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Rick’s Review ‘The Pros & KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN’ of Star Trek Into Darkness [Spoilers]

CBS/Paramount
CBS/Paramount

I would consider myself a pretty hardcore Trekkie. When living in California, I had the opportunity to visit the Deep Space 9 stages on the Paramount lot and also was able to attend the premiere of Star Trek: First Contact at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

So, when I heard that J.J. Abrams was going to reboot Trek in 2009, I was pretty excited. My thoughts were, it’s some new Trek! Sounds good to me. The new origin of Kirk & Company did very well on opening weekend, pulling in around $75 million. The story was well crafted and the actors seemed to fit pretty well into the roles established by Shatner, Nimoy, Kelly and the rest of the crew.

Flash forward to four years later and Abrams returns with Into Darkness. Although it was #1 at the Box Office over the weekend, raking in over $70 million, it did fall short of Paramount/CBS expectations of pulling down $100 million. Here are some of the pros and cons of why I doubt this will be the huge follow up that was expected in Hollywood.

The Pros:

The first two-thirds of the movie holds up pretty well. We are introduced to the villain ‘John Harrison’ and after an attack on London he sets his sights on Starfleet Command. It is during the Starfleet attack that Admiral Pike is killed and puts Kirk on a revenge mission.

As Chris Pine takes the center seat in the first part of the movie, it hit me all of sudden that, YES! He IS Captain James T. Kirk. All the main characters have their moments in the movie and the acting is top-notch. It does seem that the writers are having a very difficult time with the McCoy character though. More on that in the Con portion.

Other than Pine and Zachary Quinto (Spock), it’s Simon Pegg’s ‘Scotty’ that has a very nice storyline in this picture. Plus, Zoe Saldana’s ‘Uhura’ pulls away from the standard communications role and gets to see some action with the Klingons. Sulu get’s a shot at the center seat and Chekov ends up donning a red shirt and heads to engineering.

The special effects are fantastic and everything has it’s place during the tight action scenes. Two of my favorite scenes; When the Enterprise comes up from the ocean floor and then later is in a free fall, through the clouds. Stunning visual effect!

The Cons:

I’m a big fan of Karl Urban and the Doctor McCoy character, but the writers seem to be having a tough go of it writing for him. Urban’s Doctor is relegated mostly to ‘I’m a Doctor, not a….’ It seems he is more of a caricature and not fully developed or fleshed out.

Had ‘John Harrison’ been the actual villain, I think the movie would have held up better, but upon the reveal that he is actually Khan, the suspension of disbelief is thrown out the window. I was never concerned about this tapping into the original timeline. What hurt the most was the intentional and blatant copying (aka plagiarism) of ‘The Wrath of Khan.’

I overlooked the “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” quoted, once again, by Spock in the first act of the movie. But, the overload of the ‘nod to the fans’ and scenes that were ‘lifted’ from TWOK were just too much.

The major ‘groan’ moment was Kirk getting radiation poison from putting the warp engines back on line and Spock screaming “KHAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNN!”

When Kirk dies, YES Kirk, NOT Spock, he is brought back to life by the blood sample of Khan. Earlier in the film, McCoy finds out that Khan’s blood has a regenerating component to it and brings a tribble back to life. (I guess you could say bringing Kirk back to life was ‘no tribble at all.)

My biggest beef with this Trek Into Darkness? The reason Abrams did the reboot was so he could reset the time line and not have to worry about ’30 plus years of ‘cannon.’ He had a clean slate to tell a story that has never been done before. So, after going to all that trouble, WHY would he go ‘where we have gone before?’

If you want to see a fun ‘popcorn’ movie, then you will enjoy it. But is the movie firing all it’s Photons? Not so much, but I would still give it a 7 out of 10.

 

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