Star Trek Into Darkness – Latest voyage feels oddly familiar

     Hello everyone! I’m back with another review of the beginning of the summer movie season. This one is a personal favorite of mine. I, along with millions of others, grew up with Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future and humanity’s journey into the deep recesses of space with the powerhouse franchise, Star Trek.

     2009 brought us back to the Trek universe with new actors to play the classic characters of the original series. With some help from Leonard Nimoy, playing the original Spock, the torch was passed to the new crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise and Star Trek became one of the highest grossing movies of that year. With Into Darkness, we expected more of the same but with sequels, you can’t help but be a little skeptical.

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      The film begins with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban) running through a red forest and avoiding spears being thrown at them (obviously intended for the 3D effects) as they race off of the cliff into an ocean. It turns out that the Enterprise, at the time, and her crew is on a mission to prevent the eruption of a volcano on this primitive planet and save its inhabitants. Spock, risking his life, ends up trapped in the volcano and is prepared to sacrifice his life for the good of the mission. Kirk, in order to save his first officer, violates the Prime Directive and raises the Enterprise from the ocean water to fly over the volcano and save Spock.

     The movie then cuts back to Earth, where Kirk is relieved of command because of his violation of the Federation’s prominent rule, dictating that the Federation is not allowed to interfere with the development of alien civilizations and there is no revelation of the Federation’s identity. A general emergency meeting is called for the Federation’s high ranking officials to meet in order to discuss a threat in their own organization. Starfleet agent John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) bombed a secret Starfleet installation in London and has been ordered to be taken in. Knowing this meeting would happen, Harrison attacks the conference, killing Kirk’s mentor, Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood). Taking this attack personally, Kirk reassumes command and is tasked with hunting Harrison down and bringing him in.

     All original and all good. It really relates to the current world we live in. No one knows who to trust in our government and there are even dangers inside it that threaten our way of life. But then, the turn happens and this is where the originality fails. Harrison’s true identity is revealed as Khan, an iconic and classic villain from the original show and whose storyline spawned one of the best Trek films: 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it to any Trek fan or anyone that knows the Trek universe.

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     The inclusion of Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Khan, while not as epic as Ricardo Montalbán, helped keep the plot interesting as he faced off against Kirk and the Enterprise crew. Cumberbatch proved to make Khan a force to be reckoned with throughout the entire film. His delivery of the ruthless, intellectual, and determined Khan shined as bright as a supernova with his charisma and making his villain believable to the audience.

     Knowing this is a reboot, I let it go and I will say, as a whole, the film is a rousing, awesome, space adventure. It’s filled with great action, special effects, and just an all around great installment into this popular franchise. My only criticism was that the film is not as fresh or original as its predecessor. A lot of Khan’s story lines and scenes were re-created for this film but Into Darkness does a great job of standing on its own as well as trying to honor the past. If you are a Trek fan or not, you will enjoy this movie but as a Trek fan, I will say that the chop work the writers put together by blending Wrath of Khan with Into Darkness will leave you wanting a little more originality.

     I’ll be back soon with a review of another high action film franchise’s recent installment, Fast and Furious 6!

     Please leave any comments or reactions! I gladly welcome them! Take care and enjoy a movie or two!

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