We return to the land of Trek five years after J.J. Abrams successfully rebooted and revived this aged franchise. Having loved the new universe twist and elements of the 2009 film, I was left over eager for this new “episode” in the film-verse. When I caught my first run of the teasers and the trailers, I was a bit intrigued with the possibilities. We have a crashing “Enterprise”, Robocop, a few key plot devices, John Harrison and the return of the crew. So my thoughts were what could go wrong? Apparently plenty had the ability to go right and wrong but not for the reasons you’d expect. Now to preface this review, I will not be going in depth with the comparisons or “Easter Eggs”. Those details will be covered in a followup article.
My movie going experience begins in the IMAX 2nd showing for this film on opening night. My hopes were high. We begin with a mission to the planet Nibri where Kirk and McCoy are creating a diversion for Spock, Uhura and Sulu to pilot a shuttle to detonate a freeze bomb in a volcano. They also showed the Enterprise underwater. This minor detail along urks me as it is not possible for the ship to do this. There is a reason why the U.S.S. Voyager was the only ship with landing capabilities which is defined by physics and the Trek ship capabilities. In any case we cut to a malfunction with the shuttle and all crew stranding Spock in the volcano. They regroup in the Enterprise where we get a moment of Kirk and McCoy arguing with Spock over saving his life. He speaks the first of many dialogues rehashed from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan being, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Following this McCoy says, “Shut up Spock, we’re trying to rescue you!” – from “The Immunity Syndrome” episode of The Original Series.
Kirk refusing to allow his crew member and friend to die on the world opts to break the rules to fly the Enterprise directly overhead to rescue him the moment the lava was about to engulf him. Spock proceeds to argue with Kirk over the Prime Directive to which Kirk explains, “Big deal, they saw us.”
The majority of the story is summed up in the that Kirk is still very much green. Admiral Pike states early on after Spock files a report on their planetoids adventure where Kirk was merely supposed to observe not interfere. Kirk omitted information from his report managing to get himself demoted albeit temporarily to 1st Officer beneath Pike. Pike stated to him, “You don’t respect the chair, Because you’re not ready for it.” This again states Kirk is not quite the Captain he is supposed to be but a cadet in mind still.
The film continues with a terrorist from Starfleet who is attacking various seemingly non-essential archives which house strategic military compounds. This is the mission of John Harrison throughout the film. We see him attack the city of London, take down various heads of the Fleet and using Scotty’s Transwarp Beaming, he gets away to the Klingon home-world of Kronos. Kirk heads a personal mission to head a manhunt questioning his morality and risking his crew in the process. Admiral Marcus allows this and later on there is a slaughtering of the Klingons by Harrison followed by the U.S.S. Vengeance making it’s arrival to the scene.
Into Darkness is absolutely a great movie despite it’s flaws of reusing previous film content. With it comes a great deal of new plot devices I never saw coming. Is it perfect? To that I have to say no, but in saying that I know that there are not enough gripes from people unfamiliar with the franchise.
Overly there are many references to the various episodes of The Original Series, Star Trek Deep Space Nine and the following films; Star Trek The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek First Contact, Star Trek Nemesis, Star Trek (2009). That being said, there were enough interesting twists and turns on these many fan referenced pieces of plot, however that being said I would have liked a little more originality than they gave. I really enjoyed this film but there were too many forced elements of previous films in here or convenience plot pieces. Did the entirety work out nicely? To that I would argue yes but to those that know Trek I find it will be bit of a challenge to not figure out what is going to happen in the story once you discover them.
So to the hardcore Trekkies out there I say just put aside logic and what you know of the previous content. Sit back, relax and enjoy it for what it is. A new twist to old stories and hopefully a long and fruitful future in the years to come. So until next time, Live Long and Prosper.