“I’m a Vulcan–I embrace technicalities!” Not only should this line immediately be put on a t-shirt, but it’s indicative of how much fun the new Star Trek is. The second directed by J.J. Abrams, focusing on the TV characters as younger people, Star Trek Into Darkness is even more fun that Iron Man 3.
I’ve never been a big Star Trek fan. I’m neither Trekkie nor Trekker, and I can’t recite chapter and verse from the episodes of the TV show. I think I’ve seen all of the movies, though, from the original cast through the Next Generation cast. None of them have made me so giddy or tapped into my teenage self than this one.
And it is a movie ideally suited for teenage boys, down to the shot of Alice Eve in her bikini underwear. It has lots of action, lots of comedy, a great villain (no spoiling here) and even takes a stand on drone warfare. I had a smile plastered on my face throughout.
The film begins mid-adventure, like the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark, at the conclusion of an encounter with a stone age population. Kirk (Chris Pine) makes a decision to save Spock (Zachary Quinto) which violates the prime directive, and Kirk gets busted for it. But then a terrorist attack reorganizes everything, and Kirk and Spock, along with Sulu, Uhuru, and Chekov, who ends up running around the engine room like Billy Bibbit, are back on the Enterprise.
But not Scotty. Star Fleet has loaded 72 torpedoes to be used on the terrorist, identified as John Harrison and played with stiff-upperlip Britishness by Benedict Cumberbatch. He’s hiding on the Klingon planet (is it just called Klingon?) The admiral (Peter Weller) is itching to start a war with Klingons, but Kirk disobeys orders and captures Cumberbatch instead. We learn who he really is (does anyone not know? I’ll keep mum just in case) and all sorts of shifting alliances take place. The plot is kind of a mess–I’m never quite sure what the villain wants–but who cares?
As with the first film, this one is stolen by Quinto as Spock. Maybe the purists object, but Quinto’s Spock is one with a sense of humor. He’s even romantically involved with Uhuru, which I’m not sure I like but hey, go for it, you kids. When hearing that the two are having a fight, Kirk wonders aloud, “What’s that like?” The spine of the film is that we do anything for family, and that a crew can be a family, whether it’s the villains or whether it’s the bromance between Kirk and Spock. And just how great is it to see Spock kick ass at the end of the film?
While the action isn’t always superior–sometimes it’s just stuff blowin’ up–I did like a sequence that has Pine and Cumberbatch hurtling through space like bullets. There’s also a fight scene with Klingons, and a little trouble comes to San Francisco (nice to see the trolley cars are still running in the future though). But action aside, what makes this movie so much fun is the dialogue. The banter among Kirk, Spock, and McCoy is pleasure, and yes, McCoy does get to say a “I’m a doctor, not a …” line. The writing and acting is able to make these characters identifiable without being caricatures. They’d be great to be around.
If all that isn’t enough, there’s even a tribble.
My grade for Star Trek Into Darkness: A-.