be none other than Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically enhanced superhuman from 1990’s Earth, first played by Ricardo Montalban in the classic 1967 episode “Space Seed” and the 1982 film. It turns out that Khan has been in league with Marcus, whose agenda is to shift Star Fleet’s primary goal of exploration to that of a military body to fight a newly encountered race…the Klingons!
Benedict Cumberbatch, for me, is the highlight of the movie. Though he is not as good as Montalban, he is still chilling as the psychotic superman, who makes him more like the younger Khan of the “Space Seed” television episode who was definitely psychotic but not yet the madman that he would turn into in Star Trek II.
Khan isn’t the only thing that Into Darkness has in common with The Wrath of Khan. It’s without question that Abrams and his screenwriters were paying tribute to the most beloved of all the Star Trek movies. And you know what? It works.
Star Trek-Into Darkness does what any good movie does…it entertains. If you accept this move on its own merits and don’t judge it against The Wrath of Kahn, you will come away entertained in what is probably the best Star Trek movie since 1998’s Insurrection.
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